Elections

Democratic Leadership Squanders Party's Good Will

Just six weeks ago, the Democratic leadership in Congress enjoyed a 24% lead over the Bush administration in approval ratings, now the lead has vanished: Not because Bush has risen, but because they have fallen.

Expect More Of The Same From Fred Thompson

Former Senator from Tennessee, and 'Law and Order' star, Fred Thompson is looking more and more likely to enter the crowded Republican field for the presidential nomination. If elected, expect his administration's foreign policy to resemble that of the current administration.

Gore Rejects Bush Impeachment

With only a year and a half left in Bush's last term, Al Gore has called any effort to impeach Bush a waste of time and resources and questions whether there is enough of a consensus for such an effort to be successful.

Asked if he did enough in 2000, Gore said that he'd gone as far as he could short of violent revolution.

McCain Wrong To Oppose Net Neutrality

During the All Things Digital conference this week, John McCain was asked about Net Neutrality. His response, clearly against Net Neutrality shows a complete lack of understanding of the issue.

Democrats Dragging Out Fight To End War

After approving the latest spending bill, Democrats vowed to continue fighting the president over funding for the war in Iraq.

Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, Pushes For Gore Presidency

Steve Jobs has gone on record predicting that if Gore, a member of Apple's Board of Directors, were to run, he would be elected.

Headlines (5/22/2007)

Relief for the most needy among us. This past week, Congressman Tim Ryan participated in the Food Stamp Challenge. The Challenge is to live on $3 a day for a week. That amount is what the average food stamp recipient receives.

NYPD surveillance prior to the 2004 GOP convention: a list. In NYC during the GOP convention and wonder whether the police were spying on you. Chances are, they were. Just disclosed documents detail who they where keeping an eye on.

Mental Health Problems Among Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Casualty statistics should be more than a body count. Consider the lives ruined by mental illness as a result of combat.

Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq.

Headlines (5/17/2007)

Big area of Antarctica melted in 2005. It was thought that melting in Antarctica was limited to the peninsula. Now scientists think it could be a lot worse.

For ’08 Resumes, Don’t Ask Them to Fill in Blanks Candidates on both sides are dodging questions about questionable episodes in their past. Can the American people get an attention span long enough to demand answers.

Senators Renew Call for Gonzales' Ouster. Two more Republicans have crossed over to asking him to step down.

Book Excerpt: The Assault on Reason. This is Al Gore's latest book and hopefully his platform to a Presidential bid.

Understanding The Insurgency In Algeria

During the 1990s, a political party, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), began to make serious inroads into the political dominance of the National Liberation Front. After the FIS made serious gains in the first round of a December 1991 election, the Algerian military stepped in and suspended the elections.

What motivated the army were fears by the secular community of an extremist led government. The eventual crackdown on the FIS by government forces has led to a decade and a half of unrest. Elections did eventually resume with the FIS excluded.

In recent years, insurgents loyal to the FIS and extremist causes have diminished their attacks. In 2003, they were ready to lay down their arms in the face of government offered amnesty; but, instead they have joined forces with al Qaeda operatives. While Algerians do not face day-to-day warfare, insurgents do occasionally make attacks where government influence is thin (e.g., rural villages.) There are also the occasional car bombs.

Senate Presidential Candidates Missing Many Votes

As of yesterday, 3/21/2007, the United States Senate has had 88 Roll Call votes. The six presidential candidates holding senate seats have missed a total of 101 votes between them.

Perhaps some of these candidates consider the responsibility of their current job a hindrance to their aspirations, but do we really want a president who doesn't take their responsibilities seriously.

Despite Squeaker In VA, Democrats Could Claim Mandate In Senate

With George Allen's concession today, the Democrats now have a 51-49 majority in the Senate (thanks to both Independents caucusing with them.)

The story behind the story, however, is the popular vote. If you combine the votes from all Senate races, here's how the votes break by party:

Democrat: 32,485,800 (55.14%)
Republican: 24,999,263 (42.43%)
Other: 1,430,727 (2.43%)

55% to 42% is a substantial margin. Despite the narrowest of margins in the seat count, I believe the Democrats could claim a mandate based on these numbers.

