Re: I Hope You All Made Me Look Bad

1

I engaged in pacing.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 5:55 PM
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I voted for Obama on my absentee ballot.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:04 PM
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I am sad that I requested an absentee ballot, because now I've closed off the possibility of voting in person (and not casting a mere provisional ballot), which actually I really like. Oh well.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:15 PM
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I replaced Becks' makeup with subtly more garish equivalents.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:20 PM
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Registered 16,000 voters! Well, not me personally, but I worked 14 hours that day (and put 100 miles on my car). Also, doing scut work and phone banking and data entry at the county campaign office. I'm getting time off from work, though, so only some of it is on my own time.

M/tch is going to Ohio for a week!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:20 PM
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While voting in person feels good, everyone who can vote early should to help alleviate congestion on election day. It's far more important to make the line shorter so that people don't take a look at it and leave than to get an "I Voted Today" sticker on November 4.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:21 PM
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rfts, are you sure? Some states have a process for that, like bringing your absentee ballot with you to the polls.

However, and this is for everybody, vote early if you can.

On preview, pwned Becks style.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:24 PM
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rfts, are you sure? Some states have a process for that, like bringing your absentee ballot with you to the polls.

Huh! I dunno!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:26 PM
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While voting in person feels good, everyone who can vote early should to help alleviate congestion on election day. It's far more important to make the line shorter so that people don't take a look at it and leave than to get an "I Voted Today" sticker on November 4.

Sure, but actually I am selfish and care a lot about my own personal feeling of civic pleasure.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:27 PM
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Do you care enough to doom the republic?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:30 PM
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Man, my polling place was crowded for the midterms. I can only imagine what it's going to be like this year.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:37 PM
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Another compelling reason for voting early is that then you're available to do GOTV on election day and/or to watch the polls in a place where there might be some problems, like, oh, I don't know, maybe, Ohio.

Do it for the children, foxytail!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:37 PM
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I don't think I've ever had to wait longer than it took to pass pleasantries with the election workers - at least not at my current polling place. As it's in the heart of a predominantly African-American neighborhood, I most sincerely hope to wait this year (I'll be able to go during work hours, so I'm pretty confident I won't be holding anybody up).

That said, I may sign up to drive people to the polls. I dunno. PA looks like a big win, and I can't afford a full day spent in OH. We'll see.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:43 PM
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PA looks like a big win if there's big turnout from the cities. Take care of that, will you?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:46 PM
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But you see, I don't want to watch polls or do GOTV. I really, really like being an ordinary voting citizen just like all the others.

In any case, I am actually planning to exercise my civic whateverness by bringing good wholesome tasty sustaining food to my local campaign office, a plan endorsed by our local most active volunteering friend. But that's not special like voting is. Oh well.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:48 PM
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Are you in the Hill District, JRoth? That's a nice neighborhood.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:52 PM
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I think JRoth is in Friendship, what might be the only neighborhood in Pittsburgh to have more than 10% but less than 80% black population.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 6:56 PM
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bringing good wholesome tasty sustaining food to my local campaign office

Damn, I wish you lived here. "Wholesome" doesn't describe anything we've got in the office. I've already eaten more potato chips than I normally do in a year.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:07 PM
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I told my freshmen about Lily Ledbetter and explained why people say that Obama doesn't support equal pay for women.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:11 PM
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McCain! McCain! Shit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:12 PM
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WDIDTGOETW? I made really viciously satirical comments at Bave's teevee last night.

Um, I promise to try harder.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:19 PM
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I really, really like being an ordinary voting citizen just like all the others.

Absentee voting is voting.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:23 PM
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Absentee voting is voting.

I know! You're perfectly correct. It's just that I enjoy the shared, public voting moment.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:28 PM
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What food would you specially like someone to bring to your campaign office?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:29 PM
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I like to get a sticker.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:31 PM
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One of them guys. They all look alike to me too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:36 PM
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They don't give out stickers at my polling place.

I looked into voting absentee (we don't have early voting) and it involved demonstrating that I'd be out of town.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:36 PM
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It's just that I enjoy the shared, public voting moment.

The quadrennial camaraderie, as it were.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:38 PM
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I scheduled the bris for our twins (there's a 75% chance that at least one of them will be a boy!) for November 3 instead of November 4 so my dad will be able to make it home and vote in Missouri.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:44 PM
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27: it involved demonstrating that I'd be out of town.

It is that kind of f'ing BS that annoys me so much about voting in the US. I have worked with several people over the years who missed voting due to unexpected business trips. The registration is so needlessly complex; even paying attention we almost slipped up on one of my kids' change-of-address form. (Maybe it would have been fixable, but who knows? that's half the "fun" of it.) Completely full of gumption traps for the poor, mobile, young and what have you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:44 PM
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My next doctor's appointment is on November 4th, so I'll get a print-out of the ultrasound and be able to show my kid, "Here! Here is what you looked like the day Obama was elected!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:46 PM
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The quadrennial camaraderie, as it were.

Oui!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:47 PM
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Right on the border of Friendship and East Liberty (my polling place is the ELiberty library). Ned's characterization of F'ship is probably about right.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:56 PM
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25: They give out stickers here when for early voting. Not there? Or was that just a general assertion about liking the stickers? I like 'em too.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 7:59 PM
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when


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:00 PM
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I (and friends) threw a party on Sunday and raised 1400 dollars for Obama. I like to think of it as a Tupperware party to save America. (Also, I encouraged my mom to vote early.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:00 PM
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34: No, yeah, you can get a sticker for early voting here too. But I thought we were arguing against absentee voting.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:01 PM
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Further: my own personal street is a very rare street that is ~50/50 black/white (actually, one of Pittsburgh's 8 Mexican families* was on the block for a year or two, but they seem to have moved, although I still see them around). One of the things we love about it, Iris not experiencing African-Americans as "others."

* Slight exaggeration


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:01 PM
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But I thought we were arguing against absentee voting.

Lolwut? Do anything you can to shorten the lines for those who are voting on election day, that's the only argument I heard.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:03 PM
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I convinced a non-Obama supporter (after a long, long time) to support Obama. That makes three: two Republicans and my Democratic mother, who initially liked HRC but went for Obama in the primary.

Other than that, I'm lame. The hispanic voter outreach around here is kind of disorganized.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:03 PM
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Lolwut? Do anything you can to shorten the lines for those who are voting on election day, that's the only argument I heard.

My argument was: but that deprives me, wonderful, incomparable me, of my favorite civic experience.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:05 PM
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I canvassed on Saturday in West Bay Village. Big houses, far apart, full of McCain Voters. I knocked on ~40 doors and talked to one voter whose husband was undecided. I gave her talking points.

