Archives: February 2008

Thu 28 Feb 2008

Electoral College: First Polls for Tennessee and Florida



The first Obama vs McCain polls for Florida and Tennessee were posted at Pollster.com. Tennessee is a weak McCain, Florida is solid McCain.

We now have polls covering more than 50% of the electoral votes for the first time. And as of now, looking at the "weak" totals we have Obama 157, McCain 136. But still 245 electoral college votes with no polls at all.

Also a note, right now I just have "Solid" (at least a 10% lead) and "Weak" (less than a 10% lead). I keep thinking that maybe I want to add a third category, with "Weak" restricted to a less than 5% lead, and a new "Strong" or "Medium" or something category being 5% to 10%. I haven't so far for three reasons:

  1. At the moment only 3 states would fall in this new category... Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee... all on the McCain side. So it really wouldn't change the picture all that much. Although it would show that some of McCain's "weak" support is actually a little stronger than it would seem otherwise.
  2. If this primary season has shown us anything, it is that a 9 point lead isn't really all that strong. It can evaporate in a week if the right things happen in that week. It isn't just the places with leads less than 5% that are "weak" and therefore "in play". So maybe any lead less than 10% really is "weak".
  3. It would make the graph more cluttered and harder to read. (Imagine a third line squeezed between the two current lines for each candidate.)
Anyway, if anybody wants to chime in on that particular comment, I'd welcome thoughts and opinions, and might be influenced by them. If I do make this change, I'd rather do it sooner rather than later, because the longer I go, the more work I'd have to do to make the change.


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Feb 2008, 23:55:34 PST
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Delegates by Inches



Definitely all superdelegates this time. Obama picks up four. Clinton loses one. She just can't catch a break lately. Obama just keeps slowly growing the gap.

We now have Obama 51.4%, Clinton 47.6%, Edwards 1.0%.

Obama needs 656 more delegates to win. Clinton needs 758.



Minor change on the Republican side. McCain picks up one "Unpledged RNC" delegate, which is the Republican version of a superdelegate.

McCain needs 158 more delegates to win.


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Feb 2008, 22:55:53 PST
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The Math

It is not quite as stark as for Huckabee, but the math for Clinton to catch up and win is pretty bad.

How Many Delegates Does HRC Need To Win?
(Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic)

Let’s go to March 4. Let’s assume that Clinton wins Ohio by four points – 52 to 48, netting her roughly 5 extra delegates, and loses Texas 49 to 51, netting Obama three extra delegates, and loses Vermont, netting Obama three extra delegates, and winning Rhode Island by 6 points, netting herself an extra delegate. She ends that day with no additional delegates – she can blame Vermont.

Under the rosiest of scenarios, it’s hard to see her winning more than about 50 percent of the remaining earned delegates, even if she whips Obama in Pennsylvania and earns, say, 16 extra delegates, and drums him in Puerto Rico, where, even if she wins seventy percent of the delegates, she’s still, in essence, playing catch up.

If Clinton wins half of the remaining delegates – about 493 – and loses none – she still trails Obama by a net 50 or so earned delegates.

Now let’s run the scenario with Florida and Michigan’s delegates in play – the best iteration of that scenario, with both pledged and unpledged delegates seated and Clinton’s having earned fully 60% of or more of them. She’ll need at least 52.1% of remaining pledged delegates to surpass Obama.

Playing with the numbers a bit, here’s how she could – in theory – accomplish this.

If Florida and Michigan's delegations are seated fully to her advantage, and if she wins in Ohio by 65% and wins in Texas by 65%, and all other percentages hold, she can win the nomination.
(via The Daily Dish)

She's not going to take Ohio and Texas. Maybe not at all. Certainly not by those margins. And the superdelegates will NOT save her if Obama is way ahead on pledged delegates coming into the convention. And unless she comes into the convention already ahead, (or unless Obama is so far ahead it won't matter) Florida and Michigan will not be seated.

She's done.


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Feb 2008, 20:31:28 PST
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Jumpin Jumpin Jumpin

Happy leap day!!!


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Feb 2008, 19:21:43 PST
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Wed 27 Feb 2008

New Laptop for Brandy

Since the new Apple laptops finally came out, I ordered Brandy's new laptop yesterday. It should be here next week sometime. As I mentioned in my earlier post Brandy's current laptop is barely functional. This is desperately needed. It will be good for her to once again have a computer she can use fully.

(She can't use either my desktop or Amy's very well because it would require her sitting upright in an office style chair, which her back can only handle for very short periods of time.... plus Amy and I are too busy using our computers.)

Anyway, shiny new laptop, coming soon.

Making sure the three of us have decent computers is one of the few luxuries we allow ourselves. (And we allowed Brandy to go a little too long with her dying laptop.) Besides that, Amy's school takes all our free cash flow. As long as neither of our cars finally decides to die, that should be just fine. :-)

Anyway, did I say shiny new computer coming soon. Yay!

Of course, I have promised not to so much touch it, so Brandy can do all the set up and configuring herself and make sure she's familiar with every detail and feel completely like it is HERS. So I just get to watch. Maybe. :-)


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Feb 2008, 23:46:21 PST
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Electoral College: Pennsylvania Flips to Obama



A new Quinnipiac Poll in Pennsylvania includes a new head to head Obama vs McCain matchup for the state. Incorporating this new poll into my average moves Pennsylvania's 21 electoral votes from "Weak McCain" to "Weak Obama". The results can be seen in the chart above.

Right now based on the state by state polls I've been able to find so far, we have Obama ahead for 157 electoral votes compared to 98 for McCain. With the big caveat of course that there are still 283 electoral votes worth of states with no polls at all and therefore completely undetermined (at least by this method).


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Feb 2008, 23:05:40 PST
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More Delegates from Nowhere

CNN today provides yet more delegate updates. Somebody there must be spending some time on this!



There is a net gain of 4 new delegates today. Luckily, yesterday I printed the CNN page, so I can actually say exactly what this was. It was all superdelegates. Obama gained five new superdelegates. Clinton lost one. Presumably that would be John Lewis switching over to Obama. Net increase in the gap between the two candidates of 6 delegates. Clinton just keeps falling further behind.

We're now at Obama 51.3%, Clinton 47.7%, Edwards 1.0%.

Obama needs 660 more to win, Clinton needs 757 more.



OK, I screwed up. I only printed out the Democrats figuring if there were changes, it was more likely on that side. But NO, there were major changes on the Republican side today. And since I didn't print yesterday's chart, I can't go identify where the changes came from. I suspect the same things I did yesterday. Romney delegates being redistributed and final results from second stage caucuses and the like. But I can't actually tell because I don't have yesterday's chart. Damn it. Well, I printed today's chart, but now just watch, nothing will change.

In any case we have a net gain of 44 new delegates listed. Romney LOST seven delegates. Paul gained five delegates, bringing his total to 21 delegates. This is the first addition of delegates Paul has had since February 6th. Huckabee gains eight more delegates, and McCain picks up a full 38.

This leaves us at: McCain 66.4%, Romney 16.4%, Huckabee 15.9%, Paul 1.4%

Huckabee is very very close to overtaking Romney. He must be thrilled.

McCain needs 159 more delegates to reach the magic number of 1191 and have a majority of the delegates and therefore wrap up the nomination. (Absent of course any completely unexpected development that would cause officially committed delegates to change their minds.)


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Feb 2008, 22:15:14 PST
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WFB

First Myron Cope, now William F Buckley Jr..


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Feb 2008, 11:46:31 PST
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Goodbye Myron Cope

I never followed sports and so was not a fan and did not spend any time listening to or watching his work... but for a brief time around 1995 or so I worked part time at the radio station where he was based and bumped into him a few times and I think I even worked with him once when I produced one of the football games. (Something I only did once or twice.) He was as much a character in person as he was on the air.

Anyway, I know a lot of folks from the 'Burg have fond memories of Myron cope, so I thought I'd pass this along.

Steelers Announcer Myron Cope Dies
(Alan Robinson, AP on Seattle Times)

Myron Cope, the screechy-voiced announcer whose colorful catch phrases and twirling Terrible Towel became symbols of the Pittsburgh Steelers during an unrivaled 35 seasons in the broadcast booth, has died. He was 79.

...

Cope's tenure from 1970-2004 as the color analyst on the Steelers' radio network is the longest in NFL history for a broadcaster with a single team and led to his induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2005.


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Feb 2008, 07:51:50 PST
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Tue 26 Feb 2008

Delegates from Nowhere

CNN has a bunch of delegate changes today. This kind of thing really makes me wish they had a specific change log, or that each day I was printing out the state by state totals so I could identify exactly where the changes are. But I haven't been doing that, so I can just report the changes and speculate.



Hillary must really hate how her week is going. There isn't even an election this week, but she keeps falling further behind anyway. CNN added 47 more delegates to their counts today. 33 were for Obama, 14 for Clinton. Now, as I said above, I don't know where exactly they are getting these from. Maybe they just finished a new poll of the superdelegates and this is more superdelegates declaring preferences? Or maybe this is more results from stage 2 or stage 3 of the delegate selection process in the states with multi-stage processes? Or maybe this is just CNN adding official results from states from earlier in February where they only had partial counts before? I dunno. Like I said, this makes me wish I was printing the full stats out each day so I could see exactly where the differences were coming from. There, I printed today's. Just in case there are more changes before Tuesday's primaries.

In any case, Obama does widen his lead here. We are now at Obama 51.2%, Clinton 47.8%, Edwards 1.0%. Obama needs 665 more delegates to win. Clinton needs 756. Edwards... well, Edwards could win every delegate still outstanding and it would not be enough. Sorry Edwards.



OK, the Republican side is even more interesting. There is a net gain of only 5 delegates. However, there has also been a redistribution of delegates. Romney LOST 24 delegates today. Presumably this is the result either of second stage caucuses where some Romney supporters from the first round changed their votes and elected non-Romney delegates in round two, or just Romney delegates publicly stating they had changed their preference. As before though, there is no easy way to tell by looking at CNN's summary page EXACTLY what happened yesterday. In the end though, the result was that Romney lost 24, McCain gained 23, and Huckabee gained 6. This gets Huckabee within spitting distance of overtaking Romney in the delegate count. I'm sure Huckabee really hopes this happens before McCain reaches the magic number, so he can claim that he came in second and then drop out.

Totals at this point... McCain 65.8%, Romney 17.3%, Huckabee 15.8%, Paul 1.1%. McCain needs to get 197 more delegates to finally have the majority of delegates coming into the convention.

There were some vague rumors of Romney jumping back in if the lobbiest affair scandal caused McCain to implode. Yeah, good luck on that Romney.

I must say though, the politics-as-sports junkie in me would be THRILLED if McCain imploded after he got a majority of the delegates, but before the convention... giving the delegates a chance to change their minds and just pick someone else at random. That would be very very cool.


Abulsme - Tue, 26 Feb 2008, 23:43:11 PST
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Ohio Debate

I just finished watching it on a bit of a delay... Obama just kept his cool the whole time. Clinton kept trying to get in punches, but none of them seemed to take hold, and certainly none got under his skin and got him to respond hottly.

Clinton did nothing to help herself here. I stand by my earlier prediction that she will lose Texas... probably by a decent margin, and that she will possibly lose Ohio as well... but even if she pulls out a win in Ohio, it won't be enough. And I don't think she'll try to push forward further if that happens. If she does she'll start looking like Huckabee (even though the margins won't be nearly that large) and only further damage her Senate career. She will know it is time to cut her losses.

She will drop out within 48 hours of the polls closing Tuesday. Probably on March 5th.

She can go on to be the Senate Majority Leader. That will be a fine spot for her.


Abulsme - Tue, 26 Feb 2008, 20:36:08 PST
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Finally New MacBook Pros

This is of course on every Mac and Tech blog in the world this morning, but:

Apple introduces Penryn-based MacBooks and MacBook Pros
(AppleInsider)

Apple today updated its popular MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook lines with the latest Intel Core 2 Duo Penryn processors, larger hard drives and 2GB of memory standard in most models.

...

In addition, MacBook Pro includes the latest NVIDIA graphics processors, now with up to 512MB of video memory, and Apple's innovative Multi-Touch trackpad, first introduced in MacBook Air.

The new MacBook Pro features the latest Intel Core 2 Duo technology with up to a 2.6 GHz processor with 6MB of shared L2 cache; up to 4GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory and up to a 300GB hard drive, plus NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with up to 512MB of video memory.

Every MacBook Pro now includes a trackpad with Multi-Touch gesture support for pinch, rotate and swipe, making it more intuitive than ever to zoom and rotate photos in iPhoto or Aperture 2 or browse web pages in Safari; an illuminated keyboard that makes it ideal for dimly lit environments such as airplanes, studios or conference halls and a built-in ambient light sensor, which automatically adjusts the brightness of the keys as well as the brightness of the display for optimal visibility.

