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Will the Pen be mightier than the Chad?

Remember the nightmare of the Hanging Chad in 2000 (or “Chads” if you’re Dennis Leary in this scene).   Here’s a reminder (language NSFW, hey it’s HBO):

I’m pleased to announce that the era of the “Hanging Chad” is behind us.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present you, THE PEN!

The following announcement is the new “paper trail” system that Floridians voted for and were penalized by the DNC in the January 29th primaries to ensure error-proof and transparent elections.  I’m still bleeding from the irony of it all.     

The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office is dedicated to providing Hillsborough County voters with the most reliable means of tracking voter intent.  The new optical scan voting system provides total security for every vote. It is supported by Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson and approved by the Florida Legislature and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.  From encryption of results to complete control of access, the new optical scan voting system ensures your vote is safe and counted.  Please view our video about the new voting system in English or Spanish

I gave the optical scan system a run on the August 26 elections for Circuit Court Judges.  Pretty nifty.  But  will a mistaken pen mark be the new “hanging chad” moment?

Overvoting and Undervoting

The tabulator will reject your ballot if you “overvote,” or select more than one choice in a contest. Tell the Precinct Election Official you want to request another ballot to make a revision.  If you “undervote,” or forget to make a choice in a contest, the tabulator will accept your ballot as is. If no ovals are filled in, the tabulator will reject the ballot and you may mark it.  To learn about other ways to vote in this year’s elections, visit the Early Voting and Request-A-BallotSM page.

So before the machine scans your ballot, check your homework.  If you’re the type to draw outside the lines, start practicing on lotto number sheets like these here: —>

After the RBC Fiasco, I decided that I would write-in Hillary’s name as a protest vote.  But if you are planning to write in Hillary’s name in Florida, PLEASE DON’T DO IT.  I called the Hillsborough County Board of Elections and a kind gentleman instructed me that any Write-In Candidate that requests to be counted by the Electoral College must submit paperwork before a specific date (which Hillary’s campaign did not do).  He also said that any Hillary Clinton write-in vote will be counted as a Barack Obama vote because they belong to the same party.  I urge all PUMA/Clinton Democrats to visit this link to find out your state’s write-in rules:  http://www.writehillaryin.com/Write_In_Facts_by_State.html and/or call your local elections board to find out what are the rules for write-in candidates.  We cannot afford to give Barack Obama more votes just because we wanted to write-in Hillary’s name.

Issues on the ballot include ownership of real estate by foreigners (wonder how that’ll fly with so many Canadian snowbirds),  a gay marriage ban (they put this on the ballot every election – I want equal rights for all!) and other land/tax issues that I really have to research before I make a decision how I’ll vote. 

Also curious, there are more Democrats than Republicans this year in my county.  Maybe Mickey Mouse, Jou Mama and Ima Bore moved to Tampa.  Here are the stats from Hillsborough Board of Elections webiste banner on each page:

Registered Voters as of 10/17/2008   Republican : 232,325   Democratic : 298,714   Other : 165,019   Total : 696,058

Hillsborough County is a major swing county – and as we’ve seen in previous elections, not all Democrats will vote for Democrats, and Republicans won’t just vote “Republican” and those pesky “Other” voters can swing it one way or the other.   If you already have you sample ballots online in your state, leave me a link in the comments section. 

After the jump is the sample ballot for Hillsborough County FL, with bolded names for the 30% solution vote.  Remember to choose your protest strategy wisely. 

Que viva los PUMAs!



Sample Ballot For Precinct 205
2008 General Election
November 4, 2008
President/Vice President
(Vote for 1)
John McCain/Sarah Palin REP
Barack Obama/Joe Biden DEM
Gloria La Riva/Eugene Puryear PSL
Chuck Baldwin/Darrell Castle CPF
Gene Amondson/Leroy Pletten PRO
Bob Barr/Wayne A. Root LBT
Thomas Robert Stevens/Alden Link OBJ
James Harris/Alyson Kennedy SWP
Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente GRE
Alan Keyes/Brian Rohrbough AIP
Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzalez ECO
Brian Moore/Stewart Alexander SPF
Charles Jay/John Wayne Smith BTP
Write-In Candidate
U.S. Representative, Dist. 11
(Vote for 1)
Eddie Adams Jr. REP
Kathy Castor DEM
Property Appraiser
(Vote for 1)
Rob Turner REP
Ken Ayers DEM
Tax Collector
(Vote for 1)
Doug Belden REP
Beverly P. Harris NPA
Supervisor of Elections
(Vote for 1)
Buddy Johnson REP
Phyllis Busansky DEM
County Commissioner, Dist. 6
(Vote for 1)
Brian Blair REP
Kevin Beckner DEM
Justice of the Supreme Court
Shall Justice Charles T. Wells of the Supreme Court be Retained in Office?
District Court of Appeal
Shall Judge Chris W. Altenbernd of the Second District Court of Appeal be retained in office?
District Court of Appeal
Shall Judge Carolyn K. Fulmer of the Second District Court of Appeal be
Retained in Office?
District Court of Appeal
Shall Judge Morris Silberman of the Second District Court of Appeal be Retained in Office?
District Court of Appeal
Shall Judge James W. Whatley of the Second District Court of Appeal be Retained in Office?
School Board Member, Dist. 7
(Vote for 1)
Stephen Gorham  
Carol W. Kurdell  
Soil and Water Conservation, Dist. 2
(Vote for 1)
A. J. Brent  
Richard Van Epps  
Soil and Water Conservation, Dist. 4
(Vote for 1)
Jeffrey Ross Garbus  
Betty Jo Tompkins  
Declaration of RightsProposing an amendment to the State Constitution to delete provisions authorizing the Legislature to regulate or prohibit the ownership, inheritance, disposition, and possession of real property by aliens ineligible for citizenship.
Florida Marriage Protection AmendmentThis amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.The direct financial impact this amendment will have on state and local government revenues and expenditures cannot be determined, but is expected to be minor.
Changes and Improvements Not Affecting the Assessed Value of Residential Real PropertyAuthorizes the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit consideration of changes or improvements to residential real property which increase resistance to wind damage and installation of renewable energy source devices as factors in assessing the property’s value for ad valorem taxation purposes. Effective upon adoption, repeals the existing renewable energy source device exemption no longer in effect.
Property Tax Exemption of Perpetually Conserved Land; Classification and Assessment of Land Used for ConservationRequires Legislature to provide a property tax exemption for real property encumbered by perpetual conservation easements or other perpetual conservation protections, defined by general law. Requires Legislature to provide for classification and assessment of land used for conservation purposes, and not perpetually encumbered, solely on the basis of character or use. Subjects assessment benefit to conditions, limitations, and reasonable definitions established by general law. Applies to property taxes beginning in 2010.
Provides for assessment based upon use of land used predominantly for commercial fishing purposes; land used for vessel launches into waters that are navigable and accessible to the public; marinas and drystacks that are open to the public; and water-dependent marine manufacturing facilities, commercial fishing facilities, and marine vessel construction and repair facilities and their support activities, subject to conditions, limitations, and reasonable definitions specified by general law.
Local Option Community College FundingProposing an amendment to the State Constitution to require that the Legislature authorize counties to levy a local option sales tax to supplement community college funding; requiring voter approval to levy the tax; providing that approved taxes will sunset after 5 years and may be reauthorized by the voters.
Providing veto powers to the elected county mayor over any ordinance, the budget; but not including veto powers over zoning, master plan or land use plan; providing Board of County Commissioners with power to override such veto by two-thirds vote; providing that the Mayor cannot veto selection of the chairperson or vice chairperson of the Board, the board committee rules; the formation of board committees, or the appointment of persons to those committees.
Shall Hillsborough County continue ELAPP to acquire and preserve environmentally sensitive lands which protect wildlife habitat, natural areas, drinking water sources, and water quality of rivers, lakes and bays, by issuing general obligation bonds, in one or more series, at interest rates not exceeding the legal maximum, maturing in not more than 30 years from issuance, not exceeding $200 Million aggregate principal amount, payable from ad valorem taxes, without limitation, to finance related capital projects?
Should the Charter be amended to allow City Council, rather than the city attorney, to employ an attorney whose salary and qualifications are comparable to other city attorneys; to render independent advisory opinions pursuant to vote of City Council and legal advice relating to City Council business that may be requested by any member, and remove the responsibility for the attorney to perform other duties as required by the city attorney?

