This is my WAG for this election, based on the map below.
Here's where I'm arriving at the wild and whacky 287 number:
Colorado: I don't believe Colorado is going to go for Kerry and I think the campaign knows it. I'm basing this on the Kerry/Edwards campaign pulling their ads from the state. They've lost it, according to their internal polling, and they need the money elsewhere.
Michigan: This state's been comfortably blue most of the time I've been checking it, moving to barely blue and now tied. It will, in my opinion, go barely for Bush.
Iowa: Has been polling (barely) for Bush since mid-September. Now it's tied, but I think Zogby's weighting it towards Democratic voters too much. Like Michigan, it will go barely for Bush.
Add their numbers together to the 254 that Electoral-Vote.com has Bush currently holding, and Bush is at 287. Add to that his possibly winning Ohio and new Jersey and you've got an out-of-the-ballpark 322.
Discuss amongst yourselves.
That's right, 7/11. Home of the Big Gulp, the Slurpee and the 1/4 Pound Big Bite Hot Dog.
In another installment of my multi-part series on sandwiches bigger than your head (see previous installment here), I present a six-pound burger. Yikes.
Moment of Zen
That's right, more electoral vote blogging.
State of the nation today, according to Electoral-vote.com:
Couple of interesting things up on the board today from my perspective:
1. Hawaii's red. That's a surprise. Gore took Hawaii by 18.3%. Is this some local quirk or a harbinger? No idea. The poll was also taken almost a week ago, so the numbers may have shifted yet again by Election Day.
2. Arkansas is tied, making it the only standout in an otherwise fairly solid field of Bush red. This poll was also taken almost a week ago, so the above caveat applies.
I'm not buying that Colorado will go for Kerry. I think Zogby's oversampling Democrats and overestimating the number of undecideds that will break for Kerry. Do I have any proof? Not a shred, it's my opinion only.
Another thing I'm not buying is the final projection:
Waaay too many tied states here. Also, it's assuming both Colorado and Ohio will break for Kerry. Not buying it.
I don't know if this applies to all countries, but FedEx in Korea will send you ballot for free to your local election clerk's office at no cost to you.
Message sent to the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea members, via Republicans Abroad-Korea:
“FedEx Will Mail your Ballot for Free”
To help ensure timely arrival of your absentee ballot, Federal Express has agreed to ship absentee ballots to your local election clerk's office at no cost to you. This service will be available until November 1, 2004. There is no pick-up service. Ballots may be dropped off at any FedEx service center, station, or ship center (for a listing of FedEx offices, please see http://www.fedexapac.com/kr_english/dropoff/ ). For more details, you may call FedEx Customer Service at toll free 080 023 8000 or 02-333-8000.”
Moment of Zen
As can attest from the reduced noise level, I'm almost burnt out on politics this season. Before the flame goes out though, the third Presidential debate is up on the iTunes Music Store, courtesy of Audible.com
Moment of Zen
Both and I had a moment of brainlock tonight over an unlikely subject of debate: What had she gotten me for our anniversary? We racked our brains over this for a solid fifteen to twenty minutes.
Was it…..Sharpe DVDs? No, Mi Mama had gotten me those for Christmas.
A book? No, I'd bought The Bad Popes myself.
Webscriptions? No, had had problems accessing that last Christmas.
Good Lord. What was it?
The moral of this story? Sometimes, there is a quiz.
Canada deals blow to cheap US drug imports
By Bernard Simon in Toronto
Published: October 17 2004 21:47 | Last updated: October 17 2004 21:47
More than 30 Canadian internet pharmacies have decided not to accept bulk orders of prescription drugs from US states and municipalities.
The move delivers a potentially serious setback to US politicians most notably Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry campaigning to give Americans easier access to cheap drugs from Canada.
Mr Kerry has argued that opening the US to Canadian imports could help lower the costs of prescription drugs for elderly Americans. Such reimportation has become one of the points of difference between him and President George W. Bush during the election campaign.
