Archives: August 2008

Sun 31 Aug 2008

Bigger View Of Gustav



Abulsme - Sun, 31 Aug 2008, 16:38:48 PDT
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Incoming Gustav



As of the 12 UTC update (about 6 hours ago, and the 18 UTC update is due out soon, but isn't there yet) looks like odds of hurricane force winds in New Orleans are up to about 30%. Odds of tropical storm force winds are now at about 90%.

So yeah, New Orleans will almost certainly be effected at this point. The main question now is just "How badly?".


Abulsme - Sun, 31 Aug 2008, 11:21:35 PDT
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Flying Bumber People



Abulsme - Sun, 31 Aug 2008, 11:15:05 PDT
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Sat 30 Aug 2008

Bumbering

Today's activity is Bumbershoot. We are heading out the door in a few minutes. I think Brandy and Amy are planning to go for all three days of it. I have limited tolerance for such events, but I agreed to go today. I plan to follow them around and grimace a lot. And I'll play with my iPhone. :-)


Abulsme - Sat, 30 Aug 2008, 12:02:35 PDT
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Cat 4



Hurricane Gustav is now a Cat 4. As of the 12 UTC update, looks like there is a 20% chance of hurricane force winds in New Orleans. (About a 70% chance of tropical storm force winds.) I guess that is high enough already that they are starting evacuations. Given what happened three years ago, I can't blame them.

Having said that, there is a non-trivial chance of hurricane force winds for not only New Orleans, but the entire coastlines of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as well as parts of the Texas and Florida coasts. Not to mention a decent ways inland in Louisiana. In terms of tropical storm force winds... looking at Hannah as well, the ENTIRE gulf coast of the US is at risk in the next five days, as well as the east coast of Florida as well. (And of course Cuba, parts of Mexico, and a large number of other Caribbean Islands.)

But.. Cat 4 (although expected to weaken before landfall), with a 20% chance of hitting New Orleans... and pretty much a 100% chance of hitting somewhere on the gulf coast... just as the Republican Convention starts.

This will be quite a week.


Abulsme - Sat, 30 Aug 2008, 10:30:31 PDT
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Fri 29 Aug 2008

Because I Could No Longer Wait

Posted from my new iPhone

16GB. White.


Abulsme - Fri, 29 Aug 2008, 20:28:31 PDT
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Ivan Jamaica Update

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

last night was a doozy internet and tv went down at 630am I am writing from my handheld as cell service is working. the winds on the beach gusted to under 100 mph. you could hear the wind and the building shook a little. this is not a weak building its reinforced concrete. by 8am the winds dided down and we haven getting steady rain. I have spoken with some of the locals and so far no major damage reported.
NHC Updates as of 12 UTC (6 hours ago):

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

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


Abulsme - Fri, 29 Aug 2008, 11:05:46 PDT
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Initial Palin Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dunno. We'll she how this plays out.

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

The next two months should be quite fun.


Abulsme - Fri, 29 Aug 2008, 08:02:00 PDT
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McCain-Palin

CNBC Says it is Palin:

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

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

According to a Republican strategist, Palin is the nominee, though McCain's campaign has not comfirmed this.
(via reader Kelly M., thanks Kelly!)

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

Strike that. Fox is saying Palin now too.

I imagine the rest will confirm shortly.


Abulsme - Fri, 29 Aug 2008, 07:24:01 PDT
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Best Rumors: Palin

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

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

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


Abulsme - Fri, 29 Aug 2008, 07:02:29 PDT
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Still No Leaks

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

Apparently McCain's team can actually keep a secret.


Abulsme - Fri, 29 Aug 2008, 06:05:51 PDT
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Thu 28 Aug 2008

Not Off Today

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

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


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 22:33:56 PDT
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Sullivan's Take

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

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

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

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


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 21:29:29 PDT
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McCain's Congratulations

Not bad. Good touch.



(via Instapundit)


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 21:08:44 PDT
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New Gustav Update from Ivan

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

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

The center of the storm according to the news is in the middle of the island at this moment. They are showing some overturned vehicles and some power lines down, some minor damage, in Kingston at the moment. Very few people went to shelters most people they preferred to ride it out in their homes. Since it's the low season the hotel was only at 30% occupancy those employees are going to stay here in rooms in order to take care of us. The Jamaican's are very warm people in general and I have to compliment everyone here for their preparations which were top notch. They currently report that 15% Jamaica is without power. I will keep reporting as long as we have internet.
Current Gustav info for Western Jamaica: 80% to 90% chance of tropical storm winds. 5% to 7% for hurricane force winds.

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


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 20:33:50 PDT
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The Obama Speech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is what a President should be.


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 19:59:46 PDT
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The Crowd

This crowd is absolutely huge. And excited. The place is packed. They are going to go nuts when he comes out in a few moments.

OK. Time for me to shut down and pay attention. Obama is being introduced.


