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Saturday, October 25

Over compensation

This is exactly my point about the BBC's coverage: they are pretending to be neutral when what they're really doing is not telling you (the BBC's license payers) what's actually happening. And this goes back to the primaries.

Andrew Sullivan and Marc Ambinder for The Atlantic on 'How does the media cover a race that is in fact one-sided?'

I heard a ridiculous piece on Radio Four this morning from a BBC correspondent about the racial aspects of this campaign. No, talking up the racial aspects. I will give him that he mentioned that the 'Bradley effect' (where racist people lie to pollsters) has been challenged by former LA Mayor Bradley's Campaign Manager but they still went on about it and it's likely impact. This is not decent reporting, it's Drudge level repeating of a disproved meme.

Here's Nate Silver on 'The Persistent Myth of the Bradley Effect':

Black candidates run races every cycle for the Congress and for the Governor's Mansion, and academics have spent copious time dissecting those results. And while we've never before had a major party nominate a black man for President, we did just finish an exceptionally competitive primary campaign in which a black candidate ran against an extremely popular white candidate with more than 35 million voters participating.

As we have described here before, polling numbers from the primaries suggested no presence of a Bradley Effect. On the contrary, it was Barack Obama -- not Hillary Clinton -- who somewhat outperformed his polls on Election Day.

So why do we keep hearing so much about the Bradley Effect? Apart from the fact that it is a good way to fill column space on a slow news day, it seems that there are three or four reasons why the myth perpetuates itself:
  • Misunderstanding the Bradley Effect
  • Confusing Past with Present
  • Confusing Exit Polls with pre-Election Polls
  • Cherry Picking Result
For BBC reporters I would have to say: not just 'slow news day' but just not doing their job properly and - as the video implies - over compensating for what Blair and others have labeled anti-American BBC coverage.

Here was the BBC's North America editor Justin Webb on Wednesday:
I agree McCain will lose the popular vote but he can certainly still win the electoral college.
This is lying.

Wassup 2008

Remember that annoying Budweiser ad from eight years ago? Well here's the original cast eight years later.

Really effective.

Thursday, October 23

Banksy's NYC show

I really hate doing this but here's the LINK to the Grauniad's report on New Yawkers reaction to the Banksy show.

Here's a viral vid on the show. (The show's very viral).

And another ..

Genius ...


The gift from heaven

The gift that keeps on giving ...

"An America I'd be proud to f***"

n. B.


The history card

HT: Ben Smith:

Upon arriving at the Hamilton County Board of Elections in Cincinnati to vote early today I happened upon some friends of my mothers - 3 small, elderly Jewish women.

They were quite upset as they were being refused admitance to the polling location due to their Obama T-Shirts, hats and buttons. Apparently you cannot wear Obama/McCain gear into polling locations here in Ohio.... They were practically on the verge of tears.

After a minute or two of this a huge man (6'5", 300 lbs easy) wearing a Dale Earnhardt jacket and Bengal's baseball cap left the voting line, came up to us and introduced himself as Mike. He told us he had overheard our conversation and asked if the ladies would like to borrow his jacket to put over their t-shirts so they could go in and vote. The ladies quickly agreed. As long as I live I will never forget the image of these eighty plus year old Jewish ladies walking into the polling location wearing a huge Dale Earnhardt racing jacket that came over their hands and down to their knees!

Mike, patiently waited for each woman to cast thier vote, accepted thier many thanks and then got back in line (I saved him a place while he was helping out the ladies). When Mike got back in line I asked him if he was an Obama supporter. He said that he was not, but that he couldn't stand to see those ladies so upset. I thanked him for being a gentleman in a time of bitter partisanship and wished him well.

After I voted I walked out to the street to find my mother's friends surrouding our new friend Mike - they were laughing and having a great time. I joined them and soon learned that Mike had changed his mind in the polling booth and ended up voting for Obama. When I asked him why he changed his mind at the last minute, he explained that while he was waiting for his jacket he got into a conversation with one of the ladies who had explained how the Jewish community, and she, had worked side by side with the black community during the civil rights movements of the 60's, and that this vote was the culmination of those personal and community efforts so many years ago. That this election for her was more than just a vote...but a chance at history.

Mike looked at me and said, "Obama's going to win and I didn't want to tell my grandchildren some day that I had an opportunity to vote for the first black president, but I missed my chance at history and voted for the other guy."

Wednesday, October 22

Burkeman countdown ...

A couple of days ago Guardian blogger Oliver Burkeman offered:

Highly desirable Guardian merchandise in store for the first person who can pass along a link to an authentically amusing -- non-SNL -- Joe Biden spoof, because I don't believe there are any...
And I ALONE came up with this:

Granted, 'authentically amusing' is debatable. But I's awaiting the merchandise.

Burkeman, the countdown begins ... I have the Guardian's address! Tee Ha ha ha!!

Vote Obama without illusions

Chomsky talking sense. I love the slap on Nader.

Here's part two (Chomsky on the economy).

God is a pussy

But then... there's this ...

"Number one, speaking from an evangelical perspective, the current administration, I believe, has delayed the second coming of Jesus."
A bizarre endorsement.