179 Responses

  1. It’s an outrage that Florida counts a write-in vote for Hillary as an Obama vote! That is just wrong.

  2. Dave — why? The DNC counted votes for Hillary as Obama votes in the primary.

  3. This makes me feel good. That Lou Dobbs is saying the right things.he gets it. CNN gets a lot of viewers. I know that Fox has the highest ratings but I wonder about the people who are only watching CNN and MSNBC. Now I will watch Lou Dobbs and change the channel back to Fox, when Campbell’s Poop comes on—All Bull, So Biased.

  4. It is wrong because BO is on the ballot. If the voter wanted to vote for BO, they’d check his box–not write in Hillary Clinton. There should not be a presumption that the voter “meant” to vote for the Democratic nominee. The voter meant to vote for Hillary Clinton!

  5. I saw a video once starring “Hanging Chad”

  6. afrocity — lol — so right All Bull, So Biased! I like Lou — he doesn’t really care for either of the candidates (but then neither do I) plus he isn’t afraid to call Obama out on his bs — a very rare quality in the msm these days.

  7. afrocity,
    I agree with you. I cannot for the life of me figure out why Campbell Brown is on TV. She makes Olberman look intelligent.

  8. Dave — I was being snarky.

  9. Has anyone here heard of the “Ranked Choice Voting System”? It’s being used here in Pierce County, Washington, for the first time for the election of county officials.

    According to the voter’s pamphlet I received, “RCV allows voters to choose and rank a first, second and third candidate for a single office… To start, every voter’s first choice vote is counted. Any candidate who receives a majority of more than 50% of the vote is declared the winner. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the first choice votes, a process of ELIMINATING candidates and TRANSFERRING votes begins. (emphasis mine). Firs, the candidate who received the fewest number of first choice votes is eliminated from the race. Second, voters who selected the eliminated candidate as their first choice will have their second choice vote transferred and counted. Third, all votes are recounted. Fourth, if any candidate receives more than 50% of the votes in the second count he/she is declared the winner. If no candidate receives more than 50% the process of elimination, transferring votes and recounting is repeated until one candidate has a winning majority.”

    I’d like to hear from anyone who has experienced this system in use. It sounds like a nightmare waiting to happen.

  10. So vote for McCain or Green Party or don’t vote Floridians. Has the word gotten out about this?

  11. angienc,
    Maybe we need a sarcasm emoticon. Sorry, I get it now!

  12. kjmontana — wtf? total train wreck waiting to happen.

  13. Dave – it’s wrong but there are many states that will not allow a write-in ballot to be counted by the Electoral College. The man at the board of elections said that they have to program the data processing tables to have as many names as possible ahead of time so they can count them for the Electoral College.

    Let’s just say that there are 1 million write-in for Hillary. If her campaign DID NOT submit the paperwork to have her name counted, they’ll go to Obama because she is a Democrat.

  14. No prob. Dave — I should have done the /s in my post but I thought for sure you’d get it! 🙂

  15. Dave:

    We have snark font, will that worK?

  16. myiq2xu, on October 17th, 2008 at 7:56 pm Said: Edit Comment
    I saw a video once starring “Hanging Chad”


  17. Hey BRB, I am going to pick up my Chinese Food and run to Marble slab.

  18. I liked the old way where all the votes went into a cardboard box and the election judges (one from each party) counted them when the polls closed. Have we figured out a better system than that? I don’t think so. I’ve been a computer designer for 30 years and I can tell you there is no electronic voting system that cannot be hacked. The supposedly “good” ones have a paper trail. If you are going to have that, what’s the point?

  19. KJmontana: WTF????????????????????????

    That sounds CRAZY! Why don’t they use the KISS principle – whoever gets the most votes wins, end of story.

