Wednesday Night Open Thread

TalkLeft has been off-line intermittently all day, probably a residual effect of Storm Sandy, as the servers are near LaGuardia. If it looks different tonight, it's because we've stripped it of ads and deleted some graphics and embedded videos, in case the third-party sites hosting them are also experiencing Sandy-related problems. The site's loading normally for me now, hopefully it will stay this way.

Did Mitt Romney lose ground today? Here's the latest electoral map, where you can click and change the colors to make your own. Can Romney get to 270 without winning PA, Ohio and Florida? [More...]

Here are two recaps of today's dog-sniff oral arguments at the Supreme Court: Legalese and non-legalese.

Why does X-Factor need hosts for the live contests? I don't think either Kloe Kardashian or Mario Lopez add anything -- they are like unnecessary filler-- similar to commercials. And they shriek.

Happy Halloween, this is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    For those Intrade fans (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by CoralGables on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 10:25:17 PM EST
    the price on Mitt has dropped 14% today. That puts him just about in line where many major betting markets are right now (though still a little better than the odds Nate gives him to win).

    Looks like the Romney Intrade manipulators have tucked their tail and given up the ghost as his odds there have dropped to about 3 in 10.

    Nate Silver bet Joe Scarborough $1,000 that (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Angel on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:54:01 AM EST
    Obama would win.  Said he's tired of all the pundits not putting their money where their mouth is. Said it's time to back up their predictions.  Love it.

    James Woolcot let's it all (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 01:39:22 AM EST
    The Star-Adevertiser's Hawaii Poll ... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 02:39:30 AM EST
    ... is being released tomorrow, and will show President Obama winning his home islands handily by a 35-point margin, 68-33%. In 2008, he took nearly 72% of the vote out here.

    Michelle Obama (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by CoralGables on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:38:23 AM EST
    is doing the serious Florida I-95 run today (Thursday). She'll be in Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, and Miami.

    I was (none / 0) (#36)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:46:32 AM EST
    thinking about what you've been saying about the lines to vote in certain areas of FL. A friend of mine lives outside of Orlando and was in and out when it came to voting. I was wondering if Scott deliberately put less voting machines in places like West Palm hoping that the lines would make people give up and just go home.

    That's an excellent question (none / 0) (#39)
    by CoralGables on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:58:48 AM EST
    and one I don't have an answer as I'm not sure whether the state has a say in that or it's a county decision as to the number of machines at each precinct.

    I know (none / 0) (#41)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 09:03:28 AM EST
    a friend of mine in OH said that all the early voting there was a state decision.

    The best I can find (none / 0) (#42)
    by CoralGables on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 09:22:09 AM EST
    there is a state rule implemented recently as to days and maximum hours permitted in Florida.

    Early voting begins 10 days before an election and ends on the 3rd day before any election in which there is a state or federal office race. Early voting may be held for a maximum of 12 hours, but no less than 6 hours a day. The hours for each day for each early voting site during that period are set at the Supervisor's discretion.

    So each County determines what hours from a minimum of 48 hours to a maximum of 96 hours. The machines are county owned so they would be responsible for placement, but each county supervisor could still allocate more machines for certain precincts obviously.

    It should be noted that it was the State that killed the voting on the Sunday prior to election day this year. And that was specifically to try and stop the souls to the polls Sunday tidal wave that happened in 2008.


    So FL (none / 0) (#43)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 09:32:02 AM EST
    is not going to have early voting the Sunday before election day?

    No one in Florida will (none / 0) (#44)
    by CoralGables on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 10:09:57 AM EST
    be able to vote this coming Sunday....thanks to a Republican Governor and his appointed Secretary of State.

    a "state decision" run by republicans (none / 0) (#45)
    by Amiss on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 01:54:43 PM EST
    Who only look after "their" part of the state. There are very few democrats here. Those that are are mostly blue-dogs. This as it is with other things inlife is not an absolute, but a "usual".

    He refused to allow (none / 0) (#52)
    by Amiss on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 10:36:29 PM EST
    Extra days or time for early voting in this area, which is weird especially for around here is more than 50% republican.

