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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August 2008
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Ivan Jamaica Update

Once again, an update from Ivan, this time via email:

last night was a doozy internet and tv went down at 630am I am writing from my handheld as cell service is working. the winds on the beach gusted to under 100 mph. you could hear the wind and the building shook a little. this is not a weak building its reinforced concrete. by 8am the winds dided down and we haven getting steady rain. I have spoken with some of the locals and so far no major damage reported.

NHC Updates as of 12 UTC (6 hours ago):

Western Jamaica: 90% to 100% chance of tropical storm force winds, 0% chance of hurricane force winds.

New Orleans: 55% chance of tropical storm force winds, 15% chance of hurricane force winds

Initial Palin Thoughts

I have to head out in just a few minutes. But I thought I’d post some initial thoughts. Palin’s name had floated around occasionally, but it was not one of the names brought up time after time as the most likely choices. I honestly don’t know all that much about her other than the summary points. Like everyone else, I’ll be learning a lot more about her over the next week, and my opinions may change as that happens.

In the mean time though, my initial thought is that this is a gutsy move by McCain. It might even be a brilliant choice. Or it could backfire completely.

Pro: By picking a young woman, McCain breaks the mold… this isn’t a stodgy old white man. This does push back on the “historic” bits of Obama’s candidacy.

Con: It makes it much harder to make the experience argument against Obama.

Pro: This will make the conservative base very happy, from initial reports, she is very conservative.

Con: This may make moderates who liked McCain because he was moderate think twice.

Pro: This may push some Hillary dead enders over the line to McCain.

Dunno. We’ll she how this plays out.

But I think it does make this a very different game than if McCain had picked one of the “safe” choices.

The next two months should be quite fun.

McCain-Palin

CNBC Says it is Palin:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Is McCain’s VP Pick: Source
(John Harwood, CNBC, 29 Aug 2008)

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a self-styled “hockey mom” who has only been governor for a little over a year, is GOP Presidential candidate John McCain’s choice for Vice President, CNBC has learned.

According to a Republican strategist, Palin is the nominee, though McCain’s campaign has not comfirmed this.

(via reader Kelly M., thanks Kelly!)

No other news outlets seem to be confirming yet. Nothing on regular MSNBC, CNN or Fox.

Strike that. Fox is saying Palin now too.

I imagine the rest will confirm shortly.

Best Rumors: Palin

The best rumors this morning are about Sarah Palin, based primarily on a charter flight from Anchorage to Dayton last night. But nobody is willing to go out on a limb and say she is it for sure.

I hope they hurry up and leak and confirm. I need to go to work before the official event.

(Although I’ll have a few breaks when I’ll be able to do quick news checks.)

Still No Leaks

Wow. Down to just a couple of hours until the McCain veep announcement in Dayton, and I wake up and the press is still guessing and speculating on who it might be, listing multiple possibilities.

Apparently McCain’s team can actually keep a secret.

Not Off Today

I’m back at work Friday (today), before once again taking some time next week. It was kind of an odd week. I was mostly on vacation, but did about 4 hours of work on Tuesday, 1 hour of work on Wednesday, 1 hour of work on Thursday (all times UTC). Today I’ll do a full normal day. Then it will be back to doing stuff at home again.

But in any case, I have work in the morning, starting with a conference call at 16 UTC, so I think I’m calling it a night now.

Sullivan’s Take

Any regular reader knows I’ve been pretty much in sync with Andrew Sullivan on Obama. A brief excerpt from his thoughts on the speech below. Click through to read the whole thing.

The Hope We Confess
(Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish, 28 Aug 2008)

What he didn’t do was give an airy, abstract, dreamy confection of rhetoric. The McCain campaign set Obama up as a celebrity airhead, a Paris Hilton of wealth and elitism. And he let them portray him that way, and let them over-reach, and let them punch him again and again … and then he turned around and destroyed them. If the Rove Republicans thought they were playing with a patsy, they just got a reality check.

He took every assault on him and turned them around. He showed not just that he understood the experience of many middle class Americans, but that he understood how the Republicans have succeeded in smearing him. And he didn’t shrink from the personal charges; he rebutted them. Whoever else this was, it was not Adlai Stevenson. It was not Jimmy Carter. And it was less afraid and less calculating than Bill Clinton.

McCain’s Congratulations

Not bad. Good touch.

(via Instapundit)

New Gustav Update from Ivan

Once again lifted from the comments in a previous post, Ivan gives another update:

Current report. Lot of wind and rain, but the worst has not yet come. Everything is normal here at our hotel. I am looking at the local news and despite the heavy wind and rains nothing catastrophic yet to report. TV internet everything working. Our hotel had a wonderful free dinner for us at the main ballroom and they had the weather channel on one big screen and the Obama speech on another so we have been well informed.

The center of the storm according to the news is in the middle of the island at this moment. They are showing some overturned vehicles and some power lines down, some minor damage, in Kingston at the moment. Very few people went to shelters most people they preferred to ride it out in their homes. Since it’s the low season the hotel was only at 30% occupancy those employees are going to stay here in rooms in order to take care of us. The Jamaican’s are very warm people in general and I have to compliment everyone here for their preparations which were top notch. They currently report that 15% Jamaica is without power. I will keep reporting as long as we have internet.

Current Gustav info for Western Jamaica: 80% to 90% chance of tropical storm winds. 5% to 7% for hurricane force winds.

For New Orleans: ~45% chance of tropical storm force winds, ~10% chance of hurricane force winds.

The Obama Speech

He almost lost me… had me booing at the screen… near the beginning when he made what I thought were a couple unfair cheap shots at McCain… and during the riff ripping Republicans for advocating economic policies that told people “you are on your own”. That reminded me just how many issues I actually disagree with Obama on.

But then he started the section on foreign policy and he brought me right along. And then he started on his post-partisan message and he once again had me completely. Yes, clapping, cheering, even some tears. This is the stuff that had me in 2004 and made me say then that Obama would one day be president. No… had to one day be president.

In the end the speech as a whole had a lot of policy. More than I needed. But as the single event of his that more people will be watching than any other, it made sense that it was there. And deflects the “no substance” attacks.

And for that matter he systematically included bits to deflect almost all of the current attacks against him.

The build up and rhythm was not as intense as the 2004 speech, or even some of the speeches during the primary. But… but… there was something more important here.

He looked Presidential. Completely. Totally. This was almost not a campaign speech. This was almost a State of the Union speech. He was confident. He was in his element. He was in control. He knew what he believed and he knew what needs to be done. I disagreed with him on a variety of things. But even on those things, he was strong, commanding… and convincing… on some things he even made me start wondering he is right and I am wrong.

He was not just someone to have a beer with, or a competent administrator, or a nice guy. He was a leader.

This is what a President should be.