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Saturday, November 1

Absolutely fabulous

And I don't even like AL Webber!

Not just Boris

All sorts of Londoners want Obama to win on Tuesday.

London's Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson Endorses Obama

Cleese on Olbermann


"69. May be dead."

"If he addresses this crowd as 'my fellow prisoners' what's actually going on in his mind?"

He reads his latest poem -

"He will not shirk from Rupert's work."

"Thank you for what you're doing Keith."

Postscript: Burkeman countdown ...

I won! kindof ...

On the subject of contests: about a hundred years ago I posted a list of 20 election spoofs you may have missed, and bemoaned the fact that there didn't seem to be any good Joe Biden-related comedy around. I offered Guardian merchandise to whoever could locate the funniest counter-example. Three commenters -- toypadlock, PaulCanning and Elishabet -- did their very best, suggesting What if Joe Biden Said What He Was Really Thinking?, an episode of Red State Update about Biden, and a Joe Biden blues number. I fear they basically proved my point, though, since... well, I don't want to be ungrateful for your efforts. And the blues song, while not that funny, is pretty darn good, you betcha. But none of them made me laugh as much as watching -- not for the first time -- Biden's excellent debate response to a question about his loquaciousness, which PaulCanning also mentioned (see above). Turns out there's no Biden spoof as funny as Biden being intentionally funny, which is a rare thing to say of a politician. Anyhow, I'll happily distribute Guardian t-shirts to all three of you if you email me a postal address.

UPDATE: Biden's also pretty funny when he's swearily berating the news media.

Yay! Teeshirt (I hope it fits ... ) I like the line about 'a hundred years ago'. But he's right, there are no funny Biden spoofs ;[

Friday, October 31

When to switch off next Tuesday

Nate Silver with Dan Rather. 'If Virginia goes for Obama'.

Say that again

Kiwi designers DDB created this cool billboard for New Zealand's National Foundation for the Deaf (NZNFD).

You take your headphones out of your ears and hold them against the large image of an ear printed on the billboard. If the ear goes green, you're safe. If the ear goes red however, the volume of your headphones may be permanently damaging your hearing.

The NZNFD say seven out of ten under 30-year olds are experiencing symptoms of permanent hearing damage after listening to loud music – yet do nothing to prevent it.

HT: Etre

Tuesday, October 28

The end of Matt Drudge?

This hasn't been a good election for Matt Drudge. Not only has he lost his primacy to the Huffington Post, not only is the MSM no longer reporting his threads, not only has he backed the wrong horse twice, not only has his 'news' seemed increasingly - well - nuttily out of reality but he's had a major, career destroying disaster with the Ashley Todd 'black Obama man wrote a B in my cheek' story.

This though takes the biscuit. A bizarre, unlinking headline typed out last night.

Even madder, his page title is now 'DRUDGE REPORT 2009®'.

Developing ...

HT: crooks and liars

Really cool Google Analytics video

Motion Charts add sophisticated multi-dimensional analysis to most Analytics reports. Select metrics for the x-axis, y-axis, bubble size, and bubble color and view how they interact over time.


Monday, October 27

Could Obama lose?

Robert Kennedy Jr. on Rachel Maddow talking about the systematic and nationally organised blocking of the right-to-vote almost always from Democrats and poor people.

This expands on the article he wrote with Greg Palast in the current Rolling Stone, which Palast did a film for for the BBC's Newsnight.

Gary Younge did a very good roundup of all the bad stuff which has been reported in The Guardian today:

In short, come next Tuesday, the issue may not so much be who votes for whom, but who gets to vote and whose votes get counted. A recent CNN poll showed that 42% of voters are not confident their vote will be accurately cast and counted - almost three times the figure four years ago. With the record numbers of newly registered voters will be a record number of lawyers on both sides. If it's close, the courts may once again pick the winner.
This is a joke from the Simpsons, but it's actually happened.

Says Younge:
In Jackson County, West Virginia, people have been hitting the touch-screen for Barack Obama and finding they have voted for John McCain.
I've yet to see anywhere which is tallying up the likely electoral effect but going on the voter purge numbers suggested it's not actually enormous in a likely 130 million vote election. Significant, dirty and illegitimate - but not enormous.

[Though there are plenty of sites watching voter suppression such as
the Voter Suppression Wiki, SourceWatch’s Election Protection Wiki, the Election Fraud Blog and the Video the Vote project.]

The other demon to raise its head - all the time in BBC coverage, a meme so strong Ian Hislop smugly repeated it on Have I Got News For You on Friday as received wisdom - is the 'Bradley effect'.

The actual Bradley campaign reality bears no relationship to the meme. The reason Bradley lost was because a supposedly 'anti-gun' proposition turned out massive numbers of rural and small town voters not expected through polls.

This sort of 'wedge' tactic has been perfected since by numerous politicians, from John Howard, who used immigration, to George Bush, who used gay marriage. It drives the faithful to the polls, sometimes literally.