    FYI, Jeralyn, pages are not (none / 0) (#1)
    by caseyOR on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 09:19:23 PM EST
    always loading fully. Sometimes I get the entire post plus all the comments. Sometimes i get just the post, but no comments. Sometimes I get the post and a third or a half of the comments.

    That was happening to me off and on (none / 0) (#3)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 10:10:47 PM EST
    most of the day, but seems to have resolved.

    I was going to put something in comments, and ended up just e-mailing Jeralyn - who told me about the server possibly having been affected by Sandy.

    Strangely, I didn't have the problem when accessing the site through my phone...there must be a reason for that, but I have no idea what it might be.


    You're back! (none / 0) (#22)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 02:16:26 AM EST
    Happy to see you made it through the deluge intact. Was there a lot of damage and chaos out your way? All the news seems primarily focused on New York City and New Jersey, and I didn't hear much about Maryland.

    As ferocious as the winds were on (none / 0) (#27)
    by Anne on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:28:57 AM EST
    Monday night, we had surprisingly little damage - the random branch and lots of leaves, and one tree that fell in the woods, but that was about it.  Lost power for almost 2 days - we got it back about 12:30 yesterday afternoon.

    There were a lot of big trees down in the area - and for some reason, they always seem to find the power lines.  Really too bad that some of the profit BGE/Constellation Energy hauls in and pays to its CEO can't be used to put the lines underground, huh?  I'm pretty sure when that decision gets made, it'll be the consumers who pay.

    We really didn't get as much rain as we thought we would, either.  Some local flooding in the usual spots, but those will flood in a heavy thunderstorm, so nothing unusual.

    The coastal areas - Ocean City, and places like Smith Island - got the worst, I think; my brother has a place in Ocean City, and he expects to get down there over the weekend to see what's up there.

    And, of course, the western part of the state got a couple feet of snow out of it - and power outages.

    One interesting thing I didn't know about: the National Weather Service never issued an actual hurricane warning for the state, so damage from the storm is not subject to the percentage deductible under most people's homeowner's insurance policies, just whatever the regular deductible is.  But what do you bet the lawyers have been hard at work trying to close that loophole?

    Other than the power issue - which, by yesterday morning, I was completely over - most of us got an extra two days off from work; the sitting-in-front-of-the-fire-with-a-good-book part was great - the trying-to-function-with-flashlights-and-candles-in-an-increasingly-cold-house-with-no-running-water, not so much.

    Can't complain though - not when so many people have lost everything.


    I can hear it now... (none / 0) (#28)
    by easilydistracted on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:36:55 AM EST
    Uh, they issued a hurricane warning. Uh, NO they didn't. YES they did. We heard it. Funny, I didn't hear it. Your power must have been out. Sorry, standard deductible denied.

    Or something along those lines


    Our friends down in Piney Point ... (none / 0) (#47)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 03:11:14 PM EST
    ... in St. Mary's County apparently didn't have all that much of a problem, which really surprised me given that they're in a waterfront home on an inlet at the mouth of the Potomac River.

    I was expecting to get a recording saying all phone circuits were down when I called to check up on them yesterday, but instead got right through. They only lost power for about five hours on late Monday afternoon, and were already back up and running as of 8:00 p.m. EDT that night. All the schools in the area were reopened as of yesterday.

    They had lots of rain, wind and debris, naturally, and they lost a fairly good-sized tree they had first planted in their front yard about 20 years ago, but otherwise were spared the worst of Sandy.


    the thing to worry about (none / 0) (#53)
    by Amiss on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 10:42:07 PM EST
    is if they had or have flood insurance which is sold separately from regular homeowners insurance. Wishing you all the best.