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 18:59:22 PDT
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Soon

The big speech starts soon. I just moved from my office down to the family room to watch it on the projector. Obama's head will fill my entire wall. Unlike many of the other speeches, when it starts I will shut down everything else to be sure I am paying 100% full attention for the length of the speech. After all this build up it better be good. :-)


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 18:50:53 PDT
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A Street From Above



Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 16:14:31 PDT
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Final Dem Delegate Update

Just to be complete about it, I updated my Presidential Delegate Graphs with the final results.

(Well, pending me finding a source actually showing the full delegate vote that was done with paper ballots.)


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 15:08:10 PDT
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Upset Hillary Delegate

I saw this delegate on CNN right after Hillary's speech. I made a note to check YouTube for it later. I'm sure CNN intentionally found the most upset distraught Hillary dead ender they could find. But it still made for a compelling few minutes of television. And perhaps some insight into the subset of the Hillary folks who are not ready to fully support Obama.



Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 14:15:14 PDT
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Powlenty?

CNN is reporting that Powlenty is canceling all sorts of things from his schedule (TV appearances and such). I guess this means that either it is him, or he just got told it isn't him and he is going home to cry.


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 14:14:14 PDT
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Gustav Live Report

Lifting from the comments on my Gustav Again post so more people will see it. My Curmudgeon's Corner cohost Ivan is currently in Jamaica as Gustav approaches.

He makes this report:

Live reporting here from Jamaica. It's gotten quite windy but nothing really serious yet as I am on the western side of Jamaica. The airport here in Montego Bay is closing in about 30 minutes and the hotel has hunkered down for the storm. I am not concerned about the storm where I am staying, this hotel was built in 2000 and unlike most other resorts this one Hurricane glass all around and is built out of reinforced concrete. The main building is at least 25 feet above sea level, at least, so storm surge is also not a concern. All the furniture has been collected outside and everything has been secured and battened down. We actually went on a plantation tour all day and just got back into the hotel to be greeted by the General Manager who told us to not be concerned. In Jamaica the locals expect wind and rain but at tropical storm strength no devastation.

Speaking of New Orleans the truth is that this just highlights (and I guess it really needed it because everyone forgot) just how badly or nonexistent in some areas the recovery process has gone in New Orleans. It's a fucking joke. The Levees are not fixed, a large percentage of housing is still uninhabitable, etc.. etc... In Florida we got hit by multiple storms over the same time that New Orleans got hit by ONE, JUST ONE and we are not in a fucking panic. The crime this administration perpetrated on New Orleans is outrageous, and maybe this is what's necessary to highlight the fucking joke the recovery has been.
Editing a few minutes later to add: As of the 18 UTC NHC update, looks like for Western Jamaica where Ivan is, 70% to 80% chance of tropical storm force winds, about 7% chance of hurricane force winds. In New Orleans, 40% chance of tropical storm force winds, 7% chance of hurricane force winds.


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 13:56:57 PDT
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McCain Veeps

Supposedly the decision has been made. The person will be told today. It will be announced tomorrow morning. The choice will PROBABLY leak sometime today, possibly right around Obama's speech, to take attention away from that.

The current "top three" in buzz seem to be Mitt Romney, Tim Powlenty or Joe Lieberman.

People don't seem anywhere near as "sure" of this top three list as they did of the top three on the Dem side last week and other names continue to be mentioned as well.

I'm still hoping for Carly Fiorina so I can see Ivan's head explode.


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 09:30:28 PDT
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Gustav Again



When last we left Gustav, I was teasing my friend Ivan about going to Jamaica as it was approaching. But the odds had diminished to 30% to 50% that Jamaica would get tropical storm force winds, and less than a 10% chance of hurricane force winds.

As of the 12 UTC charts from the NHC, in Jamaica the odds are now 80% to 100% for tropical storm force winds depending on which part of Jamaica you are talking about. For hurricane force winds those odds are 5% to 15%. Non-trivial. Worth worrying about, but still an 85% chance of NOT having hurricane force winds. Tropical storm force winds are pretty close to certain though, so I'm sure Ivan is in a bar somewhere enjoying it and watching the show. :-)

Which brings us to New Orleans. For the last 48 hours, people have been getting increasingly agitated that New Orleans will get slammed by a major hurricane early next week. The "track" aims right at new Orleans. The mayor is rushing home. The Republicans are making contingency plans to adjust their convention schedule if needed, etc.

But lets put it into perspective.

This morning's NHC update finally shows New Orleans with a greater than 5% chance of hurricane force winds in the next five days. Before that, the odds of New Orleans getting hit by hurricane force winds were less than 5%. (Tropical storm force winds are another story, but we're not really worried about those, are we?) But yet people were getting all worked up.

Now, I understand why given what happened a few years ago. But...

Right now it looks like for New Orleans the chance of tropical storm force winds is about 35%. The odds of hurricane force winds are about 7%.

