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20 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
05:55 pm

Racism and the Race


The progosphere is freaking out again, this time over an AP story suggesting that Obama’s edge in the race is hurt by as much as six points because of racism among the electorate.  Nate Silver over at 538 does a good job of unpacking the problems with the report — if you’re at all concerned about this issue, make sure you read it.

I’ll add six observations to his.  Unlike Nate, who bases his observations on strong empirical evidence, I’m going with my gut here.

1.  The article was co-authored by Ron Fournier, AP’s Washington bureau chief.  For those who are not aware of it, Fournier was offered a job with the McCain campaign in 2006.  A number of bloggers and media watchdog groups have recently suggested that he is in the tank for McCain, pointing to a number of articles, including one that suggested that Obama’s choice of Biden “show[ed] a lack of confidence” and another that accused Obama of being arrogant.

2.  Regardless of whether Silver is right and the “racism factor” is “only” 4 to 5 points or the AP-Yahoo poll is right in saying it is more like 6 points, I don’t think it’s going to be as significant factor as Fournier would have you believe.  Keep in mind that very few of those expressing their dislike of African-Americans would have voted for any Democrat.  So in reality, I think we’re probably talking 1 to 2 points, and probably only in a small number of states that matter — Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Virginia.  That’s not great news for Obama, but it’s it’s a lot less significant than Fournier suggests.

3.  The “racism factor” is largely offset by both the mobile phone factor (+2-3 points in Obama’s favor because most polls don’t take into account those who only use cell phones, who are mostly under-30s, who in turn are mostly Obama supporters) and the field organizing factor (+2-5 points, depending on the state, the capacity of the Obama team in that state, and the degree to which the McCain campaign has counter-organized).

4.  As this story races around the blogosphere, it might actually generate new support for Obama, from undecideds who don’t want people to think that they opposed Obama because they’re racist.  I don’t think this is a significant number, but every vote counts.

5.  On a related note, I think there are a large number of people out there who want to vote for Obama because they want to be part of history (Silver touches on this as well).  Although this tends mainly to be under-40s (for example, the people who loved Will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” video) that’s not entirely the case.  Both of my 88-year-old parents, for example, are voting for Obama.  Although race isn’t the only reason, it’s part of the reason (and for the record, they’re both Republicans — my mom so much so that she still thinks Nixon was framed).  Look for this to be a particular factor in Florida, where Republicans tend to be fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and distrustful of the Palin faction of the Republican Party.

6. Much has been made of Obama’s “Lehman bounce.”  But what if the past week’s polling numbers are not a bounce, but rather a post-convention self-correction?  The polls are currently right about where they were before the conventions started, and I’m not sure that the impact of this week’s financial events has truly sunk in with most Americans.  If I’m right, then Obama is going to grow even more over the next week.

My gut is that not only that Obama will win, but that he will win the popular vote by a significantly larger margin than the current polls reflect.  I was on the phone with my dad yesterday, and he had a similar opinion — he thinks that this is going to be a modern version of the 1936 Presidential election, when the Literary Digest poll, which had predicted the five previous winners, incorrectly forecast an Alf Landon landslide.

My dad thinks as we get closer to the election, more people are going to support Obama privately but not admit it publicly — in other words, a reverse Bradley effect.   I hope he’s right, but I’m not holding my breath.

In the end, I think Obama’s ground game is going to make the biggest difference — enough so that I think it will give him victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, and perhaps Ohio.

So I’ll say again what I’ve said before:  calm the hell down and work even harder.

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20 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
08:45 am

League of Photoshop: Talking Heads


The real face of the Republican ticket emerges at last:

Isn’t it Palin-McCain now?

Hat tip:  Firedoglake

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20 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
06:45 am

Morning Buzz: Beatbox Flute


I guess this has been around for a couple years, but this is the first time I’ve seen it.

Molly is a fairly serious flutist.  She plays in a local orchestra and even played at a Kennedy Center event once.  There’s nothing she hates more than “jazz flute.”

I have a feeling I’m gonna be sleeping on the couch tonight for this. . . .

