Ratings of Jon Stewarts “Daily Show” will surge to Bush-era levels again.
What strikes me, however, is the extent to which this is a self-inflicted wound. If Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth weren’t so diligent about enforcing supply-side purity; if Republicans hadn’t made Rush Limbaugh the effective head of the party; Specter might still be GOP, and the Obama agenda much more limited.
Instead, though, we have a party that seems to be in a death spiral: the smaller it gets, the more it’s dominated by the hard right, which makes it even smaller. In the long run, this is not good for American democracy– we really do need two major parties in competition. But I’ll settle for getting that back after we get universal health care and cap-and-trade.
Five Clay County officials, including the circuit court judge, the county clerk, and election officers were arrested Thursday after they were indicted on federal charges accusing them of using corrupt tactics to obtain political power and personal gain.
The 10-count indictment, unsealed Thursday, accused the defendants of a conspiracy from March 2002 until November 2006 that violated the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). RICO is a federal statute that prosecutors use to combat organized crime. The defendants were also indicted for extortion, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to injure voters’ rights and conspiracy to commit voter fraud.
# Clay County Clerk, Freddy Thompson, 45, allegedly provided money to election officers to be distributed by the officers to buy votes and he also instructed officers how to change votes at the voting machine. The indictment also accused Thompson of a false testimony before a grand jury in Lexington.
# Election officer William E. Stivers, 56, allegedly marked votes or issued tickets to voters who had sold their votes and changed votes at the voting machine. Stivers also allegedly instructed a witness to testify falsely before a federal grand jury.
# Paul E. Bishop, 60, allegedly marked voters or issued tickets to voters who sold their votes and he also hosted alleged meetings at his home where money was pooled together by candidates and distributed to election officers, including himself. He was also accused of instructing the officers how to change votes at the voting machine.
Sarah Palin’s 18-year-old daughter Bristol has reportedly broken off her engagement with Levi Johnston, the father of her 2-month-old son Tripp. It’s surprising because in an interview just last month with FOX’s Gretta Van Susteren, Bristol said the 19-year-old Levi is a hands-on dad and that they planned on marrying after finishing their education.
But in a new interview with Star Magazine, Levi’s sister Mercede Johnston says Bristol actually broke up with Levi more than a month ago, is not attending school and rarely lets her baby daddy see their young son. Mercede also says Bristol even told him that she hates him and, when she learned she was pregnant, wished the baby wasn’t his.
More pictures here.
Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision.
If the Bush administration became a byword for policy bungles, for government by the unqualified, well, it was just following the advice of leading conservative think tanks: after the 2000 election the Heritage Foundation specifically urged the new team to “make appointments based on loyalty first and expertise second.”
Contempt for expertise, in turn, rested on contempt for government in general. “Government is not the solution to our problem,” declared Ronald Reagan. “Government is the problem.” So why worry about governing well?
Where did this hostility to government come from? In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political consultant, explained the evolution of the G.O.P.’s “Southern strategy,” which originally focused on opposition to the Voting Rights Act but eventually took a more coded form: “You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites.” In other words, government is the problem because it takes your money and gives it to Those People.
Watch as grownups – and government officials – discuss lizard people and the FSM for 9 minutes. it’s a fine moment in American democracy. remember, there is a senate seat on the line.
A four-year-old software glitch wiped out almost 200 votes from a small California county’s November elections tally, causing officials to certify results that are now known to be incorrect.
The bug, which resides in specific versions of tabulation software sold by Premier Election Solutions, caused 197 paper ballots to mysteriously vanish from Humboldt County’s final vote count. The error only came to light after a volunteer outfit using open-source software and an off-the-shelf paper scanner audited the results.
Nobody directly involved will admit it, but this is looking more and more like one of the more nasty, yet brilliant, scams of the last couple years. It may have been pulled off by the legendary Nigerian internet scammers, but it’s beginning to look like it may have been the work of a vast leftwing conspiracy with a twisted sense of humor.
It gets complicated, as these things often do, but the core appears to be:
1. A WordPress website claiming to be the creation of the African Press International, and NGO somehow associated with the Rainbow Foundation – OK, already I know this is a lot to process – claimed that they had a tape of Michelle Obama admitting that Barack Obama was not an U.S. citizen, and thus not eligible to be president.
2. Nobody seemed to notice that the API’s headquarters are in Norway.
3. In the weeks leading up to the election, as John McCain’s campaign was trailing smoke and in a steep vertical dive (to use an Air Force-appropriate metaphor),
a ragtag bunch of deranged Obama-hatershis desperate supporters seized on this story as a last-minute chance to save the U.S. from an Obama presidency, which they had come to believe would be some horrible combination of Stalinist Russia, the Taliban and a San Francisco gay bathhouse, circa 1978.
