Saturday, October 30, 2004

Election prediction for Eric Zorn

Several weeks ago, Matt Gross asked for an election prediction. At the time, I called the popular vote 51.5% for Kerry to 47% for Bush, and gave Kerry an electoral college win of 289-249. (If you care to see how I got to 289, see here.)

Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune wants us local bloggers to make our predictions; deadline’s tomorrow. In particular, Eric wants to know what the spread between Obama and Keyes will be (my prediction: 44%; Obama 70% – 26%), as well as the electoral spread between Bush and Kerry.

First off, for the part that matters: I’ve revised my thinking, I think Kerry wins the electoral vote, 285 – 253. Here’s how I see it shaping up:

(To be honest, this is a bet of a hedge; I think it quite likely Kerry holds on to Minnesota, and that would mean a 20-vote swing in the EV. But the way Eric is scoring our predictions, I’m being a bit more cautious.)

The states that have changed for me since my early October prediction: Minnesota and Wisconsin (a wash, each has 10 electoral votes), and Hawaii (Bush appears to have picked up a small lead in this 4 EV state). I’d really like to see Kerry hold onto Minnesota, which would put him at 295 and allow him to lose Ohio or Florida but still come out on top.

If you’re looking for daily updates on the latest polls (and the impact on the electoral vote), check out and Slate’s Election Scorecard. Both do a good job of deconstructing who’s where, and let you judge for yourself the relative merits of any particular pollster. And Eric just recently pointed to local site who’s also tracking the daily shifts. Worth a visit.

I will freely admit to a subjective tilt to my prediction. I want John Kerry to win, and am viewing many of the most recent polls through a favorable filter. At a party last night, I was talking with a die-hard Republican, and I told her I had just two worries: that the electoral college results in a tie, or that Kerry wins the popular vote by a wider margin than Al Gore did but President Bush manages to squeak out a victory in the electoral college.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments; I look forward to seeing what others are thinking.

Well done, Joe

MSNBC blogs are now RSS-ed. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it. It’s a geek thing. Otherwise, here’s the feed.

Enjoy. [Joe Trippi: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised]

Added to my aggregator. Thanks, Joe!

First geocache

My Garmin GPSMap 60CS showed up yesterday, and I took it out for a spin today with the kids. There’s a small lake across the street from our house, and it turns out that there’s a cache less than a mile away.

For those not familiar with the hobby (sport?) of geocaching, it’s quite simple: people hide containers, log the coordinates (using their GPS device) and then report the hide (aka “cache”) to Using your GPS, you can then hunt the containers down, and keep tabs on what you’ve found.

It’s a great excuse to get out and walk around, or to explore a new area.

The Garmin 60CS, by the way is terrific. It’ll be even more useful as I add maps (the automotive kit looks particularly useful, as it includes a dash mount and the maps/info for all of the United States); right now it includes a “base map” of the major roads (i.e., highways) nearby, but not street-level detail that will make this a navigation aid on car trips as well as a fun geocaching device.

I can see why many consider geocaching addictive, and think it’ll be a great family experience over the years.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Innovation for lawyers

Matt Homann has a great idea:

I’ve been talking to some really smart people lately, and have been running an idea past them that I’ve blogged about before — a conference on innovation for lawyers. The goal would be to provide attendees with both the ideas and the tools to incorporate innovation into their practices, and to give them specific things to implement when they get back to the office.

Now for the agenda:

In the morning, I want several interesting people (preferably non-lawyers) to talk about innovation in their fields.  I’d like to see authors, marketing gurus, creativity consultants, entrepreneurs, and even CEO’s of small companies tell the audience about the newest and coolest ways they are changing how they do business. In the afternoon, we’d brainstorm about specific ways the “big picture” ideas could translate to the attendees’ individual practices.

If this seems really cool to you, let me know if you’d like to attend. Also, if there is anything you’d like to see, drop me a line as well. Time and place are Chicago the Sunday after Techshow (April 3, 2005). If the interest is there, I’ll follow up with more information. [the [non]billable hour]

I think this is a great idea; unfortunately I’ll be on a family vacation that day and won’t be able to attend. But I encourage anyone who is interested to contact Matt directly; it sounds like a terrific idea that the ABA would be wise to fold into TechShow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


This screen cap from says it all:


Red Sox sweep the Cardinals

Unbelievable. An 86 year drought ends with a shutout, capping a 4 game sweep of the team that had the best record in baseball.