Now, 7% is not zero. It is not something to ignore. If you are anywhere within the area with 5% or greater odds, you should be making proper preparations, including preparing to get the hell out if you are in a place like New Orleans. By the way, that 5% area also includes a lot more of Louisiana than New Orleans, the entire Mississippi and Alabama coastlines, western Cuba, Jamaica (as discussed) and the northern Yucatan in Mexico. Now, that means prepare and pay attention and be smart... NOT panic and act like the world is ending.

In New Orleans there is still a 93% chance they will NOT get hurricane force winds in the next five days. NINETY THREE PERCENT.

There is a 65% chance they won't even get tropical storm force winds.

Now, 7% can still happen. Um... about 7% of the time in this kind of situation it would.

But really, people are getting a little ahead of themselves with the increasingly feverish talk about this.

Now... if over the next few days that 7% turns into 15% turns into 25% turns into 50% turns into 70%... then that is a completely different story.


Abulsme - Thu, 28 Aug 2008, 09:06:39 PDT
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Wed 27 Aug 2008

Biden's Speech

A lot better than I had thought it would be. I really liked the family stuff at the beginning though. (Including the introduction by his son.) That stuff about the car crash gets me every time. That got my attention a lot more than the rest of the speech. Although it did build in energy as it went.

And then Obama came out at the end.

Expectations are really high for him tomorrow.

We shall see.


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Aug 2008, 20:23:27 PDT
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Watching Bill

I had to watch Bill on delay (thank you C-Span!) because I had a work thing while it was live. And I admit, I sort of multi-tasked while watching it too, so didn't pay full attention. My rough impression was that he said what he was expected to say and needed to say, but I didn't get all roused by his speech or anything. For the moment I'll stick with the fact that the only speeches worth listening to so far have been Kennedy's, Michelle Obama's and Schweitzer's.

I'm now trying to catch up to real time on my Tivo. Watching Kerry right now.

I now remember why I didn't like him four years ago. Bleh.

At this point I'm not all that hyped about Biden.

Maybe Obama will really bring it home tomorrow. But so far this has been very blah.

[Edit 3:21 UTC - Oh yeah, and Hillary. I forgot already, but hers was great too.]


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Aug 2008, 19:30:16 PDT
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Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 7

... was allowed to go off alone to walk down to grandmother Bullard's I was directed on the road in particular. I should say it was June. When I had gone about three fourths of a mile, there were some young cattle forward of me grazing side of the way, and as soon as I come up to them they would start and run ahead as if I was driving them. I tried my best to get by them, but no use they kept advance. We came to a log house, the door was open, and the floor of the houses to be the same height of the street; so in the door went two or three of these young cattle, probably yearlings, instantly an elderly lady came driving them out with a good deal of energy. Spying me she came up and wanted to know "Whose boy I was?" Then she piled the words on to me, she would send word to my father, on driving cattle into her house. I kept moving along carefully expecting every moment she would pounce onto me, and whether she would give me the most extreme of punishment I had seen or read of or of a milder type - anyhow my happiness was getting to a very low ebb as I trudged along to my destination. Finally I succeeded in getting to the gate of the yard leading to the house, then I saw my Uncle Marcus one and a half years older than myself, as soon as I got to him I put my arm around him and the flood of tears, that had been kept in waiting broke loose, and when Mark inquired, "What was the matter?" I was perfectly unintelligible in my report.

Mark took me into his mother's room, my grandmother took me close to her to find out what had happened, after I knew I was safe I told all, then she espoused my cause very strongly, she would see about old Mrs. Halsey, she would send Cullen up there and he would carry me home. Of course I had found friends, and the terrors of the future punishment faded away. Mark and I went fishing down a brook that had quantities of horn dase and shiners, which grandmother served up for our dinner in fine style. So my visit came to joyful end being carried to my home by my kind Uncle the Doctor.

At another time cannot remember exact date but it was warm weather I had been up at the clothing works where my uncle finished cloth, when I looked out the window saw an old lady passing along knitting as she walked. It was mostly descending in the grade, after a bit I went toward home, pretty quick I saw some yarn on the ground moving slightly; and as far as I could see either direction was this yarn. Then I thought of the woman knitting, and as I knew what way she was passing, I ran to find her. She had passed through both bridges and was going up a hill and had just discovered that she had dropped her ball of yarn, as the rise of the ground made more exertion to carry the thread she was working at. Then Aunt Hitty turned around and retraced her steps to recover her goods. As the two bridges were three hundred feet in length and the rocky island one hundred feet she must have unwound nearly four hundred feet!

There were several noticed this incident, and the quotation was often uttered "Aunt Hitty Sanford spinning street yarn." As I reflect am pretty sure from that circumstance which was noticed by several before the yarn was finally rewound came the always as not pleasant reminder. She was spinning street yarn.

