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Trail Mix


by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & The Vote: Rocked & r & & r & The 126.5 million to 128.5 million ballots cast in the presidential election last week were the most in American history, but still far from the lofty prediction that 140 million might vote. An analysis by Curtis Gans of preliminary results compiled by the Associated Press showed that the percentage was just about the same as it was in 2004, when about six out of 10 eligible voters cast a ballot.

The turnouts in recent elections hearken back to the 1960s, when 60 percent turnouts were routine; in the 1990s, the trend reversed, with just 49 percent bothering to vote in the 1996 race between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. And results were oddly mixed around the nation, American University's Gans found. For example, in hotly contested Ohio, fewer voters turned out this year than did in 2004; meanwhile, in Pennsylvania nearly 700,000 more voted this year than did in 2004.

But the big news is that young people did, in fact, "rock" the vote. According to researchers at Tufts University, as many as 24 million Americans between the ages of 18-29 voted. The only election with a higher turnout from that group was in 1972 -- the first year after the voting age had been moved to 18.

True Friends

You find out who your real friends are when you're in trouble, and Sen. Larry Craig has found them few and far between since his too wide a stance in Minneapolis. But last weekend, the University of Idaho honored Craig's 28 years of service by presenting him with a gnarly poplar tree. (Seriously. Fill in your own "gnarly" joke here.) Turns out that the U of I, with money secured by Vandal alum Craig, developed the tree, which has become a favorite among landscapers for its hardiness in the face of brutal conditions -- kind of like Larry himself.

Crazy Liberals!

It was a little odd to hear the Spokesman-Review's ombudsman agree with a critic that Spokane's daily paper has "a decided left wing." Setting aside the puzzling question of what "a decided left wing" even is, unmentioned in all their ombudding is the fact that the S-R's wing flapped for John McCain and Sarah Palin. You want more proof of how mindlessly liberal they are? They endorsed George W. Bush. Twice.

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