The Red Sox were 3 outs away from being swept themselves, only to rebound by winning the next 8 games, a feat never before done in the postseason.

My brother needs a new life’s mission. This was supposed to take him at least into his 50s (he just turned 30 this year).

Adina Levin on Interface

Adina recently finished Interface by Stephen Bury (a pen name for Neal Stephenson), and wonders whether the outcome would be any different with weblogs:

Will peer communication yield more information to move the boulders of distortion, or simply be turned into rivulets of spin and counterspin? Some of both, I think.

I tend to think Adina’s right. I don’t disagree with her assessment of the book as a bit formulaic, but that doesn’t diminish its enjoyment factor. As I wrote a couple years ago, I really enjoyed it. Give it a look.


Finally got around to giving podcasting a whirl, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. The concept is simple: it’s TiVo for digital audio. You subscribe to podcast feeds, and your podcast application periodically checks to see if there are new posts; if so, they’re downloaded and placed in an iTunes playlist. Once transferred, you can listen in iTunes, or on your iPod after you sync with iTunes.

Not surprisingly (since the concept grew out of a collaboration between Adam Curry and Dave Winer) the payload that makes all this possible is RSS. Whereas “traditional” RSS feeds are for the delivery of text (from weblogs, news sites, etc.), podcast RSS feeds include links to the associated MP3 files. The podcast app then downloads the MP3 file, and transfers the file to iTunes, where it can be played or synched with your iPod.

The trend is getting some press (the NY Times, for once, is out in front of this trend; other pubs are also starting to pick up on it), and this is bound to become a popular way of distributing content. Once set up, it’s transparent to the end user.

Speaking of the iPod, if you are in the car for a while, give the Monster iCarPlay a look. I received it as a birthday gift, and my early results are far better than prior efforts at broadcasting the iPod through my car stereo. (The integrated charger is a nice feature too.)

Red Sox Nation?

Al Nye suggests that with the inevitable happening, we may need to expand “Red Sox Nation” into “Red Sox Universe”.

I like it.

Go Sox.

Jesse sums it up

Jesse: “That quote may be apocryphal.”

Shareware app to generate touch tones?

One drawback of using Skype — if you’re trying to use SkypeOut to dial into a conference call, you can’t generate touchtones to access the conference ID. I figure this is something someone has addressed, but so far I haven’t been able to find a download that’ll let me generate the touchtones on my computer that can be passed to the Skype call.

Anyone got any ideas?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Garmin 60CS on its way

I’m very excited about my newest gadget: the Garmin 60CS GPS receiver. It looks to be a phenomenal device; as I wrote a couple months ago, I am really excited about Geocaching. The 60CS has a dedicated Geocaching mode:

I can’t wait until it shows up.

(Happy Birthday to me… Happy Birthday to me…)

Speaking at Meritas Litigation Section Meeting

Was invited by Ross Fishman to come speak at a Meritas section meeting. We’re currently talking about weblogs.

Monday, October 25, 2004


I really, really hope that this is done well. It looks like it could be hysterical. (The premise: write the worst movie ever written, then cast unsuspecting actors to act it out.)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

University of Richmond School of Law

Yesterday was quite an honor — editors from JOLT, the law journal I founded while at University of Richmond invited me to come speak about doing something other than practicing law after getting your law degree.

It was a lot of fun to be back on campus — it was my first trip back since graduating in 1996. Most exciting for me was seeing what JOLT has become. When we first published nearly ten years ago, we were a group of 18 students who had a tiny office with one computer and a telephone. Today, JOLT is nearly 50 students strong, occupies the equivalent of five offices, has a half dozen computers, is an accredited publication (meaning students get academic credit for being a part of JOLT) and the most recent issue is its 36th published since 1995. At dinner with several of the editors, it was exciting to hear such passion among students who had made JOLT very much their own.