  20. Dave — so right — nothing has been better then the card board box.

  21. Okay, it’s past 5pm local on a Friday and my drinking problem needs attention.

  22. I’m going out for a while too — have fun everybody. Will check back in later.

  23. SOD:

    What’s wrong is that you are watching CNN at all.

  24. WriteinHillary.com was a good idea from some very lazy people. They still didn’t conclude their research for all states?

  25. Dave – that makes me nervous.

    What do you think about the optical scanner?

  26. I wasn’t leaving, I was just warning people

  27. Edge, that’s why I called my Board of Elections office. A write-in for Hillary is a vote for Obama.

  28. kjmontana – it sounds a bit like the preferential voting system here in Australia. I know it sounds like a train wreck but it actually works well in practice. I have only been here for one major election and it didn’t have any impact at the top of the race but worked well at what we would call the “State level”.

    It is hard to explain, because I’m not totally familiar with it but it wasn’t chaos like you would imagine.

    I am already having nightmares about watching the results roll in on election night (will be day for me, I think). Please don’t let Obama pull this off!

    On that topic, you guys have probably already discussed it here but, if not, there is an excellent speech that Dr. Lynette Long is going around the country giving – posted over at NQ.

  29. 5pm and I have to go too. My wife is stranded again. She insists on using her 1963 Triumph TR4 as a daily driver. Gotta love that except I know much more about the insides of British sports cars than I ever intended. It appears to be the starter motor this time!

  30. Kenyan insiders say Obama was part of takeover strategy.

    Obama’s involvement amounted to a coordination with Odinga on the campaign, according to the sources.

    The general tone of the strategy was to encourage the Odinga campaign to claim to be leading in the presidential race regardless of the actual numbers and be prepared to proclaim victory even if Odinga lost.

    Well, HillBuzz is busy with this today, but don’t expect to see it in our news.

  31. Good luck Dave!

  32. sm77,
    I’ll answer this one from an engineer’s viewpoint. Think of an election as a statistical sampling–a poll, which it is. The measurements (ballots) are subject to both errors and tampering. As we saw in Florida in 2000, when you count the same stack of ballots multiple times–regardless of the method used to count them, be it man or machine–you will likely get different answers. The punch card ballot is susceptible to the hanging chad, for example. The first time it gets run through the machine the chad might block the light and you get no vote. But the act of handling the ballot may knock the chad off, making it a vote on the second pass, etc. There are many possible scenarios. The pen-type optical ballots may be less susceptible to damage during handling, but they have problems too. What if the voter doesn’t scribble within the box or his scribbling hits two or more boxes?

    The main problem with these systems is this: How does an election judge know what the machine is programmed to do? A malicious programmer could hack the machine to make up any count he wants. The paper trail is viewed as the antidote to this, but then someone has to count those ballots too. The method used to do that is also subject to error.

    All of these new systems are designed to improve the quality of the initial measurement, i.e. eliminate voter-induced mistakes, reject overvotes etc. But they are fundamentally hackable, just like any computer. The only computer that is not hackable is one that has no network connections and resides in a shielded room surrounded by armed guards.

  33. OK, I’m outta here. See you soon.

  34. I think it is the same way in Virginia as Florida. A write in for Hillary would automatically go to Obama.

    Mountain Sage

  35. Rep. Michele Bachmann kicks @$$!

  36. Hmmm– weird. We’ve been using the page scanners here in Leon County (in north Fla) for more than 25 years. When someone has a write-in vote, you just don’t put the ballot in the scanner– you put it in a box set aside for that purpose, and they’re hand-counted.

    At least, that’s the way OUR Supervisor of Elections, Ion Sancho (Dem), has always had it done.

    The machines are really neat. They’re based upon ’50s “test grading” technology that is, basically, too damned dumb to “rig”. Either a circle is marked, or it isn’t. Either there is a mark within a set group of circles, or there isn’t. If there’s more than one mark in that group, it spits the ballot back out into your hands.

    The “worst case” scenario on a page scanner is that YOU forget to mark a choice on your ballot. The machine accepts that as an undervote. But then, that’s YOUR fault. It’s up to you to reread your ballot before you put it in the machine.

    If anything else is wrong with the ballot, the machine simply won’t accept it. A poll worker comes along and helps you figure out what you did wrong, if you need help.

    It’s just too dumb to be rigged, and the paper ballots exist as a source for a recount.

    In 2000, Leon County was completely recounted in a couple of hours.

  37. scrubs57, on October 17th, 2008 at 8:07 pm Said:
    “kjmontana – it sounds a bit like the preferential voting system here in Australia. I know it sounds like a train wreck but it actually works well in practice.”

    Boy, I dunno. I was taken totally by surprise when I got the voter’s pamphlet explaining “Ranked Choice”. I have never heard of anything like it before (except for the 3-judge system at horse shows!)

    RCV may work, but I have visions of lawsuits and scandals dancing through my head. I still think the best system is whoever gets the most votes wins.

  38. Dave, re: “The pen-type optical ballots may be less susceptible to damage during handling, but they have problems too. What if the voter doesn’t scribble within the box or his scribbling hits two or more boxes?”

    The scanner doesn’t accept a ballot that isn’t clearly marked. It spits it back out into your hands.

    It’s PRECISELY the same technology that has been used in those “fill in the box” multiple-choice tests since the late ’50s.

    Almost all of us have done those before, and know that we’re expected to be neat with our filling-in.

  39. This is the US of freaking A, and we can’t come up with a reasonably reliable and cheat-proof way of voting?

  40. Myiq, I think the page scanner is the closest there is.

    Believe me, I’ve voted in several states over my lifetime, and this is the best I’ve seen.

  41. Oh, myiq – you have kept me sane through all of this – without the belly laughs you have brought out of me I’d be banging my head against the wall at this point.
    I too saw that movie with Hanging Chad – and he was great! 😉

  42. Perhaps we can lock all four of them in a room – let them pound the living daylights out of each other and whoever is still standing wins

  43. I recently had a long discussion with my father, who is the Dem Registrar of Voters in his town, and he explained the procedure concerning the optical scan machines. The registrar needs to anticipate all the possible ways a ballot could be filled out (as SM pointed out in her post) and then provided the info to the voting machine company. Someone at the company programs a card to account for these possibilities and to make sure that the machine performs the appropriate action (like spitting out a blank ballot). As Dave remarked, a programmer could hack the machine.

