Thank you, ma’am. Ma’am, thank you.

I could probably check this, but it was right around a year ago that Comcast, my cable company, tried to make good a fairly minor mistake on their part by dumping a bunch of premium channels on me, “free” for a year. It’s how we got Showtime and Starz and Cinemax and a couple others, most of which we don’t watch, although OK, yes, Showtime’s series have gotten much better in recent months.

But then the cable bill arrived, and it was $70 above normal, so I got back on the phone to express outrage and demand a lower bill. It was so silly; I knew and the operator knew that I was going to get my bill knocked back down to what it was, that the “introductory period” would be extended another year, that my cable service wouldn’t change and all I would have to pay was the $70 overage I just paid.

The “customer service representative,” a phrase that cries out for ironic quotes, was offshore. That’s all she would say, offshore, but I would peg her accent as Filipino, so there you are. She read from her script with varying degrees of success at sounding authentic — “this is your lucky day for today only I am authorized to offer you this exciting introductory rate on the package you are interested in” — and her most annoying tic was inserting “ma’am” every five words. So really it was more like ma’am this is your lucky day ma’am for today only ma’am I am authorized to offer you, ma’am, this exciting introductory rate on the package you are interested in ma’am. And no, I’m not exaggerating.

I really miss customer service when it wasn’t an oxymoron. My mother worked her whole career at the phone company as a customer-service rep, and dammit, she served. She was also in a union. I’m sure her job, if it remains in any way shape or form, is now being done in a dingy call center in Manila.

And while I grant you that this is sort of a Peggy Noonan sort of problem, it seemed to go hand-in-glove with what read, to my eyes, as a better-than-average scene-setter for today’s election in the NYT today:

The uncertainty about the outcome is a fitting match for the mood of the nation. A slowly but steadily improving economy — with six months of strong growth, gasoline below $3 a gallon for the first time in four years and substantial deficit reduction — has not translated into broader optimism. Voters are more inclined toward blame than credit. Instead, they are seemingly worn down by economic struggles and late waves of panic, chiefly about the threats posed by the Islamic State and the possible spread of Ebola.

Polls show voter interest in the election substantially lower than four years ago. The real intensity has been generated by the prodigious spending of outside groups who have aired more than 1.5 million televised campaign ads.

And candidates in both parties have done little to inspire the electorate. Unlike midterms in 1994 and 2006, when the party out of power made strong gains, Republican candidates did not carry a defined platform into this election, nor did they campaign on many policy specifics. Democrats spent months playing down if not denying their support for the president’s agenda.

True dat. I think things are settling in for a lot of people: You will probably earn less next year, even if you get a paltry raise, because your health-insurance rates will gobble up the difference and then some. Your kids’ student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, so borrow wisely and don’t have too many kids in the first place. Anyway, they won’t be buying a house for a good long while, so don’t count on the value of your own going up the way it used to. This grim little ad, which the Truth Squad whistled as a flagrant foul, seems to get at the mood lately:

Here’s another one. It doesn’t really get at the voters’ mood, but it’s pretty damn brutal. How’d you like to have been at this casting session?

I step into the voting booth, and my hope springs eternal, most years. This year I’ll do my best.

Happy Election Day. See you when I’m done working it.

Posted at 11:17 am in Current events |

88 responses to “Thank you, ma’am. Ma’am, thank you.”

  1. Charlotte said on November 4, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Here’s a little portrait of election day in Livingston that my friend Scott McMillion (Montana Quarterly) did a few years back. I repost it all the time, so if I’ve posted it before, apologies, but it shows why I love voting in person, and why I want to be an election lady when I’m older and retired.

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  2. Judybusy said on November 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Nice piece, Charlotte. There were a couple younger–as in in their twenties–election judges today. I voted around 9 since I’m working from home today. I love the vibe of my polling place–everyone is very friendly and happy to be there.

    And Nancy, amen to the customer service. That ma’am thing drove me nuts on some call a couple years ago. I even tried telling the rep it made it nearly impossible to understand her, but they must get it drilled into them that it’s polite, because she just couldn’t stop.

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  3. Jeff Borden said on November 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I show the 1961 inaugural speech by John F. Kennedy and the 1981 inaugural speech by Ronald Reagan to my public speaking students at Loyola, so I’ve heard them both a number of times. It’s truly striking to see the distance we traveled as a nation in those 20 years from a president who invoked the potential glories of an engaged government including sending a man to the moon and back to a president who on his own inauguration day declares what a terrible problem government is and how his team will begin the very next day to dismantle it.

