Margins of Error We can't seem to let the future alone. Even though we often get predictions about it so wrong. Because, as Niels Bohr once said, "Prediction is very difficult. Especially if it is about the future." What are the origins of political polling (beware of awful interface design)? And how is political polling evolving?
As simple as a typo. Your vote in the 2008 U.S. election won't [2:00-9:00] count if voter caging parties can help it. Vote caging works basically like this - (1) Send do-not-forward mail to the address listed on your registration. (2) If it comes back return to sender, your registration is challenged and can be thrown out without notice. "A challenged voter will likely cast a provisional ballot....Nearly a third of all 1.6 million provisional ballots cast in 2004 were thrown out." Previously (somewhat). [more inside]
Party Faithful. Can the Democrats get a foothold on the religious vote?
What was the mysterious green backdrop behind John McCain last night? Was it an attempt to restart the Colbert/McCain Green Screen Challenge? The lawn of one of his houses? Or possibly just a screw-up?
Everyone is all abuzz about the upcoming election! But even after introducing an act calling for fixed election dates because "this power allows the governing party to set the time of the election to its own advantage", Stephen Harper has decided to call it quits on the 39th Parliament because it's "dysfunctional" even though he's only three years into his mandate. After all, he can change his mind on fixed elections because he supported them in the first place.
Barack Obama has responded to the 14 questions posed by ScienceDebate2008 (discussed previously). The Martian Chronicles has outlined some key points of his response. John McCain has not responded to the questions, but has indicated that he will respond.
"On the weekends, he favors two-hour bicycle rides at a Secret Service training facility outside Washington, where he sometimes asks companions and agents to ride behind him so that he can have the illusion of riding alone." With all the focus on the upcoming election, what of George W. Bush?
Fox, the BBC and CNN have all revealed that Republican US presidential candidate John McCain has picked Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate on his 72nd birthday on the eve of the start of Republican National Convention. Despite being wildly popular in Alaska, Palin has recently been involved in an investigation over whether she dismissed a public safety commissioner because he refused to dismiss her former brother-in-law.
On the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Barack Obama accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party to be their Presidential candidate with a speech so well-crafted that Pat bloody Buchanan couldn't stop raving about it, and had to be cut off by his fellow broadcasters. It was an occasion so historic that McCain chose to release an ad congratulating his opponent.
"There are half a dozen [economic] issues today, each one of which is as important as the most important issue at the beginning of most presidential terms." Larry Summers became so well-known during his brief and contentious tenure as President of Harvard that it's easy to forget about his real job, as a much-lauded academic economist with a history of real-world service at the World Bank and in the Clinton Administration. In this month's Harvard Magazine, he summarizes his view of the economy (grim) and what the next president is going to have to do about it (a lot.)
'Cinematic maps' of American elections a project from the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond [more inside]
David Byrd, the President of Premier (formerly Diebold), has acknowledged that an error in touch-screen voting machines used in half of Ohio's counties may cause some votes to be "dropped". Oh, and there's no time to fix the problem before the elections. Premier Election Solutions and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner are issuing guidelines to counties for how to avoid the problem.
The evolution of the US presidential campaign ad, 1952 to 1996... 1952: Eisenhower-Nixon (We Like Ike, The Man from Abilene) vs Stevenson-Sparkman (I Love the Gov [apologies for the intro], Ike... Bob..., Vote Stevenson/The Music Man, (Remember the Farmer, Back to the Days of '31). Bonus: Newsreels dealing with the campaigns. 1956: Eisenhower-Nixon (Eisenhower Answers America: The Cost of Living [excerpt], Corruption (california spot)) vs Stevenson-Kefauver (How's that again, General?, The Man from Libertyville [same annoying intro], Ad-lee, Ad-lie). Bonus: Election Day newsreel, including a santa Claus arriving in a flying saucer; Eisenhower, Suez, and hungary in 1956. [more inside]
At the risk of heresy, let it be said that setting up the two presidential candidates for religious interrogation by an evangelical minister -- no matter how beloved -- is supremely wrong. [more inside]
Rhetorical Questions. "Who will win the presidential debates? What does each candidate’s use of words say about how he would govern as president? Can Obama’s rhetorical skills lift him to the heights of Lincoln, FDR, and Reagan—or will his speechmaking do him in? After watching all 47 (!) of the primary season’s debates, our correspondent has the answers—and some harsh criticism for the moderators."
Humorist and candidate for the US Senate for Minnesota Al Franken draws a map of the United States from memory.
2009: A True Story. "My name is Sara Ford and I am 18 years old. I moved to California at the end of last year. Before the first attacks... before everything changed." [Via] [more inside]
A three-and-a-half minute video explaining the American electoral process. As a Canadian, I've also found the American electoral system a little baffling. Electoral colleges? Maine and Nebraska do it differently? I thought this video by the smart folks at Common Craft did an excellent job of explaining how somebody gets to the White House.