    But another possibility is that someone working at the polls could resubmit ballots through the machine after the polls close. In the state where my father works, the machines do not mark ballots that are fed through so there would be no way of telling. Another weird thing is that all the machines in the state can be opened by the same key. So, the upshot is that there are numerous ways that duplicitous people can commit election fraud. Not very reassuring at all.

  44. Joanelle– that would undoubtedly be Sarah… 😀

  45. Here’s an idea from the world of check cashing:

    If a voter doesn’t have ID, make them give their thmbprint.

    And make fraudlent voting a serious felony. (10 yrs +)

  46. Jules, I didn’t know that the machine doesn’t mark the ballots.

    However, our Supervisor of Elections is the only one who has the key to open the drop box the ballots fall into after the ballot is scanned.

  47. Myiq– thumbprint– NICE IDEA! 🙂

  48. joanelle:

    “Gallows humor” is the most important kind.

  49. Indeed, mamapajamas, I’m sure that Sarah could beat em all!

  50. mamaspj’s: I don’t know if that is the same in every state. My dad and I were saying that it would be a very simple matter to have the machine print out a date/time stamp on the ballot, kind of like the way train tickets are validated in Europe.

  51. My dream Superbowl would be Raiders vs Niners.

    My dream election would be Hillary vs Sarah

  52. If they really want to increase voter turnout, give every eligible voter who votes a special lottery ticket.

    On election night, have a drawing and give the winner $1 million (with some lesser prizes too)

    I bet we would have 99%+ turnout

    Of course there are people who say that’s unethical. But is it as unethical as giving ACORN $millions?

  53. Years ago I was a voting judge in California. If a person marked a box wrong, by making an X instead of a check mark, the ballot was invalidated. Some people actually marked two candidates for the same office but it wasn’t an RVC system (which does sound nuts!). The whole ballot gets invalidated if there is one goof in some states. Be careful. I am even wondering about writing in McKinney in CT just because I want to be safe. I do want to vote for someone for POTUS though, because a blank is just an invitation for an acorn to fall on the ballot.

  54. Chimera:

    At G-Dub says, the tree doesn’t fall far from the nuts.

  55. OT, but the US Supreme Court has ruled against the Republican Party, overtunring the 6th Circuit decision:
    “The Supreme Court on Friday overturned a lower court’s order [overturned by a three judge panel from the 6th Circuit, then affirmed by the 6th Circuit en banc] requiring state officials in Ohio to supply information that would have made it easier to challenge prospective voters.

    “The court said it expressed “no opinion on the question whether HAVA is being properly implemented.” But it said that Congress probably had not intended to allow private litigants like political parties to sue to enforce the part of the law concerning databases”

    Ok, then who would have standing?


  56. Is it wrong that I want to punch my television set? Ugh.

  57. Excellent work, SM! I live in Florida so this is very helpful. I would like to quote from this liberally on my blog if that’s OK.

  58. As much as I’d love to exercise a write-in, in Hill’s favor, I simply REFUSE to take that chance. Nuh-uh. No. Can. Do.

    Protest vote, all the way! PUMA POWER!

  59. Raiders vs Niners????

    Hillary vs Sarah would be a lot more likely.

    ha, I know you said “dream”……just couldn’t resist commenting. through a sad series of events, the major one involving Tom Brady, J.T. O’Sullivan has become my fantasy QB. so I guess I too would like to see them go to the Super Bowl, if only because that would mean he probably threw a few touchdowns to get there.

    now Redskins vs……..anybody! that would be my dream SuperBowl…

  60. kiki5:

    In 1984 (1983 season) the AFC chamion was the Raiders, and the Redskins beat the Niners in the NFC championship.

    The odds off both teams coming that close again are slim and none.

  61. http://action.aclu.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Nat_ballot2008_email

    I just got this link in an email from the ACLU. it shows certain states that are going to have special initiatives or amendments that affect rights on the ballot this year, including Amendment 2 in Florida.

  62. so myiq, who’s your team? SF or Oakland?

  63. No Niners!

    Raiders Rule!

  64. grlpatriot: You are more than welcome to quote away – that’s why I wrote about this because early voting has already started in a few states and in FL it’ll start on the 20th.

  65. We have 3.6 MILLION HITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow, didn’t we just do 3.5 million a few days ago?

  66. It’s Friday – the end of a really hectic week, so:

    So… a senator dies – gets to heaven and St. Pete says he has to make a choice – the Senator doesn’t want to consider Hell but St. Pete says “Well, that decision is above my pay-grade”. You’ll spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”

    With that, St. Pete escorts him to the elevator to hell. Down they go – the doors open and there’s a great golf course, a clubhouse and all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. They’re happy and they run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

    The devil, who’s a very friendly guy has a good time dancing and telling jokes. But soon it’s time to go. He gets a hearty farewell and leaves while the elevator rises.

    St. Peter is waiting for him. “Now it’s time to visit heaven.” The senator joins a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing and soon 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

    “Choose your eternity.” Says St. Pete – the thinks, then answers: “Well, heaven is delightful, but I think I’d like hell.” So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and down to hell.

    The doors to hell open and he’s in the middle of a barren wasteland covered with garbage. His friends are dressed in rags, picking up the trash as more trash falls from above… The devil puts his arm around his shoulder. “I don’t understand,” stammers the senator. “Yesterday I was here and – where’s the golf course and clubhouse, – we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. What happened?”

    The devil looks at him, smiles and says……. “Yesterday we were campaigning” 😉

  67. Kiki5 – this link is great – thanks

  68. Joanelle: That’s a good one!!!

  69. Myiq – the dream team would be Sarah and Hill – I’d rather they didn’t have to run against each other -they are both smart ladies and what a terrific mentor Hill could be for Sarah

  70. I always respected the Raider tradition. I grew up as a Jets fan, when Joe Namath guaranteed victory. It has been close to forty years of humiliation ever since.