    TL is loading just fine now. (none / 0) (#15)
    by caseyOR on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 11:41:05 PM EST
    The problem appears to be resolved. :-)

    sheriff's race in Iowa's largest county (none / 0) (#2)
    by desmoinesdem on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 09:35:58 PM EST
    The incumbent sheriff of Polk County, Iowa (a Democrat and well-regarded former Des Moines police chief) is being challenged by a sheriff's deputy who is part of the "constitutional sheriff" movement and linked to the "Oath Keepers" on his campaign website. Scary stuff, because the media hasn't covered the race much, and the local tea party is very fired up about the challenger. I hope enough Democrats vote straight ticket to re-elect the sheriff.

    Whenever I hear the term ... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 03:49:28 PM EST
    ... "constitutional sheriff movement," it conjures up images of the menacing and corrupt Charlie Wade -- arguably Kris Kristofferson's finest onscreen performance, albeit in a supporting role -- from John Sayle's acclaimed 1996 mystery / drama Lone Star.

    (Anyone who hasn't seen this under-the-radar classic, you're in for a real treat. LINK.)


    I just watched that a couple (none / 0) (#49)
    by jondee on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 04:00:11 PM EST
    of nights ago.

    Kristofferson seemed to be channeling every vicious, teflon-coated cracker from the last hundred years of this country's history.

    And as usual, Chris Cooper rocked the house.


    Childish Things.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Rojas on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 10:14:15 PM EST
    "Little brother you'll get your chance... to go down and see the elephant"

    I wonder... (none / 0) (#6)
    by desertswine on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 10:31:18 PM EST
    if Lucy the Elephant survived the hurricane.

    Has anybody heard (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by cpresley on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 10:43:57 PM EST
    from Kdog? I don't think I have seen anything from him since before the storm.

    Not a peep from kdog yesterday or (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by caseyOR on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 11:12:53 PM EST
    today. I think he lives on Long Island. He works for a plumbing sales company. So, maybe he has just been too busy at work.

    I hope he and his family are okay.


    Thanks Casey (none / 0) (#9)
    by cpresley on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 11:23:48 PM EST
    I didn't know if I had just missed him. Hope it is busy at work. I know his landlady is elderly. I hope she is safe also.

    We haven't heard from vml, either. (none / 0) (#10)
    by caseyOR on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 11:27:02 PM EST
    She was going to ride out Sandy in her New Jersey apartment with her dogs. I hope they made it through okay.

    Lots of people are still without power. Maybe that is what is going on with vml and kdog.


    A good friend in NJ called me on her (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 11:31:04 PM EST
    landline yesterday, as it was her only means of communication with the outside world.   She doesn't have a battery-operated radio.  Knew nothing of the fire at Far Rockaway.  

    We live in the SantaCruz Mountains (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by cpresley on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 12:06:52 AM EST
    and lose power for 3- 5 days at a time about every other year. We bought a cheap princess phone years ago that we plug into the phone box when the power goes out. It doesn't have any bells and whistles so doesn't need any power to run. I don't know if phone lines go down along with powerlines back East, but here we hardly ever lose the phone lines. The old dumb phones work great here during power outages.

    I saw a photo in today's paper of (none / 0) (#18)
    by caseyOR on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 11:50:49 PM EST
    people in NYC standing in line in the street next to a generator the city had provided. They were all waiting their turn to charge their cell phones, iPads, etc.

    i think that is a great service for the city to provide. In fact, given that fewer and fewer people have a landline anymore, I think all municipalities need to incorporate that into their emergency plans.

    Portland would certainly need portable charging stations in the event of a big disaster whether it be an extreme weather event, an earthquake or another Cascade Range volcano blowing its top.


    Haeven't heard from lentinel, either. (none / 0) (#23)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 02:19:54 AM EST
    I'm sending good thoughts, and assuming because of the power outages that no news is good news and that everyone's going to be okay.

    Yes (none / 0) (#34)
    by sj on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:44:31 AM EST
    I've been concerned about both vml and kdog.  I hope they're fine and are able to check in soon.

    kdog checked in (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Anne on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 09:01:48 AM EST
    this morning - here.

    He's fine.

    Don't think we've heard from vml yet, though.