    It seems to me we have lost the capacity to think big. . .to tackle large, seemingly intractable problems. . .to go out and fking do something. No more Tennessee Valley Authority or Interstate highway system project or space program or polio vaccine distribution. . .which changed our lives for the better. Our current crop of morons, wimps and loons couldn’t organize a three-car parade.

    Damn, I hope the next generation figures out how to clean up the mess we’re leaving behind.

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  4. Kirk said on November 4, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    The Ohio Democrats came up with such a nitwit gubernatorial candidate that I wasted my vote on the Greens today.

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  5. Charlotte said on November 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Kirk — that’s what happened here. The MT Dems went with Walsh, who no one had any kind of strong feelings about, and he wound up with the plagiarism issue. Then we got Curtis, who is fabulous, but had all of 6 weeks to run … also, had to hold my nose for our Dem state representative — lazy lazy lazy, but the woman running against her is trying to destroy public schools, so, voted for the one I dislike. Ugh.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Manila doesn’t have so much going on in call centers today as do Cebu City in the middle of the archipelago, or Davao and Tegum Cities. The one bright spot of long dangles on the phone with customer service is when you end up talking to someone who is interested in talking. Life there is both very different and extremely familiar as you talk parent to parent with some of those I’ve resolved software issues with.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Kirk, hope you felt like voting for Franklin County Children Services! They were on the ballot, too, along with adjoining Licking County.

    It’s gonna be a late night in the basement windowless room at the County Admin Building. But it’s a buzz like no other. Sitting at home hitting “refresh” on the browser window for the BoE isn’t the same a’tall.

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  8. Kirk said on November 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Two votes for Children Services in this house.

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  9. brian stouder said on November 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm


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  10. alex said on November 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    My usually empty polling place was overwhelmed today. They had to form lines for waiting to get into line, a new precedent. And I waited patiently. While in line, I noted that a black couple who had entered the door behind me were not in line but at a table off to the side haggling with some old dork who wasn’t letting them vote. It was like a Diane Arbus picture but I didn’t have the presence of mind to snap it.

    Here there are a lot of uncontested Republicans. To show my lack of enthusiasm for several I left the ballot blank.

    I can only hope that the increased turnout means that the usual well-organized right-wingers aren’t stealing this one as they always do in off-year elections. Of course it could also mean that the yokels are apoplectic about ebola and ooga-booga.

    As for me, I’m taking a respite for the rest of the week, driving up to Chicago and hanging out with my old buds up there and getting some liberal affirmation. Maybe some parking tickets. Will be staying at a new condo in the Lawrence/Ainslie area and have been told I’ll have to get my unpermitted car off of the residential street between 9 and 11 AM on the weekdays. No prob. I’ll be off visiting stay-at-home mom friends in Rockford and Gurnee while all of my city friends are toiling at the office.

    I sure hope the weather won’t be the glum, wet, cheerless shit I’m seeing right now.

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  11. brian stouder said on November 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    All I want is for the D’s to hold the Senate.

    Failing that, I guess I’ll pop some popcorn and await Rafael Cruz of Calgary’s triumphant chest-thumping, and Senator McConnell’s onset of dyspepsia, and maybe start selling doomsday food supplies to the panicked reactionaries

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  12. brian stouder said on November 4, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    (and indeed, if the R’s take the Senate and then lurch into impeachment mode, then Hillary Clinton really will be on-track to the White House, and the R’s will never live down the shame of what they’ve done)

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  13. Dave said on November 4, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    My thought, Brian, is that they’re going to take control and irritate so many people that they will damage themselves for the next twenty years. But, some of the comments I heard standing in line to vote today makes me think otherwise.

    I saw no conflicts today, Alex, and there were black folks among us, as well as a Hispanic lady with a stroller, who others were very polite to. Also, I was able to vote against both of the candidates you longed to vote against, I wouldn’t vote for either one of those clowns. Clowns, not an imaginative way to describe them but, oh my, that’s what they are.

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  14. LAMary said on November 4, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    I work in healthcare so I speak to people from the Philippines all the time. I’m used to ma’am and being called Miss Mary a lot.

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  15. brian stouder said on November 4, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    OK – this photo-bomb of Senator McConnell voting got me laughing! In fact, if John Candy wasn’t dead, I’d swear this is him, having some fun!|main5|dl1|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D557549

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  16. Sherri said on November 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    I can’t deny the convenience of voting by mail, but I do miss voting in person. Not an option here, all vote by mail, dashing my dreams of being an election lady.

