November 4, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. Today is election day in America. Here’s how it is being reported by some of the newspapers from across the United States.

    The NY Times reports After epic campaign, voters go to the polls. “Voters began lining up before dawn at polling locations up and down the East Coast, in what election officials said was an unusually high level of turnout.”

    Michelle and Barack Obama vote on Tuesday.

    “Mr. Obama cast his ballot at the Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School in Chicago with his wife, Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia, at 7:36 a.m. local time. ‘I voted,’ he announced to a few dozen people standing in the gym who snapped photos of him with their cell phone cameras.” — NY Times

    The Washington Post reports Americans cast ballots across the country. “Isolated problems were reported in several states, mostly minor malfunctions that were not expected to disrupt the process… More than 29 million Americans locked in their choices during early and absentee voting, relieving some of the pressure on election officials. Still, roughly 100 million voters are predicted to show up at the polls today, in many cases facing voting machines they have never used before.”

    The LA Times reports a Historic vote underway across America. “By 8 a.m., monitors from Election Protection Coalition, a private group of Democratic watchdogs, were reporting long lines and malfunctioning voting machines in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio and lost ballots at precincts in Florida’s capital, Tallahassee… But at most polling places there was an upbeat mood as voters happily endured long lines, many with lattes in their hands, reading newspapers and smiling.”

    The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Heavy early voting points to likely record turnout. “Voters in Greater Cincinnati who are planning to cast ballots after they get off work this afternoon should expect long lines at the polls. Elections officials say voters were standing in line as polling stations opened in the region at 6:30 a.m. Sometimes the polls never opened… Some polls that were open were overwhelmed… Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said that there are no major problems in the state.”

    The News & Observer in Raleigh reports that Voters brave drizzle and small glitches. “A dreary rain today met voters heading to the polls… Wake elections officials were taking paper towels to voting places to keep voting booths dry after a soggy ballot jammed an optical scanner at a downtown Raleigh precinct. Water had dripped onto the ballot from an umbrella that a voter had placed on the voting booth, Wake Elections Director Cherie Poucher said. After that incident, precinct officials kept other voters’ completed ballots in a bin until a replacement machine arrived, Poucher said.”

    In Virginia, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Problems at the polls: Voting issues caused by weather, human error. “Nancy Rodrigues, secretary of the board of elections, this afternoon called the turnout ‘phenomenal’ and noted that some polls opened with 500 people in line… She said officials have received many reports of issues at the polls, but ‘the reality is we have not seen a pattern of widespread problems.’ There have been some allegations of voter suppression in Richmond, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake — that people outside the polls are “pouncing” on voters headed inside to ask about how they’re voting.”

    The Indianapolis Star reports Indiana voters head to the polls. “The removal of two Republican election workers from a Warren Township polling site – for using improper methods to challenge voters’ rights to cast a ballot – has prompted local Republican Party leaders to issue a statement of regret.”

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Voting lines shorter than many expected. “The long lines for advance voting in Georgia last week generally gave way to an orderly procession through metro Atlanta polling stations Tuesday. Elections officials said waits averaged less than one hour in most precincts. But voting rights groups received hundreds of calls reporting scattered problems across the state, and officials warned of possible long lines later in the afternoon.”

    The Miami Herald reports the Polls are busy across Florida, and a few glitches have been reported. “Voters waited between one and three hours in most spots, but the lines are shorter Tuesday than they were during the two-week early-voting period… About one of every four registered voters in Miami-Dade, Broward and statewide cast their ballots early, and many others voted absentee. That is helping to keep Election Day waits at a minimum despite an expected 80 percent turnout.”

    The Oregonian reports Democrats outpace Republicans in Oregon voting. “By Monday afternoon, 1,365,831 ballots had been returned, amounting to 63 percent of Oregon’s 2,166,019 registered voters. For Republicans, the most worrisome sign was a lag in turnout compared with Democrats. About 70 percent of Oregon Democrats voted compared with 64 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of nonaffiliated voters. Democrats outnumber Republicans statewide by nearly 240,000 voters.”

