Archives: May 2008

Sat 31 May 2008

For the Record on FL/MI

My personal opinion is that seating Michigan or Florida *at all* is just stupid and wrong. You just don't change the rules in the middle of the game. That is wrong and disturbing. EVEN if it is constructed in a way that it won't make any difference.

But if they ARE going to do something, then just seating both delegations, but at half a vote per delegate rather than a full vote, seems like a reasonable compromise. It looks like that will happen with Florida. As I write this, Michigan is still up in the air. But some of the proposals to just spit it 50/50, or 69/59, or whatever... are all bullshit. If they are going to recognize the state at all, then it should be based on the election that happened, no matter how flawed. And the uncommitted delegates should be seated as uncommitted delegates (who can then make up their mind and pick someone before the convention).

It seems that is unlikely to happen too. There is even some talk about them "punting" the Michigan question to the credentials committee, which won't meet for quite some time.

Hopefully we will know before too much longer.


Abulsme - Sat, 31 May 2008, 15:02:07 PDT
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Delegates While Waiting for RBC



A few more superdelegates today. 3 for Obama, 1 for Clinton.

Updated stats:

Delegate count is: Obama 1984, Clinton 1783, Edwards 7

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.6%, Clinton 47.2%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 276 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 42 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 243 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 15.2% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 28.3% before KY/OR.)

Clinton needs 88.0% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 74.4% before KY/OR.)

Of course, as I type these words, the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC is meeting to decide what to do with Florida and Michigan. Based on conversation so far, it seems clear that these states will be seated in some way or another, and the finish line will be moved back some. The question is just how much.

My charts, graphs and numbers will reflect any changes made by the RBC as soon as CNN's Summary Page reflects the changes, which hopefully will be almost immediate after the RBC makes their decisions.


Abulsme - Sat, 31 May 2008, 10:38:07 PDT
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Fri 30 May 2008

And of course...

I am sick today. And late to work. But I"ll drag myself in because of one meeting I want to make sure I'm at. Otherwise I'd consider staying home. Oh well. Off I go.


Abulsme - Fri, 30 May 2008, 11:29:03 PDT
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Electoral College: NY Stronger for Obama, TX Stronger for McCain



Quick since I'm running late. Obama is now leading by more than 10% in New York, McCain is now leading by more than 10% in Texas, putting both states in the respective "Strong" categories which makes those states very unlikely to be in play this election. Since both states were already "weak" and neither were in the could go either way "leaning" categories, this leaves the overall summary the same... which is of course still that there are so many states "too close to call" that either candidate could easily win if the election was held today. Of course, the election is not today, so this just gives us a snapshot of now, which will likely change quite a bit before November.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 313, Obama 225
Obama Best Case - Obama 333, McCain 205

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 277, McCain 261


Abulsme - Fri, 30 May 2008, 11:13:27 PDT
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Quick Delegate Update



I'm running way late today, so just the basics. Obama gets 3 superdelegates, Clinton gets 2.

Updated stats:

Delegate count is: Obama 1981, Clinton 1782, Edwards 7

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.5%, Clinton 47.3%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 280 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 45 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 242 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 16.1% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 28.3% before KY/OR.)

Clinton needs 87.1% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 74.4% before KY/OR.)

This is of course as of today's rules, which are expected to change after Saturday's RBC meeting.


Abulsme - Fri, 30 May 2008, 11:06:43 PDT
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Updated Random Spot Tool



Well, since I couldn't sleep, and eventually got tired of Wikipedia and random shows on the Tivo, I ended up retrofitting my Random Spot Tool to get rid of the ancient and unfriendly MapQuest hack and replace it with an integrated Google Maps version using their Maps API.

At the same time, since now I could, I added a few things that were not possible the old way. It is much better and much more fun than before. Play with it and enjoy.

And maybe go on some trips!

Of course, now I haven't slept at all. I took Amy to school, and am now going to have to rush through the rest of my morning activities to try to get to work at a semi-reasonable hour.


Abulsme - Fri, 30 May 2008, 09:26:45 PDT
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Bleh Bleh

Not feeling great tonight. Really tired. Should have been asleep probably 3 or 4 hours ago. But of course can't sleep because I'm feeling uncomfortable. So I'm up watching an episode of Globe Trekker on the Tivo, while hitting the random article link on Wikipedia over and over and reading about whatever happens to come up.

I have to be up in a little over 4 hours to get Amy up and to school. It is getting close to the point where it is better to just stay up.

I could just go into the office and try to do stuff that is actually useful or productive in some way, but I don't really feel quite up to that either, and I keep hoping at some point I'll actually just nod off. But not yet.

Bleh.


Abulsme - Fri, 30 May 2008, 01:43:37 PDT
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Thu 29 May 2008

Oh, Some Republican Delegates



No new Democratic updates today, but CNN updates their Republican numbers to include some results for Idaho. Don't know why they are doing this right now really, but whatever. McCain picks up 17 more delegates, Paul picks up 5.

New Republican totals: McCain 1517, Huckabee 275, Romney 255, Paul 35

There are actually 298 more Republican delegates that CNN has not yet accounted for.


Abulsme - Thu, 29 May 2008, 08:14:31 PDT
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Wed 28 May 2008

Electoral Triva

Out of all the US Presidential elections in the last 100 years (meaning 1908 to 2004) how many times did a third candidate actually get electoral votes?

It is more than I actually would have thought. Ten times out of 25 elections. A full 40% of the elections in that time period.

Here they are:

  • 1912 - Wilson (Democrat) 435, Roosevelt (Progressive) 88, Taft (Republican) 8
  • 1924 - Coolidge (Republican) 382, Davis (Democrat) 136, LaFollette (Progressive) 13
  • 1948 - Truman (Democrat) 303, Dewey (Republican) 189, Thurmond (States Rights) 39
  • 1956* - Eisenhower (Republican) 457, Stevenson (Democrat) 73, Jones (Independant) 1
  • 1960 - Kennedy (Democrat) 303, Nixon (Republican) 219, Byrd (Democrat) 15
  • 1968 - Nixon (Republican) 301, Humphrey (Democrat) 191, Wallace (American Independent) 46
  • 1972* - Nixon (Republican) 520, McGovern (Democrat) 17, Hospers (Libertarian) 1
  • 1976* - Carter (Democrat) 297, Ford (Republican) 240, Reagan (Republican) 1
  • 1988* - Bush (Republican) 426, Dukakis (Democrat) 111, Bentsen (Democrat) 1
  • 2004* - Bush (Republican) 286, Kerry (Democrat) 251, Edwards (Democrat) 1
(Source: National Archives)

The ones with asterisks are cases where the third person got an electoral vote due only to a faithless elector. In all the other cases the third person actually "earned" the electoral votes.

(Or at least most of them... in a couple of cases faithless electors added to a third candidate's total, but the candidate also got other electoral votes by the normal means... and the 1960 case was interesting too as some of the electors were actually directly elected as unpledged electors... some of whom voted for Byrd, who wasn't actually running.)

Given that, you could discount 5 of those 10 elections. Even so, you are left with 5 elections (20% of the elections) where a third person "legitimately" earned electoral votes. Which is more often than I would have thought.

Now granted, while the last "faithless elector" incident was very recent... the 2004 election... the last time a third candidate actually "won" electors was 1968, a full 40 years ago. So we're a bit overdue! It doesn't look all that likely this time around, but perhaps in 2012. :-)

But maybe we could have a faithless elector or two. That could be fun. :-)


Abulsme - Wed, 28 May 2008, 17:57:06 PDT
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Electoral College: Nebraska Strengthens More for McCain



It is McCain's turn for good polling news today. The latest poll in Nebraska moves the state to a greater than 10% lead for McCain, putting it into the "Strong McCain" category. A special note about Nebraska. It is one of two states (the other being Maine) that does not choose to allocate its electoral votes on a winner take all basis, but rather by congressional district. Unless it was a toss up state though (which it obviously is not at this moment) it is unlikely that it will actually split its electoral vote. (Maine by the way, is Strong Obama, so it is also unlikely to actually split.)

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 313, Obama 225
Obama Best Case - Obama 333, McCain 205

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 277, McCain 261

Thinking about Nebraska and Maine, it is interesting to note that ultimately each state can choose how it allocates electoral votes. It is only by long standing tradition that it is winner take all based on a popular vote. Any state that wanted to could just as easily change their state laws to have the legislature choose the electors, or the governor. Or for that matter they could choose to have them selected as winning prizes in the state lottery. It is completely up to the states. It is actually kind of a shame that states are not more creative on this.

I still remain in favor of the notion of appointing electors well in advance of the election from a pool of uncommitted people, and having them actually have to be convinced by the candidates to choose one or the other.

That would be different. :-)


Abulsme - Wed, 28 May 2008, 09:41:18 PDT
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Closer and Closer (Delegates)



Today one pledged delegate in Alaska moves from Clinton to Obama. Not sure the story behind that one, quite possibly just adjustments as the process finalizes. In addition, Obama gets three more superdelegates and Clinton gets one more superdelegate. Net for today, Obama gains four, Clinton stays even.

Updated stats:

Delegate count is: Obama 1978, Clinton 1780, Edwards 7

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.5%, Clinton 47.3%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 285 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 48 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 246 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 16.8% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 28.3% before KY/OR.)

Clinton needs 86.3% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 74.4% before KY/OR.)

Now, with the updated numbers from DCW if Clinton gets her best case scenario on Saturday (full seating of Florida and Michigan using existing results) Clinton would gain 193 delegates, Obama would gain 97 delegates and Edwards would gain 11 delegates. The new totals would be Obama 2075, Clinton 1973, Edwards 18. The new magic number would be 2209.

With that:

Obama would need 134 more delegates to win (38.1% of what would then be remaining).

Clinton would need 236 more delegates to win (67.0% of what would then be remaining).

And that is Clinton's BEST case.

Current (admittedly very limited) polls would indicate Obama getting about 40 delegates from the remaining 3 primaries. Which would mean he only needs about 8 more superdelegates to be able to clinch this thing on June 3rd... with no Michigan and Florida.

Rumor has it that Obama has a few dozen superdelegates lined up who have privately committed to declare in his favor within a week of the primaries ending on June 3rd. If we don't have Clinton's best case, but something more like the proposal to seat the two delegations at half strength, that will probably be enough to clinch it.

We shall see. The next big event is the Rules Committee meeting on Saturday. Without it, this would almost certainly be over one week from right now. If they move the finish line back a bit, it will take a little longer, but probably only a few days.

We're just going through the motions now.

(OK, really, we've just going through the motions since April 23rd if not even earlier, but now I think even Hillary knows it... at least I hope she does.)


Abulsme - Wed, 28 May 2008, 00:41:18 PDT
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Tue 27 May 2008

If Michigan Comes 'As Is'

The Michigan 36 - Obama gets 18
(Matt, 2008 Democratic Convention Watch)

Michigan selected 36 Uncommitted delegates at their District Conventions in April. The state of these 36 delegates, specifically whether they have officially endorsed Obama, has become important in advance of this weekend's RBC meeting. Knowing how many of the 36 are committed to Obama could make the difference in what type of deal the Obama campaign is willing to accept. We asked our readers to help us out, and they did.

Information was hard to come by - We weren't even able to find the names of 5 of the 36 delegates.

Of the remaining 31, 30 of them have been reported to support Obama, but there aren't good sources for 12 of the 30. We will continue to look for verifiable sources for the rest of these delegates.

But we do have good sources for 18 delegates, and therefore we are moving 18 Uncommitted delegates into the Obama column in our Michigan/Florida sidebar counter, as well as in Scenario 5 in FL & MI By The Numbers.


Abulsme - Tue, 27 May 2008, 21:36:15 PDT
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Reminds Me of the Wean Physics Lounge

Back in college I would so have done this:



(via Boing Boing Gadgets)

I'm guessing Brandy wouldn't let me today.

Which is probably a good thing.


Abulsme - Tue, 27 May 2008, 20:25:30 PDT
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Electoral College: Minnesota strengthens for Obama



Today's round of polls includes a poll for Minnesota that pushes Obama's "last five polls" average lead over 10%, moving the state from "Weak Obama" to "Strong Obama". This is the first state added to Obama's "Strong" column since way back in March. Thus the streak of good poll results for Obama continues. Since only "Leaning" states moving back and forth affect my "best case scenarios" rather than strong or weak states, the summary does not change.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 313, Obama 225
Obama Best Case - Obama 333, McCain 205

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 277, McCain 261


Abulsme - Tue, 27 May 2008, 08:02:27 PDT
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More Delegates, More Delegates



Six more supers today. Five for Obama, One for Clinton.

New stats:

Delegate count is: Obama 1974, Clinton 1780, Edwards 7

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.5%, Clinton 47.3%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 289 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 52 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 246 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 18.0% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 28.3% before KY/OR.)

Clinton needs 85.1% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 74.4% before KY/OR.)

As a note of interest, based on the latest polls in Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota, I expect Obama will pick up about 40 delegates in those primaries. That would putt him potentially only 12 delegates away from the win if that were to happen.

That assumes of course no Florida and Michigan. But conventional wisdom at this point is that there will be some seating of Florida and Michigan this weekend, pushing the magic number further out and therefore putting Obama a bit further away from the win... although still a lot closer than Clinton.