Last weekend, my little mantra was "I am a vector for talking points." This weekend my little mantra was "knock, knock, its the democratic process!" I was getting a very visceral sense of how people perceive door canvassers. Basically, scam artists selling magazine subscription, Jehovah's Witnesses, and political canvassers all register to most people as Irritating Salesmen. But unlike a magazine huckster, I am playing honest, and unlike a religious proselytizer, I am not addressing a basically private matter. I am talking about things that effect both me and the person behind the screen door. This is how democracy works. I am entitled to do this.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:16 PM
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I am violently opposed to absentee voting. It's worse than teaching five year olds about sex before they even learn to read.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:17 PM
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I disagree. It's even better than teaching five year olds about sex.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:20 PM
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I refrained from taking up the valuable fundraising and vote-getting-out time of the phenomenally cute Obama volunteer who stopped me on my way into the grocery store. Told her I'd contributed and walked on by. My God, the sacrifices I make for this country.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:20 PM
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Voting isn't the same since they got rid of those lever-based machines and went to the soulless touch screens, I think it was after the 2004 election.

What happened to the old voting machines anyway? I want one. It woudl be a handy way to determine, say, what kind of pizza to order.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:21 PM
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My mail in ballot came today. I'm going to fill it out as soon as I have a moment of quiet. Hopefully one of those will occur before Election Day.*

Also, I was supposed to canvass today, but I got home late from work, and the person who was supposed to contact me about canvassing had not left a message. I was relieved, really. I'll call her tomorrow and see if I can get my second weekly canvassing session in then.

____
* I actually have a moment of quiet now, because everyone else is asleep, but I doubt I'm going to finish reading this thread before crashing myself, let alone doing something that requires an exercise of judgment.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:21 PM
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There was a great segment on NPR the other night about a politician up in Canada who was canvassing when he ran into some Mormons also knocking on doors and the tips they exchanged.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:22 PM
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About a week and a half ago I got a phone call from a volunteer with the SF Bike Coalition, asking me to renew my membership, which has lapsed. This volunteer had an incredibly seductive, sultry voice, which I suspect she was turning on, and after I said I was probably not going to renew right away, she asked something very close to "is there anything I can do to change your mind?".

After a brief pause during which I may have said "uhhh", she continued, "like if I told you about the 10% discount at Rainbow Grocery?".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:23 PM
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let alone doing something that requires an exercise of judgment.

Exercise of judgment, comrade? Perhaps we have not made ourselves sufficiently clear.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:24 PM
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Absentee voting is much better than coughing up little bits of phlegm every 5 minutes. [sad face]


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:24 PM
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My three year old has been informed that to make a baby, a sperm must come out of his penis. He was a little alarmed about this, because he had no idea how big a sperm is, or what would occasion its coming out of his penis. I think he spend the next couple days worrying that one might pop out at any moment.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:24 PM
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49: "uhhh", she continued, "like if I told you about the 10% discount at Rainbow Grocery?".

And you said, "Wow, so you're a ventriloquist?"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:26 PM
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#45. "Obama? Why no, I'm undecided. But I'm so willing to learn ..."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:26 PM
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48: Mormons canvass in pairs, generally M/F. I this must make the job a lot easier for the canvassers. I guess political canvassers don't have the resources for this.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:27 PM
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Also, sorry that you are sick, Becks. You should probably get some fluids and go to bed. That's my plan.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:28 PM
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Given the recent comments at Palin rallies, what kind of polling advantage does Obama have to obtain before shouting "Obama, bomaye!" become non-racist?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:31 PM
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coughing up little bits of phlegm every 5 minutes. [sad face]

If you have whatever's going around down here, I'd go to a doctor soon. It's treatable by antibiotics and otherwise lasts several weeks (judging from several friends' and co-workers' experiences). Also, of course: hot toddies.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:32 PM
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become s/b becomes, and Becks should disregard all of the dubious advice on the totty thread.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:33 PM
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48: Mormons canvass in pairs, generally M/F.

I think the pairs are actually M/M and F/F. Every time I've seen Mormons canvassing it's been two Sisters or two Elders. I'm pretty sure that's an ironclad rule.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:34 PM
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45: Jesus, canvassers are human too. Sure, she was busy, but a simple "wanna fuck" would have brightened her day.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:36 PM
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Poor Becks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:37 PM
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I'd go to a doctor soon

This is what worries me. It feels like what I had last year that only responded to massive antibiotics...and I don't have a DC doctor yet.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:39 PM
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I helped the girl who flirts with me at the coffee shop register to vote! She's planning to vote for McCain, but this still has to count on some level.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:48 PM
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I looked into voting absentee (we don't have early voting) and it involved demonstrating that I'd be out of town.

Is this in MA? I just ordered my absentee ballot, and there was nothing about that.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:49 PM
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53 would have been better were the misconstrual not so obviously deliberate.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 8:57 PM
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52 is really funny.

Becks, I hope you feel better. I don't know much about antibiotics, since the university doctors won't dispense them for colds unless you manage to grow the bacteria in a petri dish yourself (and then get them to sing little bacteria show-tunes), but I find that tea with cayenne pepper is good at thinning phlegm. Plus Vicks vaporub. Not in the tea, on the chest.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:00 PM
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65: I think the rules vary by state and by local jurisdiction. For instance, here you can vote early if you can demonstrate you'll be out of the city on voting day. I work in a different county (admittedly a scant 9 miles away) and thus qualify. But I can vote early only for president. And if I do so, I can still cast a ballot for the House and Senate, but only via absentee ballot.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:01 PM
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Wow, you'd almost think that someone wanted to discourage turnout.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:06 PM
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70

You know what else is good at clearing the sinuses? (I guess the published research was male-specific, but who knows?)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:06 PM
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a razor, a mirror, a straw, a bottle of benadryl.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:22 PM
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I had no idea there was a "Journal of Medical Hypotheses". The published...hypothesis is male-specific, but not based on any research.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:22 PM
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I've been massively sick for the past two days as well, Becks. All I did was put up the Obama yard sign that arrived the other day. Then I came back inside and threw up in a mixing bowl.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:43 PM
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What kind of mixing bowl?

A stand mixing bowl?

Mm.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:50 PM
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More and more states are allowing absentee ballots with no excuse needed. I, too, miss the old lever machines -- and the curtains! -- but I'm willing to trade those for an expansion of early voting and no-excuse mail ballots.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:50 PM
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Yum! Cookies!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:50 PM
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So when my conspiracy-theorist roommates go off about SOMETHING BIG on 10/7 being predicted NINE MONTHS AGO on X website (I really don't know which site, and they're away), I should appease them and say that's interesting and hey, Obama, just in case, because one of them is registered locally, right? Right?

Because it's getting annoying.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:57 PM
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I (and friends) threw a party on Sunday and raised 1400 dollars for Obama.

Woo!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 9:59 PM
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Oregon has a vote-by-mail system, which as a voting experience is essentially the same as voting absentee. (Oregonian lurkers: mail your ballots right away, so campaigns can make best use of their resources and not bother you with phone calls all the time.) I miss the ceremony; when I walk into the library at my daughters' school, I think, wow, I used to vote here.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 10:03 PM
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What food would you specially like someone to bring to your campaign office?

This would be lovely.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 10:05 PM
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57: Apparently,more than he does now. What they don't realize is that, win or lose, Barack Obama is a tragic black hero. Either he gets fucked over and proves that a black man can't win, or he sells out at one point or another. But, regardless, he'll be emblematic of black political aspiration for a while.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 10:34 PM
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76 to 73. Also 80.

