Saturday, October 4, 2008

Obama Maintains Significant Margin

Gallup Daily: Obama Maintains Significant Margin NEW
October 4, 2008
Registered voters say they would vote for Barack Obama (50%) over John McCain (42%) if the election were held today. Obama has held a statistically significant lead for eight consecutive days.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sarah Palin Debate Flowchart

The Ig Nobel Prizes

The Ig Nobel Prizes are a parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year in early October — around the time the recipients of the genuine Nobel Prizes are announced — for ten achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think." Organized by the scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), they are presented by a group that includes genuine Nobel Laureates at a ceremony at Harvard University's Sanders Theater.

Of note: ARCHAEOLOGY PRIZE went to Astolfo G. Mello Araujo and José Carlos Marcelino of Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, for measuring how the course of history, or at least the contents of an archaeological dig site, can be scrambled by the actions of a live armadillo. And who says Brasil is never inthe news!

Obama Leading by 7 Points

Gallup Daily: Obama Leading by 7 Points NEW
October 3, 2008
Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Sept. 30-Oct. 2 -- conducted mostly before Thursday night’s vice presidential debate -- has Barack Obama leading John McCain by 7 percentage points, 49% to 42%.


NEW YORK, 3 October 2008 (BWNS) -- As the new academic year got under way, young Baha'is in Iran again found the door to higher education closed.Although in its public stance the Iranian government maintains that Baha'is are free to attend university, reports over the past few weeks indicate that the policy of preventing Baha'is from obtaining higher education remains in effect.Baha'i students attempting to gain admittance to universities and other institutions this fall found that their entrance examination results were frozen and their files listed as "incomplete" on the Web site of the national testing organization.
Baha'is who had successfully enrolled in universities in previous years continue to be expelled.And those who have sought redress through the courts have been disappointed, their cases rejected."
As has been the case for the last four years, the Iranian government continues to use a series of devious ploys to prevent young Iranian Baha'is from receiving higher education," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations."The effect of the government's policies is to close the doors of universities to Baha'is, despite Iran's supposed commitment to international laws upholding the right to education.
"Our plea to the international community, and especially to professors, administrators and students everywhere, is that they raise their voices on behalf of Iranian Baha'i students," said Ms. Dugal.According to reports from Iran, the principal method this year by which authorities are preventing Baha'is from enrolling in university is by blocking their examination results and declaring their files "incomplete.
"The tactic was used last year, too, but this year it became evident that many of the Baha'i students had been identified earlier in the application process. When they tried to log on to the national university examination Web site, rather than seeing their exam results, they got a Web page with the words "

Error - incomplete file."The Web page to which they were automatically directed had a URL (Internet address) ending with the words "error_bah" - an apparent reference to the fact that their files were declared in "error" because they were Baha'is. (The complete address was
The error message is displayed despite the fact that Baha'i students had dutifully filled out all required information and successfully sat for the examination.Last year, for the 2007-2008 academic year, of the more than 1,000 Baha'i students who sat for and satisfactorily completed the entrance examination, nearly 800 were excluded because of "incomplete files."
Without complete files, enrollment in all public and most private universities in Iran is impossible.Students who have contested the fact that their files were improperly listed as incomplete have so far met a deaf ear in Iranian courts.
In a ruling last April in Branch 1 of the Court of Administrative Justice, a Baha'i student who filed a grievance against the national Education Measurement and Evaluation Organization (EMEO) had his case dismissed."
In light of the fact that the (EMEO) does not recognize the plaintiff as having fulfilled the requirements, the plaintiff's case has no merit and is thus dismissed," the court ruled.
The same court rejected the claim of another Baha'i university student who had been expelled because of his religious belief and had approached the court seeking readmission.In rejecting that case, the court made a reference to the 1991 Golgaypani memorandum which outlines a broad plan to block the "progress and development" of the entire Iranian Baha'i community, including by expelling Baha'i university students.
The court wrote, "Considering that the plaintiff meets the criteria as defined by the (1991 Golpaygani memorandum) ratified by the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution and is thus considered to have failed and has no valid argument to prove that there has been a violation of the guidelines in order to justify his claim, his grievance is not recognized."
Recent reports also indicate that Baha'is who are enrolled in universities - and there are now very few such Baha'is - continue to be expelled as their religious beliefs become known.
In August, for example, a student at Fazilat University was just three weeks from graduation when she was brought before authorities; when she refused to recant her faith, she was dismissed from the university.Despite a record of deceitful dealings by the government, there is increasing evidence of support for Baha'i students by many Iranians, both inside and outside of Iran.Notable among them was an article by Ahmad Batebi, a prominent human rights activist now in exile. That article, "The Baha'is and Higher Education in Iran," published 2 September 2008 in Rooz Online, protests the denial to Baha'is of access to higher education and the persecution of the Baha'is of Iran generally.
(For support documents and Internet links, see BWNS Web site.)To view the photos and additional features click here:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Lunch With Sarah

