"You're a Terrific Hologram"

"YOU'RE A TERRIFIC HOLOGRAM"....Wolf Blitzer is now talking to a holographic Jessica Yellen. "We've beamed you in," says Blitzer. "It's like I followed in the tradition of Princess Leia," replies Yellin, in an old school reference to R2D2's projection of Leia in the first Star Wars movie. And sure enough, the shimmering aura around Yellin really does look like that.

"You're a terrific hologram," says Blitzer when the segment ends. And with that she fades out.

Sheesh.

Who Wins the Giant Nerd Demographic? CNN

Was that Obi-Wan who just appeared in a CNN segment with Wolf Blitzer? Nope. It was reporter Jessica Yellin, appearing via hologram. That's right, CNN has incorporated a hologram into its coverage tonight.

Jumping the shark was nuking the fridge. Now it's hologramming Jessica Yellin. As in, Dude, that show has nothing left. It has totally hologrammed Jessica Yellin.

PS — I'm probably being too hard on CNN. I mean, they beat NASA and the DOD to this technology. That's something. Right?

7:00pm Poll Closings

The networks called Kentucky for John McCain and Vermont for Barack Obama. Indiana and South Carolina, which were called immediately after polls closed in 2004, are still too close to call. Indiana being a close race portends a tough night for John McCain. George W. Bush won that state by 21 points in 2004. Virginia is too close to call, too, but Mark Warner will, as expected, be the next US Senator from Virginia. That's the Democrats' first Senate pickup of the night.

Good News for McCain!

GOOD NEWS FOR McCAIN!....CNN says that McCain is ahead so far, 8 electoral votes to 3. I predict that this will be his last lead of the evening.

Final Numbers

FINAL NUMBERS....Apropos of nothing in particular, here are the final pre-election approval ratings for George Bush from the Fox News poll. Hard to believe, eh? Even after the almost unimaginable incompetence and calamity of the Bush presidency, topped off by the biggest global financial crisis since the Great Depression, 63% of Republicans still think Bush has done a fine job. If he hadn't sold them down the river on immigration hardassery, I'll bet that number would be more like 80%. I don't really know what that means, but it can't be good for the immediate future of the party. Apparently you have to be even worse than George Bush to lose more than half the GOP rank and file. That's just plain scary.

Anyway, I feel like today, now that it's finally in its death throes, I should have some kind of summing up of the catastrophe that has been the recent Republican era in American politics. As always, though, I just can't do it. It's too big for me to get my hands around. For now, then, I'll satisfy myself with merely documenting those final throes as they happen. They start in just a few minutes.

McCain and Palin Face Off

I love the internet.

Starbucks Wants You to Vote, Too

Has E-Day made you jittery yet? No? Starbucks would like to fix that for you.

Maybe I'm just a sucker for sans-serif, but I find the voting PSA below to be oddly fetching. Your lukewarm takeaway? Go vote, get a hot steaming cup of joe free with new president:

MOJO VIDEO: Obama Supporters On Their Hopes for a New Administration

Barack Obama concluded his campaign for the presidency on Monday, November 3, with a rally in Manassas, Virginia. The event's location was one final sign that Obama has made good on his promise to expand the electoral map for Democrats — Virginia has not voted for a Democrat in 44 years and yet Obama holds a five point lead going into Election Day. The supporters Mother Jones found appeared touched by the unique appeal that may allow Obama to win red states like Virginia tonight. They were convinced Obama would heal the nation's wounds, end the nation's wars, and fix the nation's economic troubles. When asked for a way a President Obama might disappoint them, few could think of anything to say.

— Tay Wiles and David Corn

Scientists Vote Obama

Barack Obama has captured the lion's share of visible support among scientists, reports AAAS. "It's an enthusiasm chasm," says Michael Stebbins, president of the Scientists and Engineers for America Action Fund, which created a YouTube channel for scientists to explain their choice. As of press time, 22 videos have been posted, all by Obama supporters.

Bernice Durand, a physicist who worked for antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy in 1968, has jumped back into the political fray for Obama. Since September, she's worked with more than three dozen scientists who've placed articles or letters in 50-plus newspapers in 20 states, most of them considered still up for grabs. The scientists have also appeared on radio shows and been interviewed by reporters covering the campaign. "On issues of science," says Durand, "on support for research, and on [Obama's] interactions with the scientific community, there's no contest compared to McCain," she says.

Nothing like the disaster of the past 8 years and the potential for so much worse to motivate scientists to finally step out from behind the wall of science and claim their rightful—and much needed—voices in society.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent, lecturer, and 2008 winner of the PEN USA Literary Award, the Kiriyama Prize and the John Burroughs Medal.

Dirty Campaigns

DIRTY CAMPAIGNS....Brad DeLong comments on the 2008 campaign:

Yes, John McCain ran a dirty campaign. But it was a less dirty campaign than any Republican has run since... well, since the memory of man runneth (with the possible exception of Ford 1976). The difference this year was that — for some reason — this year a fraction of the mainstream press called them on it rather than ignoring it entirely.

I have my doubts that the media per se was the difference this year. For what it's worth, I think the difference is that in past presidential elections most of the really vile campaigning — not all, but most — was either kept under the radar or left to surrogates. Plausible deniability was maintained for the worst of it. This year, for some reason, the McCain campaign itself was willing to conduct a lot of its sleazy attacks publicly in its own name, and this opened them up to media criticism in a way that previous campaigns managed to avoid. I don't know why they did this. I'm not sure that Brad is right about the relative civility of McCain's campaign in any case, but there's not much question that McCain's eager public embrace of slime made his campaign seem worse than it had to. I don't really have a good theory to explain why they did this.

POSTSCRIPT: I should add that I don't mean to imply this is the whole story. It's true that the media liked Obama and treated him pretty easily. I imagine this was partly because so much of the anti-Obama stuff was so plainly crazy (he's a Muslim, he's a black nationalist, his birth certificate was forged, etc.) and partly because they were being extra careful not to buy into any criticism that seemed even arguably racially motivated. And they were probably harder on McCain than normal because they felt like their hero from 2000 had fallen to earth.

In the end, though, despite constant kvetching from conservatives, the media did report on Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers and Joe the Plumber and all that. And it just didn't stick. Who knows why? For whatever reason, the public just wasn't in the mood for this brand of BS this year.