Election Predictions Coming Sunday At Noon

Every four years two things happen.

First there are the predictions.  Starting in 1980 (when I was 18) and every race for the White House since I have placed my thoughts down on paper–or computer.   Those who have anything to say after the ballots are counted about my predictions are only credible if they too have such a list to share.  That is the way we roll in the shire.

The second thing that happens every four years is the Election Night gathering that takes place at our home.  It is what might happen if you added the Super Bowl, World Series, and Wimbledon finals into one huge affair.  Since I am not sports-oriented means presidential elections have always been my party to throw.  Eight years ago fireworks were even set off on the sidewalk at our home at about midnight when we first said President-elect Obama.

James and I thought of the buffet menu for a couple of weeks which this year includes lasagna, salad, French bread, and Grandmother’s Country Jam Cake–which is made from scratch and when you think all the ingredients are included you then add about two cups of raspberry preserves.  Topped with cream cheese frosting!  She knew how to do it!  Throw in some wine, coffee, tea and chocolate cookies and we are carbed and wired to watch Darrell Issa in California fall from power out in California at about 3 A.M.   (Which is probably too late for fireworks, even in this neighborhood of liberals.)

Federal Judges Order Donald Trump Supporters To Not Intimidate Voters

That one even has to be told not to interfere with a voter at the ballot box is simply galling.  But that is what needs to happen due to the low-brow behavior of supporters for Donald Trump.

Federal judges in two states issued rulings Friday as allegations swirled about potential issues at the polls — saying registration rolls were “likely” illegally purged in North Carolina and barring the Trump campaign from intimidating voters in Ohio.

In the Ohio case, a federal judge imposed a temporary restraining order on the Trump campaign, political operative and sometimes Trump adviser Roger Stone, and a group called Stop the Steal, Inc. which is associated with Stone, from “conspiring to intimidate, threaten, harass, or coerce voters on Election Day.”

They are prohibited from hindering voters “from reaching or leaving the polling place,” engaging in any unauthorized “poll watching,” or gathering or loitering near polling places unless they plan to vote. Trump has repeatedly called for his supporters to watch the polls for voter fraud and said the election would be “rigged.”

It is sad to see what Trump supporters have done to this nation.

NYTIMES.COM FREE FOR THE ELECTION!

The paper of record does right by America.   Read as history is made with the election of our First Woman President.

This is an important moment for our country. Independent journalism is crucial to democracy and I believe there is no better time to show readers the type of original journalism The New York Times creates every day.” The Times is dropping the digital paywall that kicks in after 10 free articles for 72 hours from November 7-9. In addition to making independent journalism that is crucial to democracy available to the masses, moves like this also have the potential to draw in new subscribers, and you can’t understate how vital that is to the Times and other newspapers that are suffering from a steep advertising fallout. –Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

‘Uncle Walter’ Cronkite Would Be 100 Years Old Today

If you were alive in the 1960s or ’70s, you tuned in to “Uncle Walter” on your TV for the most important news of the day.  Known as “the most trusted man in America,” Walter Cronkite was a legendary broadcast journalist many turned to for decades to get the latest news on World War II, Watergate and the Vietnam War, among other things. In honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth, Google created an animated doodle highlighting some key moments in his career, including his memorable reports on the assassination of President John Kennedy and the Apollo 11 moon landing.

My grandparent’s home produced many memories for me in my childhood.  They lived across the road from my family out in the country, and since we did not a have TV while I was a young boy, it was a pleasure to head over the road to watch the big events, such as the moon landing on the console television set.  The astronauts would change, as would the number of the Apollo mission, but the anchor of the CBS News broadcasts stayed ever-present and informative.  Walter Cronkite was as much a fan of the unfolding drama as we were in that living room.

I recall a Saturday morning as if it were yesterday that Walter Cronkite explained with a plastic model of the moon buggy about how it would operate, and what precautions needed to be taken to insure its successful movements on the lunar surface.  I sat there in rapt attention, and Grandma true to form for these big occasions would have chips or cookies to nibble on.  She sat in a larger chair off to the side and behind me, while I sat on the sofa and we would watch Walter on that large console TV set.

Later I would re-create the events in my backyard and the green grass at my parent’s home would be the gray surface of the moon.  Walter’s voice of the events unfolding would echo in my head as I moved slowly to impersonate the gravity free conditions that the famed astronauts encountered.   Now at age 54 I am not able to separate the space adventure with the broadcasts of ‘Uncle’ Walter.  They will forever be joined in my mind, and I am glad for that.

While there are many reporters and anchors, there are few models of ethical journalism that meet the standards that Cronkite carried on his shoulders for decades. He is remembered for embodying a reporting approach based in objectivity, accuracy, fairness and integrity. He was also an outspoken advocate for respecting the standards of responsible journalism.

I still miss him these decades later.

The Economist Cover Places Election On The Line With America’s Best Hope

The best written, most insightful, and highly regarded news weekly has stated it better than any other.