Abulsme - Tue, 27 May 2008, 07:05:36 PDT
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Curmudgeon's Corner: Continuous Surge of Different Bubbles

San and Ivan talk about:

  • Oil, Oil, Oil
  • Transportation Policy
  • Choosing a Car
  • Sam's Driving Adventures
  • Office 2008 Update
  • Phoenix Lander
  • Hillary and RFK
  • Hillary's Math
  • Puerto Rican Primary
  • Treatment of Vets
  • The Rules Committee
  • Unity Ticket?
1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

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Abulsme - Tue, 27 May 2008, 06:54:55 PDT
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Mon 26 May 2008

The 'Enemy'

I meant to blog about this back on the 18th, but I got busy and never did.

Since I was an Obama delegate, I got on a whole lot of mailing lists, both the national Obama mailing lists, and local ones. On the 18th I got an email from one of the local Obama coordinators for the 41st district here in Washington. I'll refrain from actually calling him out by name. And I think it exemplifies everything that made the local Democratic events ones that turned me off so much and made me want to vote Republican instead. Here is the relevant quote:

It is likely that things will not be completed until after the DNC concludes its March 31st meeting regarding Michigan and Florida, but there is a truce of sorts in effect – the Obama campaign is not attacking Senator Clinton, and Senator Clinton has begun to focus her ire on Senator McCain. This allows her campaign and her supporters the dignity they desire for their campaign as they begin to wind down and we begin to learn to work together again against our real enemy.
This is the kind of thing that bothers me so so much. Republicans are NOT the "enemy". Or at least they should not be. Even if you identify very strongly with the positions of the Democratic party, you SHOULD be viewing the Republicans as people who disagree with you on some issues, and on even more differ on the correct approach, but you should recognize that the vast majority of them are honorable people trying to do what they believe is right. The differences should be ones that one could discuss intelligently and calmly. You should be able to respect the person on the other side, even if you disagree.

But once you cross the line, and start thinking of those who differ with you politically as "enemies" then you have crossed a significant line. You are certainly no longer someone I want to associate with.

And the local Democratic events were full of these hyperpartisans, who view the Republicans as "enemies" and see no value in the views of those on the other side, no need to try to understand where they are coming from, no need to look for common ground.

These are the people who are dangerous. And the analogues exist in the Republican party as well of course. The people who truly KNOW that they are right and that their "enemies" are wrong. Who have no room in their worldview for doubt and shades of grey, and acknowledging that sometimes the other guy has a point.

And it is surprising to me that so many of them are Obama supporters. Have they not read his books? He speaks quite a bit about not dismissing people who disagree, and learning from them when they are right, etc. Anybody who truly believes that the Republicans are "enemies" should not be an Obama supporter.

Of course, there are many, including those on the right, who insist that the bipartisan centrist rhetoric of Obama is indeed only rheotric, and the reality of Obama is actually a hyperpartisan leftist. I certainly hope they are wrong.

But after all, in 2000 George W Bush sold himself as a centrist, a "compassionate conservative", etc, etc, and we all see how that ended up.

All of this reminds me of my strong feelings that divided government is best. That regardless of who is in power in the White House, it is almost imperative that the congress should be held by the opposite party. Whenever both are controlled by the same party, you are just asking for trouble. (Or apparently, if you do have divided government, but the party running the congress is too gutless to exercise power, you also have no protection... the key is that there should always be significant tension between congress and the white house... with congress jealously guarding its powers and defending against the growth of executive power... so as to prevent most action other than that which truly has near universal support.)

I sent a long email to someone on that topic a couple months ago. I'll have to dig it up sometime and post it.


Abulsme - Mon, 26 May 2008, 11:10:53 PDT
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Sun 25 May 2008

Wiki Chain

Brandy turned me on to this fun game. Well, Brandy's version is a little different, but here are my rules.

Start with by clicking "Random Article" on Wikipedia. Then click the first link in each article (not counting standard navigation and disambiguation links and and such not counting pages you have already gone to) and just see where you travel.

So lets go:

  1. Johnathan Stonagal
  2. Fictional Character
  3. Person
  4. Human
  5. Bipedalism
  6. Terrestrial Locomotion
  7. Evolved
  8. Biology
  9. Greek Language
  10. List of Languages by First Written Accounts
  11. Writing
  12. Media (Arts)
  13. Art
  14. The Arts
  15. Culture
  16. Latin
  17. Indo-European Languages
  18. Language Family
  19. Language
  20. Symbol
OK, that's 20, so I'm going to stop. OK, so maybe it wasn't that much fun. Of course, in Brandy's version she actually reads each of the pages and learns about whatever the subject matter is, and usually starts from a page she actually had some interest in rather than doing the random thing, but whatever. :-)

I've of couse spent many hours flipping between wikipedia pages before and ended on all sorts of tangents, and there is a famous cartoon about that... it is the "first link" thing that makes this different.

Yeah, OK, fine. Maybe the other way is better. :-)


Abulsme - Sun, 25 May 2008, 14:24:45 PDT
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Sat 24 May 2008

Cinema: Iron Man

I've been bad, it has been a couple weeks since we saw this. Mother's Day weekend actually, so just about exactly two weeks ago. Amy was away at a sleepover, so Brandy and I did dinner and a movie. The waiter messed up our order when we went to eat, and then we went to the movie.

I hadn't realized just how long it had been since we had gone to a movie. The last one was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix back in July of last year. That's probably a bit too long. We should go out to movies more often.

Anyway, it was pretty much what you would expect from a superhero flick. It was light. It was entertaining. There was some action. It was funny at times (the robots). It did the job it was supposed to do.

It was a fun way to spend the evening. I ate lots of popcorn. It was a good evening.

As with most films I watch though, I don't think I'll feel any need to watch it again. But would I go to the sequel when it comes out? Sure. I'd do that.


Abulsme - Sat, 24 May 2008, 20:50:29 PDT
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The Delegate Trickle Continues



Two more Edwards delegates move to Obama. Plus two more superdelegates for Obama. Net for today, four more for Obama.

New stats:

Delegate count is: Obama 1969, Clinton 1779, Edwards 7

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.4%, Clinton 47.4%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 295 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 57 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 247 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 19.3% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 28.3% before KY/OR.)

Clinton needs 83.7% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 74.4% before KY/OR.)


Abulsme - Sat, 24 May 2008, 15:05:35 PDT
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Proposed ACTA

This kind of stuff is BS, but it just keeps coming. It needs to stop.

Copyright Police may seize iPods, Macs under G8 trade deal
(Andy Space, 9 to 5 Mac)

iPods, iPhones, laptops and other digital devices could be seized by customs officials worldwide under a new top-secret copyright policing deal being worked out between the G8 nations, reports claim.

Nations including Canada, the US and various European states (including the UK, which sits on the G8) are secretly agreeing a new pan-global state police deal in which information held on iPods and other devices could be subject to investigation by customs officials tasked with a new role, as copyright police.

Dubbed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), signatory nations will form an international coalition against copyright infringement.

The deal’s up for discussion at the next G8 meeting in Tokyo in July, It creates rules and regulations to govern private copying and copyright laws, and posits the founding of an international regulator, “that would turn border guards and other public security personnel into copyright police,” reports Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and other Canadian media outlets.


Abulsme - Sat, 24 May 2008, 12:53:55 PDT
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Fri 23 May 2008

I Fear This is True

Hillary's gambit
(Brendan Loy, Irish Trojan)

What, then, is Hillary playing at? I have a theory. She appears to be racheting up her rhetoric to the point where, if the Rules & Bylaws Committee does anything other than seat the Florida and Michigan delegations with full voting rights and in complete accordance with the rogue primary results, she can declare that decision an anti-democratic outrage that must be remedied, irrespective of its significance to the nomination battle, and thus use it as an excuse to keep fighting all the way to the convention, even after Obama secures the nomination by any and all mathematical standards (whether the magic number is 2,025, 2,210, or something in between). In this scenario, Hillary would most likely "suspend" her campaign, but refrain from endorsing Obama or "releasing" her delegates, and then lie in wait for the next three months, hoping some political calamity befalls him in the mean time, at which point she can sweep in like a "white knight" and take the nomination away from him.


Abulsme - Fri, 23 May 2008, 19:16:53 PDT
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Please Be True

There have been conflicting reports on this the last 48 hours or so, and denials of about every one of those reports. But personally, I hope this one is true:

The Nightmare Ticket Is Dead
(Al Giordano, The Field)

The Field can now confirm, based on multiple sources, something that both campaigns publicly deny: that Senator Clinton has directly told Senator Obama that she wants to be his vice presidential nominee, and that Senator Obama politely but straightforwardly and irrevocably said “no.” Obama is going to pick his own running mate based on his own criteria and vetting process.
(via MyDD)

Of course, this has been denied.


Abulsme - Fri, 23 May 2008, 19:09:25 PDT
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Inimigos da HP

Is Ivan allowed to go see them when he is in Brazil?

Notes: The Brazilian Band Called Inimigos da HP (Translation: Enemies of HP)
(Brian Lam, Gizmodo)

On my last day in São Paulo, the good people we were working with on an upcoming Portuguese version of Giz with took us to some nightclub with an open roof and lots of beautiful younger people dancing and making out. Anyhow, here's the gadget party of this story: There was a band there playing called Inimigos da HP, or Enemies of HP. Yes, that HP.


Abulsme - Fri, 23 May 2008, 18:36:52 PDT
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Just a Flesh Wound

About two weeks ago, I was thinking about this exact clip with regards to Hillary. Glad to see someone went ahead and put it together. Although I think they should have used actors with British accents rather than actual clips from Hillary. Oh well!



(via DailyKos)


Abulsme - Fri, 23 May 2008, 10:05:10 PDT
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Electoral College: Obama takes the lead as Ohio Flips



Obama does seem to be on a roll. With the new polls today, three states move in Obama's direction. The most critical is Ohio, which now moves from Leaning McCain to Leaning Obama. Ohio has 20 electoral votes, so this is a huge shift. It is enough to put Obama in the lead (barely) in the situation where you give both candidates all of the states where they are ahead by even a tiny bit. The lead is less than 5% though... actually less than 1%... so really this is a state that very much could easily go either way. But with all the leaning states (and DC) Obama is once again in the lead.

At the same time, Obama strengthens his lead in Pennsylvania. He is now ahead in Pennsylvania by more than 5%. This makes me take the possibility of McCain winning Pennsylvania out of his best case scenario. With Pennsylvania being a pretty large 21 electoral votes though, I fully expect McCain to work hard to bring this state back into play.

Finally, Virginia, which had only strengthened to a more than 5% lead for McCain a few days ago, weakens again and comes back into play as a leaning state, therefore strengthening my "best case" model for Obama.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 313, Obama 225
Obama Best Case - Obama 333, McCain 205

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 277, McCain 261

Now, note we still have 11 states and 105 electoral votes in states where the leading candidate is ahead by less than 5%. Either candidate could easily win by pulling the right mix of those states. Right now, all of this basically just means everything is completely up in the air.

Not to mention, this is of course a snapshot of NOW. (Actually, now and the recent past, as many states have very sparse polling, sometimes less than one poll a month.) And between now and the convention, we'll have, as one pundit whose name I can't remember right now called it, two or three "geologic ages" in the state of the race. Things will happen, the candidates will react to them. VPs will be selected. Candidates will make mistakes. Candidates will actively start campaigning in the battleground states. General election TV ads will start airing. Etc.

We have a long way to go. And certainly from this far out, it is completely wide open still.

Having said that, Obama has had a very good last few days in terms of the state by state polls. We shall soon see if this is a long term trend, or if it quickly gets reversed. This is the first time Obama has been ahead since April 20th. And the first time since April 15th that Obama's best case was better than McCain's best case.

Looking back though, in the time since we first had polls in all 50 states back on March 8th, Obama has been in the lead with the "all the leans" metric two other times. Neither time lasted more than a week.

So we shall see. My initial prediction is that this time will last longer and be the beginning of a trend in Obama's direction now that we essentially have a nominee (even if Hillary continues to fight).

I think we'll see more leaning states flip to Obama soon. (I'll go out on a limb and say Michigan will flip soon.) And we'll see some states strengthen for Obama and several more weaken in their McCain support and come back into play for Obama.

I could be wrong though. We'll know soon enough.


Abulsme - Fri, 23 May 2008, 09:27:32 PDT
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Final Round of KY, OR Updates



103 out of 103 delegates from KY/OR are now in.

The final results... Clinton 58, Obama 45.

My prediction was... Clinton 58, Obama 45. Woo! Go me!

Today's batch from KY/OR was an even split, 2 for Clinton, 2 for Obama. In addition today Obama picks up one more super delegate. So over all for today, Obama up 3, Clinton up 2.

New stats:

Delegate count is: Obama 1965, Clinton 1779, Edwards 9

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.4%, Clinton 47.4%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 297 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 61 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 247 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 20.5% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 28.3% before KY/OR.)

Clinton needs 83.2% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 74.4% before KY/OR.)

