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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Next Wednesday Morning's Headline: Barack Obama Wins

I missed an opportunity to see Barack Obama speak this morning in nearby Sarasota, FL at Ed Smith Stadium, spring training home of the Cincinnati Reds. With the two little kids home with me, it just proved too difficult to get everything ready and make the 75 mile trek before gates opened at 9:00am. And it's too bad. Because I watched the speech on tv and it was well delivered. I would've liked to have felt the energy of that crowd even if I did not agree with it on all issues.

However, there's one thing I would agree on: Barack Obama has quite simply run a damn good campaign. I think 2008 will be one of those "watershed" years and Obama has changed presidential campaigns forever. His steady approach to controversy, dynamic communication to audiences of 1 or 100,000, energizing of formerly jaded voters, slick warming up to the media, and business savvy in fund raising and expenditures will re-define running for president forever.

This does not prove he will automatically be a great president, but having these skills doesn't exactly hurt either. However, I have come to the conclusion that these factors do prove to me that Barack Obama will be elected President of the United States of America next Tuesday.

In summary, I start with the famous 2004 Bush-Kerry red-blue map. Then I'm giving Obama the Western states of Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico. I say he also picks up Iowa on the momentum of his primary win there. And finally, on the strength of some powerful campaigning in the final days, I'm giving the traditional GOP states of Florida and Virginia to Barack as well. All this is more than enough to give Obama the victory as long as he can defend the blue states.

As for McCain, with his lackluster campaign and the wave of anti-GOP sentiment, I just don't see him picking up enough of the blue states he needs. I do think he holds on to many of the swing states. I'll say he keeps Ohio, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, and Missouri in the GOP column. New Hampshire seems to like McCain but with a likely Democratic Senate pickup, I can't give him that one. However, based on Obama's poor showing in the PA primary and the "bitter people" comment, I'll say Mac surprisingly wins Pennsylvania. But that many of these red states are even in play indicates what an uphill battle McCain is fighting. And I just don't think he's doing nearly as well as Obama is doing with a strong wind at his back.

Dems will make big gains in Congress, but I say the presidential popular vote is close. Probably 2% points or so for Obama. But the only numbers that matters: Obama/Biden: 297 -- McCain/Palin: 241.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Presidential Vote

At age 31, this will be the 4th presidential election in which I have voted. As I reminisce, I'm even more interested in looking at the manner and nature in which I have voted than for whom the actual votes have been cast.


I voted in Yonkers, New York while a college student at nearby Fordham University. The precinct was in an old city library that had been converted into a senior citizens center. Voter turnout appeared underwhelming and less than enthusiastic. I voted in the late afternoon, in what should have been a busy time. However, my wait was only minutes as the senior citizen poll workers located my voting record.

In this election, I voted in an antiquated "lever-style" machine that offered the privacy of a curtain surrounding me on all sides. Talk about weird! Were the Tammany Hall bosses trying to look over my shoulder or something? Voting through this system in theory seemed easy. But I also think it was easy to cast an errant ballot by pulling the wrong lever. The system provided no peace of mind that my vote was properly cast or would be properly counted.

As to my vote, I was very much an anti-Clinton Republican here. I voted for the Bob Dole - Jack Kemp ticket and harbored delusions of another Republican win coming off the Congressional election of 1994.


In this election I voted in McDonough, Georgia in the gymnasium of Henry County Middle School. For a precinct, this was a bigger facility and had plenty of room to accommodate the process. I was out of work at the time and made voting in the middle of the afternoon the highlight of my day. The overall wait to cast my vote was about 30 minutes, if my memory serves correctly. Poll workers were helpful and enthusiasm in the metro south Atlanta for this election appeared to be high.

This time I cast my vote through the same notorious "punch-card" system that led to hanging chads in Florida. I did find the method of voting to be confusing. I believe I even asked for help to make sure I was lining the punch-card up correctly compared to the actual slate of candidates. I did not enjoy voting in this manner. However, I did feel a greater sense of confidence that my vote was properly cast in the end because of the control over the process I felt.

Though I ardently supported the candidacy of George W. Bush, I cast my vote for the independent candidacy of Patrick J. Buchanan. This was an easy decision. I knew Bush would win Georgia and it felt good to give my vote to someone I greatly respect and have admired as a political mentor throughout the years.


Though I was still a resident of the same county, by this time I had moved to a different town. Living in Hampton, GA, I voted at Hampton Elementary School and this ended up being my worst experience to date. Enthusiasm for the Bush-Kerry election was extremely high as Republican supporters were motivated to vote in full force. This was also a Senate election year in Georgia which helped turnout as well.

