Taking a risk…

For years, I’ve enjoyed making cappuccinos at home, but recently my aging espresso machine starting shorting out the circuit it was on, likely due to some failing hardware. I had basically given up on trying to repair it and was getting read to start planning for a replacement when today it suddenly kicked back in. I saw a small window of opportunity and new I needed to pounce.

Unfortunately, i was all out of my usual Lactaid, so I had to hit up the regular milk. We’ll see what the consequences are in an hour or so.

Another take on McCain’s “corrections”

“”No, ma’am, he’s a decent family man, a citizen, who I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. And that’s what this campaign is all about.” -John McCain, in response to a statement from a supporter that Barack Obama is “an Arab”

While I appreciate McCain trying to correct his audience, he does seem to imply that being a “decent family man” is somehow at odds with being an Arab.

Polls are like a drug

I’m in a tough bind. I’m a political junkie who likes numbers. And these days there are no shortage of numbers. Polling companies I’ve never heard of before are coming up with statistic after statistic. Each day, I’m driven to the latest polls at RCP or Pollster.com to check on what’s new. The worst are the daily tracking polls…as someone who has studied statistics, I realize that reading anything into the day-to-day variations is pointless, but I can’t stop myself. It’s compounded by the fact that this is an electoral college election, not a popular vote election: the total vote doesn’t really matter. Obama could drive up his lead by gaining bigger margins in states he is going to win anyway, and it would change the outcome. The same for McCain – increasing his lead in somewhere like Texas from 10% to 30% could change the vote totals, but not the outcome.

Obama has clearly pulled ahead in both the state and national polls recently, but I’m expect to see the race tighten up as people make up their minds and as some of McCain’s attack ads have an effect. You see, I think a lot of the so-called undecided voters are actually moderate Republicans who would normally vote for McCain, but are a bit nervous about the economy and McCain’s spotty performance. Obama might win some of them over, but some will eventually return to their Republican roots. Today’s polls are mostly tightening, except for Gallup, which now shows Obama with a staggering 11-point lead.

The big unknown in this election will be turnout. The electorate will likely look quite different this time around, and that may make all the difference.

It’s going to get ugly

29 days to go before the elections and one thing is clear: it’s not going to be pretty. Sarah Palin kicked it off this weekend by trying to link Obama to William Ayers. Think link is a fairly tenuous one, but crystalizes the McCain strategy for the homestretch: try to raise doubts about Obama’s character while diverting attention away from the economy. Will it work? It can’t win McCain the election, but may could help stop the bleeding in the polls. What he really needs is for the economy to recover and for some sort of major international crisis to occur. And during that crisis, he needs to look a lot better than he did during the recent bailout proceedings. And he has to hope that the polls are seriously underestimating the “Bubba” factor. And he has to hope that this doesn’t get too much attention: