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



March 2008

Bellevue School District No. 405, Proposition No 1

There is an election today on a local school funding proposition in Bellevue, Wa where I live. Basically to approve issuing a bunch of bonds to pay for school improvements and authorizing increases in property taxes to pay for it.

The Board of Directors of Bellevue School District No. 405 adopted Resolution No. 07-21 concerning this proposition to continue to make long-term improvements in schools and facilities. To construct, equip, and install capital improvements to the District’s educational facilities and make other necessary capital improvements as part of the Building for the Future Program, the Bellevue School District No. 405 shall issue $545,000,000 of general obligation bonds maturing within a maximum of 20 years, and levy excess property taxes annually to repay the bonds, as provided in Resolution No. 07-21. Should this proposition be: APPROVED or REJECTED

I am voting “Rejected” for several reasons:

  • I would be approving a tax that others would have to pay, but I would not (since at the moment I do not own property that would be taxed by this). This seems fundamentally wrong.
  • It is building up debt via bonds rather than just paying for what they want to do directly. I don’t like debt. This debt would be in bonds with up to a 20 year maturity. So in addition to what I mentioned in my first bullet, I’d also be imposing a tax on future people for the next 20 years, people who didn’t even get a chance to voice an opinion on this. That also seems wrong.
  • I would not directly benefit from the funds being spent… at least not at the moment since we send Amy to private school. We might benefit in the future, but do not today. At least not directly, although of course there is the general benefit of a better educated populace, but I think that is outweighed by the first two points.

And that be that. I spent a grand total of 30 seconds thinking about it. Maybe if I had spent longer or researched more I would have done something else. I felt bad about not having done more research as soon as I filled in the little bubble on the mail-in ballot. But I’d already filled in the bubble. So it is going in the mail now.

Electoral College: Ohio Flips to Obama didn’t put any new Obama vs McCain matchup polls on their poll update page that I monitor. But they did put up new charts for Ohio and Florida and lo and behold, those pages listed a bunch of polls for each state that had not previously been called out on the update page. Well, at least I didn’t see them when I went to look when I started this thing. I (so far) have not gone back and retroactively added the impact of these polls to my lines going back into the past. But I made sure I had the last five for each state and included those in my average for today. The result is that Ohio flips from weak McCain to weak Obama.

This puts us at 288 electoral votes for McCain, 247 electoral votes for Obama and 3 electoral votes with no polls.

Of course, that is throwing all the “weak” states to the candidate that is ahead, and some of those contests are VERY close.

I had mentioned with my last update that I had decided to split the “weak” into those races closer than 5% and those from 5% to 10%. I meant to do this over the weekend, but didn’t get a chance. I’ll try to make time for it this next coming weekend, because I think it will let you read a lot more out of this chart.

I may go back and add in those additional historical polls to change the “past” portion of the lines too. Maybe. I haven’t decided on that one yet. :-)

For the moment, I’m also sticking with the “last 5 polls” method. I had mentioned earlier that when started publishing trend lines I might switch to that. I may still. But for now I’ll stick with the 5 polls method.

Digging Abulsme

I was in one of those sorts of moods, so instead of doing what I should have been doing the last 30 minutes or so, I was messing around with my blog templates. I changed the format of the timestamp slightly… I played with more radical formats, but then went back to a semi-normal format, but a slightly different one that was there before.

And then I went and added Digg buttons, just to see how that worked. It was pretty damn simple of course. Just copy and paste some Javascript into the right part of the site templates. Now, do I anticipate a mad rush of diggs? Uh, no. Not at all. But it was fun adding them. I may well eventually take them back out again. But for the moment, they are there. So if you see a post you really like, do please feel quite fee to digg it. :-) I am of course expecting no such thing though.

And now, I should get back to other stuff I wanted to get done tonight… then get to sleep. I am very tired. Bleh.

Bad Week for Obama… Not!

So, CNN dumped a bunch of delegate updates today. There were some new superdelegates who declared preferences recently and are now counted. But CNN also updated the delegate breakdowns in California, DC, Georgia, Maryland, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Vermont and Wyoming, presumably representing finalization of the results in those states. Between all of that, today Obama picked up 26 delegates and Clinton picked up 10.

So, one might ask, where does that put us for the results of the previous seven days? (That is, since right before Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont voted.)

One week ago Obama had a 109 delegate lead over Clinton.

Today Obama has a 115 delegate lead over Clinton.

One week ago Clinton would have needed to win 54.9% of all remaining delegates to win.

Today Clinton needs to win 56.8% of all remaining delegates to win.

In the last week, Clinton gained 169 delegates. Obama gained 175 delegates.

And, by the way, this still does not include the results of the Texas Caucuses, which are going to be a net gain for Obama.

OK, there is one place where Hillary came out ahead. In percentage terms one week ago the gap between the percent of delegates allocated was 4.1%. It is now 3.8%. So in percentage terms she narrowed the gap slightly.

But because the number of delegates left is less than it was a week ago, despite narrowing that gap somewhat, because she wasn’t narrowing the gap at a pace that would be on track to actually take the lead and win, she now has a HARDER road to the nomination now than she did a week ago.

Now, I will admit, 56.8% of all remaining delegates is a big number, but it is not 70% or 80%. It is within the realm of political possibility, although it obviously represents doing MUCH better than she has so far (she has won 47.7% of all the delegates so far).

Now, these are percentages of ALL remaining delegates, both pledged and super. But I think it is still valid to look at it this way.

In any case, yes, it is “the math” and yes, nobody wants to hear about the math. It is just too damn complicated. Boo Hoo. People want to hear about wins and losses!!! But wins and losses of states DO NOT MATTER in this system. Delegates matter. And the math matters.

The way the coverage has gone this week is absolutely non-sensical. Clinton resurgence! Woo Woo! At the BEST part of this week, she had very slightly reduced Obama’s lead and was still nowhere near catching him. And as the week progressed and more results came in… and then the Wyoming caucuses… she just gave up what she had gained. One week later, she is WORSE OFF than before she “won” Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island. And never in that time was she in the lead. This race has not been going back and forth. Not since February 13th when Obama first took the lead has the leadership of this race changed hands.

What’s the real story here? Clinton did better in the March 4th elections than she had in quite awhile. But it was still NOT GOOD ENOUGH to be on a pace to catch Obama and win. That spin would be what is really going on. But somehow the “story” in the mainstream media is very different than that. Not because it is in any way true or meaningful, but because a horse race and a battle all the way to the convention is the better story.

Even more so… look at the graph. Look at the whole history since the beginning of January. The Clinton trend, aside from a couple of bumps, has been a steady upward trend. The Obama trend, aside from a couple small bumps, has been a steady upward trend.

Yes, it looks like Hillary has decided to fight this out to the end. Up to the very end. Potentially even trying to change the minds of superdelegates who have already decided. Perhaps even trying to change the minds of pledged delegates.

There are ways for her to win this. But they all involve either changing the minds of delegates already in Obama’s camp, or winning a MUCH higher percentage of delegates (both pledged and super) than she has managed so far.

Tomorrow is Mississippi. Expect Clinton to fall even further behind.

Then, unless Obama manages an upset, she’ll close the gap a bit in Pennsylvania. But, unless the split is much more in her favor than current polls show, it WON’T BE ENOUGH.

But that won’t matter, because the spin out of Pennsylvania will be that Wyoming and Mississippi were small and didn’t matter, and SHE WINS PENNSYLVANIA!!! And nobody will even give a crap that after that she’ll most likely be even further away from winning the nomination, even though she “won”.

Very depressing.