Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Favorite election sites

Pollster.com has the Flash going on, and it's pretty flashy.

This is a fascinating, horribly oversimplified mechanism for tracking the Presidential election for 2008, but it's a really Flashy (pun), fun-to-play-with tool.

I do really appreciate, however, that it focuses more on the stupid Gallup national daily tracking poll which determines whether John McCain or Barack Obama would get elected homecoming king, but not much else, since popular votes don't matter.

And while Obama's numbers look good at the moment, let us not discount what happens if Michigan and / or Ohio flip -- Obama doesn't have enough to win. That's not to say McCain would win all the 'toss up' states and put together enough EVs to carry the thing, but right now he IS leading in more 'toss up' states than he's trailing in.

And then there's Indiana. There's nothing more to take out of the numbers there than "Gosh, that's really interesting". The poll numbers are all over the board, and the latest ones look pretty friendly to Obama -- but look at some of the weirdness in the polling methodologies.

The WTHR poll is no doubt Indianapolis heavy, and shows Obama well in the lead.

The Indiana Legislative Insight poll forced people to either choose Obama or McCain, and McCain cleaned up. However, as a counterpoint, check out the Zogby poll. That's the only poll on the chart that evidently allowed people to select a third-party candidate, and SEVEN percent of respondents chose Bob Barr. Ten percent more went 'Undecided', and I don't understand how, in Indiana, you can call many of those potential votes for Obama. They're either McCainers or they're stay-homers.

But Barr, 7%? My gosh. I'd really thought he wouldn't be much of an influence in the election until I saw that number. If Barr and Undecided are powerful enough this year to pull Indiana to basically a tie-with-statistical-noise... What does that portend for the other toss-up states who aren't traditionally *nearly* as partisan as Indiana?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Behold the Power: Janet Jackson's tit!

After all the bitching and moaning and lamenting the day our great country lost its collective mind:

"A panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the FCC 'acted arbitrarily and capriciously' in issuing the fine for the fleeting image of nudity, which it noted lasted just over half a second. An estimated 90 million people watching the Super Bowl heard Justin Timberlake sing, 'Gonna have you naked by the end of this song,' as he reached for Jackson's bustier."

And then we see Janet Jackson's tit.

And the world is ablaze in a righteous wave of indignation sweeping the country from right coast to left, sea to shining sea! We must stop this outrage! We must never let down our vigilance! We must go to potential-tit-viewing level orange!

Thankfully, the article notes:

"Duke University law professor Stuart M. Benjamin, a telecommunications law expert, called the decision "a slap in face for the FCC.""

About damn time, for an organization whose sole job it seems to have been to keep tits off the airwaves and not bothering at all when it comes to regulating the economic mechanisms of a practical Crusade by major media, waging a hell-bent-on-self-destruction industry rampage of consolidation. No, that's not the problem. An editorial oligopoly of broadcast and print media in the United States? Nothing to sweat.

Because we all saw Janet Jackson's tit.


Evidently, according to the article, the Supreme Court is soon to take up a broadcast indecency case next term, and I can only tell you I await with bated breath the drivel that will no doubt come of that decision. Justice Antonin Scalia, whose opinions for the court have bordered on indecent in and of themselves, will be joined by two new missionary-style white guys who eat bread for lunch with water on the side for dipping, recent appointees of the Bush Administration. I can only hope the legacy of failed policy and utter futility where outright failure cannot be managed due to the few remaining enlightened souls who dare challenge status quo continues. After all, it's only the first flippin' bullet point in the Bill of Rights we're talking about here....

And all because we saw Janet Jackson's tit.

UPDATE: Will writing things about Janet Jackson's tit ever get old? I mean, really, post-9/11, is that not the single most defining day in our country's history? And spare me that 2006 election garbage -- what have the Democrats done for you lately that the Republicans wouldn't*?

* - Important reminder: A California Supreme Court stacked with Republican appointees says homos should be allowed to get married. So aside from going with the obvious gut reaction response 'kegstands', think very carefully before you answer.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Policy Prudence (or Regulating Reasonability)

According to Bloomberg.com: Worldwide: "The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will run a successor institution, IndyMac Federal Bank FSB, starting next week, the Office of Thrift Supervision said in an e-mail yesterday."

First off, bank runs and successorship! How awesome is this economy?? Food banks are running out of food and people can't get their cash out of the bank! It's like "It's A Wonderful Life" meets the Great Depression meets a global food crisis!

But what I really wanted to note was that evidently we HAVE an Office of Thrift Supervision. This is, ostensibly, an office that is an expert at not-spending itself into irrelevance and futility. It may seem counterintuitive, but do you suppose we could, say, fund them more and have them be thrifty more than just in their own budget? Maybe they could generate thrift analysis reports! Maybe they could issue reports on the best days of the week to shop at Goodwill (which we'll all need sooner or later; see earlier remarks about bank runs).

My next mission in life: To become Comptroller of Sensibility for the Office of Thrift Supervision.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Portland Stuff 3

Portland is a smallish city (metro pop around 2 million) which is known for progressive values, lovely scenery, and a modest cost of living which rather underestimates its amenities. What is not frequently noted about living in Portland is that the cost of Roman letters are through the roof, and a full-on conservation effort is at hand, eliminating excess letters wherever possible.

This stands in marked contrast to California, a veritable orthographic horn 'o plenty, where street signs are marked in multiple languages, and the signs along the roadside indicating legal speeds read "MAXIMUM SPEED" as though the ambiguity of the upper- or lower-bound reading of the standard US "SPEED LIMIT" sign simply cannot stand. And besides, we have all these damn letters; we may as well use them.*


* -- Per Wikipedia: The actual reason the signs read "MAXIMUM SPEED" is that signs that read "SPEED LIMIT" in California are actually only guidelines with respect to the "Basic Speed Law" which says that the maximum speed for a vehicle on a road shall be the highest "reasonable and prudent" speed for traversing that road. That 'prima facie' traffic law provides some amount of wiggle room, as in most cases it is no doubt theoretically possible to argue the maximum "reasonable and prudent" speed for travel on a given road is indeed above the posted speed limit.

Due to the mandatory federal speed limit laws, however, California needs to also have in its arsenal a sign that indicates that the Basic Speed Law is not in effect. This indication is given by the "MAXIMUM SPEED" signs which state quite explicitly what the maximum speed on a road is, irrespective of any higher reasonable and prudent speed.**

** - You learn something every day, huh?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Portland stuff 2

In Portland, they like to be progressive. After all, they live sort of on the left coast.

But as much of a bunch of hippie liberal douchebags as they like to think they are, you cannot flipping find a public recycling bin out on the street. Anywhere. Minus 2 points, Portland. Minus 2.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Portland things 1

Totally got to kick it in Portland this weekend. It was cool to discover how close here and there is by air! A great trip for a weekend getaway to see friends, but I'm not sure I'd really plan a trip there were it not for the friends.

An awesome time was had by all! This is the first in a series of photobservations, a word I made up just now to describe this half-assed style of blogging.

In Portland, the soda cans come pre-shaken for you, so that they explode refreshingly all over you when you open them.