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19 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
10:03 pm

Evening Political Haikus: The Great Crash


Great Crash of 08
The dominoes are lined up
Who is next to fall?

;

Sovereign wealth funds
Do not like us anymore.
Goodbye investors
.

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19 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
08:45 pm

Thought for the Day


The U.S. Government’s massive bailout of Wall Street took place on “Act Like a Pirate Day.”

Heh.

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19 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
07:45 pm

David Foster Wallace Would Have Loved This


From The Onion:

Shock, grief, and the overwhelming sense of loss that has swept the stock car racing community following the death by apparent suicide of writer David Foster Wallace has moved NASCAR to cancel the remainder of its 2008 season. . . .

“I’m flooded with feelings of—for lack of a better concept—incongruity,” said Jimmie Johnson, the driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet who is known throughout racing for his habit of handing out copies of Wallace’s novels to his fans. “David Foster Wallace could comprehend and articulate the sadness in a luxury cruise, a state fair, a presidential campaign, anything. But empathy, humanity, and compassion so strong as to be almost incoherent ran through that same sadness like connective tissue through muscle, affirming the value of the everyday, championing the banal yet true, acknowledging the ironic as it refused to give in to irony.” “And now he’s gone,” Johnson added. “He’s taken himself away. We can’t possibly race now.” . . .

“David himself said that what he knew about racing you could write with a dry Sharpie marker on the lip of a Coke bottle,” said NASCAR president Mike Helton, who announced the season cancellation late Monday after prompting from drivers and team owners in a statement that also tentatively suggested naming the 2009 Sprint series the Racing Season Of The Depends Adult Undergarment. . . .

A wonderfully hilarious and pitch-perfect tribute.

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19 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
04:45 pm

The Hecklers


I’m sure you must have heard already that Obama was heckled during an appearance today in Coral Gables, Florida by a group known as “Blacks against Obama.”  At first I thought that this was another McCain dirty trick.  But it turns out that the group is completely independent of the McCain campaign.

The McCain campaign should be really, really, really happy that that is the case.  Because it turns out that these guys are seriously bats**t crazy.

“Southtotheleft” at the PrObama site, Over the Rockies for Obama, took the time to find out who was behind the protest.

Calling themselves “Blacks Against Obama,” they alleged that Obama has been endorsed by the KKK, and that “Jessie Jackson Hates Obama.” Their home-made signs had the words “Michael Warns” on the bottom, which links to the website www.michaelwarns.com.

The site is almost entirely devoid of content, except for listing an address somewhere in Miami and a link to the site, www.michaeldefeatssatan.com. The second link is a lot more fruitful in terms of content, despite sharing the similarly unfinished qualities of the first site. Almost all of the links are dead, and the content forms are still left from the template the site was designed on: “Page Title Here” and “A quote or missions statement about the firm here” litter the site.

Website design aside, It seems that Michael — or Michael The Black Man as he prefers to be called — is a charismatic preacher who leads a cult-like church that preaches to black men against the evils of women. . . .Michael seems to run a daily video sermon programme where he sings and talks about the ways to redeem “BLACK MEN,” which mostly seems to be by avoiding any contact of feelings for women.  In fact, the ailing of black men in the United States is placed entirely upon the shoulders of black women, child support, and the Democratic Party.

Here’s a screenshot of the front page for “Michael Defeats Satan”

Turns out the Oprah and Obama are conspiring to destroy “the black race.”  Who knew?  Man, you just can’t make this stuff up.

You also can watch this guy preach.  Here’s the opening of his most recent sermon:

If you are an Obama supporter, you’re going to be crushed. Because you think that n***** is the shepherd, but the Lord said he will smite the shepherd. So I’ve got to smite him.

No evidence that Michael has endorsed McCain.  He does associate “Republicans” with “good,” “positive,” “right,” “male,” and “God.”  But given that he hates women so pathologically, he’s probably not on the Palin bandwagon.

How much you want to bet that this is about Michael’s failure to pay child support?

