The Presidential Transition Period
November 3, 2008 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Well, the Presidential election is only one day away...after which, the US begins the 11 week transition period to a new administration!

As established by the twentieth amendment to the US Constitution, "the terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January." So what exactly happens between election day and January 20th? There are a lot of interesting stories about that, which help convey the strong tradition behind lengthy transition periods in the US. In addition to the history, the General Services Administration has various (semi-)recently documented responsibilities during this period under The Presidential Transition Act of 2000, while other branches of the government focus on their respective areas. For example, the Office of Personnel Management focuses on...personnel changes, while the military plans for possible incidents during this time. But what exactly will President-Elect Obama or President-Elect McCain be doing? As you might expect, they've already started planning their administrations, an activity they have far more time to accomplish prior to the "official" transition than our friends in some other countries.
posted by brandman (86 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is a great first post, brandman.
posted by exogenous at 8:26 AM on November 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Still plenty of time to invade Iran and Syria and to annex Iceland.
posted by psmealey at 8:29 AM on November 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


I love this kind of trivia, like how many pardons are in a single magic pen, and where they get the custom-bound Korans for the signing in ceremony. Cool stuff!
posted by rokusan at 8:31 AM on November 3, 2008


January 20, 2009: The End of an Error!
posted by ericb at 8:32 AM on November 3, 2008 [21 favorites]


Great post. Does the president-elect get any sort of special access to classified documents, executive branch records, or anything else to help them prepare their policy? More than they would already have from being senators?
posted by echo target at 8:33 AM on November 3, 2008


Still plenty of time to pardon your pals, bailout your buddies and steal office supplies.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:34 AM on November 3, 2008


January 19, 2009: White House staffers replace all "O" keys with "W" keys
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:34 AM on November 3, 2008 [9 favorites]


On a totally unrelated note, there is a picture of Sarah Palin in the left-hand column of FiveThirtyEight.com with the heading "A Neiman Marxist". That's good, real good. [NB: on preview, the picture doesn't come up every time, so you gotta reload until you get it. Damn!]
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:36 AM on November 3, 2008


Also, I'm waiting for the Onion's headline for this election, because their headline for GWB's victory was so good.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:38 AM on November 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


At this very moment, Fort Knox is readying the trucks full of gold leaf for changing all the names on office doors.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:41 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've always been fascinated about the note that the outgoing president leaves in his desk for his successor. I wonder what W would write for Obama?

"Hey Obama,

Make sure to read all those top secret memos at the President's Daily Briefing and take appropriate action. They might be important. And don't let Biden boss you around too much. Remember, you're the boss around here.

Peace out,
Dub

Ps: Left some pretzels for you in the other drawer. They might be stale though."
posted by chillmost at 8:48 AM on November 3, 2008 [11 favorites]


Does the president-elect get any sort of special access to classified documents, executive branch records, or anything else to help them prepare their policy? More than they would already have from being senators?

I believe he receives regular security briefings. I couldn't find a strong source about them, or how frequently they occur, but this article from December 26, 2000 reports President-elect Bush was scheduled to have such a briefing.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:50 AM on November 3, 2008


Also, I'm waiting for the Onion's headline for this election

America shows us its "O" Face?
posted by psmealey at 8:52 AM on November 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


Black by popular demand?
posted by emelenjr at 8:55 AM on November 3, 2008 [19 favorites]


If the dems win, I wouldn't be surprised to see the republicans try to put out stories about how incompetent the dems transition staff is, much like the w key myth. Then again, they may be too busy shredding documents.
posted by drezdn at 8:56 AM on November 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Then again, they may be too busy shredding documents.

Nailed it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:12 AM on November 3, 2008


Also, I'm waiting for the Onion's headline for this election, because their headline for GWB's victory was so good.

Just to underscore that, the whole article is "so good". I found myself wondering if they just posted it recently and doctored the publication date.
posted by beagle at 9:14 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


If the dems win, I wouldn't be surprised to see the republicans try to put out stories about how incompetent the dems transition staff is, much like the w key myth.

And people were surprised about the corruption with this administration -- they were lying from day 1!!
posted by inigo2 at 9:14 AM on November 3, 2008


is anyone aware of a good site to track the forming of the Obama incoming administration?
Someone should get on that if they haven't already, parlay some of my obsession with the campaign into the obsession with the coming administration.
posted by slickvaguely at 9:15 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


January 19, 2009: White House staffers replace all "O" keys with "W" keys

Surely, all 'B' keys with 'S' keys?
posted by biffa at 9:15 AM on November 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


January 19, 2009: White House staffers replace all "O" keys with "W" keys

Based on the disgusting rhetoric that's been flying around this election, I'd expect that they'd be more likely to replace all the "B" keys with "S" keys -- and change it in the keymap on the computer as well.
posted by chimaera at 9:16 AM on November 3, 2008


but who shall receive coke
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:18 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember some kind of wistful Clinton retrospective just before he left office, seeing a senior staffer interviewed about the transition (can't remember who it was). It was during the transition that they found out the Bush I had been sugarcoating the economic numbers - they knew they were in trouble, they just didn't know the extent of it. I fully expect that kind of revelation over the next months - we've only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of the shit that these guys pulled. If we're lucky enough to get ourselves an Obama presidency, he's got his work cut out for him.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:21 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Clinton's Final Days
posted by hillabeans at 9:23 AM on November 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Fascinating stuff. Great post, brandman!
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:24 AM on November 3, 2008


January 19, 2009: White House staffers replace all "O" keys with "W" keys

I think they'll be too busy switching the SS keys back to octothorpes. Well, that and the mounds of shredding.

So has the MeFi Transition Team come up wit a solution for what the site will do after the election drops the posts down to next-to-nil for another 3 years or so after tomorrow?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:25 AM on November 3, 2008


Surely, all 'B' keys with 'S' keys?

Actually, they'll just pop the B keys off and stick 'em back on backwards.
posted by cortex at 9:28 AM on November 3, 2008 [15 favorites]


I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, only I don't know whether it's going to be Silent Night, Deadly Night or A Miracle On 34th Street.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:36 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The "W" key thing was a myth? I was so proud of the Clinton administration for that one.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:45 AM on November 3, 2008


Why would you want to annex Iceland? You can buy it outright for $329,000 thanks to the global banking scam scandal swindle crisis.
posted by Mister_A at 9:49 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can someone explain the "changing the keys" story? I'm drawing a blank.
posted by pearlybob at 9:52 AM on November 3, 2008


Pearlybob, supposedly the outgoing Clinton staffers had pried off a number of the W keys on their keyboards, just to tweak the incoming George W. team. That story, however, spiraled into a tale of massive vandalism on the part of the Clinton staffers, which the GOP gobbled up like so much red meat. It wasn't true, though, as such salacious things rarely are.
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:57 AM on November 3, 2008


missed it by that much. and biffa was more pithy.
posted by chimaera at 9:58 AM on November 3, 2008


Ok, I remember that now. Thanks shiu mai. My brain needed a little jiggle.
posted by pearlybob at 9:59 AM on November 3, 2008


Damn. Why did that link not work? Try this one instead.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:02 AM on November 3, 2008


It wasn't true, though, as such salacious things rarely are.

Um, actually this salacious rumor was actually true.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:07 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


hilzoy at obsidianwings, on who should be Obama's Secretary of Defense: The fact that people trust Republicans more on national security is deeply damaging to our country, and I do not want to perpetuate it. If Obama appoints almost any Republican, I will protest. However, a post by Spencer Ackerman persuaded me that there is one big exception to this . . . "Keeping Bob Gates as defense secretary has its merits."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:14 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pollomacho: Oh. Wow. Thanks for the correction. That's what I get for relying on sources that are over seven years old.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:23 AM on November 3, 2008


Was Clinton pissed off that he lost his security deposit?
posted by lee at 10:23 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm waiting for the Onion's headline for this election, because their headline for GWB's victory was so good.

Just to underscore that, the whole article is "so good". I found myself wondering if they just posted it recently and doctored the publication date.


That article is amazing. And deeply depressing.
posted by Tehanu at 10:25 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


to annex Iceland.

Annex? Isn't Iceland flat broke or something? We could probably just rent it like a hotel room.
posted by jonmc at 10:50 AM on November 3, 2008


Um, actually this salacious rumor was actually true.

Reading that GAO report, there wasn't more damage during that transition than previous transitions. Also, the report states directly that there was little damage found in the intervening period since the previous report that found no damage beyond what was expected in a vacated office.
The director of GSA’s White House service center during the 2001 transition
said that the condition of the office space during the 2001 transition was
the same as what he observed during the 1989 transition.
I suspect the NYT got themselves spun in preparation for the big Iraq spin coming up, eh? And maybe us a little bit quite recently?
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:51 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Am I the only one who doesn't want to change America in any fundamental way? Does that make me crazy? And alone?"
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:53 AM on November 3, 2008


cybercoitus interruptus, I think he should keep Gates too. Bush appointee or no, he hasn't been a bad SecDef at all, and given the right environment, I think he could do well.