On the Rocky Island when I was a boy were the ruins of several industries. For some reason when I was a small boy two old people told me some early history. My finding some s???s of timber imbeded in the ground below the clothing works. So I inquired of Enoch Sprague? To satisfy my curiosity he went with me to show where such and such buildings stood. Afterwards Isreal Marsh confirmed the fact.

Just below the clothing works was a forge for hammering cut nails, as far as I can find outthe first ever cut by a machine. They were cut out of the plate which were wide enough for the length of the nail; and the head of the nail was all on one side or rather the edge. In the old plank houses in Quaker Village these nails were used and in later years about 1869, I found the same pattern of nail in the Van Schai? house in Lansingburg, N.Y., as the roof from which I removed in the shingles to replace with slate, the roof then showed that of the several roofs that had been placed. First the hand made nail, then the pattern from the Weybridge Mill.

Down the stream a little farther was the distillery. Where cider brandy was made, that would make the drinker forget their trouble, but when they recovered their senses; their woes would look more unsurmountable.

This distillery was carried by William Sanford and his wife Mahittable and I was told by an old resident in my youththat he had seen both husband and wife to far gone in the exhilerating influences of its products that no business could be done with them. This business of distilling was abandoned after a few years and Wm. Sanford made pearlash, "salaratus", from the ashes he gathered in the neighborhood. I can recollect the price per. lb. when he brought the article to our house, fifteen cents, but its strength was such that a pound lasted quite a while.

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Aug 2008, 16:44:17 PDT
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Officially Obama

And the Democrats now have a nominee. Officially. By acclamation.

Without finishing the roll call. At Clinton's request.

Last numbers were 1549 Obama, 341 Clinton.

(All the votes submitted earlier in writing will eventually be counted it seems, just not in the roll call.)

Anyway, there it is.


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Aug 2008, 15:50:48 PDT
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New York...

And here we go... Here comes Hillary.


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Aug 2008, 15:45:45 PDT
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After All That, Michigan

Obama wins Michigan too, and he wasn't even on the ballot.

125 delegates for Obama. 27 delegates for Clinton. (And 5 missing delegates.)

And we are more than half way to the magic number.


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Aug 2008, 15:25:32 PDT
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After All That, Florida

Obama wins Florida, 136 delegates to 51. (With 1 abstention.)

Bleh.

(Wait, that doesn't add up to 211, they are still doing odd things. Oh well, won't matter in the end...)


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Aug 2008, 15:03:30 PDT
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Lots of Flippers

A lot of Hillary delegates are indeed voting for Obama. As opposed to a count that is somewhat close, as of Delaware, we're at 275 Obama, 71 Clinton.

I wish they would have all stuck to their guns. It would have been more interesting.


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Aug 2008, 14:59:25 PDT
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Absentions Going On

Starting with Alabama, which had 60 votes. 48 went to Obama, 5 to Clinton... which leaves 7 delegates missing.

Interesting.

But of course, in the end, without meaning or significance.

Unless of course they are just holding some back intentionally in the effort to make New York be the state (with Hillary Clinton speaking) to push Obama over the edge.


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Aug 2008, 14:48:53 PDT
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Abbreviated Roll Call

They will do part of the roll call, then move to declare Obama the nominee by acclimation rather than finish it and get an actual final count.

I think that sucks.


Abulsme - Wed, 27 Aug 2008, 13:03:56 PDT
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Tue 26 Aug 2008

Speeches

By the way, when I make comments about these speeches, for the most part I am not in any way talking about the actual content of the speeches, if it is stuff I agree with, or for that matter if it is even stuff that makes sense. I am judging them as speeches... as devices to get the true believers excited, and perhaps to convince people on the fence to choose a side... the actual substance is of course a completely different animal... one I have no comment on at this time. :-)


Abulsme - Tue, 26 Aug 2008, 20:13:34 PDT
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Hillary's Speech

Wow. I think that is the best speech I have ever heard her give. Certainly better than any I heard during the primaries. She was FIERCE. And threw out all the red meat this crowd was looking for. And she did EVERYTHING Obama could possibly be looking for in a Hillary speech at this convention with as fervent support of Obama as you could possibly imagine. I didn't notice even a HINT of snark or any backhanded references to how she would have been a better choice. If she was trying to make Obama wonder if he should have picked her for VP after all, she probably managed that too. She was very very good.

And I say this as someone who is about as anti-Hillary as anybody could be.


Abulsme - Tue, 26 Aug 2008, 20:07:13 PDT
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Gov Schweitzer

Never heard this guy before. He is good. He is really revving up the crowd. I think he'll be showing up some more over the next few years. So far of all the speeches I've watched, he is right up there with Kennedy and Michelle Obama from yesterday. None of the others so far have been memorable at all.

