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The Poor Voter on Election Day

Heard on NPR this morning, a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier.

The Poor Voter on Election Day

To-day, of all the weary year,
A king of men am I.
To-day, alike are great and small,
The nameless and the known;
My palace is the people's hall,
The ballot-box my throne!
The rich is level with the poor,
The weak is strong to-day;
And sleekest broadcloth counts no more
Than homespun frock of gray.
To-day let pomp and vain pretence
My stubborn right abide;
I set a plain man's common sense
Against the pedant's pride.
The wide world has not wealth to buy
The power in my right hand!

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Kerry concedes

Even with a number of outstanding provisional ballots in Ohio, the Kerry campaign has decided to not force a count of all votes given the current margin in that state. It's over. I've watched this race from early on, following the caucuses, the campaigns, the pollsters, the negative advertising (quite a novelty for an Englishman), the debates and the final hours. When it's all said and done, not only does the GOP remain in the White House, they also picked up seats in the House and Senate. This doesn't seem to reflect the world in which I've been living. I like Seattle just the way it is, comfortable yet reasonably liberal and while I don't expect that to change, it's clearly pretty different from the feeling in many other parts of the country.

What's in store for the next four years?

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Filler

It's nearly five Pacific and polls on the East Coast are starting to close. Not wanting to be burned again, the media is being very careful about calling states based on exit polls alone. Net result - they're standing in front of huge screens covered in zeroes talking about nothing�and even still it's strangely addictive to watch.

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Election update

Spent the evening in O'Sheas watching the news with a gradual sinking feeling. CNN is currently calling Bush 249 Kerry 211 with Florida already gone to Bush and Ohio 51/49 to Bush at 91% precincts in. Larry King: 'it's a real crapshoot'. With outstanding provisional ballots in the 'Florida of 04' it looks as though this is going to drag on for a few weeks.

No landslide then.

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Upcoming events

Just a few more things before I call it a night. I've a busy few weeks ahead with trips here and there. Next weekend I'll be in New York, meeting up with Bob Wilson to run the marathon. I've been training fairly well over the last few months, ramping up more recently and feeling fairly positive but I'm well aware it's still going to be a very long way. After that I'll be taking a forced vacation to Vancouver B.C. to get a new H1-B stamp (why oh why you need to leave the country to do this is beyond me) for a few days. Then it'll be Thanksgiving (might leave town for that) followed by a couple of guests spending some time in Seattle and then back to the UK over the holidays.

It'll be my first Christmas (Day) at home for four or five years and it's feeling long overdue.

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The shame of it all

Finally brought together all of my old entries and set up .Text for some more blogging action. The fact that my New Year's snowboarding trip is still in the last ten entries suggests I've not been keeping up here as I should have been. It's a shame, I really enjoy writing things when I have the time and that's the one thing that's been lacking recently.

It's currently early morning on the first Tuesday in November of a presidential election year so the talk of the town has been overwhelmingly focused on the race between Bush and Kerry. According to CNN, every has pretty much given up predicting which way it's going to go given the polls are showing a dead head. Except, of course, the party shills who have an incredible ability to skew questions and facts to fit in neatly with their talking points. The fact that there even exists a 'spin alley' and a (supposedly unbiased) media to which party representatives openly talk about their strategies gives me cause for concern. It's not that the voters are treated like prey being hunted (this is a competition after all), it's that they're free to talk about voters' habits simply because those casting the votes that matter aren't paying attention. It seems that the race is so close (and the country so divided) that the outcome will be down to that set of individuals who are still undecided merely hours before casting a ballot. And then there's the weather; a bad day means a lower turnout; come on folks, it's one day every four years, a little rain isn't going to hurt. It's scary.

One interesting side note is that the networks are agreeing not to broadcast exit polls until voting has ceased (8pm, excluding mail-in ballots). Allowing people to see where there state is going throughout the day can apparently bring about unnecessary bias. If the indicators point to one candidate, those with marginal support of the other decide to get up and make the trip to the polling station thus narrowing the margin and staring a swing in the opposite direction. It's all about the feedback loop and would give grounds for some absolutely fascinating analysis (matching time of vote against prevailing trend).

For posterity, as of Nov 1, www.electoral-vote.com�is predicting Kerry 298 - Bush 231. Let's see how this map looks tomorrow.
Electoral vote

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Fancy phones and podcasting

It hardly seems like it's been a year that I've been porting my Motorola MPX-200 smartphone but�AT&T Wireless (soon to be engulfed by Cingular)�just released a new�Windows Mobile phone, the Audiovox 5600. It's what they call 'candy bar' shaped like the old-school Nokias and has two great qualities - it's much faster and has a built in cameraphone. Other than that, my dependence on Outlook sync just carries over from the MPX-200 like a crack habit. Actually it also ships with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile which, when combined with a mini-SD data card, allows me to avoid purchasing an iPod for quite some time (good thing). Whether the novelty of watching last night's TV on the bus ride to work will last, that we'll have to see.

Coincidentally I've been casually watching the�the fanfare around podcasting of late�and it's the timeline that's interested me the most. Folks have the idea of attaching sound files to RSS feeds (with enclosures) and it ticks over for several months�with moderate novelty value. I'm guessing there was a eureka moment at some point shortly whereafter iPodder was born. With these files now automatically syncing to a portable music device it suddenly gets a jolt of potential. As with all�new ideas, the initial enthusiasm is intense and the in just three weeks the mainstream media picks it up (that time delta is rapidly contracting). I've been enjoying the idea to listen to conference speeches and the like but I'm�not convinced this is broadcasting v-next just yet.

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Electioneering

More fun with the debates tonight. No knock-out blows; both candidates seem to know where they stand and they're sticking to it. It's getting closer though but is still far too close to call.

Meanwhile, while trying to get a bit of work done this evening I lost my wireless connecton for a period. Two years ago when I moved in to this apartment I had the only wireless access point in range (early adopter, whatever) and yet now I can see over thirty. That was quick. In the process of reconnecting I stumbled�upon the new political message platform - promote your candidate by SSID.

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Don't just take a stand, vote.

My H1-B visa extension was approved today. My days of being an illegal alien (all twenty of them) have come to a close and I'm now legally permitted to live and work in the US for another three years.

But I still can't vote. With it�being election season and being bombarded by political propaganda from all directions,�it's a little frustration. What was it they�used to say?�'No taxation without representation'? What a novel idea. Still, I picked this lot�and�I'm sticking�with it. If you can, you should; don't just take a stand, vote.

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