Did Michael Hayden Pick the Contractor for Mitt’s Voter Turnout Website?

A lot of people are laughing at this account of Mitt Romney’s ORCA–and automated GOTV tracking system. Rather than the efficient new system that would leapfrog Obama’s turnout machine, the system crashed even before the evening rush started.

The entire purpose of this project was to digitize the decades-old practice of strike lists. The old way was to sit with your paper and mark off people that have voted and every hour or so, someone from the campaign would come get your list and take it back to local headquarters. Then, they’d begin contacting people that hadn’t voted yet and encourage them to head to the polls. It’s worked for years.

From the very start there were warning signs. After signing up, you were invited to take part in nightly conference calls. The calls were more of the slick marketing speech type than helpful training sessions. There was a lot of “rah-rahs” and lofty talk about how this would change the ballgame.

Working primarily as a web developer, I had some serious questions. Things like “Has this been stress tested?”, “Is there redundancy in place?” and “What steps have been taken to combat a coordinated DDOS attack or the like?”, among others. These types of questions were brushed aside (truth be told, they never took one of my questions). They assured us that the system had been relentlessly tested and would be a tremendous success.

[snip]

Now a note about the technology itself. For starters, this was billed as an “app” when it was actually a mobile-optimized website (or “web app”). For days I saw people on Twitter saying they couldn’t find the app on the Android Market or iTunes and couldn’t download it. Well, that’s because it didn’t exist. It was a website. This created a ton of confusion. Not to mention that they didn’t even “turn it on” until 6AM in the morning, so people couldn’t properly familiarize themselves with how it worked on their personal phone beforehand.

[snip]

From what I understand, the entire system crashed at around 4PM.

FWIW, Obama’s campaign had two innovations from 2008 this year. For vote trackers–the same purpose as this website was supposed to serve–they had bar code labels for each voter that the tracker would collect on a sheet to be picked up; I assume–but did not see–someone came and picked up those labels and used them later in the day.

Read more

Missing White Women

There are several interesting pieces of analysis cementing the logic that Obama won and Republicans will continue to lose because there simply aren’t that many angry old white men anymore. The WSJ surveys the demographic trends–including the most interesting one, showing Asian voters favoring Obama at almost the same high percentages as Latinos.

The Romney campaign devoted attention to Asian voters, particularly in northern Virginia. Exit polls showed the Asian vote expanding to 3% of the total U.S. electorate—an all-time high—with 75% of those votes cast for Mr. Obama.

And Alec McGillis suggests that Rick Perry’s challenge, which forced Mitt to the right of him on immigration–may have cast the lethal demographic blow against Mitt’s campaign.

 Sure, he wasn’t considered the sharpest pitchfork in the barn, but he had never lost an election and, with his brief flirtation with secession, had tapped into the anti-Washington fervor of the moment far better than any other Republican in the field. Premier national political magazines dispatched reporters to dolong profiles of him. And the frontrunner for the Republican nomination fatefully decided that Perry was such a threat to his prospects that he would … try to destroy him by running to his right on immigration.

Mitt Romney repeatedly attacked Perry for his support of in-state tuition for undocumented students at Texas colleges, declaring at one debate that it “made no sense at all” and running what was probably the nastiest ad of the primaries, a Web ad (since disappeared) that concluded with a clip of former Mexican president Vincente Fox praising Perry, as if that in and of itself was disqualifying.

[snip]

It was left to Perry to utter the defense that arguably sealed his fate even before his debate snafu: “If you say we should not educate children who come into our state … by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.”

But even as Romney was glorying in the move, its risks were plain to see. After vanquishing his foes amid a virtually all-white primary electorate, Romney was going to face a general election in which he could not afford to do worse than John McCain had with Hispanics—a 32 percent share. His harsh rhetoric was, for many voters, going to be inextricable with the litany of Republican callousness on the issue—Tom TancredoMaricopa County Sherrif Joe Arpaio,Arizona’s draconian anti-illegal immigration law and its copycats in Alabama and elsewhere, and on and on. Hispanic Republicans warned Romney to cool it, but he blustered on.

But one of the most interesting demographic pieces comes from Sean Trende at RealClearPolitics, showing that it wasn’t so much that minorities swamped Mitt, but that white voters turned out at lower rates than in 2008.