My wife and I voted in the late afternoon and experienced a 2 hour wait to cast our votes. Many things made this so unbearable. Firstly, we had our two year old child with us and no accommodations were made for that. As a result, our neighbors in line just had to deal with the cryings of a hungry and confused boy. I felt for them. Secondly, the parking lot was so full, we had a 15 minute walk just to get to the location. Finally, the precinct only had two of the brand new "computer voting machines" and they were placed in the entrance way of the school. Thus the line to get to them snaked around the entire building in a tight elementary school hallway.

That said, I enjoyed voting on these digital touchscreen computers best of all. I only wish this very busy precinct had more than two of them. It was easy to see the candidates, even easier to touch the screen to indicate your selection, and also this form of voting best allows for the reading of wordy state Constitutional amendments that are often on the ballot. As I reviewed all my selections and submitted them, I did feel confident that my vote was in order and would be counted. For the record, I did vote for George W. Bush this time and was happy when he won.


I'm now a resident of Lehigh Acres, FL and my local precinct is inside of the Lehigh Christian Church. This was not completely foreign to me as I voted in 2006 in another church here in Florida as well. As I cast these votes, however, I will admit it feels a little odd to do so inside a church otherwise covered with Christian symbols. I mean, I probably would be somewhat uncomfortable voting inside a Muslim mosque afterall?

However, I don't think this is unconstitutional. I don't even think it's wrong. In many cases churches are the best local venues to keep precincts as small as possible. And that is particularly important to me. We now have 3 young children. As much as I value my vote, I will not go though another 2004 type burden to cast my vote. It's not worth it. More power to you if you think it is. And if my life were different, I might too. But I value my family even above our democracy.

Another issue of concern is that Florida resident will now be voting by filling out "optical-scan" ballots. What a step backwards! Our computers were taken away because seniors couldn't deal with the lack of a piece of paper. This system is only slightly better than the punch cards I used back in 2000. It will definitely slow down the process and lead to longer lines unnecessarily.

I hope that's the lesson of this recount. We need to find a way to streamline voting. I'm a populist. I believe in the importance of voting. But I don't think it's fair to make it so burdensome that people decide it's not worth the trouble. A fair solution would be to go 100% computerized voting in smaller precincts with printouts so people have certainty in their vote. I also do support requiring some form of common-sense identification to prevent fraud. It's 2008. Can't we get our act together already?

As for whom I voting this time around, I still haven't decided. I suppose I'm one of the dreaded 8% undecided in the polls. Given the choices this time around, I'll wear that as a badge of honor!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This Says It All...

Yesterday there were two political rallies held in the critical swing state of New Mexico. In fact, they were only separated by a few miles and a few hours. Here's the breakdown:

John McCain's afternoon rally in Albuquerque on 10/25/08 drew an estimated 7,000 people.

Barack Obama's evening rally in Albuquerque on 10/25/08 drew an estimated 25,000 people.

I will be posting my final electoral map prediction here on Tuesday, one week before the election. But unless something changes in a hurry, I think the above breakdown already says it all.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

10 More Days

Has the country ever anticipated an election as we all do this one? Probably. I'm sure the Abe Lincoln / Stephen Douglass or the John Kennedy / Richard Nixon contests stirred up some pretty good interest as well. However, there wasn't the same 24 hours a day news cycle we have in 2008 back in 1860 or even 1960. Indeed, one can still follow the election by talking to neighbors at the town square or reading the newspaper. However, now we can also follow every aspect of the race on the internet, on cable news, on talk radio, even on your cell phone. It's our modern life at its best. But we still haven't figured out a way to make waiting more tolerable!

Friday, October 3, 2008


20. HEATHER NAUERT (FNC) -- Fox really shines in the eye candy department in their use of multi-talented reporters who can both read the news and also file a report from the field or behind a desk. One such lady, Ms. Nauert has been with FNC for the better part of a decade. After "The Big Show" was canceled, her role appeared to be in flux. However, she continues to work steadily on the air with politically themed news and programming. Heather has a definite sophisticated look that is sexy.

19. NICOLE LAPIN (CNN) -- This 24 year old is by far the youngest entry on the list. Apparently she is used on both CNN and HLN, though I really don't see very much of her on the air. If we did see more, rest assured her spot would be way higher! And that's a shame because Nicole literally has movie star good looks.

18. REBECCA GOMEZ (FNC) -- Fox certainly likes to add a little Latina flavor to the usual mix of blondes and I definitely appreciate that. Rebecca Gomez has been on FNC forever in various roles, but is mostly used as a business reporter. She is likely featured prominently on the Fox Business Network as well.