Congrats to the students who’ve worked so hard to make JOLT what it is today. And thanks to all who made my brief visit such a pleasure.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


(image courtesy of ESPN)

I can think of no better way to spend an evening than to be at my brother’s house to watch a Red Sox game. This is particularly sweet for my bro, who bought himself a ticket on eBay to go to Saturday’s game which the Yankees won 19-8, setting all kinds of records (none of them good).

The Red Sox are in the World Series, for the first time since 1986 when we were living in Massachusetts.

Bring it on.

New advertiser - Dan Mongiardo

Didn’t get a chance to point out the latest advertiser at the site, Dr. Dan Mongiardo. He’s running for Senate in Kentucky, and is one of Barack Obama’s picks in this week’s “four Senate races to watch”.

Winning the White House is just part of the goal; winning back the Senate and the House would be, in many ways, a bigger prize.

Cegelis left off of sample ballot

ArchPundit has the details. Ridiculous.

Monday, October 18, 2004

One year ago today

One year ago today:

“Being here makes you feel like it can happen. We can shock the world.”

In an odd twist of fate, I’m traveling this week and needed to borrow an office that had Internet access today. So I swung by the downtown-DC office of Echo Ditto, the consulting firm started by Nicco Mele, Jim Brayton and Harish Rao, three of the tech wizards I met this time last year in Burlington, Vermont.

Election day is 2 weeks away. What are you doing to make sure your desired outcome happens?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Majority Maker

OK, I’m going to give this a go… the DCCC is sponsoring a “Majority Maker” competition. I’m less interested in winning the competition than I am in helping out in key races. So if you’re able, consider giving a few dollars to the DCCC. In the final 2 weeks of the campaign, your contributions could make a huge difference:

$25 pays for 25 lawn signs that increase candidate visibility.
$50 funds 100 direct mail messages to potential voters.
$100 enables us to telephone 1000 voters with a Get-Out-The-Vote message.
$500 buys a radio ad every 30 minutes in a workday in Augusta, GA.
$1,000 finances a TV commercial every day for a week in Des Moines, IA.

Thanks for your help. This is important.

Irony du jour - Daily Herald endorses Kachiroubas

This is rich. In today’s endorsement for Clerk of the Circuit Court in DuPage County, the Daily Herald has this to say:

Kachiroubas has a comprehensive agenda for change that users of the office would welcome. He also conveys his plans with enthusiasm for the work ahead.

So if you head over to his web site to see this “comprehensive agenda”, here’s what you get:

(click for full-size image)

Wow. I mean, it’s comprehensive and enthusiastic!

Or not. For a real agenda from an individual with the energy and vision to make it happen, go look at Rob Freedman’s site.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A Class Act, All Around

Just got a phone call from Barack Obama. (No, really.) He was calling to thank me and Robin for hosting the party last week.

Also received a signed thank you letter in the mail a couple days ago. Classy.

Yahoooooo, yeaaaaaaaargh - what's the difference?

Check this out, perhaps the funniest thing I’ve heard in months.

Kudos to the Governor for planting his tongue firmly in his cheek and, well, not taking himself too seriously.



Roughly two months ago, I wrote:

This whole swift boat thing is getting goofy. It reminds me of the Bush camp’s use of Hitler in one of their web-only ads a couple months ago.

Somehow, this election promises not to be about ideas, but about who can be more outraged at the other side’s outrage, and who can get John McCain to be on their side first.

And while I stand by what I wrote last night about Kerry and his references to Mary Cheney, I also think the commentators on the right are being, well, opportunistic. Mary Cheney is gay, she’s open about it, and is very comfortable with it. Dick Cheney has repeatedly acknowledged this fact, and Mary not only is the Vice President’s daughter, she’s working on his campaign. Finally, calling someone a lesbian (when they are, in fact, a lesbian) is not an insult.

For the record, here’s what Kerry said:

“We’re all God’s children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she’s being who she was, she’s being who she was born as.”

And here’s what Lynne Cheney said in response:

“The only thing I can conclude is he is not a good man. I’m speaking as a mom,” she said. “What a cheap and tawdry political trick.”


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Post debate spin

Commentators are claiming shock over Kerry’s reference to Dick Cheney’s daughter during tonight’s debate. Edwards made a similar reference in his debate last week.