...
We have been waiting for this update. 2008 is Brandy's scheduled year to replace her laptop. Her existing Dell laptop is barely functional. The built in keyboard doesn't work any more, so she carries around a full sized external keyboard with it. The power cord connector is flaky, so it has to be held JUST RIGHT to work, the battery lasts almost no time, and it is of course slow and has a tiny hard drive. We got it in early 2006 as a "temporary" bottom of the line option which has now way outlived it's useful life.

We've been waiting for the MacBook Pro updates before pulling the trigger though. As soon as I move the cash for this from one account to another (which will take a day or two) we'll make the order.

Woo!


Abulsme - Tue, 26 Feb 2008, 08:11:41 PST
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Mon 25 Feb 2008

The Delegates Trickle In

There were some delegate updates from CNN today.



On the Dem side this should be Democrats Abroad and a few superdelegates who have expressed a preference in the last week or so. (I don't however actually see the Democrats abroad listed in CNN's state by state breakdown, so maybe they have forgotten them, but that would be stupid... it is a small number of delegates of course, and they have that whole fractional delegate thing, so maybe their system choked on that. :-) )

Anyway, the net results of today's changes were very small. 13 new delegates were added to CNN's totals. 8 for Obama, 5 for Clinton. We went from Obama 50.8%, Clinton 48.2%, Edwards 1.0% to Obama 50.9%, Clinton 48.1%, Edwards 1.0%. Like I said, tiny change.

We are mathematically still a long way from the end. Obama needs 1281 more delegates to win. Clinton would need 1353 more to win. Of course, the big question is will one of them give up at some point. (I'm of course guessing Clinton will do just that if she loses Ohio and Texas.) Otherwise, we could certainly go straight through to the convention.



69 delegates were added on the Republican side. 20 of these were from the Republican caucuses in Puerto Rico. Like the Democrats abroad on the other side, CNN doesn't list this on their state by state breakdown. I'm not 100% sure where the other 49 come from. I suspect they are from CNN finally getting around to adding up final delegate results from Wisconsin and Washington State. In any case, McCain gains 53 more delegates. Also for the first time since my February 10th update, Huckabee gains some delegates... a whole 16 delegates.

In any case, McCain is closing in on the magic number. 220 delegates left to win.


Abulsme - Mon, 25 Feb 2008, 20:35:12 PST
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Six Degrees, Nah Two Degrees

News about one of the brothers of the person who was my boss from March 2004 to January 2006.

And on The Subject of Pentagon Announcements
(Spencer Ackerman, Washington Independant)

A lot of people believe [Lieutenant General Stanley A.] McChrystal will be the next Iraq commander after David Petraeus finishes his tour. The horserace—and this is pure gossip here, to be clear—has it between McChrystal and Lt. Gen. Pete Chiarelli, who was corps commander under George Casey.
I never met Stanley. Just his brother whom I worked for and another brother who I worked with. Of the two brothers I knew, one was OK. The other... well, let me not talk about that here. And of course none of that likely has any relevance to Stanley.

But I still find it interesting to note when I see new news about General McChrystal.


Abulsme - Mon, 25 Feb 2008, 17:20:56 PST
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Cowboy Obama

Obama just took the lead in the Texas polls. He still has a little way to go in Ohio.


Abulsme - Mon, 25 Feb 2008, 13:42:34 PST
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Sun 24 Feb 2008

Raining Sun



Just looked at my dashboard and saw this in the weather forecast. On Sunday (the day that just ended) the sun is raining. What the hell does that even mean?

I note however, there is a lot of sun in this forecast, and the highs are in the 50's. I think Spring may have arrived in the Pacific Northwest. All weekend the kids were out on the street riding their bicycles and such. And it was quite nice out when I walked Roscoe. There may yet be a relapse to winter, but for now... it is very nice!


Abulsme - Sun, 24 Feb 2008, 23:00:51 PST
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Curmudgeon's Corner: When the Cat is Away

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Goodbye Fidel
  • Ralph Nader
  • Democratic Race
  • Electoral Vote Predictions
  • Home Alone
  • Rope Burn
  • Rubber Factory
  • Online Election News Sources


1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

View in iTunes

Podcast XML Feed

As of this podcast, I'm adding the directly embedded podcast to the announcements of each week's podcast. If you don't feel like subscribing in iTunes, you can just hit play. Quicktime required.


Abulsme - Sun, 24 Feb 2008, 21:21:38 PST
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Caterwauling

Just as I was at the climax of the Harry Potter book last night some horrible animal screaming started happening from right outside my window. After a couple of minutes I went out onto the deck outside the bedroom to investigate with a flashlight. At first I could not see anything. The howling and crying was coming from the trees. And there was much rustling of leaves. Things were fighting. Things were not happy.

I eventually saw a raccoon. Not all the noises were raccoon though. I'm sure there were also squirrels fighting the raccoon. And there were a bunch of birds yelling too. And there may have been more than one raccoon.

This went on for more than an hour. They would not stop if I went and flashed the light at the trees. Dogs in the neighborhood started barking. The back door had been open when this started, but I made sure Roscoe was in and closed the door.

The entire time I was finishing the Potter book, the background noise was the angry screaming, howling and hissing of a variety of animals in my back yard. It was... interesting.

No signs of anything at all come daylight of course.


Abulsme - Sun, 24 Feb 2008, 17:52:08 PST
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Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Author: J. K. Rowling
Started: 17 Feb 2008
Finished: 24 Feb 2008
759 p / 8 d
95 p/d

So, back in January I read Book 6 and commented that it was a little slow. In the comments to my post Matt offered that Book 7 "moves much faster". And that is definitely the case. The book starts and then BOOM you get to page 55 and there is massive action and tension which barely ever lets up from there until the end of the book. It sucked me in and this book is one of the major reasons I didn't get a lot done this last week. I had hoped to get lots of stuff done, but no, each time I had an excuse, I'd go read for a chapter or so instead. I did have the discipline to not just sit and read the whole thing without stopping, although it was tempting. Even so, I ended up averaging almost 100 pages a day, which is rare for me. Not because I can't read 100 pages a day of course, but because normally I'm busy doing other things and only end up reading for a few minutes a day, which of course slows things down.

One of the things that made a difference here I think, and which sets this book aside from all the other Harry Potter books, is that Rowling almost as soon as the book started ditched the structure which governed all the other books. That structure basically being the structure of the Hogwarts school year. That had provided a certain amount of predictability to all the other books. This time that was out the window. Now, you still had the bit at the end where everything that had gone on is explained and comes together. But that wasn't too bad.

There are a few bits of how it all came together than I was expecting long before it happened. (Trying to be vague so as not to spoil anyone who has not read it yet.) But there are other things that did indeed take me by surprise. And other things I expected to happen which did not.

All in all a good mix though, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

It is a shame the series is over. But things did get wrapped up nicely, so I actually hope Ms. Rowling sticks to her guns about it really being over, rather than coming back for another dip and diluting the original seven books.

Having said that, bring on the rest of the movies! This last one will be a doosey if they do it right!


Abulsme - Sun, 24 Feb 2008, 17:25:20 PST
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Abulsme's Electoral College Predictions

OK, so the primary season is not over yet, and even McCain doesn't have it wrapped up officially, let alone the Democrats. But I am going to start looking at the Electoral College anyway. Since I think Obama is going to come out the winner on the Democratic side, and McCain will be the Republican nominee barring something catastrophic, I will be assuming a McCain vs Obama general election. If something happens to change this, then I will revise things.



As before, I have started a wiki page to track this. The link on the image goes to the full page, including a larger image of the graph and explanations of my methodology and a breakdown of the numbers by state. Basically I'm looking at the last five McCain vs Obama polls in each state, and then classifying them as Strong or Weak Obama or McCain states, with the lead needing to be at least 10% to be considered "Strong".

At the moment there are actually not that many state polls of this sort. I don't actually yet have five polls in any state. And many of those polls are more than a month old, which is forever in terms of how things are moving. And the states for which there are no polls at all still account for more than 50% of the electoral votes. Presumably as the nominations become final on both sides, this will rapidly change and we will get polls in more states. Hopefully eventually all of them.

As I start this project I have:

  • Strong McCain: Ohio (20), Alabama (9), Kentucky (8), Kansas (6), New Mexico (5)
  • Weak McCain: Pennsylvania (21), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Massachusetts (12), Minnesota (10)
  • Weak Obama: Missouri (11), Washington (11), Wisconsin (10), Oregon (7)
  • Strong Obama: California (55), New York (31), Iowa (7), Rhode Island (4)
Unless I missed some (which is possible) there have been no other states with McCain/Obama general election matchup polls (since 5 Nov 2007) yet.

So to start with we stand at 283 electoral votes with no polls, 136 electoral votes leaning Obama, 119 electoral votes leaning McCain counting both strong and weak states. With only strong states we have 97 Obama, 48 McCain. Of course, the huge number of states with no polls yet makes it very hard to tell anything from this yet. And I am refraining for putting states in one category or another based on 2004 results or any such. I'll wait for actual polls in those states.

I will of course continue to update the 2008 Presidential Delegate Graphs when there are changes there. But I will now also be updating this general election prediction page whenever there are new polls that change the category of any state.

And of course, if either Obama or McCain ends up not being the nominee, then I'll have to redo the whole page. But that's OK. I can do that.

I should also note that the way I am representing the overall race in the one chart only applies if there are only two candidates with an actual shot of getting electoral votes. If some third party candidate enters and looks like they are actually strong enough to potentially get electoral votes, I will have to revisit how to represent things.


Abulsme - Sun, 24 Feb 2008, 16:32:29 PST
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Book: The Audacity of Hope

Author: Barack Obama
Started: 20 Jan 2008
Finished: 17 Feb 2008
375 p / 29 d
13 p/d

I finished this a week ago, but am just getting around to posting about it. It was time for a non-fiction book. I had read Obama's first book back in late April / early May. It was good. But it was mainly about Obama's youth and search for his roots, etc. This second book is actually about his thoughts on politics. I had wanted to finish reading it before the Washington caucuses, but I didn't make it. Then I wanted to make it by Super Tuesday. I didn't make that either. Nor did I make it before the Patomic primaries. But I did finish before Wisconsin. Go me!

Anyway, this was another good book. It did not give super deep insight into specific policies. He has actually been more specific in recent speeches. This was more about his general political philosophy. A lot of the moving beyond left and right, being pragmatic and looking for solutions that work, etc.

I still have a fundamental difference that I struggle with which I have mentioned before. I think he will be a good president in the sense of leadership and tone and changing overall perceptions, etc. But on policy there is probably little I agree with him. Fundamentally, Obama is indeed a believer that government is a good thing, a potential source of solutions, whereas I see it as a necessary evil, to be used only when there is no other choice, and then only reluctantly and in the most limited form possible. And this is independent of "what works". There may be many cases where a government program would be the most effective way to achieve a goal that I agree with... but being effective does not make it the RIGHT way to solve the problem. Sometimes the right way to solve a problem is not the most efficient way. Sometimes a solution will solve a problem, but do it in a way that requires things that are just wrong to happen in order to make it happen. And then how do you balance that? And sometimes you just have to live with a problem, because the only effective solutions would require doing unacceptable things. It is all about the classic "do the ends justify the means" question.

Sigh. Anyway, if you take as a given that government is not inherently a bad thing, which unfortunately both major parties these days do, then I think the way Obama reasons is very reasonable. He shows a great deal of open mindedness to consider the views of those who disagree with him. And I think this is by far the most critical aspect of Obama that makes him appealing to me, and to many people. And at the same time greatly frightens the left wing of the Democratic party.

The political debate for almost 16 years now has been typified on both sides by the increasing view that the people on the other side are not reasonable people with differing opinions, but rather the people on the other side are stupid, malicious and evil. There was not healthy respectful debate on issues, but rather vilification of those who disagree. This is horribly unhealthy.

Throughout his book, Obama time after time shows respect and understanding of Republican positions on various issues. He talks about some areas where Republicans over the years have done things right and Democrats got it wrong. He talks about various individiuals on the other side of the isle with respect. Not agreement. But respect. He has positive words for Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and a variety of others. He off course has a lot of positive words for a lot of Democrats as well. But it is not black and white. It s not we are good, they are evil.

And there is room for compromise and working together.

And this is a very positive thing. It may drive a few aspects of the Democratic party crazy. Those folks who are saying "No! We need to fight!" And in the end, it may end up being somewhat naive. You of course need two to tango, and unless there are partners on the other side that are also willing to work together, it won't happen. And of course, when you compromise, you end up with something that isn't quite what either side wants.