If we build in an estimate for the growth of the various voting-age populations over the past four years and assume 55 percent voter turnout, we find ourselves with about 8 million fewer white voters than we would expect given turnout in the 2008 elections and population growth.

Had the same number of white voters cast ballots in 2012 as did in 2008, the 2012 electorate would have been about 74 percent white, 12 percent black, and 9 percent Latino (the same result occurs if you build in expectations for population growth among all these groups). In other words, the reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home. Read more

Update From Miami-Dadistan: Vote Counting Continues into Third Day

Despite a claim from Grover Norquist Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez that “This is not a Third World country”, his intentionally small government has now entered into its third day of attempting to count ballots from Tuesday’s general election. While Miami-Dadistan is by no means the only jurisdiction where the election overwhelmed the resources on hand, it still stands out as the biggest example of the impact of the drive to cut taxes so low that a functional government cannot be sustained.

Dan Froomkin at HuffPo pointed yesterday to data from Hart Research, reproduced in the figure here, that shows minorities and Democrats disproportionately across the country faced longer waiting times to vote. A picture is beginning to emerge, though, showing that efforts by authorities to suppress minority votes actually provides stronger incentives to stand in the excessively long lines and vote anyway, providing the best sort of revenge.

As Froomkin also pointed out, despite Barack Obama mentioning in his victory speech that “We have to fix that” regarding the long lines, one of the best mechanisms for a Federal response to the problems has been gutted, as the Washington Post has noted that the Election Assistance Commission, put into place after the 2000 voting fiasco, is a zombie commission that has no appointed members. Obama’s Justice Department is well aware of the organized efforts by many Republican governors to suppress minority voting through overzealous purging of voting rolls, so there is no excuse for the Obama administration allowing the commission to be depopulated prior to the election.

But to return to the Fiasco in Florida, the Miami CBS station posed the obvious question to election authorities there:

In September, CBS4 News was the first to report on the long ballot and the potential effect it may have during the election.

“There will be lines,” Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley said at the time.

CBS4 News put the ballot to the test on October 25th and found that taking 30 minutes to complete it would not be unusual.

/snip/

“Did you ever have any indication on how long it was going to take someone, an average time, that it was going to take,” [Reporter David] Sutta asked.

“No, actually not,” replied Gimenez.

When asked if they ever worked out an average time it would take voters to fill out the forms, [Deputy Supervisor of Elections Christina] White said they didn’t have one.

Another indicator of the third world status of the Miami-Dade government is the state of denial in which they are operating. Despite making Florida once again a global laughingstock for its inability to conduct an election, we see claims of success:

The fallout left Florida the final much-mocked but blank spot on the long-decided Electoral College map.

Elections supervisors and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez acknowledged a range of problems at a “handful” of sites — topped by a lengthy ballot and poorly organized precincts. But they also argued that no more than a half-dozen of the county’s 541 polling places experienced severe waits, including the Brickell Avenue area of downtown Miami, West Kendall, Country Walk, Goulds and Homestead.

Deputy supervisor of elections Christina White defended the county’s overall handling of the election, noting that 90 percent of precincts were closed by 10:45 p.m.

“We think Election Day was largely a success,’’ she said.

One claim in the Herald article cited above is that the Brickell Avenue site consolidated a number of precincts so that more people could vote at a site they were familiar with. But I already noted that Florida did a poor job generally in notifying people that they had been changed into new precincts, as I got a surprise when I went to vote in the August primary. On Tuesday, Carol Rosenberg tweeted the fate of at least one Miami resident who stood in line two hours only to learn that he had been changed to a different voting site.

While Miami-Dadistan has not yet sunk to the levels of incompetence and fraud seen in the 2010 Afghanistan election, we can only wonder if they are just a tax cut or two away from being there.

GOP Pays the Price for Authoritarianism–Will They Respond?

As a number of people–particularly conservatives–started to realize last night, Gary Johnson may have played spoiler for Mitt Romney in FL. Here are the current results from FL:

Mitt: 4,096,439

Obama: 4,143,534

Difference: 47,095

Johnson: 43,673

Johnson’s totals wouldn’t quite have been enough to eliminate the current margin, but (assuming Johnson drew mostly from Mitt voters), it made a big difference.

