Tuesday, November 30, 2004

One difference between men and women

I was driving to work and listening to the radio the other day.

The guy on the radio had the audience laughing out loud. He was talking about one big difference between men and women. The "air" for women is love. The "air" for men is respect. He cited little stories of how that plays out in typical couples and the audience would laugh out loud because they could relate.

As a single guy, I don't have the context of marriage to observe those differences. But in observing couples and in my own opposite sex friendships, I can see some of those dynamics. He is on to something with what he is saying.

Anyway, I only caught part of the broadcast on 99.5 FM on the show Focus on the Family.

Seen on the web...

culture of shopping

I periodically visit Virginia Postrel's web site. Her big thing of is the economic value of asthetics. She recently wrote this item.

How much money is "okay" for us to spend on ourselves?

On one hand, it seems selfish to spend too much.

But think about this: when we spend money someone has a job. I heard Dennis Prager talking about this. We buy stuff like shoes and some poor man or woman in Southeast Asia has a job making them. What if all American's decided to become totally anti-materialistic and stopped buying things? Hmmm...

So is it better for us to buy the imported good that provides a job or to give the money to a charity that provides help overseas?

Likewise, Postrel talks about how some of the fashion magazines pushes women to buy more and more stuff and more and more fancy stuff to "keep up with the Jones." Hence, she praises magazines like Lucky that has a more realistic assessment of the discretionary spending women have -- you can be fashionable without breaking the credit card.

culture of red-state/blue-state

On a visit to Instapundit came across this item.

It is written by a Harvard Law professor who is also a Christian. He is a "red-stater" in a "blue-state" business in a "blue-state." He makes some interesting observations about where there might be common ground between the two worlds.

I work in academic research (blue-state business) in California (blue-state) and am a Christian (red-state) so I could relate to what he is saying.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Tom Hanks and the Da Vinci Code

I hear that Tom Hanks may star in the movie version of The Da Vinci Code, the Dan Brown bestseller.

The pedigree of the people involved in making the movie will insure the film will probably be a blockbuster. Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Beautiful Mind, Cacoon and many more) will direct. Akiva Goldsman who did the screenplay for Beautiful Mind is adapting the novel into a screenplay.

I think part of the appeal of Da Vinci Code is the whole conspiracy theory. People seem to like the idea that what we think we know is true isn't really true. And so what better story to tell than to call into question Christianity as most people understand it?

We live in an era when there is a lot of post-modern skepticism (people may not use those terms but they know what it is!) which says truth is either relative or unknowable or both. Oddly, this line of thinking leads to this two-edged irony in attitudes toward Christianity: (1) Christianity is based on a fabrication as described by Dan Brown and like-minded writers; (2) Christianity, even if a lie, is "good" because it comforts people and helps them try to be "good" people.

However, if one believes that truth actually exists and matters, then one must ask: are the claims of Christianity true? And if true, then its claims upon my life must be taken seriously.

A good place to go to read responses to Da Vinci Code is Belief.net. Run the search for "Da Vinci Code" in the search box to pull up a variety of articles.

Be sure to check out this interview with Darrell Bock who points out some of the historical and theological issues in the book as well as why he thinks the book garnered so much appeal.

In this article Bock gets to the root of the Da Vinci Code: was Jesus divine or not? He provides links to these interesting web pages that describe the Priory of Sion, the Knights Templar, Opus Dei, and the Merovingian Lineage.

Religion has a number of elements: ethics, ritual and theology.

I have no problem, as a Christian, in recognizing that the various religions of the world have a lot of common ground in the realm of ethics. Indeed, most religions want people to be good.

As for ritual, even within Christianity there is variation. In my mind, what type of music you use to celebrate God and life doesn't matter all that much as long as the substance is true. There is a place for diversity in how our worship to God is expressed. There is place for cultural elements and personality preferences.

The last component is theology. Intellectual honesty demands that we admit that not all religions are the same on this point. The nature of God, humanity and existence and the relationship of God to us and the world around us is part of theology. Dan Brown's book has one vision of what that looks like. Traditional Christianity has another description.