Full disclosure: I am biased, having seen firsthand the job Gates did as president of Texas A&M.
posted by internet!Hannah at 10:54 AM on November 3, 2008


"Am I the only one who doesn't want to change America in any fundamental way? Does that make me crazy? And alone?"

Jean, let me answer those questions for you, I'll keep it brief and take them in order: Yes; no, just ignorant; and yes.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:58 AM on November 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


That's what I get for relying on sources that are over seven years old.

Never trust anyone over five.
posted by rokusan at 11:03 AM on November 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Wilson, feeling that "it would be my duty to relieve the country of the perils of such a situation at once," proposed that, if defeated, he immediately name Hughes secretary of state. In those days the secretary of state was third in line to the presidency.

Wilson and Vice President Thomas Marshall would resign, leaving Hughes the Oval Office four months ahead of schedule.


Wow. My opinion of the man just jumped ten-fold. Note to would-be politicians: This is how we, the American electorate, expect you to handle our country, put the good of the nation over your own little self.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:05 AM on November 3, 2008


McCain wins! You read it here and here first!
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:13 AM on November 3, 2008


Brandman - props for synchronicity!
Just yesterday I was trying to explain to my girlfriend why it will take three months for Obama the winner to take office ... and realised I didn't quite know the answer!!
posted by mannequito at 11:17 AM on November 3, 2008


Great job, brandman. I'd always assumed that during the transition period, the lame duck president was spending a lot of time bowling and watching DVDs, calling old girlfriends, aimlessly strolling into staff offices asking, "So ... what are you up to?", while the president-elect setting up his little desk knick-knacks in the Oval Office - troll dolls, a bobble-head sports team mascot, maybe a snow globe - and changing the screensaver to his name.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:27 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


"The Only Legal Way To Cancel Out Your Neighbors"
posted by homunculus at 11:29 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just to underscore that, the whole article is "so good". I found myself wondering if they just posted it recently and doctored the publication date.

I very clearly recall reading it when it was first published, so no.
posted by dmd at 11:31 AM on November 3, 2008


I was kind of hoping the winner got to spend that time vacationing in some tropical location.
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:42 AM on November 3, 2008


Unfortunately the Bush administration still has a few nasty aces up their sleeves. There's still time for some serious evil to be done during the transition. Hopefully this scorched earth plan can be stopped from being implemented somehow.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:52 AM on November 3, 2008


Isn't Iceland flat broke or something? We could probably just rent it like a hotel room.

Maybe when China gives you your allowance for doing your chores.
posted by srboisvert at 12:26 PM on November 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


The Coming McCain Military Draft
posted by homunculus at 12:45 PM on November 3, 2008


At the McCain campaign, Republicans said, transition work is being coordinated by William E. Timmons, a longtime Washington lobbyist whose clients have included the American Petroleum Institute and the mortgage company Freddie Mac.

Jesus. What more can you say?
posted by designbot at 12:47 PM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


From Hairy Lobster's links:

Once such rules take effect, they typically can be undone only through a laborious new regulatory proceeding, including lengthy periods of public comment, drafting and mandated reanalysis.

From a Federal regulator's point of view: meh. We can bang out new regs in a couple of days and then slap them in the Federal Register as interim final rules. Public comment is taken into consideration, but only after the rule is already implemented. If Obama (or McCain) doesn't like the new regs, they can have their teams start drawing up the new, undoing regs now and then cram them through on January 21st. They could also draft up some Presidential Directives saying what they intend the new policies to be.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:47 PM on November 3, 2008


11 week transition period?!??

Damn, and I was just preparing to celebrate the end of USElectionFilter.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:53 PM on November 3, 2008


I'm just looking forward to not hearing John McCain speak anymore.

Is it just me, or is he increasingly sounding like Master Blaster from 'Beyond Thunderdome'?! Maybe he should ride around piggyback on Sarah's shoulders...

Who run Bartertown?!
posted by markkraft at 1:17 PM on November 3, 2008


All this IMO of course:

The first thing Obama's tech guys should do is take all the computers used by the Bush staffers, set them aside, make complete drive images, then examine their hard drives. Find any deleted documents that might be recoverable. Using a computer makes deleted things more difficult to retrieve, so for work they should use fresh machines, or at least hard drives.