I tend to agree with this reaction: using anyone’s children for political advantage is shameful. But is there a grey area here? Cheney’s daughter works on his campaign, is open in her sexuality, and the Vice President has spoken publicly about her orientation (and his belief that “freedom should mean freedom for everyone”).

Nevertheless, Senator Kerry committed an unfortunate error in judgment. (TAPPED agrees.)

I have MSNBC on in the background. The commentators spent a good 10 minutes on this one aspect of the debate… if I’m the Kerry/Edwards team, they better acknowledge the mistake, apologize, and move on. Or else it threatens to be a non-issue that escalates to occupy a large part of the discussion over the next few days, while the President’s blatant misrepresentations of his own record fade.

Political Wire calls it a clear Kerry victory

Taegan Goddard: “The bottom line is that Kerry not only sounded more presidential, but looked presidential. By this measure, he was the clear winner.”

Keith Olbermann scores it a knockout

Meanwhile, over at, Keith Olbermann scores each question and concludes that Kerry won the debate on questions — 12-5 (3 rounds a draw) — and on points — 19-3.

Olbermann’s been doing a great job during the election, by the way. A high point for me was his interview with Elizabeth Edwards, and his personal comments on his blog following the interview.

And from the other side of the aisle...

Jason provides his take on the night:

  • “Bush clearly dominated.”

  • “Kerry floundered quite a bit, often reverting back to talking points.”

  • “Bush resonated with those of faith, while Kerry’s window-dressing references to the bible and his days as altar boy ring hollow.”

And his conclusion, which I whole-heartedly agree with: “If you’re still undecided now, something’s wrong with you.”

President Bush and Training Iraqi Troops

Tonight: “The way to succeed is to train Iraqis so they can do the hard work of Democracy. We’ll have 125,000 troops trained by the end of this year.”

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, September 23, 2004: “It’s 100,000 total security forces, and I don’t want anyone to make the mistake that security force equals soldier — could be policemen, and it could be the eight-week trained policemen, of which there are a little over 8,000, or it could be what I refer to as the shake-and-bake three-week police force, which are previous policemen who are now given a three-weeks course. So it’s a mixed bag , but there are about 100,000 total security forces.”

Guess it depends on what the meaning of “trained” is.

President Bush and Border Security

Tonight: “To say that the borders are not as protected as they were prior to September 11th shows that he doesn’t know the borders. … He just doesn’t understand how the borders work.”

From the 9/11 report preface: “Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy. We believe, for reasons we discuss in the following pages, that it must be made one.”

More on the Lewin Report

Tonight President Bush references the Lewin Report, a non-partisan analysis of the candidates’ health plans. They do suggest Senator Kerry’s health plan cost estimates are lowballed: Kerry says it’ll cost $860 billion over the life of the plan, while Thorpe says it’ll cost more like $1.2 trillion. Let’s not quibble on the details — let’s assume Kerry’s low-balling the figures somewhat.

Business Week reported a couple weeks ago:

The Lewin report is by no means all bad for Kerry. It confirms that he would indeed cover a big chunk of the uninsured. Thorpe figured the Democrat would pick up 28 million of the 45 million who are now without coverage, AEI estimated 27.3 million, and Lewin projects 25 million. Bush would cover between 2 million and 8 million, depending on whose estimate you believe. The Lewin study also credits Kerry with lowering average family health-care costs by $450 a year, while Bush’s plan would actually raise costs slightly.

And while the consulting firm figures the cost of Kerry’s plan is twice what the Democrat claims, it also calculates that Bush has, umm, misunderestimated the cost of his plan as well. Lewin figures its price tag would be $227 billion instead of $90 billion that the President claims. (emphasis mine)

So let’s net this out: families would see their health care costs decrease slightly under Senator Kerry. Under President Bush, their health care costs would rise slightly. Senator Kerry’s plan would cover 15-20 million more Americans than President Bush.

Which is better for the American middle class?

Now that's what I call bipartisan

President Bush just quoted the Lewin Report. Lewin is a subsidiary of Quintiles International, whose CEO, Dennis Gillings, has contributed generously this cycle:

8/6/04 Kerry Victory 2004 $27,000
8/6/04 Kerry Victory 2004 $2,000
11/14/03 Bush/Cheney 2004 (Primary) $2,000
8/23/04 Republican National Committee $25,000

President Bush on Pell Grants

Tonight: “1 million more students have received Pell Grants.”