  71. It would be even funnier sm77 – if it wasn’t so close to the truth.

  72. lol, good one Joanelle…….sad but true

  73. I am watching “body snatchers” on TV…it is a 90’s version of the classic I’ve never seen before. It is way too familiar….

  74. Gary, can you believe they remade Invasion of the Body Snatchers?!! Everytime I see it advertised I get excited and it always turns out to be the remake.

    And absolutely, PEOPLE, please make sure to look under your beds before you go to sleep. We only have a few more weeks to get through… watch out for those stinking pods!

  75. SM, is this gay marriage thing really on the FL ballot every election? I’m currently visiting my daughter in Florida and she and some of her friends are planning to hand out fliers tomorrow urging people to vote against it. my intention is to go with them. now I’m interested in the history here…..is it likely to be voted down anyway? I didn’t realize it’s something that’s been tried before.

  76. This was in the gossip column at NY Magazine:

    Drew Barrymore, 33, called herself a cougar to Liv Tyler, but Tyler, 31, said they were too young to be cougars, and that they were pumas, and Drew loved that.

    Michelle Obama ordered lobster apps, two whole steamed lobsters, Iranian caviar, and Champagne at the Waldorf Wednesday afternoon when she was there with O for a meeting.

  77. wow RIP Levi Stubbs.

    the Four Tops were so great

  78. Gary,

    I didn’t like that version very much, especially the ending. The original is great, but I like the ’70s version with Donald Sutherland a lot too. That is one of my favorite movies. Of course now it reminds me of ObamaNation.

  79. I saw the one that just came out with nicole kidman, and the donald sutherland one of the 70’s, and the original. this one is from the 90’s with the Forrest Whitaker in it. I’ve never even heard of this version before.

  80. Isn’t that a little tasteless and insensitive for Barack and Michelle to be dining on lobsters and caviar when we are supposedly in the “worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?”

  81. Oh, I don’t think I’ve seen that one, sorry. I was thinking of the Nicole Kidman one.

  82. bboomer….my question is 2 lobsters? she ate 2 whole lobsters???

  83. gary: She got a doggie bag to go, and the dinner was charged to the campaign. [A mean parentofed would say she got a fish wives’ bag to go.]

  84. Gary,

    I think they were both there.

  85. And lobster appetizers and Iranian caviar

    Iranian??? Ooops, more ammo for the 527s.

  86. Lobster and caviar for lunch! What would something like that cost? 200? more? for lunch, jeebers.

  87. What do you guys think about Drew Barrymore and Liv Tyler being pumas? Do you think it’s a shout out or are they clueless as to the political meaning?

  88. i think they’re clueless

  89. NH,

    Haven’t you heard? Barack’s income is far more than the $250K poor Joe the plumber aspires to.

  90. I vote clueless. I am not being mean, just realistic. No Hollywood person, who still wants to make money, is going to put their neck out for McCain or any one other than Obama.

  91. mawm and I were wondering about Diane Keaton the other day. she was a huge hillary supporter in the primary, but I haven’t hear anything from her lately. I hope she didn’t drink the kool aid.

  92. Pumas aren’t for McCain. We are against Obama and “party unity” above all. For Hillary.

  93. garychapellhill, I think hollywood folks who supported Hillary or McCain are laying low.

  94. John Voight is being very loud in favor of McCain.

  95. I know PUMA is not endorsing McCain, sorry if my post suggested that. Was not my intent.

  96. It’s so funny that Janine Turner [sp?] is a McCain/Palin fan. You’ll remember her best from Northern Exposure.

  97. John Voight is not dependant on Hollywood anymore. He takes jobs but doesn’t need to.

  98. My Keaton was for Hill?! Yes! I can still love her, even after “Because I Said So” which was terrible.

  99. Being that not many from the hollywood scene have ever been accused of exhibiting any sort of critical thinking…. I’m going to err on the side of caution and vote clueless.

  100. Janine Turner is gorgeous. Jon Voight is batty but his batty daughter and he seem to be one of one mind on their presidential candidates. Angie doesn’t seem to be a Barack fan.

  101. Regency,

    I like First Wives Club. Also the recent one with Jack Nicholson.

  102. In states where a Hillary write-in vote would count for Obama, if you’re an independent, write yourself in.

    I switched my voter registration back in June and am considering it. Or just writing in PUMA PAC.

    That’s if you’re uncomfortable voting McCain or leaving the top blank.

  103. reg, mawm and I watched “the other sister” on one of our first dates. it is the most god-awful movie ever. I was like, what kind of horrible family puts their very mildly retarded daughter in an institution for like twenty years? I mean is it supposed to be set in the 30’s or something?? plus juliette lewis’ performance is just way too much.

  104. BB: Love both of those, as well as the 2 Father of the Bride movies.

    I whoreship Diane Keaton.

  105. love first wives club, but my favorite…”Baby Boom”… 🙂

  106. GCH: Baby Boom!!!!

    That is a movie that I will stay up at 3am to watch. I adore her in that movie with the little girl. That’s my boo, my businesswoman, my loving mother. She rocked that movie.

  107. yeah, that was the 80’s ideal woman….superwoman…she could have it all. I loved that the male response to equality in the 80’s was basically, “fine, you can do all the work we do, but you get paid less and you still have to do all that other work you were doing before, without any help from us. Oh, and you have to wear ridiculously huge shoulder pads too 🙂 “

  108. There’s of course the option to vote Cynthia McKinney. A 2 women ticket. I know, there’s a nuttiness quotient, but far more benign than the alternative.

  109. GCH: That’s just like today except you do it in ridiculously high heels instead of shoulder pads and you get called a **** for all the stuff you manage to do without men and you get called a b***h for wanting to do more. Who wants to do a movie about that?

  110. Keaton’s best shall always be Annie Hall. Hands down.

  111. yeah, reg, it sucks. maybe those were the good old days….

  112. kjmontana, on October 17th, 2008 at 7:57 pm Said:

    Has anyone here heard of the “Ranked Choice Voting System”? It’s being used here in Pierce County, Washington, for the first time for the election of county officials.

