Thursday, December 11, 2008

sonnet 1

although i often start projects (cough-cough-THIS BLOG-cough-cough) that i don't finish, i have a feeling this sonnet is going to be a part of a long-term collection of sonnets describing me, my personality, my beliefs, and the way i am.

sonnet 1

i'm often pressured to rinse my mouth clean,
when it's contents are little more than grit.
i need to swill an elixir serene,
something more liquid than my ash-filled spit.
i'm told i should lust after something cool,
a tonic that could purify my tongue.
oftentimes i speak just like a fool.
my words erupt, from inside out they're flung.
but if i have to drink an antidote
that's purpose is to rid my mouth of sound
i'd rather suffer from an arid throat
than forfeit scripts potentially profound.
apologies to whom my grit offends;
but candor is on what my life depends.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Week in Review: Barack is Swahili for "That One"

This week has provided me with a lot of political events to think about... and consequently blog about.

First of all, the debate this Wednesday, which I already wrote a post about. Obama mentioned a plan, however, that I didn't give enough attention - nor did anyone else really - but I thought was a fabulous proposal and want to mention now. Obama pointed out America's inferior position in the automobile industry - despite the fact that the auto industry was born in the U.S. - due to the lack of alternative fuel technology in comparison with the Asian auto industries. He suggested that we bring that technology to the U.S. and start catching up with the East - which I think is am amazing plan to create jobs, improve the environment with greener technology, and bringing the pride of the automobile back to the United States. That's my 2 cents.

Thursday night brought a breath of fresh air and some laughs at the Alfred E. Smith memorial dinner in New York. There were some hilarious jabs the candidates took at themselves and at each other:

The Chicago Tribune published the following article: (I actually just left the quotes from McCain and Obama that I thought were funny)

NEW YORK -- Barack Obama and John McCain appeared together last night at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. The entertaining pool report here comes from the New York Times' Jeff Zeleny:

"I can't shake that feeling that some people here are pulling for me," Mr. McCain said, turning to the far side of the stage. "I'm delighted to see you here tonight, Hillary."

Mr. McCain assured those in the ballroom that his rival was not fazed by being called, "That one," during the second presidential debate.

"He doesn't mind at all, in fact, he even has a pet name for me: George Bush," Mr. McCain said.

After a handshake, Mr. Obama took the lectern for his turn.

"I was originally told the venue would be Yankee Stadium. Can somebody tell me what happened to the Greek columns that I requested?" Mr. Obama said.

Later, he added: "I do love the Waldorf Astoria. I hear from the doorstep you can see all the way to the Russian Tea Room."

Mr. Obama, noting his age, said he did not have the pleasure of knowing Al Smith, but added: "From everything Senator McCain has told me, he was a great man."

Mr. Obama called it "a tribute to American democracy" that the two rivals could come together two weeks before the election to "sit down at the same dinner table without preconditions."

Finally, Mr. Obama did a riff on the question that Mr. McCain has been asking voters: Who is the real Barack Obama?

"I actually was not born in a manger," Mr. Obama said.

"Barack is actually Swahili for That One," he added.

"I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't think I would ever run for president," he continued.

He predicted that several October surprises were likely to occur, including: "My middle name is actually Steve," he said, speaking over loud applause. "Barack Steve Obama."

The McCains - the senator and his wife - clapped only tepidly when Mr. Obama said, "Fox News accused me of having two African American children in wedlock." The crowd, it seemed, wasn't sure how to respond.

Friday brought back the mudslinging as both candidates hit the campaign trail, with Obama in Virginia and McCain in Florida - and horribly received "RoboCalls" from the RNC regarding Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers were sent out throughout many states, most of which were crucial swing states for this election. Here's the rather nondescript phone call recording from the RoboCall:

Hello. I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. capitol, the Pentagon, a judge's home and killed Americans. And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country. This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee at 202-863-8500.

This Saturday, Sarah Palin appeared on Saturday Night Live as herself, to introduce the show in the beginning ("Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!") - and all I can say is that she sucked, she wasn't funny, and everyone who thinks she's "so great for getting out there with people who clearly don't like her, how brave!" can eat it - all it did was further illustrate how grossly unqualified she is and what little knowledge she has by just playing up her "pretty face" (which I personally don't see).

I'm excited to see what ridiculousness next week holds...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"For it's ONE! TWO! THREE! strikes you're out..."

Another one for the books... The third, and final, debate between John McCain and Barack Obama before the 2008 presidential election was tonight. This one was critical for the candidates, as its the last time many undecided voters will hear from the candidates before the election, which is less than 3 weeks away.

McCain had a lot at stake; the debate has been regarded as a "make or break" moment for his campaign based on current polls and the overall condition the campaign has been in recently. How did it end up?

Well, McCain definitely showed that he deserves his latest self-given label: fighter. He was on the offensive all night, he didn't hesitate to bring up Obama's associations with Bill Ayers and ACORN, he boldly questioned Obama about some of his proposals, and he directly addressed Obama's comparisons between McCain and Bush by suggesting he should have run 4 years ago if he wanted to run a campaign against Bush's policies. But he also seemed a bit more of an attack dog than a composed political figure - especially based on his physical demeanor alone. His eyes were very red, watery, and he was constantly blinking, he rolled his eyes at Obama, he did his odd little tongue-jab move numerous times, he interrupted Obama often, corrected the moderator when he asked about climate control ("climate change," he interjected), and he "sneered" (in the words of Anderson Cooper) quite often.

Obama certainly appeared to be on the defensive for the beginning of the debate, but he seemed to handle it well. When addressed about Ayers and ACORN, he clearly explained his relationships with both, their scandals, and how the two do not relate to one another - and how neither Ayers nor ACORN relate to his campaign. He didn't fare so well when McCain accused him of never standing up to Democratic party leaders; his examples were weak and somewhat stretched, which McCain told him were unconvincing later on in the debate. However, he eloquently addressed the issues McCain challenged him on (McCain even complimented his eloquence twice, although in a very sarcastic tone that accused him of being misleading).

Moderator Bob Schieffer asked some questions I was not expecting - but I was so glad they were addressed. These questions included topics like the negative, attacking tones of both campaigns, why each of their running mates would make a better Vice President than the other, and (gasp) abortion. McCain referred to himself as "proudly pro-life" and that he thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned and abortion laws should be decided by the state, and Obama said he believes abortion is a moral issue best decided personally by women and not the government, especially not the state.

In regard to the extremely hostile ads in the media and supporters at rallies, Obama accused McCain of releasing nothing but negative ads in the media (which's post-debate fact check said was true from Sept. 28 to the present time). Interestingly, McCain defended the supporters at his rallies as "patriotic" and some of the best people in the country - even though some of his supporters have caused the media to give him a little flack because of their extreme behavior.

McCain did ALRIGHT... but I certainly don't think whipped Obama's you know what. He was supposed to deliver an amazing campaign message and win over thousands of undecided voters if he wanted to revive his chances to win. He mentioned Joe the Plumber WAY too many times, he didn't get a clear campaign point across - and he kept claiming that Sarah Palin's child has autism when the damn kid has Downs syndrome (way to pay attention, Johnny) - among other things.