On those Kennedy was very moving. Just the fact that he was up there, but even not allowing for his health, he was rousing and energizing and put a lot into it. Michelle's speech was good, although not something you will remember for long, but it did what it was supposed to.

I was not impressed by Casey earlier tonight.

Schweitzer was really good though. Maybe *he* should have been VP.

Anyway... Now here comes Hillary.

(By the way, I know I haven't posted much... anything really... on the convention so far... but I am watching and listening to tons and tons of it, although I haven't quite managed actually watching gavel to gavel on C-Span or anything. I've just been doing other things too, and haven't been inspired to post much yet. Maybe there will be more before the two conventions are done.)


Abulsme - Tue, 26 Aug 2008, 19:35:21 PDT
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Life with a Northern Cow

This is awesome.

Cows have magnetic sense, Google Earth images indicate
(Thomas Maugh, LA Times, 26 Aug 2008)

German scientists using satellite images posted online by the Google Earth software program have observed something that has escaped the notice of farmers, herders and hunters for thousands of years: Cattle grazing or at rest tend to orient their bodies in a north-south direction just like a compass needle.

Studying photographs of 8,510 cattle in 308 herds from around the world, zoologists Sabine Begall and Hynek Burda of the University of Duisburg-Essen and their colleagues found that two out of every three animals in the pictures were oriented in a direction roughly pointing to magnetic north.

The resolution of the images was not sufficient to tell which ends of the cows were pointing north, however.
(via Slog)


Abulsme - Tue, 26 Aug 2008, 12:52:07 PDT
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A Little on Dial Cousins

A post from a distant cousin's blog:

The Amazing Internet
(Victor Dial, Minter Dialogue Blog, 5 Aug 2008)

I know it’s a cliché, but isn’t it amazing what you can find on the internet? Two recent occasions come to mind:

The first was when, some days ago, I happened on a web site concerning the family of my paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Josephine Minter. We called Josephine “Jou-Jou” (probably Josephine was too difficult for young children to pronounce, or remember). Jou-Jou’s mother’s maiden name was Fannie Dodson Ramseur. Fannie came from a prominent North Carolinian family, and she married Joseph Minter, also from North Carolina. The Minter family web site (wiki.abulsme.com) laconically indicates that Joseph had originally intended to marry another lady, but that the bride-to-be had died on her wedding day. This must have been a terrible tragedy for Joseph, but was fortunate for me, because by marrying Fannie, he begot me, as well as many other distinguished descendants. Fannie had six children (one of whom was Jou-Jou, of course) and, while pregnant with a seventh, died tragically while trying to save her youngest daughter whose dress had accidentally caught fire. The daughter died that day, 14 March 1881, and the mother ten days later, aged 36.


Abulsme - Tue, 26 Aug 2008, 09:07:23 PDT
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Good Time to Visit Jamaica



50% chance of Tropical Storm force winds, 15% chance of Hurricane force winds.

Have fun Ivan!


Abulsme - Tue, 26 Aug 2008, 09:00:04 PDT
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Mon 25 Aug 2008

Electoral College: More Pre-Bounce Bounce?



Two states flip today, one from Obama to McCain, and one from McCain to Obama. I caution however that both of these states are not just "leaning" swing states, they are both states where the margin is 1% or less. In other words, flipping from one side of the line to the other is not really that meaningful. They are both too close to call.

In general, I try to make the same point about ALL of the "leaning states". Yeah, one where the leading candidate is ahead by 4.9% might be a little better for the candidate than one where they are ahead by 0.1%. But really, the primaries showed us that a 5% lead can evaporate in a matter of days if the right set of events happen. And even the consensus average of pollsters can be off by more than that. So any lead under 5% should be considered too close to call.

Anyway, the two states, in order by electoral college vote:

Ohio (20 electoral votes): Flips from Leaning McCain to Leaning Obama. It flipped in the other direction just five days ago.

Nevada (5 electoral votes): Flips from Leaning Obama to Leaning McCain. It flipped in the other direction just two days ago.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 281, Obama 257
Obama Best Case - Obama 384, McCain 154

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

As mentioned above, all of the lean states really could easily go either way. That is why they are lean states. So any observers should be cautioned to not pay all that much attention to the "everybody gets their leans" number. Rather, anything between the two best cases listed is quite possible.

But this DOES at least look like the McCain momentum of the last month has been blunted. We'll see over the next week if the trend continues and turns into a real "bounce" for Obama.

Of course, the Republican convention is immediately after the Democratic convention, so any bounce may be short lived.


Abulsme - Mon, 25 Aug 2008, 12:19:17 PDT
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Curmudgeon's Corner: This is the Silly Stuff

Sam talks about:

  • Absent Ivan
  • Vacation Sam
  • Obama-Biden
  • Silly Attacks
  • Policy vs. Process
  • Convention Ahoy
1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

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Podcast XML Feed


Abulsme - Mon, 25 Aug 2008, 10:49:52 PDT
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Sun 24 Aug 2008

Shameful Capitulation

This was inevitable, but shows that the rules do not matter at all, and makes the prospects of having any sort of control in the 2012 cycle virtually nil.