Second, they should be prepared for the possibility that Bush's transition team may actually be incompetent, or even willing to sacrifice the good of the nation for short-term gain/damage to Obama's presidency. Remember Katrina? How much Haliburton profits from the war? Valerie Plame? The U.S. Attorney scandal? Everything Karl Rove* did? After Bush, it may be some time before the Republicans manage to regain office. Some of these people may subscribe to the tug-of-war theory of political opposition, where a loss for the other side is a gain for yours. When you're used to playing hardball, generous impulses are not common. They should not take the procedures coming from these guys for granted. If necessary, get Clinton's old transition guys in there to look the procedures over. (At the very least, being there might be cathartic for them.) If this seems distrustful in a harmful way I'm sorry, but after seven years of actively dreading the news I think we should prepare for the worst.

Third. Did you know printers made in the last few years put hidden codes in their documents allowing law enforcement to trace them to the printer that produced them? It's exactly the kind of privacy invasion precedent set by the Bush guys that could come back to bite them as they leave office. (Also, look for hidden tape machines.)

Fourth: To some extent tech guys are tech guys, and the realities of economic life in this country are such that if the boss demands that you pour Liquid Eviltm into computer cases, then it's recommended that you either get to pouring or start looking for work (or, with these guys, perhaps worse -- imagine being branded Unmutual and never being allowed to fly again). But grudges live long, and tech guys are, in some ways, a tribe to themselves. If anyone will break ranks and talk to investigators, I'd expect it to be them.

And fifth, to us: Don't necessarily expect Obama to roll everything back. It'd take a lot of strength of character to willingly contract the roll of the executive branch, especially when those powers could be of great use in undoing other damage. I'm hopeful, but I'm keeping my eyes open.

* It's a fact: in heaven, you are called by your most prominent nickname, so this man will be Turd Blossom for eternity. If there is any justice.
posted by JHarris at 1:22 PM on November 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


From Hairy Lobster’s links:
“Lobbyists for customs brokers complained about proposed counterterrorism rules that require the advance reporting of shipping data.”

This alone - wtf!?
The (safety council of the) International Maritime Organization adopted this just before ‘03. The OECD sed it would cost shipping about $1.5 billion (ish). And all their members started making a stink when U.S. Customs adopted a 24 hour rule - that is - shipping and NVOCCs (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers) have to submit a cargo declaration (electronically) 24 hours before a container is loaded onto a vessel bound for the U.S.
Remember all those news stories post-911 about how shipping containers could carry NBC weapons?
Wasn’t just hype. But it’s a huge thing to police. So about Feb. 2003 it went into effect.
It does create more overhead for carriers. But the problem is one of overlapping government agencies (which makes shippers jump through a number of different hoops sometimes at odds with each other) and lack of standarization.
Essentially - it’s the right kind of law , but was executed in a 1/2 ass manner (gee, the Bush administration, go figure).
So you still have lack of transparency, but it interferes with movement (just like the TSA).
So because it “doesn’t work” they want to deregulate it.
Well, why not? They get cash from the lobbyists, and responsibility for the worst case scenario falls on another administration.

The other stuff sounds pretty stupid as well. But this is/was their whole trump card. They’re such hard-cases when it comes to terrorism, right? OBL has just been too ‘ascared to attack us because Dick and George are just so bad-ass.

It’s just infuriating. I’m aware of global warming, etc. I don’t like pollution. I like clean drinking water. But this is really just rolling the dice with a very possible method of anonymous WMD delivery.
Hell, it’s how I’d do it.
Take out the Port of L.A. and global trade goes all to hell. You lose 30% of all world trade the first year alone. And they’re bitching about a (relatively) measly $1 & 1/2 billon?
And Bushco is going to let them drop it?

Is there a presidential order or something Obama can sign where he can just undo all this kind of crap or do we have to go through the whole process again?

I mean, even after 9/11 it was like pulling teeth to get people to go for this. Not that I want to put any more pressure on shipping’s apparently already thin profit margin. But damn, it’s the one plausible method of attack they’ve talked about that they’ve actually done anything about without a big theater production.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:24 PM on November 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


When I read about the GSA briefing the president, I was picturing a janitor showing him where the pens, paper towels, and paper clips are. I guess that's the only dealings I've had with GSA in my military experience.
posted by crapmatic at 1:31 PM on November 3, 2008


Is it just me, or is he increasingly sounding like Master Blaster from 'Beyond Thunderdome'?!

Holy shit. You are absolutely right.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:32 PM on November 3, 2008


Not that I want to put any more pressure on shipping’s apparently already thin profit margin...

