Search as an election predictor

image from

Adam Mathes has a series of posts at MLKSHK (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) showing searches from Iowa users for each candidate in the last month as well as the 2008 search results for a similar time period (and search was a good predictor for final results in the Iowa caucus).

Long story short: Adam predicts Ron Paul will win in Iowa but not much after and spoil the election for any other Republican candidate. I don't know if Adam is right or wrong, but it's an interesting approach and I could see it coming true.

The Banality of Evildoers

Though it was initially called a mansion, Osama Bin Laden’s safe house décor might better be described as Meth Lab Chic. (Not that I’m all that familiar with meth lab interiors, natch.) Rather than a set from 24, it's more the kind of place only Vibe magazine would choose for a shoot, no pun intended. His particleboard furniture looks like it was salvaged from a rural roadside free pile; a power strip is bolted arbitrarily to the wall; wires are strung higgledy-piggledy as if by an adolescent hobbyist; and this former heir to a multimillion Saudi fortune gets relegated to watching standard def video on a TV you couldn’t get $5 for on Craigslist. It seems only a matter of time before we’re told they found porn on his computer.All kidding aside: Our mythologies about the superpowerful and insanely devious OBL stem from the trauma of the 9/11 attacks. It just wouldn’t do for the culprits to be mere mortal miscreants; we had to build them up into a hydra-headed syndicate.


This is the smartest take on OBL and Al-Queda I've seen, and mirrors how I've thought of these guys for the past ten years. (via Sippey)

Bush Years summed up on twitter

Seeing how the inauguration is just around the bend, I thought maybe it'd be good to hear a bunch of short pithy summaries of the last eight years of Bush. I read this thing on Salon showing how the economy has slid under him and figured instead of me ranting for thousands of words on how things are worse than when he started, I might as well use twitter instead.

You can too, just tag your posts in twitter with #bushyears

Some favorites in just the first few minutes:

  • "Didn't fuck an intern, but raped the Constitution" — roomerholmes
  • "The utter lethality of incuriosity" — Vidiot
  • "With an 'average guy' in charge, things are guaranteed to be below average." — 75th
  • "With the money flooding to abstinence-only education, the only thing you were allowed to tap was citizens' phones." — torontonto

Name that leader

Reading these quotes tonight:

We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to
choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to
fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of
freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others.
That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests
ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.


In little more than two decades we've gone from a position of energy
independence to one in which almost half the oil we use comes from
foreign countries, at prices that are going through the roof. Our
excessive dependence on OPEC has already taken a tremendous toll on our
economy and our people.


This intolerable dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic
independence and the very security of our nation. The energy crisis is
real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation.

I was surprised to find this speech wasn't given in the past few weeks but almost 30 years ago. Read the whole speech and wonder what the world would be like if we followed half the recommendations he outlined that night.

President Obama


After watching McCain’s concession speech last night, I realized it was John McCain’s election to lose. From a mile up, the race was between a guy with tons of experience and some pretty hardcore wartime stories going up against another guy that was new to the senate and was basically unknown before 2004 to most voters.

I really liked John McCain in 2000, and wanted him to win the republican primaries. I probably would have voted for him as well (if I ignored some of his social conservative tendencies) because he seemed like such a centrist (or at least not too far from center on most issues, especially compared to Bush) and I found Gore totally and completely unexciting (I ended up voting for Nader).

When the republican primaries began in 2008 I was pulling for McCain as well, since I remembered the guy I loved on all those talk show appearances over the last several years. I was also pulling for Obama for the past year and was happy when both my early picks ended up on top.

Then the campaign happened. It didn’t come on quickly, but I’d say definitely after the GOP convention, the old McCain I loved was gone. I don’t recall much of any talk from McCain from the last two months about his detailed plans or reasons why someone should vote for McCain, instead all I heard about was why I should against Obama. That’s never a good path to take — when you don’t accentuate your positives and instead focus on negatives, even if you convince others to avoid the opponent you end up with followers that don’t have much to be proud of.

To this day I can’t tell if it was McCain’s choosing to do what he did at the end of the summer of if it was his true personality finally coming out. I like to think he became a slave to the GOP election machine that likely told him playing it straight with Obama and fighting on the issues wasn’t going to rile his voting base as much as attacks and fear mongering could.

McCain’s concession speech was eloquent, impressive, and left me with the admiration I remembered in the McCain from 2000 that I used to like. That the crowd surrounding him boo’d every time Obama’s name was uttered makes me think maybe the McCain I used to like might be the guy still at the core but unfortunately let others run the controls during the election.

Anyway, for the first time since 1992 I was truly ecstatic on an election night. I knew the polls were looking good but I didn’t want to be disappointed and a big part of me never thought Obama would actually win, but he did it. I’m glad my daughter gets to grow up and will remember her first president being an inspirational guy that proves anyone can still make it in America.

Of course, we’ve left Obama with a pretty tough nut to crack and I imagine once he gets in office all the crazy “socialist!” and “marxist!” talk will quickly go out the window as he’ll move to the center and make some tough choices. I predict we’ll see people on both extremes displeased with some choices but I find that a mark of a good leader. Bill Clinton made a heck of a lot of choices I disagreed with, but at the end of his term he turned a recession into a boom and kept us out of war and I hope Obama can do the same (obviously, without the intern thing).

Super Tuesday

I didn’t know half the delegates are voted on in less than a week. I mean, I knew a lot of races were happening at once, but half the delegates? That’s a quasi-election day right there. This video should help you decide:

Impassioned plea

I open my email this morning and there’s a long message from a vaguely familiar name. It’s dozen paragraphs long but I start to read it.

The first couple paragraphs explain that I’ve connected with this person in the past either through some hipster activities in the DC area or through blogging, and the author was going through their gmail address book and writing to everyone. It sounds extremely important; they sound honest and this sounds urgent, so I read on.

They apologize for the mass mail, but explain further that even though the author knows not everyone is politically involved, there’s a bit of a crisis in Washington that they felt was important to share at this tumultuous time. The anxiety in the author’s voice is palpable and I’m right there with him. “What is it he needs us to do? How can we help?” I ask myself as I continue reading.

The call to action comes in the last paragraph. The culmination of the email is that we friends of the author should check out a few youtube videos that will explain everything. I’m dying to know what they are about.

Genital Mutilation story from Africa?

Doctors Without Borders plea?!

Environmental disasters in China?!

I push play on the first video.

Ron Paul campaign ad. It’s fucking Ron Paul. 12 paragraphs to spam every single person the author knows, all for a fucking Ron Paul ad. I look up at the To: line and see about 100 names, all starting with M, like mine. This douchebag sat here and did this by hand all day with his stupid Gmail address book. I’ve heard Ron Paul fans described as “crazies” and now I know why.

Patton Oswalt’s Dukes of Hazzard

Patton Oswalt has a new album coming out and I got to listen to the whole thing today and I enjoyed it. I’m going to do something unusual here and post one of the 22 tracks. It’s a two minute riff on the crazy scandals that continue to hit the Bush Administration and it’s the best description I’ve heard for the uncanny talent the White House has for averting one disaster after another.