Fundamentally, I'm quite fine with that. I am scared of a world where the left wing Democrats get everything they want just as much as I am of a world where the right wing Republicans get everything they want. We've kind of seen the right wing Republican world these last few years. We need to come back to the middle, not swing the pendulum all the way to the other side.

Having said that, despite all the centrist talk, looking at actual policies and such, Obama is VERY liberal. Way too liberal for me on most issues. I am hoping though that combined with his openness toward working with the other side, and the plain realities of how difficult it is to get ANYTHING done in Washington, than what an Obama presidency would actually produce would be closer to the center than the left. And so would be capable of undoing a lot of the damage of the last administration, but without producing TOO MUCH new damage.

I just want to end this though by quoting one passage in the book that made me laugh out loud. It is part of the story of Obama's first meeting with President George W Bush:

"Come over here for a second," he said, leading me off to one side of the room. "You know," he said quietly, "I hope you don't mind me giving you a piece of advice."

"Not at all, Mr. President."

He nodded. "You've got a bright future," he said. "very bright. But I've been in this town awhile and, let me tell you, it can be tough. When you get a lot of attention like you've been getting, people start gunnin' for ya. And it won't necessarily just be coming from my side, you understand. From yours, too. Everybody'll be waiting for you to slip, know what I mean? So watch yourself."

"Thanks for the advice, Mr. President."

"All right. I gotta get going. You know, me and you got something in common."

"What's that?"

"We both had to debate Alan Keyes. That guy's a piece of work, isn't he?"
And yes, that Alan Keyes *is* a piece of work. Something that even George W. Bush and Barack Obama can agree on with confidence.


Abulsme - Sun, 24 Feb 2008, 12:35:26 PST
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Thu 21 Feb 2008

Texas Debate

Some minor fireworks. But for the most part just a lot more of the same. Nothing new here. No big breakout for Clinton, which she needed. She did nail that last question, while Obama flubbed it. But she needed more than that. I don't think this will give her the bounce she needs or stop the Obama momentum. I think at times when you looked at Hillary's face it seemed like she knows that is the case.

That last question echoed strongly (intentionally I'm sure) the way she answered the question in New Hampshire where she cried. I looked at that back then and said that I felt like she KNEW it was over. I think that again... of course she then came back, contrary to all polls even, and won in New Hampshire.

So maybe that last question will help her. But this was not the home run she needed.

She's got one more chance in the Ohio debate. Or Obama has to make a huge mistake.

She is still leading in both Ohio and Texas. But the gap just keeps shrinking. We're now down to 12.6% in Ohio and 2.8% in Texas. (According to pollster.com's poll of polls of course.)


Abulsme - Thu, 21 Feb 2008, 18:54:47 PST
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Puzzled Again


Abulsme - Thu, 21 Feb 2008, 12:24:07 PST
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Early Non-Meetings

So last night I check my schedule before heading to sleep. I notice a meeting at 16:45 UTC, which is considerably earlier that I have been in the habit of getting to work lately... although really, a 17:00 UTC start time would be a good start time for me, and I should aim at that, but really I am at 18:00 UTC and often am a little later than that... in any case though, this was way early for me. But I made a note of it and even though it was already after 10 UTC by the time I was heading to bed, I set my alarm appropriately.

Of course, in the morning having had only five or so hours of sleep, I hit snooze one or two times too many... and I'd forgotten I had to let the dog out in the morning... but I still got to the car running less than five minutes behind pace to get there on time. If I made up a little time on the road, I'd be late, but only a couple of minutes late...

But then I realized that it had gotten cold over night, and the windscreen and all the windows had a nice layer of ice on it, and although by that point I'd already driven 20 or 30 feet down the road, I really couldn't see a damn thing, and needed to stop and make sure I could see before driving further. Which cost another five minutes. Once I got started I still wasn't making up time. I was going to get to our parking lot 7 minutes late, and then adding in the 3 minutes or so to get to the meeting room, I'd be 10 minutes late. And this was for a 15 minute meeting. Oops.

So as the moment passed when the meeting was supposed to start I call my boss's boss, who was also supposed to be at the meeting, and whose cell number I happened to have on my phone. He was having breakfast. He was not at the meeting. He had basically told them they were crazy, and talk to him later in the day. Or something like that. He wasn't sure if they had actually moved the meeting, but he had something later on HIS calendar.

Anyway, I get to work, run to the meeting, and sure enough there is an empty conference room with the lights out. A few minutes later I get back to my desk, get synced with the calendar, and sure enough, about two hours after the last time I had my laptop connected to the work network (and thus syncing my calendar) the meeting had been moved from 16:45 UTC to 20:00 UTC.

Oh well, I now have some extra time to catch up on things. Of course, I lost some of it by making this post, and will lose a few more minutes by going and grabbing some breakfast, but hey, this is an hour I wouldn't usually be here anyway.

Lesson learned: If you check your calendar late at night and notice an early morning meeting, before going to sleep, connect to the network even if you weren't going to anyway to get an updated calendar and make sure it has not been rescheduled. Worst case, it hasn't been. Best case, you get to sleep more.


Abulsme - Thu, 21 Feb 2008, 09:13:42 PST
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More Gap Widening



The graph now includes the rest of the results from Tuesday's contests that didn't make it for my update yesterday. We now stand at Obama 50.8%, Clinton 48.2%, Edwards 1.0%. That means the gap between Obama and Clinton is now 2.7% compared to 2.4% yesterday and 2.0% the day before. In raw delegate terms that is 69 delegates compared to 62 yesterday and 49 the day before. We're at 1319 to 1250 to 26. It takes 2025 to win. We still have a little ways to go.

There were no delegate updates today on the Republican side.

We now have a couple week gap before the big events on March 4th. In the meantime, we may have some superdelegate adjustments, but absent major unexpected events I don't expect anything really to change on these charts until then.

So perhaps there will be some blog posts on other things?

Nah, don't be silly. :-)


Abulsme - Thu, 21 Feb 2008, 00:09:07 PST
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Wed 20 Feb 2008

Fine Surgery

By the way, for anybody who might have been wondering, Brandy's mom had her surgery yesterday, it was successful, and she's recovering nicely, although it will be a couple of weeks until she is allowed to drive and such, which is one of the reasons Brandy and Amy are staying as long as they are.


Abulsme - Wed, 20 Feb 2008, 22:57:56 PST
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Time to Call it?

I was feeling a little like a wuss most of yesterday, because yesterday, even though I was somewhat feeling it, I decided to hedge in my predictions and instead of just saying, it is over, Obama is going to win; I gave the three scenarios depending on if Clinton won two, one or zero of Texas and Ohio. I did say I that if I had to bet, I'd bet on her losing both. Obama is rapidly closing the gaps in both states. But I gave voice to the other two possibilities. Specifically, I said that if she won ONE of the two states we would have an interesting extension going on to Pennsylvania and beyond, continuing to fight.

But...

Bill Clinton: Texas Could Be Hillary's Last Stand
(Rick Klein and Sarah Amos, ABC News)

Even Clinton's most devoted surrogate -- her husband, Bill Clinton -- acknowledged the do-or-die stakes on Wednesday in Beaumont, Texas, conceding that a loss in Texas or Ohio would likely doom her candidacy.

"If she wins Texas and Ohio I think she will be the nominee. If you don't deliver for her, I don't think she can be. It's all on you," the former president told the audience at the beginning of his speech.
(via Huffington Post)

Now... the ABC folks seem to be reading slightly more into Bill's statement than is actually there, getting confused about his negation. They say he said that a loss in Ohio or Texas would "doom her candidacy". But what he actually said that if she wins both he thinks she will be the nominee and that if "you" don't deliver then she can't be the nominee. He was speaking to people in Texas. So he may have specifically meant Texas, not Texas or Ohio. Or he may have meant a collective you meaning both states. It is unclear.

ABC seemed to assume he meant the latter, and that a loss in EITHER state will be the end.

Given the really bizzare way delegates are allocated in Texas, Hillary would have to do more than break even in popular vote just to break even, and to actually make a significant dent in the delegate gap would have to win by absolutely enormous margins. I really don't think she can "win" Texas.

If Bill is saying she needs BOTH Ohio and Texas, and his statements reflect at all what she is saying, then I think she is done. She still has a shot at Ohio, but I think Texas is done.

Of course... we have two debates between now and then. And all it takes is one stupid foot in moth moment by Obama, or one good hit from Hillary that knocks him off his balance, and the trends in the polls could change overnight... But I think Obama has to make a mistake for that to happen. Debates are his weakest area though.

OK, so I started this post thinking I'd be making the unequivocal "Obama is going to win this" statement, but here at the end I find myself hedging again. There are still ways Hillary could make a comeback. They are just getting less and less likely.

And then of course, she could play a Huckabee, saying she'll stay in it until and unless Obama has the magic number, and even then, she'll fight to change the minds of superdelegates, and maybe even pledged delegates, and take this right through to the convention. She *could* do that. But I think if Bill is out there saying they need to win both states (or even just Texas) or she probably can't be the nominee... then that means they have already decided that if March 4th doesn't do what they want, then they will be out of there.

And of course, I already predicted that Obama would come out ahead in the end. And I still think that is the final outcome.

And I really would bet right now that it will be over after March 4th. So, what the hell, lets go out on a limb. The out on a limb prediction is that Clinton pulls out of the race within 48 hours of the polls closing on the March 4th primaries.

Just watch though, now that I've said that, Obama will make HUGE mistakes in both of the next two debates, his poll numbers will plummet, Clinton will win the March 4th states with overwhelming margins, then ride that wave through the rest of the primaries, regaining a pledged delgate lead and making the superdelegates non-issses and Obama will drop out after Pennsylvania.

Hmmm... that does seem unlikely, doesn't it.

Oh well, we'll see soon enough. I'll be watching the polls in Ohio and Texas very carefully over the next few days. That will tell us a lot.

Also, I am anxious to get this over with, so we can start tracking general election polls on a state by state basis and making electoral college predictions... I already have in my head the graph I want to make if none of the big places like pollster do it first.

Did I mention I like graphs?


Abulsme - Wed, 20 Feb 2008, 17:58:47 PST
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Tue 19 Feb 2008

The Gap Widens

I was kind of annoyed that CNN (and Fox) cut away from live coverage before there were any results from Hawaii, but thats life I guess. And since I have a few more things to do tonight too, I figured this is a good time to put out my delegate update. Note that even aside from Hawaii, not all the delegates have been allocated yet for Wisconsin either, so expect another update tomorrow. But as of when I took my "readings" off the CNN website about half an hour ago, here is where things stood:



Bottom line, Obama won by a greater margin than the overall delegate ratio before today, so the gap between Obama and Clinton widens. But given how many delegates we already have, it is harder and harder to move the lines. The gap between the candidates widened from 1.96% yesterday to 2.42% today. We now have Obama 50.7%, Clinton 48.3%, Edwards 1.0%.

Yes, this is still close. Yes, a series of Clinton wins might narrow the gap again. But momentum does matter. And Obama's win today was a big win. Including lots of demographics that were supposedly Hillary's strengths. And the gaps in the next two big states are narrowing.

On Saturday I noted that with the pollster.com average for Ohio had Clinton up by 17.3%. Today, four days later... that gap is down to 14.1%. In Texas the gap Saturday was 6.5%. Today it is 4.7%. And we still have two weeks until those primaries. And frankly, looking at those charts, the slope in recent days may be even greater than the conservative trend lines indicate.

It might be a little rash to predict today that Obama will win a clean sweep on March 4th... Rhode Island, Vermont, Texas and Ohio... especially since there are no polls at all yet in the two little states, and he is still behind in both of the big states... but looking at tonight's results and the whole positive press spinning from the 9 wins in a row (10 unless Clinton pulls out a surprise in Hawaii later tonight), and the rapid upward trend in the polls in those states... I'd say absent a major unforced error by Obama, he'll definitely win Texas and he could quite possibly win Ohio too.

Either way, he will keep it close enough that Clinton will not be able to make any real dent in the current delegate gap. Obama is ahead now. He will be ahead after March 4th. And I don't think Clinton will have damped his momentum much.

Then the question will be if Hillary really does want to force this all the way to the convention, or if she will take a deep breath and for "the good of the party" decide to pack it in and become a leader in the Senate while Obama takes the nomination.

My prediction at the moment...

If she actually does end up losing both Ohio and Texas, she will take a day or so to assess the situation, then she will end her campaign. She will want to fight on, but she will decide to cut her losses, as otherwise she would be just prolonging what would almost certainly be a losing battle in the end. Right now if I had to make a bet, I'd actually bet on this.