    Vote by mail does seem to improve turnout, at least, and it makes it harder to come up with voter suppression laws.

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  17. David C. said on November 4, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    I get to wake up tomorrow knowing the odious POS Glen Grothman (Louie Gohmert with more hair and a less pleasing personality) is going to me my Congressman. My old one was no great shakes, but he wasn’t insane. I guess I can still hold out hope for getting rid of Walker.

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  18. Jolene said on November 4, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I’m hoping you get rid of Walker, too, Dave C. If he wins, he’s going to run for president, and the prospect of listening to him speak in public–at a debate, for instance–is depressing. Aside from his politics, which are awful, I find him extremely dull-witted. Kind of surprises me that he made it as far as a governorship.

    NBC just called KY for McConnell. Sigh.

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  19. paddyo' said on November 4, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Here in blue-and-purple-maybe-returning-to-red Colorado (but not without a down-to-the-wire fight),campaign commercial fatigue set in months ago. My eyes had long since glazed over at the multigazillion-dollar cost of it all, too. But I had not seen a figure for the actual number of ads. So that NYT scene-setter’s mention of more 1.5 MILLION TV spots by outside groups really caught my bleary eye.

    So, say they’ve been running ads in every House and Senate race (probably not every one, at least not in equal numbers), plus the 36 governors’ seats in play. Say they’ve been doing so for three months straight (yes, probably much longer in at least some places and races). OK, so it’s only an average, with various variables, but still: My fuzzy math still imagines an average of 33 ad spots a day, every day, in every race — again, just the outside groups’ money.

    I guess I shouldn’t be astonished, but I am.

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  20. Sue said on November 4, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    David C, my condolences. It’s a certainty, then?
    Jolene, if Scooter wins, I will so, so enjoy watching him run for president. He is not used to speaking in anything other than a very controlled setting and will run on points that got his freakier counterparts of 4 years ago laughed out of the primary debates.
    Plus, it will be so nice to see him called on the world-class bullshit he’s been getting away with here. Someone might ask for information on all the cowshit seeping into drinking water, and then refuse to accept the nonsense answer he provides. Or perhaps someone might dare to request an explanation on why citizens have found themselves with less of a voice in the review processes of government decisions that affect their air and water. Or ask why someone from northern Wisconsin has to drive hundreds of miles, to Milwaukee or Madison, for public hearings on northern Wisconsin issues (and then face an annoyed Glen Grothman).
    Run, Scotty, run.

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  21. Dorothy said on November 4, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    My very first friend when I was a wee girl growing up on Trenton Avenue in Wilkinsburg is going to be in Pittsburgh for two weeks. She arrived today from the Philippines and I’m going to have dinner with her on Saturday, along with a lot of other old grade school chums. We went to school together for 8 years and then went to different high schools. She was married briefly, had a son and then divorced. She fell in love with a woman from the Philippines and they’ve been together for quite some time. They relocated from LA to the Philippines a couple of years ago I think. It’s going to be fun to see her again.

    My husband had his cataract surgery today and he’s doing just grand. Doesn’t even want any pain pills. Tomorrow morning he gets the patch off. He said even in the operating room when he looked up at the ceiling right after the doc finished and he already could see so much better. The doc said he has about the prettiest eye color she’s seen in the last couple of years. Grey with gold streaks in them and the operating team just raved over how beautiful it was. Isn’t that a claim to fame?!

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  22. David C. said on November 4, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    The thing about Walker is he lies when the truth will do nicely. His stupid little yarn about his getting his bald spot by smacking his head on a kitchen cabinet for instance. Did he not think that pictures showing it growing larger through the years would pop up? Although he could have hit his head on a kitchen cabinet multiple time which would explain a lot. But more likely it’s just that he’s a vain, pathetic, little man.

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  23. Deborah said on November 4, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    That’s depressing about McConnell but not completely unexpected. I’m thinking I’m just going to leave TV off tonight and find out the damage in the morning. Besides I’m exhausted from spending the day cleaning up the construction site in Abiquiu. It’s amazing how much damage those big trucks can do to the land.

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  24. Deborah said on November 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Oh and looking forward to having Coozledad back.

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  25. alex said on November 4, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    And fuck Indiana selling its Toll Road back when Mitch Daniels was governor. I went and bought an EZ Pass today for use on the Tollways for my trip to Chicago. I’m as computer literate as they come and cannot activate this piece of shit online and when I call their automated customer service number it just drops me. I have never seen anything so ridiculous.