Which world view reflects reality more accurately?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

2nd Annual Thanksgiving Taste Test



In this corner, Charles Shaw 2004 California Sauvignon Blanc from Trader Joes for $1.99.

What is there to say?

There are legions of wine drinkers who claim the "Two Buck Chuck" is just as good as the more pricey bottles in the stores!



Competing for votes, the low-priced entry bought at Ralphs, the Meridian Vineyard's Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2002 for $6.99.

Here is what the web page says about it:
This is a wine that I have to be careful not to “over-make” – since I am starting with fruit that essentially tastes how I want the finished wine to taste.  To end up with this fresh, lively flavor in the wine, I simply need to guide it gently through the winery and into the bottle.  I do all I can to retain the original fruit flavors. 

I barrel fermented half of this wine, mostly in French oak from several coopers and forests – Combined Woods, Never, and Center of France.  I then let it rest in the barrel for five months.  This short stint gives the wine subtle toasty aromas and flavors without masking the essence of the varietal.




And the last contestant, the mid-priced Matanzas Creek Winery 2002 Sauvignon Blanc for $16.99 at Cost Plus

Here is what the winery says about it:
Our 2002 Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc with a hint of both Semillon and Sauvignon Musque. Following the footsteps of the vibrant 2001 vintage, this 2002 wine is bright in both color and flavor, yet remarkably complex for a Sauvignon Blanc. This unique complexity is the result of precise selection and blending of fruit from five prestigious wine growing regions - Russian River, Knights Valley, Alexander Valley, Sonoma Valley and Mendocino Valley. Also adding to the complexity of the blend is our historical practice of fermenting up to fifteen-percent of the wine in French oak barrels.

Stay tuned for the results from the taste-off!

UPDATE:
The results are in!

With a sample size of eight taste testers and a scoring system of first place vote equals one, second place vote equals two and third place vote equals three points ... it was essentially a tie!!

Trader Joe's "Two Buck Chuck" got 15 points (3 first place, 3 second and 2 third)
Matanzas Creek ($16.99) entry got 16 points (2 first place, 4 second and 2 third)
Meridan's ($6.99) offering got 17 points (3 first place, 1 second and 4 third)

I conducted this taste test last year on some Merlot and got these results.

Got an explaination?

I suppose since red wines tend to have more flavor (they afterall get red because of the grape skins) variations might be greater?

All the people in the world ...

Did you know the US Census Bureau estimates the number of people in the world too?

Click here to see how many people they estimate are on planet earth right now!

As of this post, the number was: 6,402,456,716.

A little more clicking around and you get the world population and the US population side by side. The US population is estimated to be: 294,836,445.

The USA represents 4.6% of the world's population.

On this Thanksgiving Day, let's remember to be grateful for all the blessings we have here in the USA and find a way to help someone less well off today here and abroad.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:48

Travel: Need to get away?

Happy thanksgiving where ever you are!

Click here if you want to visit my travelogue with photos from my Spring Break 2004 trip.

Nope, no beach resorts for me! Hah, instead I traveled to a places colder than Los Angeles!

It was great to travel with friends to see friends.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Falluja: they are soldiers now ... and young

This NY Times article by Dexter Filkins who is covering Bravo Company of the First Battalion of the Eight Marine Regiment is getting a lot of attention. I first came across it at AndrewSullivan.com then heard it discussed on Dennis Prager's radio show and then again on Hugh Hewitt's radio program.

Excerpts:

FALLUJA, Iraq, Nov. 18 - Eight days after the Americans entered the city on foot, a pair of marines wound their way up the darkened innards of a minaret, shot through with holes by an American tank.

As the marines inched upward, a burst of gunfire rang down, fired by an insurgent hiding in the top of the tower. The bullets hit the first marine in the face, his blood spattering the marine behind him. The marine in the rear tumbled backward down the stairwell, while Lance Cpl. William Miller, age 22, lay in silence halfway up, mortally wounded.