17. CHRISTI PAUL (HLN) -- For so long Headline News was known for non-flashy reporting from such bores as Lynn Russell and Chuck Roberts. And if you stuck around long enough, you'd see the exact same broadcast in a mere 30 minutes. These days they've completely changed their look for the better. It might be slightly harder to get the weather, but at least you get to look at ladies like Christi Paul.

16. JENNA LEE (FNC) -- With the sagging economy, Jenna has increasingly been used in business reports aired on FNC throughout the day. And she is definitely a rising star. I think she also works for the upstart Fox Business Network. Neil Cavuto wisely sees how she fits the Fox News blonde babe image to perfection. Also doesn't the name just role off your tongue so perfectly?

15. MARIA BARTIROMO (CNBC) -- Maria is the famous "Money Honey" who has appeared in many photo shoots for men's magazines like Maxim and FHM. Amazing, the 41 year old has now been a staple on CNBC since 1993. And her reports are still very pleasing to watch. Bartiromo really seems to know her stuff and has always been used extensively by her network.

14. SUSAN HENDRICKS (HLN) -- Much like Christi Paul, Ms. Hendricks is one of the new faces on the new HLN. She anchors a substantial amount of both weekday and weekend programming from the news desk. And I sure wish I had bumped into her eating lunch at the CNN Center during my years in Atlanta. This New Jersey native reminds me a lot of Martha MacCallum. And as you shall soon see, that's a good thing!

13. ERIN BURNETT (CNBC) -- In my opinion, this is the ultimate business babe on CNBC. Through Bartiromo gets more publicity and is also extremely pleasing on the eyes, I really like looking at Erin Burnett during her shows. In typical CNBC style, she's on the air a lot and that's just fine with me.

12. NORAH O'DONNELL (MSNBC) -- One of the few with eye candy left at MSNBC. Norah actually does a decent job on their political coverage. She appears to be a real DC insider with only a slight left bias. On MSNBC that practically makes her the equal of Rush Limbaugh. I like when she interviews the political panel featuring my man Pat Buchanan. Also have to note that she has very pretty, big eyes.

11. AINSLEY EARHARDT (FNC) -- This South Carolina beauty just missed cracking the top ten. She's newer to Fox and handles most of the primetime news updates. I really appreciate seeing her in that role instead of Harris Faulkner or Laurie Dhue. I've also seen her on Sean Hannity's weekend show. What an improvement on Alan Colmes!

10. KYRA PHILLIPS (CNN) -- She's one of my all-time favorites so has to be included on this list, even if Mother Nature has aided her fall in recent years. Kyra has been the afternoon face of CNN for a long time now. One of the cutest things about the 40 year-old Southern Californian is how she feels the journalistic need to get out from behind the desk occasionally to prove she's still a legitimate reporter. For exmaple, Kyra was embedded with US troops during the Iraqi War and is frequently sent by CNN into hurricanes zones. She takes a more casual look for these appearances and I like that sometimes.

I also like when her hair is a little shorter and especially when she wears her glasses. Ms. Phillips made headlines when she accidentally spoke live on-the-air during a bathroom break a few years ago. She used the opportunity to trash her sister-in-law to millions around the world while peeing. Major bonus points for that kind of cattiness!

9. KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (FNC) -- I was shocked to learn that this former prosecutor was once married to San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome. Isn't he gay? Wow! Not surprisingly, the couple didn't last and Guilfoyle is remarried. I suppose Newsome is so solidly metro-sexual that he can use his open-mindedness to score hot chicks. But Kim Guilfoyle? It doesn't make sense. Perhaps her tv conservatism is thus a reaction to the mistake that was bliss with Gavin Newsom?

Regardless, Fox News uses her mostly on the weekends talking legal issues and hosting a show called "The Lineup." Hopefully, she has no ambitions for Geraldo Rivera. That might be the only thing more depressing than Newsome actually! The 39 year-old half Puerto Rican comes across as intelligent and passionate. She almost seems to carry herself with an upper class personality, which is very sexy in her case. And she's got a good body with great legs that she isn't shy about showing off.

8. MARTHA MacCALLUM (FNC) -- Surprisingly, there aren't as many blondes in the top 10 as I would have expected. That must be cable news' preference because it doesn't accurately reflect my own. Perhaps the American audience subconsciously takes a blonde less seriously when they are reading off the Tele-Prompter.

