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Don't Believe the Hype: Nader Did Not Cost Gore the Election

Thursday, June 19, 2008
SNL alum Tim Meadows, from an interview with Kam Williams:
KW: You've done tons of impressions. Are you working on Barack Obama?

TM: Yeah, I've been working on Barack Obama a little bit. I'm waiting for him to win. I'm not going to waste my time if he's going to lose.

KW: Are you supporting him?

TM: I'll support him if he wins. I won't support him if he loses. [Laughs] No, I don't support anybody. It's not my thing. And if I did, I wouldn't say who it was publicly. I'll give you a hint who I'm voting for in November. It rhymes with Seder.

KW: Oh, Ralph Nader. You don't worry about possibly wasting your vote?

TM: No, I sort of disagree with people who blame him for taking votes away from Gore in 2000. Gore still won the popular vote. Nader wasn't the reason why he lost the election. The Supreme Court cost him the election. Plus, you don't know that all those people who voted for Nader would've gone for Gore. I've met Ralph Nader and I like him. And I've met John McCain, and he's a great guy, too. I haven't met Barack, but I have met Oprah Winfrey. I would love to see some change, and whatever the country decides, I'm behind it.
Tim is correct: Nader did not cost Gore the election in 2000. Yes, Nader did get 97, 488 votes in Florida in the election and yes, George W. Bush beat Al Gore by an anemic 537 vote margin, but seven other presidential candidates received more than 537 votes in Florida, too:
Pat Buchanan (Reform) -- 17, 484 votes.
Harry Browne (Libertarian) -- 16, 415 votes.
John S. Hagelin (Natural Law) -- 2281 votes.
Monica Moorehead (Workers World) -- 1804 votes.
Howard Phillips (Constitution) -- 1371 votes.
David McReynolds (Socialist) -- 622 votes.
James E. Harris (Socialist Workers) -- 562 votes.
I doubt any of the 1000+ socialist votes would have gone for Bush. Had even half of those gone to Gore, he would have won. But no one makes that argument. Of course, Nader's detractors have always been eager to point out (without any real evidence), that many of the Green Party's votes would have gone to the Democrats had Nader not run in the millennial election. And, of course, some of Nader's many votes would have probably gone to Al Gore. What the anti-Nader crusaders (Michael Moore, Eric Alterman, Fat Mike, etc.) don't mention, however, is that many of Nader's votes would have gone to George Bush or another (or no) candidate. Interestingly, a recent AP poll provides the following food for thought:

In a three-way race, Barack Obama would pick up 47 percent of the vote, John McCain would get 43 percent and Ralph Nader would get 6 percent. But the real kicker is that "[i]f Nader, the independent, is not included, Obama's lead is 49 percent to 46 percent." So, if Nader were not in the race, the six percent of the vote the consumer advocate might expect to pick up would disperse as follows:
1% would not vote for either the Democrats or Republicans
3% would vote for the Republicans
2% would vote for the Democrats
In other words, the GOP would benefit from Nader's exclusion while the Democrats would suffer.

Interesting, huh? I suspect some of Nader's critics would suggest that many of the people who voted for Nader in 2000 did not vote for him in 2004 because they were voting anti-Bush, and that the same demographic would be hesitant to "give" the White House to a Republican again by voting for Nader in 2008. Still, is it possible that maybe the Democrats have been spreading propaganda because Al Gore lost the election and they needed a scapegoat? In a word, yes.

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This Can't Be Good

Tuesday, June 10, 2008
From Stuff.co.nz:

"Jodie Foster split from her long-term lover because the actress was having an affair, it has been reported."


"Jodie Foster, the Oscar winning actress, has reportedly ended her long-term relationship with the movie producer Cydney Bernard - just months after coming out as her girlfriend."

From Yahoo News:

"Administrators of a Washington psychiatric hospital have asked a federal district judge to expand release privileges of would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley Jr., court records show...Last year, Hinckley's doctors said he was ready to spend more time away from the hospital but a judge found that hospital administrators had not proposed a structure to ensure such trips would be safe."

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Where're Bono and Angelina Jolie When You Really Need Them?

Monday, June 9, 2008
From the New York Times's Jeffrey Gettleman:

"Discrimination against albinos is a serious problem throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but recently in Tanzania it has taken a wicked twist: at least 19 albinos, including children, have been killed and mutilated in the past year, victims of what Tanzanian officials say is a growing criminal trade in albino body parts."

