Blog Posts by Vera H-C Chan

  • NEWS: 2012 Election Day ... in slices

    A voter signs in to cast a ballot at the old Brown School on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in rural Wellsville, Kan. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yielded center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)And we're off.

    In a way, the millions of Americans who will cast their ballot at their neighborhood polling stations on Election Day can either be seen as staunch traditionalists or procrastinators. Early and absentee ballot voting have hit record highs in California, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and many other states. (Oregon and Washington of course have long led that trend, since all ballots are mail-in.)

    Still, there's a weary exhilaration that a long, turbulent election slog will soon be over. Let's tune in and see what political issues people throughout the United States are searching for on Yahoo! on Election Day. (Check back in: We will be updating throughout the day, with the most recent at top. All times noted are the area's local time.)

    Related: Yahoo! Election Control Room

    Related: Election Day, in pictures

    Confetti obscures the stage as U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates after winning the U.S. presidential election in Chicago, Illinois, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Philip Scottr- Andrews

    Searches on Yahoo!, from across the nation, after Obama's second term is confirmed

    1. 2012 Election Results
    2. 2012 Electoral Map, Election Map
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  • Analysis: The case for and against FEMA

    A National Guardsman shakes hands with a motorist as he helps distribute MREs (Meals Ready to Eat,) ice, water and blankets at a FEMA POD (Federal Emergency Management Agency Point of Distribution) to survivors of Hurricane Sandy in Hazlet, New Jersey on November 4, 2012. Living conditions remained severe for tens of thousands of people unable to return to their homes, and some 1.4 million homes and businesses were due to endure another night of near-freezing temperatures without power or heat. Picture taken November 4, 2012. REUTERS/Liz Roll/FEMA/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSDisasters should never get political, but when taxpayer money is involved, even a much-needed leg up can set off heated budgetary discussions.

    Economists have already been tallying Hurricane Sandy's damages to about $50 billion and up, and few would argue that the role of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is appropriate in this case.

    The larger debate revolves less around whether FEMA should exist, and more around how involved it should be in state efforts. Mitt Romney's debate comments about disaster relief focused on empowering the states: "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better."

    Advocates for state autonomy argue that the federal government's very willingness to grant funds can make states dependent.

    FEMA/federal government should be reserved for truly catastrophic events like
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  • Tales of political cooperation: Getting (happily) lost in the corn maze of politics

    It's the nature of politics and corn mazes: Come Election Day, the combine will be mowing down the faces of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in an Idaho cornfield.

    Until Nov. 3, though, visitors to the Farmstead Corn Maze & Pumpkin Festival can still make their way through the 18-acre labyrinth depicting the 2012 presidential candidates and the words, "Vote With Your Feet." The Farmstead's not the only bipartisan corn maze: The Maize at Milton in Tennessee, Siegel's Cottonwood Pumpkin Farm in Illinois, Cornbelly 's in Utah and the Pumpkin Ranch in Iowa have also devoted acreage to an Obama-Romney faceoff.

    The Farmstead will be open later than the usual maze: It normally shuts down right after Halloween, but given the campaign, Lowe decided to stay open through the first weekend in November. Thanks to media attention from the Washington Post to Conde Nast Traveler , attendance at Farmstead, which opened Sept. 21, might just surpass the 20,000-person average that the annual attraction

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  • Tales of political cooperation: Most bipartisan state?

    FILE -This July 28, 2011, file photo shows the dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)Americans have repeatedly told pollsters about their exhaustion over partisan politics. Seven in 10 independents clamor for compromise over confrontation. Battle-scarred politicians, such as Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who cultivate thicker skins than armadillos, have cited the toxic environment on the Hill as a reason for retiring. Amid the overheated rhetoric, apocalyptic warnings and well-financed attacks, however, are tales of political cooperation, both small and large. Here is one in a series.

    National stalemates and party tantrums get the headlines. Drill down, though, and you'll see many states and cities working through fractious issues. Despite million-dollar deficits and divisive social issues, there are daily signs of political cooperation in the trenches.

    A cooperative Columbus, a nonpartisan Nebraska and Idaho
    So which region should get kudos for being the most bipartisan? Time magazine, for instance, recently honed in on a popular political destination. "If you ever

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  • Tales of political cooperation: The election season's friendliest political videos

    Americans have repeatedly told pollsters about their exhaustion over partisan politics. Seven in 10 independents clamor for compromise over confrontation. Battle-scarred politicians, such as Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who cultivate thicker skins than armadillos, have cited the toxic environment on the Hill as a reason for retiring. Amid the overheated rhetoric, apocalyptic warnings and well-financed attacks, however, are tales of political cooperation, both small and large. Here is one in a series.

    Campaign ads have been one of the few freewheeling spends in a tough economy, with the presidential contest alone accounting for more than a half billion dollars to date. With a few weeks left in the election cycle, outlets like Politico are deciding on its top 25 unforgettable campaign ads.