However, Martha MacCallum has always represented her demographic well. I've been a fan of hers since she did mornings on CNBC earlier in the decade. And though she's starting to get a little older, she's still got an awesome figure and (unlike some) she seems to enjoy dressing to flaunt it. Sometimes a guy can just tell. And good for her! Too bad Fox News insists on pairing their female talent with tools like Trace Gallagher.

7. CONTESSA BREWER (MSNBC) -- I couldn't leave MSNBC under-represented. It's a shame they've seem to taken the T&A out of news coverage. This channel once featured a lineup of hotties like Melissa Stark, Chris Jansing, and Amy Robach. Now it focuses more on the likes of Andrea Mitchell. Definitely our loss there!

But I still like Contessa. Her face is a little weird sometimes and I wish she would lose the big, baggy outfits and show some more leg. But the 33 year-old dark brunette from Maine is really good at making all kinds of cute expressions. And I love her voice. At times she appears not to be the brightest bulb either, but it's done in a very attractive way. So that's a positive too. Contessa does MSNBC proud during her daily 5 or 6 hours on the air!

6. CAMPBELL BROWN (CNN) -- I've been a fan of this Louisiana belle since her NBC Today Show days. Her hire is testament to the effort CNN is making to steal the T&A thunder from competitor Fox News. They recently gave her the 8:00pm timeslot right before Larry King, which is basically the kiss of death for one's career (Connie Chung, Aaron Brown, Paula Zahn, et al). Unfortunately for her, it seems when you fail here, you are banished from tv. That's too bad because I'd miss Ms. Brown.

Campbell has an excellent smile and a nice tv glow. I know it's a cliche, but it's actually not always true with these babes -- just check out your local tv nightly news. At the age of 40, Ms. Brown is definitely aging gracefully and even comes across fairly open-minded to me. I was impressed by her recent impassioned pleas to stop treating Sarah Palin in a sexist manner. Yes, I do like that aggressive side sometimes.

5. ERICA HILL (CNN) -- Erica has been a major part of the beautification of Headline News that has occurred in the past few years. For far too long, cable news out of Atlanta on HLN was dominated by deep-voiced dudes like Chuck Roberts. Then Ms. Hill began to appear in the evenings on Headline News and started to capture viewers' attention. CNN then wisely gave her double duty as the news update babe during Anderson Cooper's show. With all the playful banter between the pair on the air, I sure hope Anderson may be playing off camera as well (although internet rumors suggest he may play for the other team).

Erica is one of the younger entries on this list at only 31 years old. She's right in her prime -- especially when she wears her glasses. In 2006 she even made People Magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People. Sadly, it was recently announced that Erica Hill would be taking a job with the big boys at CBS News.

4. JULIE BANDERAS (FNC) -- Julie might have earned an even higher spot on the list if she were used more often by Fox News. She's appeared on their late night comedy show Red Eye and otherwise works the news desk on the weekends. There she is sadly often book ended by some tool dude. What a waste! If I were running the show, I would put Julie Banderas in the weekday midday spot in place of the dry Jane Skinner.

Julie has an amazing smile, her hair is always flawless, and she literally looks like a model to me. Her Latina flavor (of Colombian descent) is much appreciated on mainstream cable news. One can only watch Telemundo so much -- especially when he doesn't understand Spanish! Ms. Banderas is 33 and would appear to be a rising star at Fox. She just announced that she is engaged. Hopefully she does not let a happy family life get in the way of superficial television news beauty!

3. ROBIN MEADE (HLN) -- There is a subtle break in the list here. The top 3 on my list are simply in a class of their own and merit two pictures each. Coming in third is Robin Meade from Headline News' morning show "Morning Express with Robin Meade." HLN made a VERY wise decision in giving Robin Meade the anchor desk for their morning show -- solo. It makes their network so very watchable, especially in that I no longer care for FNC's "Fox and Friends" and MSNBC's Mika Brzizinski wouldn't crack the top 1000.

Robin Meade is a very pleasant sight to wake up to, even if only on the tv screen. Not surprisingly, this 39 year old beauty was Miss Ohio in 1992 and was a top ten finalist in the Miss America pageant. Earning even more credibility, she was once voted "Sexiest News Anchor" by Playboy Magazine. You can't argue with that folks!

2. KIRAN CHETRY (CNN)-- The CNN family acquits itself well in edging rival Fox News with 5 total babes landing in the top 10. Chetry is the tie-breaker too, as she moved from Fox to CNN in 2007. This was a devastating blow to FNC and a loss right wingers will mourn for some time. Kiran Chetry was seemingly groomed to become a Fox star and take the place of aging morning show host E.D. Hill. But instead that job went to Gretchen Carlson, who would only crack this list were it expanded to a top 100. Spurned by Fox, Ms. Chetry wasted no time in bolting to CNN. She now hosts their morning show "American Morning" with news veteran John Roberts. So far Kiran has literally sparkled in this new role.