    The Missoulian reports Election emotional for some. “Rod Murphy got a tear in his eye when he voted Tuesday morning. Like others casting their ballots on a soggy gray morning, Murphy felt like he was doing something historic as he cast his ballot for Barack Obama. ‘I’m pleased that we’ve finally gotten to the voting, and I’m excited about the prospects,’ said Murphy… Lines also developed very quickly at the Missoula County Courthouse, where people were both voting and registering to vote. A handful of people waiting to register said they finally realized that this was an election where their vote really mattered.”

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Problems, glitches surface at area polls. “Reports of technical problems have, so far, outnumbered those of electioneering. But those are starting to come in, too.”

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Heavy Election Day turnout continues. “Western Pennsylvania voters flocked to the polls in what could turn out to be record numbers today, with long lines reported well before the 7 a.m. voting start and the steady turnout continuing through mid-day… Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin arrived back in Pittsburgh at 3:30 after last night’s Monday Night Football victory over Washington, went to the office, and about three hours later joined the queue.”

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Philly turnout: “It’s big. Real big.” “The turnout stunned election officials in many areas. ‘This is big. Real big,’ said election judge Lowell Webb… Webb said he had worked 35 years as an election official and had never seen a turnout of this magnitude… Precincts across the city told much the same story.”

    The Detroit Free Press reports Voters report polling problems. “Voting difficulties, from malfunctioning ballot scanners to inept poll workers, are being reported at polling places in numerous Michigan municipalities… The problems at some polling places are resulting in long lines, some lasting two hours, causing some voters to leave without casting a ballot.”

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Great weather, few glitches for morning voters. “Glitches and frustrations – malfunctioning ballot counters and a speed play by day-of voter registrants – were reported in several locations. Early reports suggest tempers did not rise as quickly as the temperature, which approached an election-day record shortly after noon… An older gentleman voting 11:40 a.m. at Wilson Elementary School in Wauwatosa bragged that he had been married for 56 years, then asked if he could cast a ballot for his wife, who was unable to travel to the poll. The diplomatic response: ‘This is not Chicago, sir.'”

    “I think I voted.” That slogan certainly inspires confidence that every vote cast will be counted, doesn’t it?

    The Chicago Sun-Times reports Mayor Daley basks in Election Day glow. “Fully expecting an Obama landslide, Daley turned his attention to what it would mean for Chicago. ‘This is the first time since John F. Kennedy that a president has come from an urban community. You don’t have to sit there and educate him about … urban problems. He has the knowledge already. What a difference,’ Daley said.”

    The Pioneer Press in St. Paul reports Minnesotans casting their votes amid power outages, lines. “Despite a power outage in St. Paul, voters are casting their ballots in what could be a record turnout. By midday, lines at some polling places had dwindled compared with the crush of voters when polls opened at 7 a.m. As of early afternoon, no widespread problems had been reported. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie… hopes Minnesota will challenge the state record of nearly 83 percent turnout in 1956.”

    The Denver Post reports Some snags, but voters persist. “Problems with touch-screen voting machines slowed voting in some Denver precincts early this morning, but paper ballots and a little persistence kept the lines moving and election day attitudes light… Gil Wall began voting in 1960, and never misses an election. ‘I’ve been accused of voting for Obama because he’s African-American,’ Wall said, amused. ‘Well, I’ve been voting for white folks since 1960. I like his ideas. Even if he only pulls half of them off, he’s way ahead.'”

Four at Four continues with the Bushes battle against Cheney to protect two vast areas of the Pacific Ocean, bombing in Baghdad, the bailout, diesel that grows on trees, and a bonus look back over the election campaign.

America…moving beyond the shadows

According to an article in the Charlotte Post, Obama had a telephone call with black leaders on election eve, Monday night. Included in the call were Rev. Joseph Lowery, Oprah Winfrey, Donna Brazile, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn.

After talking about the issues facing the African American community and the response to his campaign, he waxed eloquent for awhile.

Goddamn right, it’s a beautiful day….uh huh!