Assuming once FL gets around to finalizing their count Obama wins this thing, Mitt will have lost, in part, because of Johnson’s success.

The Nader effect, come home to roost for the GOP.

So in addition to being nicer to non-Cuban Latinos and African Americans, to win FL, Mitt presumably would have had to be more attractive to libertarians. While I doubt Mitt Romney was ever going to come out for pot legalization, he also has a bunch of scary authoritarian advisors–the likes of Cofer Black–who might be unappealing to libertarian minded Republicans.

Mind you, I suspect the GOP will respond to such a scenario (if it does come about) in much the same way as the Democrats did after 2000: with a lot of angry recriminations but no thought about being more responsive to the constituency that ditched the party. Not only has the GOP come to love them some big government authoritarianism, but they’re going to have a hard enough time trying to make the party less racist.

Still, Johnson’s success in FL may provide some pressure for both parties to take civil liberties more seriously.

Miami-Dade Republican Mayor Gimenez Shrinks Government So Small It Can’t Conduct Election

Grover Norquist must be very proud of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez (R), who has shrunk the county government to a size at which it cannot conduct an election.

The electoral maps showing Barack Obama’s re-election should be complete now, but Florida once again has embarrassed itself completely by being unable to conduct an election. Fortunately, this time the outcome of the election does not hinge on Florida’s 29 electoral votes and only one county appears to be the problem instead of several counties languishing in chaos.

Miami-Dade County has announced that it will not have final election results until Wednesday afternoon. The reports on how the election was handled in parts of the county are truly ugly, as voters in some precincts faced waits of seven hours throughout the day:

The wait at the UTD Tower in Brickell exceeded six hours throughout the day. Even voters who arrived before the polls opened at 7 a.m. found themselves stuck in a seemingly endless line. At closing time, hundreds remained to cast their ballots.

Poll watchers said the precinct was understaffed and poorly organized.

For one, poll workers had trouble finding voters’ names in the hard-copy registry because two precincts (and six sub-precincts) were voting at one location.

“This is the worst excuse for a precinct I’ve ever seen,’’ said Manuel E. Iglesias, a volunteer attorney for the Romney campaign.

Of the eight ballot scanners, only two were working. Only two people were able to vote at any one time, he said.

Alexandra Lange, a 50-year-old Brickell resident, waited more than six hours to fill our her ballot. She left the polling place irate.

“This is a mess,’’ she said. “There is a bottleneck at the door. It is chaos.’’

Chaos due to small government would seem to be the goal of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. From his own biography at the county’s website, we see that he wishes to define himself in terms of tax cuts and small government:

Mayor Gimenez brings decades of invaluable public service experience to the post, and continues to pursue a set of clearly defined priorities that reflect both his governing philosophy and the challenges of the current economic environment. After successfully championing the largest tax cut in County history during his first year in office, due to a special election, his priorities remain reducing the burden on taxpayers and shrinking the size of government, while preserving essential public safety services and programs for seniors and children.

It would seem that conducting an election does not fit into Mayor Gimenez’ definition of an essential government function. Grover Norquist must be very proud of him.

On the Ground Turnout in MI Feels Like It Did in 2008

I just finished a 7 hour voter protection shift in Grand Rapids MI. The precinct compares reasonably well with the Detroit precinct I worked in in 2008: both are low turnout predominantly African American precincts. The 2008 precinct also has a significant number of Latinos, many primarily Spanish speakers. This one is almost entirely African American. This one is probably 3 times larger by number.

Turnout this year was running just behind or equal to turnout in my own precinct, which is predominantly white working class though it includes the affluent downtown condo dwellers. My own precinct also has more voting booths and far more space to work with, to keep people out of the cold and moving as quickly as possible.

If the precinct manages to keep the flow going, can manage the post-work rush, and doesn’t lose people waiting in the cold (we were squeezing about 90 people in line inside, but they won’t be able to maintain that tonight), the precinct will have 20-40% more turnout than the precinct head predicted, in one of the larger precincts in the city. Immediately adjacent precincts–at which there were terrible lines in 2008–voted 96% for Obama in 2008.