Oops: “Financial aid is primarily based on family income, which, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, has fallen in recent years. In other words, because people have struggled in the labor market they have become eligible for financial aid. At the same time, college tuition has gone up 28 percent over the last three years, putting working families even more in a squeeze between lower income and higher tuition.” (source: Center for American Progress.)

(Kudos to Kerry for calling President Bush on this point.)

President Bush and Healthcare

Tonight: (Of Senator Kerry’s plan to give families access to the same health care that Congress gets.) “It’s an empty promise.” “It’s too expensive.” “It’s a bait and switch.”

June 30, 2003: “A consumer-friendly system is one that says we trust the consumers to make the best choice. Senior citizens are consumers, and therefore, the plan ought to match your needs, not the needs designed by a bureaucrat — not your needs as decided by a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C. If choice is good enough for Congress, it ought to be good enough for the seniors in America.”

Question: Why are seniors entitled to this healthcare, but not families?

President Bush and Osama

Tonight: “I don’t think I ever said I’m not worried about Osama Bin Laden.”

March 13, 2002: “So I don’t know where he is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.”

Update: Matt has the video.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Open thread at Obamablog

Go tell the campaign what’s on your mind…

The Carlyle Group's Tom Hagen

Naomi Klein has a devastating article in next month’s The Nation about James Baker’s dual roles: on the one hand, as public emissary arguing around the world for forgiveness of Iraq’s debt. On the other hand, as a partner in the Carlyle Group, which just happened to cut a deal with Kuwait to help it recover moneys owed from… wait for it… Iraq.

Makes no sense, right? There’s James Baker, out convincing countries around the world they should let bygones be bygones, let Iraqis start anew without the crushing debt burden left them by Saddam Hussein. (Makes sense, actually.)

Yet there’s this interesting nugget:

In the eighteen months since the US invasion, Iraq has paid out a staggering $1.8 billion in reparations—substantially more than the battered country’s 2004 health and education budgets combined, and more than the United States has so far managed to spend in Iraq on reconstruction.

(By my calculation, that means the Carlyle Group, which stood to collect 5% of whatever Kuwait collects, has netted something like $90m. In 18 months.)

From Klein’s article:

The goal of maximizing Iraq’s debt payments directly contradicts the US foreign policy aim of drastically reducing Iraq’s debt burden. According to Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University and a leading expert on government ethics and regulations, this means that Baker is in a “classic conflict of interest. Baker is on two sides of this transaction: He is supposed to be representing the interests of the United States, but he is also a senior counselor at Carlyle, and Carlyle wants to get paid to help Kuwait recover its debts from Iraq.” After examining the documents, Clark called them “extraordinary.” She said, “Carlyle and the other companies are exploiting Baker’s current position to try to land a deal with Kuwait that would undermine the interests of the US government.”

In fairness, this isn’t just a Republican cabal. Madeleine Albright (of the eponymous Albright Group) is in on the deal as well, peddling her influence with the UN, connections to heads of state and familiarity with the situation in Iraq for personal gain.

Incredible. (Found via Atrios.)

Sinclair Broadcast Group is also a ...

If you guessed “Military Contractor in Iraq”, you win today’s prize!

Jadoo announced+ a little over two weeks ago that:

Jadoo Power Systems, Inc (Jadoo), a leading provider of portable power products, was awarded a contract to develop power systems for the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The program’s goal is to reduce the weight of energy storage carried in the field by the Special Forces.

Who’s Jadoo? This is too easy:

Jadoo Power Systems, Inc. is a market-focused company that develops and sells next-generation, portable energy storage and power generation products. Jadoo’s investors include Sinclair Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. as well as other individuals.

Links courtesy of Sid’s Fishbowl (via Atrios.)

Sinclair Broadcast Group in Illinois

The Sinclair Broadcast Group owns TV stations that blanket 24% of the US population. Sinclair’s CEO is David Smith, a major Bush contributor. Why is that important?