I, too, am one who prefers to vote live and in person. I'm all about the shared public sphere blah blah. I wish election day were a damn holiday already, though I suppose all that would happen then is people would schedule vacations and not vote.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 8-08 11:19 PM
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Obama's not your only choice, people.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 2:47 AM
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I just mailed my ballot.

People should keep in mind that there's a nontrivial chance of Democrats winning a bunch of red state Senate races this year. 538 has us at a 23% chance of victory in Mississippi, 19% in Kentucky, and 7% in Georgia and Texas. 3% in NE and SC. So if you're out there, go out and do stuff!

Some of those Georgia Senate polls are looking really good. Our challenger, Jim Martin, seems like a reasonably liberal dude, and he's within 3 points in each of the last 3 polls! The latest of the polls just came out and probably isn't in 538's aggregator. Martin's up against Saxby Chambliss, who won the Senate seat six years ago with the infamous Max Cleland/Saddam/Osama ads. Intrade has Martin at a 22% chance of winning.

Okay, I've convinced myself... gonna go give Jim Martin some money...


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 3:31 AM
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It feels like what I had last year that only responded to massive antibiotics...and I don't have a DC doctor yet.

Then go to the ER in the morning (that is, now!). You had it before (you're susceptible), you knows what it feels like and this is the same (you're almost certainly correct), it responds to antibiotics (colds/flu won't), and therefore you're off into pneumonia (or alike) territory, which is dangerous. In fact, it's the actual killer when influenza is involved.

So hie thee to the doctor or the ER. Please.

max
['Two new Obama voters here.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 4:55 AM
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Does DC have any hospital-based Walk-in Clinics? Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge has one.

Does Georgetown or GW have anything like that?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 5:17 AM
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I'm opposed to vote by mail without excuses. It makes it far too easy to violate the privacy of the vote and enables vote buying or coercion. It raises turnout, but frankly someone so damn lazy they'd rather not put in a couple of hours in order to vote is not someone who should be choosing the president.

As far as the practicalities of voting go the ideal IMO is hand marked paper ballots. They can be made very resistant to fraud using the same technologies used in money, and they can be recounted and cross checked by any interested party, which is a prerequisite for transparency. They are no harder to use than touchscreen machines, but they are much more resistant to fraud. The only non-crazy objection is that they make it harder for some of the disabled, but that can be worked around, most simply by having a suitable machine available at the polling place to do the marking.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 6:29 AM
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This screed, about how Obama is standoffish and doesn't print nice schedules for his press pool, reminds me of why pitchfork-wielding mobs need to go after the media. We can get on that sometime in mid-November after the partying/rioting is over.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 6:42 AM
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but frankly someone so damn lazy they'd rather not put in a couple of hours in order to vote is not someone who should be choosing the president

I don't like how insecure my vote by mail is going to be, but this part is silly. What about someone who works really long hours and doesn't get the day off?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 6:45 AM
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90

If you are phlegmatic, bleeding is the cure. If that doesn't work, use a purgative.


Posted by: Unfrozen Medieval Physician | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 6:49 AM
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89 was me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 6:52 AM
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Tristero at Hullaballoo

I suspect there are very few people who read this site who would disagree that - policy disagreements aside - this is exactly the type of character traits we'd like to see in a president...tristero

Nah. Character traits and political skills aside, I would rather my Democratic President didn't have the policy preferences to vote against his party with the Republicans to kill a child welfare facility on grounds of fiscal responsibility.

I don't want a prettier Republican.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 6:56 AM
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88: It amazes me, though, that after the obvious boost that the Bush and McCain campaigns have gotten from coddling the big babies in the media that any well-funded campaign doesn't do the same.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 6:57 AM
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Here's the reaction at Corrente to the story in 92.

It shows Obama:

Misunderstanding legislation and voting accordingly
W.O.R.M.-ing his vote (and trying, apparently, to subvert the rules to do so)
Waiting five years before reacting to a problem
Threatening to kick a political adversary's ass, leading to physical violence

tristero's commenters were also unimpressed


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:03 AM
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It makes it far too easy to violate the privacy of the vote and enables vote buying or coercion.

How so?

And what rfts said about people having to work on election day. One wouldn't even need to postulate particularly long hours, just a job with an eight-five schedule, a half-hour long commute, and an unbending employer.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:03 AM
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89 - Election day should be a holiday, or at least there should be mandatory paid time off for voting. You are correct that there is a potential problem there, and it disproportionately affects people working shitty jobs. Even as-is though, most polling places are open for at least 12 hours, which mitigates the problem a little.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:09 AM
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97

I quite agree that it should be. But at the moment, it isn't.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:17 AM
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(For everyone.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:17 AM
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||
British Banks less sound than Botswana's.

Makes me laugh a bit. My mom is friends with the CEO of the Bank of Botswana.
|>


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:23 AM
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It raises turnout, but frankly someone so damn lazy they'd rather not put in a couple of hours in order to vote is not someone who should be choosing the president.

Togolosh, you're totally, completely full of shit on this. This is what the Republicans say.

A lot of Democrats agree with you, because a lot of Democrats are idealists and elitists who have nothing but contempt for the mass. (Republisan populism is fake, but Democratic elitism is real). It's really completely self-defeating. If voting is too difficult it's exactly like a poll tax restricting voting, except it's a time tax. That's the significance of the long lines that the TV people thought represented a heart-warming committment to Democracy. What it really was was voter discouragement. Voting has to be treated as a right, not as a privilege to be earned.

There was a survey which I lost when my computer crashed which analyzed the reasons various groups gave for not voting. In general, richer non-voters had better things to do, didn't really care, or couldn't be bothered; poorer voters had transportation problems or couldn't get time off work. And despite what David Brooks says, richer voters are mostly Republicans.

Flag burning is an example of a prominent public issue which makes a lot of noise but has no real significance. Voter discouragement is the opposite: a silent, almost secret issue that is extremely important. The Republicans lose if turnouts are high and during the last decade or two they've done everything they could, legally or illegally, openly or secretly, to keep turnouts low. This includes organizing Republican DAs, Secretaries of State, and other public officials at the national level to put the power of the law behind voter discouragement.

Republican scare stories about massive voter fraud seldom consist of more than anecdotes, and often even the anecdotes don't stand up under examinations. A lot of what you read in the papers is just disinformation; if they can get the idea out there in a headline, a lot of people will take it seriously even though people who actually read the story realize that there's no there there.

It should be recognized as a principle that steps to limit voter fraud should not discourage legitimate voters, but the Republicans (and some of the courts) don't agree at all. They don't even agree that you need a real problem; their goal is reducing voting anyway, and for them it's perfectly OK to discourage voters preemptively to defend against a probalem that doesn't exist yet.

Sorry for the vehemence, but this is one of the big sleeper issues in American politics, and it's one that a lot of educated, good-government, liberal Democrats misunderstand and autoimatically take the wrong position on.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:31 AM
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The big struggle at Big Ohio University this week was getting students to register in person on campus, instead of absentee from Cleveland or wherever. The real reason we want them to register with us is so we can call the crap out of them until they vote, but this is not an appealing argument to your average student. (wooo private and public reasons.) The strategy instead, if you can pull it off, is to basically pretend to be an authority figure.