Tuesday, October 21

Ha ha

Here's Osborne in full Bullingdon Club mode circa 1992. Nat Rothschild is #7.

Worth a zoom in methinks ... very Brideshead ...

Snatching victory?

My friend Peter Tatchell goes off on one in CIF about voter suppression, citing at length (natch) the MSM New York Times (and, god forbid, the BBC's US election coverage - see Newsnight, sigh ... )

Pointing to my previous post, quoting Arianna, about the game-changing role of the web in exposing Rovian tactics, this video from Brave New Films about ACORN becomes highly relevant.

This is not to say that they aren't trying all the old tricks, they are, it's Pavlovian (and Rovian). This is a very big part of the fired US attorneys/Gonzales scandal.

But the web and the increased ground-game and the huge lead in resources it has allowed Obama lends a huge edge to the bottom-up fightback against voter suppression. As shown already in Ohio.

This time it's not working.

Plus, as Andrew Sullivan points out in the video, here's one highly significant reason for the 'fraud' call, to explain the coming RepThug loss: we woz robbed.

Peter et al (BBC!), here's where it sits 15 days out:

Postscript: More on the 'ground game, HT: Ben Smith:

I am a lifelong Republican. I have served on the local county Republican finance committee in the past. I am not supporting the Republican presidential candidate for the first time in my life. I have been contacted during the primary by Rudy Giuliani. No other Republicans have attempted to contact me at all, with the exception of local Indiana candidates. I have had no contact from the Indiana Republican Party and no mail from the McCain campaign during the entire campaign.

The real story though, is about my 24 year old son.

He attended college at the University of Hawaii. He graduated in May. He enjoyed his last summer in Hawaii and traveled to China before returning to Indiana in early September. One week before returning to Indiana, he changed his cell phone number to an Indiana area code. After arriving at the Indianapolis airport, we drove home.

Two hours after his plane arrived in Indiana, he received a phone call on his cell phone. It was a local Obama campaign office. They welcomed him to Indiana and asked if he needed assistance in getting registered to vote. He did register and both of us have already voted for Obama.

How is it that an active Republican gets no contact from any Republican office or candidate (except the gubernatorial candidate) and a two hour resident of Indiana gets a phone call from the Obama office?

Game changing election

What's missing in MSM accounts of this election? Arianna Huffington nails it:

McCain is running a textbook Rovian race: fear-based, smear-based, anything goes. But it isn't working. The glitch in the well-oiled machine? The Internet.
YouTube video's massive virality, blogging and fact-checking, email and web-based fundraising. This is part of the difference in 2008: the other huge part is the web's contribution to Obama's far superior 'ground game'.
But there is a diamond amidst all this dung: the lack of traction this Rovian politics is getting. It's as if Rove and his political arsonists keep lighting fires, only to see them doused by the powerful information spray the Internet has made possible.

The Internet has enabled the public to get to know candidates in a much fuller and more intimate way than in the old days (i.e. four years ago), when voters got to know them largely through 30-second campaign ads and quick sound bites chosen by TV news producers.

Compare that to the way over 6 million viewers (on YouTube alone) were able to watch the entirety of Obama's 37-minute speech on race -- or the thousands of other videos posted by the campaign and its supporters.

The Internet may make it easier to disseminate character smears, but it also makes it much less likely that these smears will stick.
Those following this stuff will say that once this is over and the books and articles written we'll be able to more clearly see the difference the internet has made. Frankly I think it's already blindingly obvious.

And I think this will hit the UK in, oh, two years time?

Atheist Bus Campaign takes off

A campaign to raise money for atheist adverts to run on the sides of London buses has gone overboard today - raising it's baseline amount in the matter of a few hours!

Starting today, they hoped to raise £5,500 to run 30 buses across the capital for four weeks with the slogan: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." At mid-morning they'd already shot over this amount!

Professor Richard Dawkins, bestselling author of The God Delusion, is matching all donations up to a maximum of £5,500, so he's giving a total of £11,000.

The aim of it all?

We can brighten people's days on the way to work, help raise awareness of atheism in the UK, and hopefully encourage more people to come out as atheists. We can also counter the religious adverts which are currently running on London buses, and help people think for themselves.
As Richard Dawkins says: "This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think - and thinking is anathema to religion."

Monday, October 20


A couple of clips from the US election which say a lot.

The well-known Time correspondent Fareed Zakaria backs backs Barack and says:

I admit to a personal interest. I have a 9-year-old son named Omar. I firmly believe that he will be able to do absolutely anything he wants in this country when he grows up. But I admit that I will feel more confident about his future if a man named Barack Obama became president of the United States.
And here are some Muslim McCain supporters confronting intolerance at a McCain/Palin rally:

Postscript: The muslim McCain organiser featured in this video has been silenced - by the campaign. I guess the repthug base wouldn't stand for it.

McCain sings Streisand

Jack: damn right McCain's funnier!

There's a reason he's been on the Daily Show more than anyone else. Here's his last appearance (which all sounds most interesting in hindsight).

He may not be back. This may be why.

Red State Update With Joe The Plumber

Red State Update genius.