The Sound of Silence


You’ve heard about voting today and perhaps you saw it:  massive crowds, lines hours long, exhausted officials and more, maybe much worse. 

So for once it was pleasant to be in a largely white area in a red state in an exceptionally large city.

I’ve never seen this absence at the polls here before.  No wait, no lines, 2/3 of the machines not in use. 

One possible explanation is that the area’s Republicans are dispirited, even depressed.  For collaboration of this hypothesis, you might look at how McCain supporters are describing themselves here.

The polling people said there were lots of people early in the morning; this newspaper photo (of the same place from a different angle) suggests they were exaggerating:

“Philosophy with fur” and a furry composer

And, really, maybe we should not assume the election will be fraught with problems, but if you do, here’s a bit of cheer:

1.  “Philosophy with fur” is the greatest subject line I have ever had in my in-box.  It was an ad for this: Just Click Here and get it preview 13 pages of Dharma’s Cartoon e-Book!

The subject line is better than the book, or  so I think but you might disagree.

2.  The NY Times obituary for the professor, musician and rabbi, Rabbi Moshe Cotel, has this feline tale:

Professor/Rabbi Cotel is said to have inspired hundreds of aspiring composers — and one cat.

In 1996, while he was at his piano playing Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier,” his 3-year-old cat, Ketzel, pounced on the keyboard. The professor grabbed a pencil and inscribed a descending paw pattern from treble to bass. A year later, he entered the score — if one can call it that — in the Paris New Music Review’s One-Minute Competition, open to pieces of no more than 60 seconds.

The judges gave Ketzel an honorable mention.

What if your vote is stolen? Or the election is stolen?

Thanks to Mark Crispin Miller on Democracy now:

I mean, there’s a lot of things people can do and must do on Election Day to keep this thing from being stolen. They’ve got to make sure they’re registered. They have to know the hotlines: 1-866-OUR-VOTE and 1-866-MY-VOTE-1. If anything happens to you on Election Day, if you’re told you’re not registered when you know you are, when people tell you that, you know—when the machine flips your vote, for example, when you’re intimidated, if there’s a police presence at the polls, if you get disinformation telling you your election day is the next day, anything at all happens, let somebody know. Call those numbers. If there are people from the media there, tell them. If there are Election Protection people there, tell them. But make sure the story gets out, because this is the kind of evidence that has to be gathered and preserved, because on election night, sure as shooting, on the networks they’ll all say, “Well, things went really well today. There were nowhere near as many problems as we thought there were.”

But finally, and most important, in the event something untoward happens and John McCain is right and he wins late at night on Election Day, as he recently said he’s going to do, any kind of an upset like that, people should be prepared to attend voter assemblies. This is something that’s being run by Liberty Tree as part of their pledge for No More Stolen Elections! The website is, The aim here is to organize voter assemblies so that on November 5th people will turn out, nonviolently, convene, discuss what’s going on and press for the proper kinds of investigations.

And don’t forget Jender’s earlier post.

Let’s hope Kinsley’s right:

From  Michael Kinsley in the NY Times:**

We are surrounded by images of white men in suits. … Oil paintings of forgotten committee chairmen line the corridors of power in Washington. Cigar boxes still feature illustrations of the Dutch Masters.

Since [Palin was picked and the candidate list completed], there have been hundreds of images of Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, Ms. Palin and Mr. Biden, or collected shots of all four of them. As of that moment, it became hard to imagine that these pictures would ever again be of four white men. Fine for a cigar box, maybe, but America has moved on.

Thanks for this healthy development go to John McCain, for choosing Sarah Palin, and to Barack Obama, for choosing himself. Also for being himself — a one-man ethnic stew. If America looks like anyone, it looks like him. Sarah Palin deserves, if not credit, then a bit of sympathy. She wants America to keep looking like a small town in western Pennsylvania around 1966. She was the last, victorious shot in a revolution she doesn’t support.

Today is too hopeful a day to be irritated by the fact that this comment is one of seven; six by men and one by a woman.  And guess which one writes about viagra!  Yes, she does.

“I Want an Obama!”

That was my 3-year-old’s morning whine this morning (after “I want some chocolate!”). I said, “You know, you might just get one today.” His reply “Nooo! I want an Obama NOW!!!!”. All I could do was agree. But I refrained from wailing (outwardly, anyway).

Voting: Your stories

Today is the big day. In case you’re wondering how the rest of the world is feeling, I can say without hesitation that the UK is holding its breath. I’ve never seen this level of interest in other US elections. But tell us what’s going on where you are– if you’re in the US and voting today, tell us how it goes. Any incidents of note? Any interesting people you met? Anyone you were able to help? If you’re outside the US, tell us how it looks from where you are. But most importantly, make sure that everyone you know who is eligible (including yourself!) VOTES.

If you want to do a little extra, don’t neglect this post on more things you can do.

When this is all over, maybe I’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep again. Maybe we all will.