We lost a few people to waiting in line today (I’d say there is a higher rate of employment than the precinct I worked in Detroit in 2008), some of whom missed their voting window before they started a 12-hour work shift. Some people will arrive at work about 20 minutes late because they waited in long lines. We struggled to juggle the number of disabled people in the precinct, though we ultimately got a system worked out so they could wait while seated.

I’m most worried about supplies. The precinct had two or three fewer voting booths than my whiter precinct, we ran out of pens once already, and things like ink was running low.

The other biggest problem we had–and it was a problem–is the disinformation that has been spread about straight ticket. A number of people had heard incorrect rumors that a straight ticket vote doesn’t register a vote for President. Some people asked and got their questions corrected before voting. Others, however, spent the time to fill in every bubble on the (presumably Democratic side) “just to be sure,” they said. And there were a fair number of spoiled (which would happen if someone marked both Obama and straight ticket Democratic).

The lines in this neighborhood won’t get as terrible as they were in 2008, I hope. But disinformation like the straight ticket rumor works to slow down voting too.

All that said, there was a great deal of good will about voting in general (with more than a few voters talking about the civil rights struggle). And a pretty significant number of first time and/or under 21 voters.

Adios Arpaio – The Fiscal and Legal Case For Removal of Sheriff Joe

America, indeed the nation, is in a financial and legal moribund lurch. No longer, if there ever was, is there taxpayer money and ethics left on balance to be wasted on entrenched politicians sucking at our tit. You say your’s is the worst? Well, then you do not live in Maricopa County Arizona, the home of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

It is time for Sheriff Joe to go. ADIOS ARPAIO! There is a fiscal, legal and moral case to do so.

My friend Tim Murphy, of Mother Jones, laid out the “bizarre” freak show nature of Arpaio’s current reelection campaign in superb detail. But only part of the story was told, understandable as there is SO much to tell in the Arpaio saga. Here is the rest of, or at least some of the rest of, the story.

Joe Arpaio did not magically come to be Sheriff of Maricopa County. It happened because the two previous occupants of the Sheriff’s Office were, shall we say, problematic on their own. There was Dick Godbehere, who was, prior to being Sheriff of the fourth largest county in the United States, literally a lawn mower repairman. No, I kid you not. And he served with the same level of sophistication you would expect of a lawn mower repairman.

Then came Tom Agnos, who was supposed to return “professionalism” to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO). But Agnos was a subservient Sun City resident who led the MCSO into not just the biggest cock-up in Maricopa county law enforcement history, but one of national and international proportion. The Buddhist Temple Murder Case where nine buddhist monks and acolytes were lined up and shot in the back of the head, execution style, at the Wat Promkunaram Buddhist Temple on the west side of Phoenix.

It was out of the Buddhist Temple Murders Joe Arpaio came to be. A group of prominent Phoenix trial attorneys, both criminal and civil, wanted an alternative to Tom Agnos and the whitewashing coverup he was conducting on one of the greatest coerced false confession cases in world history. The group of trial lawyers coalesced around the upstart primary candidacy of a local travel agent with a colorful background. Yep, one Joseph Arpaio.

Joseph Arpaio promised that initial group of trial lawyers he would clean up the MCSO, release the damning internal report of the gross misconduct that had occurred in the Temple Murder Case under Tom Agnos, which lead to at least four false and heinously coerced confessions, and that he would refuse, under all circumstances, to serve more than one term in office. It was a promise made and, obviously, a promise long ago broken.

To be fair, Arpaio did release the internal report on the Temple Murder Case, which led to five plus million dollar settlement for some of the most wrongfully arrested souls in American history. But with that promise kept within a short time of taking office, Joe Arpaio breached the solid promise he made to the people who gave him the seed funding carrying him into office. And Arpaio has made a mockery of his word, as a man, ever since by repeatedly running for office and sinking Maricopa County into depths of depravity and fiscal distress beyond comprehension, from the vantage of the MCSO.

Arpaio’s false pretenses to get elected have turned into the fodder of liability for the county he was supposedly elected to serve and protect.