In the last couple of updates, I've also shown stats for what the situation would be if Clinton got her dream result and had Florida and Michigan fully seated based on the current results. I won't do that every day since it is not the situation today, and is a very unlikely result. I just give it occasionally to show that even if that were to happen, Clinton would need to be getting significantly more than 60% of the remaining delegates to be on pace to catch up and win. This would be a DRAMATIC change from the 47.4% of the delegates she has been pacing at so far. And every day where she doesn't get that margin in the delegates... which is almost every day... the percentage she needs continues to go up. She is not doing what she needs to be doing to win EVEN IF she gets what she wants in Michigan and Florida... which she won't.

In any case, if and when there is a revision to the policy on Michigan and Florida that officially changes the number of delegates required for a win, then I will of course make adjustments here. This may well happen on the 31st. (And even after that what is decided may be appealed and have the possibility of changing again later.) But in the mean time, the number needed to win is 2026.


Abulsme - Fri, 23 May 2008, 08:15:19 PDT
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Thu 22 May 2008

Awww...

Lost Parrot Tells Veterinarian His Address
(AP on Huffington Post)

When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught _ recite his name and address to a stranger willing to help.

Police rescued the African grey parrot two weeks ago from a neighbor's roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo. After spending a night at the station, he was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital while police searched for clues, local policeman Shinjiro Uemura said.

He kept mum with the cops, but began chatting after a few days with the vet.

"I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian, according to Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs.
She couldn't talk, but I still miss Zuri very much. :-(


Abulsme - Thu, 22 May 2008, 08:45:07 PDT
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Electoral College: McCain weakens in Indiana



An update in Indiana continues a positive streak for Obama. The state moves from "Weak McCain" to "Lean McCain" putting McCain's lead at less than 5%, and putting it in play for Obama.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 334, Obama 204
Obama Best Case - Obama 320, McCain 218

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - McCain 281, Obama 257


Abulsme - Thu, 22 May 2008, 08:24:18 PDT
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Second Round of KY, OR Updates



We now have 99 of 103 delegates for KY/OR. At this point 56 for Clinton, 43 for Obama. That is 56.6% for Clinton. I had predicted 56.3%. But she needed 74.4% to be on pace for a win, and she didn't come close.

Of the delegates above, today's update included 8 for Obama and 5 for Clinton. In addition, Clinton picked up 2 superdelegates and Obama picked up 1 superdelegate. Today's net is therefore 9 for Obama and 7 for Clinton.

New stats:

Delegate count is: Obama 1962, Clinton 1777, Edwards 9

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.3%, Clinton 47.4%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 302 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 64 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 249 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 21.2% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 28.3% before KY/OR.)

Clinton needs 82.5% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 74.4% before KY/OR.)

Based on the limited polls available so far from Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota, Obama will probably pick up about 38 delegates from those states. Which means he only needs to pick up about 26 more superdelegates to clinch the nomination under the existing rules. (Meaning no Florida and no Michigan.)

Now, the situation of Florida and Michigan may well change on the 31st when the rules committee meets. And Clinton yesterday mentioned the possibility of appealing to the credentials committee and taking this all the way to the convention if she does not get the result she wants.

If Clinton gets her best case result (full seating of Michigan and Florida based on the existing elections) we would have:

Delegate Count: Obama 2041, Clinton 1970, Edwards 20

Delegates that would be needed to win: 2209

There would be 387 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama would need 168 more delegates to win.

Clinton would need 239 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that would mean:

Obama would need 43.4% of the remaining delegates to win.

Clinton would need 61.8% of the remaining delegates to win.

Again, that is with Clinton's best case result... which is highly unlikely. But even with that best case, she would need to be convincing a significantly larger fraction of superdelegates than she has been lately.



Oops, almost forgot. McCain picks up 40 delegates and Paul picks up 4. New Republican totals: McCain 1500, Huckabee 275, Romney 255, Paul 30.


Abulsme - Thu, 22 May 2008, 06:21:46 PDT
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Wed 21 May 2008

Electoral College: PA Flips to Obama, VA Strengthens for McCain



On this week's Curmudgeon's Corner I mentioned that my own prediction was that we were near McCain's high water mark in terms of General Election polls, and that as soon as the Democratic nominee was absolutely final and Obama could concentrate on the general, McCain's margins would start to slip.

Are we perhaps seeing the first signs of this today? For the first time since the 1st of May there are poll results that are good news for Obama. Namely, my five poll average for Pennsylvania now moves the state from Leaning McCain to Leaning Obama. Pennsylvania has 21 electoral votes, so that is big. Now, it is still "leaning" which means Obama is ahead by less than 5% and the state is very much in play and either candidate could take it. But still, good news for Obama after a long dry spell.

Meanwhile though, McCain gets stronger in Virginia, moving it from "Leaning" to "Weak" meaning that McCain's lead is now more than 5% (but still less than 10%). This effectively takes Virginia out of the "could go either way" category. With 13 electoral votes though, Virginia might be big enough for Obama to still spend some time trying to bring it back into play.

Anyway, the summary:

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 334, Obama 204
Obama Best Case - Obama 309, McCain 229

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - McCain 281, Obama 257

Even not considering the fact that we have over 5 months before the election and a lot will change between now and then, these numbers just show this race is still very much completely wide open, with the 10 states that are "too close to call" making the range of possible outcomes huge.

As a recap, those states at the moment are: Pennsylvania (21), Ohio (20), Michigan (17), Wisconsin (10), Colorado (9), South Carolina (8), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New Hampshire (4) and North Dakota (3).


Abulsme - Wed, 21 May 2008, 09:06:28 PDT
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Who News

I haven't posted anything of this type in a long time, but interesting piece of news:

Moffat named Doctor Who supremo
(Ben Dowell, Guardian)

Scriptwriter Steven Moffat was today named lead writer and executive producer on hit BBC1 drama Doctor Who.

Moffat, who has written a number of episodes of the show - including the acclaimed Blink episode which won him the writer prize at this year's Bafta Craft Awards - will replace Russell T Davies.

Davies, the key creative figure behind the Doctor Who revival in 2005, stands down next year.

The appointment makes Moffat Doctor Who's showrunner - the key creative force behind the programme - on the fifth series, which will be broadcast on BBC1 in 2010.

As well as Blink, his previous work on Doctor Who includes The Girl in the Fireplace for series two which earned him his second Hugo Award. His first was for the series one two-parter The Empty Child.

Davies said: "It's been a delight and an honour working with Steven, and I can't wait to see where his extraordinary imagination takes the Doctor. Best of all, I get to be a viewer again, watching on a Saturday night!"
(via doctorwhonews.com)


Abulsme - Wed, 21 May 2008, 08:22:20 PDT
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First Round of KY, OR Updates



86 of 103 delegates from the Kentucky and Oregon primaries are now in. That's 83.5%.

So far we have 51 Clinton, 35 Obama. That is 59.3% for Clinton so far. A little higher than the 56.3% I had predicted yesterday, but still way way less than the 74.4% Clinton would have needed to be on pace to catch up and win.

Since the last update we also have 10 more superdelegate announcements, 8 for Obama, 2 for Clinton.

This brings our new stats to:

Delegate count is: Obama 1953, Clinton 1770, Edwards 9

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.3%, Clinton 47.4%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 318 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 73 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 256 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 23.0% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 28.3% before KY/OR.)

Clinton needs 80.5% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 74.4% before KY/OR.)

Now, at this point, Clinton is putting a lot of emphasis on seating Florida and Michigan, so lets do a quick look at that. Clinton's best possible scenario would be to fully seat Florida and Michigan as is based on their existing votes, and seat them full force... with all of the Michigan "uncommitted" delegates staying uncommitted.

If so, using numbers from Democratic Convention Watch, Clinton would gain 193 more delegates, Obama would gain 79 more delegates, Edwards would gain 11 more delegates, and the new magic number would be 2209.

Adding those numbers to what we have today, that would bring us to 2032 Obama, 1963 Clinton, 20 Edwards, with 403 delegates without an expressed preference yet. Obama would need 177 delegates to win (43.9%). Clinton would need 246 delegates to win (61.0%).

Now, 61.0% is not 80.5%, but it is STILL a formidable number to get from these undeclared superdelegates and uncommitted pledged delegates. Especially given the situation we'd be in, it would be almost impossible.

And this is Clinton's best possible case on Michigan and Florida. Since Obama's folks will have a significant (if not controlling) influence on the committee deciding this, we can be pretty sure that this "best case for Clinton" situation will NOT happen.

But even if it did... Obama is still in a much stronger position and Clinton would have a very hard time getting the win. Again, absent a complete meltdown by Obama.



Oh yeah, and McCain picks up 42 more delegates too.


Abulsme - Wed, 21 May 2008, 07:13:01 PDT
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Tue 20 May 2008

Curmudgeon's Corner: How's the Weather?

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Florida Fires
  • Stupid Seattle People and Water
  • Online Videos
  • Appeasement
  • Chinese Earthquake
  • Nuclear Power
  • Going Cashless
  • Dems: When Will it End?
  • States in Play for the General
1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

View in iTunes

Podcast XML Feed


Abulsme - Tue, 20 May 2008, 09:38:34 PDT
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KY/OR Predictions

OK, as I've done before the last few primaries, I'll make a prediction for the results from today's primaries based on the latest poll averages. I won't bother splitting it up by the two states, because only the total delegate count really matters.

There are 103 delegates at stake in today's primaries.

My prediction... 58 for Clinton, 45 for Obama.

That will be 56.3% of the delegates for Clinton, which is of course well short of the 74.4% she would need to get to be on a pace to catch up and win.


Abulsme - Tue, 20 May 2008, 08:36:59 PDT
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Delegates Before KY/OR



A few more superdelegates today. Five for Obama. One for Clinton.

The new delegate count is: Obama 1909, Clinton 1718, Edwards 9

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.5%, Clinton 47.2%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 414 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 117 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 308 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 28.3% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 33.7% before WV.)

Clinton needs 74.4% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 70.8% before WV.)

Will Clinton get the 74.4% of the delegates from KY/OR that she needs to be on pace to win? Ha! Yeah right. At this point it is really just a countdown until Obama gets the number he needs. This may change from 2026 to a higher number depending on what is decided about Florida and Michigan, but even the Clinton getting absolutely her best case result out of that wouldn't be enough for her to catch up.

I'll still be glued to the TV for the results tonight anyway of course.


Abulsme - Tue, 20 May 2008, 06:38:25 PDT
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Analysis of a Tie

A very detailed analysis on the odds of an electoral college tie, and what would happen if that happened...

Like Kissing Your Sister
(FiveThirtyEight.com)

Since we got some good discussion started in the polling thread about the possibility of a 269-269 electoral tie, I thought I'd run some numbers on it.

The simulation returned a tie 63 times out of 10,000 trials (0.63%). These 63 ties involved 56 distinct scenarios for producing that tie. The only scenarios to occur more than once were as follows:

...
(via Irish Trojan)

By the way, this is my first visit to FiveThirtyEight.com. Looks live a valuable resource. Subscription added.


Abulsme - Tue, 20 May 2008, 05:18:51 PDT
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Mon 19 May 2008

Electoral College: Nebraska Strengthens for McCain



Things just keep looking better for McCain. We'll see if this trend reverses once Obama actually finishes wrapping up the Democratic nomination, but in the mean time, McCain just keeps consolidating his leads. Today a new poll in Nebraska moves it (and the corresponding five electoral votes) from just Leaning McCain to Weak McCain. (Meaning McCain's lead used to be less than 5%, now it is between 5% and 10%.)

This further weakens Obama's "best case" scenario.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 334, Obama 204
Obama Best Case - Obama 322, McCain 216

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - McCain 302, Obama 236


Abulsme - Mon, 19 May 2008, 09:15:21 PDT
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Last Concert of the Season


Abulsme - Mon, 19 May 2008, 09:12:10 PDT
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Almost There


Abulsme - Mon, 19 May 2008, 09:06:55 PDT
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Sat 17 May 2008

Cashless

I have been thinking about this for awhile, and I mentioned this to Brandy not that long ago, but I recently realized that I spend a lot of my time without any cash on me these days. Not any. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Not even any pocket change. At work I pay for lunch and snacks using my employee id card which directly deducts from my paycheck. Most major purchases are online purchases these days. And in almost all other cases where I am out and about and spending money, I use my debit card. Occationally a credit card, but very rarely. Usually the debit card. I almost NEVER use cash any more.

For awhile I was reluctant to use the debit card for purchases under $20 or so and I'd use cash. But I no longer feel that compulsion. I'll use my debit card to pay for a $1 purchase without thinking twice about it.

There are some places that are still cash only places, but generally I don't shop there. Having to use cash is a pain. I'll have to go to an ATM and make sure I have the needed amount of green actually in my pocket.

I used to always keep a certain amount of cash with me at all times, and if I was low I would go to the ATM and get more. But I slowly started feeling less and less urgent about it. I would run out of cash and not bother to replenish my supply until I *needed* to because I wanted to buy something somewhere that did not take plastic. But this is very rare these days.

As I was thinking about it recently, I realized I have gone weeks at a time with nothing in my wallet except receipts. I just don't have very much need for actual paper cash any more. Money, yes. Of course. But not in the form of bits of paper or pieces of metal that I carry around with me.