    According to the voter’s pamphlet I received, “RCV allows voters to choose and rank a first, second and third candidate for a single office… To start, every voter’s first choice vote is counted. Any candidate who receives a majority of more than 50% of the vote is declared the winner. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the first choice votes, a process of ELIMINATING candidates and TRANSFERRING votes begins. (emphasis mine). Firs, the candidate who received the fewest number of first choice votes is eliminated from the race. Second, voters who selected the eliminated candidate as their first choice will have their second choice vote transferred and counted. Third, all votes are recounted. Fourth, if any candidate receives more than 50% of the votes in the second count he/she is declared the winner. If no candidate receives more than 50% the process of elimination, transferring votes and recounting is repeated until one candidate has a winning majority.”

    I’d like to hear from anyone who has


    kjmontana, it sounds, at first blush, pretty much like the proportional representation system used in Australia. Not a nightmare at all. Remember – there is no such thing as a fair voting system:

  113. At my work, it’s “you have to work twice as hard as the men for less money, have less staff and less influence, and we’re going to change your job description, take away your autonomy and put you into the girl ghetto, unless you convince us we shouldn’t.”

    This week has SUCKED.

    (You may vote for FIVE)
    Joe W. Bowser
    Becky Heron
    Brenda Howerton
    Michael D. Page
    Ellen Reckhow

    this is from my sample ballot. I live in Obama central…an island of obots in a republican sea….

  115. I always remember her calling James Spader a “pisser” and the look on his face.

  116. kjmontana, I’m curious as to why you think the best system is whoever gets the most votes wins. Is it because that’s what you’re used to?

    I think people who were raised with the Australian system, pretty much as you described, probably think that seems fairer because it’s what they’re used to.

    Just curious.

  117. chimera, on October 17th, 2008 at 8:54 pm Said:

    … Some people actually marked two candidates for the same office but it wasn’t an RVC system (which does sound nuts!).

    Chiumera, the following is from Wikipedia:

    “Proportional representation (sometimes referred to as full representation, or PR), is a category of electoral formula aiming at a close match between the percentage of votes that groups of candidates (grouped by a certain measure) obtain in elections and the percentage of seats they receive (usually in legislative assemblies). PR is a democratic principle rather than an electoral system in itself. It is often contrasted to plurality voting systems, where disproportional seat distribution results from the division of voters into multiple electoral districts, especially “winner takes all” plurality (“first past the post” or FPTP) districts.”

    I do not think this is “nuts” at all, and as the Wiki article states, is based on democratic principles.

  118. Whoops, my apologies, chimera, for misspelling your name.

  119. Lou Dobbs was super tonight comparing the press attention on Joe the Plumber compared to none on Ayers. He did this following our wedding rehearsal this afternoon. I swear he is the lone voice of reason out there these days. The only one to stand up to the cacaphony that is Obama.

  120. SM: Great post. Informative and well researched. One of my kids pointed out that it was only last January when the Patriots were favored to win the Super Bowl and capture the title to a complete winning season when in the last few minutes of the game Eli Manning waltzed in and stole it away.

    I prefer to think the same will happen on November 4th when McCain does a pirouette and captures the win. Fingers crossed.

  121. Hi all — I’m back — did you miss me?
    I see that the new meme is all the newspaper endorsements BO is getting — 2 to 1 compared to McCain! Substitute “newspaper” for SDs & it is deja vu all over again. I guess we shouldn’t bother voting — the newspapers have spoken! /s

  122. So, is the election going to come down to supporters of Joe the Plumber versus those of Bill the Bomber?

    Should the Gallup Poll be asking which of these we support?

  123. Ooh — word on the street is that BO is going to pull out a Powell endorsement.

  124. angienc, on October 17th, 2008 at 10:55 pm Said:

    Ooh — word on the street is that BO is going to pull out a Powell endorsement.

    CNN was making a big thing of this, but is it really going to sway anybody?

  125. PJ is getting married to Lou Dobbs? Oh dear.

  126. Powell let down the country when he went against his own counsel and officially sanctioned the invasion of Iraq. He has zero credibility with me and the continued touting of him as some hero is out of proportion to the loss of lives that this war has created. I could care less who he endorses. Just another politician who could have made a difference and chose to sell his soul for “the sake of the party”. Shame on him.

  127. Lou has become my latest “soulmate”.

  128. A couple of weeks ago, Powell gave court testimony in support of Alaska’s Ted Stevens. I’ve wondered why he did that.

  129. Orrin Hatch and several other bigwigs testified on behalf of Ted Stevens. According to them he is a “great guy”. Good enough for me!

  130. Angelina Jolie rocks! She won’t say who she’s voting for and deserves a hell of a lot of respect for that.
    In addition, she gives away millions to charity.
    Don’t knock that girl. She walks the talk.

  131. Pat J — I think Powell is a Republican.
    And no, urgetocompute it will not make a difference — which is why I find it so hilarious — remember all the “big” endorsements (like John Edwards) BO got in the primary — didn’t help him a bit, but the msm acted like each one was the burning bush handing down the 10 commandments to Moses.

  132. Angelina’s actually my second wife.

  133. I agree Lou Dobbs is the lone voice of reason on CNN, but I wish he would call out the reporters he has on his show like Candy etc. Dobbs will have someone represent McCain’s talking points and someone else on Obama, but when you listen to the reports the pro-Obama leaning is still highly evident. Half of the time doing McCains talking points they relate all of Obama’s criticisms of McCains talking points. But when discussing Obama it’s all Obama.

  134. angelasmith — totally agree with you on Angelina Jolie, but who was knocking her? Problems some Jennifer Aniston fanatics.

  135. Oh Regency, I thought you were fiercely loyal. I’m disappointed. 😉

  136. Powell may very well endorse Obama according to other reports. Big yawn either way. He should be doing penance on his knees for the rest of his life as far as I am concerned. With the credibility he enjoyed back then he could have outwardly disagreed or resigned as a result which may have shed more light on the run up to this tragic war.

