What the Heck Will We Do After The Election? Perhaps the nationwide discussion of Britney's pubes, Lindsay's lesbianism, or Paris's partying. God help us all. I hope that the vacuum created when we stop lobbing bombs at each other will be filled with some form of intelligent discussion.
Election Night Watch Party with SoDeCo Join us November 4th at 7PM at the Razoos in Lewisville for an Election Watch party as we cheer on Barack Obama and all of our Democratic Candidates here in Texas! We are asking for a donation of $10 per person for non-members. For current members, it's on us! A Cajun dinner and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. Full bar available at restaurant (we just can't afford to pay for that much celebration!).
The Next Economy Lately when my mind wanders, I often think about what is next for our long-term economy. I think as petroleum gets more scarce (and it is getting more scarce), many of the raw materials we take for granted become more and more costly. Today, the cost difference between many of the items we make in America and those that we import is largely based on labor costs. As the cost of raw materials goes up, the relative cost of the labor to produce them goes down. I think we start to focus on locally produced goods where we're willing to pay a bit more for quality. I think maybe someday we start to see more aggressive recycling of metals and especially plastics when the raw materials for plastics resins become more scarce. We might even someday see garbage dump mining.
Other Local Blogs and Forums I just wanted to say how proud I am of some of the other local blogs and forums here in Southern Denton County. I probably don't give them enough love in these pages through links and shout-outs, but here goes:
This will probably be of absolutely no interest to you, but I was just looking at the server statistics for WhosPlayin, and I'm pretty amazed with our numbers lately.
For the month of October: Unique Visitors: 14,634 (new record for us) Number of Visits: 27,439 (record is 30,020 in March 2008) Pages Displayed: 121,928 (new record) Hits (includes images): 562,856 Bandwidth: 10.07 GB (new record)
Like most websites, our numbers are somewhat skewed by "spam" traffic and bots. It's hard to say how much, but it's a continual fight to block them. Entire countries are now locked out from WhosPlayin. The Russians and Estonians for instance just won't get the benefit of our wisdom.
A lot of our traffic comes in from search engines when people look for things that we've written about. The top two right now are searches for voting information, and searches on "ionic foot bath".
Ad Revenue? Yeah, that's a touchy subject. We still go in the hole each month. I consider it a subsidized hobby. Y'all need to click more of the ads, you bunch of freeloaders... ;)
I did an interview with the Fort Worth Star Telegram recently for a story they're doing about bloggers. They came out to my office and took some pictures. Hope I didn't break any lenses... I'll post a link if the story is online.
Oh my goodness, I just feel sorry for this poor woman.
Sarah Palin thinks she's talking to French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and lets on that she's just not very bright.
By the way, this is the France with "socialist" medicine. Sarkozy is a "liberal conservative" in the "Union for a Popular Movement".
Before revealing that it was a prank, Sarah: - showed her disdain for talking to a lowly aide who place the call on behalf of "Sarkozy", - made small talk about families and how "real" they both were. - expressed her optimism in the campaign - admitted that she might be ready to be a president in 8 years - talked about going hunting together by helicopter (as long nobody brings Dick Cheney) - Talked about the coincidence that both of them can see other countries from their houses. - Sarkozy sings a song about Joe the Plumber and explains that "Marcel the guy with bread under his armpit" is their equivalent.
When it was revealed, she attempted to be a good sport, but her aide cut off the conversation.
On a serious note though, did you hear how she just sort of went along with the silly things "Sarkozy" was saying, even though she probably was not understanding them? That's a pretty serious shortcoming for someone who could easily become the next President.
So, I'm no statistician, but I've been looking at the early voting totals coming back from the precincts in Texas' 26th Congressional District, and it is surprising how it's looking for Democrats.
What I'm looking at in these numbers is the breakdown of known partisanship among voters who have and have not yet voted. General election ballots are of course secret, and we have no way to know how an individual voted. What we can look at though is whether that person has any history of voting in any party's primary elections. In that case, we may not know who they voted for, but we know which party.
So, this morning, I pulled the numbers for district 26, and here's what we think we know about those who have voted:
Table 1: Early Voters
So, with a current turnout of 41.01%, Dems have 41.3%, and Republicans have 24.6%. That looks good, but there is a 34.1% unknown turnout. these are voters who haven't affiliated themselves via primary voting.
We also have a couple of offsetting factors: The Limbaugh effect of Republican voters crossing over to vote for Hillary in the Democratic Primary, as well as Republican voters who legitimately have switched their support to Barack Obama. It's hard to say what those numbers might be, but they probably don't exceed 5%. We're also making the huge assumption that voters who vote Democratic will vote for Ken Leach - the Democrat. Some low-information voters vote on the basis of name recognition, which favors the incumbent, Michael Burgess.