You know the last thing that really got me on a regular basis? Vending machines. I needed that dollar bill to get a coke or a bag of chips. But once I didn't have cash with me regularly, I'd want chips or whatnot and not have any cash. So I'd head to the ATM. But that WOULD NOT HELP. Because I'd get out however much money, but it would ALL BE IN TWENTIES. And guess what, the vending machines where I tend to be don't take twenties. So I'd actually have to go somewhere and buy something with a twenty dollar bill, just to get change so I could use the vending machine.

Guess what the result of that was? I use the vending machines much much less than I used to. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

So anyway, as I sit here looking at my empty wallet, and realizing that it may be quite awhile until something comes up where I *need* to get those little pieces of paper out of the ATM, I am definitely thinking the day is not actually that far off where the use of paper and metal to pay for things will be very rare. It may take it awhile to die completely, but it is coming.

I think right now the longest I have gone with no cash is a few weeks. I bet you soon that will grow to months. Then maybe years.

The complete extinction of "cash" in the old paper and metal forms may take many decades yet. But I bet you that by the time a kid born today is a teenager, they will view spending of paper money and coins as a quaint antiquity. Hell, I bet a lot of teenagers today already think that. Hell, I kind of think that too.

We just have to wait for the rest of the world to catch up.


Abulsme - Sat, 17 May 2008, 23:33:14 PDT
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The Real Dream Ticket(s)

I'm all for it. Add the joint town halls that have been discussed, and I'll be quite happy.

Fever Dream Tickets
(Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker)

One thing Obama and McCain have in common is that they each have a Vice-President problem. In both cases the choice is fraught with peril. Do you go for someone who strengthens your base or extends your appeal? Do you try for balance or amplification? How do you avoid saddling yourself with one ingrate and a dozen disgruntled spurnees?
The solution is obvious. Obama should ask McCain to be his running mate. McCain should ask Obama to be his. And both should say yes.
A campaign pitting an Obama-McCain ticket against a McCain-Obama ticket would absolutely guarantee a general-election campaign that would be about The Issues and nothing but The Issues.
(via Andrew Sullivan)

A return to the original formulation that the VP would be whoever came in second in electoral votes. I love it! The only thing better would be to go back to the electors actually being real people who made real decisions rather than just being appointed based on the results of some widespread general election and rubber stamping the results of the popular vote in each state.

Alas, none of that will ever happen. Quite sad.


Abulsme - Sat, 17 May 2008, 17:32:06 PDT
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More Delegates to Obama



The rush continues. Two more Edwards delegates move to Obama. So do two Clinton delegates. Plus Obama gets another superdelegate. Net for today, Obama gains 5, Clinton and Edwards each lose two.

The new delegate count is: Obama 1904, Clinton 1717, Edwards 9

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.5%, Clinton 47.3%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 420 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 122 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 309 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 29.0% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 33.7% before WV.)

Clinton needs 73.6% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 70.8% before WV.)


Abulsme - Sat, 17 May 2008, 13:25:27 PDT
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All the Good Stupid Ideas

Why don't I ever think of things like this?

A blog of things that look like ducks.



(via Andrew Sullivan)


Abulsme - Sat, 17 May 2008, 10:49:30 PDT
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Again and Again

This has been going around for a few days now, but I just actually watched it for the first time a few minutes ago. It is a music video for a song which is all made up of the guy doing stuff in various windows on his Mac.



(via Lifehacker)


Abulsme - Sat, 17 May 2008, 04:50:53 PDT
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Fri 16 May 2008

The Matthews/James Thing

I'm sure everybody has seen this by now, but I made a resolution recently that whenever I think about emailing something I see online to just one or two people, I should post it instead.

This is the clip of Chris Matthews and Kevin James from about a day ago. James was on Hardball to defend the President's comments about appeasement and such he made in Israel. Matthews decided to try to get James to describe just what Neville Chamberlain had done wrong that Bush was trying to imply was similar to what certain others (unnamed, but everybody took it to mean Obama) are promoting now.

It gets good about two minutes in.



(via Balloon Juice)

As they say... Pwned!


Abulsme - Fri, 16 May 2008, 18:27:31 PDT
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Electoral College: South Dakota Strengthens for McCain



New info on new polls from South Dakota moves the state all the way from "Leaning McCain" to "Strong McCain". This essentially takes the state out of play for Obama, weakening his "Best Case Scenario".

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 334, Obama 204
Obama Best Case - Obama 327, McCain 211

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - McCain 302, Obama 236


Abulsme - Fri, 16 May 2008, 07:06:33 PDT
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Today's Obama Delegate Haul



Many many weeks after it would have made any real difference, or shown anything beyond a characterless need to attach oneself to the person who will win anyway, Edwards endorsed Obama. Today 8 out of Edward's 19 delegates announced they will vote for Obama at the convention. In addition, Obama got 7 more superdelegates today. This makes Obama's total delegate gain for today 15 delegates. Clinton got one. Ouch.

So, this now puts us here:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1899, Clinton 1719, Edwards 11

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.3%, Clinton 47.4%, Edwards 0.3%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 421 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 127 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 307 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 30.2% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 33.7% before WV.)

Clinton needs 72.9% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 70.8% before WV.)


Abulsme - Fri, 16 May 2008, 06:19:48 PDT
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Thu 15 May 2008

More Unlikely Drama

I had briefly thought about this a few weeks ago, but dismissed it as a serious possibility at the time.

If Clinton Wants VP, Obama Can't Stop Her
(Bob Beckel, RealClearPolitics)

It's all over. Obama will have about 54% of the delegates and Clinton 46%. (I know there are a few delegates missing. Some are Edwards, a few uncommitted, and a few refusing to decide- another wash). Hillary Clinton will have come up short by 150 votes. But this isn't horseshoes. That said she still comes in a very close second, which puts her among the closest runner-ups in Democratic Party history.

So Barack Obama is free to pick a running mate? Not so fast. Her losing margin of 150 is only 19% of the super delegates at the convention. Most of the 795 super delegates have been put under enormous pressure by both candidates for months. For those that chose Obama the decision was an especially painful one both personally and politically.

...

Just consider for a moment the final phone call with Bill Clinton when the super delegate had to tell him he or she had decided to go with Obama. Clinton," It's time to make a decision. Hillary needs you and I need you. We've been through a lot together. When you needed me I was there, now we need you".

Super delegate, "Mr. President, this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but I'm going with Obama because (whatever). Ask me for anything else Mr. President, but I've got to do this". Clinton, "I'm very disappointed and personally hurt, but do what you think you have to do. So long."

Now imagine its June 4th and Clinton calls again. Clinton, "I know Obama has enough votes to win, but I wanted you to know Hillary has decided to run for vice president at the convention. You know there are two roll call votes at the convention: first president then for vice president. I know you are voting for Obama for president. Fine, but I want your commitment to vote for Hillary for vice president."
(via Wonkette)

Basically, the deal is this, while for many many election cycles, it has been the case that the Presidential nominee picks who they want and the convention rubber stamps it, it is indeed actually two separate and completely independent votes. There have been times in history where the Presidential candidate didn't even bother stating a preference for VP, they just threw it open for the convention to decide. But even if the presidential candidate does state a preference, the delegates are under no obligation to honor it other than tradition and the fact they like their candidate and want to respect their wishes. This is true for even pledged delegates and as the author points out, superdelegates will feel even more free.... especially those who remained uncommitted for a very long time and are now basically just going for Obama because they want to pick the winner.

All it would take is a small number of Obama delegates (pledged or super) to decide that even if Obama picks someone else, even if they strongly support Obama for President, they want Clinton to be VP, and that would be that... even if Obama doesn't want it. And the numbers are close enough that Clinton probably could peel off enough Obama supporters to do this... if she really wanted it and applied enough pressure in the right places.

But would Hillary really go this route? Can you imagine just what chaos there would be if Hillary tried to force herself onto the ticket against Obama's wishes?? Can you imagine how the campaign would look between the convention and the general election if there was open hostility and resentment between the Presidential and VP candidates?

No, this will not happen. Even Hillary is not that Machiavellian.

Um, OK, maybe she is. Every time someone underestimates what level she can go to, they are proven wrong.

Perhaps this article is actually a coordinated back channels message to Obama threatening to do this if Obama doesn't pick her to try to pressure him into doing so. But she wouldn't actually do it would she?

Would she?

And really, does she truly WANT to be Vice President under Obama? Why would she? I can't imagine that would be a fun place for her.

But you never know.


Abulsme - Thu, 15 May 2008, 18:09:40 PDT
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Electoral College: North Dakota flips to McCain



Just got info on a new poll in North Dakota. It moves my average for the state from "Leaning Obama" to "Leaning McCain". These leaning states just keep drifting from Obama to McCain lately. Of the 123 electoral votes where one candidate is leading by less than 5% only 29 electoral votes are on the Obama side of the fence at the moment.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 334, Obama 204
Obama Best Case - Obama 330, McCain 208

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - McCain 302, Obama 236


Abulsme - Thu, 15 May 2008, 08:52:18 PDT
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About that Pledged Switcher

He should have kept his mouth shut...

Pledged Delegate Switcher Will Lose Seat
(Mr. Super)

This was an ill-advised move not just because it breaks the pledge Mr. Johnson took earlier this year, but because there are safeguards built within the Democratic Party rules which allow campaigns to protect their delegates. Mainly, each campaign may review its delegate lists and scratch people off who they think are at risk of not upholding pledges.

When a delegate is elected at a district level organizing meeting, there are also alternate delegates elected. The alternates are selected as back-ups in case the chosen delegate cannot attend the convention, or in case the campaign scratches a delegate from the list.

Looks like an alternate just got bumped up to delegate status in Maryland.


Abulsme - Thu, 15 May 2008, 06:38:01 PDT
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Wed 14 May 2008

Palm Bay on Fire

I would be negligent if I didn't mention that Palm Bay, FL (the town I lived from the end of December 2004 until I moved to Bellevue, WA in 2006)... is on fire.

$10 Million In Damage As Fires Continue To Burn
(WFTV)

A staggering 162 homes were damaged or destroyed by wildfires that burned through Palm Bay Monday and Tuesday. Officials said that that number would likely grow.

Officials first reported more than 60 of the homes were so badly damaged they can't be lived in any longer. That number was later dropped to 40. Preliminary estimates put the dollar figure for the destruction at $9.6 million. Assessment teams continued to survey damaged areas as firefighters battled flare-ups. In all, nearly 10,000 acres burned in Brevard County.
I'm not in regular contact any more with anybody who still lives in that area (although I think Amy might be), but good luck to anybody who is still there.

I gather the exact area our house was in has not been directly hit yet, but that the fires are not that far away.


Abulsme - Wed, 14 May 2008, 10:12:50 PDT
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West Virginia Delegate Results



So, we actually already have final delegate results for West Virginia. No waiting several days this time! Now, my prediction was 20 delegates for Clinton and 8 for Obama. The results were... 20 delegates for Clinton and 8 for Obama. Woo! Go me!

Anyway, this gives Clinton a ratio for the West Virginia primary of 71.4%. If you recall from yesterday the ratio she needed in order to be on pace to catch up and win was 70.8%. So she made it! Woo! Hillary makes her life easier rather than harder (for at least a day!). Go Hillary!!! Plus, not only that, she picked up another pledged delegate from one of the old states doing adjustments. Go Hillary! Woo! Woo!

Oh, wait, what is this over here? Oh, some superdelegate announcements. Seven of them. All for Obama. Oops. That will change things.

So, the net results for the day are 21 delegates fro Clinton, 15 for Obama. That gives Hillary only 58.3% of the delegates for the day, which is way BELOW where she needs to be in order to be catching up.

So after her huge overwhelming victory in West Virginia the end result is that the road to her winning is yet again MORE DIFFICULT than it was before this victory. And of the rest of the calendar this was her best shot.

This will put the percentage she needs out of reach in Kentucky. And given you have Oregon (where Obama is way ahead) on the same day as Kentucky there is no way that day will end up helping Clinton. The only question now is when Clinton will call this a day. Maybe after Kentucky and Oregon? Maybe? Or will she hold out until June 3rd when everybody has voted?

Updated stats:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1884, Clinton 1718, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.0%, Clinton 47.4%, Edwards 0.5%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

(A couple new delegates have been added, so the number to win goes up by one from 2025.)

There are 429 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 142 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 308 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 33.1% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 33.7% before WV.)

Clinton needs 71.8% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 70.8% before WV.)



Oh yeah, and McCain picks up 9 more delegates.


Abulsme - Wed, 14 May 2008, 09:14:33 PDT
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Tue 13 May 2008

Even the Pledged

Pr. George's Executive Switches To Obama
(Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post)

"I cannot in good conscience go to the convention and not support Barack," Johnson said in an interview. "She ran a great campaign, but she fell short of the line."

...

Unlike superdelegates, who are free to endorse either candidate, Johnson is one of 28 pledged delegates who have agreed to represent the 36 percent of Maryland Democrats who voted for Clinton on Feb. 12.
(via 2008 Democratic Convention Watch)

The Democratic Convention Watch article has some additional analysis on how Clinton ended up with a faithless pledged delegate. (It looks like thier screening process was a bit flawed, he had actually declared for Obama originally, then changed his mind to Clinton, and is now changing back... the campaigns normally pick their pledged delegates based on unwavering solid loyalty and commitment. Oops.)