Is she manages to win one of the two states (probably Ohio) then she is still on the ropes, but will decide to push through at least another month to Pennsylvania. If she wins Ohio, it will solidify her current lead in Pennsylvania. This is the most interesting scenario, and potentially has us looking at the seven states with contests in MAY to see what happens. For sheer political junkie fun, this is the dream scenerio.

If she manages to actually win BOTH Ohio and Texas (I don't think this will happen) then suddenly she is the front runner again, even if she is still behind in delegates, because she'd probably win Pennsylvania and might open a gap that Obama would find hard to close again.

I think in both the first and the last scenario the superdelegate issue ends up going away because there is a clear leader and the superdelegates will fall in line behind them. In the middle situation... all bets are off.

But like I said, right now, I'm feeling the Obamamentum, and so is the press. Hillary needs to do some major work in both Ohio and Texas to save her leads in those states from disappearing in the next two weeks.



And on the Republican side, McCain increases the gap between him and Romney and Huckabee as he slowly creeps closer to the finish line. 273 delegates to go.


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Feb 2008, 22:57:25 PST
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Dropped Off

Since I was confused about that envelope thing, I actually went to the real life polling place Tuesday. They couldn't find my name on the rolls because, duh, I was on the absentee ballot list instead. But they told me the missing middle envelope thing wouldn't matter (which I thought was likely, but wasn't sure) so I was able to just put my absentee ballot in the box thing.

Now, what was really interesting though was that the place was EMPTY. About 10 poll workers. And *NO* voters. When I was there I was the ONLY one there. They seemed happy to see someone.

Now, admittedly, most people probably voted by mail. And on the Democratic side it is a completely meaningless race. On the Republican side I think my particular neighborhood is probably sparsely populated. And it is almost meaningless on the Republican side too.

But if this kind of low turnout is representative (which it may not be) then it may be the case that the results are very susceptible to who managed to still get out some vote.

Which still leaves me hoping for that fun and exciting Huckabee upset. :-)


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Feb 2008, 17:38:01 PST
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Delegates are Real People

What have I been saying about how delegates (not just superdelegates) are real people and while it is traditional and expected for them to vote at the convention for the person they are "pledged" to, it is not actually required? Yeah, well...

Clinton targets pledged delegates
(Roger Simon, The Politico)

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.

This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides.

What? Isn’t that impossible? A pledged delegate is pledged to a particular candidate and cannot switch, right?

Wrong.

Pledged delegates are not really pledged at all, not even on the first ballot. This has been an open secret in the party for years, but it has never really mattered because there has almost always been a clear victor by the time the convention convened.

But not this time. This time, one candidate may enter the convention leading by just a few pledged delegates, and those delegates may find themselves being promised the sun, moon and stars to switch sides.
(via TPM Election Central)

This actually sounds like a trial balloon to me. And it is going to fall to the ground with a resounding thud. People are already ancy about the race being decided by superdelegates. Can you imagine the massive outcry that would result if these kinds of games started to be played in earnest?

Yeah, I'm not sure Hillary is actually this stupid.


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Feb 2008, 08:28:40 PST
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Goodbye Fidel, Hello Raul

Not that this wasn't defacto the situation for a little over a year and a half now, but Fidel just made it official it seems:

Castro resigns as president, state-run paper reports
(Morgan Neill, CNN)

Fidel Castro announced his resignation as president of Cuba and commander-in-chief of Cuba's military on Tuesday, according to a letter published in the state-run newspaper, Granma.

Castro, 81, temporarily handed power to his younger brother Raul Castro in July 2006 after undergoing intestinal surgery. He hasn't been seen in public since his surgery, but he has appeared in numerous videos and photos in state media.

The announcement of Castro's resignation appeared just before 3 a.m. on the Web site of the state-run newspaper.
(via Fark)


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Feb 2008, 00:36:12 PST
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Mon 18 Feb 2008

Close Races in Wisconsin (and elsewhere)

On this week's Curmudgeon's Corner Ivan and I flippantly predicted clean sweeps for both parties in today's (Tuesday's) primaries and caucuses. Obama winning Wisconsin and Hawaii and McCain winning Wisconsin and Washington State. (Hawaii's Republican caucus isn't until May, and there are no delegates at stake in Washington's Democratic Primary).

But...

In Wisconsin a few hours before the polls open, Pollster.com has Obama only up by 7.0% which is decent, but some polls show it closer, and the difference between final polls and actual results has sometimes been bigger than that this year. The trend is in Obama's direction though, so a Hillary win would be a big upset. But the gap really isn't that huge. It COULD happen.

But look at this!! On the Republican side McCain leads Huckabee by 9.8%... which is a decent margin... but look at the slope of Huckabee's trend line in the data from February. That Huckabee sure is making a nuicance of himself, ain't he? I'm not saying he will win Wisconsin, but he sure is making a race out of it.

Meanwhile, there are no recent polls in Washington state, but Huckabee came within a hair of winning the caucuses here (and he is, I think, still asking for recounts and the like). Will that translate from caucus to primary? I dunno. But with the overall message being "McCain has it wrapped up", plus the confusion from there being both a primary and a caucus here... I wouldn't be surprised if McCain people stayed home, and Huckabee pulled out a win.

That is just too funny.

The math is still almost impossible for Huckabee here. But there is that little sliver of "almost". But most (if not all) of the remaining Republican contests are proportional rather than winner-takes-all. Which I think means that Huckabee could actually win every race from here on out and McCain would STILL reach the magic number for the nomination first. But wouldn't that be fun?

Go Huckabee Go!

As for Hawaii... I haven't seen a single poll on Hawaii, and it is a caucus state anyway, so fairly unpredictable. The one thing I heard at one point was that Hillary was trying to make a contest out of it, and don't be so sure that because Obama lived there as a young man that he would win it. So I really have no idea there. I'm guessing Obama here... but I'm really shooting in the dark with no data and basing it on the fact that EVERYBODY seems to assume it will go Obama... but I'm not sure if the talking heads have real data here either.

Anyway, 18 hours from now I will once again be glued to CNN, watching returns come in minute by minute. Fun stuff.


Abulsme - Mon, 18 Feb 2008, 22:28:29 PST
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Of course on that ballot thing...

I just realized you are supposed to put the ballot in a security envelope, and then the security envelope in the return envelope... and I forgot the security envelope that is supposed to be in the middle. So my ballot will probably be invalidated or some such.

Not to mention, I can't find a stamp.


Abulsme - Mon, 18 Feb 2008, 22:16:21 PST
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Washington State Democratic Primary

So, I'm about to fill in my ballot for the Washington State Primaries. They need to be postmarked by today (Tuesday). Now, since I participated in the Democratic Caucus, I am bound to do the Democratic Primary, not the Republican. It would be nice to do one of each, but that is not allowed.

Now, the Republican primary matters. Half of the states delegates on the Republican side will be determined by the Primary (the other half were determined by the caucuses a couple of weeks ago).

But on the Democratic side, this doesn't matter at all. All of the delegates were determined by the Caucus. So this is actually completely irrelevant. None the less, I am going to think about it somewhat. The choices are:

  • Joe Biden
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Chris Dodd
  • John Edwards
  • Mike Gravel
  • Dennis Kucinich
  • Barack Obama
  • Bill Richardson
  • Write In: ______________
Hmmm... remember some of those names? Only three of them are still running of course. And nobody pays any attention to Senator Gravel. But the rest are all still on the ballot. Which makes me think about it again, and makes me sad about how we have this process where since not all of the primaries and caucuses are at the same time, peoples first choice may be "not running" by the time of the actual vote.

Now, I've been noticing on the election returns on the last few states on the little pie charts they show on TV, there is actually usually a fairly decent sized grey wedge that is "other". Now, some of that may be random write ins, but I'm guessing most of it is people voting for candidates who have already dropped out. Which is of course still completely valid. They may not be campaigning, but they are indeed still on the ballot.

Which brings me to me. My first choice overall before Iowa was Ron Paul. But my first choice on the Democratic side was actually Joe Biden. Should I take this opportunity to give Senator Biden the nod?

On the other hand, I'm now actually an Obama delegate to the county convention. Should that hold any weight?

And has my mind actually changed? If Joe was still running, would I still pick him over Obama now?

And, of course, why am I even thinking of this, since there are no delegates at stake and this actually doesn't matter at all?

Then I think... the only way the results of this contest could be at all relevant are if everybody thinks it doesn't matter and doesn't bother... and in the low turnout environment Hillary manages to pull out a win... a win that doesn't matter at all really, but might give voice to some sort of "Obama won here two weeks ago, but now Hillary won, Hillary has the momentum again!" sort of bull.

So... sorry Joe... I'm filling in Obama.


Abulsme - Mon, 18 Feb 2008, 21:35:17 PST
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Sun 17 Feb 2008

Curmudgeon's Corner: Guns and iPhones

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Bush in Africa
  • Prez Campaign from Overseas
  • iPhones Again
  • Corporate vs Personal Phones
  • DevKits and NDAs
  • School Shooting of the Week
  • Gun Control
  • Superdelegate Math
  • Puerto Rico may matter?
  • Predictions
1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

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Abulsme - Sun, 17 Feb 2008, 17:19:08 PST
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Sat 16 Feb 2008

Oh Yeah... National Polls



I noticed this yesterday but was too busy to blog it. For the first time Obama is ahead in the national "poll of polls" at Pollster.com. Not that national really matters. What matters is the next few states...

  • Wisconsin - Obama up by 5.3%
  • Ohio - Clinton up by 17.3%
  • Texas - Clinton up by 6.5%
  • (Plus a few small states with no meaningful poll data yet)
  • Pennsylvania - Clinton up by 25.6%
Obama has the momentum right now. But those next few states DO look pretty good for Clinton at the moment. The gaps in all the ones where Clinton is ahead HAVE been narrowing. But will Obama pull ahead before the election days? Dunno. Seems like it is all just a question of if there is enough time.


Abulsme - Sat, 16 Feb 2008, 14:14:29 PST
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Minor Adjustments and Romney Endorsement



Just some minor delegate adjustments. Obama picks up 9 delegates somewhere or other. Clinton picks up 2. I haven't been tracking things in such a way that it is easy for me to tell where these new delegates come from. I am guessing these are new superdelegate endorsements, plus probably the one additional delegate Clinton would have gotten from winning New Mexico.



On the Republican side, McCain got 3 more delegates from somewhere, a minor change.

Now, you may be asking... Didn't Romney endorse McCain and "give" his delegates to McCain on Thursday? Well, he did endorse. He did encourage his delegates to vote for McCain. But fundamentally, in the end, these delegates are real people with free will, his statements don't actually alutomatically change the votes for any of them. So how will this play out? Well, in many states, the final delegates aren't actually selected yet, they have only actually done the first stages in the process. In those cases, how things work out in the end depends on the exact process each state has... which tends to be different in each state. In other cases, you actually have an actual human Romney delegate and they are now free to do what they want. They could still vote for Romney. They could vote for McCain. They could vote for Huckabee. Or even for someone who isn't even running.

With all this mess I think what CNN should probably really do is recast all of the Romney delegates as uncommitted... in other words delegates for which we don't know a preference yet... and then start researching the specifics of each and every delegate to be allocated and then start producing those results... but given that McCain probably has this wrapped up anyway... and that by the time we get to the convention it probably just won't matter, even if they don't just get all the delegates to flip and vote for McCain unanimously... they might not actually do this. I suspect they would if it looked like it might actually matter.

The approach CNN has actually taken... at least so far... is to just keep the Romney delegates as Romney delegates. They may still change that in the future. If so, of course I'll make note of it.


Abulsme - Sat, 16 Feb 2008, 12:37:22 PST
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Thu 14 Feb 2008

Home Alone Soon

Just about 24 hours from now, plus or minus a little bit, I'll be dropping Brandy and Amy off at the airport. Brandy's mom is having surgery early next week, so the two of them are going to go back to Pennsylvania for a bit to help her out during her recovery. Part of the time is over a break between trimesters at Amy's school, but she'll still miss a few days, but we worked that all out with the school. All in all, they will be gone about two and a half weeks.

Brandy tells me I have to remember to feed the dog and the skink or they will die.

I will endeavor to remember to do that. :-)


Abulsme - Thu, 14 Feb 2008, 10:02:15 PST
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Obama Over 50%



As results from Tuesday become official and additional delegates get added to the totals, Obama continues to push ahead and Clinton continues to fall behind. As of today's update Obama breaks the 50% of delegates mark for the first time. Right now we are sitting at: Obama 50.3%, Clinton 48.6%, Edwards 1.0%. That's still pretty close of course though. But I expect the gap to only widen with this coming Tuesday's Wisconsin and Hawaii results. (Washington state has primaries too, but they will only matter on the Republican side.) As for March 4th, with Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont... from everything I have been reading, even if Hillary does very well, she will only close the gap a bit, not retake the lead. It will be a question of if she can change the perceptions of momentum back into her favor...