Her name and slightly exotic looks come from her partial Nepalese ancestry. Sweet. In 2006 Maxim Magazine ranked her as America's Top Female Sexiest News Anchor. Take that Katie Couric! Chetry is 33 years-old and seemingly loves to dress sharp. Thankfully, she rarely covers up her amazing legs. A nice feature of the CNN show is that she's not stuck behind a news desk constantly. The camera often approaches from all different angles and thus we lucky viewers get to see Kiran Chetry from all different angles!

1. MEGYN KELLY (FNC) -- It was really tough to decide between Megyn Kelly and Kiran Chetry. In terms of looks alone, I might have gone with Chetry. She is a bit younger and has to be given edge in terms of dressing sexy. But for the total package, I'm going to have to make Megyn Kelly the winner. Firstly, I like the quirky spelling of her first name. Totally superficial here, folks. Then you have to admire just how "elegant" that Ms. Kelly looks every single show. Hair, makeup, dress -- Megyn Kelly never has a bad day.

Then there's the figure. She looks kind of petite with not too many curves. However, it suits her figure and her face just perfectly. Kelly may dress slightly more conservative than the others at the top of this list. However, only Megyn Kelly has that little firecracker right-wing personality too that adds so much. Quite simply, she looks like she'd be great in bed -- and I don't mean in terms of watching cable tv news from bed either!

The VP Debate: Analysis from the Right

I thought Sarah Palin did very well at the vice-presidential debate. After her convention speech and performance as governor of Alaska, the mainstream media fell for the trap that she was dumb. Therefore, expectations were low and she totally destroyed them. This kind of reminds me of the dynamic in the Bush-Gore debates.

Palin demonstrated a good balance of showing knowledge on the issues and putting forth her own background. In fairness, Joe Biden did fine too. He's a good speaker afterall. But last night Biden was doing the traditional veep thing - attacking his boss' opponent John McCain, and propping up his boss Barack Obama.

Governor Palin, on the other hand, seemed more about her and her ideas. That was a very pleasant surprise and reinforced in me just how sad it is that the bottom of the GOP ticket is so much stronger than the top.

As to a winner, there was no knockout so yet again the horse you liked coming in to the race is that one you are going to think won it afterward.

On the format, I thought Gwen Ifil did a horrible job. I did not see any indication of bias, but instead she was far too hands on both candidates. Ifil did not encourage any real back-and-forth and left untouched some of the biggest issues of the day. Barely anything was said about health care, nothing was said about abortion, and the economy was yet again relegated to just 1 or 2 generic questions.

I was pretty surprised that Biden didn't screw up Obama's name, ah God love him!!

Finally, as an undecided voter this debate did not help me in finding the will to vote for John McCain. But it does make me feel that win or lose this time - I sure hope Sarah Palin sticks around national politics in the future. Perhaps as indicted Senator Ted Stevens soon-to-be replacement?!?

The VP Debate: Analysis from the Left

You betcha, I watched and I'm am sure glad I did dont'cha know. I admit it. I hoped Sarah Palin would fall on her face last night and I feared that she would totally repair her image in the debate. She did neither. While she managed to speak coherently and in complete sentences, the content of her words was sorely lacking.

I thought Sarah Palin met the very low expectations she had coming into the contest. She was very able in repeating her lines and coming across as an attractive small town beauty queen turned GOP saviour. Those who like her undoubtedly loved the debate last night. However, those of us who were looking for substance continue to be frightened of the prospect of Sarah Palin in the White House. She answered questions she wasn't even asked, ignored the topic of discussion and regurgitated the same old Republican talking points I have been hearing my whole life.

If anyone watching the debate still buys into Republican ideology , they certainly heard it repeated dutifully by the woman from Alaska. But those who see the need for real change in this country probably did not fall for the "cutsie" factor and certainly did not want to consider the prospect of living through more of the same old Bushonomics and foreign policy ideas. Also, how she could gush about Ronald Reagan over and over while trying to ridicule Biden for criticizing our current President was beyond silly.

So, I agree with the majority of the polls that indicate that Americans thought Joe Biden won the debate. Some may once again be fooled by Palin's attractiveness and sunny demeanor, but I think most people are ready to move beyond the superficiality that has defined the modern Republican movement. No more old movies stars or fake cowboys and certainly no "hockey moms". What we need is serious thoughtful people bringing about true reform to this country. Sarah Palin came no where near crossing that critical threshold.