Abulsme - Tue, 13 May 2008, 06:50:17 PDT
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Four More Supers



There were four new superdelegates added to the declared list today, and they were all for Obama.

Updated stats:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1869, Clinton 1697, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.1%, Clinton 47.3%, Edwards 0.5%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 463 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 156 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 328 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 33.7% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 41.1% before IN/NC.)

Clinton needs 70.8% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 62.0% before IN/NC.)

This will almost certainly be the last update before we start getting results from West Virginia. So 70.8% of the delegates is the pace Clinton needs to be on in the West Virginia results to be on pace to win. Given recent polls, she may actually get those sorts of margins. She's at right about that sort of lead it seems. So this might happen... at least for West Virginia. Given the rest of the calendar, including the pace of superdelegate endorsements... I am guessing that the West Virginia results will be the last opportunity she gets to actually improve her position and lower the percentage she needs to win rather than making it higher. Even if she beats this margin in West Virginia, it will only take a few more superdelegates declaring to put Kentucky out of reach. And Kentucky will be on the same day as Oregon, so for that day she won't have a chance. And that will be that.


Abulsme - Tue, 13 May 2008, 00:12:36 PDT
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Mon 12 May 2008

Curmudgeon's Corner: Cyclones, Racists and More!

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Burmese Cyclone
  • Guantanamo Ruling
  • iPhones, Laptops and Desktops
  • Food and Drink with Racists
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  • Democratic Primary Roundup
  • McCain's Lifespan
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Abulsme - Mon, 12 May 2008, 12:00:41 PDT
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One Little Superdelegate



Just one new superdelegate today. An Obama superdelegate. The significance this time is that according to CNN's count (this happened with other people's counts a few days ago) Obama and Clinton both have 273 superdelegates. So Obama has now, for the first time, caught up with Clinton in superdelegates. This was the last metric in which she was undeniably ahead. No more.

Updated stats:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1865, Clinton 1697, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.1%, Clinton 47.4%, Edwards 0.5%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 467 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 160 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 328 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 34.3% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 41.1% before IN/NC.)

Clinton needs 70.2% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 62.0% before IN/NC.)


Abulsme - Mon, 12 May 2008, 05:36:41 PDT
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Sun 11 May 2008

Electoral College: Michigan Flips to McCain



A new poll moves my "last five polls average" for Michigan from Leaning Obama to Leaning McCain.

At the moment there are 123 electoral votes worth of states in the "leaning" category, meaning that in reality they could easily go either way. However, of those, at the moment 91 electoral votes worth are leaning toward McCain, and only 32 are leaning toward Obama. Once Obama can truly be done with this primary season, he has some work to do if he is going to be in a strong position in November.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 334, Obama 204
Obama Best Case - Obama 330, McCain 208

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - McCain 299, Obama 239


Abulsme - Sun, 11 May 2008, 16:33:34 PDT
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Clinton Needs More Than 70% Now



The superdelegates just keep coming. Some new ones, plus at least one switcher this time. The net for today, 4 for Obama, 1 for Clinton. If the rush of superdelegates is going to come to Clinton's rescue, they really need to start soon.

Updated stats:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1864, Clinton 1697, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.1%, Clinton 47.4%, Edwards 0.5%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 468 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 161 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 328 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 34.4% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 41.1% before IN/NC.)

Clinton needs 70.1% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 62.0% before IN/NC.)

As noted in the title of this post this means that as of today Clinton passes the 70% mark.


Abulsme - Sun, 11 May 2008, 15:53:43 PDT
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Sat 10 May 2008

Remaining States Update

I thought it might be time to update the delegate estimates from the rest of the primaries. I last did this estimate on May 3rd.

By the way, those predictions from the last time were exactly right for Guam (2 to 2 split). For Indiana and North Carolina I had predicted 97 Obama, 90 Clinton. The actual results were 99 Obama, 88 Clinton. Pretty close.

Running the rest of the states based on the pollster.com averages as of a few minutes ago, you get the following:

  • West Virginia: 20 Clinton, 8 Obama
  • Kentucky: 35 Clinton, 16 Obama
  • Oregon: 29 Clinton, 23 Obama
  • Puerto Rico: 32 Clinton, 23 Obama
  • Montana: 10 Clinton, 6 Obama
  • South Dakota: 6 Clinton, 9 Obama
First of all, yes Ivan, this still shows Clinton ahead in Oregon, even though all the recent polls have showed Obama ahead. This is because there still haven't been enough polls with Obama ahead to flip the overall trend percentage... yet. It is fairly obvious that it will happen, it just hasn't yet. And I am going with pure, unadulterated pollster.com averages, so those are the numbers I am using right now.

Anyway, of those six primaries, Clinton is at the margin she needs to "be on track" in only one... the next one... West Virginia. She is close in Kentucky though, so if she gets a media bump out of West Virginia for her absolutely crushing margins, she might be able to be "on pace" in Kentucky as well.

Assuming of course that more superdelegate announcements in the three days between now and the West Virginia primaries don't make her ratio needed to win even higher... which will probably happen, potentially putting even West Virginia out of reach. There are now more superdelegates left than delegates to be determined by primaries, so they actually matter more now.

The total of all six remaining given these estimates would be Clinton 132, Obama 85. That has Clinton getting 60.8% of the delegates, well below the 69.6% ratio she currently needs to win.

If that happened, we would have the following:

Delegate count would be: Obama 1945, Clinton 1828, Edwards 19

In percent terms that would be: Obama 51.3%, Clinton 48.2%, Edwards 0.5%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There would be 256 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama would need 80 more delegates to win.

Clinton would need 197 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama would need 31.3% of the remaining delegates to win.

Clinton would need 77.0% of the remaining delegates to win.

It must suck for her to go out on a string of wins, but still lose. Oh well.


Abulsme - Sat, 10 May 2008, 12:18:13 PDT
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Final Round of IN, NC Updates



The delegate counts for North Carolina and Indiana are now complete.

99 delegates for Obama, 88 for Clinton.

(Of those, 9 delegates were new today, 5 for Clinton, 4 for Obama.)

That's 47.1% for Clinton. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needed.)

That's 52.9% for Obama. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needed.)

Clinton obviously was far far below the pace she needed to actually try to win this thing.

In addition today 16 more superdelegates declared preferences. 10 for Obama, 6 for Clinton. Once again Clinton loses the percentage game. As of yesterday she needed to be getting 68.3% of delegates to catch up and win. Of today's superdelegates she got 37.5%. Even if you add the delegates she got today from IN/NC, she only manages 44%. Oops. But yet she stays in.

Anyway, updated summary:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1860, Clinton 1696, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.0%, Clinton 47.4%, Edwards 0.5%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 473 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 165 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 329 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 34.9% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 41.1% before IN/NC.)

Clinton needs 69.6% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 62.0% before IN/NC.)

More and more superdelegates are declaring their preferences. There hasn't been a massive overwhelming wave of them yet, but it seems the numbers are increasing. This will be over soon.

It seems everybody is determined, for whatever reason, that eventually the Florida and Michigan delegations will be seated in one form or another. I really think they shouldn't be seated at all, but whatever. When they finally agree how to seat those delegates, all the numbers above will of course change. But the bottom line is that any way they end up seating the delegations will be in a way that is structured such that it doesn't change the results. It will just be a way to make those states feel included. But they will not matter.


Abulsme - Sat, 10 May 2008, 10:57:30 PDT
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Fri 09 May 2008

So Wrong, So Very Very Wrong...

And wrong in so so many ways... But it made me laugh...



(via Andrew Sullivan)


Abulsme - Fri, 9 May 2008, 01:51:41 PDT
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A Super Switch and Finally Republican Updates



First of all, one superdelegate from Virginia switches from Clinton to Obama today.

So, new stats:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1846, Clinton 1685, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.0%, Clinton 47.5%, Edwards 0.5%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 498 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 179 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 340 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 35.9% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 41.1% before IN/NC.)

Clinton needs 68.3% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 62.0% before IN/NC.)



More exciting though is that CNN finally updated their Republican numbers with new updates from American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, the Northern Marianas, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands.

Now, not all of the results from all of those places are actually complete yet. For instance, they still only have 2 delegates listed from Pennsylvania. But at least they are finally making some updates and getting caught up.

Net result of all these changes: McCain gains 78 delegates, Huckabee gets 8 delegates, and Paul gets 4.

The new delegate count is: McCain 1409, Huckabee 275, Romney 255, Paul 26

In percent terms that is: McCain 71.7%, Huckabee 14.0%, Romney 13.0%, Paul 1.3%

Of course, McCain long ago passed his magic number to clinch the nomination. So the chart above is just the raw number of delegates everyone has, rather than the Percent of Remaining needed to win that I have been using for the democrats lately. On the wiki page you get by clicking through on the chart though, I do have that graph as well.

And while the actual result won't change of course (absent McCain suddenly deciding he doesn't want the nomination after all, a major McCain scandal, or McCain death or disability) it is still interesting to see Huckabee and Paul continuing to get a smattering of delegates none the less.


Abulsme - Fri, 9 May 2008, 01:16:43 PDT
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Thu 08 May 2008

Second Round of IN, NC Updates



The results so far from North Carolina and Indiana:

178 delegates out of 187 (95.2%) determined.

95 delegates for Obama, 83 for Clinton.

(Of those, 8 delegates were new today, 4 for each candidate.)

That's 46.6% for Clinton so far. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needed.)

That's 53.4% for Obama so far. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needed.)

In addition today we have a bunch of super delegate moves. Net result of those were a gain of 5 superdelegates for Obama and a gain of 1 superdelegate for Clinton.

So, where we now stand...

The new delegate count is: Obama 1845, Clinton 1686, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.0%, Clinton 47.5%, Edwards 0.5%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 498 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 180 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 339 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 36.1% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 41.1% before IN/NC.)

Clinton needs 68.1% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 62.0% before IN/NC.)

[Note: CNN has not yet released any updated delegate estimates on the Republican side since before the Pennsylvania primaries... which is quite annoying.]


Abulsme - Thu, 8 May 2008, 06:50:20 PDT
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Wed 07 May 2008

Regular Stump

She just gave essentially her regular stump speech in West Virginia. No surprise dropping out. No comments about anything changing based on yesterday's results.

Oh well.

OK, time to go to work now.


Abulsme - Wed, 7 May 2008, 09:55:45 PDT
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This Will be Good

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers points out that Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention will occur on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. In my head I already see some of the outlines of this speech forming in my head. Obama will bring the house down.


Abulsme - Wed, 7 May 2008, 09:42:30 PDT
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First Round of IN, NC Updates



The results so far from North Carolina and Indiana:

170 delegates out of 187 (90.9%) determined.

91 delegates for Obama, 79 for Clinton.

That's 46.5% for Clinton so far. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needed.)

That's 53.5% for Obama so far. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needed.)

Rolling that up with the numbers from before those states, current status...

The new delegate count is: Obama 1836, Clinton 1681, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 51.9%, Clinton 47.5%, Edwards 0.5%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 512 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 189 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 344 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 36.9% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 41.1% before IN/NC.)

Clinton needs 67.2% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 62.0% before IN/NC.)

And that is that. It can't be emphasized enough just how over this is at this point. If she does indeed continue to fight this out, she will win a few of the next states. But this picture won't change all that much. That percentage she needs is really really high. As it has been for awhile, Obama pretty much has to say "you know, never mind, you're right, you should win, I'm dropping out" for her to start to get those sort of percentages.

And the makeup of the rules and credentials committees are such that it will be nearly impossible for her to get any substantive changes done that would affect the outcome. Changes, maybe. Changes that affect the outcome... no.

We are now firmly in Huckabee "I didn't major in math, I majored in miracles" territory.

[Edit 2008 May 8 13:57 UTC: Corrected Edwards' percentage from 0.6% to 0.5%.]


Abulsme - Wed, 7 May 2008, 07:19:26 PDT
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She Signals That She Goes On

When people started saying her clearing her schedule was a sign she might drop out, she quickly scheduled an event in West Virginia for today. And now on her strategist conference call they are talking about fighting to get Florida and Michigan seated through the rules and credentials committees. And they are repeating how Obama has not yet proved himself, etc.

So we get to keep going for awhile longer.

Even though this has been wrapped up essentially since the beginning of March at the latest if you really look at it. And now the media is finally admitting it too. The pressure on her to stop is going to be enormous.

But for the moment at least, it looks like we keep going.

Unless she makes a surprise announcement at that West Virginia event that she hasn't yet told her own staff about.


Abulsme - Wed, 7 May 2008, 07:14:13 PDT
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Delegate Counts at 8:00 UTC

No changes since an hour ago, but once again, for completeness...

So far from CNN for tonight:

170 delegates out of 187 (90.9%) determined.

91 delegates for Obama, 79 for Clinton.

That's 46.5% for Clinton so far. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needed.)

That's 53.5% for Obama so far. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needed.)