"Miller!" the marines called from below. "Miller!"

With that, the marines' near mystical commandment against leaving a comrade behind seized the group. One after another, the young marines dashed into the minaret, into darkness and into gunfire, and wound their way up the stairs.

After four attempts, Corporal Miller's lifeless body emerged from the tower, his comrades choking and covered with dust. With more insurgents closing in, the marines ran through volleys of machine-gun fire back to their base.

"I was trying to be careful, but I was trying to get him out, you know what I'm saying?" Lance Cpl. Michael Gogin, 19, said afterward.

So went eight days of combat for this Iraqi city, the most sustained period of street-to-street fighting that Americans have encountered since the Vietnam War. The proximity gave the fighting a hellish intensity, with soldiers often close enough to look their enemies in the eyes.

For a correspondent who has covered a half dozen armed conflicts, including the war in Iraq since its start in March 2003, the fighting seen while traveling with a frontline unit in Falluja was a qualitatively different experience, a leap into a different kind of battle.
.................
Despite their youth, the marines seemed to tower over their peers outside the military in maturity and guts. Many of Bravo Company's best marines, its most proficient killers, were 19 and 20 years old; some directed their comrades in maneuvers and assaults. Bravo Company's three lieutenants, each responsible for the lives of about 50 men, were 23 and 24 years old.

They are a strangely anonymous bunch. The men who fight America's wars seem invariably to come from little towns and medium-size cities far away from the nation's arteries along the coast. Line up a group of marines and ask them where they are from, and they will give you a list of places like Pearland, Tex.; Lodi, Ohio; Osawatomie, Kan.

Typical of the marines who fought in Falluja was Chad Ritchie, a 22-year-old corporal from Keezletown, Va. Corporal Ritchie, a soft-spoken, bespectacled intelligence officer, said he was happy to be out of the tiny place where he grew up, though he admitted that he sometimes missed the good times on Friday nights in the fields.

"We'd have a bonfire, and back the trucks up on it, and open up the backs, and someone would always have some speakers," Corporal Ritchie said. "We'd drink beer, tell stories."

Like many of the young men in Bravo Company, Corporal Ritchie said he had joined the Marines because he yearned for an adventure greater than his small town could offer.

"The guys who stayed, they're all living with their parents, making $7 an hour," Corporal Ritchie said. "I'm not going to be one of those people who gets old and says, 'I wish I had done this. I wish I had done that.' Every once in a while, you've got to do something hard, do something you're not comfortable with. A person needs a gut check."
..............
Time and again through the week, Captain Omohundro kept his men from folding, if not by his resolute manner then by his calmness under fire. In the first 16 hours of battle, when the combat was continuous and the threat of death ever present, Captain Omohundro never flinched, moving his men through the warrens and back alleys of Falluja with an uncanny sense of space and time, sensing the enemy, sensing the location of his men, even in the darkness, entirely self-possessed.

"Damn it, get moving," Captain Omohundro said, and his men, looking relieved that they had been given direction amid the anarchy, were only too happy to oblige.

A little later, Captain Omohundro, a 34-year-old Texan, allowed that the strain of the battle had weighed on him, but he said that he had long ago trained himself to keep any self-doubt hidden from view.

"It's not like I don't feel it," Captain Omohundro said. "But if I were to show it, the whole thing would come apart."

When the heavy fighting was finally over, a dog began to follow Bravo Company through Falluja's broken streets. First it lay down in the road outside one of the buildings the company had occupied, between troop carriers. Then, as the troops moved on, the mangy dog slinked behind them, first on a series of house searches, then on a foot patrol, always keeping its distance, but never letting the marines out of its sight.

Bravo Company, looking a bit ragged itself as it moved up through Falluja, momentarily fell out of its single-file line.

"Keep a sharp eye," Captain Omohundro told his men. "We ain't done with this war yet."