    I just sent him a message. Stay tuned. (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 11:29:47 PM EST
    if you want to send a personal message (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:18:39 AM EST
    through talkleft,just  register at the Zimmerman forums. Tell the recipient to do so as well. Then you can privately exchange nmessages (I can't even see that you sent them, let alone read them, and you can safely exchange email or telephone numbers which no one else can see,

    I sent him a message, too. (none / 0) (#14)
    by caseyOR on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 11:39:45 PM EST
    Hopefully, one of us will hear from the lad.

    You and your pirates may need (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 11:41:39 PM EST
    to rescue him.  

    We just might have to. Jeff, we (none / 0) (#17)
    by caseyOR on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 11:45:04 PM EST
    need to prepare for a possible rescue of our shipmate kdog. The fact that kdog is the muscle of the pirate crew must not deter us.

    All is well Gang... (5.00 / 7) (#25)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 05:57:32 AM EST
    Woke up today to electricity restored...glorious electricidad!  Outta the domestic stone age...no kettle on the bbq this morning, fire up the Kuerig baby.  Way to go National Grid!  

    Family is good, landlady good, the crib is fine, just some downed limbs and a dislodged chimney cap.  Some friends and neighbors not so lucky, trees down all over the 'hood. I'm middle island so my area was spared the horrendous flooding...hardly any rain to speak of at all, just the wicked hurricane winds.

    Off to work shortly, see if there is any juice there or if bossman found a generator.  I know we got trailers of pumps somewhere between here and the factory to track down.

    Hope all my N.E. TL pals fared as well and get their juice back stat.


    Good to know all is well, my Brother (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by easilydistracted on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:38:36 AM EST
    So good to hear from you, kdog. (none / 0) (#50)
    by caseyOR on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:00:32 PM EST
    Although the pirate crew would have gladly mounted a rescue effort, you know because we never leave a crewmate behind or in distress, we, and I'm going to speak for Jeff as well, are just fine with the news that such efforts are not needed.

    And also glad to hear the family and the landlady are all okay.


    vml, if you can see this, please check in. We are (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by caseyOR on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:02:01 PM EST
    anxiously waiting to hear from you.

    I'm sure... (none / 0) (#56)
    by kdog on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 03:27:16 PM EST
    its just a lack of juice...I really hope its just a lack of juice.

    Check in soon vml, don't make me hit the Hudson in a row boat! ;)


    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Peter G on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 11:34:32 PM EST
    that Margate, NJ, and it most famous resident, Lucy the Elephant (born, 1881) survived the storm with little damage.  A Boing Boing photo report agrees.

    Thanks... I LOVE LUCY!!! (none / 0) (#54)
    by desertswine on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 12:30:00 AM EST
    Bob Kerrey endorsed by (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 01:04:47 AM EST
    Chuck Hagel for Senate:


    Bleh (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:10:36 AM EST
    C'mon, MT! It's Nebraska, fer cry eye! (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 02:43:12 PM EST
    We can't expect the Huskers to send a Nancy Pelosi clone to D.C. At best, we can only hope that they don't elect a totally-in-the-tank-for-"Supply Side Jesus" whitewing buffoon.

    He married my mom's first cousin (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 09:16:50 AM EST
    It is his first marriage that is completely media blacked out.  I have stories Donald, we should have drinks soon :)

    Perhaps TL should host a virtual cocktail hour (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by caseyOR on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 06:01:20 PM EST
    on Fridays. We could all belly up to our computers, favorite libation in hand, and just dish to our heart's content.

    Interesting, watching clips of Romney (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:10:22 AM EST
    Speaking yesterday now that his chances are dimming, and he almost sounds human.  Kind of sad.  When he thought he had a chance he was an arrogant ___.  Apparently if you want to see and experience Mitt Romney the human being you must schedule your contact for his lowest days.

    My favorite (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by CoralGables on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:54:46 AM EST
    These (none / 0) (#35)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:44:47 AM EST
    polls are just nuts it would seem. I would laugh and laugh and laugh if Obama won in the EC but lost the popular vote.

    It's crazy out there (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:47:52 AM EST