"[T]he killings go on. They have even spread to neighboring Kenya, where an albino woman was hacked to death in late May, with her eyes, tongue and breasts gouged out. Advocates for albinos have also said that witch doctors are selling albino skin in Congo."

"Police officials said the albino killings were worst in rural areas, where people tend to be less educated and more superstitious. They said that some fishermen even wove albino hairs in their nets because they believed they would catch more fish."

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Washington D.C. to Resemble East Berlin, Apartheid-Era Cape Town

From the New York Examiner:

"Under an executive order expected to be announced today, police Chief Cathy L. Lanier will have the authority to designate 'Neighborhood Safety Zones.' At least six officers will man cordons around those zones and demand identification from people coming in and out of them. Anyone who doesn't live there, work there or have 'legitimate reason' to be there will be sent away or face arrest, documents obtained by The Examiner show."

Um. . .this can't be a good idea. . .

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Can You Hear Me Now?

Sunday, June 8, 2008
From the AP, via CNN:

"Researchers secretly tracked the locations of 100,000 people outside the United States through their cell phone use and concluded that most people rarely stray more than a few miles from home."

"The first-of-its-kind study by Northeastern University raises privacy and ethical questions for its monitoring methods, which would be illegal in the United States."

The study evidentially sought to see how far the average person strays from home in a year.

Creepy.

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Well, Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer of Not?

From the New York Times:

"Last week, three prominent neurosurgeons told the CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cellphones next to their ears. 'I think the safe practice,' said Dr. Keith Black, a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, 'is to use an earpiece so you keep the microwave antenna away from your brain.'"

"Along with Senator Edward M. Kennedy's recent diagnosis of a glioma, a type of tumor that critics have long associated with cellphone use, the doctors' remarks have helped reignite a long-simmering debate about cellphones and cancer."

Some scary stuff here.

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Child Abuse May Alter Genes in Suicide Victims, Study Says

From McGill University's Public and Media Newsroom:

"A team of McGill University scientists has discovered important differences between the brains of suicide victims and so-called normal brains. Although the genetic sequence was identical in the suicide and non-suicide brains, there were differences in their epigenetic marking - a chemical coating influenced by environmental factors."

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Student Loans No Longer For Everyone

From the New York Times:

"Some of the nation's biggest banks have closed their doors to students at community colleges, for-profit universities and other less competitive institutions, even as they continue to extend federally backed loans to students at the nation's top universities."

"The practice suggests that if the credit crisis and the ensuing turmoil in the student loan business persist, some of the nation's neediest students will be hurt the most. The difficulty borrowing may deter them from attending school or prompt them to take a semester off. When they get student loans, they will wind up with less attractive terms and may run a greater risk of default if they have to switch lenders in the middle of their college years."

"Some loan companies have exited the student loan business entirely, viewing it as unprofitable in the current environment. By splitting out community colleges and less-selective four-year institutions, some remaining lenders seem to be breaking the marketplace into tiers. Students attending elite, expensive, public and private four-year universities can expect loans to remain plentiful. The banks generally say these loans are bigger, more profitable and less risky, in part perhaps because the banks expect the universities' graduates to earn more."

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John McCain: America's Songbird?

From Prison Planet:

"A former Vietnam veteran with top secret clearance says he has personally spoken to numerous POW's who dispute John McCain's claim that he refused to provide information after he was captured and tortured in Hanoi, saying that in fact McCain's code-name was 'Songbird' because of his willingness to tell all to avoid torture."

"'He never was tortured - they were there in the camp with him and then when he came in. . .he immediately started spilling his guts about everything because he didn't want to get tortured,' said [Jack] McLamb, contradicting the official story that McCain only offered his name, rank, serial number, and date of birth."

"The POW's said that McCain made 32 propaganda videos for the communist North Vietnamese in which he denounced America for what they were doing in Vietnam.

'They have these sealed now, our government has these sealed, we can't get to it, they have it classified,' said McLamb, adding that in truth 'the POW's hate John McCain.'"

This sounds eerily reminiscent of the anti-John Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. If it's true, it could easily destroy any and all of McCain's credibility. On the other hand, it could be as far-fetched as Larry Sinclair's claim to have had homosexual intercourse with Barack Obama.

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V. S. Naipaul Declares Literature Dead

From the Independent:

"The novelist V S Naipaul has damned the achievements of his literary contemporaries by declaring that there are 'no more great writers.'"