Check this out:

“[Sinclair has ordered] its 62 local stations to broadcast an anti-Kerry film a few days before the November 2, 2004 general election. Those 62 stations include affiliates of all six major broadcast networks in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada and Pennsylvania. The broadcast will preempt normal prime-time programming on those outlets.”

Jason would like us to think that this is no different than Michael Moore’s efforts to do a PPV special of Farenheit 9/11.

Except it is different. As former FCC Chairman Reed Hunt explains, it’s the same reason Howard Stern is going to Sirius radio: the government regulates the public broadcast spectrum, while private (i.e., for-pay) media are free of regulation and can disseminate whatever they want. Says Hunt:

… To that end, since television was invented, Congress and its delegated agency, the Federal Communications Commision, together have passed laws and regulations to ensure that broadcast television stations provide reasonably accurate, balanced, and fair coverage of major Presidential and Congressional candidates. These obligations are reflected in specific provisions relating to rights to buy advertising time, bans against the gift of advertising time, rights to reply to opponents, and various other specific means of accomplishing the goal of balance and fairness. The various rules are part of a tradition well known to broadcasters an honored by almost all of them. This tradition is embodied in the commitment of the broadcasters to show the conventions and the debates.

Part of this tradition is that broadcasters do not show propaganda for any candidate, no matter how much a station owner may personally favor one or dislike the other. Broadcasters understand that they have a special and conditional role in public discourse. They received their licenses from the public — licenses to use airwaves that, for instance, cellular companies bought in auctions — for free, and one condition is the obligation to help us hold a fair and free election. The Supreme Court has routinely upheld this “public interest” obligation. Virtually all broadcasters understand and honor it.

Sinclair is attempting to thumb its nose at the government, blatantly subvert laws put in place to protect candidates of both parties (given how allegedly liberal the media really is, this is really a Republican protection, come to think of it), and raise questionable allegations just hours before the election in an effort to swing a few thousand (hundred?) votes. It is not hard to imagine that such an effort could play a major role in the outcome of the election, given Sinclair’s presence in almost every major swing state, and the razor-thin margins separating both candidates right now.

What can you do? A massive effort throughout the blogosphere is afoot to demand Sinclair’s advertisers (in particular, their local advertisers) apply pressure to Sinclair to abandon this effort immediately. A full list of Sinclair’s stations is here. A list of advertisers by state is here, and Illinois advertisers are available by selecting Champaign or Peoria from the drop-down list.

In Illinois, you can contact WYZZ in Peoria at (309) 688-3131, and WICS and WICD in Champaign at (217) 753-5620 and (217) 351-8500 respectively. See the links above for contact info for the individual advertisers. Remember that many advertisers agree with you, so your goal isn’t to berate them for advertising, but to explain the situation and how they can help.

Hop on it folks, this is important. And I’d hope even those who support President Bush but who respect the rule of law will join in condemning Sinclair’s attempt for what it is: a shameful disregard of the law.

MSNBC election site

MSNBC has a terrific election site that gives you an interactive electoral college predictor, streaming video from the various NBC news properties, and updated commentary from the on-air personalities. I think HardBlogger, and in particular Keith Olbermann, has been pretty good the past couple weeks.

For the record, here’s my Electoral College prediction, pretty map courtesy of the MSNBC flash widget that lets you pick who wins what:


Monday, October 11, 2004

Go Red Sox

Unbelievable. Major League Baseball was promoting this shirt on its website:

Go Red Sox. And if Tom Menino hasn’t passed an ordinance forbidding Pedro from pitching past the 7th, he should think about getting to City Hall. Pronto.

(And is currently taking votes on what the Red Sox response shirt should be. Go vote.)

Happy Anniversary

To my wife, who inexplicably (but thankfully) walked down the aisle to join me seven years ago today: thank you for a remarkable seven years. This is just the beginning.

In those seven years, Robin’s moved three times (twice more than 2,000 miles), brought two beautiful boys into the world, cooked some of the most amazing foods (that I’m not 300 pounds is a wonder), generously supported my political hobby by hosting upwards of 100 people in our house (repeatedly), and traveled with me to some truly incredible parts of the world.

I’m a lucky guy.