But before we declare it over, we have to look at who has not yet voted. So we pulled a list of voters who have not yet voted in early voting, and here's what we got:
Table 2: Voters not yet voted
So, even with these numbers, Democrats seem to have more votes "in the well" so to speak. Republicans thus far seem not to have been as energized about early voting.
But the large amount of unknowns still leave a lot of room for error. So what I attempted to do was model how the unknowns and the rest of the unvoted partisans would add up. You can't just add the numbers, because there is some variability in their probability of voting. Unknowns tend to be less likely to vote than partisans from either side.
Using voter probability rankings provided by the Texas Democratic Party, I weighted the remaining voters by likelihood of their turnout. I then added these numbers to the early voting totals and came up with this:
Table 3: Predicted Totals based on Weighted Turnout Plus Early Voting
This model leaves us with 32.61% leaning Democratic, 21.17% leaning Republican, and 46.22% unknown turnout. Mathematically, it could go either way, depending on how you think those unknowns will vote.
There are several possibilities for that: - They'll mirror the past election percentages in CD 26. - They'll mirror the national breakdown. - They'll vote in proportion to the partisan breakdown. - They'll vote somewhere between the partisan proportions and last percentages shown in CD 26.
It's hard for me to guess where that will fall. But I went ahead and figured out what the unknowns would have to be:
If the unknowns vote at least 38% Democratic, the Democrat wins. Republicans have to get at least 63% in order to get a majority. There is a very slight chance of a runoff being necessary between Burgess and Leach, if the Libertarian draws enough votes.
Given that identified Democrats in this last scenario outnumber identified Republicans by approximately 3 to 2, and that Republicans would have to more than flip that number around, it seems unlikely. Polling analysis website FiveThirtyEight.com puts Texas right now at 55.8% to 44.1% in favor of John McCain.
Further, we think a heavy turnout and national momentum for Barack Obama may benefit Texas Democrats more. How motivated will older Republicans be to turn out and vote for John McCain - a guy they only begrudgingly accepted, and who seems destined to win Texas but lose the national election.
I think there is a very real chance that sleeper candidate Ken Leach may actually win this thing. It would be a huge upset, but I think North Texas voters would reap a benefit from the choice.
Dems, you can do this. Get out and vote on November 4th, and pull it straight ticket for the Democrats. Then you can be assured that Obama will get all the help he needs to undo years of disastrous Bush policies, and send Bush's backers to the unemployment line.
Last night was fun. Joyous, I dare say. Last night, as part of the Lewisville Citizens Police Academy, we went out to the training range and got some good demonstrations from our local SWAT team.
Let me just say emphatically that you do NOT want to start a war with the police in Lewisville, because these guys can damn sure finish it. They have an arsenal that would probably out-match that of many small countries.
My two favorite parts of last night's activities were the explosions and the machine gun demonstrations.
The "distraction devices" that LPD uses are louder than any firework you could imagine, and I think would make you lose control of all bodily functions. I saw the team use a shaped-charge explosive made of det-cord and styrofoam to cut a man-sized hole in a 2-inch thick solid wood door. The concussion just about took the breath out of me. It threw the chunk of door against the back of the hallway on the other side.
Then there were demonstrations of the department's H&K MP5 sub-machine guns on full-auto - both with and without a suppressor.
Afterwards, I went for a couple of beers, and that made for a perfect evening.
I'm not sure whether I should share with you my numbers and graphs, but I've just done a bit of analysis on the partisanship of early voters in Denton County who have already voted, and those who have yet to vote.
Basically, it's a tossup: About 32% of those who voted lean Democratic. About 31% lean Republican. The remainder are unknown - meaning they don't have a record of having voted in a primary, and there are not strong demographic indicators.
Of those who have yet to vote, about 70% of those cannot be classified by partisanship. About 16% lean Republican and 14% lean Democratic. And there are no clear discernable demographic trends. The unknowns tend to be about 85% white, ages centering around 35 - 40, slightly more female, but not by much. The models call for a turnout of about 60%
Most interesting to me was the comparison between "Hard" Dems and "Hard" Republicans - those with strong partisan histories. Democrats have already turned out most of theirs. Republicans are slower about getting out to the polls. Democrats appear to be slightly more enthusiastic overall about voting.
In the absence of good polling data, I'd say that it would appear almost anything could happen at this point.
No wonder the local Republicans are scared. I personally hope that some of the Obama enthusiasm carries down-ticket as well. As much as we need change nationally, it's time for some house-cleaning here too.