So let them have their margins back. Higher shipping costs are not necessarily bad, in a wider sense. Cheap crap from China could not have so effectively decimated US manufacturing unless it were so cheap and easy to ship it here.

So you can secure cargo while at the same time rebalancing manufacturing a little bit, making American options a little less expensive, relatively. The adjustment period will be annoying, as everything at Wal-Mart doubles in price, but long-term it has to be win-win I think.
posted by rokusan at 1:33 PM on November 3, 2008


When I read about the GSA briefing the president, I was picturing a janitor showing him where the pens, paper towels, and paper clips are.

"Over here, here's where Scruffy keeps the launch codes, for days when Scruffy's feelin' a bit feisty."
posted by rokusan at 1:34 PM on November 3, 2008


Is the election thread now? I have no idea where the best place to put this is but Obama's grandmother just died.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:49 PM on November 3, 2008


I have no idea where the best place to put this is but Obama's grandmother just died

I just saw that. That's brutal. She needed one more day, for chrissakes!

There is no God.
posted by rokusan at 1:52 PM on November 3, 2008


Does the president-elect get any sort of special access to classified documents, executive branch records, or anything else to help them prepare their policy?

Both candidates do. Politics: the Briefings of United States Presidential Candidates: "In accordance with a practice established by President Harry S. Truman, presidential nominees of both major political parties receive intelligence briefings at some point between the summer political conventions and the presidential elections every four years."

They're the same briefings as the president and vice president get, which means that when he blew off the August 6, 2001, PDB about Al Qaeda attacking the US Bush had been getting security briefings for about a year. (Bush accepted the nomination on August 3, 2000.)
posted by kirkaracha at 1:52 PM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Incredibly brutal. I mean I don't believe in God so it'd be a bit hypocritical to see volition in it, but that's just frigging cruel. ONE DAY.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:54 PM on November 3, 2008


That's assuming Obama wins. If he loses this would be a blessing.
posted by mazola at 1:56 PM on November 3, 2008


Ex-presidents may also get those briefings for the rest of their lives if they wish... which I always thought was sort of ridiculous, considering how full of tasty business and investment tips they must be, for someone no longer bound by conflict of interest concerns.
posted by rokusan at 2:00 PM on November 3, 2008


Man. One day out. I'm speechless.
posted by yeti at 2:13 PM on November 3, 2008


Clearly, he had her killed in order to capture the sympathy vote.

/channeling Little Green Footballs
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:08 PM on November 3, 2008


> McCain wins! You read it here and here first!
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:13 AM on November 3 [+] [!]
That's hilarious. Just subtract 5% from the polls, and it's a clear win! Very convincing.
posted by cj_ at 3:35 PM on November 3, 2008


“I just saw that. That's brutal. She needed one more day, for chrissakes!”

I disagree. I think it’s meaningful. Looking at this as the narrative for a story - consider it as pathos. It’s such a poignant thing.I get the immediate reaction, and it’s a good and charitable one. And indeed, it is a shame.
But the timing, the meaning she held for him, the race has become, for him, all the more meaningful. And a major personal tie has been cut...
I hope this is read from the perspective it’s intended. His campaign has taken on mythic proportions.
I mean that quite literally - in the Joe Campbell sense, not in some quasi-mystical way. It’s an archetypal theme.

On the human level, yes, it’s a shame. But he took time out to see her before she died. That’s a decision I don’t think he’ll ever regret.
And I don’t think - and this is again treading close to a more esoteric sound than is my intention - but I don’t think she didn’t know he will be president.

Speaking purely secularly - you just know. Like I know how well my kid might do on something because I know them. I know the world. I know pretty much how it will all shake out.

She was a very sharp woman. And she knew him.
I don’t think she died in ignorance. I think she died knowing he would be president. I think she waited to see him. Looked at him, knew, and knew it was ok to die.

And it was a tremendously meaningful death. Both deeply personal and touching on a greater level.
This is part of a repatterning of cultural values through symbolic molds into common social understanding.

Many people (f’rinstance) die on their birthdays.

I’m not saying it’s ‘by design’ per se like it’s some nefarious conspiracy.
Just that people really do live and die by this stuff. (S’why I got the hell out of the greatness business - live turtle in the mud, all that).

Events just sort of...fit...this way.
I mean - taking the Obama narrative - the land is in peril, reluctant hero takes up the call, eventually becomes not so reluctant, but needs a mentor, and it’s a wise old woman, who then dies just before the hero faces the final challenge before the threshold.

