11 Excellent Reasons Not to Vote? (from Errol Morris)

A short by Academy Award winning filmmaker Errol Morris (via the New York Times):

There’s early voting in many states, so go early if you can. Just make sure you’ve made your decision by Tuesday.


Chrysler is alive. Bin Laden still dead.

Chrysler sought bankruptcy protection in 2009. The government arranged a bailout that led to the restructuring of the auto company.

On Monday, this happened:

Chrysler Group LLC posted an 80 percent rise in quarterly net income on Monday on stronger new vehicle sales, continuing the U.S. automaker’s comeback from its 2009 bankruptcy.

Chrysler, majority owned by Italy’s Fiat SpA (FIA.MI), also reaffirmed its outlook for the year. Fiat will issue its earnings on Tuesday.

Net income in the third quarter rose to $381 million from $212 million a year earlier. Net revenue increased 18 percent to $15.48 billion.

Globally, Chrysler’s auto sales rose 12 percent to 556,000 vehicles in the quarter.

“We’ve changed the conversation at Chrysler Group,” said Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of both Chrysler and Fiat.

Chrysler reaffirmed its 2012 forecast that calls for net income of about $1.5 billion on net revenue of about $65 billion.

Accounting for the full-year outlook, Chrysler expects fourth-quarter net income of about $210 million on revenue of $16.4 billion.

This would not have happened if we had let Detroit go bankrupt, as a certain GOP presidential nominee insisted when the car companies were in trouble.

Chrysler is alive and kicking. And Osama bin Laden is sleeping with the fishes.

Unnatural disasters

I don’t want to seem paranoid, but since I moved to Washington less than two years ago, I’ve had to deal with two hurricanes and one earthquake. And I’m sitting here blogging while trees are bending outside my window. Here’s a slice of what I’m dealing with.

Hurricane Sandy, one of the largest and fiercest storms to menace the East Coast in years, lost some power but still packed a devastating wallop that slammed into New Jersey on Monday evening with torrential rains, howling winds and a widespread flooding.

With meteorologists and public officials warning that the unusual combination of elements had unleashed a superstorm spanning nearly 1,000 miles, Washington, New York and other cities launched the type of extensive shutdowns that typically occur after several feet of snow.

The Washington region’s entire public transit system Metro, Virginia Railway Express and the Maryland Transportation System — ceased operation, leaving residents to either drive themselves to work or stay home. Shortly after federal officials announced that the government would remain closed Tuesday, Metro officials canceled rail, bus and MetroAccess service for a second day as well.

Winds are gusting at 45 mph. It’s raining and it’s cold. And I have to get up in a few hours for work. I don’t think this city likes me.

High school sports on a global scale

My son showed some school spirit and tweeted a link to this video on Vimeo:

We lived in Belgium for six years, and my son attended middle school and high school at the International School of Brussels. As a parent, I was impressed with its academic offerings. But as a sports fan, I spent a lot of time at high-school games.

Over the years,  the kid participated in volleyball, basketball, cross country, baseball and track, either with the school team (called the Raiders) or with a local Belgian league. We steered him away from American football (who needs the broken bones and concussions?). And though he didn’t compete in what the rest of the world calls football — which Americans call soccer — he had extensive knowledge of professional football and players in the various European leagues by the time he went back to the states for college.

The ISB athletics list was pretty comprehensive for boys and girls sports (check out the PDF here: ISB Sports Handbook 2012-2013). While we were there, the ISB basketball team won the European tournament in his senior year, and his volleyball teams placed third and second among international schools in his junior and senior years, respectively.

But here’s the thing about sports at international schools in Europe. In order to compete, the kids had to travel schools in other countries. So volleyball season could mean a weekend in the Netherlands or Austria. Basketball season led to numerous trips to Germany to play the kids at the American military bases, or flying over to Greece for a basketball tournament. A cross-country meet’s finish line ended up in France or England. It would have been nice if he played baseball with the school instead of the Brussels league, because those trips sometimes resulted in an extended stay in Cairo  (yes, as in Egypt).

The kid saw more of Europe than I did, but I have to admit, as a dedicated parent, my European tourism memories include some of the continent’s better high-school gyms.

And the girls teams took as many trips and saw as many countries.

The setup was two games in a weekend, one Friday and one Saturday. The kids were required to stay with host families, while trailing parents stayed at local hotels. The point was for the kids to be exposed to different cultures, since the makeup of an international school isn’t that much different than the constituencies of the United Nations.

We hosted a number of kids when opposing teams came to Brussels, each offering a gift representative of their countries. Since we represented a Belgian school, our kid usually offered boxes of Belgian chocolates to his host families.

If we had remained in New Jersey, my son would still have competed in sports. That team was also the Raiders. And we were fascinated that the team mascot in Brussels was the same as the mascot at Rutgers (a knight), a team we regularly followed for college sports in Jersey. I’m not saying it was destiny, but the coincidences helped make the transition to life abroad a little easier.

Do hurricanes vote?

A monster storm is about to hit the East. From what I understand, Hurricane Sandy is on a path to the Mid-Atlantic and New England, while a huge cold front is coming down from Canada, and something weird is coming in from the West. When they all converge, the result will be, according to some crazy person who comes up with bizarre names, a Frankenstorm.

Notice the path? It’s affecting North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Swing states. So, TPM and others are taking a look at the storm and guessing how it will affect the presidential election.

“It depends on where it hits and how much, it’s just impossible to say in advance,” Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told TPM. “If Obama were directing the snowstorm it would be in the Shenandoah valley and Southwest Virginia as they want as low a turnout as possible in those rural areas. If Romney were directing the snowstorm, it would go right down the corridor from Northern Virginia into Richmond, which is where Obama’s votes come from.”…

Ohio is another place to watch. Heavy snow could make things more difficult in the many smaller counties where Romney is expected to dominate, but if it hits the more Democratic northwest corner of the state that could have an outsize impact on early voting. Speaking of early voting, it can’t hurt that Democrats already have a big lead banked before whatever weather heads their way….

Finally, the storm could have an impact on the final round of public opinion polls as well, making it hard to get accurate data in swing states facing severe weather conditions. Phone line and power outages could make it hard to call voters in certain areas, for example, or throw off the usual daily routines that pollsters rely on to reach respondents. Tom Jensen of Democratic pollster PPP, which plans on running about 20 more surveys before election day, told TPM they’re worried about the potential impact from Sandy.

I will be so happy when this election is over. Then we can worry about things like how many people a major storm is going to wipe out when we’re not distracted by how it’s going to affect voter turnout.

Natural born killers from over the rainbow

OK, well I guess that does sum up what Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion did. As the Wizard said: “You liquidated her.”

And when you think about it, in the above scene they did destroy the Wizard.

According to Jim Romenesko:

The image credits the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Lee Winfrey for this gem (he died in 2003), but it was actually written by Rick Polito in 1998, when he was a Marin Independent Journal TV columnist. (It got Roy Rivenburg’s “TV Listing of the Week” award in the Los Angeles Times on June 23, 1998.)

“That line is going to follow me to the grave,” Polito tells me during a phone chat this morning. “It was just on Leno, it was a clue in a crossword puzzle, it showed up in Playboy, and people use it as their email sigs.”

“Someday I’m going to walk down the street and see it on a T-shirt and punch the person who’s wearing it,” he jokes.


Undecided voters: What they don’t know will hurt you

The election is only days away. What do they want to know? (From “Saturday Night Live”)

Since the GOP has lost its mind on rape

Here’s a color-coded guide on what Republicans think about sexual assault.