And McCain picks up a few more and continues to extend his lead. 364 more delegates to go before he can claim the nomination outright.


Abulsme - Thu, 14 Feb 2008, 09:24:22 PST
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Tue 12 Feb 2008

And then Obama was Ahead...



As predicted by me (and almost everybody) Obama pulled ahead in the total delegate count based on the results of the Potomac Primaries. Frankly, at this point I know the pundits are all talking about how this may come down to the convention, and we may hit a situation where Obama is ahead in pledged delegates and Clinton potentially is put over the top by superdelegates and this results to all sorts of fun shenanegans. This would be fun, but I don't think it will happen any more. I think Obama has passed Clinton and will just keep increasing the gap. I think even if the things continue to be close enough that the superdelegates are the deciding margin, Obama will have more than enough superdelegates to put him over the edge.

Now, we still have a long way to go between here and there. Maybe Ohio and Texas will go so heavily Clinton to put the brakes on the lead Obama builds in February and put Hillary back in the lead again. Hillary does seem to have a substantial lead in those states. And Pennsylvania feels like it might be Hillary country too at the moment. But that might change. And it might not be enough... Sigh, even as I type this I am becoming a bit less convinced of what I said in the first paragraph. Anyway, Obama is ahead now, but not actually over 50%. Right now we stand at Obama 49.98%, Clinton 48.95%, Edwards 1.07%.

That's still pretty darn close. I guess there should be no egg counting yet. Lets see how Wisconsin and Hawaii go next week.



Oh yeah, and McCain continues to consolidate his lead on the way to 1191 delegates and the nomination. 379 delegates to go.


Abulsme - Tue, 12 Feb 2008, 22:46:07 PST
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Foot


Abulsme - Tue, 12 Feb 2008, 22:42:20 PST
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Mon 11 Feb 2008

Funnier Song

I hated the new Obama song, but this McCain Song is great.

(via Huffington Post)


Abulsme - Mon, 11 Feb 2008, 11:13:12 PST
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Any Thoughts on Potomac Primary?

I forgot to ask before Super Tuesday, even though I knew I had readers in several Super Tuesday states... but I remembered for this one. Tomorrow are the primaries in Virginia, DC and Maryland. I know I have several readers in those areas. Do any of you have any thoughts? Are you planning to vote? If so which party? For who? Why? Do you have a sense of what your friends, coworkers and neighbors are thinking?

Jump in on the comments, or email me if that still doesn't work for you.

Or just remain stoically silent if that is your preference. :-)

But comments are always appreciated.


Abulsme - Mon, 11 Feb 2008, 09:27:18 PST
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Sun 10 Feb 2008

Spitting Distance



All I can say is wow. With the preliminary results rolled in from Maine and additional updates from Saturday's contests as those were finalized... we have 50.0% Clinton, 48.8% Obama, 1.1% Edwards.

Clinton is just BARELY over 50%. 50.022% or so actually.

If Obama does anywhere near as well in the Tuesday contests as he is expected to based on recent polls, he will almost definitely push Clinton below 50%. I think he will PROBABLY actually take the delegate lead as well. I mean the total delegate lead, including superdelegates. Obama *already* has the lead in pledged delegates.

Obama is building massive momentum here. Clinton is counting on being able to come back massively in Ohio and Texas on March 4th. But if she doesn't manage a win or two between now and then, and if she keeps not just losing, but losing by big margins... and she falls behind in delegates... whatever she is hoping for in Ohio and Texas may just fail to materialize...

Now, could she keep it close enough so it will "be decided" by the superdelegates? Yes. But that doesn't necessarily mean it will be decided in her favor.

She just can't lose everything in February and expect to come back after that. Guiliani tried that in January, and we can see how well that worked for him. She needs to pull out some strong showings in some of the next few states. And right now her odds aren't looking good.

My prediction has always been an Obama win. I'll stick by that. But I don't expect Clinton to stop fighting any time soon. There will still be some significant battles left to fight I think. And who knows, she may pull out a surprise somewhere.



Oh yeah, and there were some minor adjustments in the Republican delegate totals too. McCain picked up a handful more.


Abulsme - Sun, 10 Feb 2008, 22:11:29 PST
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Curmudgeon's Corner: Absent a Lightning Strike

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Abulsme - Sun, 10 Feb 2008, 21:56:26 PST
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DVD: All Quiet on the Western Front

So, last weekend it was time for another one of my Netflix DVDs. And once again it was time for one of the 100 Years 100 Movies movies. In my quest to slowly see all of these (starting from #100 and working my way up) it was time for #54, All Quiet on the Western Front, from 1930. I knew it was a war movie about World War I, but otherwise pretty much did not know anything at all.

At first Brandy watched with me, but she HATES this kind of movie, so that didn't last. Amy watched the last half of it with me, and didn't appear to hate it, although I doubt she'll be watching it again any time soon.

From my point of view, I was actually enthralled for most of the movie. I particularly was impressed by the large scale scenes with dozens and dozens of extras. I mean, this was 1930. In 2008 if there is a movie with that kind of scene, it is done with CGI. You just don't see that kind of massive thing done with real people. But here it was, done some 77+ years ago. And done well. Massive battle scenes. Explosions. Things happening all over the place. It was just very well done. And it was done in 1930. I was impressed.

Also, I did notice they REALLY liked the camera shot with a view from inside of a room through a window or door to a lot of things going on outside. Those are fun, but you can tell they were using that over and over and over again.

As for the story itself... the acting was not great. Especially at the beginning. But it still got the effect across. Kids who were initially innocent changed by a senseless war as everybody dies around them, with the world that has not been directly touched now a completely alien place for them. And the iconic final scene still resonates today.

Anyway... it was a little long... at times the audio wasn't great and it was hard to hear what people were saying. But it was a good movie to have seen... once anyway. :-)


Abulsme - Sun, 10 Feb 2008, 20:06:22 PST
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Saturday Results

Here are the updates to the delegate graphs based on the Results from the Saturday contests in Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington State. Note however that I think some results from those contests have not been officially registered in these totals yet because while they are not 100% official yet.



So, Obama continues to close the gap with Clinton. Right now we are at 50.8% Clinton, 48.1% Obama, 1.2% Edwards. All the questions right now are about momentum. Obama "won" all the states (and the Virgin Islands) who played yesterday. Of course, delegates were split, this is not winner takes all. But he won by pretty convincing margins. We have Maine today, then Maryland, Virginia and DC on Tuesday. A week after that is Hawaii and Wisconsin. From what I've been hearing, Obama is favored in all of them, although Virginia and Hawaii are both places where Clinton is very competitive and could win. But Clinton is apparently banking on the big March 4th states, Ohio and Texas. The question is, if Obama keeps racking up wins between now and then, will Clinton start faltering in those states as well under the pure momentum of a winning Obama?

And then there is the superdelegate question. Right now if you only look at pledged delegates who have been "won" through primaries and caucuses, Obama is ahead 918-885-26. Clinton is still in the lead only due to the superdelegates who have already said they are supporting her which outnumber those who are supporting Obama by a decent margin. Will superdelegates start changing their minds if Obama has a clear lead in pledged delegates? Dunno. It could get interesting...

But... If Obama continues to win all the rest of the states in February, and continues to do so with not just close victories, but with significant margins... then the super delegates may well start to sway.

It is still a very interesting dynamic race.



And the Republicans. All the press has been about Huckabee's big win on Saturday. OK. I think this is one of the places where CNN has not yet put in all of the delegates. They took some away from Romney which has appeared on Friday which were apparently an error. And Huckabee got a few, but just a few. So I guess I'll withhold too much comment on Huckabee's "big win", as it may end up looking slightly bigger than the non-event it currently appears to be on the chart. BUt let me just say. Huckabee says: "I didn't major in math, I majored in miracles." Well, lets just say I think this is a perfect opportunity to show why math is usually superior to miracles. Maybe Huckabee is waiting for God to step in personally and strike McCain down... but that is the level of miracle Huckabee would really need here. I mean, it is certainly not mathematically IMPOSSIBLE yet for McCain not to win... but it really would take something HUGE for it to happen at this point. And hey, huge things do happen sometime, but...

On the other hand, I think the degree of the split in the Republicans might mean that they really SHOULD consider splitting the party. Huckabee's level of support, specifically in some geographic areas, indicates I think that if you did have a split of the Republican party into McCain supporters and "everybody else", then the new party WOULD be able to win actual electoral votes along with the two old parties. This would almost certainly throw the election into the house of representatives. And that would be awesome.

Please Huckabee... Please... forget the Republicans... run as a third party. You can do it! It would be fun! Really!


Abulsme - Sun, 10 Feb 2008, 11:06:08 PST
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Sat 09 Feb 2008

Washington State Democratic Caucus, 41st District



They said attendance was about triple what it was four years ago.


Abulsme - Sat, 9 Feb 2008, 15:13:01 PST
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I'm a Delegate

Nobody changed their minds, although some people lobbied Brandy. So 3 Obama delegates (and none for Clinton or Uncommitted) were elected from my precinct to go on to the county convention.

I am one of them.

(To be clear, I've been elected to represent my precinct at the district caucus and the county convention along with 2 other people... This is NOT to be a national delegate. The county convention will elect delegates to the state convention and the state convention will elect delegates to the national convention.)


Abulsme - Sat, 9 Feb 2008, 14:06:11 PST
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My Precinct

16 people. 14 Obama. 1 Clinton. 1 Uncommitted.

That is the initial vote. There is still opportunity for people to change.

Wow.

(PS: Brandy is the uncommitted, I was one of the Obamas.)


Abulsme - Sat, 9 Feb 2008, 13:41:58 PST
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At the Caucus

Well with 15 minutes until it starts Brandy and I are in the elementary school gym where the caucuses for our district are... the Democratic Caucus... So far there are FIVE people from our precinct. 2 Obama. 3 uncommitted.

Ah, more people showing up now...


Abulsme - Sat, 9 Feb 2008, 12:45:35 PST
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Still Adjusting Super Tuesday

I guess it just takes some time to get everything counted. The Democrat counts on CNN stayed the same today, but...



The Republicans got a few delegates. No more for McCain. He has enough it seems. Both Romney and Huckabee picked up a few more though. In percentage terms Huckabee rose a bit, McCain dropped some, and Romney stayed about even. Paul's tiny number dropped a little bit.

Huckabee is of course still actively contesting things. He would have to win an unbelievable percentage of the remaining delegates to actually catch McCain. And a slightly lower but still unbelievable number just to keep McCain from ending with 50%. But given that now he is the only active anti-McCain candidate, he may be able to narrow the gap a bit. But it probably will not matter in the end.

Unless of course something drastic and unexpected happens. Which of course is always a possibility... but increasingly unlikely.


Abulsme - Sat, 9 Feb 2008, 09:40:04 PST
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Paul Kinda Out, but not Fully

Message From Dr. Paul: Onward to the Convention, and Beyond!

Let me tell you my thoughts. With Romney gone, the chances of a brokered convention are nearly zero. But that does not affect my determination to fight on, in every caucus and primary remaining, and at the convention for our ideas, with just as many delegates as I can get. But with so many primaries and caucuses now over, we do not now need so big a national campaign staff, and so I am making it leaner and tighter. Of course, I am committed to fighting for our ideas within the Republican party, so there will be no third party run. I do not denigrate third parties — just the opposite, and I have long worked to remove the ballot-access restrictions on them. But I am a Republican, and I will remain a Republican.

I also have another priority. I have constituents in my home district that I must serve. I cannot and will not let them down. And I have another battle I must face here as well. If I were to lose the primary for my congressional seat, all our opponents would react with glee, and pretend it was a rejection of our ideas. I cannot and will not let that happen.
(via Wonkette)

OK, he actually is NOT officially ending the campaign. But he is scaling it way back and moving on to concentrate on his congressional race. But essentially this is a dropping out. The remaining "Paultards" as Wonkette so endearingly called them will slowly start to drift away except for some of the hardest true believers.

I'd say more than 50% of the people who were excited by him months ago had already drifted away. The way he reacted to the newsletter scandal just killed him for a lot of people, including me. Regardless of how many issues I may agree with him on when I just look at policy and issues, that scandal showed that his judgment was fundamentally flawed, that his integrity was questionable, and that his ability to handle a crisis effectively was essentially zero. These are all critical qualities in a president. So even though on an issue by issue basis, I "match" views with Paul at a greater percentage than any other candidate running, I would no longer feel comfortable giving him a vote in a caucus. Or the general election. And he knows he was harmed that way, so although he has been consistent on this all along, he is not wavering at all about his no 3rd party decision. If he was losing in the Republican process, but was still gaining more and more momentum and support, he might be changing his tune. But the momentum sputtered and stalled due to his own faults. So he is done.

