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When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sparky says:
this is positively the last time we'll do the SONGBIRD meme unless the unthinkable happens.

Obama Voters Moved By Historic Vote

Overshadowed, occasionally, by all the talk of voter lines, machine malfunctions, election projections and electorate anxiety is the truly historic nature of what is taking place on this Tuesday, November 4. An African-American man has guided his way to the cusp of the presidency. The deal won't be closed for a few more hours. It may not happen at all. But the emotional threads have already begun to affect many voters. A slew of readers offered moving testimonials of the brief time they spent today casting a vote for something historical. It's worth sharing their words.

Steven, a 44 year old white male living in Orange County, Florida:

I hail from the great state of Mississippi -- however, I was raised by black folks in my earliest years... My family and background give impetus to why I am a very strong supporter of what Barack Obama's campaign represents. One of my first memories was watching the funeral of MLK, Jr. with my (de facto) African American mother. My people, James and Christine, come from the red-clay hills of Georgia. They both disciplined me, made me eat gizzards, and tried to get me on the righteous track very early in my life. Both are retired, getting on in their years, and they have imbued me with very strong ideals about what it is to be a patriot and a citizen of this country -- as well as what it means to be an honorable human being.

Tonight, when I call them at about 9:00pm, will be one of the proudest moments of our lives.

Jim from Montgomery, Alabama:

I'm a 59-year old white guy who votes in Montgomery AL at a "predominantly black" voting place. Both campaigns regarded Alabama as a state so far gone for McCain that there was no point spending money here. Far as I can tell, there has been no visible get-out-the-vote campaign here for anyone, though there was reportedly some uptick in registration, according to this morning's Montgomery Advertiser (which endorsed Obama).

My voting place (Hamner Hall Fire Station) opened at 8 AM. I arrived about 8:15 and walked right through. No line at all. Marked my ballot by hand and fed it to the machine, all in 5 minutes, most of which was spent marking the two-sided ballot (on the back were some constitutional amendments, of state and local import.)

When I think about it there was little point in casting my vote (for Obama) here; there's no realistic hope of overtaking the McCain flood or grabbing any electoral votes for O. But I'm happy I did it.

I've lived here my whole life. I remember my Dad explaining the Montgomery Bus Boycott to me when I was six years old, while it was going on all around us. The Freedom Riders took their licks at the Greyhound Bus Station downtown here when I was around 12 years old, and the Selma-to-Montgomery march ended on Monroe Street here when I was 15. My daughters 13 and 15 like Obama, but I wonder if there is any way they can ever understand what happened back then and what is happening here today. If not, maybe in a way that's a good thing. Maybe it's even the point.

You could easily walk from Hamner Hall to the site of the old Greyhound bus station, and with a little more effort to the capitol steps where Jefferson Davis and George Wallace were inaugurated -- and where Dr. King gave his speech in 1965. Likewise to the site on Montgomery Street where Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, number 2857, in 1955.

It's a pretty amazing place. And time.

Tanya from Parsippany, New Jersey

I just voted this morning. I must tell you that the emotion caught me off guard. My polling place was not overly crowded, but more crowded than on non-presidential years. When the curtain closed, I paused and had to catch my breath from the excitement. After I pushed all my requisite buttons, I paused again to triple check I'd hit everything correctly, and that's when it hit me. I was born 23 days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and 40 years later there I stood voting for Senator Obama to be the next President of the United States of America. How's that for CHANGE? How's that for the ability of this country to survive its failures and move through them to reach a point where this is possible? So, in all that, I started to cry, for the pride and joy I felt at that moment and the wish that so many others who've moved on from this world could have been here to witness it and share the same amazement. What a great day to be an American, even with our antiquated voting system, even with the challenges we face as a nation today and even with the cultural walls we've yet to climb.

Dem Pollster: "I've Never Been Less Worried"

Stan Greenberg, the pollster who aided Bill Clinton's run to the White House in 1992, said he was far more confident about Barack Obama's chances than he was for the last Democratic president 16 years ago.

"Everything that I saw has solidified," he said of recent polling. "Every poll that I saw of Obama I looked and said, 'I feel more and more confident.' And I'm beginning to look forward to his presidency. I've never had an election where I worried less about the outcome."

The statement is remarkable to the extent that any pollster's predictions can be. One of the famous anecdotes from the Clinton war room during the '92 election is that, while every other staffer bit their nails in anticipation of the results, Greenberg stood in the background with a look of cool confidence on his face. Looking back now, he says, he may have overstated just how good he was feeling that evening.

"I was confident to people around me, but when the poll numbers came in during the night I was very relieved," he said. "In '92, with Ross Perot in the race, the polls were a lot less stable."

For this race, Greenberg has been conducting national polls independent of Obama's candidacy for his firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. And the results he has documented, he says, are unprecedented in their consistency.