    That is not leadership but another area of cover your ass then apologize later. Too late for those who have suffered as a result.

  137. REGENCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  138. Brit: I’m fiercely loyal alright. I only pay attention to Hillary when she’s home and then I only pay attention to Angie when she’s home. I never split my attentions.

  139. I personally would be worried about doing a write in candidate. Perhaps I am paranoid, but the write-in ballots are hand counted and I am not sure about the checks and balances. So many of the election centers are controlled by Democrats that I worry they will try tricks like losing non-Obama ballots.

  140. If Powell read this:


    I don’t believe he’d endorse Obama or want anything to do with him!!

    This is truly frightening — that Obama and friends could be in this position.

  141. Careful, Pat, Lou’s wife will smack you across the border he’s so concerned about. I don’t know if she shares well.

  142. Pat J — sorry for the confusion — I didn’t mean to imply that Powell wasn’t endorsing Obama when I said that I thought he was a Republican — just that he wasn’t doing it “for the sake of the party” — so why is he doing it? But ultimately you are right — yawn. Endorsements didn’t help BO in the primaries, just more to throw into the haka & make voters forget that BO is totally unqualified.

  143. The Powell thing doesn’t make sense. What possible cache would he bring to Obamama? Cred with AAs?
    He’s got that. The military vote? But seeing as Powell was one of the major pushers and shovers of the Iraq war, why would that help Obama out?

    The only thing that makes sense (and I know this election has nothing to do with sense) is that Powell will endorse McCain. Supposedly that might bring AA interest to McCain.

    Of course, since Obama makes everyone drop their life’s work to follow his happy tune, I suppose Colin could drop his party, drop his credibility (if you can call it that) on the Iraq war.

    It does definitely smack of more Obama-drama though. The last big exciting switchovers from the other side to show the magnetism of the Chosen One.
    I’ve been waiting for that to happen anyway. Obama likes those moles to come out grinning from ear to ear- like he played them against Hillary.

    But, it is a big yawn if it is an Obama endorsement.
    As exciting as a Jimmy Carter endorsement, a Jon Edwards endorsement. Yawn. Snore.

  144. Brit: I’m fiercely loyal alright. I only pay attention to Hillary when she’s home and then I only pay attention to Angie when she’s home. I never split my attentions.


  145. Can Powell endorse Obama already, so we can move on to more important things?

    This is becoming almost cyclical, every now and then, we get the obligatory Colin-Powell-about-to endorse-Obama story.

    Enough already, from the guy who enthusiastically endorsed Bush and when to the UN to present the biggest con job in history.

  146. angienc: I know that Powell is a Repub. I meant that for the sake of the GOP back then he let Bush slide.

    The amazing thing about this should he endorse The One is that Obama ran against Hillary because of her vote to authorize back then while he supposedly denounced it in his infamous speech. So having Powell’s endorsement is just another form of hypocrisy. This was probably the one guy who could have called Bush’s bluff but chose to remain silent. So who has more blood on their hands, Hillary or Powell in the Obama world? Methinks the Obamabots will be loving it if Powell endorses Obama. They forgive any and all.

  147. Hey, maybe if Colin endorses Obama, somebody will call him Judas.

    Then the dems can have Richardson Judas and the repubs can have Powell Judas.

    Parity! Parity for Parties!

    I agree with you MABlue, I find the whole Powell thing rather stupid.

  148. Probably it would be better for Mc if Powell endorsed Obama… just another tie to GWB

  149. Whenever they march Powell out as some sanctimonious hero it angers me as much as when they prance out Henry Kissinger as some expert on anything. Both are shameless IMHO.

  150. Pat J — ok, confusion cleared up! lol
    The msm is pumping up Powell since their Joe the Plumber hit job isn’t going so well.

  151. Night everybody — I’m beat.

  152. Powell cannot cross party lines and endorse Obama without trashing McCain, kinda like what Buckley did. I’d like to hear him do that, and to a fellow soldier too. And, no, his endorsement won’t matter a bit. But his fellow Rebublicans might remember.

  153. You’re beat?

    I’m drunk

  154. wait!

    Did I say that out loud?

  155. myiq: And it is 3 hours earlier out there so you have a longer evening to imbibe. It is almost Sat out this way.

  156. I read Angelina Jolie came out for Obama in a German magaziine recently…I’ll look for a link.

  157. MyIq, don’t stop drinking, everybody hates a quitter.

  158. I just tip toed over to TL. There comment section is way, way down. I wonder if Jeralyn has noticed this through her fog of Kool Aid? It used to be so crowded over there I never bothered much with commenting. I have been to wakes that had more attendees.

  159. Oh, maybe she didn’t quite come out for him…just had some nice things to say about him?


  160. “You know you’re too high when you’re eating cereal naked and your girlfriend says ‘Get dressed’ and you realize it’s not your girlfriend it’s just some lady on the bus.” – Dov Davidoff

  161. PJ – TL died soon after Jeralyn instituted her probama censorship decree

  162. MyIq, that should be on the side panel of Wheaties.

  163. elderj:

    Now we have the undead zombie TalkLeft going “Brains! Must eat brains!”

  164. I was thinking earlier today when it will be safe to go back to reading my old favorite blogs once again. Perhaps come March if Obama wins. That should be enough time for the likes of Crooks and Liars, Firedoglake, Corrente, Talk Left, and a few others to start seeing the cracks in this man.

    If he wins, it will be quite interesting to see how they react to his Cabinet appointees. The hue and cry will be: “This is not the same Obama we all knew and loved”.

    We will be just that much ahead of them.

  165. Pat:

    I think Daily Howler is the only blog I still read that was reading regularly last year.

    On the bright side, I found this place.

    Stuff evens out

  166. Forgive me for being OT, Conflucians. And forgive me if the topic I want to bring up – Lanny Davis’ commentary in the WSJ – has already been discussed on these threads. But I was just catching up on my newspaper reading, and read it. I just HAD to write about it. And I’m wondering, am I the only one who finds his piece insulting and actually nutty?