In regards to the house, I think the swing of 25+ seats is more than enough to claim a mandate as well. I would give combined vote totals for the house, but that is 435 races (compared with a modest 33 totaled above for the senate. If anyone wants to add them up, feel free to post them in the comments below.

I would expect the house numbers to be somewhat close to the breakdown of the house itself as each district should represent about the same number of people. If I find an aggregate, or break down and enter it into excel myself, I will update this story accordingly.

As Goes Virginia, So Goes The Senate

Today's news bring us Rumsfeld's long overdue resignation, Hastert's decision not to seek a leadership role in the next congress, and Tester's victory in Montana.

The Senate comes down to Virginia. As of this moment, Webb, the democrat, is ahead by 7,262 votes. It is unclear how many are left to be counted and from where. Hopefully, Allen will do the country a favor and concede the election rather than risk ruining his political career being a sore loser (at least that's the advice republicans kept giving Gore in 2000).

Using CNNs stats, here's how the race currently stands:

Senate: D-50, R-49, 1 undecided
House: D-229, R-196, 10 undecided
Govs: D-28, R-21, 1 undecided

If we take the current leader in undecided races it breaks down as follows:

Senate: D-51, R-49
House: D-232, R-203
Govs: D-28, R-22

A number of those house races are down to a few hundred votes out of hundreds of thousands, so it will be a while before there's a final number there.

Recounts And Accusations

The Republicans need either Montana or Virginia to hold onto the Senate while the Democrats will need to take both. With that in mind, here's where we stand in those states at this moment:

Virginia
D-Webb: 1,170,564
R-Allen: 1,162,717

That is a margin of 7,847 or .3%. Anything within .5% qualifies for a recount. To avoid a recount, Webb needs about 3,800 more. Allen would need to pick up about 19,500 to avoid a recount. There are still a few precincts in democratic areas as well as provisional ballots to count.

More on the counting from ABC News.

Montana
D-Tester: 194,914
R-Burns: 193,179

That is a margin of 1,735 or .4%. Anything within .25% qualifies for a recount. Between .25% and .5% and either candidate can pay for a recount. To get outside the .5% margin, Tester needs to pickup 206 votes. Burns would need 3676 to get outside the .5% margin on his side.

More on the counting from ABC News.

Election 2006: The Saddam Factor and Reminders of What's At Stake

First, as always, an update on the forecasted numbers:

House: D-228, R-207
Senate: R-50, D-50

These numbers update past numbers given on 10/4, 10/18, 10/25, and 10/31. In each update, we've seen a slow, but steady swing toward the Democrats.

Today, Bush delivers on his "October Surprise." Despite, a recent prediction that the Iraqi government would hold off on convicting Saddam until after the U.S. midterm elections, they did announce today a guilty verdict. This happened just in time to make the verdict the last headline voters see on their newspapers before going to the polls. The Republicans swear it is a coincidence, but can anyone take such fortuitous timing as mere chance. It is no coincidence that we won't have an outcome to the "ethics" committee investigation into the Foley scandal until after the election.

This level of manipulation is all the more reason to keep in mind what's at stake as people go to the polls this Tuesday:

I will not even get into issues that people are familiar with, like the Patriot Act.

There are many things wrong with the direction this country has taken. Even if the Saddam issue partially vindicated some tertiary afterthought motive for invading Iraq, there's plenty enough wrong with the direction of this country. Remember that on Tuesday.

Oil Prices Tied To Election?

Two years ago, Bob Woodward, a Washington Post reporter, made an ominous statement regarding gas prices that we are seeing played out now:

"They could go down very quickly. That's the Saudis' pledge." According to Woodward, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, "told President Bush that the Saudis would cut oil prices to ensure a strong economy for Election Day."

And it's not only the Saudi's:

U.S. oil company executives also possess the power to allow price drops for the election. They have enough room to play -- including last year's collective $100 billion in record profits and Exxon Mobil's own near record $10.6 billion profits this past quarter. Oil executives are full of fear over new leadership in a Congress that would investigate them.

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