"I have never even seen a race this stable," he said. "Really not much has happened over the last couple of weeks. I think everything that McCain did really worsened his position, from Joe the Plumber to the socialism charge, to attacks on the progressive income tax."

There are a few micro-points that Greenberg made when discussing some of the numbers. The first is that the national polls could show Obama two or three points lower than where he will end up, because firms have not been able to fully take into account voters who operate solely off of cell phones.

"It is a critical component," he told the Huffington Post. "The final poll we did -- if you saw our final memo we had the headline, Obama with a seven-point lead, but if you read a paragraph in you will see nine percent. And one element of that is young voters, because even though we do a national poll it is still a landline thing, and that is much more likely to register people supportive of McCain."

The other point is to not trust the exit poll numbers, which skew the totals in favor of the Democratic candidate.

"The biggest problem with exit polls is... we do know that young voters are much more likely to do an exit survey and seniors are much less likely to do an exit poll," he said. "So exit polls are heavily waited to young people, which normal bias favors Democrats especially this year."

Instead of exits, Greenberg is looking at two unorthodox locations to give him a sneak peak at the national results -- both in his home state.

"In the senior centers in Connecticut they have polling places," he explained. "East Haven is a working class, Italian city, very white. And there are two senior housing projects. They have their own polling places, so I am having them call me with the results. And so if Obama can carry them, I know we are in a relatively strong place."

Election Night Returns Resources: Poll Closing Times, Electoral College Widgets

(More exit polls coming soon. We explain why you shouldn't trust them below.)

Ten Reasons Why You Should Ignore Exit Polls []
On The Exit Polls [Marc Ambinder]
Guide To Watching The Election [Tom Edsall]

With wins in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Barack Obama has likely to won the presidency by a decisive margin, with the potential of carrying almost all the battleground states. He will be the nation's first black chief executive.

Exit polls showed fears about the economy eclipsing all other issues, a development working decisively to the advantage of Democrats up and down the ticket. Polls in the continental U.S. are to close at 11 when the networks will formally call the race.

To see more coverage of the incoming numbers... look below:

HuffPost has gathered widgets and live video feeds to give you a one stop shop for election night. Below you'll find a) poll closing times, b) the latest polls and betting odds, c) several election widgets, and d) live video streams. Keep this page open tonight and you'll be covered.

MSNBC's Election Map

HuffPost Reporters Live Blog The Results


CNN's Electoral Map

Daily Kos Map

Google Map: Follow Presidential, Senate House Races

Gadgets powered by Google

CBS News Election Widget



CNN Live

Stream videos at Ustream


***Update 11/4, 6:20 pm***

The First Exit Polls Have Been Released. Click Here To Read Them

The head to head exit polls just were sent to the Huffington Post by a Democratic source. These are traditionally unreliable and should be taken with a grain of salt (see: Kerry's winning margins in 2004). For what it's worth, they project a big night for Obama in several of the key swing states.

The states looking good for Obama:

Florida: 52 percent to 44 percent
Iowa: 52 percent to 48 percent
Missouri: 52 percent to 48 percent
North Carolina: 52 percent to 48 percent
New Hampshire: 57 percent to 43 percent
Nevada: 55 percent to 45 percent
Pennsylvania: 57 percent to 42 percent
Ohio: 54 percent to 45 percent
Wisconsin: 58 percent to 42 percent
Indiana: 52 percent to 48 percent
New Mexico: 56 percent to 43 percent
Minnesota: 60 percent to 39 percent
Michigan: 60 percent to 39 percent

The states where McCain is leading in exit polls:

Georgia: 51 percent to 47 percent
West Virginia: 45 percent to 55 percent

Click here to read more!


As polls close, most networks will provide, via websites, exit poll data that is crucial to understanding the meaning of the election. Two that are relatively easy to negotiate are: MSNBC's (found here) and CNN's (found here) .


Via Swing State Project, check out the map below for details. Note: all times are eastern, double check your closing times locally to confirm.

Palm Beach Ballot Confusion (VIDEO)
The center of voting controversy in 2000, Palm Beach, Florida is back in the news with their 2008 confusing ballot. As Kerry Sanders demonstrated on MSNBC, the ballot is not a simple check box or fill in the dot like most of Florida ballots. Rather, Palm Beach voters have to color in a space to complete an arrow. If they check a box or circle the arrow, their vote is not necessarily counted. He pointed out the lawyers watching the vote tabulation as the confusion set in.


Mr. Ayers’s Neighborhood

IMG_0348_revise1.jpgEarly this morning, the Obama family voted at the Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School, in Hyde Park. Long after they had gone, the lawn in front of the school was filled with reporters, mostly Europeans, filming voters. While I was talking to an eight-year-old kid dressed as George Washington, my colleague Peter Slevin, of the Washington Post was across the street, knocking on the door of someone else who had voted at the Shoesmith School this morning: William Ayers.