Posted a rant yesterday, about the little journey between the hills of hope and fear that many of us have been going through, even as all polls seem to suggest a clear cut Obama victory today. I didn’t mention one particular fear, though, because I’m not sure it had crystallized fully at the time I wrote that mess up. It’s a little darker than the thoughts I did mention, and even now I hesitate to mention it, because, in the light of day, it seems ridiculous.

But for a tiny bit there, yesterday, I wondered whether I might die in the night, before I had a chance to vote for Barack Obama for president.

The Vision Thing …Part 4a

As we sit and wait to find out what kind of world we will be living in after tonight, and make no mistake, nothing less than that is at stake considering the differences between the world Obama will lead and the world McCain would have created through his ‘leadership,’ I will attempt to conquer the restlessness that comes with sitting on pins and needles and write about the future.

This essay is labeled part 4a though, because it will be a bit of a ramble, thoughts about vision, rather than presenting a vision. I spent the whole day (a rare and precious event) with my 21 year old son yesterday. I spent the day trying to see the future through his eyes. Since it is his future, more than mine. He started off by relating how excited he was to be voting in his first presidential election today, but that was immediately followed by a cynicism, in part a protective cynicism, as to the newly elected Dems doing much better at solving the very real problems his world faces.

It seems that somehow he grew up with a few ‘radical’ and certainly what Palin and Bachmann would describe as ‘anti-American,’ views about the way the world and politics works. He thinks apparently, that our government has been hijacked to serve the interests of the rich and the corporations that are actively attacking his future through war, greed, and most of all their refusal to address Climate Crisis if it costs them anything to do so. I have no idea where the kid learned that sorta stuff!

He was 13 when George Bush was elected. Through his formative years, Bush is all he has known. That makes hope for the future pretty tough, when the past eight years make up a big chunk of your life. Obama not withstanding. And listening to various people (ahem) rant and rail about what a shitty job the Dems have done in opposing Bush probably hasn’t helped much either! I mentioned self-protective cynicism earlier, which is basically a way to keep yourself from being hurt by not believing in anything, by not letting yourself hope. He has that in spades. But it is a veneer.

Exit Polling and Early Results

From AlterNet: Election Day: Presidential Results

The first towns to tally their votes — Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location in New Hampshire — both came out in favor of Obama. It doesn’t take long to count the votes in either town. Obama defeated McCain by 15 to 6 in Dixville Notch, an apparent upset, since the last time the town went blue was Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Hart’s Location gave Obama a 17 to 10 victory.

So far early voting is looking good for Democrats. Below are some of the pre-E-day numbers that have come in.

The UK Telegraph reported, “In a Washington Post-ABC poll, 59 per cent of those who had already voted across the country backed Obama, and 40 per cent supported John McCain.”

Political scientist Michael McDonald of George Mason has a comprehensive website displaying the most current information on the status of early voting. More than 25 million early votes have been cast so far, according to McDonald’s site, and the numbers clearly favor Obama, writes brownsox of DailyKos:

Florida: Early-voting Democrats are outnumbering Republicans at those sites by more than 20 percentage points, and a WSVN-Suffolk University poll has Barack Obama leading over John McCain 60% to 40% among early voters.

Georgia: Two million people, a record, cast early ballots in Georgia. That’s 60% of the total 2004 vote. Blacks comprise 35% of Georgia early voters, and women 56%, suggesting that as of right now, Barack Obama and Jim Martin are winning big.

Nevada: With more than 600,000 Nevadans already having voted according to the AP, “The early voting in advance of Election Day has been so heavy that Secretary of State Ross Miller increased his total turnout prediction from about 1 million to 1.1 million voters.” That lowers the early-absentee balloting percentage — but it’s still at 56 percent of the revised total of expected voters. In Clark County, Democratic early voting outstrips Republican by 52% to 31%, while in traditionally Republican Washoe County (where just a couple of weeks ago, Democratic registration topped Republicans for the first time since 1978), 47% of early voters are Democrats to 35% Republicans.