How deep has Arpaio’s liability effected the taxpayers, and residents, of Maricopa County? To the tune of at least $50 Million dollars. AT LEAST. Because that figure not only does not count the costs of defense, and they are usually astronomical in the larger cases against Arpaio, because he never admits responsibility, but also does not consider Maricopa County is self insured and may not, necessarily, publicly disclose all smaller payouts. There may, or may not, be a lot more payout, or a lot more, we just don’t know.

So, what is the ledger to date? Here it is is in all its sick glory. $50 Million dollars of unnecessary payout, all because of a man, who promised, and who was initially sponsored, and brought to election, by a group who wanted change and the diametric opposite of what came to be.

Here is the worse part: the $50 Million figure is, by all appearances, devoid of the real and hard actual costs of defending all the action on which payout was made in that spreadsheet. Hard costs are known in the legal world as attorney fees, court costs, expert witness fees, service costs, evidentiary laboratory fees – in short, fees that can add up to millions in, and among, themselves, irrespective of the underlying root liability payouts. In short, the $50 Million you see in the ledger is but a fraction of the real cost of Joe Arpaio’s criminally and civilly negligent insolence as Sheriff of Maricopa County. Nor does the figure, of course, include the losses that already should have come from the Deborah Braillard case, much less the Matty Atensio case.

Who is Matthew Atensio represented by? That would be by one prime example of tort liability counterbalance to egregious wrongdoing, Michael Manning. Who is Michael Manning? Well, Manning is the grinning man in the photograph above, with the somewhat soullessly dumbfounded Joe Arpaio at a charity fundraiser. Manning has a right to grin at the sight of the “Toughest Sheriff In America”, because Michael Manning, alone, has taken the greatest portion of the nearly $50 Million (and very much increasingly counting) toll on the taxpayers of Maricopa County, the narcissistic propaganda obsessed figurine Joe Arpaio has cost. And Manning and fellow Phoenix attorney Joel B. Robbins, have laid the wood to Sheriff Joe, and the worst is yet to com in the form of the Atensio litigation and other compelling cases (not to mention Braillard which should have settled and, now, instead awaits a larger jury verdict on already determined damages).

You think the moral and tort liability train fueled and paid by the taxpayers and citizens of Maricopa County has sailed into the sunset? Oh no. There are mountains of liability and taxpayer’s coffer’s payouts on the horizon. The only question is if the residents and voters of Maricopa County will wake up and end the madness now, or whether they will give yet another term of office to the Most Liable and Wasteful Sheriff In American History”.

The dedicated folks at “Adios Arpaio” have done yeoman’s work in identifying, registering, and encouraging tens of thousands, if not more of, not just latino, but voters of all colors and stripes, to vote in this election. A heroic effort.

But where does that leave the citizens of Maricopa County? Arguably still short against the self promoting dynamo that is Sheriff Joe Arpaio. It is a living monument to the benign destruction caused by hyped belligerence, ignorance and apathy in a designated and restricted electorate. Joseph Arpaio came into office as the the promised one term agent of well meaning, and will leave, to the shame of Maricopa County as perhaps the most disgraceful official ever elected in the county. The only question is, whether that is now or four years from now.

Will morality and justice be delayed? By the real signs on the ground in Arizona, as opposed to national hype, probably no. It will, nevertheless, be an everlasting blemish on the character of the electorate of Maricopa County. It wasn’t as if you, and actually we, didn’t know.

The better question is what becomes of the righteous Adios Arpaio movement? Honestly, if this level of awareness and action had been brought here in relation, early on, to the Scott Norberg deaths at the Maricopa County Jail facilities run by Joe Arpaio, perhaps soooo much more death, destruction and liability could have been avoided. Not to detract from anything, everything, existing now, that did not then, in the way of putting a stop to Arpaio, is it enough? No, likely the current effort, much less this post, is not.

But, then, let it not be said there was not effort and argument made between then and now. There is a man, Arpaio, who should be removed from office and, if the electorate’s voice is willing to suffer exactly that, a remedy for the corpse of Matty Atensio, who died for Jesus’s sins, but so far, apparently, not Arpaio’s sins. Like an imperious “Wall Street Bankster”.

Where is the bullshit in Maricopa County going to end? Will the truth of the civil, criminal and moral liability of “The Toughest Sheriff in Town” be exposed? Only the voters of Arizona, who are not half as stupid as generally portrayed, will decide.