Ayers has avoided reporters ever since he became an election talking point, scratch pole, and general sensation. But now he answered the door of his three-story row house, and I joined the discussion. Ayers is sixty-four and has earrings in both ears. He wore jeans and a Riley T-shirt—Riley the kid from “Boondocks.” The day was fall-bright and 50th Street was filled with fallen gold leaves. Ayers waved to neighbors and kids as they went by on the sidewalk. He was, for the first time in a long while, in an expansive mood, making clear that, in all the months his name has been at the forefront of the campaign, he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn—ex-leaders of the Weather Underground and longtime educators and activists in the community—have been watching a lot of cable television, not least Fox.

One night, Ayers recalled, he and Dohrn were watching Bill O’Reilly, who was going on about “discovering” Ayers’s 1974 manifesto, “Prairie Fire.” “I had to laugh,” Ayers said. “No one read it when it was first issued!” He said that he laughed, too, when he listened to Sarah Palin’s descriptions of Obama “palling around with terrorists.” In fact, Ayers said that he knew Obama only slightly: “I think my relationship with Obama was probably like that of thousands of others in Chicago and, like millions and millions of others, I wished I knew him better.”

Ayers said that while he hasn’t been bothered by the many threats—“and I’m not complaining”—the calls and e-mails he has received have been “pretty intense.” “I got two threats in one day on the Internet,” he said, referring to an incident that took place last summer when he was sitting in his office at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he has taught education for two decades. “The first one said there was a posse coming to shoot me, and the second said they were going to kidnap me and water-board me. This friend of mine, a university cop, said, ‘Gosh, I hope the guy who’s coming to shoot you gets here first.’”

Ayers seemed curiously calm and cheerful about the way he had been made an issue in the campaign. He seemed unbothered to have been part of what he called “the Swiftboating” process of the 2008 campaign.

“It’s all guilt by association,” Ayers said. “They made me into a cartoon character—they threw me up onstage just to pummel me. I felt from the beginning that the Obama campaign had to run the Obama campaign and I have to run my life.” Ayers said that once his name became part of the campaign maelstrom he never had any contact with the Obama circle. “That’s not my world,” he said.

As the polling day drew into the late afternoon, the level of security in Hyde Park matched the level of anticipation. Obama’s house, four blocks away, was surrounded.

Ayers said he felt “a lot of sympathy” for the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, “who was treated grotesquely and unfairly” by the media. He said that Martin Luther King Jr. was, in his time, far more radical than Wright: “Wright’s a wimp compared to Martin Luther King—he had a fiercer tone.” Ayers was referring to the speeches King gave late in his life in opposition to the Vietnam War and on the subject of economic equality. “Martin Luther King was not a saint,” Ayers said. “He was an angry pilgrim.” Ayers said that he had commiserated recently with yet another former Hyde Park neighbor (and fellow Little League coach), the Palestinian-American scholar Rashid Khalidi, now at Columbia University, who has also been a punching bag of the right wing in recent weeks.

Across the street, neighborhood kids chanted “O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!” and “Yes we can!” for the cameras. Ayers smiled, looking a little like a more boomer Fred MacMurray in an episode of “My Three Sons.”

Ayers said that he had never meant to imply, in an interview with the Times, published coincidentally on 9/11, that he somehow wished he and the Weathermen had committed further acts of violence in the old days. Instead, he said, “I wish I had done more, but it doesn’t mean I wish we’d bombed more shit.” Ayers said that he had never been responsible for violence against other people and was acting to end a war in Vietnam in which “thousands of people were being killed every week.”

“While we did claim several extreme acts, they were acts of extreme radicalism against property,” he said. “We killed no one and hurt no one. Three of our people killed themselves.” And yet he was not without regrets. He mocked one of his earlier books, co-written with Dohrn, saying that, while it still is reflective of his radical and activist politics today, he was guilty of “rhetoric that’s juvenile and inflated—it is what it is.”

“I wish I had been wiser,” Ayers said. “I wish I had been more effective, I wish I’d been more unifying, I wish I’d been more principled.”

Ayers said that his life hasn’t been much altered by recent months, though he decided to postpone the re-release of his memoir, “Fugitive Days”—“I didn’t want it to be put in the meat grinder of this moment.” Two books he co-edited will also be republished soon: “City Kids, City Schools” and “City Kids, City Teachers.”

It was late afternoon, and Ayers was talking about his plans for the evening: he was heading to Grant Park with some friends for what they assumed would be a mass victory party. “This is an achingly exciting moment,” he said.

