12 November 2008
For some time now I've wanted to re-organize our blogroll and today was the day to get started. However, Blogrolling is still undergoing its transition to ver. 2, so there's no editing available there.
This means I'm doing the lists item by item, in TypePad templates. (And to think — I could be cleaning out the garage or raking the lawn instead.)
Frankly, the point of this exercise is to make it easier for me to plow through the sites and sources I prefer, from one surface rather than via long lists of bookmarks. I hope you, too, will find the result a handy tool.
The AP has issued new guidelines for identifying heads of state. This can only be a good thing, since perhaps people will get better at knowing the names of international figures. Well, those people who read newspapers, anyway. (But will there be any papers left to read?)
11 November 2008
Will it become puppygate?
An association in Peru that promotes a breed of hairless canine has offered the Obama family a pure-bred pup, and it's hard to see what excuse the President-elect can make to turn down the pooch. Can he come out and say "Thanks but no thanks" without causing an international incident? Can he accept the dog without causing an uproar at home? A hairless dog is quite the opposite of the Goldendoodle the family is said to favor.
The delicacy with which Obama handles this test (not quite the sort of thing Joe Biden had in mind, I expect) may give us a deep insight into how he will handle future diplomatic outreach to friend and foe alike.
To be fair to the breed, a grown Peruvian Hairless would seem to be a handsome and elegant dog. The puppy version, at least the one pictured in the Daily Telegraph article linked above, is most definitely neither.
08 November 2008
Of all the electoral maps, the one I found most fascinating is the "Voter Shift" map that appeared in The New York Times on Thursday. It shows, county by county, where and by what percentage the electorate changed its voting preference this year compared to 2004. (Note: there's a box to the left of the map that lets you choose various ways of looking at the results. "Voter Shift" is one of the choices.)
The shifts do not necessarily correlate directly to a "win" in a particular state, but demonstrate rather, at a deeper level of detail, the change in direction of voter sentiment.
It's a very pretty, very blue map. Enjoy!
07 November 2008
Oh great. Now The Dog Whisperer is giving political advice. People Magazine quotes Cesar Millan, who famously instructs dog owners to be "calm and assertive" — and leaders of their pack. Well, we saw the leader at today's press conference, with a pretty impressive pack behind him. (As a friend of mine from Chicago used to say, "Not too shabby." His dog of choice, by the way, was the basset hound.)
That calm assertive energy is something Millan sees "coming out of Barack during his speeches" and advises him to maintain it – not just with dogs but with world leaders as well. [Emphasis mine.]
03 November 2008
By tradition, Dixville Notch, way up at the tippy-top of New Hampshire, is the first community to cast its ballots on Election Day. The polls (or more properly, poll — there's only one venue, the ballroom of the grand and venerable Balsams Hotel, pictured above) will open in a scant two hours and 15 minutes — at midnight, EST.
According to a Reuters report of the primary election last January, there were 17 registered voters in Dixville Notch. Obama won seven of the 10 Democratic votes; McCain won all seven of the Republican tally. There must have been some cross-over voting, because this is a reliably Republican town you betcha.
You need only check the stats for voting in years past to confirm that. But who knows, with Obama's strong showing in the primary, perhaps things will be different this year. In any event, if tradition is followed, the good citizens will all vote simultaneously, the balloting will close a minute later, and the results will be announced shortly thereafter.
02 November 2008
01 November 2008
I nearly blew my coffee out of my nose when I read this, from David Broder, to be published in tomorrow's WaPo.
The country faces a choice between two men who both promise the nation a more principled, less partisan leadership.
Broder says this is the best campaign he's ever covered. The best? Well, maybe the craziest and even the most exciting, from his Village perspective. "Best" is a word that just doesn't fit. And Broder's forcing an equality between the presumed governance styles of both candidates is, at the very most charitable, absurd.
As for "more principled" — see RJ Eskow's piece, noted immediately below.
And for "less partisan" — well, Tristero at Hullabaloo has the last word.
Update: Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian says something a lot different from Broder, and a lot closer to the mark:
THIS has been the worst US presidential campaign I've ever seen. Vacuous, fatuous, misleading, dishonest, trivial, at times unhinged in its disconnect from reality.
I don't agree with Sheridan's general slant (he leans to the right, and doesn't like Obama) but I think his lede quite captures the "American Idol" idiocies of our post-modern campaigns.