Andy Grove on Our Electric Future - "Energy independence [viz.] is the wrong goal. Here is a plan Americans can stick to." Perhaps some infrastructure spending1,2 is in order? [etc., &c., cf.] [more inside]
Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Withdraws MDC From 'Sham' Poll. Apparently he agrees with Mugabe's claim that only God can remove him from office. Prev Zim.
Like it or not, religion is at the forefront of the 2008 US Presidential elections. The Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life previously cited in MeFi threads examines many of the current intersections of religion and politics, domestic and abroad.
It's official. Obama has won the Democratic Party nomination for the US Presidency. In response, McCain has launched a "verbal sortie" against him and the media has already begun disecting Hillary's campaign.
"People are talking, but no one is really listening. For all the fun and fantasy that can be had following this election on the internet, the overriding impression it gives after a while is of tuning into thousands of people as they sit in their cars and complain about the traffic." David Runciman on "The Cattle-Prod Election."
Canadian freelance writer and comic-book vandal Chris "MGK" Bird surveys the field of Obama's potential running mates.
Party Like It’s 2008 [SLNYTOE] Almost every wrong prediction about this election cycle has come from those trying to force the round peg of this year’s campaign into the square holes of past political wars. That’s why race keeps being portrayed as dooming Mr. Obama — surely Jeremiah Wright = Willie Horton! — no matter what the voters say to the contrary. [more inside]
Bill Moyers interviews the Reverend Jeremiah Wright in his first broadcast interview with a journalist since he became embroiled in a controversy for his remarks and his relationship with Barack Obama [more inside]
The Confederacy of Dunces. The Village Voice's comprehensive election-season guide to right-wing political bloggers, by Roy Edroso of alicublog.
The hidden factor in Hillary Clinton's rebound: committed Republicans voting in open primaries who want to prolong the messy battle for the Democratic nomination, encouraged by right-wing radio hosts like Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh. Or is Hillary just suddenly more palatable to conservatives than multi-culti Obama?
David Mamet: Why I am no longer a 'Brain Dead Liberal'. "The right is mooing about faith, the left is mooing about change, and many are incensed about the fools on the other side—but, at the end of the day, they are the same folks we meet at the water cooler. Happy election season."
Derrick Ashong A camera-wielding interviewer collars Mr Ashong in the street and starts to pepper him with questions. The interviewer assumes that his victim's casual appearance—he is wearing a baseball hat, a shell necklace and is chewing gum—betokens an equally casual approach to politics. “Do you have any specifics?” he demands aggressively. “What are their policies?” Mr Ashong delivers a series of carefully argued replies that could form the basis of an editorial in a serious newspaper. Emotional responses count too.
On February 19, Armenia hosted a presidential election. The winner with 52% of the vote was (as expected), current Prime Minister and BFF to the current president, Serge Sargsyan. The runner-up with 21.5% of the vote was former president (taken out by the current president in 1997), Levon Ter-Petrossian. The elections were flawed, lots of people protested over the past week, the protests have gotten violent, LTP is under house arrest and the government has issued a 20 day state of emergency. At least 3 (including a police officer) have been killed. [more inside]
Youtube Political Post Mike Nelson of Rifftrax and Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame riffs on six political ads.
In 1980 Ronald Reagan surrounded himself with economic thinkers that challenged the prevailing Keynesian doctrine with supply side economics. In the same way that Arthur Laffer and Milton Friedman drove Reagan's thinking. A new generation of economists from the University of Chicago are advising Barack Obama. Will behavioral economics change politics the way supply side economics did a generation ago?
Obama Reggaeton from the Tejanos wing of the Viva Obama movement. Love the big, white hats! [more inside]
In trademark style, Lawrence Lessig today announced the creation of a congressional exploratory committee. If in the next few days he decides to officially enter the race, he'll be running in the special election on April 8th to fill the CA-12 seat recently vacated by the death of Tom Lantos. A run by Lessig would likely be seen as a new front the the technocratic, post-partisan movement Barack Obama is attempting to catalyze; Lessig was a colleague of Obama at the University of Chicago law school, helped to draft Obama's technology plan, and is describing his potential run (his first attempt at public office), and the larger Change Congress project he also announced today, as an attempt to save Congress as an institution from the corrupting influence of money. [more inside]
"We have the chance to accomplish two other things: to provide a model for what a truly sincere, forthright, and courageous Presidential candidate might look like, and to demonstrate how desperate America’s voters are to see one." Jesus in 2008!
20 minutes or so on why I am 4Barack. A very thoughtful and eloquent comparison (transcript) of the core differences between Obama and Clinton - by Creative Commons CEO and Professor Lawrence Lessig.