Saturday, October 9, 2004

Upgraded to Movable Type 3.11

Nothing to see here… just upgraded to Movable Type 3.11, primarily a bug fix over 3.1. I also dug in on my problems getting MTMacro, MTAmazon and MT to play nice. Not sure why, but apparently somewhere along the line XML::Simple got nuked from my install. (If it’s alright by you, I think I’ll just blame it on Alan Keyes.)

In any event, the site’s been a little less than optimal the past few weeks, with some boxes being empty, pages not including all the data they should have. I think things are back to normal.

As always, if anything’s not working properly when you look at the site, just drop a comment in so I can check into it.


Friday, October 8, 2004

Capitol Fax has a blog

Rich Miller, author behind the Illinois political bible Capitol Fax, has a blog. Welcome, Rich!

(For syndication afficionados, the ATOM feed for the site is here.)

Election prediction

Matt (where did that extra T come from?!) asks us to predict what’s going to happen on November 2. IM’ing last night, I told him I thought it would be 49-46 Kerry.

But as I think about it, I think several factors will prove critical:

  • voter registration at unprecedented levels

  • organizations like ACT are going to equal their registration efforts with GOTV efforts

  • the news in Iraq is getting worse, quickly

With that said, here are my predictions:

Candidate Popular vote Electoral votes
Kerry 51.5% 289
Bush 47% 249
Other 1.5% 0

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Obama Fundraiser a success

We had a great time last night at our fundraiser for Barack Obama. Don’t have a full head count, but I think there were between 75 and 85 people there, including several local candidates (Christine, Guy, Hiram, Rob, Doug, and Joe).

We had some terrific volunteers helping as well, who passed out the food, helped with parking, sign-in, etc. In all, it was a wonderful event. Thanks again to everyone who helped, and in particular to Joslyn Kirkegaard, who worked tirelessly to get a number of her friends and colleagues to come.

And here’s the requisite photo of my wife Robin, me, and the man in our foyer:

As I said in my intro for Barack, when Robin and I moved here from California, our friends teased us mercilessly. They’d call in January. “How’s the weather?” Or in the spring, they’d call from their campsite at Yosemite. “How are the mountains in Illinois?” they’d ask.

My response always had something to do with the cost of living. “How’s your shoebox?” is typically a good come-back.

But that’s changed. Now they are jealous of us. They can’t vote for Barack Obama. We can. (That said, I firmly believe that the rest of the country will get a chance to vote for him the future.) Watching him interact with people, seeing their reaction to him (we had members of both political parties as well as a number of independents at the house), and listening to his honest passion — the man is special. We’re lucky to have him in Illinois. He will do well for us in the Senate. But I am certain that the U.S. Senate is not the last stop for him.

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Obama. At My House.

Whoa. Barack Obama will be at our house Tuesday night for a fundraiser! Details here.

If you’re anywhere near DuPage County on Tuesday, swing by our house. The wine’s great. The food’s better. And the next Senator from Illinois will be there.

JoinCross guys call Shenanigans...

Touché, gentlemen. Nice catch.

Does this make me a politician?

Spoke to the Northern Illinois Chinese Association, part of an afternoon forum on the role Chinese-Americans can play in DuPage County politics, party politics and national politics.

I won’t recount all the details here; Hiram Wurf did a nice job of that over at the Naperville Democrats website. It was interesting to follow Kirk Dillard in the presentations; it was the first time I’ve done something so overtly political with someone from the opposing side speaking at the same event.

Most interesting to me: Dillard’s assertion (later echoed by Jennifer Fritz, Vice Chair of the Naperville Republicans) that DuPage County is a wonderful county, and Naperville is a great city, because it’s run by Republicans. Dillard laid the foundation for this argument by suggesting in his speech that the Republican party is the party of local control. Nice syllogism. (Fritz even went so far as to suggest that the problems with the Chicago schools boiled down to the fact that Democrats control Chicago.)

Nevermind that whole “checks and balances” notion that must seem so quaint to the Republicans these days. (Cue Ashcroft.) The argument just doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an effective message in front of a group of uncommitted (and politically uninformed) voters.

In any event, it was a lot of fun. In two weekends, I’m doing a similar debate at a church forum. My opponent will be Senator Peter Roskam. I hear he’s a bit more conservative than Senator Dillard.