"I'm going to need you to register at your campus address."
"Eh, I'm probably just going to apply for an absentee ballot."
*no change in facial expression* "I'm going to need you to register at your campus address. Are you a US citizen who's at least 18?"


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:33 AM
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95:How so?

You apply for a vote by mail ballot. Sign it blank, give to the person paying for your vote. He fills it out and mails it in. Alternatively, abusive spouse fills it out or forces his victim to fill it out according to his specifications. Even a non-abusive but strongly opinionated spouse or partner might influence a person to vote in a way they otherwise wouldn't.

97 - If we're talking about tinkering with the voting system, mandatory time off or a holiday is vastly better than vote by mail.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:40 AM
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I prefer to vote by mail, because whenever I walk into a voting booth, there is always some downticket election or obscure local ballot measure that I had not heard of and don't know how to vote on. When I vote at home, I can sit down at my desk, figure out whether the local bar association has released a statement saying "Judge Smith does not know enough about the law to pass a first year law school class," and vote accordingly.

I know theoretically copies of all ballots are available in advance, but I never manage to get one, or get an accurate one. Voting at home is just more conducive to deliberation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:42 AM
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100: Togolosh, you're totally, completely full of shit on this.

Now we're talking! The issue of vote suppression by making voting a pain in the ass is, as you point out, quite real, very serious, and not receiving half the attention it should. I'm not suggesting we don't address it, but a couple of hours is not at all unreasonable if the appropriate accommodations are made. Voting by mail is not a good solution because it is terribly insecure. The solution is paid time off, better access, better supervision, and longer poll hours.

One of the core problems that leads to shit like arranging long lines is the fact that our election system is supervised by the politicians. That's also why we end up with stupidity like voting machines, since the manufacturers can make donations to the people making the decisions. Fixing what's broken with our electoral system is going to be hard, but one thing is for certain - introducing new failure modes (such as vote by mail) isn't part of the solution.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:49 AM
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Oregon has had vote by mail for something like a decade, and the problems so far are anecdotal. A few dubious cases have been prosecuted.

Election fraud and manipulation (at the official level) is a different thing than voter fraud, and over the last decade it has been much more significant than voter fraud (by individuals or unofficial groups). Republican talk about voter fraud is a smokescreen for their election-fraud activities in addition to being a justification for their voter-discouragement activities. "They're just as bad as we are" is the fundamental Republican argument -- they don't even pretend to e honest, they just try to get parity. This works for them too, because the more disgusted non-voters there are, the better the Republicans do. That's why they do mudslinging.

In Minnesota, Coleman's campaign against Franken is almost 100% negative and personal, and it accuses Franken of negative campaigning. Coleman could not possibly win on an issues campaign with a large turnout.

If there were enough polling places, and if registration and voting were routine, and if illegal voter discouragement were policed, and if there was a paper trail, and if election day were a national holiday, then I'd start thinking about the problems with voter fraud and mail voting.

BTW, running an election is not technically difficult at all. It can be easily done by HS graduates using simple paper-and-pencil methods. For this reason I think that the presupposition has to be that problems with voting are almost always deliberate (includidng "benign neglect) and not accidental or the matter of incompetence. Someone always profits.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:56 AM
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Basically, though, your "two hours" principle is wrong. Even with an extra day off, a lot of people (single parents, people who moonlight, people with long commutes) will still be strapped for time. What I'd hope they'd do, if they don't trust their own knowledge, would be ask the people they trust who to vote for. Even I do that occasionally.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:01 AM
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John, are you saying that if strapped for time we should allow delegated votes? Neat.

Heck give me two weeks off and I am still strapped for time. I need someone to vote for me.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:10 AM
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105 - vote by mail fraud is not at the level of the institutionalized abuses we've seen recently, but it doesn't have to be in order to be bad. As you point out, we have a decade or so of experience, or roughly five national elections - that's about enough time for people to start figuring out how to really game the system. I predict there will be a fairly steady increase in the rate of abuses taking place under Oregon's system as people get a better understanding of how to game it. As vote by mail spreads there will be more people in more places working the angles and sharing information with each other on how to game the system. Loopholes will be found, and laws will be passed to expand them as well as create new ones.

Any system will be administered by the same people fucking up the current one, and will be subject to the same kinds of attempts to subvert it. The only way to obstruct them is by keeping the system as simple and as transparent as possible.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:15 AM
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Exactly, MD 20/40. That's what always happens anyway. What do you think that those printed sample ballots are all about, with the x's already put in. How do you think people make up their minds now? They figure out the consensus of their friends, usually, and there's usually an informal hierarchy there where a few people influence a lot of other people. That's the way it should be.

You're not going to get 100 million PhD level people diligently studying the issues. There's sort of a mystical thing about the Free Individual all by himself ritually making up their mind in the pure private holiness of the voting booth, but that's not what happens. Mail voting is still a secret ballot, and if someone is collecting and filling out ballots they can be, and are, prosecuted.

Even very, very smart people rely on their friends if they're not fully engaged in politics for some reason.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:22 AM
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Even a non-abusive but strongly opinionated spouse or partner might influence a person to vote in a way they otherwise wouldn't.

I am really not trying to sound like I'm being dismissive of domestic abuse, but are you honestly thinking that, uh, a likely result? Or, since we were talking about coordinated voter fraud, that there's going to be a coordinated campaign to get people to beat their wives to get them to vote a certain way?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:25 AM
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Some of us are having knee-replacement surgery any day now, which makes it much harder to climb the hill to the polling place. Or, ftm, drive the block and a half to get there. Absentee ballots are a very necessary thing for some people, especially those who cannot wait in line for an extended period of time due to work issues or who cannot physically do so. And parents who cannot afford a babysitter. Vote buying or coercion can take place when people turn up to vote, as well, so that's not a sufficient reason to be against mail-in ballots.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:28 AM
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Couldn't we prioritize the actual problems over the possible problems? I Googled "Voter Fraud in Oregon" and '"voter fraud" + Oregon' and found nothing credible relating to mail voting. What there was was related to voter registration campaigns, and it was of two kinds: fake registrations being turned in, and registrations done on the street being thrown out before being delivered to the Secretary of State. The fake registrations were probably by people being paid a commission and probably weren't intended to be voted. The thrown-out registration forms, some of them anyway, were Democrats registered by Republican operatives.

Oregon has a strict signature-check process and people have been prosecuted for signing someone else's name -- one of them a state senator who signed his wife's name.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:32 AM
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Absentee ballots have always been vote-by-mail, of course. In some states the Republicans encourage everyone to vote absentee. Oddly, no one is raising a stink about that because the whole issue is a republican smokescreen.

Any system will be administered by the same people fucking up the current one

The voter fraud you're talking about (mail voting) is done off-premises and there's no way for the administrators to play a role. What you're talking about is someone out in the general public buying up people's mail ballots and filling them out, or a roomful of people getting money to fill out their ballot correctly.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:36 AM
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My next doctor's appointment is on November 4th, so I'll get a print-out of the ultrasound and be able to show my kid, "Here! Here is what you looked like the day Obama was elected!"