Quoting Hillary Clinton's post-debate interview with Wolf Blitzer - I'm getting more and more excited to see "President Obama" in the White House.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What Impression of the Candidates Can We Draw from their Supporters?

So... I've noticed something a bit disquieting about this presidential election... Okay, so that's an understatement... I've noticed a few things that have been unnerving. This, however, isn't something the politicians themselves have done (or not done, for that matter).

It's the way politically-active people are expressing themselves in response to the candidates - and the fact that there is no way to regulate the way civilians express their political beliefs, no matter how false or downright disrespectful they are.

Every 4 years, those of us who love politics are given a huge fix of what we need via the presidential election. Unfortunately, this also serves as bait for the loonies to come out of the woodwork. I'm obviously not a quiet, respectful political supporter, and I'm certainly not claiming that by any means. Sure I spend a lot of time writing a blog in which most of my posts are criticizing McCain - but I have no idea if anyone is even reading it, and that isn't the point of my writing anyway. Even though I'm vocal about my beliefs, I am adamant about getting my facts straight before giving any kind of opinion - which I think is SO important.

You can imagine how troubling it is, then, when I get some of the most ridiculous anti-Obama email forwards full of typos and false information - that people are seriously considering gospel! Some of the things I've read have been absolutely over-the-top and it really really scares me that some people are actually believing these things and basing their votes accordingly!

Email, the internet, and essentially all forms of mass, rapid-communication have created a climate for this election that was unprecedented. So many more people have access to the internet and computers than they did only 4 years ago, and this has created some good and some bad effects. People have a much easier time staying informed and can get information the second it's published. We can check on polls, predictions, statements, or whatever our little hearts desire with the click of a mouse. But of course, this also means lies, propaganda, false attacks, and hatred can spread like wildfire.

I've spent a bit of time at PolitiFact's "Chain E-Mails" website, which currently (as of 10/14) contains fact-checking data and information for 39 chain emails; of those, 2 were true, 5 were mostly true, 2 were half true, 3 were barely true, 16 were false, and 11 were "Pants On Fire" (their rank for absurdly false). Out of the 16 false emails, 11 of them attacked Barack Obama, 5 attacked Hillary Clinton (1 attacked both of them), and 1 was a false positive email about John McCain. Out of the 11 Pants On Fire emails, 10 of them attacked Obama and the other attacked Hillary Clinton. As for the varying levels of true emails, none of the true emails are about Obama, 3 of the mostly true emails attack Obama (1 is in regard to him replacing the American flag on his plane with his campaign logo and the other 2 aren't about him directly, but about his church and the ties it has to Africa), 1 of the half-true emails targets Michelle Obama (stating her goal in life is to put the black community "first and foremost"), and 2 of the barely true emails attack both Obama and Hillary Clinton (the other attacks solely Clinton). How many of these attack emails directly target McCain? Zero, of course! To be fair, 1 half-true email targeted Sarah Palin's attempts to have books removed from the Wasilla library (there was no formal request made by Palin, but she did begin dialogues on multiple occasions with the librarian in which she asked about the book-banning process), and 1 of the Pants On Fire emails was the alleged list of books Sarah Palin wanted to have banned.

Some of the outrageous false claims against Barack Obama include his (non-existent) involvement in the Islamic religion, his refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance, that his church only allows African American individuals to join, that he is the coming of the anti-Christ, and that he was sworn into the Senate on a Koran rather than the Bible.

It's kind of interesting when you juxtapose the amount of false information spread about each candidate. Based on the numbers alone, it seems to me that there are a lot more angry and dishonest people out there who dislike Obama than there are who dislike McCain... And it seems to me that if people dislike one it's usually because they support the other...

Another interesting comparison is the behavior exhibited by supporters of each candidate at their respective rallies. Recently at a McCain rally, his supported actually booed him when he called Obama a "decent man." At one point, he gave the microphone to a woman who wanted to ask him some questions - she explained that she didn't trust Obama because he is an Arab. An Arab?! John McCain immediately took the microphone away from her and told her that he wasn't an Arab, and then he moved on to the next question. Conversely, during the recent Biden rally in Scranton, PA, it was mentioned that McCain was a war hero and that he did wonderful things for our country. And the audience agreed with polite applause.

Interesting, yet again.

I won't lie to you - I certainly mock certain aspects of John McCain's character and judgment. Many of my friends love to joke about his age, which is one of the more popular jabs at McCain. We like to point out that he left his disfigured wife of many years for the young, rich, Cindy Hensley. Of course, there's always the constant similarities we seem to discover between him and George W. Bush. But his age is a number; his divorce and remarriage are documented record; and his voting similarities to Bush are also a matter of public record. I'm sure there are some untrue anti-McCain hate-mails circulating the internet somewhere, but for some reason they aren't as widespread or publicized as those against Obama - perhaps because the emails against Obama are just so asinine, they'd be hard to top.

The tone of the anti-Obama sentiments are (generally) extremely angry, ferocious, and extreme. Accusing somebody of being an America-hating, secret Islam who is the ANTI-CHRIST is absolutely hateful. Shouting anti-Obama remarks in the middle of McCain's statements about his decency is hateful. Suggesting Obama is a thief who takes one's dignity is hateful. The Republican rallies are a breeding ground for hatred - Slate Magazine published an article that takes a look at the extremism displayed at such rallies. They focused on the phenomenon from a sociological/social psychological standpoint and asserted the theory that a person who is outspoken, loud, and more opinionated on a topic is often perceived as more passionate about it. They also look at the theory that like-minded people tend to feed off of each other and polarize to the extremes when they're in a group. The loudest, most opinionated person who exhibits the most hatred toward Barack Obama is perceived as the biggest McCain supporter (according to fellow McCain supporters), essentially.

I wonder if I will ever live to see the day when hatred isn't a sign of passionate support for the opposition, when ignorant people don't have more power over the perception of candidates than the candidates do themselves, and when people will start to use their brains rather than let themselves be manipulated.

Confused About the Election?

I received this video via MySpace and thought it was pretty interesting... It's only 3 minutes and totally worth watching.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Political Banter at it's Finest

I am somewhat of a political black sheep in my family. My mom, step-dad, and father are all registered Republicans. Of my extended family members that I have discussed politics with, I'd estimate about 90% of them vote Republican. I, therefore, am an easy target for anti-liberal opinions - and some family members really take pleasure in imposing their beliefs upon me - and so is my email inbox.

A couple of months ago, I received the following email from my step-dad:

Hello everyone, As you know I am not a very political person. I just wanted to pass along that Senator Obama came to Bagram Afghanistan for about an hour on his visit to 'The War Zone'. I wanted to share with you what happened. He got off the plane and got into a bullet proof vehicle, got to the area to meet with the Major General (2 Star) who is the commander here at Bagram.

As the Soldiers were lined up to shake his hand he blew them off and didn't say a word as he went into the conference room to meet the General. As he finished, the vehicles took him to the ClamShell (pretty much a big top tent that military personnel can play basketball or work out in with weights) so he could take his publicity pictures playing basketball. He again shunned the opportunity to talk to Soldiers to thank them for their service.