Mori's Bob Worcester demolished the idea that in 2008 it's a real effect when yet another BBC journalist raised it on 'Today' this morning, pointing out that there's no evidence from the last US elections in 2006 (and quoting Nate Silver that Obama has a '95.7% chance of winning'). Crankily responding to another question about it he said:
rather than instinct I'd actually prefer to go on what's actually happened.
If I was American I would be somewhat offended by the BBC's ignorance on race in the USA. Maybe they should do this story?

Prodded once again, Silver statistically dismantles 'Bradley' again today saying: Bradley Effect? Or Elephant Effect? — responding to an article by Republican consultant Bill Greener at Like Worcester, Nate also focuses on those 2006 elections.

Very, very little reported but even scarier is Naomi Wolf's belief that America is in the beginnings of a coup.

Yes, a coup.

Here she explains it more but basically she's looked at how all coup d’état start and America ticks all the boxes: secret prisons, mass surveillance. Plus following a typically rushed and secretive 'War On Terror' move, Bush has acquired legal rights to deploy US troops in mainland USA. There have been troop deployments in black ghettos like Oakland.

So some people think it's all going to end in tears and torture in 'black sites'....

However the real argument is will any of this dirty stuff work?

I think not, simply because Obama's lead is too great.

The traditional polls count things like likely voters and often, like Gallup's, base this on whether people have voted before. They are usually not taking account of either new voters or even people who use a mobile phone and not a land line.

But despite all these problems, which Nate Silver's excellent squeezes out, Obama still leads and leads by big numbers in the popular and electoral vote. It's obvious.

It is hard to imagine anything, even a terrorist attack or a Bin Laden video, eroding those numbers.

The sort of voter purge tactics being pursued only really work in much closer elections like the 2000 one - where 57000 people were removed from Florida's rolls - and in 2004 in Ohio.

Again, as Nate Silver has pointed out, the electoral map is such that Obama starts 2 electoral votes short of the number needed with enough solid, double-digit lead, 'blue' states.

Also, Republicans have en masse been fleeing the sinking ship. Particularly fiscally conservative and socially liberal ones - today he got the Financial Times endorsement. Even Palin has been breaking with the campaign tacticians, perhaps because she fears being blamed for a huge loss.

Against all the doom and gloom, which is not based on nothing, are a whole lot of other factors which have to be weighed.

Nothing leads me to think that the US will not have a black president in a week's time. It may well be a bit closer than some think now and the evidence suggests but it will still be a victory.

P.S. An interview with Nate on 'Today' is due ...

Postscript: been reminded by readers that 'in 2004 Kerry was polling strongly, right?'

Actually no. Here's Daniel Sinker:
Looking at polling results from the final days of the 2004 campaign paints a very different picture: With only three exceptions, Bush held the lead in 22 out of 25 polls going into election day. Those leads, which averaged 2.23% for Bush, very closely mirrored the final election outcome: a 2.45% margin of victory.
Sinker also discovered a - perhaps surprising - mirroring between Google Trends numbers for Obama/McCain and the actual poll numbers.

$46,893,000 of free advertising

That's what TechPresident has calculated is the value of Obama's YouTube time.

This comes from getting Tube Mogul to work out how many views X length of video he's had — Obama 14,548,809.05 hours; McCain 488,093.01 hours.

Then get Joe Trippi to pass that number through a blender:

Math works like this. The City of Denver has 1.3million TV households -- to buy those households costs $350 per point ($350 to reach one percent of those households) to reach 100% of those 1.3 million for 30 seconds would cost $35,000. So to reach them all for an hour would be 120 X $35,000 = $4,200,000. To get to 14.5 viewing hours you multiply $4,200,000 X 14.5 = $60,900,000.

Now to take out the 300,000 of the 1.3million to get this really down to 14.5 million hours. 300,000 is 23% of 1.3 million -- so we reduce $60,900,000 by 23% = $46,893,000. We could have gotten rid of the 300,000 using the same method at the beginning to make this easier to understand -- but it is going to be around $46 million.
And that's just his campaign's own 1650 videos. Doesn't count or any of the rest.

Plus this is pull media not push.

Those are huge numbers.

Sunday, October 26

Sarah Palin says GOP welcomes all Muslims

Now this is interesting. Palin's rally goers have been filmed now numerous times saying brownshirt stuff about muslims and Obama - and here's their heroine clearly knocking them right down. I wonder what they'd think of her once (if) these remarks get any play?

VOICEOVER: So how does the McCain campaign really feel about Muslims? Well, the clearest answer is coming from a surprising source, the straight-talker herself.
REPORTER: Do you think the Republican Party should embrace the party's Muslims?
PALIN: Our party's what?
REPORTER: Muslims. Do you think the Republican Party should embrace its own Muslims?
PALIN: We're not going to discriminate against a person's religion at all. No, that is not appropriate and not acceptable, in my book, to discriminate.