I like what Southtotheleft has to say about all of this:

Frankly, this is nothing but good news for Obama. Why? One of the catchiest group names was just taken up by crazy people. . . . What could be better for McCain than Blacks Against Obama? If they were 50 percent less crazy, I’d be willing to bet their group leader would have been booked on Fox News tomorrow. . . . But no one is going to put Michael The Black Man on TV.

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19 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
03:45 pm

The Intellectual Bankruptcy of the Republicans, Part 1,834,416


I don’t care if this is tongue-in-cheek, it still demonstrates that conservatives are so intellectually bankrupt, that they have to borrow their memes from the Democrats..  Via Jonathan Martin:

Funny, but it does kinda sorta almost most definitely blow up that set of John McCain ads mocking Obama.

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19 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
09:45 am

A Morning Haiku for Sunshine Sarah


Palin-McCain, huh?
This woman is scaring me.
Must defeat them now.

I keep waiting for Angela Lansbury to pop up at some point.

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19 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
08:45 am

NSFW But Too Funny Not to Link


If you haven’t seen it yet, “Black Comic Introduces McCain” at the Republican National Convention is just unfreakingbelievably funny.

NSFW, though.  So go here.  Trust me, it is so worth it.

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19 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
07:45 am

I So Feel His Pain


Another gem from The Onion:

After receiving yet another unwanted e-mail from liberal political action group MoveOn.org Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama deleted the message from his inbox without even glancing at its contents.  “Ugh, not these people again,” Obama was overheard to say as he placed the unread e-mail into the Gmail folder marked “Trash.” . . .

“It seems like every time I turn on my computer, another goddamn MoveOn.org e-mail pops up,” said Obama, noting that this is the third message from the progressive online organization he has deleted in the past week. “How many of these things am I going to get?”  “They already know I’m going to vote for Obama,” Obama added. “The only people who sign up for this thing are Democrats anyway. They’re just preaching to the choir.”

Obama reportedly joined the MoveOn.org mailing list while attending the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Although he was initially intrigued by the idea of receiving newsletters and updates from a group of like-minded, politically active Americans, Obama said the nonstop deluge of e-mails has made him regret his decision.

“I usually get excited when I see that I have one unread message,” Obama said. “I think that maybe it’s something interesting or important, but then I see it’s another MoveOn e-mail and my heart just sinks. It’s like getting nothing.” . . .

Obama’s mail records confirm that, in April 2008, he replied to a MoveOn.org e-mail entitled “10 Things You Need to Know About John McCain” with the message “Shut up.” . . . “I know this election is important and everything,” Obama added. “But these people seriously need to relax.” . . .

“It’s irritating that these people think they’re doing everybody this great service just by clicking ’send’ a million times,” Obama said. “I’m trying to make the world a better place, but with all the time I’ve been spending deleting e-mails, it’s going to take me forever.”

Heh.

Time to move on, MoveOn.  Your act has become tiresome.

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19 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
06:45 am

Morning Buzz: He’ll Be Moosed


Via Blue Herald:

Heh.

Hat tip:  South Jerusalem

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18 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
11:50 pm

Spain Spain Spain Spain Spain Spain Spain Spain. . .


Lovely Spain, wonderful Spain!

This is the story that just keeps on giving.

So Josh Marshall and TPM have put together a nice little video summarizing McCain’s running of the bull on  Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The transcription is particularly useful.  As a result, something new caught my eye:

REPORTER:  Okay what about Europe?  I’m talking about the President of Spain

McCAIN:  What about me, what?

When she asked “what about Europe,” he heard “what about you.”  That’s pretty clear from his response.  But Scheunemann keeps insisting that McCain knew what he was talking about, that he intended to dis Zapatero, and that he was reflecting the position of the campaign.

I’ve shoveled a lot of horse dookie in my day (I worked at a summer camp for four years — you do a lot of that), so I think I recognize a load of bull manure when I see it.  McCain clearly misheard or misunderstood the reporter.  He thought she was asking something about him, not Europe.  So there is no way in hell that his final answer was anything other than confused tap-dancing around a question he had completely misunderstood.

