Saturday, July 29, 2006

Spinning around the Poll; Allen Set Up for Election Day Surprise?

Not Larry Sabato has an early look at the most recent Mason/Dixon poll that shows Allen over Webb by 48% to 32%.

Bloggers for Allen are doing their level best, here, here and here to spin this and other recent polling as positively as they can for their candidate.

But, the reality is that Allen's consistent showing at or below 50% is a sure sign of trouble for him and any incumbent.

Check out this analysis over at by Nick Panagakis , for example, that reports:

An incumbent leading with less than 50% (against one challenger) is frequently in trouble; how much depends on how much less than 50%. A common pattern has been for incumbents ahead with 50% or less to end up losing.

The key is the behavior of undecided voters. Again, according to Panagakis:

our analysis of 155 polls reveals that, in races that include an incumbent, the traditional answers are wrong. Over 80% of the time, most or all of the undecideds voted for the challenger.

And, as to the "spread":

The overwhelming evidence is that an incumbent won’t share the undecideds equally with the challenger. To suggest otherwise by emphasizing point spread or to say that an incumbent is ahead when his or her percentage is well under 50% leads to election day surprises.
But, according to Zogby, the 16 point spread shown in Mason/Dixon may indicate some break in the clouds looming over the Allen campaign:
... traditionally, the undecideds break for the challenger against the incumbent on the basis of the fact, simply, that the voters already know the incumbent, and it's a referendum on the incumbent. And if the incumbent is polling, generally, under 50 percent and leading by less than 10, historically, incumbents have lost 7 out of 10 times.
At a minimum, the weak Allen showing indicates that Virginia voters may be willing to consider a change. Check out this analysis of the Daschle/Thune race on election eve. Or this report re: Lieberman's travails.

It's up to Webb to prove that he's a viable challenger and preferable alternative to Allen. If he can do that, victory may be his on November 7th.

Friday, July 28, 2006

"Activist" Judges Defined; Test is Eye of the Beholder

Found this interesting definition of "activist judge" in the Christian Coalition of Georgia's 2006 questionnaire for judges, who unlike judges in Virginia, campaign to get elected:

"Judicial activism occurs when a judge interjects his or her own personal beliefs and policy views to achieve a desired outcome by failing to adhere closely and strictly to the text of a statute or constitutional provision."

The questionnaire asks candidates to declare that this would never be appropriate in any case.

It also goes on to ask judges (often in biased language and slanted wording) for their personal, moral or policy views on a variety of topics including:

Roe v. Wade
Denial of adoption based on sexual orientation
Domestic partner benefits
Same sex marriage
Prayer in schools
Flag burning and
Tort Reform

These are just some of the policy, personal and moral issues covered in the 37 question form candidates for Georgia judgeships are asked to sign.

Forget judicial independence. Forget that the common law tradition we brought from England is a tradition of judge-made law that still controls much of tort and contract law.

Just ask yourself, if personal views are to be set aside, why do we need to know what a judge's views are?

Now it's clear. The Christian Coalition is simply looking for judges who will be activists on their side of the issues.

Kind of like when Jerry Falwell went shopping for a federal judge (supported by the ACLU) when he wanted the Virginia constitutional provision banning the incorporation of churches declared unconstitutional under the federal constitution.

Now that a federal judge has held Virginia's constitutional limitation unconstitutional, the voters will be asked in the fall to vote to repeal it as "obsolete".

Seems kind of ironic doesn't it? Asking the voters to approve the unappealed finding of a single "activist judge" who held a provision of Virginia law must yield to the higher power of rights guaranteed in the federal constitution.

Where in the US constitution does it say that a church has a right to be incorporated? Does a church have freedom of religion? Isn't it a judicial extension of the First Amendment to say that its protection of individual religious free exercise extends to the corporate form of organizational entities?

Just asking.....

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

President Bush Commits Assault

Jaded JD has a LOL post up including this video clip of the President of the United States committing a simple assault (an unconsented touching) on the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

It's too generous to call what the President did sexual harassment, although it is clear that the President did something to the prime minister that he, clearly, would not have done to a male member of the G8.

This is one where a picture is worth a thousand words.

Now, I know that there are some who will defend this as a "nice" gesture, designed to ease the Chancellor's tension. That dog won't hunt.

My guess is that Merkel had annoyed the President or was perceived by him to be too assertive or to have too much power in the room. This move is one that asserts his role as the alpha male and is designed to diminish the stature of the person over whom he shows physical dominance.

I'd like to think that Bush is smart enough to have done this in a calculated way. Unfortunately, my guess is that it was simply an instinctive (and immature) reaction to a situation that was unconscious.

And, that speaks volumes about Bush, his stature on the world stage and his basic attitudes toward woman.

Scary isn't it?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Blogger badge

If I were smart I could get one of these on my sidebar without messing up my template format ...but having tried for longer than I care to admit... I have to admit I'm just not that smart.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sisyphus: Commonwealth Coalition fundraising concert July 8th

Sisyphus has this post about a concert this weekend to benefit The Commonwealth Coalition, an organization of individuals and organizations committed to voting NO on the Marshall/Newman amendment.

Sisyphus: Commonwealth Coalition fundraising concert July 8th