4. The overheated right-wing blog echo chamber started to scream and yell about the tapes, hoping to spark an uproar.
5. The API started getting erratic in its pronouncements about the tapes, on the one hand demanding money, on the other alleging mysterious dark conspiracies that were preventing the release of the tapes, conspiracies involving shadowy pro-Obama forces.
5. Still believing that these tapes existed, the right-wing blogs started collecting money from their readers to buy the tapes.
It’s your turn to play election judge. Tell us how you would rule in the case of these challenged ballots.
Here’s only one of many on the site:
SNL comic Tina Fey and Sen. John McCain on cover of LIFE 10-15-2004.
“If a retailer has not gotten involved with this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to Norm Coleman and these other guys,” Mr. Marcus said, apparently referring to Republican senators facing tough re-election fights, then those retailers “should be shot; should be thrown out of their goddamn jobs.”
–Bernie Marcus, cofounder and former CEO of The Home Depot, during an Oct. 17 conference call
Oh, and Happy 85th Birthday as well..
Barack Obama in a collage of over 600 headlines from around the world on November 5th, 2008 after wining the US presidential election.
The full size picture is available, and 78 Mb big..
The top map is voting patterns in this 2008 election– the bottom map is cotton production in 1860…
It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.
Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.
Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.
And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.
It’s a weird kind of lie…kind of like someone pointing at a random guy and calling him a child molester… no matter whether it’s true or not, you start picturing it BEING true, and it tarnishes the guy.
Sarah Palin needed to be the kind of candidate that no one would ever believe this about, in order to be immune to it.
The Onion nailed it eight years ago, and they nailed it again.
After emerging victorious from one of the most pivotal elections in history, president-elect Barack Obama will assume the role of commander in chief on Jan. 20, shattering a racial barrier the United States is, at long last, shitty enough to overcome.
Although polls going into the final weeks of October showed Sen. Obama in the lead, it remained unclear whether the failing economy, dilapidated housing market, crumbling national infrastructure, health care crisis, energy crisis, and five-year-long disastrous war in Iraq had made the nation crappy enough to rise above 300 years of racial prejudice and make lasting change.
“Today the American people have made their voices heard, and they have said, ‘Things are finally as terrible as we’re willing to tolerate,” said Obama, addressing a crowd of unemployed, uninsured, and debt-ridden supporters. “To elect a black man, in this country, and at this time—these last eight years must have really broken you.”
And senior Chike Coleman made an incredible impromptu speech on the steps.
What an amazing night.
This is our time. This is our country. Yes. We. Can.
At 11:21 PM EST John McCain conceded the election and congratulated Sen. Obama on his victory.
Exactly two years ago, SurveyUSA completed interviews with 600 voters in every state (30,000 total interviews), asking them how they would vote in a 2008 Presidential Election between John McCain and Barack Obama. Based on those interviews, SurveyUSA was able to report that:
In November 2006, Obama carried …
1. His home state of Illinois.
2. His birth state of Hawaii.
3. The District of Columbia.
In November 2006, Obama got 28 total electoral votes.
In November 2006, John McCain carried 48 states, and rolled up 510 electoral votes.
How far has Barack Obama come in 24 months?
The radio DJ who pulled off one of the most spectacular prank phone calls of all time — he punk’d Gov. Sarah Palin by posing as French President Nicolas Sarkozy — said he simply began at the bottom of her staff and worked his way up to get the Republican vice presidential nominee on the telephone.
Audette said the prank started with a call to Alaska. “We started by calling the governor’s office in Alaska, and after that, we were transferred from one person to another. It took us about four days. We spoke to about a dozen people, and that’s how we were able to speak to her,” Audette told ABCNews.
“The people running her campaign are not adequately protecting her. Either they are not doing their work, or they have given up — which tells you the wheels are coming off the bus.”
Audette said that most of the time, he is only able to use “30 to 40 percent of the material” he and Trudel have written for their crank calls before the person they are conning realizes the put on.
“But with Mrs. Palin we got lucky, because we used all the material we had written. At the end, we had to improvise.”
Okay…. I had a special edition of the site online, to “celebrate” the election today, but a mention of the site on electoral-vote.com means I’m returning with the normal site a bit early… to thank the Votemaster for the link and for allowing me to be part of a great experience.
Now, if you haven’t voted yet: GO! You’re not going to let a little bit of rain get in the way, right?
For me the most moving moment came when the family in front of me, comprising probably 4 generations of voters (including an 18 year old girl voting for her first time and a 90-something hunched-over grandmother), got their turn to vote. When the old woman left the voting booth she made it about halfway to the door before collapsing in a nearby chair, where she began weeping uncontrollably. When we rushed over to help we realized that she wasn’t in trouble at all but she had not truly believed, until she left the booth, that she would ever live long enough to cast a vote for an African-American for president. Anyone who doesn’t think that African-American turnout will absolutely SHATTER every existing record is in for a very rude surprise.