I hope that SOMEDAY a viable candidate with a strong Libertarian bent, but who is not fatally flawed, and has the ability to make enough concessions to reality to not just be a doctronare ideologue. And no gold standard talk. Please. I mean, I bump ito people ALL THE TIME who are financially conservative but socially liberal. How hard is it to get someone with that combination to have real strength in national politics?

Pretty hard it seems.

Oh well.

Bye Dr. Paul. It was fun.

And although I had pretty much made my decision, this makes it now completely clear how I will be caucusing five hours from now.


Abulsme - Sat, 9 Feb 2008, 07:38:35 PST
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Fri 08 Feb 2008

Comments Problem

Ivan mentioned to me last weekend that he was having an issue posting a comment to my website. I thought it was probably a fluke as other people had been posting comments a day or two earlier without any difficulties. But today Brandy tried to post a comment and could not. So I'm investigating. In the mean time, if you can't comment, I apologize.


Abulsme - Fri, 8 Feb 2008, 19:50:19 PST
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Gather

I gather that McCain will be in my area within the next few hours too. I won't be going to see him either.

Huckabee's wife was here earlier too. Missed her.

Oops.

Dunno if Paul has been in town lately. I don't think so.

I'm just not seeing any of these people. Oh well.


Abulsme - Fri, 8 Feb 2008, 16:29:52 PST
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No Live Speeches for Sam

I didn't go see Hillary when she was in Seattle about 12 hours ago. I probably could have, but I just didn't. Obama will be here in about 3 hours. I will not be going to that either. It is in the middle of the day. I've got this little thing called work. Now, the timing is close to lunch time, so it MIGHT have been possible to take a long lunch to go see him, but Mr. Obama has the audacity to schedule his speech at a time when I already have meetings scheduled. He really should have checked my availability first. But NOooo...

Guess I'll be watching this sort of think on C-Span like usual.


Abulsme - Fri, 8 Feb 2008, 08:22:45 PST
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Thu 07 Feb 2008

More Delegate Adjustments

CNN is still updating delegate totals as things get finalized from Super Tuesday. A bunch of delegates got added in both parties, but the new delegates added were added in almost the same proportions as the existing delegate counts, so from a percent of delegates point of view, the lines only move very slightly.




Abulsme - Thu, 7 Feb 2008, 23:52:53 PST
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And Romney's Out...

Bye Bye Mittens!


Abulsme - Thu, 7 Feb 2008, 09:25:56 PST
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Additional Super Tuesday Adjustments



Since my update yesterday CNN updated their estimates a bit. On the Democratic side it changed things only a tiny bit in percentage terms. But the gap between Hillary and Obama widened just a smidge. But it changes nothing about the general conclusions on the results of Super Tuesday. Main result: a dramatic closing of the delegate gap by Obama.



On the Republican side the update was a bit more dramatic, with McCain increasing his lead even further. Remember my points yesterday about how crazy the folks are who are trying to say the Republican race isn't essentially locked up already because of the unrealistic percentage of delegates the others would have to win to catch him? Yeah... even more so now.


Abulsme - Thu, 7 Feb 2008, 00:12:41 PST
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Wed 06 Feb 2008

Post-Super Tuesday Delegate Graphs

So, I wouldn't be surprised if CNN continues to tweak their delegate counts a bit between now and tomorrow. If so, I'll have another update. BUt as of right now, here is what things look like when we look at the whole year so far. This includes additional updates since the end of my "every half hour" effort at 12:00 UTC.



The trend I mentioned for Obama within the Super Tuesday results obviously applies overall. When one looks at these total numbers, which include CNN's estimate of superdelegates, the story is just one of Obama slowly but surely continuing to erode Clinton's initial lead. When we started the year, that gap was 37.8% (based only on early pledging superdelegates) to only 4.9% as of right now. Yesterday that gap was 17.8%. That is a HUGE closing of the gap. Any spinning of yesterday's results any other way seems somewhat dishonest to me.

Another important note. From CNN's totals, in terms of delegates who have been directly "earned" through primaries and caucuses, Obama is actually AHEAD by a margin of 603-590-26. But Hillary has 193 superdelegates to Obama's 103, which puts her ahead in total delegates at 783-709-26. Now, this is with CNN's methods of estimating super delegates. Pretty much every news outlet has different counts for those folks based on how they determine the leanings of the superdelegates and how hard the superdelegates have to lean in order to count. So different outlets will have different counts for the totals. I'm sticking with CNN mainly because that is who I started with. But the point here... it is damn close. And certainly within the margin of the superdelegates. Which of course brings up the very interesting possibility that if current trends continue, we may get to the convention with Obama having more of the primary/caucus delegates, but with Clinton being pushed over the top by SuperDelegates. That would be a VERY interesting convention... and I imagine there would be a lot of unhappy people.

Also, while I note that these delegate estimates are indeed estimates, and may continue to be updated and modified as we go on... I would actually be surprised if they don't. But, as of when I pulled numbers from CNN's site about 45 minutes ago the net results for the day in delegate totals were that Clinton went from 232 to 783, an increase of 551 delegates. Meanwhile Obama went from 158 to 709, an increase of... 551 delegates.

551 to 551. If anybody at all is on TV talking about how EITHER Clinton or Obama "won" SuperTuesday, ignore them. They are idiots. It was a tie.

A tie however favors Obama, because Hillary was ahead on delegates coming in, so a tie in new delegates results in him catching up further in percentage terms.

In terms of additional delegates, in order to have a majority when she comes to the convention, Hillary would have to get 49.1% of all remaining delegates. Obama would need 52.0% of all remaining delegates. If Edwards were to jump back into the race now, he would need to win 79.0% of all remaining delegates in order to win. (I think we can say there is no chance of that last unless both Clinton and Obama are hit by meteors from space or whatnot.)



OK, Republicans. McCain gains a big lead, jumping from 43.3% to 55.4% of delegates. Romney did indeed have a really bad day. Despite his wins, he plummeted from 41.1% which was within spitting distance of McCain, down to 26.3%. Once can understand why he would not be happy. Huckabee rises from 12.9% to 16.7%. Good for him. He went up. But he is still so horribly behind. The people who are doubting him as the new clear alternative to McCain are I think just deluding themselves. It is just too little too late. Now, if Romney drops out and Huckabee is able to pick up a lot of his support... maybe. But it would still be hard, and would depend on exactly what the rules are on how delegates can switch around after their candidates drop out, which I am not sure of on the Republican side. Lets run the numbers like I did for the Democrats above.

In order to come to the convention with a majority McCain needs to win 46.0% of the remaining delegates. Romney would need 67.5%. Huckabee would need 74.5%. Paul would need 85.7%. Now, again, those percentages might change a bit if people drop out depending on the rules for what happens to those delegates at that point. But even 67.5% would be a huge margin of delegates to start collecting for someone who's average has been more like 25%. Let alone the even rougher numbers for the other two candidates.

I really do think that absent a MAJOR unexpected event that would put McCain out of contention, he has this wrapped up. Anybody spinning this in any other way is just looking for ways to prolong things, but they are not being realistic.

OK, a couple more things.

First, for anybody who has any doubt of how BIG Super Tuesday was, and how insignificant everything else so far was except in terms of momentum, here are the graphs of raw delegate counts (rather than percentages) so far:





And one more thing. Since I started writing this post CNN has added 65 more delegates to their counts for Democrats, and 59 more for Republicans. So these numbers are indeed still changing. So I'll have another update tomorrow. But I imagine that none of the general conclusions above will change all that much, just some adjustment around the edges.


Abulsme - Wed, 6 Feb 2008, 09:20:25 PST
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Those Cable Cuts

By they way, I haven't posted anything on those cuts of trans-oceanic internet cables that have been happening over the last week or so. But I have been paying attention. We are apparently now up to five such cables out of commission. There has been some hype about this knocking Iran completely off the Internet. That does not seem to be true. But there is still an issue with major communications channels to large parts of the world being cut.

The first reports said a ship had dropped anchor in a bad place and accidentally cut a cable. Later reports denied that. And as mentioned, we are now up to five cable cuts. Some reports are saying things like "this is starting to look suspicious". Duh. One or MAYBE two might just be an accident. Having a coincidence on three is already stretching things. But five in a week? This can't just be coincidence? Can it? Sometimes coincidences happen... but...

It certainly seems like somebody is definitely up to some mischief here. Who and for what purpose should now be the question.

Any one of you networks type guys reading this have any thoughts?


Abulsme - Wed, 6 Feb 2008, 08:55:09 PST
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Super Tuesday Half Hour by Half Hour

OK, below are the charts I did last night updating the delegate percentages every half hour as results came in. This covers 0:00 UTC to 12:00 UTC. This is basically the first 12 hours after polls closed, not counting West Virginia's Convention. After that, I started to let myself drift off to sleep. I am still annoyed at myself for not having done readings at 0:00 UTC, 0:30 UTC and 1:00 UTC. Oh well.



On the Democratic side the story is simple. The more results came in, and the more delegates were allocated, the more Obama closed the gap with Clinton. The two candidates are a lot closer together now than they were yesterday. But Clinton ended up still ahead.



On the Republican side, there were more dramatic ups and downs. But basically McCain jumped out to a huge lead. It was slowly eroded over the course of the evening, but at the end was still a huge lead. Huckabee moved up, Romney moved down. But both are very far behind McCain.


Abulsme - Wed, 6 Feb 2008, 08:30:46 PST
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Romney over 25% of Delegates

As of 11:00 UTC, Romney slips just over the 25% mark.

Republicans: McCain 57.6%, Romney 25.1%, Huckabee 15.8%, Paul 1.5%

Democrats: Clinton 52.1%, Obama 46.2%, Edwards 1.6%


Abulsme - Wed, 6 Feb 2008, 03:02:11 PST
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McCain below 60% again, Huckabee above 15%

A big update on the Republican side at 9:00 UTC. My headline just mentions McCain and Huckabee because they crossed arbitrary lines, but McCain's drop is paired with a rise for Romney as well as Huckabee. At this hour we now have McCain 57.4%, Romney 25.0%, Huckabee 16.0%, Paul 1.6%. (That 25.0% for Romney is actually 24.975%, so he hasn't actually gone above 25% yet.)

So maybe I spoke a little prematurely about just how unrealistic Romney or Huckabee catching McCain is. I don't think I did actually, I think my statement will end up being accurate, but let me let the rest of the results finish coming in before I open my mouth again. :-)

All the proportional states and their slow counting... I'm ready for my instant gratification damn it! Hurry up with the counting!


Abulsme - Wed, 6 Feb 2008, 01:03:40 PST
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Obama over 45% of Delegates

Slowly but surely over the course of the evening, Obama's percentage of the delegate total has been increasing. It just went over 45% for the first time. Yesterday the gap between Clinton and Obama was 17.8%. As of right now (just after 8:30 UTC) that gap has narrowed to 7.1%. And the night is not quite done yet, they are still counting up delegates and it looks like that will continue for hours more. But right now we have Clinton 52.6%, Obama 45.5%, Edwards 1.9%.

The spinmeisters are going nuts on all sides trying to make it seem like the results are stongly in favor of their candidate. But it is looking like the overall narrative that emerges will hopefully be a better reflection of reality... which is that the gap between these candidates has been narrowed significantly (it will be a bunch more hours before we know exactly where it ends up) and this is basically a completely dead even race right now. Any advantage either candidate has after today will be slight.

So at least the next month of primaries and caucuses will "matter". (Including the Washington State caucuses where I am.) And we get another month of delegate counting as each contest passes by. After tonight is finally done, next stop is Saturday. Then Sunday. Then Tuesday.

This will be a busy week.

But nothing else in the calendar will be anywhere near as big as tonight. From now on it is a long series of individual spaced out events. (With a few clumps, but small clumps.)

And this is a good thing, I can't do that many all nighters any more! :-)


Abulsme - Wed, 6 Feb 2008, 00:44:39 PST
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Huckabee under 15% Again

I definitely am getting tired, I missed that at the 7:30 UTC update Huckabee fell below 15% again by a small margin. At that time the "score" was McCain 62.4%, Romney 21.5%, Huckabee 14.8%, Paul 1.3%. In the last hour CNN hasn't made any further updates to those numbers.