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  26. Sue said on November 4, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    David C., yeah, what was that all about? Who gets a round scar from a cabinet?
    And how about the easily-checked lies? Politifact judged false that ‘evil protesters stopped my car from exiting an event, beating the car and rocking it’ story – noting that although there was a police presence, there was no police report and no one, including reporters, could remember it happening. Oh, yeah, video of the vehicle exiting the event showed nothing of the sort happening.

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  27. alex said on November 4, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Just now paying attention to the election results. This teabagger freak is the surprise winner of the night locally, but on the other hand the single county executive referendum is going down int the ball of flames that should rightfully be licking that bitch’s ass.

    Livid at the goddamn Toll Road and its effed up EZ Pass.

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  28. alex said on November 4, 2014 at 10:20 pm

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  29. Sue said on November 4, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Udall’s out, we’re close to tipping. Yikes.

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  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 4, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    10:15 pm — with 100% of precincts tallied, the Licking County (OH) Children Services levy:

    FOR THE TAX LEVY 29588 63.43%
    AGAINST THE TAX LEVY 17060 36.57%

    It’s done. THANK YOU to all our supporters, and thanks for all the good words and encouragement from y’all.

    Close to 35% of the votes were cast BEFORE today. The landscape is changing for electoral politics, in many ways.

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  31. Bob (not Greene) said on November 4, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Looks like as bad as advertised. Enjoy, America. Scott Walker re-elected. We are doomed.

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  32. Deborah said on November 4, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Good night all. I’m going to have bad dreams now.

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 4, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Our library levies also passed, if that makes anyone feel better. Two were on the county ballot, and both were passed by gratifyingly large margins. As was the senior services levy. Beyond that . . . oy.

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  34. Jill said on November 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Congratulations, Jeff TMMO!

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  35. alex said on November 4, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    The local elections are as nightmarish as the national ones. Being a notorious freak isn’t a liability but an asset in the midterms, it appears. Must be that everyone’s in the Halloween costume judging spirit, I guess.

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  36. Sherri said on November 4, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Good news, Jeff(tmmo). The good news out here is that early returns are indicating an initiative to strengthen gun purchase background checks is passing handily.

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  37. Dave said on November 5, 2014 at 12:35 am

    All I can say is, Jeff (TMMO), Connie, glad you all won. What an awful election, otherwise.

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  38. Basset said on November 5, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Wine in grocery stores passed, that much was good anyway.

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 5, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Basset, now I realize what I was needing last night! I need a three day break from coffee and shift to wine. Or bourbon.

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  40. Sue said on November 5, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Well, that was a bloodbath. The people of Wisconsin have spoken. MMJeff, congratulations.
    Nationally? Wow too. Will the repeal of Obamacare be Job One? Or are they going to get right down to business and start impeaching President Hillary Clinton?

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  41. alex said on November 5, 2014 at 7:57 am

    The people of Wisconsin haven’t spoken. They stayed home. So did everyone in most of the states.

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  42. beb said on November 5, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I need a bottle in front of me or a front lobotomy.

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  43. Sue said on November 5, 2014 at 8:11 am

    alex, I wish that were true. Predictions are that when all votes are counted this will be the highest turnout ever in a WI midterm election.

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  44. Julie Robinson said on November 5, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Alex, if you can return the EZPass, get an IPass from Illinois. Our use has been seamless, and when we needed to call about Mom’s, we learned that their customer service is provided by the Lighthouse, a Chicago agency for the visually impaired.

    I’ve been spending a lot of time on these lines smoothing out Mom’s move because her place was just built this summer and no one has it in their database yet. So I can’t change her address online because it’s rejected as invalid, and I end up calling for an override. It usually takes quite a while. The IPass people were among the best, along with Netflix. The worst: Frontier, who refuses to believe she is who she is even though she hasn’t disconnected from her old Frontier account in Illinois.

    I really don’t want to think about the election results except to rejoice for the children Jefftmmo is fighting for. The rest is too depressing.

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  45. Deborah said on November 5, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Well. It will be interesting to get the statistics about who voted, genders, ages and ethnicities. Life goes on in the reality based world, I guess.

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  46. Connie said on November 5, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Alex, I’ve had my Indiana EZpass for more than six years and never had a problem. The first time you drive to Chicago with it you will love it. If you drive all the way through Illinois – open road tolling – you will love it even more.

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  47. brian stouder said on November 5, 2014 at 8:57 am

    …well, and – Anne Duff won her at-large seat on the Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of Trustees – so Chloe, our 10 year old, who helped on that campaign went to bed happy!