But growing concern in Canada that growing exports to the US could lead to rising prices and shortages north of the border has prompted the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (Cipa), whose members include several of the biggest internet and mail-order drugstores, to act. “We don't want to give Americans the impression that we have unlimited supply for them to tap into on a commercial basis,” said David Mackay, the association's executive director. Americans, he added, “can't get everything from Canada. We can't be your complete drugstore”.
Prescription drug prices are significantly lower in Canada than the US, because of price controls and bulk buying by the 10 provinces. Individual Americans have crossed the border for years to buy cheap medicines, but the internet and spiraling healthcare costs in the US have led to a wider movement for states and cities to source the drugs they need from Canada. Several states, such as Minnesota and New Hampshire, have set up websites directing residents to approved pharmacies in Canada. Cipa members would continue to service these customers, Mr Mackay said, but would not deal with states such as Illinois and Wisconsin that have proposed turning over their entire supply system to a Canadian internet pharmacy.
Cipa members make up about a quarter of the roughly 150 internet pharmacies operating in Canada, raising the question whether others will follow its lead. Mr Mackay said discussion had been heated at an all-day meeting of Cipa last month at which the new policy was approved. With pharmaceutical manufacturers seeking to restrict supplies and the US Congressional Budget Office recently saying that reimportation from Canada would have a “negligible” impact on US drugs spending, the internet pharmacies have already had difficulty meeting demand from south of the border.
Several have set up alliances with pharmacies in other countries. A sharp rise in the Canadian dollar has also squeezed profits.
Ujjal Dosanjh, Canada's health minister, said over the weekend that he was not concerned “at this point” either about domestic shortages or the safety of Canadian medicines.
Still, public opinion appears to be gradually turning against the online operators. Canadian Treatment Action Council, a lobby group representing pharmacists and patients, is due to speak out today against drug exports to the US.
Why was this inevitable? Because drug companies and the Canadians aren't stupid. If Canada starts placing enough drug orders to feed both the US and Canada, the drug companies will start raising their Canadian drug prices to replace the profits lost over the border. What the Congress should do. rather than jump on the reimportation bandwagon, is start allowing Medicare to do what the Canadian health system does: negotiate to buy in bulk. This is something I consider an egregious failure in the Medicare reform plan.
This also happens to torpedo another of Kerry's positions. The first was that he'd get more allies involved in Iraq, with the assumption being he was talking about NATO, with the active assistance of France and Germany. Well, Germany has said “To be clear, we will send no troops to Iraq.” France has followed up with “Ni aujourd'hui, ni demain.” or “Not today, not tomorrow.”. Now, those pesky Canadians, unilaterally acting in their own interests on reimportation, have said “Don't think so.”
The latest talking point I've heard is that the Iraq War was unnecessary because “sanctions were working and the inspections were finally working just before the war. We didn't have to invade, we could have kept Saddam contained.”
I think this is a pretty dumb statement to make. Here's my reasoning:
1. At the last minute, right before the coalition invaded, Saddam was suddenly much more cooperative with the inspectors. That's true. What's also true is that we had about 150 – 200,000 troops on his border. How long could we have kept them there, and what would the impact on the Arab world have been had we done so? I think the answer is “Not as long as needed” and “Possibly worse for the US than the invasion.”
As a supplement to this point, I certainly doubt Libya would have seen the light about its WMD program without the Iraq War.
4. Sanctions were hurting the Iraqi people a lot more than it was hurting Saddam's government. The people saw their incomes collapse and the Iraqi infrastructure decayed while Saddam built palaces and was screwed out of millions on deals to buy North Korean missiles.
Of course, then there's the flip side. There was a well-developed international movement to lift the inhumane sanctions on Iraq. Just to end them, because the human cost was unacceptably high. How many organizations that were for ending sanctions neatly changed position 180 degrees when they became anti-war?