As we were getting ready to go, after an hour of front-stoop conversation, a neighbor came by and ironically reminded Ayers of the event that he and his wife held for Obama in 1995 when Obama was making his run for the Illinois state senate. "Everyone, including you, wants to have a coffee here," he joked to the neighbor. “I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do!”

(Photograph by Peter Slevin, Washington Post, outside Bill Ayers’s home in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Nov. 4, 2008.)

Joe Scarborough: A Republican Official Told Me Last Week It's Over, Obama Won
Florida resident Joe Scarborough talked about Barack Obama's incredible get-out-the-vote initiatives in his home state, replicated nationwide, with David Gregory on election night at 5:30 pm. Quoting a top Republican official in Florida he spoke with last Friday, Scarborough said, "Forget about it. The race is over. Barack Obama won it and he won it early." He added that Obama's 7-week campaign to get-out-the-vote buried any attempts by McCain to win with a 1976-style 72-hour effort.

He called the difference between Ken Mehlman's ground game in 2004 and McCain's lackluster job this year "stunning."


Indiana Judge: GOP Poll Watchers Violated Court Order On Foreclosure Lists Indiana judge ruled on Tuesday that Republican poll watchers violated a court order regarding the correct process for challenging voters on election day, according to the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund.

In late October, Democrats and Republicans in Marion County were ordered not to use lists of voters who had been foreclosed on -- or who had been evicted from their homes -- as the sole basis of any election day challenge at the polls.

For Indianapolis voters in particular, the prospect of having their residency status challenged on the basis of home foreclosure was understandable: last year, nearly 26,000 homes were foreclosed on in the city.

On Tuesday afternoon, the NAACP's legal arm went to court alleging that GOP poll watchers did not have copies of the previous court order, as they said the order itself required. NAACP officials had no knowledge of voters having their eligibility challenged based on foreclosure and eviction lists. But they alleged that at the very least, GOP polling officials were not adhering to the initial court order.

In response, Marion County GOP lawyers responded that all Republican poll workers had been previously trained on the court's standing order.

The judge, John Hanley, agreed with the NAACP, ruling that the Republican workers had failed to follow the previous order to the letter. (Hanley did not address whether or not any GOP poll watchers had improperly challenged any voters today.)

"Our position was that they needed to have the the court order and the credential together," said Jenigh Garrett, assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. "The court's remedy is that they would have to remove any [poll-watcher] without the order from the polling place. They can't be in the polling place without it."

The issue comes down, essentially, to trust. A Marion County Republican spokesperson said that all poll workers were trained not to use foreclosure or eviction status as the sole basis for any residency challenge. "We did poll training with every single one of our poll workers," said the local Republican official. "We handed them the agreement, letting them know that these foreclosures are not a valid basis to challenge residency."

Democrats, as well as the judge, now want every Republican challenger to carry the court order at all times when present at polling places.

Garrett said the judge was reassured, to some degree, by claims from both Republican and Democratic poll watchers who said challenges had been infrequent so far on Tuesday.

Lieberman: ‘I Fear’ That ‘America Will Not Survive’ If Democrats Get 60 Senate Seats


With the possibility that Democrats might soon gain a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has been openly flirting with thoughts of voting with his conservative colleagues. Last week, ThinkProgress noted that prominent conservatives like Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) said he would welcome Lieberman “with open arms.”

Today, in an interview with right-wing radio host Glenn Beck, Lieberman made clear that he firmly opposes Democrats gaining 60 seats in the Senate, saying that the survival of the country is in doubt if Democrats break the filibuster threshold:

BECK: But do you agree that Senator Hatch said to me that if we don’t at least have the firewall of the filibuster in the Senate that in many ways America will not survive?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I hope it’s not like that, but I fear.

Lieberman also hinted that next session, he would be supportive of conservative efforts to filibuster progressive legislation. Lieberman said that the filibuster is a “key” to stop such “passions of the moment”:

LIEBERMAN: And I think the filibuster is the key. You know, it gets a bad name, but it was really put there, a 60-vote requirement, to, as somebody said to me when I first came to the Senate, stop the passions of a moment among the people of America from sweeping across the Congress, the House, through the Senate, to a like-minded President and having us do things that will change America for a long time. So the filibuster is one of the important protections we have.

Listen here:

Lieberman then left the interview to return to campaigning with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), telling Beck, “I’m real proud of you. I remember you back when.”


Lieberman Looks Bad Now ...

President Full results »
Results Map: 2008 | 2004
Exit Poll: California
1,627 RespondentsFull California President Exit Polls | All Exit Polls
Other/No Answer
Vote by Sex
Male (45%)

Female (55%)

Vote by Age
18-29 (19%)

30-44 (29%)

45-64 (35%)

65 and Older (16%)

OK- we're out.


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