    And indeed, Ms Duff out-polled Mark GiaQuinta, which was impressive to me – even aside from the fact that GQ really didn’t even run a campaign! (The top two vote-getters win the seats, and Anne and GQ were 1-2)

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  48. alex said on November 5, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Julie, the phone rep at EZ Pass was very helpful this morning and went in and fixed the problem. For some reason my computer doesn’t want to cooperate with their web site.

    Sue, I’m not sure what to make of things. This is a country that elected Obama twice, so I cannot help but believe that yesterday’s election was driven by the same malcontents who always hated him anyway and have always mischaracterized the man and his record as they do. And don’t forget, these sorts of results are generally to be expected during a lame duck midterm. The difference this time around is the amount of money being spent on agitprop. I suspect that even with a high turnout, it was a much higher turnout of Republicans than Democrats, or people like Walker, Brownback and the worst of the nincompoops would have been defeated, or at least not have enjoyed such wide margins of victory as they did.

    That Bradlee obit in the Post that Nancy linked to the other day was instructive in pointing out the political subterfuge happening right on the very same page as the obit that would have been unthinkable during Bradlee’s tenure. I don’t think people would recognize journalistic objectivity anymore if such a thing even still exists.

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  49. alex said on November 5, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Connie, I’m looking forward to breezing through a whole bunch of tollways this week. I’ll be hitting Rockford and Gurnee, both by way of Chicago. I remember how much those commutes always sucked with the backed-up traffic at the toll booths.

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  50. brian stouder said on November 5, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Here’s a goodie –

    an excerpt:

    In his two terms, GiaQuinta, 60, has served as board president for seven years, he said. He found out Tuesday evening while driving to Naples, Florida, for a business trip that he had won another term. To celebrate, GiaQuinta said he’d “pull over and get a Diet Coke and a bag of peanuts.”

    I’m not particularly happy with how the national elections went, but as Alex says – I’m not really surprised, either.


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  51. Charlotte said on November 5, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Welp, Montana was a mixed bag. We lost the Senate (no surprise) and the House (kind of a surprise). Our local state rep lost, but that’s her fault, she’s run two of the laziest campaigns ever, has done no outreach, has insulted all the local Dems by claiming to be an independent and then went and married into the biggest, oldest Republican family trust fund in the state. But she has a self-published book she’d like to sell us all about how HARD she worked in the last legislature. Sigh. No wonder we lose with candidates like that. The big win for the good guys though was the MT Supreme Court — Koch etc threw huge money into that race, and lost. So, that was good.

    And I’m just hiding from all the punditry today.

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  52. adrianne said on November 5, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I didn’t even have the heart to stay up Tuesday night to witness the election returns. All I could say leading up to the election was, I can’t believe we’re losing to these morons. But in the end, the quality of candidates counts, and the Democrats fielded an incredibly mediocre Senatorial slate.

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  53. Deborah said on November 5, 2014 at 10:25 am

    The biggest downer for me is that because Rauner won it will have a huge impact on my family, state education funding will probably dry up fast and most of, no make that all of my husband’s design projects are for education facilities. I’m upset about the Senate, of course, that will makes things pretty miserable all around too. Hopefully Little Bird gets to keep her healthcare coverage. Maybe, maybe, maybe the Dems will learn something from this.

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  54. Connie said on November 5, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Alex, it is that I90 stretch from Chicago to Rockford that will truly make you happy with your EZpass. I got mine in 08 for a drive to Minnesota. My cohort and I cheered every time we went under one of those “Governor Blagojevich brings you open road tolling” signs. At the time of course we had no clue who Blagojevish was. And I still have no clue how to spell his name.

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  55. Julie Robinson said on November 5, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Glad you got it covered, Alex, and of course the other advantage beside driving through the tollbooths is you pay lower tolls.

    Now, another messed up website, the county treasurer, where you pay your property taxes. There is one login for the site and a second to the pay portal, but after you get through all that you still have to enter all the same information to look up your property. So there’s no advantage whatsoever. Grr. But they’re paid now!

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  56. Sherri said on November 5, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    There was close to $2.4 million spent on the state senate race in my district, and as I expected, all that money didn’t change the outcome. The incumbent won, or rather, seems very likely to win (ballots still trickle in for days here), but the race was much nastier than it would have been without all the money, and much more unpleasant for the voters in the district. I know I felt assaulted by all the phone calls, door bellers, mailers, and TV ads for this race, and I’m an engaged, informed voter. This whole election season has made me want to check out and just read the sports section.