C’mon, you might as well have called Mz. Dunham - Obi-Wan or Kisamor.

I don’t mean these things are arbitrary or meaningless symbols, just that they seem to fit into patterns.

Hell, Ben Franklin was every inch the “wise mentor” role, plus the word “ Franklin ” meant ‘freeman’ - but evolved into landholder/social climber. All of which well described Ben.

This is not to delve into some ‘23’ fallacy where you manufacture the connections and meaning.
But rather people seem to fall into these patterns naturally. And events seem to form in much the same ways. It just sort of...fits. I’m not saying ‘good’ or ‘bad’ here or addressing the personal thing at all.

100 years from now, this will be one of the things they talk about when they talk about Obama.
One of those things where the timing seems suspect, but fits into the narrative surrounding him.

I don’t know if that makes sense. But weird shit seems to happen around folks with a lot of attention like this on them.

(I’m not arguing physical properties or regular albiet improbably coincidences such as the NY state lottery hitting 911 on 9/11 - just as it regards human relations and those patterns. There, how we think about human values do shape human reactions. Even in - one might say considering the role of religion over the past millennia: especially in - death)
posted by Smedleyman at 4:06 PM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I have no idea where the best place to put this is but Obama's grandmother just died"

    - "I just saw that. That's brutal. She needed one more day, for chrissakes!

       There is no God."

              - "That's assuming Obama wins. If he loses this would be a blessing."


So, what you're saying then is that there is no God.

But this is a dead giveaway, isn't it?

Proof denies faith, and without faith God is nothing... but a McCain victory would clearly prove that there is no God, and so therefore, he would exist. Q.E.D.

A McCain win would, therefore, cause God to appear in a puff of logic.... a very meanspirited, angry, vengeful apocalypse-prone God.

(Is this something that we want?!)

Don't blame me... I'm voting Obama. For the right kind of change our economy needs, without all the hellfire and gnashing and wailing.

Let sleeping gods lie.
posted by markkraft at 4:39 PM on November 3, 2008


Proof denies faith, and without faith God is nothing

No, the proof-faith tension is a human-centred argument, whereby people can justify their belief in God in the absence of tangible evidence.

If God is assumed to be all-powerful, He could easily set the cosmos up so that there would be 100% irrefutable proof of His existence, and this would in no way cause Him to spontaneously cease to exist, because this very rearrangement of matters would cause the argument to instantly become "Faith denies proof, and without proof God is nothing."

Or, in other words, you can't second-guess the guy who makes all the rules, because He's bigger than you, and at least one step ahead.

/Devil's Advocate
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:40 PM on November 3, 2008


“Let sleeping gods lie.”

Good advice, Fhtagn!
posted by Smedleyman at 6:44 PM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


“I just saw that. That's brutal. She needed one more day, for chrissakes!”

My main thought was that I was glad Obama went to visit her. I know I've done a couple of last minute trips home to visit my grandmother, just in case, over the last five years or so - and actually been very lucky in each one having been "wasted". (Obviously not a waste, but a good "waste").
posted by jb at 7:00 PM on November 3, 2008


On an apparently flippant, but still kind of heartbreaking moment - I didn't get the chance to make a similar trip to say goodbye to my 20 year old cat (been with me since I was 8). And I will always regret that, even if she was "just" a cat. (And I have almost no photos of her - I was so angry at myself, because I knew she was ill that Christmas. Mostly I wish I had just snuck her into my graduate dorm).
posted by jb at 7:02 PM on November 3, 2008


So has the MeFi Transition Team come up wit a solution for what the site will do after the election drops the posts down to next-to-nil for another 3 years or so after tomorrow?

whut
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:01 PM on November 3, 2008


So Little Time, So Much Damage
posted by homunculus at 3:14 PM on November 4, 2008


Report: Pentagon to begin briefing president-elect’s transition team ‘almost immediately.’
posted by ericb at 4:51 PM on November 4, 2008


Obama and Biden will receive daily intelligence briefings starting tomorrow.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:24 PM on November 5, 2008


From homunculus's link: Agents will be allowed to use informants to infiltrate lawful groups, engage in prolonged physical surveillance and lie about their identity while questioning a subject’s neighbors, relatives, co-workers and friends. The changes also give the F.B.I. — which has a long history of spying on civil rights groups and others — expanded latitude to use these techniques on people identified by racial, ethnic and religious background.

Much as the right loves to blather about freedom and patriotism, they really are the enemies of liberty.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:50 PM on November 5, 2008


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