And with no changes this hour, plus it being 8 hours in, I'm calling it a night. I'll do the regular delegate update after a few hours of sleep. Bottom line, Clinton didn't come even close to doing what she needed to do tonight in order to make her road to the nomination easier rather than harder.


Abulsme - Wed, 7 May 2008, 01:00:39 PDT
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Delegate Counts at 7:00 UTC

So far from CNN for tonight:

170 delegates out of 187 (90.9%) determined.

91 delegates for Obama, 79 for Clinton.

That's 46.5% for Clinton so far. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needed.)

That's 53.5% for Obama so far. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needed.)


Abulsme - Wed, 7 May 2008, 00:01:33 PDT
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Tue 06 May 2008

Delegate Counts at 6:00 UTC

So far from CNN for tonight:

152 delegates out of 187 (81.3%) determined.

78 delegates for Obama, 74 for Clinton.

That's 48.7% for Clinton so far. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needed.)

That's 51.3% for Obama so far. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needed.)

And still counting... Not sure how much longer I'll do the hourly updates before I just get ready to do the regular delegate update. I'm getting sleepy. But I want to go until CNN stops updating the numbers for the night at least. :-)


Abulsme - Tue, 6 May 2008, 23:00:37 PDT
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Delegate Counts at 5:00 UTC

So far from CNN for tonight:

140 delegates out of 187 (74.9%) determined.

73 delegates for Obama, 67 for Clinton.

That's 47.9% for Clinton so far. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needs.)

That's 52.1% for Obama so far. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needs.)

If you include the delegates above, the overall number for the percentage of ALL remaining delegates (not just tonight) Hillary needs to win is now above 65%. From a delegate point of view, keeping in mind how few delegates are left and where things stand, these results are absolutely devastating for Clinton.

This, plus the psychological effect of Indiana being right on the edge instead of being a clear Hillary win... although it now looks like she will eke out the win... the media is FINALLY declaring this whole thing over. Russert, Drudge, others...

Now Hillary just has to admit it.

The canceling of appearances is an indication that she is at the very least seriously rethinking what to do next. There is probably a decent chance she will officially give up within the next 24 hours.

Or... she may decide to fight all the way to the convention like she has promised.

The next 24 hours will be interesting.


Abulsme - Tue, 6 May 2008, 22:00:29 PDT
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Canceling Appearances

Ooo...

As Lake County results trickle in and Clinton's margin in Indiana keeps shrinking, this news:

Russert: Clinton cancels morning show appearances
(Ben Smith, Politico)

Tim Russert, a colleague reports, just said that Hillary Clinton canceled her scheduled appearances on the morning shows tomorrow.
(via Slog)

This is potentially big. Maybe. Or not. :-)

Somebody is doing a gut check on what to do next.


Abulsme - Tue, 6 May 2008, 21:40:23 PDT
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Delegate Counts at 4:00 UTC

So far from CNN for tonight:

109 delegates out of 187 (58.3%) determined.

58 delegates for Obama, 51 for Clinton.

That's 46.8% for Clinton so far. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needs.)

That's 53.2% for Obama so far. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needs.)


Abulsme - Tue, 6 May 2008, 21:02:03 PDT
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Delegate Counts at 3:00 UTC

Actually no updates since an hour ago, but I'll repeat where we are anyway for completeness.

So far from CNN for tonight:

77 delegates out of 187 (41.2%) determined.

42 delegates for Obama, 35 for Clinton.

That's 45.5% for Clinton so far. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needs.)

That's 54.5% for Obama so far. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needs.)


Abulsme - Tue, 6 May 2008, 20:00:43 PDT
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Delegate Counts at 2:00 UTC

So far from CNN for tonight:

77 delegates out of 187 (41.2%) determined.

42 delegates for Obama, 35 for Clinton.

That's 45.5% for Clinton so far. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needs.)

That's 54.5% for Obama so far. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needs.)


Abulsme - Tue, 6 May 2008, 19:00:58 PDT
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Delegate Counts at 1:00 UTC

So far from CNN for tonight:

43 delegates out of 187 (23.0%) determined.

23 delegates for Obama, 20 for Clinton.

That's 46.5% for Clinton so far. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needs.)

That's 53.5% for Obama so far. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needs.)

See, it got closer. :-)

Still a long way to go though.


Abulsme - Tue, 6 May 2008, 18:00:40 PDT
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Delegate Counts at 0:00 UTC

So far from CNN for tonight:

33 delegates out of 187 for tonight determined. (17.6%)

20 delegates for Obama, 13 for Clinton

That's 39.3% for Clinton so far. (Compared to the 62.0% that she needs.)

That's 60.1% for Obama so far. (Compared to the 41.1% that he needs.)

The night is young though. This will get more even.


Abulsme - Tue, 6 May 2008, 17:01:39 PDT
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Ignore the Spin, This is Easy

On the drive home from work I was listening to CNN. There were all sorts of people arguing about what would be "a win" for Obama or Clinton. Is a win just a win? Does Obama *need* to win Indiana? What sort of margin in North Carolina does what for which candidate... etc, etc, etc.

One thing to remember, this is ALL BULLSHIT.

There is one number. It can be computed simply. Clinton needs 62.0% of all the remaining delegates to win. If she gets more than that percentage of delegates tonight, then the is doing what she needs to in order to win. If she gets less than that percentage, then an already hard road becomes even harder.

That is it. That is what the bar is. Any other bar is meaningless. The popular vote doesn't matter. Who wins each one of these states does not matter. It is all about the delegate count. Is Clinton getting enough to win? (Or, if you want to look at it from the flip side, is Obama getting enough to win? He needs 41.1% of the remaining delegates to win.)

It really is that simple. Looking at any other measure is just looking at meaningless babble. Look at the delegates. Does she get 62.0% of them tonight? Or does she not?

That's it. It is that simple.

CNN just called North Carolina for Obama as I was writing this. But it DOES NOT MATTER. Look at the delegates. Only the delegates matter.

There have been no delegate estimates yet for the night, in either Indiana or North Carolina.


Abulsme - Tue, 6 May 2008, 16:25:06 PDT
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Curmudgeon's Corner: And We Keep Going... And Going... And...

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Last Week's Show
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Abulsme - Tue, 6 May 2008, 06:17:48 PDT
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Last Delegate Update before Indiana and North Carolina



Big delegate update from CNN today.

First, they finally report on the last two delegates from Pennsylvania. (On the Democratic side anyway, CNN has still not reported ANY delegate results on the Republican side for Pennsylvania.)

Hillary picks up the final two PA delegates. That makes the final total for PA 85 Clinton, 73 Obama. That is 53.8% of the delegates in Pennsylvania. If you recall, she would have needed 59.3% of the delegates to have been on a winning pace for the nomination. Obviously she did not do that in Pennsylvania, and has not been doing that for the most part with the superdelegate count since then. The graph above makes that obvious.

Also today, we get superdelegate updates from Illinois, New Mexico, Guam, Indiana, Maryland, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas. The one in Guam was a Clinton to Obama switcher. The net haul in superdelegates today is 9 for Obama and 1 for Clinton. Ouch. That's not anywhere close to the ratio Hillary needs either.

Total for the day, 9 for Obama, 3 for Clinton. That is 25% for Clinton. As of yesterday the ratio she needed to be getting was 61.4%. Oops.

So... the updated stats:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1745, Clinton 1602, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 51.8%, Clinton 47.6%, Edwards 0.6%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 682 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 280 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 423 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 41.1% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 41.7% before Guam.)

Clinton needs 62.0% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 61.3% before Guam.)


Abulsme - Tue, 6 May 2008, 06:05:28 PDT
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Mon 05 May 2008

Little Fishies

Brandy's fish just had babies. Brandy is very excited.

They are very small. They are hiding under one of the flower pots in the tank.

I saw one. Brandy saw two.

The mom fish still has more in her mouth.


Abulsme - Mon, 5 May 2008, 23:46:56 PDT
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Indiana Gap Opened

I mentioned yesterday that the gap in Indiana had closed to 2.5%. Well... that didn't last long. A bunch of polls were released Monday, and that gap is now back up to a 5.8% lead for Clinton. Easy come, easy go.

Oh, and North Carolina is down to a 7.7% lead for Obama.


Abulsme - Mon, 5 May 2008, 18:36:25 PDT
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Sleeping Sam

For the past few weeks, I've been trying something a little different. I have been going to bed early. Now, there are two results of this.

First is that I've been getting a decent night's sleep almost every night. Like more than eight hours decent. As a result I have been feeling more rested. I have been feeling more able to get things done during the day. I have been a bit more energetic. I've been able to think better, concentrate better, etc.

On the flip side though, I haven't come remotely close to getting the things done at home that I usually try to get done every day. I'm just falling further and further behind on those things. There just isn't enough time in the day to both do everything I want to do every day and also sleep 8 or 9 hours a night. Which is a shame.

They really just need to make the days longer.

I'm not sure how long I will stick with this. I really like how I feel. The rest really helps me. But I really don't like not being able to get done the things I want to get done.


Abulsme - Mon, 5 May 2008, 07:22:38 PDT
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Indiana Gap Closed

The pollster.com average for Indiana now has Hillary's lead down to 2.5%. Just yesterday it was over 5%. And immediately after the Wright flap blew up it was almost 10%. Obama *may* just pull this off... Tomorrow should be interesting.

Meanwhile Obama's lead in North Carolina is at 9.4%.


Abulsme - Mon, 5 May 2008, 06:44:24 PDT
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Sun 04 May 2008

School Choices

In a post back in March, I mentioned that we had deferred some "tough decisions" about what we will be doing about Amy's school next year. That drama has continued to play along.

Let me say a bit more about it now than I did back in March. This will be a long post.

So here is what has been happening.

Amy started at her current school for sixth grade. There were a few bumps along the way, but for the most part Amy was the happiest she had ever been at school. She was excited to go each day. She struggled a bit with organization and getting things done when she needed to, but she was doing OK. She would generally do well when she did the work, but often would just not do it, or would do it but forget to turn it in. She also had a tendency to get dinged for talking out of turn in class and the like. Toward the end of sixth grade, we worked with her advisor and her teachers to fix a lot of those issues. There was massive improvement, she closed out the year on a good note, and everybody was still very happy with the school.

One of the big benefits that drew us to the school in the first place, and which we were still happy with at the end of the year, despite a few bumps on the way, was that there was a huge sense of ownership in the staff. This was a new school, and they were building it. It was theirs. This carried over to the students as well. And they were willing to be creative, and try new things, and work with students (and parents) to find the best way to have the greatest benefit to the children.

This year was seventh grade. The school has been growing very fast. Too fast I think. There were a lot of new teachers this year. And some of the old teachers left. This year Amy had been at the school longer than most of her teachers had, and it was only Amy's second year. And it seemed the attitude we were so happy about was at the very least very diluted by the changes. Not to mention that many of the new hires seem to just not be up to snuff in terms of quality. At the very first "orientation day" when we got to meet the teachers, there were at least a couple where my first reaction was "Oh my, they aren't too bright, are they?". That had not been the case last year, when I had been almost universally impressed by the teachers.

In the first few weeks of seventh grade, Amy started falling back into the bad habits she had early in sixth grade. Missing homework assignments and the like. We contacted Amy's advisor saying we wanted to nip this in the bud, and we wanted to talk with them right away to create a coordinated front to help Amy get back into the good habits and avoid the bad habits. As part of this, we asked if we could please hear when Amy was missing assignments as soon as it happened, rather than waiting until later. (The normal school pattern was to report on such things to parents only after several things were missing, which could be long after the original thing was missing, and therefore was hard to provide useful corrective pressure.) We were told "No, we don't do that" by the new advisor. (Even though it was exactly what we had done just a few months earlier.) We tried to escalate to the head of the middle school. We were once again told "No". We then asked for a meeting. We were ignored for several weeks until it was time for the regularly scheduled review period.

When we finally had a meeting, the head of the whole school (not just the middle school) intervened and gave the advisor an extra task of working with Amy on a daily basis to help her ensure she had done what she needed to do the previous day, knew what she needed the next day, had all the materials she needed, etc. The advisor was not happy about this at all. At the meeting she said "You want me to do WHAT???" before the head of school put her foot down that this was going to happen.

But then it didn't happen well. The things that were supposed to happen at Amy's daily meeting with the advisor were not really happening. And Amy and the advisor did not have good chemistry. So there would also be cases of Amy "forgetting" to go to the meetings. It was not a good mix. The issues not only didn't get better in the second trimester, they got WORSE. Much worse. Amy's advisor was also Amy's English teacher, and things were just in a downward spiral. Amy's attitude got worse. Less things got turned in. Amy was getting unhappy and very frustrated. There were always many things missing. The reports of bad behavior in class were getting worse. Amy ended up getting her worst grades since we moved here.

Then Brandy's mom needed surgery. Brandy needed to go back to Pennsylvania to help out for a couple of weeks. Because of Brandy's back, she has trouble flying alone. She also would need help in helping her mother during the time she was there. She knew she could not do it alone. She needed Amy with her. This was mostly over a school break, but Amy would still have to miss a week or so of school. Brandy contacted the school. She gave them the dates and asked if there would be a problem. The answer from the middle school head was no, it would not be an issue. Amy just needed to coordinate with her teachers and get all her work.

