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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September 2012
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@abulsme Updates from 2012-09-12 (UTC)

  • RT @Lebeaucarnews: Map of the Morning: See what the #1 selling vehicle is in your state. http://t.co/HaWW1dnY #
  • EC Update for Wed Sep 12 done. Added polls in AZ MN VA FL. VA changes categories. Blog post soon. http://t.co/kF2iz3uE #
  • RT @electionate: Let's figure out where the race is at after the conventions before we move onto the debates, okay? #
  • Reading – Romney’s Insensitivity To LGBT People: ‘I Didn’t Know You Had Families’ (Zack Ford) http://t.co/CNSc8WD1 #
  • Lots of news going on today that I'd love to be following minute by minute. But there is this "work" thing. So, catch up tonight I guess. #
  • Perhaps I'll be able to look at a few things now over lunch… #
  • MT @feliciaday: Ikea Amnesia: Length of time it takes to forget how awful it was 2 assemble the last thing you got there and return to Ikea. #
  • Reading – High Stakes Poker (Josh Marshall) http://t.co/lOMavrqb #
  • MT @DanielLarison: Memo to Romney: This isn't hard. When US missions are attacked express your condemnation, voice support for mission staff #
  • NT @BenjySarlin: Nothing more constructive than issuing pre-election inaccurate attack on State Dep during a deadly international crisis #
  • RT @BuzzFeedAndrew: .@USEmbassyCairo has now deleted their tweet standing by their original statement. #
  • Reading – Will Morsi Apologize? Ctd (Andrew Sullivan) http://t.co/o04UrVpg #
  • Reading – Mitt Romney's Lethargic Foreign Policy (Ta-Nehisi Coates) http://t.co/fw56OzWl #
  • Reading – A Timeline Of The Attacks In Libya And Egypt — And The Responses
    (Brian Beutler) http://t.co/JxmaOsXh #
  • Reading – President Obama Accuses Romney of Shooting First, Aiming Later (Paul Constant) http://t.co/vVMrPngL #
  • Reading – AT&T's Grandfathered Unlimited Data Plan Customers Get 5GB on LTE Before Being Throttled (Jordan Golson) http://t.co/neaXkPfK #
  • Reading – Apple's iPhone 5 Announcement: Just the Facts (Rebecca J. Rosen) http://t.co/xoxR43wM #
  • Reading – Was The Libyan Attack Planned? (Andrew Sullivan) http://t.co/67XYJmfq #
  • Reading – Former Romney Adviser on Libya: “They Stepped in It” (Noam Scheiber) http://t.co/AIfY0gaW #
  • And now lunch is over. Back to work! #

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Fairly Obvious

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Democratic Convention
  • Electoral College Update / Convention Bounces? / Policy Questions
  • iPhone 5 Speculation / Automated Content Removal

Recorded on 9 Sep 2012

Length this week – 1:05:28

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Electoral College: What Bounce? Virginia Flips to Romney

One state changes status today and it moves in a surprising direction given the overwhelming talk of the Obama bounce following the Democratic Convention.  Virginia moves from just barely Obama, to just barely Romney:

Since the Conventions ended, I’ve added polls in AL, AZ, FL, IL, MA, MN, NC, NJ, NM, OH, VA and WA.  Twelve states.  Eleven of these states didn’t change categories.  Now the first one does, and it is Virginia.  Not moving toward Obama, but moving toward Romney.  But what about the bounce??  Aren’t all the polls showing a massive movement toward Obama right now?  What is going on?

Well, the national polls have been showing that kind of move.  The expectation is that the state polls will naturally follow. If the “bounce” lasts awhile and does not immediately fade, then they probably still will.  But so far that just isn’t showing up.  Now, since I use a five poll average, even if there is a move on one new poll, it might not cause a category shift right away.  In most of these cases though, the new polls at the state level have been right in the same general range as the polls from before the conventions.  Perhaps there has been some movement, just none that has moved any state to a new category in my model.

