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Misc.

Watching the election from abroad

A and I will be gathering around the TV tomorrow (Later today, US time), watching the election results with a group of friends. We’ll be checking out the live news coverage, and I’m sure there’ll be some laptops and smart phones out, with folks consulting electoral analysis sites like the intriguing FiveThirtyEight.com (Baseball stats-like analysis + politics = great reading).

There’ve been some intense discussions among our pals, though, about what time the results will be known. We’re 12 hours ahead of eastern time, so, we’ve been wondering, will we know who the next POTUS is by 9 a.m. tomorrow (Er, Tuesday night eastern time)? 10 a.m.? 11 a.m.?

Turns out that some news organizations might be calling the election by early as 8 a.m. Bangkok time (8 p.m. eastern). (You see how confusing this can get.)

NY Times: Networks May Call Race Before Voting Is Complete

At least one broadcast network and one Web site said Monday that they could foresee signaling to viewers early Tuesday evening which candidate appeared to have won the presidency, despite the unreliability of some early exit polls in the last presidential election.

A senior vice president of CBS News, Paul Friedman, said the prospects for Barack Obama or John McCain meeting the minimum threshold of electoral votes could be clear as soon as 8 p.m. — before polls in even New York and Rhode Island close, let alone those in Texas and California. At such a moment, determined from a combination of polling data and samples of actual votes, the network could share its preliminary projection with viewers, Mr. Friedman said.

“We could know Virginia at 7,” he said. “We could know Indiana before 8. We could know Florida at 8. We could know Pennsylvania at 8. We could know the whole story of the election with those results. We can’t be in this position of hiding our heads in the sand when the story is obvious.”

Similarly, the editor of the Web site Slate, David Plotz, said in an e-mail message that “if Obama is winning heavily,” he could see calling the race “sometime between 8 and 9.”

“Our readers are not stupid, and we shouldn’t engage in a weird Kabuki drama that pretends McCain could win California and thus the presidency,” Mr. Plotz wrote. “We will call it when a sensible person — not a TV news anchor who has to engage in a silly pretense about West Coast voters — would call it.”

(Emphasis mine.)

Bangkok friends and other readers abroad: How do you plan to follow the election news? Got any good Web sites to share? Let us know in the comments.

Categories
Misc.

“Thaksin to receive award from Bolivian president”

Today’s Bangkok Post has this strange story: Thaksin to receive award from Bolivian President

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was considering giving Thailand’s deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra the Order of Simon Bolivar after he aided Thai people in the grass-root level, improved their living conditions, and settled the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.

Mr Thaksin was scheduled to receive the award at Plaza Murillo in Bolivia’s La Paz.

In addition, President Morales was expected to approach former premier Thaksin to become his advisor to overcome the economic problems in Bolivia.

The award was named after Simon Bolivar, a historical figure who freed many South American countries from Spanish rule.

I was going to bold certain sections that seemed especially odd. But then I’d just be highlighting the entire article…

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Misc.

Studs Terkel, Dead 96

Studs Terkel is dead at 96.

IHT: “Studs Terkel, ground-breaking U.S. oral historian, dies at 96”

Studs Terkel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose searching interviews with ordinary Americans helped establish oral history as a serious genre and who for decades was the voluble host of a popular radio show in Chicago, died Friday at his home in Chicago. He was 96.

His death was confirmed by Lois Baum, a friend and longtime colleague at WFMT radio.

In his oral histories, which he called guerrilla journalism, Terkel relied on his enthusiastic but gentle interviewing style to elicit, in rich detail, the experiences and thoughts of his fellow citizens. Over the decades, he developed a continuous narrative of great historic moments sounded by an American chorus in the native vernacular.

(Emphasis mine.)

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Misc.

On Driving a Vespa

Jeremy Clarkson on driving a Vespa:

Recently, various newspapers ran a photograph of me on a small motorcycle. They all pointed out that I hate motorbikes and that by riding one I had exposed myself as a hypocrite who should commit suicide immediately.

Hmmm. Had I been photographed riding the local postmistress, then, yes, I’d have been shamed into making some kind of apology. But it was a motorcycle. And I don’t think it even remotely peculiar that a motoring journalist should ride such a thing. Not when there is a problem with the economy and many people are wondering if they should make a switch from four wheels to two.

Unfortunately, you cannot make this switch on a whim, because this is Britain and there are rules. Which means that before climbing on board you must go to a car park, put on a high-visibility jacket and spend the morning driving round some cones while a man called Dave — all motorcycle instructors are called Dave ((I took a motorcycle safety class many years ago in Washington, DC. My instructor’s name was…Dave.)) — explains which lever does what.

Afterwards, you will be taken on the road, where you will drive about for several hours in a state of abject fear and misery, and then you will go home and vow never to get on a motorcycle ever again.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Winterspeak.)

Categories
Misc.

Must-Have T-Shirt: Re-elect Clay Davis

I love it. The Re-elect Clay Davis T-shirt. From the best TV show ever created.

(Via Kottke.)