Dartmouth celebrates (with pictures!)

Cross-posted from my personal blog, The Wayward Episcopalian.

One day I will be an old man sitting in a rocking chair yelling at those damn kids to get off my lawn. When that day comes and I look back and reminisce on my college years, the memory of last night's celebration will without a doubt be my strongest, fondest, and all around best.

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Let me be the first to say

I have a new senator; her name is Jeanne.

I am watching election returns at the only Kappa Kappa Kappa frat, commonly called Trikap (founded in the 1850s, mind you), in the country with the rest of the Dartmouth College Democrats, ie, the first youth voters to ever turn out in full force. This college's eligible turnout was around 80%, and we couldn't be happier. Forgive me for making a non-weekend front-page post, but as someone who has lived just 15 minutes from the former Aryan Nations compound in North Idaho, I would like to note that there is a certain delicious and beautiful irony in the fact that we are celebrating the election of the nation's first black president in a Greek house called KKK - a frat that has its own African-American president.

With Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire all called, I'd like to be one of the first, if not the first, to say:


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The Myth of 1948

For the past week or so, McCain's buzz phrase has been"Dewey Defeats Truman." Every major national poll shows Obama leading McCain by at least three points, and the ones with the methodologies I trust the most show him up by even more (Gallup Expanded has him at 9). John McCain says don't be deceived; the polls are wrong now just like they were in 1948. The Washington Post has joined him in questioning their accuracy:

Could the polls be wrong? Sen. John McCain and his allies say that they are. The country, they say, could be headed to a 2008 version of the famous 1948 upset election, with McCain in the role of Harry S. Truman and Sen. Barack Obama as Thomas E. Dewey, lulled into overconfidence by inaccurate polls.

I would suggest that Senator McCain and the Post staff bone up a little on their recent American history. The 1948 polls that showed Dewey ahead of Truman were quite possibly accurate for the most part (see the NPR reference below). The problem was that pollsters stopped polling a week ahead of election day, and Truman's barnstorming whistle-stop tour around the country lambasting the "do nothing" Congress had a huge impact. It's possible that John McCain could come up with a similarly effective and powerful message, but he's got a lot less time in which to do it, and people are a lot angrier at Bush than they were at Truman, sooo... I doubt it.

It's vital to remember: polls don't predict what will happen in an election several days or weeks down the line; they only tell you what would happen if the election were held at the time the poll was in the field. The Tribune headline got the story wrong in 1948 because it relied on out-of-date polls, not because those polls were wrong. (Although, as NPR noted yesterday, it is true that those polls weren't nearly as scientific as the ones we have now. The polls were conducted by phone, and while that's the best way to conduct a poll today, it wasn't such a hot idea when only the Dewey-leaning rich had them.) A week prior to Election Day, Dewey may well have defeated Truman. But things change. Fortunately for America, they've never changed a full 6.4 points in just 3 days.

In 2008, out-of-date polls are the absolute last of our worries. Barring Osama bin Laden's capture, I predict that Senator Obama will win this race and handily so; if not in a popular vote landslide, then almost certainly in an electoral bloodbath.

(Adapted from a post at my personal blog.)

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Daughter of slave votes for Obama

I've shied away from posting lately because others are far better than I at statistical election analysis, fundraising, and inspiring folks to act, which is what matters this time of year. But, it is important to step back from the polls and statistics for just a moment every now and again to remember just how amazing this election is. This story from the Austin (TX) Statesman has to be the single most marvelous thing about this campaign. It speaks volumes.

Daughter of slave votes for Obama: 109-year-old Bastrop woman casts her vote by mail

Amanda Jones, 109, the daughter of a man born into slavery, has lived a life long enough to touch three centuries. And after voting consistently as a Democrat for 70 years, she has voted early for the country's first black presidential nominee.

The middle child of 13, Jones, who is African American, is part of a family that has lived in Bastrop County for five generations. The family has remained a fixture in Cedar Creek and other parts of the county, even when its members had to eat at segregated barbecue dives and walk through the back door while white customers walked through the front, said Amanda Jones' 68-year-old daughter, Joyce Jones...

Amanda Jones says she cast her first presidential vote for Franklin Roosevelt, but she doesn't recall which of his four terms that was. When she did vote, she paid a poll tax, her daughters said. That she is able, for the first time, to vote for a black presidential nominee for free fills her with joy, Jones said.

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The McCain Relocation

John McCain was out of the torturous grip of the North Vietnamese for approximately one year when Congress passed Public Law 93-531 in 1974. Public Law 93-531 was called the Relocation Act, and was falsely justified by what "Peabody Coal Company's public relations and lobbying firms" falsely constructed  as the "Hopi-Navajo land dispute." This "range war" was not true. What was true, was lawyer John Boyden with the assimilated Hopi Tribal Council.


Boyden formed a Hopi Tribal Council that consisted of several First Mesa Hopi who had been converted to Mormonism, based on an election in which about 10 percent of the Hopis on the reservation voted. The newly elected Tribal Council then hired Boyden as their lawyer.

John Boyden with his assimilated Hopi Tribal Council wanted Peabody Coal to strip mine Black Mesa after the natural resources had been discovered. More than 10,000 Navajo and 100 Hopi did not want Black Mesa stripped.

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