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August 30th, 2008 - Phil's Rambling Rants

August 30th, 2008

August 30th, 2008
03:18 pm

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Obama sinks or swims on new voters
Something that I've been aware of for as long as I've been aware of the political process (and that's probably been going on a lot longer) is that an embarrassingly small fraction of Americans vote.  And, it seems to me that while the people who vote are relatively evenly split between Democrat and Repubican, the people who don't vote -- demographically, the young, the poor, blacks, and Hispanics -- would, if they did vote, favor Democrats.

From the first time I started seeing Obama as a serious candidate in this election, it was obvious to me that he could not win if the same old people voted.  But it was also clear that he was better at attracting people who hadn't voted before to the political process -- better than any candidate in my experience.  In fact, that's why he's gotten as far as he has.

The way things are looking today, Obama is on his way to a narrow but definite defeat among the people who would have been expected to vote two years ago.  He won the primary based on bringing new people into the political process, but even those new people aren't enough to carry the election.  But if he can do what he did best in the primaries again on a general election scale, he can win, and win big.

The outcome of this election hangs entirely on how well Obama does in reaching the apathetic majority.

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TimeEvent
06:58 pm

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Flowers of the marshes
I finally got my butt off the chair around 4.  I decided to head over to the marsh area at Kennekuk with my flowers-n-bugs lens.  It was sunny, warm but not hot, generally a good time to go.  The first marsh is as low as I think I've ever seen it.  Very little bird life, by numbers or species, though quite a lot by total weight because the geese were having a convention at that first pond -- there were over 100 in that small area.  One mystery bird on the beaver pond; looking at the book, I guess it was a juvenile green heron (that somebody decided is supposed to be called a green-backed heron this week, but I don't see the point).  It was the size and configuration of a green heron but with a lot of white underneath, quite unlike an adult and even more than the book shows on a juvenile.  But since it seems unlikely that I've discovered a new species, that's probably what it was.  I took a lot of shots of flowers, with some efforts at composing artful shots, mostly just trying to capture the beauty of very small things, with little success; I need to both carry the tripod (which I sometimes do) and force myself to stop and use it (which I almost never do even when I carry the thing).  The depth of focus is just too damn short.  Butterflies seemed few until I got past the martin house, where there was a patch of flowers they liked.  I took a bunch of shots of closeups of butterflies which should be great.  I did not walk very far, but for some reason I felt tired and ready to go home anyway.

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