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If James Seevakumaran’s plans hadn’t been interrupted—either by the cops, or his roommate, or maybe his conscience—my hometown would have been ground zero for the next national tragedy. He had an assault weapon, two 110-round drum magazines, a handgun, and explosives, and had apparently plotted to mow down the 500 or so students who lived in his dormitory tower. Instead, he killed himself. His motives are unclear.

Below I’ve excerpted from an essay I wrote for the Orlando Weekly. Please take a second to read it. This is important: Whenever one of these incidents occurs, we tell ourselves that we won’t wait until next time to act. When fate grants us a reprieve, however, we shrug.

It’s time to act.

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Last night, I told you about how Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer went all ape shit and accused Obama of trying to indoctrinate children into Maoism or something by having the audacity to, you know, tell them to stay in school. It's gotten a lot of play these last 24 hours, and here we have party flack Nicole Gordon defending Greer's absolute stupidity to TPM.

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I don't post here often, but this is pretty damn infuriating, and worthy of a little more attention. First, background:On Aug. 26, the Secretary of Education sent the following letter to school principals all over the nation:

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Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 10:17 AM PDT

"Get serious"

by jbill

I know, I know, I should leave this stuff to the professionals, and I'm not at all being critical of the Obama campaign, especially since I'm not privy to internal polling and focus groups and what not.

That said, I woke up this morning ANGRY about the tenor of this campaign, and what is the Internet good for if not creative venting. So with that said, here's an ad I'd like to see:

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I haven't posted for a while, but I had a thought to share...

Without belaboring the point, I do think the weakness of the Obama campaign, if there is one, has been the air game - TV ads. The thing about the McCain ads has been that they are so outrageous that they get people talking about them, whether they are accurate or (usually) not.

Anyone who knows about the media and public opinion research (and I know about as much as anyone who's studied it in grad school, for better or worse) has heard an axiom that goes something like: "The media can't tell you what to think, but they can tell you what to think about." In other words, the media can't tell you what to think about when McCain lies his ass off in a TV ad, by they can (and do) talk about it, and it saturates into the mainstream. That's why McCain's "Celebrity" attacks were so effective, no matter how much eye-rolling they prompted among the educated class.

That said, the long and short of it is this: Obama needs (OK, I say "needs" but really, what do I know?) something stronger, something that hits hard and direct, something visceral. To that end, something like this:

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Mon May 05, 2008 at 10:41 AM PDT

tuesday prediction thread

by jbill

OK, so as it stands today, PPP (which is native, and did well in South Carolina) has Obama up 10 in NC, and SUSA (which has been good all-around) has Hillary up 12(!) in Indiana.

What will tomorrow hold?

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Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 08:24 AM PDT

The politics of basketball

by jbill

I saw something, a sort of trivial aside in today's New York Times story on Obama's Indiana strategy that got me thinking. Here it is:

For the last year, advisers had been reluctant to highlight him playing basketball, thinking it could raise racial stereotypes or make him look less serious. But in Indiana, where basketball is sacrosanct, Mr. Obama scored four baskets and his team won the 20-minute game, a far better showing than his much-derided bowling outing in Pennsylvania.

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Sun Apr 27, 2008 at 12:28 PM PDT

the insanity (and inanity) quickens

by jbill

This is my first attempt at a diary, here or anywhere else. Be kind.

Obama hangs out with terrorists. Obama hates America. Obama wants to disenfranchise Michigan and Florida. Obama is misogynist. Obama can't win white votes. Obama wins black votes because blacks are being duped. Obama wins college kids because they're stupid Kool-Aid drinkers. Obama wins intellectuals because he's an elitist. Obama is arrogant. Obama is too conservative to win. Obama is too liberal to win. Obama is a Muslim. Obama is a Muslim sympathizer. Obama hates Jews. Obama hates white people. Obama is a drug addict. Obama's pastor hates America. Obama doesn't wear a flag pin because he hates America. Obama's wife hates America. Obama is too nice to win. Obama is underhanded and mean. Obama is really losing the popular vote. Obama is destroying the Democratic Party. Et cetera. Et cetera.

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