Wouldn't it be more fitting to celebrate Obama's election by aborting the fetus and then killing it if it survived the procedure?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:37 AM
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100 is thorough and important.

The "couple of hours" response is well-intentioned, but wrong.

I believe my polling place is open from like 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. On a typical Tuesday, I can get Rory out of bed between 6:30 and 7. If we make it out the door by 7:30, I can get her to before-school care with enough time to still make my train, which gets me to my office at 9. If I leave the office by around 4:30, I can get to the after school program by 6:00 to pick her up. Traffic at that time of evening is such that I can reasonably expect that it will take 15 minutes to get to the polling place. If I can get her out the door of the after school program immediately, I'm still not in line until 6:15 or so to vote. If the line then takes "a couple of hours," I'm not there before the 8:00 close. Even assuming they keep it open to let me vote, I still have to weigh the importance of voting against when am I going to feed her some dinner and does she have homework to do and will this mean keeping her up late once we are done?

Oh come on, you say. What a great opportunity to teach her about civic responsibility, and the inconvenience to the evening routine is outweighed by the importance I should be putting on voting. But what if Rory wasn't my only child and wasn't 10? Say I have a 10 year old, a 4 year old and an infant. Now, from 6 to 8 at night, I am standing in line -- possibly out in the cold, last year in some places in the rain, with three small children. By 7, I guarantee you the infant is screaming, the 4 year-old is whining, and the 10 year old is getting just plain lippy. At some point, I start to wonder if my one vote is really worth the fact that I'll end up with three sick kids if I stay out there much longer. Should I have gotten the kids up earlier and taken the chance that I'd miss the morning train? What are my options?

In reality, of course, I have just the one, relatively event-tempered 10-year-old and a job the would allow me to just work from home on election day -- and there won't be any lines, because my state isn't exactly in play. But there are voters who don't have those luxuries.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:39 AM
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114: This is gross, Knecht. My friend was railing about this the other day and about how there's no way she would vote for Obama knowing his vote on that bill. I really do need to get onto the Illinois Legislature website and pull the transcripts on that bill, which I am pretty sure wasn't an up or down vote on the question of "Do you favor or oppose the murder of live newborns?"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:46 AM
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There won't be any lines, because my state isn't exactly in play. S/B "There won't be any lines, because the people running the election aren't trying to discourage voting."

I was boggle at the way the TV morons took 2-hour-or-more waits in line as a sign of the strength of democracy. What it really was was a sign that the election managers either were incompetent, or else didn't want people to vote, in many or most cases certainly the latter.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:48 AM
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The bill was some badly-worded requirement that an infant who survived an abortion would be entitled to medical care.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:49 AM
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Nobody is saying that all newborns should be killed, Di, just some of them. We're liberals; we don't tell people how to live their lives.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:51 AM
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This is gross, Knecht.

It was a joke! A little harmless infanticide humor!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:54 AM
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For anyone wanting to sort through the specifics of Obama's pro-infanticide position:

The bill is here.

Related bills (SB 1662 and 1663) here.

Transcripts of the debates on the bill can be found here, though it's kind of a tedious process to go through and identify what days the bill came up for discussion.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 8:58 AM
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The bill was some badly-worded requirement that an infant who survived an abortion would be entitled to medical care.

No. The bill was a carefully worded bill designed to be objectionable by all educated people, yet horrifying to the non-thinking people.

This was a carefully designed marketing ploy.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:04 AM
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"WHO CaN BE AGAINST KILLIN' BABIES!?!?!?!?!?"

Insert much gnashing of teeeth.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:07 AM
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Becks, I made onion soup last night, which in addition to being all kinds of heathful involves cutting up onions until you cry and blow your nose a thousand times. If you're congested, maybe making onion soup would help?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:14 AM
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I should clarify that by "a couple of hours" I mean the total time taken to go to the polling place, stand in line, actually vote, and return to whatever it was you would have been doing had you not voted. Standing in line for two hours to vote is, as Emerson points out, a de facto poll tax.

There are a lot of good arguments being made, and I'm supposed to be actually working so I can't get to all of them. A couple of points, however:

110 - do you honestly think that the GOP is above telling men to remind their wives to vote "correctly"? There doesn't have to be physical abuse. Heck, there doesn't even have to be any explicit coercion at all. People vote differently when they are being watched, and they swing their vote in the direction that's socially approved. Given the realities of gender dynamics in early 21st century America, and the reality of the gender split between Republicans and Democrats, I think it's fair to say that having families vote together is probably good for several thousand, if not tens of thousands of votes swinging into the GOP column. For a low information swing voter to switch her vote in order to buy a little family harmony would hardly be surprising.

Eroding the privacy of the ballot is simply not needed in order to fix the problems people are talking about here. Absentee ballots for good reasons are perfectly legitimate. But let's be clear about what is being suggested with vote by mail: This isn't a minor modification - it's a radical overhaul of the entire system of elections. Quite apart from the erosion of ballot privacy, it introduces a whole new set of dynamics into the electoral system with unforeseen and perhaps unforseeable consequences. The fact that the Oregon experiment has not yet imploded tells use very little. There are plenty of examples of serious problems taking decades to mature.

The onus here really ought to be on the people proposing radical changes to the electoral system to show that their proposals do not introduce significant threats to democracy. So far, I am completely unconvinced. People fail to grasp the huge difference between an election and just about any other routine activity we engage in. That's what got us these goddamn electronic voting machines - people thought by analogy to ATMs and self-checkout systems and we're saddled with an arrangement where the only guarantee of vote integrity is the voting machine company CEOs fear of being caught.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:15 AM
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So "it is the intent of the General Assembly to protect a child who is born alive as the result of an induced labor abortion or any other abortion and to ensure that the child receives all medical care necessary" somehow seemed ambiguous to people?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:16 AM
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Following up my 125: I realize I am arguing about what might seem like minor issues, and some of them are minor. But bear in mind that the 2000 presidential election was only thrown to the Supreme Court because a minor ballot design issue lead to several thousand elderly Jews accidentally voting for a neofascist.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:23 AM
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125: I'm suggesting it's probably not a high risk of coordinated voter fraud, yes. Just like I doubt that the early vote system in Ohio is going to lead to the Democrats registering thousands of 17-year-olds with fake IDs. It has nothing to do with me thinking the GOP is above certain tactics as judging whether those tactics are likely to work secretly.

We don't worry about it in the case of absentee ballots.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:25 AM
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126: From what I could glean on a quick read, the idea seems to have been that doctors would be scheduling these induced labor abortions in cases where the fetus was believed to have been nonviable. Under the bill, if the doctor reasonably believed that the fetus could be viable, a second doctor had to be present at the time of the procedure to make an independent assessment of viability upon "birth." In other cases, if upon completion of the procedure there were some reason to believe the fetus was viable, a second doctor had to be called in on an emergency basis to make an independent evaluation. If the fetus were determined to be viable, all appropriate medical care would be required to save the child and failure to do so would subject the doctor and hospital to suit and punitive damages.

