Only 40% will vote today, if you keep your plan not to

I agree with Seth Godin’s latest, explaining that political advertising is designed to suppress the vote. If you’re planning to not vote, in protest, you are giving these campaigns exactly what they want.

We do have a choice. And that choice still matters.

Some predictions:

If it does play out the way many talking heads and pollsters say it will, just like last election, there will be talk of a shift in American politics: Ross Doughthat in the NYTimes parrots this view and expect many others from Fox and elsewhere to trumpet it.

NYTimes: Ross Dougthat: “How We Got Here”: an opportunity has opened for the Right that would have been unimaginable just two years ago — a chance to pre-empt a seemingly inevitable liberal epoch with an unexpected conservative revival.

I believe in something different than that. Brought on by modern communications technology and Gen-X’s marketing-sense – independents have swayed the last three elections. Neil King Jr., in the Wall Street Journal, along with NPR parrot this:

WSJ: Neil King Jr. “Revival of Volatility Signals Historic Era in U.S. Politics”: Voters this week look set to do something not seen since the early 1950s: Oust a substantial number of sitting House lawmakers for the third election in a row. “GOP Leads Pew Poll, But Surprises Still To Be Found”: “This is the third election in a row where they voted against the party in power. They are not happy.”

Lastly, Pew research produced a report whose headline really hammers it home: “Independents Oppose Party in Power … Again”.

There are two parties on the ballot, not three. And like Obama in the last election, the ‘Tea Party’ movement has apparently captured the enthusiasm (anger/hope) of independents to channel that energy into potential votes to an established party.

So it goes? Maybe not.

It all comes down to today and whether you decide to go in the voting booth and take a chance.


Howard Hall: “democracy’s chorus”:

there’s no harmony

in democracy’s chorus

unless we all sing

Looks like while the vote was still down, those who did come out made some big choices

Philadelphia Inquirer: Bob Edgar: AP: “Rising tide of frustration: Specter’s legendary resilience proved no match for a restless electorate.”

Philadelphia Daily News: Will Bunch: “Specter, the ultimate survivor, a ‘relic of an earlier time'”

Philadelphia Inquirer: Patrick Kerkstra: “Phila. voters abolish BRT”

Election Result Maps

Data visualizations can sometimes spur us into contemplative directions. Sometimes they can put us to sleep. These are some of the more interesting election visualizations I’ve come across:

Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan: Election Maps

Robert J. Vanderbei, Professor and Chair, Operations Research and Financial Engineering, Princeton: Purple America

What the electoral map would look like if decided by 18-29 year olds

NYTimes: Election Results 2008

Interesting Analysis

David Kuhn: Politico: That huge voter turnout? Didn’t happen: “Between 60.7 percent and 61.7 percent of the 208.3 million eligible voters cast ballots this year, compared with 60.6 percent of those eligible in 2004”

Andrew Sullivan: He Saw It Coming: McCain/Palin ran a post-modern campaign (unlike Sullivan, I think it almost worked).

CNN: Number of votes cast set record, but voter turnout percentage didn’t

Associated Press: No hidden white bias seen in presidential race

CSMonitor: Obama made inroads with religious vote

NYTimes: This American Moment – The Surprises: Guess who Joe the Plumber voted for? How Obama won, by the numbers: “The 18-to-29-year-old cohort supported Obama by a 2-to-1 margin (66-32), and while it is too soon to gauge precise turnout measures, their numbers clearly grew.” Obama and the dawn of the Fourth Republic

NYTimes: Dissecting the Changing Electorate

Vote swings in rich and poor countries

Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Election 2008: what really happened

Interesting Tools:

A Beautiful WWW: 20 Useful Visualization Libraries

igraph Python library Visualizing election polls

IBM’s Many Eyes

Social Media/Software Links for Today

There’s a theme going on here that is a bit hard to place… but it’s there.

Jon Udell: Homophily, anti-recommendation, and Driveway Moments , shout out to Global Voices Online:

Recommendation systems don’t help me much. They only suggest things similar to other things I’ve shown interest in. Increasingly that just frustrates me. The most delightful recommendations are those that connect me with things that interest me in unpredictable ways. That happens serendipitously, and I haven’t yet found a reliable way to manufacture the serendipity.

Crooked Timber: Blogs, Participation and Polarization:

So whether you like political blogs will depend to some extent on whether you prefer deliberation across party lines to participation, or vice versa. Personally (at least as regards political efficacy in the current era), I’m on the vice versa side, but we leave this question deliberately open, as people from different perspectives may disagree &c &c.

NYTimes: via Undecideds More Decided Than They Think, Study Says:

Voters who insist that they are undecided about a contentious issue are sometimes fooling themselves, having already made a choice at a subconscious level, a new study suggests.

Wired: Presidential Election Already Decided … in Voters’ Minds:

The electorate has already made up its collective mind who it will vote for in November. Even many of those all-important and highly coveted undecided voters aren’t really undecided.

They may think they are carefully weighing their choices, but their decision is rigged in advance by their subconscious minds, say psychologists, and they just aren’t aware of it.

CJR: Echo Chamber: How blogging failed the war in Georgia:

There are, of course, many others. The point is not that some blogs covered the conflict well, and fulfilled the promise of a blog network that transcends the spin and amplifies ignored voices: it is that the majority of blogs did not. Watching the most prominent blogs turn into their own worst enemies largely deflates much of their egalitarian mystique–and drives home just how important it is to remain a skeptical reader.

Slate: What’s Really Killing Newspapers: Not that long ago, the daily newspaper was an indispensable coiner of social currency, and it gave its readers piles of the stuff in each edition.

Corante: Transforming American Newspapers (Part 2):

It is almost impossible to overstate how utterly the supply of news and information available to most Americans has changed during the past 35 years. Within a single generation, the Supply & Demand equation has gone from relative scarcity to certain surplus. People now have so much access to information that some are complaining about ‘data smog’.

Bubblegeneration: Data is a Commodity, or How Not to Revolutionize…:

This is an old question. We discussed it at USV Sessions two years ago – I think it was phrased, “What’s the value of data in an open world”. And even then, little insight was generated.

It’s the wrong question. Data isn’t the valuable.

In fact, data’s a commodity. We’re drowning in data.

Think about it this way: the lower the cost of interaction, by definition, the more abundant data is – because every interaction creates reams of data. More data is created tomorrow than was created yesterday. And so on.

What is valuable are the things that create data: markets, networks, and communities.

Chicago Tribune interviews Adrian Holovaty of and Django: Cyberstar.

Current issue of Scientific American deals with privacy and identity: How I Stole Someone’s Identity, Internet Eavesdropping: A Brave New World o Wiretapping, Data Fusion: The Ups and Downs of All-Encompassing Digital Profiles, Do Social Networks Bring the End of Privacy?, Cryptography: How to Keep Your Secrets Safe.

And Apple bans a… comic book.

We interrupt this quiet blog for an announcement

Remember – today is election day. Get out and vote.

Now we return you to your regularly scheduled …. ummm…

Seriously – I’ve been far to busy at work, with Philly Future and with other matters to update this personal site this past week or so. It’s important to keep focused and I’m not going to let my compulsion to blog get in the way (sounds like I’m convincing myself don’t it?). But it’s true – I’ve gotten a terrific amount done this past week.

In other news however – my band plays the Hollywood Bistro this Saturday. Hope to see you there.