    Not only does Citizens United allow dark money and the ultra rich to overwhelm my paltry donations to candidates, it allows dark money and the ultra rich to overwhelm me with the product of all that money. I don’t have the answer, but I’m more sympathetic with my fellow citizens who just don’t vote than I’ve ever been.

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  57. Jolene said on November 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    A short while ago, Reince Priebus, head of the RNC, was on TV giving a triumphalist account of the election results, focusing especially on how the candidates Hillary Clinton had traveled across the country to support had, one after another, gone down to defeat. A deft means of touting their winnings while getting an early start on beating up their next potential opponent.

    One of the things I’m saddest about is that the Republican gubernatorial victories likely mean there will be no additional states accepting the Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Florida, Maine, Wisconsin, and possibly others might have accepted the expansion if Democrats had won.

    To me, one of the most heinous things the R’s have done in recent years is leave behind the people whose income puts them between the level of eligibility for Medicaid coverage under the old rules and eligibility for subsidies under the ACA. And there are millions of such people. Moreover, they are doing this to spite the president, even though doing so ultimately costs their states money.

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  58. Connie said on November 5, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    For what it is worth Michigan elected a Democratic senator for whom both Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama made campaign appearances.

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  59. Jolene said on November 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Right, Connie, but that wasn’t a strongly contested election. It was never mentioned among the potential GOP pickup opportunities.

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  60. Dave said on November 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I cannot grasp why people don’t vote. A report this morning said that voter participation in Allen County, IN, reached 40% in some precincts. 40%. I don’t get it.

    Meanwhile, in Florida, they re-elected the governor and the attorney general, two people I could have never voted for, if I lived there year around.

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  61. Scout said on November 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Has anyone heard from coozledad? The last time he commented here was about a month ago.

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  62. brian stouder said on November 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Dave – amen.

    I never miss the opportunity to vote.

    One piece of idealistic dogma I shall probably always adhere to is – voting is an absolute responsibility, and all who vote deserve respect, and ideally – all SHOULD vote.

    One area I used to part company with Prospero was his throw-away line about people ‘too stupid to vote’; the temptation to impugn voters when results are not to our liking is too easy, and needlessly corrosive.

    And the inclination to actually ACT on such belief, and actively work to exclude and disenfranchise other citizens, strikes me as utterly contemptible

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  63. Connie said on November 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    I have just learned that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not vote.

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  64. brian stouder said on November 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I’d be a terrible witness for Jehova, in that case.

    Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!

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  65. Deborah said on November 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Scout, I know I’m looking forward to having Coozledad back in our midst. He’s still kicking though

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  66. Deborah said on November 5, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    So true that the Dems had some mediocre candidates. The guy they had running against Suzanne Martinez for Guv in NM was pathetic. What is going on with that? NM did re-elect Usdall for Senate and our congressman Ben Lujan won re-election. It’s weird living in two states, I have to keep up with a lot.

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  67. Deborah said on November 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Udall, for some reason auto-correct keeps trying to change it to Usdall?

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  68. Deborah said on November 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    As I suspected the electorate this time around we’re mostly oldsters
    How can we get younger people motivated to vote? I asked Little Bird how many of her friends voted and it seems to be about half, maybe a bit more. I know I have become much more interested in politics as I’ve gotten older. I just had a lot more things on my mind when I was younger. Or something?

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  69. brian stouder said on November 5, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I think that’s it, Deborah.

    The importance of elections becomes more apparent as one progresses through life; the logic of “Don’t just complain – vote!” has to assert itself at some point

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  70. Jolene said on November 5, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    We need more efforts to socialize kids to look forward to becoming voters the way they look forward to other rights and responsibilities of becoming grown-ups.

    My 18-year-old niece goes to a high school in which she was required to spend a certain number of hours working in a campaign for a political candidate or ballot measure. She lives in Seattle, so she spent her hours working for the measure requiring background checks on all gun sales that just passed, so a reinforcing experience for her.

    Her school is private, so it has both a great deal of latitude in what it can require of its students and a great of agreement on such activities within the community of parents. Am not sure whether something like this would be possible in a public school.

    Her parents are both regular voters, which is probably a greater influence than the school activity, but such activities could help to spur participation in households where parents are not such devoted voters.

    Judybusy, I have heard that Minnesota has programs to get young people involved in voting. Do you know anything about this?