Obama seems to have made the argument in the debate that, "Do you really think doctors aren't trying to save babies when they are unexpectedly determine to be viable?" along with "Get real, the point of this bill is to burden the procedure, not to protect babies."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:29 AM
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I called more than 10 doctors this morning, and none were taking new patients. Even the urgent care at the local hospital won't take me because I'm not affiliated with one of their doctors (and they're not taking new patients, either). I finally found someone who will see me...this Saturday.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:30 AM
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Anyway, back to voter fraud. This was just bugging me what with my friend being so up in arms...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:30 AM
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Togolosh, this is not radical change. It's been done in Oregon for ten years or more. The onus is on you. If absentee ballots are OK, vote by mail is OK. The issues are exactly the same.

In general, any impediment on voting is a bad thing, and Republicans want more of them and Democrats want less of them. And whatever the impediment is, even if it is quite small, it will hit some people hard and others not at all. "Only two hours" is a lot for some people and nothing at all for, for example, me.

And just to go back: let's deal with the actual problems in their order of importance before we start working on possible problems, especially because the people most worried about the possible problems are the ones causing the actual problems.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:32 AM
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129: Ah, thanks, I hadn't heard of this 'controversy' at all and somehow had the impression from upthread that Obama had voted for the bill rather than against it. So people call him pro-infanticide because he voted against this bill? Absurd.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:37 AM
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130: Aren't you glad we have this efficient capitalist healthcare, where you can call up and get seen at your first convenience?

101: DZ, are you at OSU? I think my friend is helping coordinate the GOTV effort there for the Obama campaign.

Ok, you people have gotten me to finally pick up the phone and call the office to volunteer for canvassing some weekend and GOTV on election day. Indiana's absolutely crawling with us Illinoisians, it seems, which makes me incredibly happy.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:43 AM
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So "it is the intent of the General Assembly to protect a child who is born alive as the result of an induced labor abortion or any other abortion and to ensure that the child receives all medical care necessary" somehow seemed ambiguous to people?

THis is the excellent strategy of the anti-choicers.

Make a Crystal Clear Headline-Inducing title for the bill and/or a statement of intent.

Then, insert horrendous language that bans virtually all procedures and puts doctors at tremendous risk due to the uncertainty and breadth of the language.

It is really an excellent strategy.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 9:45 AM
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You're right, JE. Voter fraud doesn't exist, and if it did, it would be the nasty Republicans.
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/crl-testimony-acorns-voter-fraud/story.aspx?guid={573B31D0


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:01 AM
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Story Not Found


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:03 AM
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Story Not Found

Somewhat ironic for a link intended to show the existence of something...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:04 AM
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Heh- It was the head of CRL's testimony about ACORN. Voter fraud a go go.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:09 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept 25, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- James Terry, Chief Public Advocate for the Consumers Rights League, today testified at a joint House Administration and House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on "Federal, State and Local Efforts to Prepare for the General 2008 Election," where he highlighted "corruption at every level of ACORN including embezzlement, cover-ups, misuse of taxpayer funds and voter fraud." An excerpt of his testimony follows:
James Terry, Chief Public Advocate, Consumers Rights League:
"ACORN routinely says it will clean up its act. Yet, given its decade-long history of voter fraud, embezzlement, and misuses of taxpayer funds, ACORN's pattern of fraud can no longer be dismissed as a series of 'unfortunate events.'
"The problem of voter registration fraud raises serious questions for this committee, and the Consumers Rights League appreciates that the right questions are being asked.
"Here are the most important questions right now: We know about the thousands of potentially fraudulent voter registration cards turned in by ACORN and caught by officials. But given the size of ACORN's efforts and the fact that the abuses appear to be systemic, we believe it is fair to question how many more fraudulent registrations have not been discovered, Furthermore, as this mega organization with a decades long history of violating the law is turned to get out the vote efforts, we believe it is fair to question how many fraudulent registrations may lead to fraudulent votes or what other activities they are willing to undertake to influence the election.
"These are serious questions, especially in light of recent election results which show that a just few votes can change the outcome of an election, the course of our country and the course of history.
"While we do not presume to tell this committee how to address this problem, we respectfully submit that our nation's election system is facing a concerted campaign that raises serious issues that merit the committee's oversight and attention."

Complete transcript of hearing testimony:
http://www.consumersrightsleague.org/uploadedfiles/JamesTerryACORN9-24.pdf

About The Consumers Rights League:
The Consumers Rights League is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization dedicated to protecting consumer choice and access to the marketplace. Through investigative analysis, CRL produces quality research that thoroughly documents the real-world choices and challenges consumers face and reports on the benefits enjoyed by an overwhelming majority of consumers. Learn more about CRL's mission at www.consumersrightsleague.org .
SOURCE Consumers Rights League
http://www.consumersrightsleague.org

Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:13 AM
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Leech, could you lose your inane sarcasm? It makes people think that you're stupid and obnoxious, which I'm sure is not the effect you're trying for.

The people doing voter discouragement are Republicans, and they're succeeding in discouraging legitimate voters. I don't like it. Do you? I don't know of Democrats doing the same thing. Do you? The Republicans' "The other guys are just as bad" whine is bullshit, and you shouldn't peddle it.

The kind of fraud alleged at Marketwatch (I Googled it up) was the kind that I acknowledged the existence of (above). It looks to me like a contractor cheating ACORN by charging for fake signatures. Do you think they had a fake Terrell Owens planning to vote in the elections? Isn't my explanation more likely?

The other Marketwatch story I found was a Fox News piece by Steve Doocy regurgitating a RNC press release. Pardon me for not reading it.

One of the things the Republicans are alleging is that people are fraudulently voting from their old address after they've moved, or that they're fraudulently in two different places. Should we take this seriously? Some states purge their rolls more efficiently than others. Unless I'm voting twice, it's not fraudulent for me to be registered twice, especially because as far as I know no state has an un-registration procedure. The effect and the goal of these Republican attacks is to keep legitimate voters from voting -- not preventing fraud.

In a recent court case the Republicans brought forward no evidence except a couple of anecdotes that the problem they were supposedly fighting against was actual, and they argued that it was irrelevant whether or not legitimate voters would be prevented from voting by the steps that the Republicans were proposing. Do you agree?

The Nevada ACORN case is in the works, and people should follow it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:23 AM
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Here's a piece about earlier allegations against ACORN. It's worth Googling ACORN = "voter fraud" and reading the articles not by winger propaganda operations.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:31 AM
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S/B "ACORN + 'voter fraud' "


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:32 AM
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More on ACORNhttp://www.nypost.com/seven/10092008/news/politics/nuts__132771.htm

JE- I agree that Democrats do better with higher turnout. I disagree that that makes the Republicans the only bad actors in that regard.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/10092008/news/politics/nuts__132771.htm

I don't know why more people don't vote. It is a sacred right. In my mind both parties should try to maximize the total number of votes and let the chips fall as they may. If one loses, either change the message or stick nobly to your principles in a minority position, like the Republicans in California.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:35 AM
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132: I absolutely is a radical change. It changes the privacy protections and it changes the timing. I haven't worked through all the possibilities, but I strongly suspect that the major unforeseen effects will come from the fact that the election is now no longer held on a single day, but is effectively spread out over the entire period in which ballots may be mailed.