Florida, Michigan Granted Full Voting Rights
(Stehen Ohlemacher, Huffington Post, 24 Aug 2008)

Democratic delegates from Michigan and Florida were awarded full voting rights at the national convention Sunday, despite holding early primaries against party rules.

The convention credentials committee voted unanimously to restore the voting privileges at the behest of Barack Obama, the party's presumptive nominee for president. The states were initially stripped of delegates for holding primaries before Feb. 5. The party's rules committee restored the delegates in May, but gave them only half votes.

Democrats hope the gesture will strengthen their standing in two important battleground states while ending a contentious chapter of the nominating process.
Sigh.


Abulsme - Sun, 24 Aug 2008, 18:36:59 PDT
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Sat 23 Aug 2008

Electoral College: Obama Pre-Bounce Bounce?



There are four states that change categories today. One brings good news for McCain. But bucking recent trends, three are good news for Obama. In order of electoral college votes...

Michigan, with 17 electoral votes, which two weeks ago weakened for a "Weak" Obama state into a "Leaning" Obama swing state, now moves back into "Weak" status as Obama's lead once again breaks the 5% mark in the state. This makes Michigan no longer a swing state, which is potentially a very big deal for the Obama camp, as they don't have to play as much defense there.

Virginia, with 13 electoral votes, which 9 days ago moved from leaning Obama to leaning McCain, now moves back to leaning Obama. (Either way, it is a very close state and could very easily go either way... the movement here is from McCain being ahead by 0.2% to Obama being ahead by 0.4%.)

Mississippi, with 6 electoral votes, sees McCain's lead move from the "Weak McCain" category to "Strong McCain" as McCain's lead grows to 10%. (This is the one state that is good news for McCain, but it will make no difference to the summary numbers, because it does not affect the swing states in any way.)

Nevada, with 5 electoral votes, moves from leaning McCain, to leaning Obama. Once again it is important to note that which side of the line the state is on right now may not be really be very relevant. We are moving from McCain ahead by 0.6% to Obama ahead by 0.2%. Either way, this state is very close and could go either way.

New summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 281, Obama 257
Obama Best Case - Obama 384, McCain 154

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 291, McCain 247

The changes today can't of course be attributed to a convention bounce, but perhaps Obama merely coming back from vacation and starting to campaign again was enough to start blunting the recent McCain momentum. Or... or it could just be random variation in polls pushing states that are right on the line between my categories back and forth over those lines.


Abulsme - Sat, 23 Aug 2008, 13:20:34 PDT
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Fri 22 Aug 2008

Texting Fail

Complete fail to the Obama team on the "be first to know via text message thing". Total crap. The text messages haven't gone out yet, and anybody paying attention already knows. Fail, fail, fail. He should have sent out the page on Friday.

Yup, tis Biden. All the news outlets are all over it now. (And I am home again.)

He was my preferred Presidential candidate back pre-Iowa, although I never had any illusions that he had a chance.

And I've always liked Biden a lot.

And he can certainly do the attack dog thing.

I expressed doubts back in June about Obama picking Biden though, because it did not mesh with the anti-Washington, change change change thing. Because after all, Biden is definitely a Washinton insider. He is not change.

But he is good. And he is very competent.

This will be fine.


Abulsme - Fri, 22 Aug 2008, 22:23:46 PDT
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Obama-Biden

No links because I am posting from my phone. But ABC News is reporting that a Secret Service protective detail has been sent to Joe Bidens house. No text messages yet, but that probably means it is Biden.

(via Brendan Loy)


Abulsme - Fri, 22 Aug 2008, 21:07:07 PDT
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Once again no Bayh

Now everybody is saying not Bayh (despite the bumper stickers) and not Kaine.

So Biden?


Abulsme - Fri, 22 Aug 2008, 19:08:37 PDT
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Vacation Time!

I am at home now for basically two weeks of vacation... well, except that I have a meeting I'm going to on Tuesday. And two conference calls on Wednesday. and I'm going in all day long on Friday for two planning meetings. And the following Friday I'll go to work to catch up on email and such before I *really* come back the following Monday.

But I'm basically on vacation... Woo!

My plans:

  • Non Stop Gavel to Gavel watching of both conventions (the primary reason for the precise timing of this vacation)
  • Catch up on putting financial information into Quicken
  • Catch up on old email
  • Do a bunch of reading
  • Catch up on some genealogy stuff
  • Work on a handful of different projects I've had on my list for a long time, but haven't had any time for
  • Sleep
  • Spend some time with Brandy and Amy
  • Have Fun
And that will be that.


Abulsme - Fri, 22 Aug 2008, 19:01:19 PDT
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Looks like Bayh?