My Lunch With Sarah

by Debi Smith
Trying to wring one last river trip out of our summer here in the region known affectionately as "The State of Jefferson," a few days ago our family decided to head south from Ashland through the rugged Siskiyou Mountains to explore McCloud Falls in Northern California.
Click here to

Obama Leads McCain by 5 Points

Gallup Daily: Obama Leads McCain by 5 Points NEW
October 2, 2008
Heading into tonight’s much anticipated vice presidential debate, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama continues to hold a significant lead over his Republican challenger John McCain, 48% to 43%, among registered voters.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Battleground Polls Show Stunning Shift To Obama

Barack Obama has opened up significant leads in virtually every key battleground state, according to multiple polls released Wednesday. The size of the shift towards the Democratic nominee may indeed be historic.

"It is difficult to find a modern competitive presidential race that has swung so dramatically, so quickly and so sharply this late in the campaign," says Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "In the last 20 days, Sen. Barack Obama has gone from seven points down to eight points up in Florida, while widening his leads to eight points in Ohio and 15 points in Pennsylvania."
The latest Quinnipiac polls show Obama crossing the 50 percent threshold in all three of those states:

Florida: 51 - 43
Ohio: 50 - 42
Pennsylvania: 54 - 39
Florida: Obama 51%, McCain 47%
Minnesota: Obama 54%, McCain 43%
Missouri: Obama 49%, McCain 48%
Nevada: Obama 51%, McCain 47%
Virginia: Obama 53%, McCain 44%

Said pollster Keating Holland: "Obama has gained ground among moderates in all five states. That may have something to do with the first presidential debate. Some commentators knocked Obama for agreeing with McCain as often as he did, but moderates tend to like it when candidates appear willing to see the other side's point of view."
Republicans appear understandably frustrated, perhaps despondent. Marc Ambinder notes: "I'm getting lots of e-mails speculating about the 2012 frontrunner for Republicans." But at least some see a sliver of...hope. The AP reports, "Obama's failure to achieve a double-digit lead and maintain it 'has given a lot of hope to Republicans,' GOP pollster Whit Ayres said."

LGBTs in Alaska talk about Palin

Last night in an interview with Katie Couric, Sarah Palin trotted out the old right-wing code word: she said being gay is a "choice".
We know Palin's got a laundry list of anti-LGBT positions. But we wondered: what do LGBT people in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska think of her? So last week, we went up there to find out.
What they told us speaks volumes. Find out why they fear a Palin Vice Presidency.

Obama 48%, McCain 44%

Gallup Daily: Obama 48%, McCain 44% NEW
October 1, 2008
The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update of registered voters finds Barack Obama at 48%, and John McCain at 44%, marking a slight narrowing of the race from the 8-point margin Obama held earlier this week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How Racism Works...

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5?

What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said 'I do' to?

What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally throu gh her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are? This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

You are The Boss... which team would you hire?

With America facing historic debt, 2 wars, stumbling health care, a weakened dollar, all-time high prison population, mortgage crises, bank foreclosures, etc. consider...