The difference between vote by mail and absentee ballots is the difference between making a small accommodation and completely changing the whole process. Absentee ballots are a minor perturbation of the system. Vote by mail is a whole new system. It's the difference between letting a student hand in an assignment late due to illness and shifting assignment deadlines for the whole class, or granting a zoning variance vs. doing away with the relevant zoning law.

The incentives to engage in absentee ballot manipulation are much less than in the case of vote by mail because the number of available votes to be corrupted is so much higher in the latter case. In addition some types of manipulation require a convergence of multiple factors, so the larger population makes them more feasible.

The Oregon experience consists of two presidential elections and five national elections total. You could fit all of that into a single week of actual voting. This is what I mean about people not thinking about elections in the right way. They are rare events which have huge consequences, exactly the kind of things people suck at thinking about. Vote by mail shifts the whole dynamics of the election system. Five national elections simply aren't enough to shake out the ramifications of the change. At this point political strategists are probably beginning to get a handle on the implications of the change, but I doubt they've started optimizing their strategies around it to any great degree. That will probably take several more elections to really mature.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:50 AM
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As I've said twice now, the fake registrations don't have any effect on elections. It's people scamming ACORN for their piecework rate, not ACORN scamming the Elections Board. Multiple registration is not, as far as I know, illegal unless a fake address is used. As the article says, the Elections Board throws out duplicates, and ACORN screens signatures too. (Follow the Nevada case).

People have been complaining about ACORN as long as ACORN has been around. All of the cases I've seen have been the same, solicitors on the street getting their piecework rate for fake signatures. ACORN does screen what they send in, and by now if there's serious, consequential fraud we should have evidence. (It's not like the Republicans aren't spending a lot of money trying to find it; and the states do too).

ACORN has registered a million and a half people, I understand, and there's going to be some junk in there.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:52 AM
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TLL - "Consumer Rights League" is an astroturf otrganization funded mostly by credit card companies which has clashed with ACORN and other groups trying to help low-income consumers. The other barrow they have been pushing has been the "subprime crisis all due to unworthy low-income homeowners".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:53 AM
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Togolosh, maybe it was a radical change when first introduced Oregon, but it isn't any more.

In some states a third of the ballots are absentee. The Republicans have been pushing absentee voting for several election cycles.

I love the way you telescope 10 years into a week. People in Oregon have had ten years to figure out how to game the system. As far as I know, nothing's happened. Ten years.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 10:57 AM
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A friend of my FIL relates a story about post Civil Rights GOTV efforts in Tennessee. Seems the local Democratic Party (dixiecrat) would host a BBQ on election day, with plenty of beer available. All and sundry were invited, but it was specific targeted at the local "colored" population. Most stayed all day at the party, and somehow never got to the polls.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 11:01 AM
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There are obviously not enough Republicans in Oregon. As we know, the GOP will corrupt anything. I understand that they corrupted Adam and Eve.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 11:03 AM
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Grr. Try to be funny. Here is the link about equal opportunity voter suppression
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12498215/from/RS.4/

Sarcasm noted, JE.

JP, thanks for the info on CRL. I was too lazy to find out if they were legit.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 11:07 AM
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148 - ten years to think about how to work the system, but only five actual opportunities to try stuff out. I'm sure that people are gaming out scenarios left and right, but the actual election is the only real test. Note that the absence of reports of fraud, manipulation, or other problems only means they've not been reported. The overbearing husband problem I outline above would never make it into the news, and it isn't even illegal. It's the kind of thing that would show up in some obscure social science research journal twenty years from now.

The problems that worry me most are not the ones of outright fraud, they are the mirror images of the de facto vote suppression by long waits. Better to shorten the lines with more polling places, longer hours, and more voting booths than to introduce a whole new system with unknown potential for abuse, and unknown effects in skewing people's behavior.

I'm at a disadvantage arguing this point because my concern isn't easily explained in terms of concrete examples. It comes down to the fact that VBM introduces new variables into the problem and it is not clear how those variables will affect the situation. The cautious approach to solving the real problems in this instance is to attack them directly. Caution is called for because the consequences of fucking this up could be catastrophic.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 11:46 AM
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I'm going to sum up what I think is true.

1. The organized, national, well-funded legal / illegal multi-level Republican voter suppression campaign is the big story. Nothing the Democrats are doing comes close.

2. ACORN has been on the scene for many election cycles, and before every election there are rumors of fraud. Sometimes individual contractors are prosecuted, and to my knowledge ACORN cooperates with these prosecutions, because the contractors are cheating ACORN. All that ever happens is some fake registrations submitted to the Elections Board; many of these are caught, and very few of the ones that slip by are actually voted. This last point is the big one, and if I'm significantly wrong about this, I'm wrong.

3. In general we should worry about actual problems rather than possible future problems, and we should worry about actual problems insofar as they are important. Vote my mail may sometime turn out to be a problem, but it's not untested and so far there's no evidence of a serious problem. We should keep our eyes open. If there's a real problem with vote by mail, there will also be a real problem with absentee ballots, because they're the same thing and are used heavily in some states.

4. The voter fraud hooplah is mostly a Republican smokescreen meant to draw attention from Republican voter suppression and election fraud. So far there isn't much evidence of a major problem, and the Republicans have been looking hard forsome. A lot of the charges come up immediately before elections and are dropped afterwards.

5. Voter fraud charges are also part of the voter suppression effort. In general, attempts to limit voter fraud which also make it harder for legitimate voters to vote should be rejected unless there's evidence of very serious voter fraud that we haven't seen yet. And so far, almost all such efforts do make it harder for legitimate voters to vote (e.g. the ID requirements).

6. Voting has to be regarded as a right, not a privilege, and Democrats should stop talking about how certain people don't deserve to vote. (Republicans can say that as much as they want, but no one should listen).

Sorry to be so tedious [not really, polite phrase], but to me this is a very clearcut issue which a lot of Democrats misunderstand and most Republicans misrepresent. To me it's really a sign of how decrepit the Democratic Party is, and liberals, that I have to argue this.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 12:06 PM
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If there is an overbearing husband rpoblem it is prosecutable and it will show up in divorce cases. We won't have to wait twenty years. And as for the buying-ballots problem, it's going to be hard to do that on any significant scale without the word getting out.

I'm less concerned than others are about pristine individual votes. A high proportion of people already vote on the basis of printed filled-in sample ballots already, and there' nothing wrong with that. Other people basically the vote the way someone they trust tells them to. Nothing wrong with that either, really it's a good thing; it's better than voting blindly. Coercion and ballot-buying are prosecutable.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 12:14 PM
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Most recent story on voter discouragement


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 12:31 PM
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In judging a conspiracy theory, it's important to evaluate the mechanism for carrying out the conspiracy. TLL's NY Post story discusses a mechanism for scamming ACORN, but no mechanism for fraudulent voting.