I've also been getting annoyed with the talking heads on TV who are trying to claim that this is now a two way race with McCain and Huckabee, or that all three candidates are still in this race. I'll wait to post something with the actual numbers until we have pretty final delegate counts, but suffice it to say that the mathematics is just against it. The percentages that Huckabee and Romney would need to catch McCain are just completely unrealistic. The only way it could happen is something completely drastic and unexpected... such as McCain having a health crisis and having to drop out.

Anyway... I'll talk about this again sometime after the numbers are final.


Abulsme - Wed, 6 Feb 2008, 00:38:31 PST
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Tue 05 Feb 2008

Huckabee over 15% of Delegates

Things are moving slowly, so I'll do 5% boundaries now too. :-)

Huckabee just went over 15%. On the Republican side we are now at McCain 61.2%, Romney 22.1%, Huckabee 15.3% and Paul 1.4%.

Yes, Paul got some more delegates and went above 1% again.

On the Dem side, although Obama went above 40% and Clinton dropped below 55% when we first started the evening, nobody has passed a 5% line since then. Oh, except Edwards, who fell below 5% at my 3:00 UTC update. In the last hour or so both Clinton and Obama have been rising while Edwards drops. New totals are Clinton 54.1%, Obama 43.5%, Edwards 2.4%.

PS: I know that most likely none of my readers at all are following these updates as I make them, and by morning the blow by blow of the evening will be irrelevant and only the final totals will matter, but I'm having fun, so I don't care. :-) I am getting tired though. But this is likely to go straight through to morning. I'll have to decide if at some point I want to stop. I've got at least a few hours left in me though.


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Feb 2008, 22:34:18 PST
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Huckabee over 10% of Delegates

OK, so Huckabee reversed things in the last half hour and got himself a bunch of delegates. He's back over 10% now. So it is now McCain 61.9%, Romney 23.0%, Huckabee 14.2% and Paul 0.9%.

And that brings up another milestone. I was only going to post when candidates passed 10% marks, or each other, but this is another important one. Ron Paul just fell below 1% of the delegates. Poor Ron Paul.

Meanwhile, CNN hasn't updated delegate totals on the Democratic side in an hour and a half. WTF is up with that?


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Feb 2008, 21:02:22 PST
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Huckabee below 10% of Delegates

This half hour (4:00 UTC) Huckabee just dropped below 10% of the delegates. He seemed all excited about his wins tonight, but the truth is that he is just falling further behind. He may be staying in it to the end and all, but... he just ain't doing well. At the moment in terms of delegate totals we have McCain 66.3%, Romney 23.4%, Huckabee 9.3%, Paul 1.0%.

Anyway, on the other side the Democratic side is frustrating. A lot of states have been called already, but actual delegate counts are just slowly dribbling in as the evening progresses because of the fact that delegates are allocated by district and so results from each district are really needed before anybody can say anything. For instance, in the last half hour several states were called, but there were no changes to the delegate count. So the delegate balance is moving very slowly, not by big leaps. Right now in terms of delegate totals we have Clinton 54.4%, Obama 40.9%, Edwards 4.7%... which isn't that far from where we were yesterday (55.8% to 38.0% to 6.3%).

Obviously those totals are expected delegates from the whole race so far, not just delegates from tonight.


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Feb 2008, 20:02:36 PST
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McCain over 60% of Delegates

As of this half hour, McCain is now over 60% of the estimated delegates on CNN's page. 66.0% to be exact. If this continues it is going to be a bloodbath.

On the Democratic side Clinton yesterday was at 55.8% of delegates. By 1:30 UTC she had dropped to 52.9%. As of 2:30 UTC (a few minutes ago) she was back up to 54.2%. (Meanwhile Obama had gone from 38.0% to 41.6% then back down to 40.8%.)

Although I will continue with the once daily updates of my delegate graphs and will do the one data point for today after it looks like most of today's counts are in, I'm also updating a spreadsheet with graphs of the changes today in half hour increments. (I started at 1:30 UTC, I'm kind of annoyed I didn't think of it in time to do updates at 0:00, 0:30 and 1:00.) If anybody cares to look, the spreadsheet is here.

I think until we get to the end of the evening, I'll only be posting here when there are significant events in those rankings. (Like McCain passing 50% and then 60%.)


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Feb 2008, 18:32:27 PST
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McCain over 50% of Delegates

I won't update the delegate graphs until pretty late tonight I don't think, but just checking totals at the moment, McCain has topped 50% of delegates for the first time in CNN's count based on the (very limited) results so far.


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Feb 2008, 17:28:27 PST
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One more Thought...

And then really it will be it. Last night I saw some analysis (I forget where so can't link to it, sorry) where someone had basically done the math based on a range of likely outcomes on the Democratic side and determined that absent a complete switch to one candidate or the other having an absolutely commanding advantage in every contest from here on out (or one of them drops out), we will end up with a situation where in the end at the convention the winner *will* be determined by how the superdelegates line up. Neither candidate will have enough delegates from primaries and caucuses to win. So it will be all about how the superdelegates end up breaking. So far Hillary has a big advantage amoungst superdelegates. But superdelegates are people and will be subject to lobbying and changing their minds up until the actual moment of the first vote at the convention.

And that could be fun.


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Feb 2008, 13:31:16 PST
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Oh yeah, the R's

Just realized I completely forgot the Republicans. Romney might get enough delegates to keep this going a bit longer (especially if he wins California), but I think McCain will win big enough that the race will essentially be over. The question will just be if Romney wants to fight on a few more weeks in the hopes that there will be a massive last minute swing in his direction. And that's all for that.


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Feb 2008, 13:29:18 PST
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Lunch Predictions for Super Tuesday

I got a cheesesteak and some chips, so another quick thing while I eat, and then back to trying to figure out some fun work things that I need to have done for tomorrow.

Anyway, I thought I would give some final thoughts on Super Tuesday before the polls actually close. (Except for Americans in Indonesia for whom the results are already in - 75% Obama, 25% Clinton.)

Of course, I gave most of my thought's in this weekend's podcast, but I thought it would be good to do it in writing. And then I realized I already had... in an email to someone earlier today. So rather than writing it again, here is what I wrote about 12 hours ago:

Subject: Re: SPF20080130: Edwards Out....
Date: 2008 Feb 5 09:44 UTC
To: (Name withheld)

... (other stuff) ...

As for Super Tuesday (today!!!) I'm standing by what I said in this weekend's podcast. Obama has been surging, but I don't think he has had enough time to pull out enough clean wins that he will actually be ahead in delegates once today's results are counted. (Especially since some of the states, most importantly California, have been voting by mail for weeks.) If he had another week, I think he would win in a lot more states and pull ahead in delegates. But while he has had a big surge, I'm not sure he'll quite get there. The latest polls as of right now don't show that. Hillary is still ahead in too many places, and comes into it with a delegate lead (when superdelegates are included). Of course, polls lag reality by a few days. So maybe with a last spurt of momentum over the weekend he could get there. We shall see. I can't say I wouldn't be pleased if that happened.

But I think more likely Obama will still be behind in delegates, but he will have closed the gap considerably in percentage terms, and the big question will be just how close he got and how it gets spun by the people reporting the event. Will it be: A) So close, nice try, but no cigar, Hillary wins! Woo! Obama's done! or B) Obama closes the gap, his momentum is huge, Hillary may be ahead on delegates, but Obama's momentum is unstoppable or C) Wow, we have a complete dead heat in the delegate count! For all intents and purposes it is a brand new race, now lets watch Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington State on Saturday and see what happens then... and then Maine on Sunday... and Maryland and Virginia next Tuesday...

A, B and C above are all different ways to spin the exact same delegate count coming out of today. But which way of talking about it becomes what people pay attention to will make all the difference in terms of what comes next.

Having said all that, I think what happens in California will be a big part of determining that. In pure delegate terms, it is almost certainly going to essentially be a tie. One of them will get a little more than the other, but it will be close. But whoever "wins" will get all sorts of attention from it. Especially if it is Obama. If Hillary wins, she was expected to. If Obama wins, it will all be about the come from behind victory, etc. The latest polls are all over the place on this one. If you average them together you basically get a dead heat. So who the hell knows.

As of right now on the states with polls it looks like:

Obama: Illinois, Georgia, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah

Toss Ups: Alabama, Connecticut, Arizona, Missouri, California, Massachusetts

Clinton: Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Tennessee, New York, Oklahoma

(And then there are about 5 states with no polls at all, who the hell knows in those... but they are also smaller and matter less.)

I base the categories on it being a toss up if both candidates have some polls from the last week showing them ahead. If all the polls in the last week are for one candidate, I'm putting the state down for them, even if the trend is against them and the most recent poll shows them barely ahead (this is the case in New Jersey for instance).

In any case... with so many toss up states... and even the possibility for an upset or two in the "safe" states... it will be a very interesting night... I'm going to be trying to get out of my last meeting for the day so I can be home and in front of election coverage by the time the first state results start coming in at 00:00 UTC (4 PM Pacific, 7 PM Eastern). And I will be pissed as hell if I can't manage to be home by an hour later when a whole BUNCH of states start coming in.

Because things are proportional though, even if we get state "winners" early... it may be a bit later until we get good delegate counts. And if some of these states are close... especially California... it may be a long night.

And I'll be enjoying every second of it. :-)
And for those of you who work with me who may read this, my last meeting turned out to be a duplicate of one tomorrow, so I'm just going to go to that one instead, so I won't miss anything significant and I'll make up any lost productivity on Wednesday and Thursday. :-)

OK, I'm also done eating now, so back to what I need to get done before I can leave... :-)


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Feb 2008, 13:05:39 PST
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Lunch Songs

Just a quick comment while I'm doing the lunch thing. Well, when I would be doing the lunch thing. I went down to the cafeteria and the line was long, so I went back upstairs to my office and am waiting a couple of minutes before trying again. If the line is still long, I'll just get some chips or something.

Anyway, everybody has been going crazy about the new Obama Yes We Can video. I'm sorry, I think it sucks. Not that it will hurt him in any way mind you, just that it sucks as a song. It isn't catchy. I don't want to hum or sing along to it. It is fairly tuneless. And slow. Bleh. Whatever. Just does nothing for me. I've still actually never made it all the way to the end, I get tired of it what before that.

The original Obama Girl song was much better. Catchier, sticks in your head if you want it to or not, etc. And just funny. And of course completely not supported by the campaign, etc. :-)


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Feb 2008, 12:27:38 PST
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SuperDuper!

No, not politics, for at least a moment. But the new version of SuperDuper! came out today. This is the program that I always used to back up my Mac before Leopard came out. The old version was not compatible with Leopard. This one is, and adds some new features.

I have actually been without regular backups for almost a month now. I cloned my drive once but with that bad directory both Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner were choking on doing a regular backup, and SuperDuper! wasn't Leopard compatible.

Even though I fixed that one directory, I had been waiting for 10.5.2 to come out to hopefully fix more TimeMachine issues before trying TimeMachine again. Especially since I only have one external drive, so to start up Time Machine again I'd have to delete the existing backup, leaving me for a bit with no backup. I do have a much older (pre-Leopard) backup stored on Amy's computer. With some juggling I could delete that OLD backup, then move the more recent (But still old) backup to Amy's machine, then restart regular backups.

Sounds like a potential plan, it will just be a bit of a pain.

I could also get a second external drive... I've been wanting to do that for awhile anyway. That would make the juggling a lot easier, and I could potentially once a week swap out which external drive is at home and keep the other one elsewhere, giving me off site backup, which would also be good.

I wish 10.5.2 would hurry up and come out. I think between doing SuperDuper! style backups and doing Time Machine style backups, I'm leaning toward Time Machine, but I kinda want to wait for 10.5.2 to try it again.


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Feb 2008, 09:09:32 PST
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Mon 04 Feb 2008

Mrs Arnold

One more quick note, and then I have to run to work.

I shot a quick email off to Ivan, but didn't bother posting yesterday (as I was still editing and putting together the podcast) when I heard about Maria Shriver's surprise Obama endorsement. I think it might just be the thing that puts Obama over the edge in California. In recent polls he has been neck and neck. That will get him a bunch of additional in-state free press.

Delegates in CA will pretty much split close to evenly no matter how things go there, but whoever actually pulls out the "win" will get a lot of attention from it. (As mentioned in this week's podcast.)

Which, by the way, for those of you who read the blog but don't listen to the podcast, you've missed some of our best weeks ever these last few weeks. Well, at least we've been having lots of fun. :-) You should all tune in damn it. :-)


Abulsme - Mon, 4 Feb 2008, 09:44:18 PST
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Mittmiracle?

