Science Addiction

A dormant blog by Devanshu Mehta

Tag: election2008

That One ’08

That One ’08

That One was born in Hawaii on August 4th, 1961. His father, That One Sr., was born and raised in a small village in Kenya, where he grew up herding goats with his own father, who was a domestic servant to the British. That One’s mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in small-town Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs during the Depression, and then signed up for World War II after Pearl Harbor, where he marched across Europe in Patton’s army.

McCains off-hand, inartful description of Obama in last nights debate is now an internet phenomenon. You can buy t-shirts and there’s a facebook page. And here’s the original video.

That One 08

that one - biden 2008

Obama Gets a Thank You from NASA

Obama Gets a Thank You from NASA – []

It’s not every day that the head of a federal agency in a Republican administration during an election year writes a glowing thank-you note to the Democratic candidate for president. But Michael D. Griffin, the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, wrote a letter to Senator Barack Obama on Oct. 2 stating that that he was “deeply grateful to you, personally” for his work in getting Congress to approve a critically important measure for the space program.

Rate the Debates

The conventional wisdom in the media about Presidential debate performances forms fairly quickly- within minutes of the debate having ended. Usually this is fed by only one measure- expectations.

For example, the media expectations for this Friday’s debate (if McCain un-suspends his campaign) are that Obama is not a strong debater and McCain does well. If these expectations are met or exceeded, it’s a win for McCain. If Obama is okay, it’s a win for him. Obama only needs to beat expectations, not actually be the better debater. The bar is higher for McCain.

The public has no way to affect the discourse on the debate. While the public are still gathering their thoughts after the debate, the cable news media starts pounding them with opinions and the conventional wisdom is formed by a few loud news analysts.

Rate the DebatesFreePress– a national, non-partisan, non-profit working to reform the media- has started

Sign up to Rate the Debates yourself and return here ( when they air to begin rating. We’ll tally your response along with thousands of others and inject our people-powered feedback into the news cycle – before the mainstream media pundits and spin doctors (mis)interpret the event.

Technology has given us the opportunity  to immediately insert ourselves in to the national discourse- but, for now, we need numbers to be taken seriously.

Political Polls Without “Cell-Phone Only”s


Mark Blumenthal of summarizes a recent Pew study:

Today they released a new must-read report summarizing findings from “three major election surveys [conducted] with both cell phone and landline samples since the conclusion of the primaries.” The verdict? “Pew’s surveys this year suggest at least the possibility of a small bias in landline surveys.”

Skeptics don’t think that missing “cell-phone only” voters is a big deal for a variety of reasons. Weighting a poll by age demographics should already account for any missed voters, but that assumes that those with landlines vote similarly to those without. The average “cell-phone only” user tends to be younger and hence- presumably- an Obama voter.

A few days ago Nate Silver at the awesome compared results from pollsters that include cell phones with a control group that does not and observed an approximately 2% bias against Obama in polls that did not include cell phones. The Pew study finds a similar effect.

Many people had predicted a similar effect in the 2004 election, but Bush’s margins over Kerry in the polls proved to be correct. Of course, there are many more people sans landlines in 2008 than there were four years ago.

Bailout Should Include 4 Conditions (no, 5!)

Obama Says Bailout Should Include 4 Conditions – The Caucus Blog –

Adding some specificity to proposals he has already made, Mr. Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, called for a payback plan for taxpayers if the bailout succeeds; a bipartisan board to oversee the bailout; limits on any federal money going to compensate Wall Street executives; and aid to homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages.

I like it- I’m not an economist, I don’t play one TV and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night. But specificity from the candidates is good. Will look for McCain’s specifics.

UPDATE: And McCain, not to be outdone, wants five conditions on the bailout:

McCain insisted on greater accountability, a way for taxpayers to recoup the cash fed into the fund, total transparency in the review and implementation of the legislation, and no profits for Wall Street execs.