During this Thanksgiving season be sure to offer a prayer or two for these courageous soldiers. If you have a friend of family member in the service, please thank them for their service and sacrifice. They who serve and you who support them are true heroes of this generation.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Go Anteaters!

Anteaters win their opener against CSU Dominguez Hills. Excerpt from LAT:
Before making a foray into more dicey college basketball territory, UC Irvine broke a sweat Friday, routing Cal State Dominguez Hills, 106-69, in front of 1,487 at the Bren Events Center.

The Anteaters play USC on Monday and UCLA next Saturday.

"Basically, we just want to have a presence on the court [in those games]," Irvine Coach Pat Douglass said.

"I don't know if we can upset them on their courts, but I want our players have confidence and believe in themselves."
I'll be rooting for the 'Eaters on Monday and the Bruins on Saturday!

Go Bruins!

Bruins win home opener, 64-53 over Chicago State. Excerpts from LAT:
There were smiles all around, plenty of back-slapping and hugging. If anybody wanted to nit-pick about bobbled passes or being turned around defensively by small, quick city guards and giving up too many layups or letting an undermanned opponent dictate the tempo, this wasn't the day.

Because opening day should be about the positives.

UCLA beat Chicago State, 64-53, Saturday in Pauley Pavilion, and the Bruins didn't need any last-second heroics (remember the home opener against Vermont last year, one-point win, nail biter to the end?).
And here are some observations from a friend of mine who is a huge Bruin fan:
To say the least, Howland's got some players this year. Both Farmer and Affalo are the real thing!  I enjoy watching guys who can play defense and finish.  They are young and make some mistakes ... Nevertheless UCLA should be good to watch [this year].

Saturday, November 20, 2004

LA Dining: Cafe Du Village

Being an LA based blog I should blog more about dining out. I eat out for dinner once to twice a week and so reviewing restaurants would be simple way to get blog posts and might actually be useful to my readership both regular and accidental!

So I recently ate at Cafe Du Village.

Food:
I had the Lake Michigan Whitefish. Yum! It came with broccoli, carrot, green beans and mashed potatoes. The fish was cooked just right (when eating out the most common mistake is overcooking fish!) and topped with bits of tomato, capers and thin slices of lemon to give it a hint of that flavor without being overwhelming. The salad that came with the dinner was good too!

Service:
I see in the Citysearch reviews there were some complaints about slow service. It was just fine the night I ate there.

Atmosphere:
It is a cute little place on Larchmont. Agree on the beautiful people watching comments in Citysearch as Larchmont is that kind of area. When I went to the bathroom, there is only one, I noticed the patio out back which a couple had to themselves that night. The main dining area was close to full with the sound of conversations bouncing everywhere so it isn't a quiet candle-lighted date type of place but still I'd give it the green-light for a romantic dinner. Probably not great for kids or large parties.

Price:
Entrees are in the $14-18 range. Our party of four (eating three entrees) paid $64 not including tips.

139 1/2 N Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004-3704
Phone: (323) 466-3996

Friday, November 19, 2004

UN problems

Here is an item reporting problems at the UN leading to a symbolic no confidence vote on UN administration.

Excerpt: Union officials said the final straw was Annan’s decision this week to clear a senior U.N. official on charges of favoritism and sexual harassment.
............
The vote was also in response to Annan's failure to accept the “honorable action” of the deputy secretary-general who tried to resign as a result of the bombing of the 2003 United Nations building in Baghdad that killed 22 staff members.

Additionally, U.N. workers are unhappy with leaders for failing to hold accountable the chef de cabinet, whose son was hired to work there in violation of staff rules.

Another concern is the ongoing internal investigation into the Oil-for-Food scandal. At issue is whether a senior U.N. official accepted bribes in exchange for diverting the Oil-for-Food program funds meant as aid for impoverished Iraqis directly to former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein.


I think I heard radio reports that says the Oil-for-Food scandal is in the billions of dollars.