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  71. David C. said on November 5, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    I don’t think it’s a matter of socialization, it’s giving them something to vote for. A plan to reduce or eliminate the principal and interest on their student loans might have helped. But of course, the Beltway Dems just say “we can get that through congress” and do nothing. And yes maybe so, but would it hurt to maybe try it once just for a little bit. Our message is a weak tea of “we’re not as bad as those other guys”. Would it hurt to not get our knickers in a twist about Ebola and ISIS and maybe not set our, well our Vichy Dem representatives anyway, hair on fire to show I’m not sure exactly what. To show we’re afraid of what’s under out bed too? I think it was Truman who said if you run a Republican against a Republican, the Republican wins every time. We can’t keep being afraid of being Democrats.

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  72. LAMary said on November 5, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    I don’t know if this made the news nationally, but Zelda Gilroy, aka Sheila Kuehl, has been elected to the Los Angeles County board of Supervisors. She be Bobby Shriver, who had Bobby Kennedy campaigning for him. Sheila Kuehl has previously been a member of the California Assembly and I think a city councilwoman in Santa Monica. Bobby Shriver was mayor of Santa Monica, known for missing meetings, and is a famous brother, son and nephew.

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  73. Dexter said on November 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I just got back online after going dark for 26 hours…dealing with Time Warner is exasperating…talking with people in Texas or New Mexico who know nothing.I was told we had a local outage and it was being fixed…all day today I kept calling and a recording said we were good to go go, but no…this bullshit dragged on all day, then the TVs went crazy, changing channels on their own like a fucking poltergeist was here. Crazy bastards at TWC said we needed a tech sent here, and then, *poof* TVs came back on and worked, and we received a call saying they had tracked our problem, and I was to totally disconnect every cord on the modem/router and screw them all back in. I felt I was being played, after being jacked around all day. It worked. Sheeee-it!

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  74. FDChief said on November 5, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Let’s just get this out of the way; if your voting in the election yesterday was in any way affected by the Islamic State or Ebola you are an weapons-grade moron and your vote should be passed over to someone who has a second brain cell.

    That said, it appears that there’s a lot of that going around this season.

    The frustrating part is that while I live in Oregon – where, outside the lesser-paved portions where the meth-addled Morlocks still peer fretfully into the dark woods clutching their Rugers and their Bibles, the average citizen has sussed out the punitive intent behind the GOP’s “agenda” such as it is – I am now at the federal level forced to spend the next six years worrying about Joni Freaking Ernst snuffling around MY back door with her damn pig-deballing pliers, voting for every idiotic TeaTard piece of Randian snuff-porn capable of being put into legislative form.

    So thanks, Iowans. You’ve manage to peg the Moron Meter. Thanks.

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  75. Dexter said on November 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Oh yeah…like nance, both my wife & I and kept getting discounts on our bill for our inconvenience, and she got them to knock $25 off our bill for 12 months. That’s $300. We’ll see. I don’t believe anything until I see it on paper. And yes, I voted, with no heart or conviction at all this time. My state gave 86 of 88 counties to Koch Brothers protege John Kasich for Governor.
    What’s the use?

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  76. Sue said on November 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    FDChief, I don’t think I’ve seen you here recently; nice to have you back.
    Cooz, you’ve got competition, get your butt back here.

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  77. Dexter said on November 6, 2014 at 12:14 am

    You know what killed it for me? The 2006 midterms. Dems edged into control, and had the power to de-fund the Iraq war, by gawd. That would have ended it. Pelosi was installed as House Speaker, and she did not one goddam thing to de-rail those plane loads of cash sent to Iraq, and the war dragged on and on. All we heard was “support the troops”, which was just a cover over Cheney’s get-rich scheme for Halliburton. I always vote, but I was never again enthused at the prospect of mid-term off year elections.

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  78. Deborah said on November 6, 2014 at 7:49 am

    This is astonishing: only 36.6% of the eligible population in the US voted Tuesday. You can see a state by state breakdown here

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  79. brian stouder said on November 6, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I remember it used to be said that if you voted in the primaries, you were increasing the chances that you’d get called to jury duty. Possibly this belief has morphed into general elections, too. In any case, I just cannot imagine deliberately deciding not to vote…let alone accidently not voting (although accidently missing out could be possible, depending on if they moved your polling place, or you forgot your wallet/ID, or you’re having a particularly bad day)

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  80. Suzanne said on November 6, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I used to work with a woman who would not vote precisely because she did not want to be called for jury duty. She swore she could not make judgements on anyone guilt or innocence. I, and her other co-workers told her that she pretty much needed only to say that if they did call her for duty, and they would excuse her, but she would not budge.