So really he was just here to make a showing for the American's back home that he is their candidate for President. I think that if you are going to make an effort to come all the way over here you would thank those that are providing the freedom that they are providing for you. I swear we got more thanks from the NBA Basketball Players or the Dallas Cowboy Cheer leaders than from Senator, who wants to be the President of the United States. I just don't understand how anyone would want him to be our Commander-and-Chief. It was almost that he was scared to be around those that provide the freedom for him and our great country.

If this is blunt and to the point I am sorry but I wanted you all to know what kind of caliber of person he really is. What you see in the news is all fake.

In service,
CPT Jeffrey S. Porter
Battle Captain
TF Wasatch
American Soldier

Yesterday, I was on and I discovered the following report:
Just after Sen. Barack Obama visited Afghanistan during his recent trip abroad, a scathing e-mail from a captain at Bagram Air Base spread virus-style, infecting blogs and inboxes across the country.

"As you know I am not a very political person," the attack begins. "I just wanted to pass along that Senator Obama came to Bagram Afghanistan for about an hour on his visit to ‘The War Zone’. I wanted to share with you what happened."

What happened, according to the author — who is reportedly a Utah Army National Guard intelligence officer — is that Obama went straight from his plane to a bulletproof vehicle, then to a meeting with a general, ignoring a line of soldiers waiting to shake his hand.

Afterward, Obama went to the Clamshell, a recreation tent, so photographers could take pictures of him playing basketball, the e-mail says. "He again shunned the opportunity to talk to Soldiers to thank them for their service," the author wrote.

"I just don’t understand how anyone would want him to be our Commander-and-Chief," the self-described apolitical officer says. "It was almost that he was scared to be around those that provide the freedom for him and our great country."

For good measure, he adds: "What you see in the news is all fake."

What about what you see in your inbox?

We've examined chain e-mails in depth, and found a great many contain falsehoods. This is unexceptional in that regard.

Obama and the two senators with him did not brush off the troops, said Capt. Christian Patterson, a spokesman for the Army's Combined Joint Task Force-101 (CJTF, in Pentagon speak) at Bagram Air Field.

"There were three members of the congressional delegation and they did stop and take time to shake hands with service members here," Patterson said.

In fact, briefings "were delayed as the senators took time to shake hands, speak to troops, and pose for photographs," said a press release issued by the Army.

And that bit about blowing off the troops for photo ops on the basketball court? "Sen. Obama did not go to the 'Clamshell' recreational tent or play basketball during his stop here," the press release says. (Obama played basketball with troops at a prior stop in Kuwait.)

"His itinerary was set by CJTF-101 prior to the visit," the press release continues. "While CJTF-101 cannot say if this blog is authentic, the comments in it are inappropriate and factually incorrect."

We were unable to speak directly with the e-mail's author, identified in most versions of the e-mail and in published accounts as Capt. Jeffrey S. Porter of the 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion. Patterson said military policy prohibited him from saying whether or not a Jeffrey Porter was serving at Bagram.

The Army Times reported that it corresponded with Porter, who asked them to "delete my e-mail and not forward it after checking my sources some of the information that was put out in my e-mail was wrong. This e-mail was meant only for my family." The New York Daily News reported a similar exchange but did not identify the e-mail author by name.

But because the military directly and unequivocally contradicted the most damaging allegations at issue — that Obama shunned troops on various occasions, including on his way to a photo opportunity on the basketball court — we rule this claim False.
I rarely (if ever) respond to anti-Obama emails I receive, but I thought I should inform my step-dad of the truth. The following is what our banter consisted of as a result.

The initial email I sent:
A few months ago you sent me an email authored by Cpt. Jeffrey S. Porter, stating Obama ignored soldiers and refused to shake their hands when he was there this summer. You know I don't usually respond to the conservative emails I get (although I do read them all), but I feel compelled to respond to this one. I think it is of the utmost importance that we show our overseas troops that we respect them and what they're doing there - that we take care of them for taking care of us. I think it's very important to take them seriously and show them respect, so it kind of disappoints me when people take advantage of the national sentiment to support our troops and they exploit it for propaganda.

I'm not trying to prove you wrong or argue with you - although we don't agree on much politically, I think we both have appreciation and respect for our troops, which is why I thought you should read what I discovered for yourself.

Him: "Democrat's spin."
Me: "It's a nonpartisan fact check. Do you really think everything is a conspiracy?"
Him: "Who are you?"
Me: "That, my friend, is for me to know and you to lose sleep over."
Him: "Crawl back into your eco green VW bus with your peace stickers and "Nixon Lied" sticker... Hillary!" [For the record, I do not drive an eco green VW bus with stickers all over it - I drive a Honda with an Obama sticker on the back]
Me: "Hahaha! I will! Wanna go for a spin?"
Him: "That would be a waste of 2 natural resources..."
Me: "Good point. I'll just check facts all day instead."
Him: "POLR...."
Me: "Better to know the facts than to spread false ones... It takes more effort to seek the truth than it does to assume the truth doesn't it? I'd say people on the POLR are the ones who buy into everything they read/hear without putting forth the effort to determine what's true and what's false. Then again, that's probably just my bleeding heart talking..."
Him: "What's POLR?"
Me: "I thought you were referring to the path of least resistance."
Him: "I was... I just could not remember what it meant... I had to Google it when you used it."
Me: "Hahaha! Stop it! My sides hurt! You are by far my favorite person to banter with."
Him: "Must be that Republican inside you trying to get out."
Me: "You're killing me, Smalls! It's just really hard to find a Republican who's wits match mine - I think that's why I enjoy it so much."
Him: "Exorcise more. Let the demon out."
Me: "Are you referring to my inner-Republican as a demon? Funny, I probably would have chosen the same exact word."

That was the point at which he decided to get back to work, so it was the end. It totally put me in a fantastic mood though. My step-dad has a lot to do with my passion for politics. In 2004, when he found out that I was supporting Kerry, he jumped right on the opportunity to grill me every chance he got. Unfortunately for both of us, the only real reason I could give him for supporting Kerry was that he was better than Bush. As far as I was concerned, it was really a choice between the lesser of two evils. Although I didn't give him a whole lot to challenge, we still talked politics daily (I worked for him, so the office was a constant Bush/Kerry debate before electio day). Since he was very smart, informed, and well-spoken, I learned the importance of being well-informed and checking the facts - I wanted nothing more than to hold my own in a debate against him. If he hadn't forced me to talk to and battle with him every day, if he hadn't made me feel dumb when I stated false information and propaganda - I wouldn't have realized the importance of being knowledgeable.

I really do think he has this goal to "convert" me into a Republican - maybe it's because I always remind him that my vote cancels his out. Either way... I love the guy. Even though he's a Republican... Ewww! ;)

I forgot how much I missed President Clinton

What a weekend - while Republicans were busy backing away from the McCain presidential campaign, two BIG players in the Democratic party joined forces with Obama and Biden. President Bill and Senator Hillary Clinton appeared together with Joe and Jill Biden in Scranton, PA this weekend to urge voters to get to the polls and elect Barack Obama into the presidency.

First of all, I absolutely adore Bill Clinton. Say what you will, but the man was a great president. And damn, the man can speak. Hearing him address the voters in Scranton with an appeal to change the nation took me back to the good ol' days.