Amy tried to do so, but got little to no response before she had to leave. While actually on the trip Amy was still able to get most of the work online though. Just not all of it. And there was some that she couldn't do, because the class had switched to a new textbook (without mentioning that would happen in advance) and Amy had taken the old one with her. But Amy worked every day while she was gone on her classwork.

Toward the end of Amy and Brandy's time in Pennsylvania, we got a letter from the school warning us that while Amy *was* being invited back for 8th grade, she most likely would not be invited back for 9th grade unless there was a dramatic improvement.

Brandy had already been incredibly frustrated with the school at this point, and this put her over the edge. Yes, Amy wasn't doing well, and she could do better, but the school also was not doing their part. We were paying for a private school rather than public school precisely to get more individualized attention, and help in places where it was needed, etc. All things that the school had promoted before we picked it in the first place, and which they had for the most part delivered on in sixth grade, but were failing on in seventh grade. And whenever we tried to work with them or communicate with them, we were getting rebuffed or ignored. Still. And in the trimester report which came at the same time as the letter, one of the things that Amy was dinged on was the way in which she worded her email asking for help getting together what she would need to work on while she was in Pennsylvania. Never mind that almost all the staff ignored that and provided her with absolutely nothing to help with that when Amy was proactively trying to get on top of that before leaving. Brandy was furious.

I on the other hand thought it was fair. Amy *wasn't* doing well, and fundamentally the issues were things that in the end only she could do. Deciding that the school work is important and that it had to be done, and turning it in when it needed to be turned in. Yes, we can do all sorts of things at home to double check that and provide pressure, but in the end she has to decide for herself. Also, I thought a lot of the issues were because she is 12 in a class made up mostly of 13 year olds and even some 14 year olds. And there is a great deal of difference in what a 12 year old is ready to take personal responsibility for and what a 14 year old is ready for. Yes, she will always be younger than her classmates, but the difference would be less in a year. I felt a lot of this would take care of itself just with time.

At this point I wanted to stick it out where we are, work closely with Amy to get things on track and push the school more to do their part. I was (and am) convinced that Amy is completely capable of doing what she needs to where she currently is. She just needs a little support. And where the school is falling down, Brandy and I can make up for it by doing more ourselves. Even if we have to do some of the school's job. I figured we would sign up for 8th grade, see how it went, and if we wanted to go somewhere else for 9th grade, we'd have plenty of time to prepare, as opposed to just a few days until the deadline was due for the day we needed to commit (and put a deposit down) for 8th grade.

Brandy on the other hand was ready to be completely done. The school was not doing what they needed to to be worth the money. Amy was increasingly unhappy. When we tried to work with the school it was always a frustrating experience, and unlike last year, it was feeling increasingly combative rather than cooperative. Brandy wanted to get out, and get out now. Not give it another full year, which might be just as bad.

We decided that since we were split, we would meet with the Head of School (not just the middle school head) to discuss our concerns before coming to a decision. We met with her in March and had an hour long conversation where we expressed all of our concerns. The Head of School was very responsive. There were three main results of the meeting. First, while the deposit was still due, she moved our deadline for final commitment back to early July (after the current school year ends). Second she agreed to switch Amy's advisor back to the person who she had for sixth grade (who we love and does a great job) instead of the seventh grade advisor who we (all three of us) had so much trouble with this year. And third, she just generally made us feel better by being responsive and actually listening to our concerns, whereas for most of the year we had felt like the interactions with the school were ineffective at best, and negative at worst.

So we paid the deposit, not an insignificant amount, and got set up to work with the new advisor closely to figure out what needed to be done to get Amy back on track. There was a dramatic change almost overnight. Amy said she was willing to work hard because she wanted to stay. Her attitude was once again bright and hopeful. She was getting things done. She was turning things in. She got all caught up. There was even a dramatic reduction in how much she was talking out of turn and such in class. The new advisor made a huge difference. And a bit of extra support at home made the rest of the difference. (Things like scanning homework when it was done and emailing it to the teacher to avoid the possibility of it getting "lost" before getting to the teacher.)

I was starting to feel like the result here would be clear. Amy would get her act together. The new advisor would help the school do the right thing. We would return next year, and another year of maturity, plus a few new teachers, would put everything right and we would be back on track to stay where we were until Amy graduated from High School.

And then we got another letter.

It basically said that because of the days Amy had missed when she went to Pennsylvania, Amy was on probation for attendance. That any more absences (for whatever reason, including sickness) would result in her being put on warning for the first trimester of 8th grade, and that continued absences could result in her not being allowed to return.

Aside from the trip to Pennsylvania, which we had specifically cleared with the school in advance as not being a problem, Amy had only ever missed school when sick. And in almost all cases Brandy had been diligent and actually made a Doctor visit and gotten a Doctor's note to validate the absence.

This time not just Brandy was mad, I was furious too. I had argued against Amy going to Pennsylvania because of the possible impact on school, but given that it was going to happen, Brandy and Amy had done everything right. They had discussed it with the school in advance, they had tried to get the school work in advance, Amy had done all the work she could while she was gone, and she worked diligently to catch up on the rest when she got back. They did everything right. And we had been told that this trip would not be a problem as long as that happened.

I then engaged in a back and forth email conversation with the Head of School. In the end they did the right thing and rescinded the attendance warning. But in the process, they claimed that when they had said it was no problem, the plan was to miss fewer days, but then that changed and we missed more than anticipated. Of course that never happened. Brandy talked to the Middle School Head before she even bought the tickets and the number of days that they would be gone never changed. It was governed by the date of Brandy's mom's surgery and by how long after the surgery she would not be allowed to drive. As evidence they produced a couple of emails from Amy where Amy got confused and gave the wrong dates. But that was weeks after Brandy had talked to the school, provided the dates, and gotten approval.

At the end of this, even though I got the warning undone, I was pissed. We had met with the Head of School only weeks earlier. And among the things we had discussed was how we had dealt with the trip to Pennsylvania. And no problem was mentioned then. And then this stupid letter happened threatening us again for something where we had done everything right.

It showed once again the problems with communication that the school had been showing all year. And the lack of cooperation. And the confrontational attitude. Either they screwed up when they told us the trip would not be an issue (if they had said otherwise, Amy might not have gone on the trip), or they screwed up with the letter. Either way, they screwed up yet again. I had been fighting for the "stay where we are" option up until that point. I no longer felt like I could actively defend that option. I told Brandy she should go ahead and start actively investigating other options.

She found a school she really liked. The three of us visited it a couple of weeks ago for a tour and an interview. Both Brandy and Amy are very excited about it. It is *very* non-traditional. There are fewer hours of school each week with classes. It is more like college in that you schedule classes individually, and that is when you need to be there. It isn't just a solid block of classes 7 hours every day or anything like that. Depending on your schedule, there may even be days with no classes at all. But balancing out the lower number of hours, quite a few of the classes are organized as one on one. One teacher, one student. The others are very small groups. Classes of 15 are unheard of, let alone classes of 30. And they work very hard to make sure there is good student/teacher chemistry, and switch you quickly if there is not. There is huge latitude for independent study, including getting credit for certain types of extracurricular activities. (For instance, if Amy continues to be very serious about her Double Bass or Chorus activities, some of that might be eligible for credit.) And they specifically are set up to work with kids on organizational and study skills type issues, as well as being set up to cater very strongly to individual interests and issues. The school is also older and more established than where we are now, despite being a lot more radical. (Although that also means it has older infrastructure and is less up to date technologically.)

Now, Brandy and Amy are very excited about this place. I think Amy decided at that very moment that she was done with the current school. I on the other hand am very wary. For a highly motivated kid, it offers the opportunity to zoom ahead in subjects of interest and aptitude, and get much more advanced much more quickly. In subjects where there may be issues, it offers the opportunity to go at the pace needed to really get it. But it also seems a little hand wavy to me. And that if a kid is NOT highly motivated to push forward on their own, it could end up being a sub-par experience. That sometimes you need a little bit of the "you need to do it our way, and you need to do it now" to get the discipline you need. And the times without classes still need to be useful time, not time to goof off or watch TV. If it offers Amy a lot of individual attention that will help her thrive, then great. But if it gives her an opportunity to slack off, and get by with a lower standard of what is needed, then not OK. I think if we choose this school it could easily go either way. I am not sure which would happen. And I think a lot of that would depend on Amy herself.

But that is also true where we are. Amy is doing MUCH better now that we have her back with the advisor that she likes and works well with. She could still do better, but the change is undeniable. She can succeed where we are. It is not a bad place. A lot of the problem had to do with the advisor. That has been fixed. And this school does have a lot to offer. And having myself gone through the disruption of changing schools from 6th grade to 9th grade way more often than I would have liked, I am *very* hesitant about the whole changing schools thing anyway, even if I was fully convinced of the alternative school... which I am not.

But at the same time, it has been a real fight this year where we are. Seventh grade has not been the good experience that Sixth grade was. And Amy is not the only student thinking of leaving. A significant number of the current seventh grade girls are apparently not returning for eighth grade. It seems we are not the only ones who have been disappointed this year. And Amy is now excited about the possibility of the new school.

We have the paperwork ready to fill out for the other school. And we have been told there that based on our interview if we submit the paperwork and the deposit we will be accepted. We have until the beginning of July to officially say no to the current school. So it has not been decided yet.

But Amy and Brandy are both convinced. They want to switch. I am still on the fence. Before the nonsense about attendance I was willing to defend the current school and push to stay there. At this point I am not sure which choice is best. There are issues with the current place, but I think they can be overcome. I think the other place is a gamble. It might be incredible and exactly what Amy needs with all the one-on-one attention. Or it could be a place that lets her bad habits grow and get worse because they let her get away with it. I don't know. Gamble.

But I think with where things are now, I'm not going to be pushing hard to stay where we are if both Brandy and Amy are very excited about the new place and don't want to stay where we are. Which basically mean, I think, that unless anything radical changes or we learn something new in the next month or so, we'll be making the switch for 8th grade.

I am nervous about it though. As much as we have had issues with the place we are this year, they are a known quantity, and I think Amy could succeed there as long as we stay on top of things. But... they screwed up a few too many times this year, and they lost Brandy's confidence many months ago... Amy is doing better, but she still is more excited about the other place. And for me... all other things being equal, I might still lean slightly toward the current school. Slightly. But they killed all my enthusiasm when I had to fight to make it so that catching the flu next fall wouldn't get Amy kicked out of school.

So... we shall see. But that is the (super long) update.


Abulsme - Sun, 4 May 2008, 09:57:16 PDT
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Sidewalk Flower


Abulsme - Sun, 4 May 2008, 09:25:45 PDT
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Electoral College: New Hampshire Flips to McCain



A new poll in New Hampshire tips it over the edge from "Leaning Obama" to "Leaning McCain" in my last five poll average. As a lean, it could still easily go either way, so it doesn't change the "Best Case" scenario for either candidate, but it does increase McCain's lead if you assume everybody gets all of their leaning states.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 334, Obama 204
Obama Best Case - Obama 330, McCain 208

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - McCain 282, Obama 256


Abulsme - Sun, 4 May 2008, 09:02:19 PDT
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Delegates after Guam



No supers today. Just the Guam delegates. As mentioned earlier, the split was 2 for Obama and 2 for Clinton. There is apparently an automatic recount because the margin was only 7 votes. That might affect the "Who won Guam" bragging rights, but there is no way it will affect the delegate count. That will stay 2 to 2.

Updated stats:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1736, Clinton 1599, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 51.8%, Clinton 47.7%, Edwards 0.6%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 694 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 289 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 426 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 41.6% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 41.7% before Guam.)

Clinton needs 61.4% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 61.3% before Guam.)

(Still no update on the final 2 Democratic delegates from the Pennsylvania primaries, or on ANY of the delegates from the Republican Pennsylvania primaries.)


Abulsme - Sun, 4 May 2008, 08:24:46 PDT
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Sat 03 May 2008

Seven Votes in Guam

Well, my arbitrary 50/50 split since pollster.com didn't have any Guam polls turned out to be pretty close.

Obama Wins Guam By 7
(Todd Beeton, MyDD)

Not 7%, but 7 votes. CNN has still called it for Obama though. Do I smell a recount?

Check out the unofficial vote count:

Barack Obama 50.1% (2264 votes)
Hillary Clinton 49.9% (2257 votes)
That count is still unofficial, but it is 100% of precincts reporting. Regardless, they split two delegates each. Given there are only four delegates (actually 8 half-delegates) it would take a pretty big win for it to be anything other than 2 to 2.


Abulsme - Sat, 3 May 2008, 17:37:14 PDT
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The Rest of the Race

Since we'll be getting Guam results soon, lets take a look at how the rest of the calendar looks right now.

Here are the upcoming contests and the current (renormalized to 100%) pollster.com averages for each state.