Until Virginia.  Moving toward Romney.  The five poll average moves from an Obama lead of 1.6% to a Romney lead of 0.2%.  As usual when states move from “leaning” one way to “leaning” I will point out that any lead under 5% can disappear overnight with the right set of things in the news.  I color all the states where the lead is less than 5% the same color on my map.  These states really are close.  They could go either way.  And the states where the margin is less than 2%?  Even more so.  You might as well flip a coin.

So one should be very careful ascribing too much significance when one state flips back and forth across the line.  The “current” model does move in this case…  where every state goes the way the five poll average stands today.  But I list the two “best case” scenarios here for a reason.  To see where we really are, you need to look at that full range of possibilities.  (Although of course we’re more likely to get a result “toward the middle” than near the edges of this range where one or the other candidate sweep all the close states…  itself an unlikely scenario.)

In any case, the new update to the models:

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 317 221
Current Status 219 319
Obama Best Case 180 358

Bottom line, Obama is still ahead. He has a much stronger position. But Romney does have multiple ways to win. If the conventions have produced a bounce that improves Obama’s position substantially, it isn’t showing up in the electoral college yet.

My prediction from my last update that the beginning of September was going to be Romney’s peak in my model looks like it hasn’t come to pass though.  My model shows Romney in a bit better position now than he was at the time of that update.  Oh well!  (Edit 2012 Sep 13 16:25…  actually, my prediction was that the beginning of September would mark Romney’s peak.  Although Virginia flipping did improve Romney’s position over the last update, it still isn’t as good as it was at the beginning of September, so my prediction has actually held so far…)

Conventional wisdom is that you have to wait for a couple weeks after the convention for public opinion to “settle down”. Add to that the fact that if you are looking state by state you have to wait for the critical states to get polled and you realize we’ve still got very incomplete information at the state level.

Since the conventions ended, of the close states Florida (29), Ohio (18), North Carolina (15) and Virginia (13) have been polled. Of these, only Ohio has been polled more than once. No new polls at all yet for Michigan (16), Tennessee (11), Wisconsin (10), Colorado(9), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), or New Hampshire (4).

So… we still need to wait for a bit more polling to see where things really stand in this post convention stage. Polling should be continuing to accelerate as we approach November, so with luck we won’t have to wait too long.

Note: Chart and map from the Abulsme.com 2012 Electoral College Prediction page. Both assume Obama vs Romney with no strong third party candidate and show polling as it currently exists. Things will change before election day. On the map red is Romney, blue is Obama, gold states are too close to call. Lines on the chart represent how many more electoral votes a candidate would have than is needed to tie under several different scenarios. Up is good for Obama, Down is good for Romney.

Edit 2012 Sep 12 11:13 UTC to correct the list of states with polls added since the convention to include AL and NJ, which I’d forgotten.

Alex is THREE!

As of the moment this posts, at 10:05 UTC (3:05 AM Pacific, 6:05 AM Eastern) Alex will be exactly three years old!

Once again it is amazing just how the time has flown by, and all the new things he is doing every day.  I last did a post like this six months ago.  Since then, here are some of the new developments…

