This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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The Line Goes Down, Makes Sam Sad

CA Repub Debate Thoughts

Just a couple. I thought McCain hurt himself here. In the one big mixup with Romney, I thought he was clearly on the wrong side, trying to push a point that was somewhat unfair. There are plenty of things to hit Romney on. This was not the thing. Otherwise he just repeated a lot of things he’s said many time before (including the same jokes, gag). Romney didn’t look much better though.

I was once again somewhat impressed by Huckabee. I don’t agree with him on much, but he actually seemed thoughtful, serious and adult… which I couldn’t say for either McCain or Romney.

And of course Paul… despite his flaws, which are many, he continues to be the one candidate I agree with on the most issues. His approach toward the proper role of government is much closer to mine than anyone else in either party. Yes, I disagree with him on a few things, but at a far lower percentage than any other candidate. I really long for a serious candidates that shares these basic libertarian values, but is actually a strong candidate in other ways too, in terms of character and political savvy and experience and such. I agree with him on 90% of the issues. But can I imagine actually having him, as a person, as president? No. I have real trouble with that. Which leaves me conflicted. In 2004 I declined to vote for the Libertarian party candidate as they were a total nutjob (much more so than Paul). In this case I so much WANT to vote for the person who most closely represents my views… and that would be Paul. But individual policies aside, can I actually say Paul would be the best president of the people running? Even of the Republicans running? No, I’m not sure I can say that. Not that I have to worry about him winning, but if by some strange quirk of fate Ron Paul were actually to win the presidency, I think he’d be completely and totally overwhelmed and out of his league the day he was sworn in.

But I still feel tempted to support him, because he DOES represent many of my views better than anybody else. By FAR.

Sigh.

I think I’ve decided that statements I have to sign about being either a Republican or a Democrat aside, when we get to the Washington State Caucus, I *will* attend one of the two caucuses. Either the Republican Caucus to vote for Ron Paul, or the Democratic Caucus to vote for Obama.

Right now I am still somewhat conflicted on which direction to go.

I will decide after I know the Super Tuesday results.

Honestly though, I hope Ron Paul makes it easy for me and drops out after Super Tuesday makes it mathematically impossible for him to win the nomination. (It might not seal the deal on the #1 spot, but it might seal the fate of Paul.)

In that case I could caucus for Obama without feeling guilty about not voting for the person I agree with most closely on the issues. Why I would vote for Obama when I disagree with him on many issues will probably need to be the subject of another post at another time though.

Of course, the fact that I am somewhat hoping for Paul to drop out so I can feel good about voting for Obama should probably tell me something in and of itself about who I *really* want to vote for. And I guess it does. But I still feel somewhat conflicted here.

For now though, on this debate, I think Huckabee and Paul were actually the most compelling, but that won’t end up mattering, because it is really McCain vs Romney now. I stand by my McCain prediction. He’s got a seemingly huge lead right now in so many states it is a major uphill battle for Romney. I think this debate might hurt McCain and help Romney a bit though.

Hard to say though. I cheated and read a little bit of blog commentary before writing this post though (I usually try to write my own opinion before being tainted by the opinions of others) and there seem to be a decent number of people thinking Romney knows it is over and was phoning it in and hurt his cause here. That’s not what I saw. But we’ll see if there is any bump in the polls over the next few days I guess.

And tomorrow is the Clinton vs Obama debate. Obama really needs to crush on that to close the gap with Clinton in the polls in so many states. But he really sucks at debates. They should just let the two of them give side by side 20 minute speeches. Then he’d crush. At a debate? We’ll see if he can manage to hold his own. Clinton does much better in the debate format usually.

Edwards Out….

NOOOOO!!!!! This means no brokered convention. One way or another, either Obama or Clinton will be the nominee coming into the convention.

I guess there is still the odd chance that the winner will be determined by Florida and Michigan being in or out, or by superdelegates changing their minds at the last minute…

But for the most part, this means either Clinton or Obama will be over 50%, and that will be that.