And there is this item over at Instapundit quoting WSJ's Claudia Rosett who has been on the story for months and often appears as a guest on Hugh Hewitt's radio program. Rosett puts the number at $21 billion.


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Michele's Musings: Two Essays on Arafat's Legacy

The view from NYT's Tom Friedman. It also appeared in the International Herald Tribune (IHT).

A European view in the IHT from Daniel Barenboim.

Purpose Driven Life: thoughts from a hospital bed

I started reading the Purpose Driven Life (PDL) in early October. I even joined a small reading group to go through the book with. We met once. The following week on Tuesday (our scheduled meeting time) I called to say I wasn't feeling well and would miss the second meeting. That meeting was on October 12 which was when my stomach ache started which lead to the October 13 just after midnight ER visit and the afternoon surgery.

I had not gotten far in the book. But I had gotten far enough for Rick Warren to introduce what he believes to be the five purposes of our life from the Bible. (1) Worship God (2) Love People (3) Grow to be like Jesus (4) Serve Others (5) Tell Others about Jesus.

When I was in the hospital, I slept irregularly. About every 4 hours my vital signs were taken (temperature and blood pressure). Sometimes I would fall asleep quickly after the vitals check up but sometimes I would remain awake and stare at the ceiling wondering ... hmmm... what is the "big picture" to this experience of surgery and tubes and needles in and out of my body?

I thought about the PDL book and those five purposes.

Well... I guess talking to God constituted a form of worship! I thanked God for various things (especially people who are a part of my life) and expressed my worries about what was happening. One part of worshiping God is recognizing that God is God and I'm not.

As for love... I was at the receiving end of a lot of it. I was at a place where there was little I could give to others than to pray for them at 3am in the morning and thank them when they would talk to me. So in some way, for that moment, my purpose was to allow others to love me.

As for maturity... I hope I've grown as a human being as a result of this brush with mortality. I hope I am a little more like Jesus because of what I went through.

As for service... I was at the receiving end of a lot of it. There was little I could do for myself at the hospital. Outside of the hospital recovering at home for the first couple of weeks, I could do a bit more but still not a whole lot. I confess I alternated between frustration that I was so helpless and grateful that there were people who would help me.

I have to say I found myself thinking about what my life will be like when I'm old and everyone I have known and loved has since died and there would be no one to care for me when I am unable to care for myself. I really admire deacons in the church who serve the elderly because they simply want to fulfill God's command to love others!

As for sharing Christ... I hope people can see that Christians care for each other and pray for each other and I hope the way I reacted to my ailment was a testimony for Christ.

I recently saw part of the film Braveheart. At the end, William Wallace has to face a painful death. He does so with faith and courage that only confidence in God allows.

I didn't face death in what I went through but it was at times a bit scary. In the not too distant past one could die from a bowel obstruction. And in many parts of the world today where there are no hospitals my obstruction of the small intestine would have resulted in death. But here in the USA, it is quite treatable.

Death may come suddenly in our modern world (auto accidents or heart attacks) but it could also come in a lingering way (a stroke that doesn't kill but disables or a long struggle with cancer). I hope I will be able to face death well.

In the meantime, I hope live life well for God and those God places in my life.

Survey of public opinion on Iraq

I have a friend who has a child in college. One of the classes has assigned a survey research project. Check it out and help this student increase the "N" in the survey! Thanks!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

This is a fight against evil

Margaret Hassan was probably killed on the latest videotape.

Can we call those who murdered her anything less than evil?

Hassan has devoted her life to helping Iraqis through CARE.

Will Al-Jazeera show the videotape of the Islamic fanatics killing her?

Meanwhile, you can be sure Al-Jazeera will be showing the videotape of a Marine shooting a wounded insurgent.

There will be an investigation and that marine may well receive some punishment.

However, having recently watched Saving Private Ryan, I am not sure what punishment would be appropriate. In the film, there was a scene where the US Army troops are storming the beaches and some of the German soldiers attempt to surrender and they get shot.

The fact of the matter is that terrible things happen in war.