Bumper Sticker Could Indicate Bayh Is Obama's Veep
(KMBC, Kansas City, 22 Aug 2008)

After weeks of speculation and days of intense rumors, the answer to who Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would name as his running mate may have come down to a bumper sticker printed in Lenexa.

KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported that the company, which specializes in political literature, has been printing Obama-Bayh material. That's Bayh as in U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana. Word leaked out about the material as it was being printed up by Gill Studios of Lenexa. The Obama campaign had said it would make the announcement by text message on Friday.

Gill Studios would not confirm information about the material. They would not deny it either.
(via Drudge)


Abulsme - Fri, 22 Aug 2008, 17:00:05 PDT
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Day of Week

I woke up today thinking that it was Saturday.

It is not Saturday.

It is still Friday.

That was a disappointment.


Abulsme - Fri, 22 Aug 2008, 06:04:37 PDT
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Thu 21 Aug 2008

538's Simulations Flip to McCain

The highly detailed analysis at fivethirtyeight.com is always worth paying attention to. They posted a note yesterday saying that their simulations were now showing McCain winning more often than Obama by a slight margin. At this moment in time, pre-Veeps and pre-Conventions, we are pretty much in a flat even race.

Today's Polls, 8/20
(Nate Silver, fivethirtyeight.com, 20 Aug 2008)

Our popular vote projection shows a literal tie, with each of Barack Obama and John McCain projected to earn 48.5 percent of the vote, and third-party candidates receiving a collective 3 percent.

Things get confusing, however, when looking at the electoral college. We project Obama to earn slightly more electoral votes on average. However, we also project John McCain to win the election slightly more often. What accounts for the discrepancy? Obama's wins tend to be larger, and McCain's tend to be smaller. If Obama wins this election by between 7 or 10 points, there are very few high-EV states that he won't be able to put into play; even something like Texas is probably winnable. If McCain were to win by that margin, on the other hand, he would still almost certainly lose New York, he would almost certainly lose Illinois, and he would almost certainly lose California. Those states represent 107 electoral votes that are essentially off-limits to McCain, even on his very best days.
Things only tend to get more volatile as the election approaches and more people start to pay attention. This is going to be an interesting September and October.


Abulsme - Thu, 21 Aug 2008, 08:43:48 PDT
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Fair Use under DMCA

What looks like a step in the right direction, via EFF:

Judge Rules That Content Owners Must Consider Fair Use Before Sending Takedowns
(Corynne McSherry, EFF, 20 Aug 2008)

A judge's ruling today is a major victory for free speech and fair use on the Internet, and will help protect everyone who creates content for the Web. In Lenz v. Universal (aka the "dancing baby" case), Judge Jeremy Fogel held that content owners must consider fair use before sending takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA").

Universal Music Corporation ("Universal") had sent a takedown notice targeting a 29-second home movie of a toddler dancing in a kitchen to a Prince song, "Let's Go Crazy," which is heard playing in the background. Because her use of the song was obviously a fair use and, therefore, non-infringing, Lenz sued Universal for misrepresentation under the DMCA. Universal moved to dismiss the case, claiming, among other things, that it had no obligation to consider whether Lenz's use was fair before sending its notice. The judge firmly rejected Universal's theory:

...


Abulsme - Thu, 21 Aug 2008, 07:56:53 PDT
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Needing a Bump

Chris Weigant posted his latest Electoral update yesterday, quoting some of my commentary as well.

Electoral Math -- Obama Sure Could Use A Bump
(Chris Weigant, Huffington Post, 20 Aug 2008)

It's time once again to take a look at how the electoral math is shaping up for Barack Obama and John McCain. While the news this time around isn't all that great for Obama, I wanted to take another of these snapshots of the polls -- before the running mates are announced and before the conventions happen -- in order to provide a statistical baseline to see how big a "bump" in the polls either candidate will get in the next few weeks. My analysis in short: while the news isn't dire quite yet, Obama could certainly use such a bump at this point.
Take a look at the whole thing.


Abulsme - Thu, 21 Aug 2008, 07:07:28 PDT
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Lulling McCain

A few people are arguing that the fact Obama has slipped in the polls over the last month is not really a real problem for Obama, but rather it is just smart strategy, and Obama is outsmarting McCain by getting him to expend all his resources early, and Obama will come back and crush him later when he is tired and has nothing left.

Obama's Rope A Dope
(Deannie Mills, Huffington Post, 20 Aug 2008)

I have been thinking a lot lately about Ali's boxing career and especially his "rope-a-dope" strategy.

And I think it's come to life again, in the Obama campaign.

Obama has taken many body blows during this lengthy campaign, first from Hillary Clinton and her many surrogates, and now from John McCain and his two surrogates, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham. Recently, during the only real vacation he's had in two years, the McCain campaign released a different sneering smear-ad pretty much every day of the week.