    Here’s the article. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122420333668243091.html
    Here’s my commentary: http://tdg.typepad.com/heidi_lis_potpourri/2008/10/lanny-davis-you-seem-a-bit-confused—to-say-the-least.html

  167. How could a Powell endorsement possibly help Obama? I really don’t see an upside to that. The only reason the Obama campaign is pushing this must be because they desperately need something to change the subject from his “spread the wealth around” quote.

    Truly, that quote could be what causes Obama to lose by itself.

  168. I think it will be fun to watch the litany of upcoming excuses from Ohlalaland. We will know when they hit bottom when El Nino and barometric pressure figure into the equation. As for them taking the first step and admitting there is a problem, it might be when they are dragging their little red wagons to Starbucks to pay for a latte.

  169. As for Colin Powell: why would Obama WANT his endorsement? After all Colin Powell was the Bush administration’s major liar to the UN about WMD in Iraq which is how Bush got UN clearance to go into Iraq – so shouldn’t Obama repudiate any endorsement from him? I know, I know – too much logic in that but honestly…

  170. New post up

  171. How much of a fuss is “spread the wealth around” creating?

  172. I suspect that between slamming JtP (Joe the Plumber) and the lobster/caviar dinner extravaganza, BO is not scoring a lot of points these days…

    Heidi Li, watching the debate the other night, I was thinking BO should get down on his knees and thank Hillary for making him a tougher debater… am I happy about it? not in the least – I’m pretty close to pulling the lever for Mac…. anyone (ANYONE) who was screaming, “WWTSBQ?” should just shut the hell up now.

  173. OT Alert
    Heidi Li, I left a comment on your blog 🙂 , but i have to say right now I am confused myself .Speaking of nutty … I just heard a man i actually thought was intelligent; imply that john McCain was possibly losing his faculties , and that he based that observation on his choice of running mate . He repeated several of the current lies being circulated in the “media” as fact about SP and was very satisfied with his conclusion that Sarah Palin was not experienced enough to be VP .

  174. SM77

    I am down on Anna Maria Island, and we have had optical scan voting in Manatee for over twenty years. When they had trouble in other locales, I would routinely say.” Why don’t they just go to optical scan, like ours? It is easy to do, easy to understand, and leaves a paper trail for every ballot. Plus, in the event of a power outage ( not unheard of in Florida), they have a manual assembly that can run the machines.”

    Anyway, in 2006 we watched the new, spiffy, touch screen machines south of us in Sarasota county, undervote 18,000 ballots, giving Vern Buchanon the Assembly seat by a couple hundred votes. They only undervoted in heavily Democratic precints, and that was the end of touch screen in Florida.

    Gov. Crist, ( pretty good Governor, for a Rep.) said he didn’t want to be embarrassed by another voting debacle like 2000 and 2006. so he instructed the Sec. of State to replace all machines that didn’t provide a paper trail for the fall election. Unfortunately, that was done just after this years primaries, which is why Florida couldn’t redo the primary this spring. A lot of counties had no machines. They backed the trucks up, loaded them in and took them away. The talked about mail votes, like Oregon, and the State party said they didn’t trust that. The Post Office said they could guarantee the security of mail ballots, and then, a few days later, news broke that a whole bunch of absentee ballots had been misplaced by the post office. Now you know why Floridians are , particularly, sensitive to voting rights. We have had a pretty rough time of it just getting through a national election. The fact that ACORN has been set up, outside of our state prisons to educate felons on how to get their voting rights back is unnerving to say the least. I believe in voter rights, but, the concept of street people. child molesters, identity theives, and college kids setting the course of this county is stupifying, to say the least. I first voted in 68 and felt strongly about everything, and believed in the youth of the country, but I don’t think, even then, that I thought we should be able to run the whole show. That’s what communes were for.

  175. kjmontana, it’s also called “Instant Runoff voting,” or IRV, and I believe it is used in SF, so maybe someone in the Bay Area can fill you in.

    It’s not really proportional representation, as in Europe, which BTW, allows many more parties to participate and have their views considered (a GOOD thing for a democracy, I think), But it allows for avoiding a runoff election when no candidate receives the required paercentage of votes.

    In its purest form, it allows the voters to express their relative opinions of a number of candidates – could be interesting, no? I’d love to hear opinions from anyone in such a system.

    OT, but in my head tonight, if you are in a state with a marriage equality vote on the ballot, be sure to spread the word about what a YES or NO vote means – not everyone litens to the details!

    I am photographing a wedding Wednesday here in CA, and it just tears me that we must vote less than two weeks later whether to use our state constitution to TAKE AWAY rights. What might be next?

    Thanks all.

  176. So what if Colin Powell endorses BoBo? I once considered Powell to be the ONLY member of the Bush administration that had any honor. I never supported going to war in Iraq. But then I saw Colin Powell talking to the UN General Assembly about WMDs, complete with satellite photos, and I had to wonder if maybe these guys could be right. So I stopped speaking out. Well, we all know how the rest of the story went.

    So to me, Colin Powell went from being an honorable man to just another lying sack of shit in the Bush Administration. Powell endorsing Obama. Just one liar vouching for another. And if you REALLY look at it, it’s the Bush Administration endorsing Obama. That says everything right there.

  177. Sorry for the rant guys. But it just burns me that anyone would think an endorsement from CP means anything.

    To answer urgetocompute, yes, whoever gets the most votes wins, is the system I am used to. I guess the simplicity of it appeals to me. We have had so many voting related nightmares in this country lately. I worry about anything that eliminates candidates and transfers votes.

    In 2004 our governor’s race was undecided for nearly 6 weeks due to counts and recounts. The same two candidates are running this time and the animosity on both sides is even nastier than before. I’m thinking they should just decide it with pistols at 10 paces.

  178. The Powell thing is probably an attempt to bring more Republicans into the fold-ya know, the ones he has been alienating lately.

    I wouldn’t be surprised because ,a few conservatives of color said they were tempted to vote for O BECAUSE they are excited about the overall historical impact, REGARDLESS of massive disagreement on the issues.

    At least they were honest enough to say so.

  179. Why do we keep changing the way we vote? Why can we have the touchscreen back?

    This really is a problem why do they keep changing the way we vote!

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