Iowa: Dems are leading in early voting in Iowa with 47.3% of Dems compared to 28.8 percent of Republicans and a huge 23.9 percent of unaffiliated voters.

Kentucky: It’s 58.5% Dem, 28.4% Republican and 13.1% unaffiliated. And things are looking blue in New Mexico’s early voting as well, with 52.7% Democratic and 32.8% Republican.

AlterNet will be providing continuous updates as it becomes available.  My experience with AlterNet is that there’ll be straight numbers with no spin or bullshit as the day progresses.

Check with AlterNet here throughout the day.

I Wanted to Stand In Line for Hours and Hours

At first I planned to go to the polls at 10:15am, hoping I would wind up in some endless line, fearing that our local NJ polling spot would be its usual efficient self, and there would be maybe twice the usual number of stragglers there that I’ve usually found when I hit the polls mid-morning, after the pre-work crush — our polls open at 6:00 and the lines usually thin out sometime after 9:00 or 9:30, when most of the wage slaves have gone to work.

But I just couldn’t get to sleep, and found myself obsessing through the night, replaying Rachel Maddow bits, obsessively updating running comment fests that got started days ago in an effort to ease anxieties or allow me to obsess about other factors beyond the election.

I was still awake at 4:30 am, when I decided I wanted a crowd, I wanted to see others no matter what, and I wanted to know there were others doing what I was doing. I also wanted to be among the first to vote for perhaps the first Presidential candidate I can recall, where I was mostly voting for him, and not just voting against some heartless or dangerous loon.   It’s been a long time in the Wilderness — I’ve voted in every Presidential election and nearly every “off-year”, school board and special ballot election that I’ve been eligible for, since I turned 18, at college, in 1977.

Musical Inspiration – What music inspires you?

We have a few hours to wait for change, to wait for the mandate to be declared by the majority.  So, until we get to that point, and before the Republican Spin Machine starts flooding the airwaves with the names and numbers of all those to blame for such a turn of events, I thought I’d start a little thread of inspirational music.  Not religious music, unless that’s what inspires you, but music that helps to get one through the day.

I have a few to start with, and feel free to add yours in the comments.  I’m interested to see what we find inspirational on this great day.

Sly and the Family Stone – Everyday People

More below *****************

GOTV for CA-Prop 1A and HSR

xposted from Agent Orange (the poll is over there)

Californians have a special privilege this election year. Note only do you have an opportunity to participate in the election of Senator Obama as President, but you have the opportunity to lead the nation with a massive step toward a more Energy Independent, environmentally responsible transport system.

From the CHSRA:

So, good morning California, and don’t neglect the importance of getting out the vote.

Contrast: America

The Differance Is Amazing!!

If McCain Wins, Obama Supporters Predict . . .

At an Obama rally in Columbus, Ohio, ANP asked Obama supporters how they would feel if they wake up on November 5th to find that John McCain has won the election. Produced with Patricia Foulkrod, director of The Ground Truth.

If Obama Wins . . . Conservatives Panicked, Pessimistic

At a Halloween-day rally for John McCain in Columbus, Ohio, ANP asked McCain supporters a simple question: If Barack Obama is elected president, what will it say about America? One woman, who claims that Obama wants to change the flag and the national anthem, demonstrates the lasting power of a debunked anti-Obama chain e-mail. Produced in collaboration with Patricia Foulkrod, director of The Ground Truth.

Open Thread


First Thread of the rest of your life.  


Breathless, almost trembling and thrilled, like that tightness in your body standing in front of a new, true love waiting for that first touch. Heart racing, mind overwhelmed into a perfect blank slate, waiting to write together a new history for yourselves.

It is going to be utter torture after I race off to vote this morning, drop our leaf blower to my friend Kate, drop Jake off at his friends to be babysat and have to spend 4 hours at work with no political input. Hand out iced teas, take orders, bus tables, bring extra Olga sauce. School is out, maybe I will be too busy to wonder and obsess.

TORTURE for a political junkie.

“your playing small does not serve the world”

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do… It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

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