Second of all, I may like Hillary Clinton more than I had originally thought. I was pretty adamant in my belief that she would not have been the best candidate for the presidency - and I still stand by that statement. I don't feel that way solely because of Hillary's qualifications or platform, but largely because of the status of our nation. I think someday the American people will be ready for a female president, but I sadly do not think that day is today.

Plus, if the election was between McCain and Clinton instead of Obama, McCain would probably win because of the economic crisis. However, he probably wouldn't have chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate in an attempt to win over the female undecided vote - so his ticket may not be the same thing it is today. This is all too much "what if?" though, so I'll just be thankful the right Democratic candidate is running.

Seeing both Clintons rally for Obama really helped renew my faith in the government. I know Hillary was pissed that she lost the primaries to Obama, I would be too. But when politicians are able to put aside their personal crap and stand up for what is right and necessary to bring the country to a better place, that shows what's up. ESPECIALLY when the homeboys who lost to McCain are going on the record AGAINST his campaign. Kinda makes you think about who is fit to run the country.


"It took a Democratic president to clean up after the last President Bush, it's going to take a Democratic president to clean up after this President Bush. Make no mistake about it. We've done it before and we'll do it again. America will once again rise from the ashes of the Bushes." - Hillary Clinton at the Biden rally.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Waking Up and Saying, "I Think I'll Go to Law School Today!"

I found this article entitled The Mighty Esquire: 12 Step Program to Law School on the website and I thought it was really funny and often sounded like the steps I took last year (some of which I will need to take again this year) in my pursuit of a legal education. If you've been there, you will totally appreciate this.

by Erin Spradlin
© 2005

1.) Age 18: After years of coddling by your parents who pay your bills, make your bed and do your dishes, stumble into college advisor’s office. Think about fact that even if it is archaic and fucked up, you hope that an inheritance or “marrying well” is in your future. Lost in this dream, spit out “Anthropology” or something arbitrary when asked what you want your major to be. Ignore the next four years worth of signs that say your only future is in your parents’ basement.

2.) Age 24: Although you are not adverse to your parents’ cable package or the free meals, start to feel slight embarrassment at direction of life. Perturbed that the Level II Customer Service Technician with the Ferrari poster in his cubicle keeps insisting that you remind him of him in his youth, you start to consider post graduate degrees.

3.) Watch last ten minutes of Law & Order and feel self over come with deluded fantasies of how the American legal system works. Law school it is!

4.) Lose law school inspiration during brief romantic stint that is curbed by your parents’ constant presence and knowing eyes. Find inspiration again upon reading the family Christmas letter and discovering you are by far the worst, most disappointing part about it.

5.) Sign up for pre-LSAT class (offered by Kaplan or the Princeton Review). Feel nausea as you experience first departure of $1000 allotment on glorious legal path. Feel more sick upon realizing it’s actually $1300 (without tax!) Attend class once a week for fourteen weeks leading up to LSAT date. Focus on dumbest person in class to bring self esteem back where it should be.

6.) Register for the worst test you will ever take in your whole life, (worse even than that test you took on your campus’s HIV awareness day) the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT.) Feel annoyance at discovery that before you can actually register for the LSAT, you must get to know the Law School Admissions Counsel (LSAC)- which is an online database that does legal “stuff.” (

Within the LSAC site, there is something called the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS) which will send a report (when the time comes) to your schools of choice that contains the following information: an undergraduate academic summary, copies of undergraduate transcripts, LSAT scores, and letters of recommendation.

You know this is going to cost you or your parents money, and your right – it is! $113 dollars to be exact. However, if you are truly serious about law school, there is no way around the LSAC or the LSDAS- unless, of course, you live in Canada.

7.) Sheepishly ask your parents for an additional $123.00 (the cost of registering for the LSAT.) If they seem disgruntled, explain to them that you’ll make it up to them in the future by suing wealthy people, regardless of their guilt.

If you decide you want to switch test dates after you register, well, surprise, surprise- it’ll cost you $32. If you decide you are, in fact, too dumb to attend law school and decline to take the test all together, you will be penalized $79.00 for your efforts.

8.) You will be very, very sad if you arrive at the test center sans your admission ticket, because you will be disqualified from taking the LSAT. Assuming you want to go forward with the “soul crusher” though, make sure you show up with your admissions ticket and a current ID. Number two pencils would also be helpful.

If you sense that you did very, very poorly –Connie Chung singing on a piano- poorly, you can take your test to the administrator at the end and tell said person that you don’t want it counted. You will never know the score or see the test again.

If you do get your score, and are displeased with it, you can take the test up to three times in two years. Likewise, LSAT scores stay valid for five years.

9) After waiting 3-6 weeks for results, decide if you want to proceed or if you want to get a Ferrari poster for your cubicle.

Assuming you want to proceed, start collecting transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Schools may vary in their requirements, but the LSDAS wants two letters of recommendation. For reasons unbeknownst to me, if you have been in the work force for less than five years, they want your letters of recommendation to be from professors- even if an employer/supervisor/etc. would be far more qualified to attest to where you are in life and how serious you take your work product.

10.) And, finally, it is time to search deep, deep inside your soul and come up with two double spaced pages on why you want to pursue law. It is unacceptable to state that you a.) want to make a lot of money or b.) are very, very stupid at picking out undergraduate degrees and feel that you have no other choice. They don’t want a full scale explanation of your academic record, nor do they necessarily want a sappy tale on the saddest thing that ever happened to you that transformed you into a moral super hero.

There is room for humor, if you are funny. Mostly though, it should be akin to a cover letter. These two pages should expand on the qualities that are best about you that you cannot appropriately put down on a resume and which would be a good qualities in a lawyer. Are you a good listener? Are you anal as hell? Do you like to designate photocopying to other people? And, it needs to read well- like a well crafted essay (because that’s what it's supposed to be). They are reading a lot of these things, and it wouldn’t hurt if yours was memorable (in a good way, not a Connie Chung/pianos way) for its content.

11.) Once your LSDAS file is complete- which if you have followed all of the above steps it is now- you should pick your schools. These schools will then have an online application (most likely) for you to fill out and want a copy of your LSDAS report.

You should apply to a minimum of three schools. The first school should be a school where much smarter, better looking people will actually go and hope that something has gone horribly wrong within their system and they let you in. This probably won’t happen, but what probably will happen is that they will send you an unforgivably thin envelope and tears will commence. You should apply to a school where people with a similar LSAT/GPA attend. You will most likely get into this school as long as your essay and recommendations are solid. On the mere chance that they are not, you should apply to a lesser school, so that you can either go to law school or say, snidely, later in life, “I was accepted to law school- I just chose not to go.”

The one factor all three of these schools should share is a good bar pass rate. That is far and away more important than their “tier” status. There are four tiers for law schools, but bar pass rate is really what counts. 80% and higher is a feasible percentage.

Prepare to give all three of these schools, the one you’ll never get into, the one you’ll probably get into and the one you don’t want to go to, $50.00 a piece. That’s how much they charge to read your Wonderful Me Essay.