Just one question here:  when McCain makes a mistake in office, will his White House attempt similar stonewalling and denial?  Because if it does, it really will be Bush 44.

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18 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
10:44 pm

Velociraptor Pwns Moose Every Time


Sure, Sarah Palin can shoot a moose, but I bet she couldn’t top this:

I could survive for 1 minute, 22 seconds

Share your scores. . . .

Hat tip: Slog

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18 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
07:45 pm

T-Shirt of the Day


From a new group made up of people with a certain name who don’t like one of their namesakes.  Really.

Visit the site to see pictures of people named McCain who are supporting Obama.  Here’s my favorite — Lauren McCain from Denver, Colorado:

Man, everybody wants to be Sarah Palin these days.  Even people who hate her policies.

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18 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
04:14 pm

The Candidates and the Crisis


Noah Millman over at The American Scene, my favorite conservative site, summarizes what the four candidates have to say about the current financial meltdown:

Obama: We’re in this mess because the fundamentals are bad, and the fundamentals are bad because the Republicans have been ignoring ordinary working people and their needs. Most of what I think we should do is not particularly germane, and what is germane I don’t want to explain in too much detail because I’m worried I might get it wrong. I’m sticking to my platform.

McCain: We’re in this mess because a bunch of Wall Street hot shots got us into it, but they won’t dare to pull that stuff when I’m in the White House, because I survived five years in a POW camp. Do I look like the kind of guy who hangs around with a bunch of Wall Street sissies who buy their shirts at Thomas Pink? Not on your tintype girlie-girl.

Biden: I’ve been in the Senate forever, and I proposed a whole bunch of bills to deal with this problem – in fact, I’ve proposed bills to deal with just about any problem – but nobody will listen to me, particularly not John McCain. I hate it when people don’t listen to me.

Palin: I’m pretty sure John said he was against the bailout yesterday, but today he said he supported it. So I guess this is one of those times when you have to support something that you don’t basically feel good about because there’s no real alternative. That sounds about right.

Yes it does, Sunshine Sarah, yes it does.

If you’re not reading TAS, check it out.  If other conservatives were as consistently thoughtful (and often hilarious) as they are, progressives actually would have someone to debate.

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18 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
01:45 pm

Daily Political Haikus


Spanish Radio
Asked him a simple question
Who is Spain’s PM?

;

McCain on Spain fails
mainly to explain his view
that our friend is bad

| posted in foreign policy, pop culture | 2 Comments

18 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
12:45 pm

Brush with Hotness


Total Request Live

This is off topic, but given the demise of MTV’s Total Request Live, I wanted to share my own brush with celebrity.

Five or six years ago, I attended a retreat for my then-employer on Long Island.  At the end, I needed to travel into NYC for some meetings.  The bus service my company had hired to transport folks was short one vehicle, so they put the five of us heading to Manhattan in a limo.  One by one, it dropped us off.

I was staying at the Paramount, which is located around the corner from MTV’s Times Square studios, and unbeknownst to me, where MTV apparently kept a suite for visiting stars.

So when “my” limo pulls up outside the hotel, about 300 teenage girls started screaming.

Then I got out.

It was like somebody had thrown a switch.  The girls stopped in mid-scream.

I have never seen greater disappointment in my life.

Funny thing is, if I close my eyes, I kinda sorta almost not really look like a fat, middle-aged, gray-haired version of Justin Timberlake.

Bringing diplomacy back, girl.  Those other countries don’t know how to act.

Photo:  Wikipedia

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18 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
11:45 am

Late Morning Buzz: The Crayola Origin Story


Given the McCain in Spain story, I didn’t have a chance to post the daily morning buzz until now.

Kottke unearthed this great old film of how crayons are made.  Enjoy.

Something tells me if this film was made today, all the workers would be Chinese.

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18 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
10:45 am

My Fair Zapatero


Idea for a new Broadway musical:  My Fair Zapatero.  The Sarahnator could sing,

McCain in Spain falls mainly on his face

Heh.

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