    Unforgettable, though, usually involves poking at the opponent: It's been nigh impossible to find a race in which candidates have promised not to attack one another. The closest high-profile pact

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  • Tales of political cooperation: Reaching across the aisle for hors d'oeuvres

    Congressional staffers gather at Across the Aisle Foundation's get-together, First 100 Days of the 113th Congress, on Oct. 2, 2012. The meeting of staffers from both parties was unprecedented.Americans have repeatedly told pollsters about their exhaustion over partisan politics. Seven in 10 independents clamor for compromise over confrontation. Battle-scarred politicians, such as Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who cultivate thicker skins than armadillos, have cited the toxic environment on the Hill as a reason for retiring. Amid the overheated rhetoric, apocalyptic warnings and well-financed attacks, however, are tales of political cooperation, both small and large. Here is one in a series.

    From the mail room to the break room, the secretary pool to the executive suite, there's always a place where staffers get together to chat or kvetch. After work, there's always the coffee klatch or a happy-hour hangout for folks to wind down.

    But not for staffers working for the legislators making the law of the land—that kind of fraternizing just wasn't done on the Hill. That is, until Across the Aisle Foundation, the cultural arm of the nonpartisan No Labels, decided to host a

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  • Tales of political cooperation: Ball State University students work together to get out the vote

    Scenes from a cooperative student body, Ball State University

    Americans have repeatedly told pollsters about their exhaustion over partisan politics. Seven in 10 independents clamor for compromise over confrontation. Battle-scarred politicians like Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, who cultivate thicker skins than armadillos, have cited the toxic environment on the Hill as a reason for retiring. Amid the overheated rhetoric, apocalyptic warnings and well-financed attacks, however, are tales of political cooperation, both small and large. Here is one in a series.

    Sometimes just showing up is half the battle.

    Ball State University may well be more than a century old, but the Muncie, Ind., school has been dubbed an up-and-comer. Beyond bragging rights in social justice, online education and even geothermal green energy, BSU might add a student body that can engage in civic discourse with civility.

    Back in April, the BSU College Republicans held a debate among the five candidates running for Indiana's 6th Congressional District, and the

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  • Voter's Guide to Voting

    Voters at long last can file their choice in the presidential election. Indiana and Kentucky are the first states to open up absentee-ballot voting.

    For people who have yet to register, those deadlines too are fast approaching: Mississippi and South Carolina citizens must fill out their forms by Oct. 6.

    Getting to that polling station, though, might be more complicated. Thirty-one states have voter registration laws. Of those, five have passed so-called strict voter-ID requirements. Proving you're you at the ballot box has become the subject of bureaucratic upheavals, political blustering, and lawsuits aplenty. And yet, hidden in the fiery rhetoric is good news of electoral cooperation and statistics that demonstrate American integrity in the voting booth. Below, some election facts and a voter's chart.

    Ballot boxFixing the vote: the first rush of voting laws. The contentious 2000 presidential election, which injected terms like "hanging chad" and "butterfly ballot" into the

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  • Join us for Yahoo! TV’s Emmy Awards live chat

    Thanks for joining us for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards. Escorting you through the evening are Vera Chan and Jason Sickles, your guides from the Golden Globes and Oscars We'll be breaking down the fashion on the red carpet, getting reports from inside the ceremony, and keeping you updated on all things Emmys. Join us in the conversation!

    Also check out the side conversations at @romanlillie, @mrogersyahoo and the official account at @PrimetimeEmmys.

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  • Y! Big Picture: Homegrown terrorism

    FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2011 file photo, U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Peden, 25, left, and Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, 19, are led away in handcuffs after appearing before a magistrate judge at the Long County Sheriffs Office in Ludowici, Ga. Prosecutors say a murder case against the four soldiers in Georgia has revealed they formed an anarchist militia within the U.S. military with plans to overthrow the federal government, The Associated Press reports Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Lewis Levine, File)

    Michael Roark was 19, his girlfriend Tiffany York 17, when they were shot in the head, twice, on Dec. 4, 2011, in Georgia. Both from military families, they had been dating just three months, but Roark's father Brett told AP that the two were "truly in love."

    York's father, on the other hand, didn't favor the romance. A photo his daughter had sent — the couple at the shooting range, standing by a table with 15 rifles and handguns — disturbed him, he told a reporter. He wanted her to break it off. York had plane ticket bound for California, to join family there and go into nursing. In her final days, she too had reservations, wondering aloud about her boyfriend's ready cash. (She was told, reports say, that Roark and his friends earned their money working in a "business that placed holds on credit cards.")

    Roark was "broken-hearted and disappointed," his father said — but not over York. The private had just left the Army, disillusioned after less than two "with what he found at

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