12.) Once you get the “thicker” envelope, you know the envelope that makes you a decent dinner party topic again for your parents and not a change of subject, accept their admissions offer with a significant check addressed to their school. Stop spending money on yourself immediately. Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) immediately. Do everything that you thought might be fun before the worst three years of your life begins. And, last but not least, congratulate yourself.

..and a Twixter is WHAT exactly?

Apparently I'm a little slow on the uptake, because I just recently learned of the Twixter Phenomenon that was officially introduced by Time magazine in 2005. The ironic part: I'm a "twixter" through and through, and I'm glad to realize I'm not alone.

Time published an article examining 18-25 year old people who experience an extra developmental phase in their lives between adolescence and adulthood. Historically, humans have developed from babies to children to adolescents to adults. Recently, there seems to have been a cultural change that created an interim, or sort of pause, that delays the onset of archetypal "adult" characteristics (getting married, having children, buying a home). 30 years ago, the average woman was married by 21 and had her first child at 22; now the average woman gets married and has a child at the age of 25. The statistics and evident shift in lifestyle are so flagrant that social scientists, psychologists, and other experts have conducted exhaustive research and discovered a newly-evolving demographic group; referred to as "kidults," "boomerang kids," "thresholders," and "emerging adults" - going through the "youthhood" or "adultescence." Essentially, more and more 20-somethings are taking longer than 4 years to graduate from college, and post-graduation they start to flail a little bit - often hopping from job to job, avoiding committed relationships, acting like they did as teenagers, or moving back home with their parents... All as a way to avoid impending doom, a.k.a. responsibility. They seem to constantly be between and betwixt (and since tweener has recently been assigned to the pre-teen, Hannah Montana-loving crowd, we got twixter by default. I guess at least it doesn't rhyme with weiner I suppose. That's a plus). I think this betwixt phase is easier for people to grasp if they think of it as a quarter-life crisis.

More and more 20-somethings started going through an evidently difficult phase in life, and it started to scare the crap out of older generations. Sociological, psychological, and demographic research was undoubtedly the mandatory action - those Baby Boomers really needed to know what the hell was wrong with people who didn't want to marry at 21, didn't want children at 22 (if ever), didn't find a job right after graduation, or took longer than 4 years to graduate. The result: a better understanding of why our generation acts the way it does, more sympathy towards us, and the piéce de rèsistance: an official label (we have Time to thank for that).

So.. What are the reasons for the twixter phenomenon? Simply put, life is getting harder and it's taking us longer to become adults - on various levels.

Back when our parents were our age, a college degree was like a Golden Ticket to a career. Since the 1970s, there has been a 53% increase in people who attend college - making college degrees worth less and less in the job market. Personally, I have a bachelor's degree in psychology that has done absolutely nothing for me since graduation - it's one of those degrees you know is useless but you stick with it anyway for whatever reason (my reason was that changing majors would extend my graduation date, which my parents were not cool with). That leads me to the next characteristic of college that has changed over the years: the average amount of time it takes to graduate. Obviously, it has gone up - the new average college student takes five years to graduate, not four. I know this stresses parents out - mine were SO adamant that I graduate in 4 years. It wasn't an argument, I really had no options (all I can say about that is "oops"). I totally wish I didn't feel so pressured to finish in a certain amount of time, because I feel like I missed out on the chance to make the most of my college experience. My final GPA is just horribly embarrassing and so much less than what I'm capable of - I was in such a hurry to graduate that I really didn't care about my grades. Also, I grew less and less interested in my major after my sophomore year and eventually found it really tedious and boring and pointless to study because I had no intention of going to graduate school for psychology - and there's no way I can be enthusiastic about going to class if I really don't care what I'm learning. Now I'm paying the price, as I'm learning via the law school application process. As for the useless degree? I'm unemployed - in case you need proof.

Also an issue with college graduates: the debt acquired while in college is taking much longer to pay off, which delays the financial stability indicative of "adulthood." Crap gets more expensive as time goes on. Plus, students depend on loans more often than grants, which used to be the other way around when college wasn't as expensive.

EXPECTATIONS. The way I'm gonna describe this is a gross over-generalization, but it's really the easiest way for me to do it so deal with it. Twixters grew up in the 1990s and witnessed - pretty much daily - the impact of the internet and how easy it was for people to strike it rich almost overnight (improved communication makes it easier to start a small business, buying stock became easier, people started selling their junk on eBay for some serious coin, etc.). In a time of instant gratification (and in a society that drools over it), we're kind of conditioned to expect immediate results; unfortunately, life doesn't really work that way, and it causes a lot of anxiety when we don't get an instant fix all the time. Something I've personally noticed the most among my circle of friends is the desire to live the same lifestyle that our parents do, at half their age. Again, that instant gratification expectation kicks in and we just want to live like that now. Another lovely way to crash, burn, and have a quarter-life crisis.

Our generation has really been fed the idea that "one can accomplish whatever they set their mind to," and that our options are limitless. We're told to do something that we LOVE for a living, and that work should be enjoyable. So if we find ourselves working a job that we hate, we'll quit because we really want to find our career - we're idealists at the core, and we're holding off for that perfect job. For that perfect mate. For that perfect opportunity.

We were also raised with the expectation that our college degrees would be worth something. It's kind of a cruel smack in the face when you finally graduate and nothing changes. I mean seriously... Society kinda deals us a crap hand.

SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR. In recent years, the idea of getting married and starting a family later in life has become more widely accepted and practiced. People are becoming more and more independent and self-relient, and popular culture often portray being single as a glamorous, fun, desireable way to spend your 20s, 30s, 40s - or eternity (Sex and the City, anyone?). Some people have absolutely no desire to start a family. Some people want to have as much fun as they can before they tie themselves down, so they live it up until then. Whatever the reason, it's not frowned upon anymore when people make the decision to stay unattached. The idea of dating a variety of people has started to progress from a promiscuous, slutty, dangerous generalization into a something more understood, accepted, and attributed to the desire to find a soul mate - not just a spouse. Perfection takes time to find...

Most of the experts conclude that twixters are melting down, moving home, and putting off responsibility by no fault of our own; growing up is simply harder than it used to be, thanks to how we are groomed by society. Some say we are way more concerned than previous generations when it comes to making a successful, meaningful, enjoyable transition into adulthood, so we'll put it off until conditions are right. Idealism and self-actualization are really important to a lot of twixters because our society (which has become increasingly liberal over time - another thing that scares some older people) has told us it should be. For the most part, the experts say that this period of self-discovery is a positive thing that should be used to experience as much as we can, to learn and grow as people, and that it should be used to our advantage. Nonetheless, twixters are perceived as lazy, indecisive, confused, and even frightening to some people. Experts say that's just a misunderstanding. They also say twixters are officially here to stay; the phenomenon is predicted to be permanent. It's global too; though they're known in other countries by other names:
  • Boomerang Kids - Canada
  • Kippers (acronym that stands for Kids In Parents Pocketbooks Eroding Retirement Savings) - England
  • Tanguy Syndrome (named after the movie Tanguy, about a man living with his parents) - France
  • Nesthocker (translation: Nest Squatter) - Germany
  • Mammone (word for a young man who loves mama's cooking) - Italy
  • Freeter (combo of words meaning "free" and "worker") - Japan (the trend has even been debated in Japanese congress)
Although I'm not exactly thrilled by the idea that the label given to my generation sounds like a candy bar, I'm just thankful for the awareness that has come with it. I never felt as though my generation was a part of Generation X; I actually get really annoyed when my peers claim that we are. So I was very pleased to learn of this twixter phenomenon for 2 reasons: 1) my generation has a label distinguishing us from Generation X - giving us our own identity (or prejudice, depending on how you look at it), and 2) I'm not the only one who feels overwhelmed by the onset of adulthood. Its the hallmark of our generation.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Who is this ignoramus in New York with a typing malady?