  • Guam: No Polls, Call it 50.0% Clinton, 50.0% Obama
  • Indiana: 54.2% Clinton, 45.8% Obama
  • North Carolina: 44.0% Clinton, 56.0% Obama
  • West Virginia: 65.2% Clinton, 34.8% Obama
  • Kentucky: 69.7% Clinton, 30.3% Obama
  • Oregon: 57.8% Clinton, 42.2% Obama
  • Puerto Rico: 57.5% Clinton, 42.5% Obama
  • Montana: No Polls, Call it 50.0% Clinton, 50.0% Obama
  • South Dakota: 42.5% Clinton, 57.5% Obama
OK, so where does this put us? If polls don't move much, out of 9 primaries remaining, we have Clinton "winning" 5 primaries, Obama "winning" in 2 primaries, and then the two states with no polls that I am calling ties for the sake of argument. So from a pure "number of states" position, Hillary is going to be kicking ass from now until the end of the calendar.

But how does this look when you weight things for delegates? It doesn't quite actually work this way of course, but as a first approximation, lets assume the delegates split in the same proportion as the popular vote:
  • Guam: 2 Clinton, 2 Obama
  • Indiana: 39 Clinton, 33 Obama
  • North Carolina: 51 Clinton, 64 Obama
  • West Virginia: 18 Clinton, 10 Obama
  • Kentucky: 36 Clinton, 15 Obama
  • Oregon: 30 Clinton, 22 Obama
  • Puerto Rico: 32 Clinton, 23 Obama
  • Montana: 8 Clinton, 8 Obama
  • South Dakota: 6 Clinton, 9 Obama
So, for the rest of the races, where does that put things? 222 delegates for Clinton, 186 for Obama. Clinton wins!! Woo! Uh, she gets 54.4% of the delegates. As of today, she needs 61.3% of all remaining delegates to be on a pace to win. Oops. So she would be winning, but she would not be winning by a big enough margin to be on a pace to win.

But where would the above put things? If things played out with the numbers above, on June 4th, after the last primaries are over, assuming no more superdelegates are determined between now and then, we would be here:

Delegate count would be: Obama 1920, Clinton 1819, Edwards 19

In percent terms that would be: Obama 51.1%, Clinton 48.4%, Edwards 0.5%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There would be 290 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama would need 105 more delegates to win.

Clinton would need 206 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama would need 36.2% of the remaining delegates to win.

Clinton would need 71.0% of the remaining delegates to win.

At that point all of the remaining delegates would be superdelegates. So far Hillary has managed to get 265 of the 508 superdelegates who have declared. That is 52.2%. For all the remaining supers, she needs to bump that percentage into the 70's to win. That would be a BIG change.

Of course, many superdelegates will be determined before the end of the primaries on June 3rd, so these numbers will keep changing whenever more superdelegates declare. Unless Clinton is picking them up at a 70% rate though, these numbers will just get worse for Clinton, not better.

What is Clinton's path to victory? What she needs is this:
  • The "momentum" from her wins in each state will make Obama look weak, and her margin in later states will actually be even larger than the percentages predicted above... a lot larger.
  • Obama's campaign completely collapses due to some scandal
  • She manages to make some sort of convoluted popular vote argument including Florida and Michigan but excluding caucus states that did not report popular vote.
  • The superdelegates determine that Obama is so damaged he can not possibly win in November, and start going for Clinton by overwhelming margins... and perhaps more superdelegates who have already declared for Obama start switching sides.
That is a very long shot, but that is what she is counting on.

But wait, what about "settling" the Michigan and Florida issues? Well, let aside the fact that really that issue was decided before any of the voting started, and even Clinton's representatives agreed to exclude those two states if they did not move their primaries. And also that all the opportunities for organizing revotes have now passed us by. Right now to get those states seated in a way that would help Clinton the credentials committee would have to approve. That committee's makeup is based in such a way that Obama supporters will have a controlling majority. But Clinton will have enough folks to produce a "minority report" for the convention if they wish. But then the full convention... without Michigan and Florida... would need to vote to let Michigan and Florida in... if Hillary is ahead, it will not matter, because she would be winning anyway... if Obama is ahead, they would never vote to include those states unless it was in such a way that did not change the outcome. So bottom line, no matter if they are seated or not, Florida and Michigan will NOT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE.

Anyway, the picture for Clinton is very glum. It has been for quite a while. Ever since Obama's "good February". Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania did not change that in real terms. All the rest is smoke and mirrors.

The spin that this is still competitive is silly. It is not.

Now, is it impossible for Clinton to win? No. It is not impossible. It could happen.

But it would take a MAJOR shift in the race. It would need Obama to completely and totally fall apart. Not just lose a few races, but start to get absolutely crushed. Not just in the states remaining, but also in the superdelegates remaining.

This thing is over. A certain someone just needs to admit it.

[Edited 10 May 2008 19:50 UTC to correct the hypothetical delegate totals, I had forgotten to actually add the hypotheticals, and just repeated the totals as of the day this was posted.]


Abulsme - Sat, 3 May 2008, 10:09:25 PDT
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Hillary Gets Her Ratio (Today)



For only the third day since Obama took the lead on February 13th, Clinton gets the ratio of delegates she needs to make what she her job for the rest of the race easier instead of harder. Yesterday her "magic percentage" was 61.4%. She beat that today by getting 5 superdelegates to Obama's 2 (71.4%). This gets her back to... well... somewhere between where she was Thursday and where she was yesterday. But hey, perhaps yesterday was Obama's high watermark, and from now on Clinton will get the 61.3% she needs every day. Uh... or maybe Obama will undo it in a day or two. :-)

Updated stats:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1734, Clinton 1597, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 51.8%, Clinton 47.7%, Edwards 0.6%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 698 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 291 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 428 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 41.7% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 42.9% before PA.)

Clinton needs 61.3% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 59.3% before PA.)

(Still no update on the final 2 Democratic delegates from the Pennsylvania primaries, or on ANY of the delegates from the Republican Pennsylvania primaries.)


Abulsme - Sat, 3 May 2008, 09:17:06 PDT
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Fri 02 May 2008

DVD: Enemy of the State

Last weekend we finally watched another DVD. And for the first time in a long time... it actually was all three of us watching together. Anyway, this time it was my turn, and next on my Netflix list was Enemy of the State. Although I am sure I had never actually seen this whole movie, as I watched it, I was sure I had definitely seen various parts of it before. And on the part where they run away from an exploding building, I'm pretty sure I've seen a "making of" thingy too. All about how they only had one shot since they were BLOWING UP A BUILDING while simultaneously driving a train past it and driving a car away from it, and it all had to come together just right, but if they screwed it up they wouldn't be able to blow the building up again or anything.

In any case, this was your typical action/thriller type of thing. It was fun enough, but I can't say I was really ever much in suspense and it didn't have my heart racing during the action sequences or anything. It was fairly straightforward. No really unexpected twists or anything.

I guess it was perfectly OK. Not a bad way to spend two hours. Just nothing special.

Although, for once, it was a movie that all three of us could watch without complaining. And there was popcorn and stuff. So all was good.

We don't watch enough movies. I'm pushing for Saturday DVD night for the summer, but we'll see how that goes. It often seems to get derailed because one or more of us have other things to do, or not enough of us actually want to see the movie that is next in line, etc.

But it would still be fun. At least I think so.


Abulsme - Fri, 2 May 2008, 20:12:57 PDT
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Another Stupid, But Funny, Political Video



(via Huffington Post)


Abulsme - Fri, 2 May 2008, 18:27:24 PDT
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Electoral College: Obama weakens in New Hampshire



Based on a new update today on pollster.com (but of a month old poll) New Hampshire moves from "Weak Obama" to "Leaning Obama", putting it into play for McCain.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 334, Obama 204
Obama Best Case - Obama 330, McCain 208

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - McCain 278, Obama 260


Abulsme - Fri, 2 May 2008, 09:21:59 PDT
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Hmmm.... When You Shrink It I Don't Like It

If I stick with the larger width, I think I'll also change my CSS to change my minimum width for the whole site. Right now you can resize the site down to the old width needed for the 400 pixel images, and then those images slide under the right column. I don't like that. Maybe I should have stayed with 400. Buyers regret and all that.

Anyway, I don't really have time to play with it right now, so maybe I'll look at it this weekend to increase the minimum width. Only one number to change, but not right now.


Abulsme - Fri, 2 May 2008, 08:38:55 PDT
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A Switcher Plus a New One



One important superdelegate switched his support from Clinton to Obama. Plus one new California superdelegate declared for Obama.

Net change: Obama +2, Clinton -1.

Updated stats:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1732, Clinton 1592, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 51.8%, Clinton 47.6%, Edwards 0.6%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 705 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 293 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 433 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 41.6% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 42.9% before PA.)

Clinton needs 61.4% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 59.3% before PA.)

(Still no update on the final 2 Democratic delegates from the Pennsylvania primaries, or on ANY of the delegates from the Republican Pennsylvania primaries. Both of those things really annoy me.)

[Edit 3 May 2008 17:06 UTC to fix a typo in Clinton's percent of remaining delegates, it was 61.4%, not 61.1%.]


Abulsme - Fri, 2 May 2008, 08:26:46 PDT
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From 400 to 500

For a long time on this blog (years) I have kept the maximum width of pictures I post to 400 pixels. And almost always when I put up any image at all, I resized it to either a 400 pixel width or a 200 pixel width.

Earlier today I decided that I would post that video WITHOUT resizing it downward to 400 pixels. I could have easily done so with the embed code. Indeed, in my first draft I had it that way. But it didn't look as good that way. It was meant to be a larger size. And 400 pixels is pretty small these days, as most people have nice large monitors.

So I've decided to make my new maximum a 500 pixel width. And maybe... maybe... I won't always resize everything to 500 and 250. :-) Always having things the same size made sense way back when my site had a fixed width... but now I have it adjust with the size of the user's window, so "filling the column" is no longer what is happening anyway in most cases.

Now, this probably will still be problematic to some of my readers. I believe my mom, for instance, likes to keep her monitor set at an 800x600 resolution. A size I can barely even imagine living with any more. She may have to horizontal scroll a bit. I am sorry mom.

I'm not sure. I may end up regretting this decision and reverting. But alternately I think it will give me a bit of breathing room.

We shall see.

If any of my readers actually have a strong opinion on this (which I doubt) let me know, and I may take your opinions into account.


Abulsme - Fri, 2 May 2008, 08:13:42 PDT
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Thu 01 May 2008

Great Summary



(via Andrew Sullivan)


Abulsme - Thu, 1 May 2008, 19:45:07 PDT
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Time Machine Drive Full

I am using a 500GB Drive for my Time Machine drive, which is the same size as my main drive... rather than what is recommended, which is a Time Machine drive that is double the size of the drive you are backing up. I finally got Time Machine Successfully working on February 17th. My main drive has been between 80% and 90% full the entire time. Today for the first time, Time Machine reported that the backup drive was full and it had to delete the oldest backup (the one from February 17th). The oldest is now from February 24th.

A bit more than two months, even with just that little bit of free space. That isn't too bad.

I still want to pick up a 1GB drive though. With the "double the main drive" recommendation, I could probably keep a full year or more of backups...

I also need to do something about that 90% full thing. That is a bit too high.

Hmmm, emptying the trash only got me to 85%. I was hoping for more. I'll have to go looking for more things I am OK getting rid of this weekend or something.


Abulsme - Thu, 1 May 2008, 07:02:25 PDT
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Electoral College: Obama strengthens in New Jersey



Once again surprising because of the bad time Obama has been having lately, another state moves further in his direction. In my "last five polls average" New Jersey now moves from "Leaning Obama" to "Weak Obama" as his lead in that state goes over 5%. This takes New Jersey out of the "could go either way" category and removes the possibility of winning New Jersey from McCain's best case scenario.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 330, Obama 208
Obama Best Case - Obama 330, McCain 208

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - McCain 278, Obama 260

You see those two "best case" scenarios? Now, admittedly, I'm still allowing DC to go either way since there have not yet been any polls for DC, and that is not realistic, but still, at the moment this race is almost completely symmetrical. This is a completely tied race at the moment.

Now, this is with McCain having a locked up nomination and a clear field, and the Democrats still locked in mortal battle, damaging each other further every day. So the dynamics of this will probably change significantly once the Democrats come together.

But for now... tied ball game.


Abulsme - Thu, 1 May 2008, 06:16:31 PDT
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Seven More Supers Fall Off the Wall



Seven more superdelegates today. 4 for Clinton, 3 for Obama. Hey, Clinton got more delegates today! Oh, but wait, she got 57.14% of today's delegates, which is less than the 61.15% she needed to be on pace to win, so once again, her path to the nomination still just becomes harder, even though she got more delegates today. She now needs 61.19% of the remaining delegates. But remember, the math doesn't matter, it is all about momentum! Math is hard!

Updated stats:

The new delegate count is: Obama 1730, Clinton 1593, Edwards 19

In percent terms that is: Obama 51.8%, Clinton 47.7%, Edwards 0.6%

2025 delegates are needed to win.

There are 706 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 295 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 432 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 41.8% of the remaining delegates to win.

Clinton needs 61.2% of the remaining delegates to win.

(Still no update on the final 2 Democratic delegates from the Pennsylvania primaries, or on ANY of the delegates from the Republican Pennsylvania primaries.)


Abulsme - Thu, 1 May 2008, 05:42:51 PDT
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