In this blog post I put two deaths side-by-side but I want to make it absolutely clear that I make NO moral equivalence between the two cases. At the very minimum, you have to say that Hassan didn't deserve to die. At the very least, you have to ask why Al-Jazeera doesn't show that side of the conflict in Iraq.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Patton: Prayer for Good Weather

Was channel surfing this morning and came acrossAMC's broadcast of Patton the biopic with George C. Scott.

Just a handful of minutes ago, saw the famous scene about the weather prayer.
Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.
Wonder what kind of prayers are being offered in Fallujah?

Friday, November 12, 2004

Legal protections vs. national security

With the news that AG John Ashcroft has resigned, there is much chatter about whether in the interests of national security he trampled on legal protections.

I was watching Newshour the other night and they had two guests who were both law professors. They were selected because they had different views of Ashcroft's tenure. Both sides sounded authoritative and factual. Who is right?

I don't know.

All I can do is blog as ordinary Joe Citizen who has no legal background and can only apply some common sense.

There is no doubt that terrorism imposes incredible challenges to the legal system because it falls outside the realms of established law.

In the USA, we have firm principles for criminal law like (1) when you detain someone you have to soon afterward charge them with a specific crime (I don't know how much time you have... I guess I haven't been paying enough attention while watching Law and Order) (2) when you put someone on trial you have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In the international law, there appears to be some principles for the conduct of war. Soldiers wear the uniform of a specific government and if captured on the battlefield are held as prisoners of war where there are certain requirements. These POWs are held until the war is over and returned to the nation they fought for.

Now, we face the challenge of terrorism.

These people can be detained by law enforcement in the USA and in other nations or by military personnel on battlefields. So are they POWs or criminals?

They usually aren't wearing the uniform of any government.

How long do you hold them?

A traditional POW is held until the end of the war but when is the war against terrorists over?

Though they may hold some state's passport they really can't be returned to that nation because they can return to being a terrorist.

Do we treat them as criminals?

If we detain them, how quickly must they be charged with a crime?

How many "things" must a person do before they could be charged with "conspiracy to commit a terrorist act?"

Does talking about it to someone constitute a conspiracy?

Does surfing the internet for information constitute a conspiracy?

Does buying equipment that could be used constitute a conspiracy?

I'm not a lawyer but how about this hypothetical:
Mrs. Smith says she wants her lying cheating husband dead. Is that a crime?
Mrs. Smith surfs the internet for guns. Is that a crime?
Mrs. Smith buys a gun. Is that a crime?

As far as I can tell, Mrs. Smith hasn't yet committed a crime?

How about this hypothetical:
A group of people discusses a terrorist plan. Is that cause to detain?
A group of people surf the internet to get maps for their target. Is that cause to detain?
A group of people go to a school to be certified to drive 18-wheelers. Is that cause to detain?

The greatness about the US legal system is that we will work it out. Yes, the Bush administration clearly pushed the boundaries on what to do and I'm hoping as time passes we will find the right response to balance national security and legal protections.

Clearly the bar is lower than "beyond a reasonable doubt" because the cost of being wrong could be another World Trade Center attack or some other kind of nightmare scenario.

How quickly will our legal system figure out that maybe somebody got detained because their name sounds too close to a known terrorist?

Or the person didn't know that the people they were associating with were terrorists?

Its tough and I'm glad we live in a country where these things can be hashed out.

In totalitarian countries, they just detain and throw away the key or detain, torture and clear out space with a bullet.

The Charles Shaw Story a.k.a. "Two Buck Chuck"

It all the rage. In California, you can buy it for$1.99 a bottle and people are saying it is as good as more expensive wines.

Anyway, what is the story of how Trader Joes can sell it so cheap?

Here is the story as told on TJ's own site.

And here is the story from the Urban Legend's Reference Page (snopes.com).

Turns out it is simply Econ 101 at work...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

We were soldiers once ... and young

On Nov. 5-7, TNT cable is showing We Were Soldiers.