Absentee ballots were mailed to voters of Rensselaer County in upstate New York this week; voters could vote to elect the Republican candidate, John McCain, OR they could vote to elect the Democratic candidate, Barack Osama. Yes, OSAMA. Apparently, someone unintentionally made an uh-oh. The commissioners at the election office issued a statement in which they said they "regretted the error" and admitted their obvious embarrassment.

One of my biggest pet peeves during presidential election time is how often people give in to completely false information (like some of the ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS conservative propaganda anti-Obama emails I've read) and preach said information as if it was gospel. Especially if the information in question is nothing more than a conspiracy theory. I really hate those... In my opinion, nothing sounds more ignorant and pathetic than someone spouting off conspiracy-like "facts" (like when my step-dad told me Sarah Palin was "set-up" to look stupid in her interview with Katie Couric... I mean SERIOUSLY!?). However, something sketchy seems to be afoot here... Let's consider the possibility of a typographical error. Now look at your keyboard and consider the placement of the B and S keys. How often do you accidentally type "bincerely" or "rememser to sring your sathing suit to the sarseque!" Rarely, I'm guessing. I'm sure you'd be even more aware of it if you were essentially comparing a change-inspiring presidential candidate Barack Obama to Public Enemy Number 1 Osama Bin Laden. Especially if there has been a lot of attention paid to the similarity of their names. All I can say is that it's true what they say: Always have someone check your work before turning it in.

I certainly don't think the typographically-disabled individual responsible for this blunder intended for 300 Osama ballots to be sent out. Some attention has been paid to the fact that the commissioners from the election office never specifically said what the "human error" was. One could assume the error was one of the typographical nature... But technically the error could have been allowing the ballots to be sent out without checking them. On that token, something that started as a silly practical joke intended for only the eyes of a few people ("Hey, look! I made it possible to vote for a terrorist! Hee hee I'm so silly and bored at work!") could have - by complete accident - been distributed to New York voters. That itself could be a "human error" right? The commissioners' apology could totally cover that possibility. I'm not gonna lose any sleep over why this happened and what actually transpired; it was a mistake, it was in horribly poor taste, and there's really nothing that can be done about it now.

The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the New York elections office needs a more thorough and rigorous intelligence evaluation for their employees...

Election Simulators: Possibly Accurate OR Premature Joculation?

So I'm a little paranoid about presidential elections; 2000 and 2004 are my only previous electoral experiences - and both were dodgy. I've learned not to read too heavily in to polls (especially after learning in 2000 that the popular vote doesn't necessarily matter), and I've seen that the electoral votes aren't so easy to predict. Nonetheless, I like to know what the polls are saying and what the experts think, so I still keep myself informed on the current data.

I found an electoral simulator that takes regularly updated state-by-state poll results and turns these results into probabilities. The website explains it in detail. Swing states are the ones that could alter the outcome in favor of one candidate over the other, since each candidate is as likely as the other to win those electoral votes.

The site keeps track of the last 1000 simulations run by visitors to the website and comes up with rudimentary statistics (mean, median, mode) for the outcomes (McCain wins, Obama wins, Tie). I know it's not a prediction of the outcome, it's simply fundamental statistics that doesn't take everything into account when simulating probable outcomes - but these statistics are too interesting to ignore.

As of October 11 at 4:00 pm:
Election Winner:
Obama - 99.9%
McCain - 0.1%
Tie - 0.0%

Median Electoral Votes:
Obama - 334
McCain - 204

Average Electoral Votes:
Obama - 333
McCain - 205

Range of Electoral Votes:
Obama - 249-390
McCain - 148-289

Another interesting computation: based on the most recent undecided voter data, they compute the possible allocation of their votes between the 2 candidates, compare it to the existing "safe" electoral votes, and then determine the combination of states necessary for each candidate to reach 270 electoral votes. Assuming the current site statistics (swing states: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada - totaling 111 electoral votes "up for grabs"), McCain has to get all of the remaining swing states' electoral votes to win. I chose to compare info from other sources with more recent data (changing the swing states around a a bit), which changed the math a little, proving further that although this data is interesting, it's not necessarily indicative of the actual election. Although the numbers are strongly in Obama's favor, it would be unwise to celebrate victory before it happens (ergo premature joculation... Cute, isn't it?).

Go play around and have fun on the website:
2008 Presidential Election Simulator

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sarah Palin Facebook Farce

I got this faux Facebook profile - poking fun at Sarah Palin - in an email last week. Its kind of blurry, so here's the content:

Status: Sarah Palin is job creation and shoring up the economy... trade... not seeing trade as a competitive, scary thing.
Networks: Alaska, Washington D.C.
Sex: Female
Relationship Status: Married to A Snowmobile Guy
Looking For: Friendship, Networking
Birthday: February 11, 1964
Hometown: Sandpoint, Idaho
Political Views: None - I'm not very political
Religious Views: Jesusologist

Alaskan Wolf Population added the Zombie Application (1:58 PM)
You joined the group Never Been Out of North America (11:58 AM)
You removed Katie Couric from your Friends (11:17 AM)
You added Katie Couric as a Friend (8:31 AM)
You banned the Reading Books Application (3:24 PM)
George Bush lost his phone again. Send me your number! (3:00 PM)
You ranked "Dumber Than a 5th Grader" in's Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? Challenge Quiz (2:41 PM)
You ignored the Bush Doctrine Application (1:01 PM)
Babies invited You to join the group Thanks For Not Killing Us (12:58 PM)
Levi Johnston had to take some gay ass baby class and watched some fugly bitch shit out a kid. Gonna puke.
The Wall:
Vladimir Putin, Sultan of Love wrote:
Sup gurl? Thanks for adding me, yo. I seen how you be starin at me from across the water. Why don't you sail that fine phat ass over here?
McCain wrote:
Hey! You're a woman, right? Are you busy for the next 4 years?
Bristol Palin wrote:
Mom, I've narrowed it down to 2 names: 1)Twix 2)Spatula Which one do you like better?
Todd Palin wrote:
Hey, Hon! I wanna drill baby, drill u 2nite! LOL! See you after Snowmobilin'!
Bill Clinton wrote:
Let's definitely meet up so I can "prep" you for the debates. We should "prep" at the same place we always "prep." I'll try not to "prep" in your hair this time. Sorry! LOL
Obama wrote:
Thanks for all your help and keep up the good work! Hahahaha! LOL
Jesus wrote:
You like me. We get it. Seriously, though, tone it the fuck down. WTF.

McCain; Bristol Palin, Russia, The Entire Population of Alaska, Wayne Gretzky, I'm Banging Your Daughter

Photo Albums:
Me+Some Vikings=Awesome and Pretty Pictures of Me!

