VA VOTE SUPPRESSION : As Sam pointed out yesterday the Republicans last minute vote suppression and misleading phone calls and other shenanigans could swing some close races where the margins are minuscule. And wouldn't it be appropriate if one of the offenders was neo-confederate George Allen ? Well, sure enough, the Richmond Times Dispatch reports : The FBI is looking into possible voter intimidation in Virginia's hard-fought U.S. Senate contest between Republican incumbent George Allen and Democrat Jim Webb. The FBI is staying mum at the moment as to what this is really all about. But, VA Sec of State Jean R. Jensen said in a written statement "Voters should not be intimidated or deceived by phone messages purporting to be from election officials." Unfortunately at this point the damage to democracy may already have been done and there's no way to ameliorate it after the fact. According to the Times Dispatch : The In a written statement issued by the Webb campaign, state Democratic...

    RUMORS, RUMORS. Just got off the phone with a friend of mine who's running a Democratic campaign in heavily Republican Colorado Springs. He passes along this delicious tale about disgraced Reverend Ted Haggard , he of the methamphetamine-and-gay-hookers infamy. Apparently, the Sunday before the story broke, Haggard held a gigantic candidate forum. The good pastor was running around the church, meeting and greeting, irrepressibly enthusiastic. "This wasn't some I-feel-the-spirit corniness," my friend says. "I mean, he was bouncing off the walls, going, 'Are you pumped up? Are you ready for the election? Wooooo!!!' My first thought was, 'This guy is seriously on coke.'" When my friend read about Haggard's fondness for the methamphetamine, he thought, "Oh, ok, that makes some sense." Has anyone checked Haggard's office for signs of a laboratory? --Spencer Ackerman

    BRING ON THE LAWYERS. Roll Call reported last week that in addition to the parties, candidates, and voters who've been gearing up for today, the lawyers are also ready to go to work -- if they have to. With an usually high number of competitive House and Senate contests on tap this Election Day, lawyers, consultants and strategists are already beginning to mobilize for what could be a divisive and expensive aspect of the post-election process: recounts. The fact that many states will be using increasingly controversial electronic voting machines -- in some cases, for the first time -- increases the likelihood that some results will be in dispute. "Most cycles there are three or four races that are unresolved in the days immediately following the election," said Chris Sautter , a Democratic recount consultant and lawyer. "Because of the large numbers of races in play this cycle -- combined with the changes brought on by the Help America Vote Act -- there will be a greater number of...

    THE COMING CONSTITUTIONAL SHOWDOWN. I didn't manage to get in on yesterday's orgy of electoral predictions, but I do agree with AEI's most honest analyst, Norman Ornstein , as to what will happen when Democrats take the House: a showdown between the White House and Congress over executive privilege. Dick Cheney has already said he would "probably not" appear if he is subpoenaed. John Holbo thinks the crisis would take the form of: 2-years of semi-successful executive branch stonewalling, followed by Bush proving himself his father�s son in at least one way � by handing out a bunch of Christmas pardons, meaning the guilty are never brought to justice, and even the truth about what happened is never officially investigated to the fullest extent. And the Constitutional framework is, in this way, brutalized in one final way even as the door hits Bush�s ass on the way out. Maybe so, but I think it is more likely that the House will threaten to cut off funding unless Bush cooperates, he...
  • OR ELSE! From...

    OR ELSE! From the Rev. Rob Schenck , president of the National Clergy Council (the folks who tried to pick a fight with the government of the District of Columbia by putting an 850-lb. Ten Commandments monument in their front yard without getting a permit), I received an urgent message in my e-mail box bearing this title, "Christians Must Vote Today or Else": If Christians don't show up to vote today, babies will continue to die in abortions, fewer children will grow up in married homes, many more will grow up with two daddies or two mommies, God will ultimately be purged from the public square. In short, America will soon look like godless Europe. It's that simple. Good pastry and lots of jazz clubs . From the good reverend's lips to God's ears, say I. --Adele M. Stan

    PREDICTIONS. Matt 's House call (and overall sentiments) track with mine . Meanwhile, over here he's pretty shrill, while in his column today he's pretty gloomy about the prospects of us leaving Iraq soon regardless of today's election outcome. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • AH, GOOD.

    AH, GOOD. Take a look at this brief report by Kate Burson from a polling place in my hometown, St. Louis. Burson's post underscores Genevieve Smith 's point that, when it comes to e-voting machines, technical and logistical snafus may be as much of a danger as their vulnerability to tampering. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • The Problem of Takings and Environmentalism

    We've all heard about the problem posed by "takings," when the government passes regulations that prevent property owners from developing their land. Well, the NYT has a piece about efforts by Maine residents to prevent a property owner from doing what she wants with her land, but it never discusses it in the context of takings. That is because the property owner is an environmentalist who wants to turn the land that she has bought into a park and exclude uses like logging and snowmobiling. Of course the link between "takings" and environmental regulation is nonesense. The government takes actions all the time that raise or lower the value of property. Adults understand these risks when they buy property. Unfortunately, the media has chosen to treat the "anti-takings" crew as a serious property rights movement, instead of just a new approach to undermining environmental regulation. --Dean Baker
  • The Developing Countries and Global Warming

    The NYT had an article on projections showing that China is about to pass the U.S. as the leading emitter of greenhouse gases. While the article does point out the near complete failure of the world to do anything to stem the threat posed by global warming, it is almost deliberately uninformative. For example, it notes the refusal of China and other developing countries to agree to restrictions on their greenhouse gas emissions, commenting that "China says rich countries bear responsibility for the increase in global carbon dioxide levels that has already taken place." Well, this is not just something that China says, it happens to be true. The world would have no global warming problem had it not been for greenhouse gas emissions for the last two centuries by rich countries. This is important, because there is no possibility of a solution unless greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries are curtailed. In turn, this will not happen unless rich countries pay developing countries...

    POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: SOME DARK HORSES TO WATCH. It's always nice to get a closer look at a few of the longer-shot but still potentially close House races, to have them in mind when the madness begins tomorrow. On Friday, Jim McNeill had an on-the-ground report from Ohio's 2nd district, where Victoria Wulsin is challengeing "Mean Jean" Schmidt for the seat Paul Hackett almost nabbed last year; and today, Suzanne Charl� reported on former Orleans soft-rocker John Hall 's challenge to Republican Sue Kelly in New York's 19th. (Her piece also includes links to some stellar Colbert material.) --Sam Rosenfeld