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  81. Deborah said on November 6, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Brian, I thought it was interesting to see that Indiana had one of the lowest percentages of voters, 28%. And Texas surprised me, only 28.5%.

    Almost two thirds of those that could vote in this country did not vote. What is wrong with this picture?

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  82. brian stouder said on November 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Deborah – I think this is why people like Cooz command my respect.

    Clearly he invested lots and lots of time and sweat in his North Carolina elections, and – logically speaking – “off-year” elections wherein the electorate shrinks would seem to offer the best opportunity for successful ‘people-power’ (as opposed to mega-bucks) campaigning.

    Here in Indiana, leaving aside the judges I voted to retain, the only contested race I voted in where my favored candidate won, was the FWCS ‘at-large’ school board race….

    but indeed, THAT made it all worth it!!

    And indeed, I must have skipped half the ballot, wherein (Republican) candidate after (Republican) candidate was running unopposed.

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  83. Judybusy said on November 6, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Jolene, I couldn’t find anything specifically related to youth voting outreach across the state. The city of Minneapolis did have a program to engage youth in our municipal elections in 2013. There are many GOTV efforts here. Our turnout, however, slipped this year to 50%. We now have early voting, and “no excuse needed” to get an absentee ballot. As this becomes more widely known, it will hopefully get our numbers up.

    In Minnesota, not a bloodbath. Dayton (DFL) won handily as did Al Franken. The dems lost the MN house because of rural voters. Tom Emmer replaced Michelle Bachmann, and he’s a standard-issue Tea Partier who wants to get the federal government out of people’s lives. Unless it’s women’s lady parts, of course. I don’t think we’ll see “teh crazy” with him as we did with Bachmann. Target Corp got some pushback in 2012 when they contributed to his campaign for governor. I still have friends that boycott them because of it.

    We tuned in to Fox news election night because they air at 9 instead of 10:00. There was an absolutely hilarious segment at the Rebublican party headquarters. White people were literally grabbing people of color by the arm to get them in the frame behind the reporter. The reporter then spoke to three young Somali women about why they supported the Republicans. “They support our values!” When asked to clarify, they said “traditional values.” In ‘nother words, they don’t like gay people and the fact we can now get married. The reporter then concluded that the Republican party is becoming more diverse and open to people of color. I would love to talk to these young women in ten years. The Somalis active in politics here all run as Dems.

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  84. Julie Robinson said on November 6, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Not voting for the unopposed R’s was my way of protest voting too. We had a very healthy turnout at my polling place, with a steady line and wait times, according to the poll workers. I waited about 15 minutes, and estimate the average voter age at 75.

    Suzanne, in this county potential jurors are pulled from the licensed drivers, and I understand more have registered to vote as a result.

    However: there are many who have moved away who are still on the rolls, because Indiana waits two full federal election cycles to purge names. That means our daughter won’t be purged until 2017, although she has moved twice and voted in both new locales. I asked about having her removed and they said she would have to present herself at the registration office and sign a document that she has moved. Okay, I’m not sure that’s gonna be a priority the next time she’s home, but it makes it look like she’s a non-voter, when in fact she has even been an election judge the last two elections.

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  85. brian stouder said on November 6, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Julie – Fox News Headline for your post: VOTER FRAUD RAMPANT IN INDIANA

    Except, on second thought, we’re more Republican than Raphael Cruz of Calgary…so the headline would be: OBAMA DOES NOTHING TO REMEDY INDIANA VOTER FRAUD

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  86. Julie Robinson said on November 6, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Haha! It is true, though, that she could have absentee voted had she been dishonest about it. Hey, for all I know I may still be on the rolls in Illinois, some 35 years after I changed my registration.

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  87. Connie said on November 6, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Two years after moving to Michigan my daughter and I were each called for jury duty in Elkhart County Indiana. I had been registered to vote here since moving, while she had been registered to vote in Bloomington IN for as long. I scribbled a note on each summons and mailed them back and never heard another word.

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  88. Little Bird said on November 6, 2014 at 10:57 am

    My voting place actually houses two precincts; they sit in a gym, on opposite sides at tables, smiling at each other. Not only were there no lines at either table, but each group had at least three empty stalls. I hobbled in on my crutch and was immediately pointed to a stall with a chair, no waiting! I don’t think a lot of folks in Santa Fe voted.
    I think most of my friends voted, at least the ones who live in the US.

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