"He made his outspoken comments while at a launch of a new magazine at the Wallace Collection, in London. 'Publishing has gone down in quality so much in recent years and the problem is that there is no literary life any more because there are quite simply no more great writers,' he said."

Does this include the author of A House for Mr. Biswas?

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Scared Sober?

From Reason's Hit and Run:

"Many juniors and seniors were driven to tears -- a few to near hysterics -- May 26 when a uniformed police officer arrived in several classrooms to notify them that a fellow student had been killed in a drunken-driving accident."

"About 10 a.m., students were called to the athletic stadium, where they learned that their classmates had not died. There, a group of seniors, police officers and firefighters staged a startlingly realistic alcohol-induced fatal car crash. The students who had purportedly died portrayed ghostly apparitions encircling the scene."

From the comments following the post:
Gahan: "This sort of crap makes me want to call that police officer's family and tell them he was killed in the line of duty, just for kicks."

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Tyson Slaughters 15,000 Hens in Wake of Avian Flu Outbreak

Thursday, June 5, 2008
From WESH-Orlando:

"Officials with Tyson Foods said some of their hens tested positive for the disease in Arkansas.

Authorities said the strain of the virus is not harmful to humans, but Tyson decided to slaughter and bury 15,000 hens after they showed signs of exposure."

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Transformers T-Shirt Deemed "Security Risk" at Heathrow

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
From the BBC:

"A man wearing a T-shirt depicting a cartoon character holding a gun was stopped from boarding a flight by the security at Heathrow's Terminal 5."

"[The man] said he had to change before boarding as security officers objected to the gun, held by the cartoon character."

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Christian Group Finds New Starbucks Logo Offensive

The Resistance, a San Diego-based Christian group known for its penchant for conspiracy theories, has called for a nationwide boycott of Starbucks Coffee to protest the company's revised logo. The new logo, a slightly altered version of the company's original two-tailed mermaid design, depicts a bare-chested mermaid with with her nipples covered by wavy plaits of hair (the original logo, shown below, did not cover the woman's breasts at all).

The Resistance insists that the distinctly leg-less woman has her non-existent legs "spread like a prostitute. . .[t]he company might as well call themselves Slutbucks."

Though the group seems upset with the woman's lower body, several topfree groups have come to the company's defense.

The familiar green logo:


The original bare-breasted logo:


The updated, yet still offensive, hair-over-the-nipples logo:


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Utah Teacher Breaks Utah Law By Teaching

According to the Salt Lake Tribune's Roxana Orellana, "a seventh- and eighth-grade health teacher violated [Utah's] sex education statute by responding to questions from students about topics beyond the curriculum, including homosexual sex, oral sex, and masturbation."

Okay, let me get this straight. A teacher is asked a question to which she has an answer, but it relates to oral sex or homosexual sex, so she is supposed to say "I dunno"?

Way to go, Utah!

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Hospitals Learn Not to Reuse "Disinfectant" Wipes Infected With Drug-Resistant Bacteria

From Reuters:

"Disinfectant wipes routinely used in hospitals may actually spread drug-resistant bacteria rather than kill the dangerous infections, British researchers said on Tuesday.

While the wipes killed some bacteria, a study of two hospitals showed they did not get them all and could transfer the so-called superbugs to other surfaces, Gareth Williams, a microbiologist at Cardiff University, said."

and

"MRSA infections can range from boils to more severe infections of the bloodstream, lungs and surgical sites. Most cases are associated with hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities.

The superbug can cause life-threatening and disfiguring infections and can often only be treated with expensive, intravenous antibiotics."

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Like Everything Else, the Internet Will Fall Into the Hands of the Few, Report Says

From Reuters:

"An Internet analyst for a major Wall Street firm argues in a new report that Google Inc and Amazon.com Inc will be long-term winners, while Yahoo and IAC InterActiveCorp fall by the wayside and eBay Inc becomes a merger target.

Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay argues in a 310-page report entitled "U.S. Internet: The End of the Beginning" to be published on Tuesday that Google and Amazon are best placed to withstand the current economic downturn."

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Horrible Ad Placement

Monday, June 2, 2008
This is why automatized ad placement is a bad idea:

For our more myopic readers, the Slate.com headline reads "Open -Mouthed Wonder: Was Oral Sex Normal?" The essay deals with the prevalence of cunnilingus and fellatio among teens. The AcuQuote advertisements deal with, you know, insurance. The picture of the shocked, open-mouthed kid, however, seems a bit more closely related to the article than the ad. Unintentional, I'm sure.

But kind of funny nonetheless.

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