(Though you have to give TLL credit for at least upgrading his sourcing. A Republican scandal rag is a step up from a Republican astroturf organization.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 12:55 PM
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I was too lazy to find out if they were legit.

But not too lazy to post the link!

It's people scamming ACORN for their piecework rate, not ACORN scamming the Elections Board.

I actually worked for ACORN once, briefly, and given the quality of some of the people they employed for scut-work, this seems to me like the most plausible explanation.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 1:06 PM
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154 - The overbearing husband problem is not prosecutable. It shows up simply because the wife knows what her husband wants her to do and would rather go along to get along than have an additional source of friction. This type of dynamic is well known in the psychological literature. People behave very differently when they are being watched than when they are not.

It seems minor and trivial, but minor and trivial stuff does have an impact on behavior.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 1:14 PM
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In California absentee voting (by mail) has been close to 30% for almost 20 years.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 1:17 PM
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Togolosh, I give up. You're barking at ghosts in the closet. There are real things to worry about.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 1:19 PM
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And I like the chick in this video who professes to be so frightened of Obama's "connections to ACORN" and who says then, when her interlocutor asks when she first heard of ACORN, "Today."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 1:32 PM
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160 - I don't claim that the overbearing husband problem is sufficient in itself to make VBM bad. It's an example of the sort of unintended side effect that I believe will be showing up as more places switch over to VBM.

Looking at the statistics suggests that we all but have VBM in place in a large number of states due to people using absentee ballots. With more and more places using liberal absentee ballot voting we'll start to see some of the unforeseen consequences I predict above. It will be interesting to see what they are.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 1:46 PM
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We've had 18 years or more in California. Things don't move that slow.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 1:52 PM
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Emerson is kicking ass in this thread.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 2:05 PM
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On the subject of things worth worrying about, the Dow is down 7.33%


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 2:11 PM
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People thought that a 200 point drop yesterday was not too bad.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 2:13 PM
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I guess people are finally figuring out there is no money to be made in the service economy, just shuffling.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 2:18 PM
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It's far more important to make the line shorter so that people don't take a look at it and leave than to get an "I Voted Today" sticker on November 4.

I like to get a sticker.

We're trained in my county to ask people at early voting if they want their sticker right away or torn off with the wax-paper backing intact so they can keep it for election day. Just ask them to tear the tape for you. I assure you I can't imagine a poll worker thinking that's a big deal.

I know! You're perfectly correct. It's just that I enjoy the shared, public voting moment.

Go to early voting on a Saturday afternoon. If there's any turnout overall in your area then there will be a crowd at that time. I totally get wanting the shared experience and am not trying to discourage that. I love it, too.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 2:20 PM
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I'm multiple registered, I'm sure, because when you move across the country, deleting your outdated voter-roll listing from the precinct where you used to live is a distinctly low priority & I can pretty much guarantee neither I nor anyone else is trying to vote at my old address.

I suppose it wouldn't be all that incredibly difficult to vote illegally, but of all the low-incentive crimes out there--voting even once is supposed to be economically irrational since the chance of influencing the outcome is minimal; there's just the warm glow of civic duty & participating in democracy. Voting twice features: (1) some real chance of getting caught & going to jail, however small (2) no civic duty warm glow (3) virtually no chance of influencing the outcome....

JE is, in short, totally right. Thanks for doing your little bit to propagandize in favor of supervision TLL. I don't really care if you're a dupe; you obviouysly want to be.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 2:49 PM
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Voting twice features: (1) some real chance of getting caught & going to jail, however small (2) no civic duty warm glow (3) virtually no chance of influencing the outcome

(4) no way to prove that you have actually carried out the fraud to the hypothetical party boss who is orchestrating the fraud, therefore no incentive to participate in a fraud


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 2:57 PM
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I just voted! Yea me!

I think I'm going to take the ballot directly to the post office, rather than leaving it in my mailbox for the letter carrier to pick up. My reasoning? What if the letter carrier is a Republican, dishonest, and he sees my ballot and my Obama yard sign, and decides not to deliver my vote?

Is that paranoid?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 3:03 PM
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You guys don't get how it works. You don't vote twice- some illegal alien votes for you. They are the one's who need to worry about getting paid by the party boss. Read the memo, it's all there.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 3:04 PM
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Not to keep beating this horse any flatter, but voting by mail solves 170.(4) and reduces the chances of 169.(1), while making wholesale efforts at 169.(3) much easier to carry off.

That's not my real problem with it, but I thought I'd mention it because I really like my dead horses to be completely flat. It's a feng shui sort of thing.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 3:05 PM
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I really like my dead horses to be completely flat

This way you get jerky and a rug!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 3:38 PM
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Postal employees are supervised pretty strictly and tend to be super paranoid.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 3:47 PM
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Postal employees are supervised pretty strictly and tend to be super paranoid.

As a result of or prior to the events leading to the term "going postal"?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 3:57 PM
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I think it was a cause, not an effect. With semi-privatization the P.O. ended up with a bizarre personnel policy where it was still hard to fire people, but supervisors were incentivized to pester people into quitting.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 4:08 PM
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bizarre personnel policy where it was still hard to fire people, but supervisors were incentivized to pester people into quitting.

I seem to remember reading about one of the guys who had to remain inside some painted lines on the floor, maybe 6'x6'. I don't know what caused his supervisor to determine that this was the best course of action, but eventually he flipped out.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 5:25 PM
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178 probably shouldn't make me laugh, but it sure does.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 5:28 PM
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179. I couldn't find the details, but here is the running tally
http://hematite.com/dragon/usps.html


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 6:02 PM
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I finally found someone who will see me...this Saturday.

Suck. Well, tomorrow, if you're coughing up the green shit, can barely talk and can't get any air, tell someone to carry you into the ER.

max
['If they have to deal with you, they will.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 7:00 PM
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Made it to 182 before discussing proxy voting ?
When I voted early, I voted in person at the town hall.

What I did for Barry O.: I shorted financial stocks.

Could you imaging if this meltdown came 8 weeks
later and Kudlow et al could pin it on fear of Barry's
tax hike ? Alas, Iceland could not wait. Barry is so
lucky this is all happening under W's watch.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 11:39 PM
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They're trying to pin it on Obama anyhow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 11:40 PM
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183: Who is this Obama fella anyhow? I was just wondrin' that.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 11:44 PM
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184: it's impossible to know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 11:45 PM
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Yeah, Jonah started flogging this idea over at the Corner today. Of course, he included all the appropriate disclaimers: "I'm not an economist, but I'm going to try to spread this meme that even I should know is ridiculous."

Felix Salmon reminds us of this Kudlow gem.

Why do I read this crap?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-08 11:47 PM
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OT (Original Topic): I'm going to help out with some local organizing, but my personal immediate efforts are all going to be for No on 8, the constitutional amendment that would take away marriage rights from same-sex couples. Anyone L.A. peeps wanna come phone bank on Saturday?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10-10-08 9:09 AM
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On original topic, I gave some people information on how to register by calling back people who had left voicemail with the election protection hotline, which isn't directly helping Obama win, but I'm fairly certain was in these cases.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-10-08 9:17 AM
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