And then there was Florida…

The big news is of course that McCain pulled out a narrow victory… but Florida is a winner take all state, so it made a HUGE difference in delegates. Winner take all is a whole different ballgame than when the states allocate proportionately.

McCain now takes the delegate lead by a decent margin, now having 47% of the delegates awarded so far compared to Romney’s 36%. Before today it was Romney 49% to McCain 26%. Big difference. Despite the media narrative that changed several times, Romney had been ahead in delegates this whole time except for a couple of days between Iowa and Wyoming when Huckabee was ahead. Now McCain has the lead and the momentum.

Of course, once again, Super Tuesday will allocate far more delegates than have been allocated so far. Everything could change once again. But the national polls are showing McCain with a substantial lead… and with 20 states in play, the national polls are actually instructive for once. Pollster now has results up for 12 Super Tuesday states. Most of them don’t have enough polls for trend lines, but by my reckoning McCain is ahead in at least 7 of those 12 states. If he gets some additional momentum out of Florida, and Guiliani dropping out and endorsing him as is now expected… and captures a bunch of winner takes all states… he could come out of Super Tuesday with a commanding and perhaps insurmountable lead… Romney has some serious work to do in the next week to keep this competitive. If he does so, there are also a few states where Huckabee is ahead. If he manages to capture several of those… and enough delegates to keep either McCain or Romney from reaching 50%… then we may still be in for a nice fight all the way to the convention… Having said that, I think we’re going to come out of next Tuesday with a huge McCain lead and it may effectively be over. We shall see.

Oh yeah, the Dems. Despite what Hillary might wish, there were no delegates awarded in Florida tonight. CNN did adjust the superdelegate count slightly though, so the updated graph is above. The gap between Clinton and Obama narrows further. The trend over the last few months has been clear, with Obama slowly catching up. The question is if there is enough time for him to actually catch up. In terms of delagates left to be allocated, there is certainly enough, but is there TIME. Super Tuesday is only a week away. Looking at Pollster again now that they have all these new states… of the 12 states with polls… Clinton is ahead in 9… now, this is based on VERY limited polling, and there are still 8 states with no polls represented here… this may not reflect movements after Obama’s South Carolina win. But never the less, Obama has a LOT of ground to make up here… now, unlike the Republican side there isn’t a winner take all nonsense happening here… and with proportional delegate selection, Obama can get lots of delegates even in states he does not win. So chances are even if Clinton wins most states, things will still be competitive… but if she comes out of next Tuesday with a substantial delegate lead, the momentum could make it just the beginning of the end for Obama. A lot depends on how much ground Obama can gain in all of these states over the next week.

On both sides, the debates this week will be quite important. This will be an intense week for all involved.

And once again, the whole world will change after Super Tuesday, and we’ll have to reevaluate everything. There is the potential on both sides for one candidate to open a huge lead and even if things aren’t mathematically wrapped up, become “inevitable”. There is also the potential to come out of next Tuesday with both sides in the situation with two leaders not that far apart in delegates, with a third candidate with enough delegates to play kingmaker.

And wouldn’t that be fun.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Everyone Not on Your Side is Evil

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • MacBook Air Reviews
  • Know Your Audience
  • MacBook Pro Wishlist
  • Obama’s Big SC Win
  • Campaign Negativity
  • The Party of Ideas
  • Richard Darman
  • Inheriting Situations
  • Finding the Middle
  • Torture and McCain
  • McCain being himself
  • Romney not so much
  • Florida Primaries
  • Sam’s Washington State Dilemma

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Post-SC Dem Delegates

There we go. After Obama’s big win we can see that the lines moved… a little bit…

Actually, even though it wasn’t by a huge amount, this is the first time you can see the Hillary line make a move that didn’t seem trivial. She dropped from having 54.8% of the delegates yesterday to having 51.9% of them now. Now, that is still more than 50%, but it is dropping.

Obama went from having 31.9% to having 34.3%.