  • It has been a long time since I tried to do one of these “You are about to turn X” interviews with Alex… I think the last time may have been at 12 months, but hey, for the first time he actually did have a little conversation with me about it.  (If you haven’t hit play on the video above, do so now, K?)
  • No more diapers!!!  In order to start preschool this fall, Alex needed to be potty trained.  So in August Brandy started potty training boot camp.  The first few days there was quite a bit of protesting and a number of accidents, but after that Alex gave in.  He is now very proficient at all things potty.  (Well, mostly. :-) )
  • Because he mastered that, he is indeed now in preschool.  He’s only been there two days so far, and is still adjusting.  But unlike last year’s day care, he is not so clingy when we leave him in the morning.  He came into school the first day knowing and understanding what was going to happen.
  • I mentioned six months ago that he was really into trains.  He is still really into trains.  Over the last six months the track setups got more and more elaborate, taking up more and more space.  Lots of branches, bridges, etc.  Until about a month ago.  After one of the times the tracks got cleaned up, when he got them out again he didn’t build another big layout.  Instead he started building circles.  Little circles, big circles, nested circles, etc.  Just yesterday he built an elevated circle.  Fun stuff.
  • He tells elaborate stories about things that happened to him, or just stories he has made up.  For instance, he told a story about some ducks who were running away from a frog who was ribbiting at them (while acting out a really scary ribbit).  Or just telling us about how he went to the fireworks on the 4th of July.  Or how he went to the zoo with Papa Bill and Grandma Cathy.
  • Brandy said that over the summer when he was staying home instead of going to school all day long he would talk about how Daddy was at work, but when Daddy got home Daddy would play trains and cars with him.  Awww….  (Makes me feel awful for the times I got home and didn’t play trains and cars…  although usually I did. :-) )
  • He still likes his train videos and YouTube, and still has TV shows and movies that he likes, and games he likes on the iPhone, but he is less into those things than he was six months ago.  Much more into the running around playing with physical things.
  • He has continued to work hard on the alphabet.  (See Day 6 of Grandma Leslie’s Visit.)  He’s getting better.  But more to the point he is super excited about it.  The alphabet song is the song of choice in almost all occasions.  More recently, he has started working on actually “building” letters.  Mainly “A”.  He’ll make A’s out of trains and other things as well as trying to draw it.  And he describes it:  “Build A!  Down, down, corner!”
  • He lies!  Yeah, yeah, supposedly not a good thing, but shows imagination.  For instance, as he drags his rug with roads and such out of his room and starts taking it down the stairs, and I say “Alex, your rug needs to stay in your room.” he says “No!  Amy said!  Amy said rug downstairs!”.  Often his lies take this form, telling one of us that one of the others told him to do something, or it was OK to do something, when in fact none of us had…  especially when the most recent person has told him no.
  • Along the lines of lying, there is more general acting.  He has this fake laugh he uses sometimes.  The first time I heard it was when he had just accidentally knocked over one of his elaborate train track creations.  His face started to scrunch up like he was about to cry.  But then out came this really disturbing fake laugh.  Then he said it was funny.  He still looked really upset like he was about to cry. I asked him if he was sad.  He said “NO!  Funny!!!”  And then the disturbing fake laugh again.  He later has also used the same laugh when the rest of us are laughing and he doesn’t quite know why, but thinks he should join in.
  • Amy says another new thing in the last six months is that he has turned into a cat.  By this she means he has become fond of meowing and pretending he is a cat.  And indeed, he does this not infrequently.
  • He will also pretend he is a dog.  More specifically, although he did this before the last six months, he is more frequently greeting his special friends by licking them.  He learned this from Roscoe.  We tell his that this isn’t how people do it, but it is too cute to really be too insistent about stopping him.  The most amusing of course is when he and Roscoe both are licking each other.
  • He has strong opinions about what he wants to eat, what he wants to do, etc and is now able to express himself clearly about these sorts of things.  So when asked what he wanted for his birthday, he was very specific that he did NOT want a regular cake, he wanted cupcakes, and more specifically he wanted race car cupcakes.  And after the last time we went swimming, he was very specific that after swim he wanted to go to the bookstore (to play with trains, not books) and then after that he wanted to go to the playground.
  • Amy says in the last six months he also got cuter…  and eviler.  By that she means that when he gets into the right mood, he can be an absolute hyper demon.  Running all over the place, knocking things over, pulling on things, and generally being a “poop” (Amy’s word).  He can run us all ragged.  Luckily, this is not all the time.  But when it hits…  watch out!  I believe these are the terrible two’s, right?  Although I have heard from some others that the three’s can be even worse!

Anyway, as usual there is tons more, but I figure that it enough for now.  Alex is three!  Wow!