Good Evening.

For whatever you did today, I want to thank you. I know time is precious, but this is time well spent.

Political stories:

Early voting stats.

43% of Georgia’s Black Voters Cast Early Ballots

Think about that. All the difficulties placed in their way, and 43% cast their votes early ANYWAY.

Incredible Final Georgia Early Voting Numbers
by omgitsparishilton [Subscribe]
Sat Nov 01, 2008 at 12:14:54 PM PDT

An incredible final day of early voting in Georgia took place yesterday, where 227,851 people cast their votes. Although we all expect the final percentage of black vote in the state to decline from what it currently is, incredibly the final day of early voting brought an increase, with nearly 37% of the Friday voters being African-American.

Nearly 2 million people have already voted in Georgia, representing over 60% over the total 2004 electorate and over 3 times what the early and absentee vote consisted of in the prior Presidential election. Perhaps most incredibly, compared to 2004 levels, 80% of blacks already went to the polls, withstanding lines hours on end, to make sure their voices would be heard.

Full statistics and early voting pics after the jump.

From DailyKos
HUGE early voting across the South – complete stats

1 – North Carolina: 66.2%
2 – Tennessee: 63.1%
3 – Georgia: 53.3%
4 – Texas: 42.1%
5 – Arkansas: 31.8%

The other states where 2008 early voting has eclipsed 50% of the 2004 total vote are Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. The other two Southern states with early voting — Louisiana and West Virginia — were still under 14% of their total 2004 vote as of this morning.

The latest scare tactics towards the Jewish Community where Obama is concerned deals with Professor Rashid Khalidi, whom John McCain FUNDED to the tune of AT LEAST $500,000. Now, I say AT LEAST, because there is more money that he gave to Khalidi, but they won’t release the amounts given.

The New Republic

Rashid Who?
by Ethan Porter
Why the Jews finally came home to Obama
Post Date Friday, October 31, 2008

Martin Peretz
The New Republic
Excuse Me

Excuse me. But the Jews of America have already decided—and by lopsided margins—that they want Barack Obama for president. They are convinced by his committed liberalism and by his committed Zionism.

Yes, I know that McCain and his supporters are exasperated after so many months of seeding completely insubstantial doubts about Obama and Israel only to find their candidate now being left with a nearly historic low among Jewish voters.

Their last gasp is trying to get the Los Angeles Times to release a video in its possession that ostensibly shows Obama saying kind words about Rashid Khalidi. See the excerpt below for an instance of this effort. The substance is nothing.

Wednesday’s Jerusalem Post has an article about the Times’ refusal to make the clip public. But the news story reports exactly what Obama did say about Khalidi, and frankly it is utter pabulum. Read for yourself.

I assume that my Zionist credentials are not in dispute. And I have written more appreciative words about Khalidi than Obama ever uttered. In fact, I even invited Khalidi to speak for a Jewish organization with which I work.

Moreover, the Israelis are trying to live cooperatively and in peace with Palestinians whose unrelenting positions make Khalidi almost appear like a Zionist.


Five Reasons Why the Obama Infomercial was Worth the Cost

Let’s be honest: the Obama infomercial was about comforting white Americans — especially middle and working class white Americans. That said, it was arguably necessary and — for what it was — very effective.

Although only time will tell, it appears that the Obama infomercial accomplished exactly what it needed to do: soothing skittish white undecided voters without alienating current supporters.

1. With a set evocative of the Oval Office, Obama’s presence in the piece served as a preview to what it would look like if he were to be elected as President. By providing a chance for the still uneasy undecideds to envision this future, it will likely work to move some of those voters out of their reluctance. Despite the McCain campaign’s increasingly strident assertions to the contrary, Obama gave every appearance of being more than “ready” to step into the role of a world leader.

2. By showing numerous photos of Obama interacting with white working class Americans of different ages (in addition to black and Latino Americans), the infomercial leveraged the power of visual imagery to contextualize Obama as “one of us” within the minds of those voters. This is a welcome and much-needed change from advertisements by the campaign that have, up until now, sometimes focused too much on words alone to convey their messages. In addition, the narratives within the piece evoked emotional response and connection — again, very welcome and somewhat different than the frequently more conceptual and cognitive appeal of previous Obama campaign advertising.

3. For those who resonate to the cognitive, the infomercial also clearly presented (again) specifics of Obama’s plans to address the most pressing issues on the minds of many voters. If you believe their words, undecided voters tend to respond well to specifics and to talk about “needing more information” when asked about why they continue to be undecided.

4. If, however, you do not believe the words of the undecided voters tell the whole story, the piece was still effective. By any objective measure, Obama came across as reasonable, knowledgeable and — most importantly for the sake of television — likeable. As anyone who is familiar with media knows, that is the primary goal of any television appearance. People seldom remember more than one point someone makes (if they even recall one) when they appear on television, but they are strongly affected by how the person comes across.

5. Within the biographical parts of the piece, Obama’s life story was reiterated as epitomizing the American dream. Certainly it can be said that it would take someone very determined to continue to characterize Obama as a “terrorist” within their own minds after watching the infomercial — and those people would never vote for him anyway. Additionally, when Obama talked about his mother’s death and about his own lack of perfection — saying even “I will not be a perfect president” — his humanity came through powerfully.

The Obama infomercial was a risk — but the piece will likely go down in history as yet another way that the Obama campaign has forever changed the face of political campaigning through its creative use of media.

Charlie Cook on Hardball Tonight. Cook is no Kool-Aid drinker.

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