The choice is not hard. The campaign has provided daily evidence that Mr Trump would be a terrible president. He has exploited America’s simmering racial tensions.  His experience, temperament and character make him horribly unsuited to being the head of state of the nation that the rest of the democratic world looks to for leadership, the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful armed forces and the person who controls America’s nuclear deterrent.  

That alone would stop us from casting a vote, if we had one, for Mr Trump. As it happens, he has a set of policies to go with his personality. A Trump government would cut taxes for the richest while imposing trade protection that would raise prices for the poorest. We disagree with him on the environment, immigration, America’s role in the world and other things besides. His ideas on revenue and spending are an affront to statistics. We would sooner have endorsed Richard Nixon—even had we known how he would later come to grief.

In one sense Mrs Clinton is revolutionary. She would be America’s first female president in the 240 years since independence. This is not a clinching reason to vote for her. But it would be a genuine achievement. In every other sense, however, Mrs Clinton is a self-confessed incrementalist. She believes in the power of small changes compounded over time to bring about larger ones. An inability to sound as if she is offering an overnight transformation is one of the things that makes her a bad campaigner. Presidential nominees are now expected to inspire. Mrs Clinton would have been better-suited to the first half-century of presidential campaigns, when the candidates did not even give public speeches.

However, a prosaic style combined with gradualism and hard work could make for a more successful presidency than her critics allow. In foreign policy, where the president’s power is greatest, Mrs Clinton would look out from the Resolute desk at a world that has inherited some of the risks of the cold war but not its stability. China’s rise and Russia’s decline call for both flexibility and toughness. International institutions, such as the UN, are weak; terrorism is transnational.

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Glue That Binds Us As Americans Slipping Away

During my time in radio (1980’s) one of those lasting memories of bi-partisanship took place in which I played a part.  The owner of WDOR had been the county chair of the Republican Party.  For a couple years while employed at the station I was the county chair for the Democrats.  That might seem awkward–and I admit at first it did make me uneasy.  But in short order what might seem to have created stress turned into nice conversations about politics between the two of us.

It was during a presidential election season that we decided to make a public service announcement about voting.  He presented the idea to me and it was very much in line with how I had always felt about politics.  That being the end game is always what is best for the country.  And having people participate by voting and owning a part of the process is exactly where I have always lined up.

We sat in a small recording studio–just a short distance away from the main broadcast studio–where on the table top between two chairs stood the classic old-fashioned microphone that takes one back to the early 1950’s.  Boxy and rectangular it stood up on the table and recorded our desire to see a robust turnout for the election.

I thought of that far more simple time today when reading that “An overwhelming majority of voters are disgusted by the state of American politics, and many harbor doubts that either major-party nominee can unite the country after a historically ugly presidential campaign,” according to the final pre-election New York Times/CBS News Poll.

The results shows that more than eight in 10 voters say the campaign has left them repulsed rather than excited.  That is not how any of us should desire our nation to be–regardless of which party one calls home.

The invisible glue that always has united this nation is slowly loosening and in so doing allows for a far more fragmented citizenry.  For a number of years I have wondered if we are able to find the common points of our lives anymore to not only do the large things that must be accomplished–such as dealing with climate change–but also meet the out-sized challenges should another large terrorist attack occur on our homeland.

Frothy political arguments are how our nation was created.  But there has been from the start an understanding that compromises need to be part of the journey this country takes, too.  The lack of too many not seeking to bridge differences along with the relentless high-strung rhetoric on social media makes for a troubling situation that clearly will not end when the ballots are counted.

We really need to have more adult  conversations like two county party chairs once had.

Might It Be Over Before It Starts On Election Night?

I have my predictions for Election Night already done (with a map) waiting to be posted Sunday afternoon on this blog.  I feel no need to change any state from here on out.  In fact I have only changed two states since Oct 15th–that is all I will say for now.

With that in mind comes an interesting article today from Playbook.

Here’s one theory bouncing around the reporter and political campaign consultant world: Despite the recent tightening of the race, election night could be super boring. If Nevada political guru Jon Ralston is right — and he usually is — Hillary Clinton has all but won that state. If she takes Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia — all states where she seems to have a lead, or is building one through early voting — Donald Trump can win Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire and still lose.

Roger Ailes Tried To Sexually Assault Megyn Kelly

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly alleges in her new memoir that Roger Ailes tried to sexually assault her in his office and hinted that she would be fired when she “pushed him away.”  Simply reprehensible.

Radar Online reports the following.

Kelly claims he started to harass her in the summer of 2005, a few months after she was hired as a legal correspondent in Fox’s Washington bureau. She writes that she was informed by her managing editor that she’d ‘captured the attention of Mr. Ailes’ and she was summoned to the first of a series of meetings in his Manhattan office. ‘Roger began pushing the limits,’ she alleges. ‘There was a pattern to his behavior. I would be called into Roger’s office, he would shut the door, and over the next hour or two, he would engage in a kind of cat-and-mouse game with me.’