This article in the Onion was an instant classic from the minute it was printed 8 years ago. A rare article that is funny well beyond just a great title: “Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’“.
Al Franken and Norm Coleman are still battling over disputed ballots – nuts! In any event, you can view some disputed ballots and decide for yourself how they should be counted (and use the guidelines provided by the state of MN).
What in the world was this voter thinking?
And this guy/gal?
Spoiler alert: sadly, they don’t have definitive answers on who gets the votes!
This map is really cool. It uses a color from red to blue to show the relative vote share of republicans and democrats. Most interestingly, it rescales the map so that area is equivalent to population, not land mass. Check out the whole page for other neat ones too.
…I might really need to apply for ELITE status:
It’s a trap, but frankly she does better parrying this French Canadian comedian than she did with Katie Couric. Enjoy!
And don’t forget to watch McCain on SNL if you missed it. The Republicans are all about humor as we lead into election day.
Here is a snippet of what Nate Silver, author of FiveThirtyEight.com has to say about the election tomorrow:
7pm EST Virginia, for my money, is the most important state in this election. If John McCain loses it, his path to victory is exceptionally narrow—he would need to pull out an upset in Pennsylvania, while holding on to Florida and Ohio, and avoiding a sweep out West. Barack Obama has considerably more ways to win without Virginia, but a failure to close out the state would suggest at best a more circuitous route to victory. As Obama remains about five points ahead in most polls of Virginia, what we’re really looking for is a quick call on anything before 8 PM that would indicate that the map has indeed changed from 2004, and not in McCain’s favor.
Read the whole thing. It gives an hour by hour analysis of what to look for as the results come in.
But enough about me. What do you know about the local candidates that you are going to vote for? Get your own personalized voter guide by entering your address into this widget:
Sarah, meet Tina. Tina, meet Sarah. Enjoy!
(By the way, SNL has a good online video strategy. It was very easy to link to this video — and that makes me happy.)
So, my last two posts have argued (1) that we are faced with a deeper crisis than even the media have lead us to believe and (2) that there is a better alternative to the proposed bailout (and both the bailout and my plan are superior to doing nothing). Now, I want to turn to reform. How can we avoid making the same mistakes again in the future?
In a discussion I launched on e-thepeople, someone referred me to the “genesis plan.” In it, the plan proposes changes regulatory changes to limit/end off balance sheet vehicles, to reform credit derivatives and to re-impose limits on leverage for financial institutions. I find the links between the causes and effects to be well-argued, so I think his proposal deserves serious consideration.
As a long-term regulatory reform package, I think it dovetails nicely with my short-term plan to encourage a quick recovery from the current asset bubble we are in.
Here is my three point plan to solve the current financial crisis:
- Offer tax cuts to people who buy houses in the next six month
- Offer tax cuts to financial companies that offer credit in the next six months
- Offer temporary immunity from recourse to people who default on their mortgages (or renegotiate it to reflect the current market value of their home)
- If you are ‘too big to fail,’ you are ‘too big to go unregulated.’
- The bailout plans being discussed now are all *terrible*
- they reward companies that were recklessly over-leveraged
- they reward homeowners who were recklessly over-leveraged
- they penalize any people or companies that did not participate in the reckless borrow & spend tactics
- they substitute lack of accountability in the private sector for lack of accountability in the public sector
- Short sellers provide accountability to companies – they aren’t the problem, they are part of the solution
- As we focus on government bailouts, we are missing the fact that Bank of America’s has put US tax payers on the hook (through FDIC insurance) for a catastrophe in Merrill Lynch’s portfolio
- This bailout is going to pale in comparison to what happens when there is a run on the mutual funds. More on this later, but look up “embedded tax liability” and you’ll get a peek at what will almost certainly happen as baby boomers reverse the trend from net contributions to net disbursements in mutual funds
- To all those who repeat “focus on asset allocation because markets always go up in the long run”: don’t forget that the “long run” has meant 25 years in at least one case in our history
- Neither Obama nor McCain or any other political leader has a clue what do right now
Unfortunately, I do not have a solution to these incredible problems. I do believe that acknowledging these problems sooner rather than later is critical in containing the damage of twenty+ years of living beyond our means as a country.
Have a good day!!
My neighbor asked me: “The polls show that McCain is now tied with Obama – could Obama really lose this election?”
No. Obama cannot lose the election.
Why? Two reasons. First, I believe the polls overstate McCain support because of how they estimate likely voters. They are greatly undercounting the new voters that will vote for Obama and they are overcounting the demoralized republican turnout. (For example, new voter registration greatly favors democrats.) Second, even these flawed polls will turn around once ads like this start airing:
Yeah, Republicans will not likely be very enthusiastic this fall. I think Obama has an insurmountable 10 point lead in the popular vote that will result in a Reaganesque electoral victory.
Everybody hates spam, which is often defined as “unsolicited email.” I’d argue, however, that spam ought to include the notion “unwanted” in it. If I get an email from an old high school buddy out of the blue, I hardly consider it spam!
I broach this subject because of an e-thePeople I am working on: how to contact campaigns to invite them to participate in election guides. The problem: hotmail and AOL automatically filter our invitations as ‘junk.’
Of course, our emails are technically unsolicited. In most cases, neither we nor the media company has ever communicated prior to the invitation. But unlike regular spam, our emails are arguably wanted, not unwanted. How do we know? Our response rates among campaigns that we do contact ranges from 60-95% depending on the guide.
Now, there are some solutions to help with this ‘deliverability’ problem like ReturnPath. But as its name suggests, this company is trying to make sure that you receive the emails that you’ve requested like newsletters and registration emails.
The other solution is to reach people via opt-in email lists. But there does not exist such an opt-in list for campaigns due to several challenges. First, campaigns are temporary organizations that are created and destroyed rapidly. Second, they are highly fragmented geographically. Third, campaigns are designed to send not receive messages!
But I’d argue that “free speech,” e.g., effective speech, requires that people be able to communicate with their campaigns! Moreover, as I previously argued, these invitations are generally wanted by the campaigns. So what can we do?
In the short-term, I think we can rely on pragmatic solutions. For example, if we send invitations through our affiliates accounts rather than our own, it becomes much more likely that the emails will be delivered. Also, we can target the laggard campaigns that use hotmail and AOL through other channels.
In the longer-term, I hope that we can develop more “democratic” filters. For example, email communication by citizens who can verify that live within a certain district should have higher priority in reaching their elected officials than those citizens that do not live in that district. Perhaps there is someway to differentiate between communication that is commercial in purpose from communication that is political or civic in nature. I know this standard is a little vague, but hopefully it can be developed more as the need for it increases.