Educational Background:

Obama:Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations. Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Biden:University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)

vs.McCain:United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Palin: Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Now, which team are you going to hire ?

Obama Holds 6-Point Lead

Gallup Daily: Obama Holds 6-Point Lead

Barack Obama leads John McCain, 49% to 43%, in Gallup Poll Daily tracking conducted Saturday through Monday. This reflects surveys conducted entirely after Friday night’s presidential debate and throughout the intense series of developments on Capitol Hill.


FEY AS PALIN: "Like every American I'm speaking with, we're ill about this. We're saying, 'Hey, why bail out Fanny and Freddie and not me?' But ultimately what the bailout does is, help those that are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy to's gotta be all about job creation, too. Also, too, shoring up our economy and putting Fannie and Freddy back on the right track and so healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reigning in spending...'cause Barack Obama, y'know...has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans, also, having a dollar value meal at restaurants. That's gonna help. But one in five jobs being created today under the umbrella of job creation. That, you know...Also..."

Real Time Election Odds

HuffPost's Real Time Election Trading Odds

70% Disaprove of Bush

Historic Disapproval: Bush Hits All-Time Low Amid Economic Meltdown

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Vijaya Dashami to all my Nepali Readers!

this came from Prof. Shashidhar Belbase:

उज्यालो छाइरहोस् जीवनमा
संकटहरु हट्दै जाउन् पर पर
शान्ति र आनन्दका दिनहरु
फर्कियुन सब नेपालीका घर
पथ सबै मिली देश बिकासको
पैलाहरु बढुन अगाडि जान अब
दशैको उमङ छाओस सबका घर
पर्देश वा देश सब नेपाली बान्धव
शुव्कामना छ उन्नती र प्रगतिको

and Prof. Bal Chandra wrote in response:

उन्मुक्त हांसो मन होस् प्रफुल्ल।
ज्योति बनोस् जीवन-कार्य लक्ष॥
आदत् बनोस् है सबलाइ सुन्ने।
हिंसा र निन्दा संग दुर बस्ने॥
~ बालचन्द्र

and Prof. Tika Ram Pokhre wrote (which I cann only guess is rough translation to all the above):

I wish happy vijaya Dashami-2065 to you and your family. I hope you will enjoy lot in this Dashain.

Bush Lied, Soldiers Keep Dying

4,175 U.S. Military Fatalities in Iraq

605 U.S. Military Fatalities in Afghanistan

30,777 U.S. Military Maimed in Iraq (source: DoD Update as of September 23, 2008)

95,866 Iraqis Reported Killed (source: Iraq Body Count)

1,267,401 Iraqis Reported Killed (source:

Obama Maintains 8-Point Lead!

Gallup Daily: Obama Maintains 8-Point Lead
September 29, 2008
Barack Obama continues to lead John McCain by eight percentage points in the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update, 50% to 42%, which includes two nights of interviewing after Friday’s presidential debate.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Queen Mary 2 @ Verazanno Narrows on the way to Brighton Beach w/ Spencer and Mark Saul

In Summary

In summary... yesterday after walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (in the rain) and spending the rest of the day in the Met, we tried to get into a restaurant that Joe & Ruth recommended. We ended up getting an excellent Japanese dinner (Ocha vs the recommended Orso). Spencer and I played pool in Soho until 1am. I am not all the bad, or he isn't all that good. It was great fun.

This morning, I was awoken by all sorts of hammerings and sawings and the movement of large quantities of somethings next door. The great loft is in an old factory (complete with enormous chimney) with beautiful women who live in the rooms above and descend from ladders. It sits sort of beneath an elevated MTA station (Smith & 9th) next to a fetid canal, and across from a Lowe’s. Mark Saul and his wife from the Templeton Foundation are coming to take us out on the city. There are rumors of Russian brunches in Brighton Beach. The remodeling noise has diminished, but with the MTA above us, and the Malian music my son is playing, and the great roommates he has, it’s all good!
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