The film came out in 2002 and I remember seeing some trailers for it but never got around to seeing the film.

I was channel surfing and came across it.

The film is based on the book by Col. Moore of the same title. Col. Moore commanded the troops of the 1st battalion of the 7th calvary regiment. Ironically, it was the same unit that Gen. Custer commanded and had massacred.

The following web pages describe the battle:
http://www.lzxray.com/index.htm detailed account)
http://www.ehistory.com/vietnam/maps/0008.cfm (battlefield map)
http://www.weweresoldiers.net/index.htm (photos by Joe Galloway who was at the battle)

On the eve of the battle of Fallujah, the film moved me as it powerfully shows the chaos of the battlefield, the fierce determination of soldiers in combat and the courage of those back home.

American and Iraqi soldiers will fight soon in Fallujah. It is my hope that their blood will not be lost in vain. Freedom is not free and the Iraqis will pay for it with their own and once again America has been called upon to pay the ultimate price.

The Korean War Memorial has an inscription that says: "OUR NATION HONORS HER SONS AND DAUGHTERS WHO ANSWERED THE CALL TO DEFEND A COUNTRY THEY NEVER KNEW AND A PEOPLE THEY NEVER MET."

Lord, have mercy.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

MISUNDERESTIMATED

That pretty much sums up the re-election of George W. Bush. The polling going into the weekend looked bad, the exit-polls on election day looked bad and guess what, Bush won.

I suppose a lot of the early voting was for Bush and the exits and weekend polling didn't pick that up.

I suppose maybe Bush voters are less willing to talk to exit-pollsters or pollsters in general.

I suppose the GOP really did improve their "ground game" and got turnout in key battleground states.

I suppose the Kerry team played it too cautious counting on flipping either Florida or Ohio and thus leaving themselves with zero options if they didn't.

Anyway, glad the fears of multi-recounts and legal battles didn't turn up and we got a clear result.

UPDATE: Bush 286 Kerry 252. In the end, the Blue State-Red State distribution was almost like 2000. Only switches were New Hampshire which went to Kerry this time and Iowa and New Mexico which switched to Bush.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

my voting experience today

Since I'm still recovering from surgery, I had to have help getting to the polling place. My parents were kind enough to drive me to it. I was walking to the location when I saw something really strange. I saw a car with Bush-Cheney bumper stickers on it! More than one sticker I might add. Remember, this is LA!

Anyway, I had to take a peek at the driver and to my delight she was a hot-looking twenty-something lady. Our eyes met and I gave her a smile and a friendly wave and she had a big smile too.

I got to the address listed on my voter booklet and found... the polling place was shuttered. There was a sign that said, polling place moved to such and such a location.

I got back into the car and we went to the new location about 6 blocks away. I went in and it was busy but not too crowded as it was mid-day. I got my ballot and waited for my chance at an available inka-vote gadget. No more chads to poke. Now you poke with a black felt pen to make dots on the ballot. As you might guess the mascot for the public service annoucements was a dalmation.

As I marked my ballot, I heard several voters say, how does this work?

Anyway, they were helped quickly and easily.

There was one guy who had to fill out forms for provisional ballot.

We shall see what happens today.

If the polling data over the weekend is correct, it shows that the late trend is going Kerry but the question is whether it is a big enough shift to erase the slim lead Bush seemed to have held entering the weekend.

A scenario pundits are tossing out there is that the polling this year is going to be off for various technical reasons as there are too many voters flying under the polling radar.

We shall see what happens today.

Monday, November 01, 2004

election prediction

Popular vote: 49-49 with either Bush or Kerry winning by 500,000 to 1,000,000 votes nationally.

Electoral votes: two scenarios -- (1) an early end to the evening where Bush pulls off the trifecta in PA, FL and OH and rolls to a win with around 300 electoral votes; (2) the night drags on and on which I think favors Kerry who would then win with a little over the minimum 270.

My wild guess Bush 309 Kerry 229.