I sincerely hope intelligence and discretion win out over appearance and material duplicity. But, then again, such would not seem to be the characteristic of the modern Arizona electorate. It is a screwed up place in a screwed up time.

But, if the Leader of the Free World, Barack Obama,much less Joe Biden, cannot even be bothered to haul at least one of their self serving ass here to Arizona, when the election and morals are on the line, in a state in the process of turning from Red to Blue under the absentee watch, then why exactly should lifelong Democrats here give a flying fuck about the national ticket? Seriously, tell me why?

So, there is no national action, to even respectably mention, in Arizona. Arizona has been left to fend for itself as being useless and worthless by a craven two party system of two hollow jackasses but, even more significantly, by a national press system of court jester reporters, stenographers, and thin skinned puppet stringed mopes who cannot tell the difference between themselves and the common political flaming jackasses they cover. There is a national press who shouts “Semper Fi” while selling out everything they were trained and hired to do. I know several will read this, the question is who among them will adopt it, who will ignore it, and who will whine like pathetic thin skinned poseurs? Boo yah bitches, I am waiting. Show us your colors; if you cannot now in the heat of battle, then when? Answer up.

Which leaves us where we entered, with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio is a blight upon Maricopa County. Unelect him. Adios Arpaio.

There are further vignettes to be painted regarding Arpaio. Here are a couple of particularly poignant ones. Arpaio And Thomas: The Most Unethical Sheriff And Prosecutor In America Conspire To Abuse Power And Obstruct Justice oh, and not to mention the seminal “House Judiciary Cuffs Joe Arpaio, The Most Abusive Sheriff In America“. Read and know both if you want to know Sheriff Joe.

Unelect this guy!

Rick Scott, Florida Republican Legislature Used Blatantly Partisan Tactics to Suppress Democratic Votes

Florida Governor Rick Scott has done his best to prevent Democrats voting in the 2012 Presidential Election. First, Scott and his Republican legislature undertook a purge of Florida’s voting lists that was so biased against minorities (who tend to vote Democratic) that  the state was sued by the Department of Justice for violating the National Voter Registration Act. The purge was so overly aggressive that there are now reports of multiple military personnel being disenfranchised by the State of Florida for the 2012 election. In addition, Scott and his Republican co-conspirators in the legislature dramatically cut back on early voting hours in Florida.

Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald has been following voting issues in Florida closely. He has posted the results for how many Floridians voted early this year, as seen in the table here.

Note that Democrats had a very much larger turnout than Republicans for early voting but Republicans had the advantage in absentee voting.

Caputo noted that the changed law for 2012 cut early voting hours back from  14 days to 8 days. However, Floridians responded to the cutback by turning out in almost as big numbers and despite waits of 8 hours or more at some locations, there were 2.4 million early votes this year compared to 2.6 million in 2008.

One of Caputo’s most important observations about the changes in Florida’s voting laws concerns the relative treatment of early voting and absentee voting:

Guess which type of voting Republicans specialize in? Absentee ballots. Democrats do better at in-person early voting. Though more fraud-prone, absentee ballot voting wasn’t touched in the election law Scott signed that shortened early voting days.

What? Fraud in a type of voting Republicans prefer? Yes, there are major vote fraud cases of absentee ballot fraud going on from the very northern part of the state in Madison County to the south in Miami-Dade County. But of course, despite claiming that their voter roll and early voting hour changes were aimed at assuring a fair election free of fraud, Scott and his lackeys left untouched the easiest route to fraud, which just so happens to also be the form of pre-election voting that their side prefers. Their moves now stand as a clear indicator that Florida’s Governor and legislature have no qualms about suppressing the votes of their opponents while enabling fraud on their own side.

We can only hope that the people of Florida wake up to these disgusting tactics before voting in the 2014 gubernatorial election.

Sick Of The Election Jiz Virtually Speaking Trash Talk

If there were more days remaining, say maybe seven, perhaps there would be reason to throw some politics in here for discussion. But, no, there are, as I write this blarney, only four days left in our long national nightmare. So, enough of the yankee doodle dandies in their gold Rolls Royces, and car elevators, enough of the relentless ads and horserace discussion, let us instead talk football.