Yesterday I joked a bit about a Mittmiracle in terms of how good McCain looks tomorrow in the primaries. But perhaps I was a bit hasty. There has been a bit of Mittmentum, especially in recent days. It may well end up being, like I said earlier, too little too late... but looking at the charts... Mitt has recently started polling ahead or close to ahead in more states. Right now it looks like he has Utah, Massachusetts and Colorado locked up. But he is also within spitting distance now in Georgia, Tennessee, Delaware, Missouri and most importantly California. And of course there are still some smaller states with no polls at all, so who knows what will happen there. If he manages to pull out California, plus a few more of the "spitting distance" states, he may manage to keep things alive for a little bit longer.

But McCain still has the big advantage.


Abulsme - Mon, 4 Feb 2008, 09:27:03 PST
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Sun 03 Feb 2008

Close Republican Race - For a Bit



As expected, Romney gets the delegates from Maine. If you look at the charts, this means that as of today the delegate race is very very close. Romney and McCain are neck and neck.

But then you look at the Super Tuesday Polls and you realize that Romney is way behind in most of those states. Romney does seem to have some positive momentum in a few states. But it looks to be too little too late. If there were lots of proportional states like on the Democratic side, one might say that he was close in a lot of states and it might be very competitive still after Tuesday. But most of these states are winner takes all.

Given that, this may well be effectively over on the Republican side after Tuesday.

Absent a Mittmiracle. :-)


Abulsme - Sun, 3 Feb 2008, 18:27:25 PST
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Curmudgeon's Corner: Green Airplanes Fly to Super Tuesday

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Ivan's Death Flight
  • Carnival Nipples
  • Missing iPhones
  • Global Warming in School
  • Doubt, Policy and Truth in School
  • Ivan and Sam go light Green
  • Republicans and McCain
  • Dem Super Duper Tight Tuesday
1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

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Podcast XML Feed


Abulsme - Sun, 3 Feb 2008, 17:33:10 PST
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Sat 02 Feb 2008

Maine Caucus

It seems like nobody cares since it is only a few days before Super Tuesday, but results from Saturday's Maine Republican caucuses are coming in now. With 68% reporting looks like Romney is running away with it. There are 18 delegates up for grabs in this caucus. I imagine that tomorrow I'll have a delegate graph update for this which will show Romney closing the gap with McCain. Not that I think he'll get anything out of it since nobody is paying attention for "momentum" and of the Super Tuesday states with polls out, Romney is only ahead in Massachusetts and Colorado... and MAYBE Georgia. He's close in a few more states, but basically McCain is in a very strong position for Tuesday.

Anyway, looks like Romney will win Maine (although CNN hasn't called it yet). I'm sure he is excited.


Abulsme - Sat, 2 Feb 2008, 19:01:46 PST
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Goodbye Edwards



CNN finally adjusted the delegate counts to reflect Edwards being out of the race. He loses a bunch of delegates, but not all of them. Superdelegates obviously are free agents so now are uncommitted again. What happens to the other delegates varies by state. In many cases, the primaries and caucuses are just the first stage in the process, and if the process isn't finished yet, then we end up with uncommitted delegates or delegates to other candidates eventually. In cases where the process is done, in most cases Edwards keeps his delegates. Of course, even then, the delegates are actual people and they may or may not end up voting for Edwards at the convention. This could be affected of course by if Edwards ever endorses. This is also affected by the fact that officially Edwards just "suspended" his campaign rather than ending it. If that status changes, the status of even more delegates changes.

In the mean time, despite all the talk about Edwards leaving potentially helping one candidate or the other, in the short term delegate race in percentage terms it helps Clinton more, as it widens the gap with Obama. Of course, in number of delegate terms, it stays the same. But I'd give the advantage to Hillary here. As a percent of delegates allocated, she is now almost as high as she has ever been.



Oh yeah, and on the Republican side, Guiliani's two delegates go away. But since he had only 2... Ron Paul has three times that amount... it is just barely even noticeable on the charts.


Abulsme - Sat, 2 Feb 2008, 17:54:22 PST
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Post-Copying Generatives

Exactly.

Better than Free
(Kevin Kelly, The Technium)

When copies are super abundant, they become worthless.

When copies are super abundant, stuff which can't be copied becomes scarce and valuable.

When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.

Well, what can't be copied?

There are a number of qualities that can't be copied. Consider "trust." Trust cannot be copied. You can't purchase it. Trust must be earned, over time. It cannot be downloaded. Or faked. Or counterfeited (at least for long). If everything else is equal, you'll always prefer to deal with someone you can trust. So trust is an intangible that has increasing value in a copy saturated world.

There are a number of other qualities similar to trust that are difficult to copy, and thus become valuable in this network economy. I think the best way to examine them is not from the eye of the producer, manufacturer, or creator, but from the eye of the user. We can start with a simple user question: why would we ever pay for anything that we could get for free? When anyone buys a version of something they could get for free, what are they purchasing?

From my study of the network economy I see roughly eight categories of intangible value that we buy when we pay for something that could be free.

In a real sense, these are eight things that are better than free. Eight uncopyable values. I call them "generatives." A generative value is a quality or attribute that must be generated, grown, cultivated, nurtured. A generative thing can not be copied, cloned, faked, replicated, counterfeited, or reproduced. It is generated uniquely, in place, over time. In the digital arena, generative qualities add value to free copies, and therefore are something that can be sold.
(via Techmeme)

Then he goes on to outline eight different kinds of value people will pay for even after everybody eventually stops resisting that anything that can be copied, will be copied, will be widely distributed, and it will be free. DRM and lawsuits and making things illegal can only slow the tide, not stop it.

Anybody who plans to make money off "copyable" things in the 21st century should pay attention to this. This is the map to how to build a business that can succeed and thrive in a post-copying world.


Abulsme - Sat, 2 Feb 2008, 17:01:20 PST
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All Hands 7



My 7th All Hands was yesterday. They are always fun.


Abulsme - Sat, 2 Feb 2008, 00:27:48 PST
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Fri 01 Feb 2008

The Line Goes Up, Makes Sam Happy


Abulsme - Fri, 1 Feb 2008, 03:06:49 PST
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Charts to Watch



Pollster.com has added some new charts that are an excellent way of visualizing the state of the polls for Super Tuesday given the small number of polls and short time until people start voting. They provide a handy explanation of how to interpret this. Full size Democratic chart here and Republican chart here. The most recent versions, along with links to details of the polls in each state should be on the main page of pollster.com until Super Tuesday.

Bottom line... as of the latest polls, Obama and Romney both have a pretty steep uphill climb, and only a few days to make it happen. Obama seems to be going in the right direction pretty quickly though. Romney not so much.


Abulsme - Fri, 1 Feb 2008, 01:15:33 PST
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12 Year Old Kid + Allowance Debit Card + Internet = ???



If you guessed huge roll of industrial strength bubble wrap, then you got it right!

(I couldn't stop laughing when I got home and saw this waiting on the doorstep.)


Abulsme - Fri, 1 Feb 2008, 00:01:08 PST
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Thu 31 Jan 2008

Global Middle School Warming

This evening I spent what seemed like many hours trapped in the hell of a middle school symposium on global warming. Let me just say I left it with an overwhelming desire to immediately go out and buy the largest SUV I could find. Preferably a coal burning SUV that belched clouds of dark acid-rain causing fumes. That I would drive (alone, no carpooling) from here to Brazil while throwing non-biodegradable plastic bags out the window every few hundred feet.. Where I would then burn as many hundred acres of rain forest as I possibly could.

In more detail... there were student presentations (which was OK because they were kids and it was cute) and there was a Q&A period with local experts (which was really in need of an active moderator, because several of the panelists didn't know when to shut up, or how to use a microphone).

But the big thing that bothered me the most was that the whole thing was as if everybody had watched "An Inconvenient Truth" and just accepted every sentence in it completely without any sense of doubt or questioning at all. Now, don't get me wrong, I believe that most of the "factual" things in that movie and pushed by the global warming crowd are in fact very well supported by the current research on the subject. It is true that there is a strong scientific consensus at this point. There are questions around the edges of course, but there is consensus around the basic outline of what is going on.

Having said that, there is still no excuse for accepting it without question and not having a full examination of the potential counter arguments. Kids should be taught to be constantly questioning EVERYTHING and never taking anything at face value. At least in what I saw tonight, both with the adults and the children, there did not seem to be anything at all other than full throated global warming alarmism. No questioning. No doubt. No, this was just how it is. Period.

In general, show me anybody who is 100% sure they are right, and I can assure you, they are most likely wrong. The people who are serious and really know what is going on talk as much about the places where we DON'T know as the places where we do, and are constantly looking to refute their own arguments to find the holes in their logic. Knowing what you don't know is much more important to wisdom than knowing what you know. Those people who act as if they know the certain truth... no matter what that truth is.... those are the ones you always want to be most careful of. Those who critique themselves and... to use a phrase used at my company... who are "vocally self-critical"... those are the ones you want to pay attention to.

In addition to the question of the FACTS of global warming (which again, I think are most likely true, I'm just disturbed by the lack of doubt or questioning of the premise at all) there was also a completely one sided view of the potential approaches for dealing with it, completely ignoring that there is very active debate on what is right and what is wrong there, and what is the proper balance between being eco-friendly and the impact on our economy and our way of life. And also even if we SHOULD do anything about it. There are people who don't deny "climate change" is happening, yet believe that actively trying to "do something" about it would be counter productive.

And there might even be some good in global warming. Yes, some areas become hot and less hospitable. But vast areas in high latitudes may become MORE hospitable. And would a fully navigable Arctic ocean really be a bad thing? You would actually save quite a bit of oil by letting a lot of shipping go that route rather than having to go around the long way... And if the oceans rise a few feet and half of Florida gets submerged, would anybody REALLY miss it? People are adaptable. They can migrate. Would another migration to adapt to some climate change really be all bad?

Anyway...

The viewpoints expressed were 100% slanted toward the positions that the right way to "deal with" the problem is to modify the way we live, to make concessions of convenience or flexibility such as using canvas bags at the grocery or driving more efficient cars.... and more disturbing that these suggestions, which are fine as suggestions... the universal acceptance and promotion that government should be activist in legislating and restricting what people can do so as to help the environment. I'm fine with people deciding on their own that the right thing to do is X, Y or Z and doing it or convincing their friends to do it, or taking private actions to make it so other people might want to do it. (This is true even if I don't think X, Y and Z are actually the right things to do.) But the second you make it a law that I *must* do it, then I get pissed. (Don't get me started on mandatory recycling... I practice civil disobedience on that almost every day.... BECAUSE it is mandatory... I probably wouldn't object to doing it on a voluntary basis.)

And here I was just getting increasingly annoyed, because it was so clear everything was oriented toward people sacrificing to make the world better, or making laws to force people to do what a certain group think is the right thing to do. There was very little talk about (for instance) eliminating the problem through dramatically advancing technology so we could reduce impact while NOT changing anybody's way of living or forcing anybody to do things they don't want to or which are more expensive... or of looking at solutions that involve interesting solutions like counteracting global warming by intentionally causing a controlled nuclear winter. Set off a couple hundred nukes in strategic places, we could solve global warming over night... but nobody ever even thinks about that!

OK, that last might be a bit radical, but we should be thinking of interesting technological and engineering solutions, not just automatically saying we need to make our lives less convenient by using less oil and using public transportation instead of private cars and all that sort of nonsense. Or even worse, by mandating all sorts of additional governmental restrictions on what we can and can't do. That just annoyed me. This whole thing was pushing a particular political perspective. It wasn't unbiased research or reporting into a real problem and a range of possible solutions. It was pushing a very particular agenda. At the very least they could have presented at least SOME of the arguments for other possible approaches... even if just to then argue against them. But it was all just so completely one-sided. And that just bothered me.

All in all, the kids came off as brainwashed, and the adults came off as pompous know-it-all holier-than-thou assholes.

OK, perhaps that is a bit harsh, but that is the truth about how I felt when I left this thing.


Abulsme - Thu, 31 Jan 2008, 22:08:16 PST
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No Blood

Pretty boring dem debate. Very civil for the most part. No big sparks. Lots of stuff anybody who has been paying attention has heard dozens of times before. Big kumbaya question at the end. Wolf Blitzer sucks.

End result, I don't think this will move the needle much at all. The question remains can Obamas momentum in closing the gap with Hillary get far enough in just a few days to keep it very close or even take a lead on Tuesday? Or will he fall short, with Clinton maintaining enough of the strong lead she has now to take a decisive lead.

Today had the potential of having a major effect on the trends in the next few days. Instead everybody played it safe and I think this ends up being a non-event.

I'll be watching the polls closely from now until Tuesday though!


Abulsme - Thu, 31 Jan 2008, 18:54:49 PST
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