Mothers Against Daughter's Diaphragms (M.A.D.D.), 1 Million Strong for Igloos, Evolution Schmevolution, Jesus Rode a Dino-Horse, Bein' Folksy!, Everything the Bible Says, Lipstick Fun!, Shoot Stuff in the Face Enthusiasts, Sometimes I Don't Make Any Sense Butter Mountain Walrus Choke, Sportscasters Turned Governors, M.I.L.F.s for Jesus

Places I've Been:

Humorous, especially with a prior knowledge of Facebook...

Funny Political E-Cards

Gallup: Candidate Support Trends

I was checking the latest Gallup election polls earlier today and I discovered a really interesting feature on their website: election trends in candidate support based on various groups, based on weekly aggregates of registered voters, starting in the summer months (some in June, some in August) and ending on the week of October 5 (as of today, October 10). There are 16 different groupings, but I selected the groups that interest me the most to discuss in this blog.

Overall Candidate Support
Starting the week of June 9-15 2008, Gallup lists the weekly aggregate of all registered voters in support of either Barack Obama or John McCain. From June-October, the percentages in favor of either candidate have been extremely close, with Obama in the lead for a majority of the weeks. Two exceptions: August 18-24, both candidates were tied at 45%; September 8-14, McCain led Obama 47% to 45%. Currently, Obama leads McCain 49% to 43%.

"Red," "Purple," and "Blue" States
No surprise here: from June-October, Red states offered more support for McCain and Blue states offered more support for Obama. Additionally, the highest percentage in favor of McCain from Red states has been 56% (Sept 8-14), and the highest percentage in favor of Obama from Blue states has been 57% (Sept 15-21; Sept 29-Oct 5). The most important and intriguing states here are the Purple, "swing" states - those that will most likely decide the election. From June-October, Purple states have consistently favored Obama to McCain. The Purple state percentages in support of either candidate have always been very close though; as close as 46% favoring Obama and 45% favoring McCain (Sept 1-7), and as distant as 51% for Obama and 41% for McCain (Sept 22-28). Currently, Obama leads McCain 50% to 41% in Purple states, 57% to 35% in Blue states, and McCain leads Obama 50% to 42% in Red states.
The numbers would probably be a bit more interesting if the Purple states were broken down individually to illustrate their biases in addition to the number of electoral votes held by each state... But the intrigue is half the fun.

Starting August 4, Gallup reported weekly aggregates of candidate support based on age, broken down into 4 groups: 18-29 years old, 30-49 years old, 50-64 years old, and 65 years or older. The youngest age group overwhelmingly prefers Obama to McCain; during Aug 4-10, they preferred Obama to McCain 59% to 30% - that has been the largest lead in this age bracket so far, with the closest percentages at 55% and 40% (favoring Obama). Voters older than 65 tend to favor McCain, with the largest margin at 8 percentage points (Aug 4-10, 47% to 39%; Aug 11-17, 46% to 38%). However, after the first 2 weeks of polls, Obama gained popularity with the oldest voting crowd, and he's currently favored in this age group at 45% to 44% (he also came in above McCain at 44% to 43% Aug 25-31).
The 2 middle age groups were almost always evenly split between the 2 candidates.
Currently, 18-29 year olds prefer Obama 60% to 34%; 30-49 year olds prefer Obama 50% to 44%; 50-64 year olds prefer Obama 47% to 45%; and 65+ year olds prefer Obama 45% to 44%.

Gallup created 4 groups based on voters' education levels: high school or less, some college, college graduate and postgraduate education. Given this information, we can each gather our own interpretation of each group; for the purposes of my analysis I'm going to generalize college graduates and postgraduate education as the more intelligent voters (I know it's an over generalization, but its based on pretty legit standards). Since Aug 4-10, Obama has been strongly favored each week by voters with postgraduate educational experience (leading by as many as 21 percentage points); Obama and McCain have been pretty equally favored among college graduates (McCain was favored 50% to 44% Sept 1-7 and 51% to 44% Sept 8-14 with the highest percentage point differences; the remaining weekly aggregates have been mostly tied or favoring one candidate by only 1 or 2 percentage points). Currently, voters from each educational group prefer Obama; high school or less at 47% to 43%, some college at 48% to 44%, college graduates at 49% to 47% and postgraduate education-experienced voters at 59% to 38%.

Pretty self-explanatory: Gallup gathered weekly aggregates from June-October showing candidate preference sorted by gender. Each week, female voters have favored Obama (by as many as 16 percentage points and by as few as 8 percentage points). All weeks but one (in which there was a 46% tie), males favored McCain (by as many as 11 percentage points and by as few as 2 percentage points). Currently, women favor Obama 53% to 39% and men favor McCain 47% to 45%.

Political Party
From June-October, Gallup recorded weekly aggregates of registered Republican, Democrat and Independent voters' preferences for either candidate. Again, NO SURPRISE that Republicans favor McCain every week and that Democrats favor Obama. Interestingly, as many as 14% of Democrats favored McCain Aug 18-24 (while 78% preferred Obama) and as many as 11% of Republicans favored Obama 3 different weeks: June 16-22, July 7-13, July 14-20 (while 85%, 84%, and 83% favored McCain, respectively). The coveted Independent vote has been pretty close, favoring Obama for 9 weeks and McCain for 7 weeks, and a 42% tie one week. Currently, Democrats favor Obama 87% to 8%, Republicans favor McCain 88% to 9%, and Independents favor Obama 44% to 42%.

Political Party and Ideology
This grouping simply elaborates on the following grouping, creating 6 different groups of voters based on the aforementioned political parties: liberal Democrats, moderate Democrats, conservative Democrats, pure Independents, liberal/moderate Republicans and conservative Republicans. Since Aug 4-10, liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans obviously favored their respective candidates (with numbers like 96% to 2%), and even the moderate to conservative Democrats strongly favored Obama, while the liberal/moderate Republicans strongly favored McCain (most of these percentages were split roughly 75% to 20% in favor of the party's candidate). The pure Independents had the most interesting percentages; each week, except one, from Aug-October, they favored McCain (by as many as 14 percentage points and by as little as 2). Aug 25-31, pure Independents favored Obama by 1 percentage point. It's important to note, however, that the pure Independent percentages were never lower than 22% and never higher than 38% (basically, not very exciting in either direction). Currently, pure Independents favor McCain 32% to 23%; liberal Democrats favor Obama 96% to 2%, moderate Democrats favor Obama 86% to 8%, conservative Democrats favor Obama 75% to 16%; liberal/moderate Republicans favor McCain 76% to 19%, and conservative Republicans favor McCain 94% t0 4%.

From June-October, supporters of each candidate were broken down into 3 racial groups: non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic. For the non-Hispanic black group, it's no contest - the percentages strongly prefer Obama. Non-Hispanic whites tend to favor McCain, typically at about 50% to 30%. Hispanic voters tend to favor Obama, from roughly 50-60% to 30%. Currently, non-Hispanic white voters favor McCain 50% to 42%, non-Hispanic black voters prefer Obama 89% t0 2%, and Hispanic voters prefer Obama 64% to 26%.