For the Dems, next stop is Super Tuesday. So far there have been 443 delegates determined. On Super Tuesday there will be almost 1700 determined. In other words, aside from “momentum” factors, what has happened so far isn’t worth all that much. So all those percentage lines may well make sudden step-change moves on that day rather than the sort of gradual stuff we have seen so far with Clinton basically holding steady, Obama slowly gaining, and Edwards gradually dropping. There will be nothing gradual about Super Tuesday. We will come out of it, and things will have just changed.

And the next 10 days… they will be intense.

In the mean time… Republicans on Tuesday in Florida.

And a meaningless Democratic Primary in Florida too… except it may show if Obama gets any kind of bounce out of South Carolina. And of course, Hillary wants to change the decision about seating the Florida delegates. If she has her way, it may matter after all.

Double

Now that’s a margin. With 99% reporting as I write this, Obama got more than DOUBLE the number of votes that Hillary did. That is big. This will get some momentum going into Super Duper Tuesday. It is mathematically impossible for us to exit Super Tuesday with an absolute majority in anybody’s hands in this race. It is possible however for somebody to get a commanding lead and momentum at that point. I hope that doesn’t happen though. It is VERY possible at this point that we come out of February 5th with the game still not over.

As of the last polls I have seen, Clinton is still ahead in all the big Super Tuesday states. We’ll see if that starts changing in the next 10 days. I think this win is big enough, and the distaste at the tone of the Clintons in the last week or so may well start to change that.

We shall see.

But this result is EXACTLY what was needed to make this a big battle and continue things forward. The only thing that would have made it more so is if Edwards had done better today. But one can’t have everything.

At the very least Edwards has promised not to get out of the race. To go all the way to the convention. And that is exactly what is needed to enable the brokered convention scenario. So, for the moment, GO EDWARDS! :-)

Having said all that, Obama really is inspiring. As much as I may or may not agree with him on many issues, just listening to him makes me want to vote for him. And I still stand by my pre-Iowa predictions. He will win the Democratic nomination. McCain will get the Republicans. And then Obama will win in the general election. That is not only my prediction, but the more things go on, the more I feel like any other outcome will just make me massively depressed.

(Assuming of course Ron Paul doesn’t make a come from behind win. :-)

Clinton in Second

CNN just declared Clinton for 2nd place. Damn. Edwards in 2nd would have been really exciting.

Not like we don’t have enough excitement. This race in both parties has been awesome so far.

I just keep rooting for the scenarios that will keep it all going as long as humanly possible.

Obama Wins South Carolina

Projection as soon as the polls closed on CNN. Hillary fighting for second with Edwards. Apparently first place wasn’t even close. Just as the polls predicted. Unlike New Hampshire.

Book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Author: J. K. Rowling
Started: 13 Jan 2008
Finished: 20 Jan 2008
652 p / 8 d
82 p/d

So, having just finished the big text book thing, I figured it was time to catch up on Harry Potter. I was two books behind. So Harry Potter Book 6 it was.

It was OK. But I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed. Now, I read Book 5 in 2005… so it had been awhile and I can’t say my memories for comparison purposes are very good. But it seems like less happened in this one. It was a lot slower paced.

Of course most of that was delving into memories to learn more about Voldemort. And that was all interesting stuff, but it didn’t have the, oh my, I must turn the page right now to find out what happens next sort of quality to it.

And the big thing at the end… unfortunately, by waiting as long as I had before reading it, I had indeed been exposed to a spoiler, despite working very hard to try to avoid it. As I remember correctly, it was a post on BoingBoing talking about a t-shirt someone was selling covered with spoilers of various things, from Rosebud to Who shot JR to Luke’s Father to the ending of Harry Potter Book 6. It really pissed me off at the time, and I think probably reduced the effect of the last few chapters of the books.

Anyway… I’m still looking forward to Book 7. And so far I’m spoiler free.

I averaged a healthy 82 pages per day on this book. Much faster than the textbook before this. :-)

A non-fiction is next. I started it within seconds of finishing Harry Potter last weekend. But I’m letting one non-work non-fiction into the mix before the next work non-fiction. And then maybe I’ll let my next fiction book be the last Harry Potter. :-)