But this week it will not just be here, Marcy and I will also be appearing with Jay Ackroyd on Blog Talk Radio Sunday at 9pm EST [note corrected time] and other times adjusted accordingly moving ever westward. To talk about the election? Nope, enough of that, we will be talking trash about football baybee! So come join us, here is a link to the audio feed on the net and if you are in Second Life, you can find us there as well. Even better, you too, my friends and friendettes can call in and yammer with us by dialing (646) 200-3440 during the show. Can’t promise how many get through, because I am a rookie at this, but what the heck give it a try. Exciting!

With that public service announcement out of the way, let’s get down to business. First up is, of course, the student athletes. The game of the week finally does not have to do with the Blighted Irish. This week it is without question Alabama at LSU. Both teams have big and nasty defenses, but the Crimson Tide has a quietly cold blooded efficient offense, and I think, coupled with the defense, it will be too much for LSU. The other critical showdown is Oregon at USC. Can Matt Barkley and the Trojans get their mojo back and spoil the Ducks’ season? Maybe, the game is in the Coliseum and the Men of Troy have a lot of weapons in the offensive skill positions. But their O-line is not up to usual par, nor is the defense. And, as I witnessed in person a couple of weeks ago, the Quackers are big, fast and badass; I’m sticking with the boys with the billed beaks. Lastly, an honorable mention to Colin Klein and Kansas State, who host the always dangerous Oklahoma State.

On to the pros. The big cheese here is the Cardinals at Packers. Okay, not really, the Pack will light up and then crush the Cardinals in Lambeau and send the once promising season for Arizona further down the toilet. The game I am strangely hooked on is Miami at Indianapolis. The Fish are WAY better than anybody thought. Philbin can coach, Tannehill can throw, and Reggie Bush can be a featured back. Oh, and the defense is quietly awesome. Miami looks to be for real; but so too do the Colts and Andrew Luck. No clue which way this one will go, but maybe a slight edge to the Fish because of the D.

The third game on the slate for discussion is Pittsburgh at the Giants. Really, this is probably the best game of the week. Good/Bad Eli and Big Ben both came out of the 2004 draft, and both have a couple of Super Bowl wins. Both teams traditionally have punishing defenses. Fun fact: “This is the first time quarterbacks in opposite conferences with multiple championships are meeting in a regular-season game since Joe Montana’s 49ers beat Jim Plunkett’s Los Angeles Raiders in 1985.” The game is in the Meadowlands where emotions will be running high from Sandy. Everything points to a win for the Gents, but the Stillers are starting to gel after a rough start to the season, and I think they may pull off an upset.

Hard to see Dallas having much for the Falcons in Atlanta. A better question is who in the world will win between the Saints and Eagles down in Nawlins on Monday Night? Both teams have been quite sucky to date. I don’t think any team in history has given up more yards on defense through the first seven games than the Saints, and Drew Brees is getting uncharacteristically hammered behind a porous O-line. Mark Ingram has been close to a bust at running back. It ain’t pretty down in the Big Easy. Nor has it been for Mike Vick and the Iggles. His and Any Reid’s jobs may truly be on the line. Both teams are desperate for a win, but I think Philly is a better team and will take the win.

Lastly, the Circus is up and running in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Sebastian Vettel had some problems with the brakes on his Red Bull in practice and spent most of the time in the garage. Qualifying is underway as I post – and it has just wound up. Lewis Hamilton was fast and took pole. Mark Webber will join him on the front row, with Vettel and Maldonado in the second row. Jenson starts from a disappointing P6 and Alonso is all the way back in P7 and Massa in P9. Two oddities may affect the final grid by tomorrow: Vettel stopped his car on the track as qualifying ended, and that is usually a penalty. Secondly, Ferrari was working beyond permissible hours last night in the garage, and that may yet cast Alonso and Massa. We shall see.

The Yas Marina Circuit is the most expensive track on the calendar, and it is indeed beautiful. It is also a pretty fine track for racing. Here is a nice video overview by CNN from when Yas Marina first opened in 2009. Should be an excellent race and it goes off at 8 am EST Sunday morning (think I have that right, it is the stupid daylight savings time change day).

So, that is it for this weekend. Music above is the original promo video of Elected by Alice from 1972 and it is pretty fun. Rip it up!

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