So... Here's what I make of all of that information:
Obama is favored to McCain by the following groups - Democrats, Blue states, Purple states, the 18-29 age bracket, women, those who have received some sort of higher education (especially postgraduate studies), non-Hispanic black voters, and Hispanic voters. McCain is favored to Obama by the following groups - Republicans, Red states, the 65 years and older age bracket, men, and non-Hispanic white voters.
Although McCain has generally been the favored candidate for older voters, he's slipping from that position as the campaigns progress. Additionally, the favor shown toward McCain by this age group is nowhere near the amount of favor shown for Obama by the youngest voting group; since the middle 2 age groups are too close to show any kind of preference, this massive lead by Obama is clutch... Especially if you take into account the number of expected young voters in this election. This basically leaves McCain with nothing more than the obvious votes: non-Hispanic white, male, Republican voters living in Red states. Oh, as far as education goes... I just wanted to point out that people who are well-educated prefer Obama. Yes, I am being snide, condescending, and contemptuous by claiming my own preference to be that of the intellectually elite - but that's just the way I am, and I'm fully aware of it.

After all of this analysis though, it sucks to admit that polls really aren't always accurate tools for predicting the outcome of an election. In my lifetime I've seen the candidate who lost the popular vote elected into the presidency, AND I've seen an election scandal involving unfair voting practices that victimized certain voting groups, thus altering the outcome of the popular election (NO SHOCK that both dirty elections involved the same candidate - George W. Bush the Horrible). I've kinda been trained to expect the worse from the electoral system of our government because I've only been let down by it, so I refuse to get my hopes up in any way based on the Gallup poll information. However, it makes me happy to see that many people are waking up and realizing that our country stopped functioning a while ago, and some changes may be necessary in order to restore America with order, success, and pride. Things change - this world is not the same world it was 10 years ago, 10 months ago, 10 weeks ago, and even 10 days ago. If the world around us is changing, we need to change with it, and we need a leader who can make that happen. Election 2008 Coverage

CNN Electoral Map Calculator

Remember to watch the 3rd and final presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain on October 15.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Where John McCain Went Wrong

So... Back in 2000 when John McCain ran in the primary presidential elections (losing to George W. Bush), he was regarded as a more liberal Republican candidate. Today, he considers himself a "maverick" and brags about his bipartisan political involvements all the time. However, he has voted with his party 88.1% of the time during the current Congress (, and is clearly much more of a Republican than some line-crossing, feather-ruffling maverick.

I seriously think McCain is SO staunchly conservative that he was unable to even feign bipartisanship by choosing an appealing vice presidential running mate. Sure, the choice of a female running mate was very smart on his part; disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters could still see a female in the White House AND they would get to vote against Obama, the man who beat Clinton in the primaries. But the fatal flaw in this shoddy design was choosing Sarah Palin...

I am a woman, I'm very supportive of equal rights, and I support the idea of electing a female president someday; however, I was less than impressed by Hillary Clinton this year. I had pretty much decided that if the general election was between Clinton and McCain, I would probably vote for McCain. Luckily, the right Democratic candidate was elected, and I'm so excited for voting for a candidate who I actually like, rather than one who is the "lesser of two evils" (which is what McCain would have been against Clinton, and which is unfortunately what John Kerry was in the first election I was able to vote in). My point here is this: I considered giving McCain my vote, that was the amount of faith I was willing to put into that man... But after choosing Sarah Palin as the VP delegate, McCain secured his spot in my ranks as a lunatic.

I digressed a little bit... But the point I wanted to make is that I'm a woman and I would NEVER send Sarah Palin into the White House - especially as the VP to a man who statistically has less than 1/3 chance in living through 2 presidential terms (2/3 HEALTHY men will die between the ages of 72 and 80, and with past medical issues and high occupational stress, McCain's chances keep getting smaller and smaller... This is just science, I'm not trying to be macabre, just stating the facts). Sarah Palin has publically acknowledged that she doesn't REALLY know what the vice presidency entails, but I hope to God she and everyone else takes into consideration that she will be the president if McCain is elected president and dies in office. THE PRESIDENT?!

From her behavior in interviews, debates, and her utter lack of experience/knowledge/political ability, I think she's made McCain's decision-making process pretty damn clear and has shown what she's really doing on the Republican ticket:
  • She's relatively attractive (until she speaks), appealing to the shallow/generally uninformed swing voters.
  • She's a woman, appealing to angry Clinton supporters.
  • She's from a small town, appealing to Main Street Americans who want their government to better understand them.
That's about all I can credit her with... Notice nothing there has to do with political prowess or experience. McCain is trying so damn hard to appeal to the swing vote that he's gone completely off the deep end with this GEM of a choice.

Final note: Sarah Palin is from Wasilla, Alaska - a town with a population of 7028 ( The Facebook group "I Have More Foreign Policy Experience than Sarah Palin" has 213,291 (and counting) members. That's more than 30 Wasillas...

Less than a month until election day...

Like many Americans, I am excitedly counting down the days until November 4 - Election Day. I've been less than thrilled with the present administration, so nothing excites me more than the promise of change with the election of a new president.

Especially if that president is Barack Obama.

Confession: I'm more than a little bit liberal. I am a registered Independent voter, but that is really only because I hate the Republican/Democrat dichotomy that comes to light during presidential elections. It's amazing to me that an atlas will call states by their names (Arizona, California, Colorado) but during elections, they go by different names entirely (red, blue, swing). Nonetheless, I've voted Democrat every time (even in 2nd grade when I voted for Bill Clinton, an action I still stand by) even though I've lived in a "red" state my whole life and I come from a very conservative family. I get a lot of grief from a lot of people. But I'm used to it. My point is that I'm extremely passionate about politics, but I won't give in to one of the two major parties - and I consider my vote fair game in the beginning of an election. I don't vote in the primaries (at least I have not yet done so), so I kind of leave those votes up to the die-hard party members... I think in the future if I REALLY liked a candidate who wasn't Independent, I'd change my affiliation before the primaries, but I have yet to feel that way.

In all honesty, I used to like McCain a lot. He was a relatively liberal Republican (I refuse to refer to him as a "Maverick" - SO done hearing that word) and he is the senator of my home state. I went to high school with his daughter and they used to live down the street from me, so I definitely related to him as a proud Phoenician and Arizonan. As far as I was concerned, he would be a cool president.

And then 2008 came along and - HA - my mind has been changed completely. Not only is he no longer relatively liberal, but he's a SUPER-conservative über-Republican just doing what he can to appeal to the masses. Worse: he's far more conservative than he used to be, but he still is trying SO HARD to appeal to the independent swing voters by claiming he's a maverick who votes across party lines - and his biggest mistake as far as I'm concerned: choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate.

No matter how much I dislike John McCain as a presidential candidate, I like Barack Obama 100 times more. My affinity for the Obama/Biden ticket has very little to do with my distaste for the McCain/Palin ticket; they stand for everything I could wish for. They actually give me hope that someday I will LOVE this country I live in, rather than dreamily planning my expat escape route to Holland, Switzerland, France, or Italy every day. However, I find it extremely hard to ignore some of the downright annoying, grating things said and done by McCain and Palin - and I plan on keeping track of some of my favorites in this very blog.