As I bask in the sweet feelings of victory following the election on Tuesday, I must pause to thank those I think most responsible for Obama’s election (in no particular order):
If you want up-to-date info without having to watch TV, here’s some great sites for monitoring the presidential electoral college:
- Electoral-Vote.com: Real-time updating of the electoral map
- 270ToWin.com: Interactive electoral map that lets you make your own projections
- Poll closing times at CNN.com
Since 1998 Oregon has conducted all of their elections by mail. Registered voters receive their ballots in the mail a couple of weeks before the election and complete them at their leisure. You can mail them back if you finish them soon enough. Otherwise, you can drop them at any of the many drop boxes scattered throughout the city. Sunday night Tina and I sat down at our kitchen table and voted in the comfort of our home. We had done virtually no research prior to filling out our ballots so it took us about an hour. There were a number of ballot initiatives to wade through but the state sends booklets describing each of them as well as all of the candidates. Even though it was a little bit of work, after we were done we felt like worthy citizens.
I realize that most of my readers are probably not as enthusiastic about the political process as I am during this election cycle. Under that assumption, I’ve tried to limit the amount of political content so as not to drive my readership away. Election coverage is reaching a fever pitch and I’m soaking it all in. I know it’s been said a million times, but this election feels more important and more historic than any other in my lifetime. Watching the campaign retrospectives this weekend, I’ve been teary-eyed several times revisiting some of the more inspirational moments from the campaign. When that happens, I feel compelled to share it with you. If you’re not as enthusiastic as I am about the waning days of the campaign, I apologize for the increase in political content during the next few days.
Rachel Maddow makes a good argument here and a great appeal at the end.
We received our ballots in the mail over a week ago but I still haven’t opened mine. The primary reason for this is that I’m not sure how to vote for the U.S. Senate race between Gordon Smith and Jeff Merkley. I’m not a huge fan of Smith (and I seem to remember some pretty nasty campaign tactics when he ran against Ron Wyden in his first Senate race) but I have a huge respect for his early opposition to the Iraq War. Oregon Senators have been centrists as long as I have lived here and most consider Smith to fit that description. I don’t know much about Merkley other than the first Senate debate I watched between him and Smith. Merkley came across as a hack Democrat who fits all the liberal stereotypes and is riding on the coattails of Barack Obama. From what I understand, both have waged an incredibly negative television campaign but I have been spared from that by the grace of Tivo.
- Happy Birthday Little Graham: Tina’s paean to our youngest son on his 9th birthday. She nailed it.
- Oregonian article on Twitter: Steve Woodward profiles my favorite web service and mentions some of the more popular Portland area Twitterers. He also provides a link to a del.icio.us page with more links to Twitter resources.
- 2008 Presidential Election Interactive Map and History of the Electoral College: Predict who will be our next president.
- NameVoyager: Even if you (like me) don’t have a baby in your future, it’s fun to see naming trends over the last century. Note that the y-axis for the chart adjusts each time you change names.
- Brand Tag Cloud Quiz: Identify the brand based on words/phrases other people have used to describe it. The larger the word, the more often it has been used to describe the brand. You can also feed the quiz.
- The World of Chemistry (below)
In the biggest vote of her political life, Hillary Clinton (and the rest of the cowardly Democrats who would not go against George W. Bush for fear of their political careers ending abruptly) voted “Yes” to go to war with Iraq. Even after the so-called “intelligence” that was used to justify the war was shown to be a sham, she still supported the war nearly as much as turncoat Democrat Joe Lieberman. When her run for the presidency began in 2007, many began to speculate whether she should apologize for her vote. That speculation reached a fever pitch until she finally admitted that the war had been a mistake but only went so far as to say about her own vote that she had received faulty intelligence.
Her reasoning in this matter is faulty for two reasons. First, she did not vote for the Levin Amendment which would have required that the President allow U.N. inspectors more time to complete their job. If, as she claims, she was granting the President the power of war to use in diplomatic efforts to “disarm” Saddam Hussein, then the Levin Amendment would have been an important tool in those efforts. Secondly, and more importantly, in not admitting that her vote was wrong, especially in the way that she has, she is affirming the validity of the Bush administration’s preemptive war policy. Much like the administration, she has not learned the most valuable lesson of the war: preemptive war is wrong. As we found out, even “slam dunk” intelligence can be faulty. Even in the best of circumstances, relying on such intelligence is a gamble. Let’s assume, for example, that our intelligence community was 90% certain that the intelligence was correct. That would still leave a 10% chance that we would be launching a war for no good reason.