...

The fight's over!

But, see, all this tongue-wagging really fails to take into account that this political boxer may actually have a strategy of his own. Call it, roping a dope.

All summer, during the early rounds of the fight, most Americans have not been paying that much attention while McCain has landed one body-blow after another. When they do look up, they see a fighter on the ropes, holding up his fists to protect his face, maybe getting in a jab or two in self-defense.

He's weak! they cry. He's getting the crap beat out of him!

But is he? Is he REALLY?

Right now he's got a fortune in the bank, no debt, more money pouring in every month--and while that's going on, he's working hard to unify a party exhausted and irritated at one another after the tiresome primary season. Call it lots and lots of working out at the gym, strengthening those abs so they can withstand the hard punches.

Meanwhile, his trainer stepped in before the match and loosened the ropes--meaning, it may not be readily apparent simply because the campaign hasn't trumpeted it loudly to media far and wide--but hard-hitting Obama attack ads have been quietly playing in swing states all over the country, delivering sharp jabs to McCain. They don't smear McCain's character or make up baseless crap about him or pretend that Britney Spears matters worth a damn to anybody in this country except Britney Spears--but they deliver sharp counterpunches on McCain's weakest policy positions, and they're landing more than a few bruises in the states where the fight hangs in the balance.

...

By the time we get to the last couple of rounds of this fight, Obama is going to come full-on into his own. He will get his strength and stamina from US--all of us out here who are in the ring with him. We will be energized and, to coin a phrase, "fired up and ready to go."

And when that happens, most of the country WILL be watching. They'll see a tired old man throwing ineffectual, wild punches.

And they'll see a fighter in his prime, dancing away from the ropes, landing the knock-out blows.
Hmmm. There are possibly some good points in there. But I'm not sure I really buy it. I'm not sure that in this kind of game, which is of course NOT boxing, that it is ever the "smart thing to do" to let your opponent take the momentum and lead the media narrative for a month.


Abulsme - Thu, 21 Aug 2008, 06:54:56 PDT
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Wed 20 Aug 2008

Fay Still Visiting My Old House

Just finishing lunch, so no time for nice pictures, but...

Fay stalls, soaks Melbourne in "historic and hazardous rainfall event"
(Brendan Loy, Weather Nerd, Pajamas Media, 20 Aug 2008)

The Melbourne area, on Florida's east coast, is getting absolutely pummeled right now by Tropical Storm Fay's soaking rains, as the storm's southern rain bands -- which seem to be intensifying -- "train" over the region, dumping 1-2 inches an hour in some spots.
Read the article for more details. Sounds like flooding and such is going to be pretty bad.


Abulsme - Wed, 20 Aug 2008, 12:50:18 PDT
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Electoral College: Ohio flips to McCain! Race Very Tight Once Again



Today's polling has a big status change. My average of the last five polls in Ohio goes from Obama ahead by 1% to McCain ahead by 1%. Either way it is in the swing state category of "could easily go either way" but, for the moment, McCain has the edge and this flips Ohio into his category in the "everybody gets their lean states" totals.

New summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 298, Obama 240
Obama Best Case - Obama 384, McCain 154

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 273, McCain 265

It takes 270 to win the electoral college. 269 to tie and send it to the House of Representatives. The total above is about as close as you can get without it actually being a tie. (If right now McCain managed to flip New Hampshire and there were no other changes, it WOULD be an electoral tie...)

Now, we shouldn't read too much to Ohio being on one side or the other of the line. The reality is that is in the swing state category. It could go either way. And it has been in that state for a long time. The difference between where it was before this new polling and where it is now is slight.

However, I wouldn't want to minimize this. This is yet more McCain momentum. He's been on a roll for a month now. In mid-July Obama had McCain on the ropes. We were almost at the point where Obama could win without ANY swing states. McCain was in a position where he would have to essentially completely sweep all the swing states to win.

No longer. Obama still has a better best case scenario than McCain's best case scenario. But the situation is MUCH more even. Yes, Obama needs far fewer of the swing states to come to his side. But McCain is ahead in almost enough of those states.

There are 141 electoral votes currently in swing states. Assuming Obama gets DC, in order to win Obama needs 27 of those electoral votes. Right now he is ahead in 3 swing states netting 30 electoral votes. By contrast McCain needs to bring 116 electoral votes from the swing states to win. Right now he is ahead in 10 of the swing states giving 111 electoral votes.

As mentioned before, from where we are now, if McCain flips New Hampshire, then we go to the House and Obama probably wins. (Although there may be interesting dynamics there that would not guarantee it.) But McCain just needs to flip Michigan or Colorado to take the lead outright.

Meanwhile, Obama needs to start fighting hard in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia to flip them. If he can bring those back to his side, he could start looking comfortable again.

He also needs to start playing some defense to try to move Michigan, Colorado and New Hampshire out of swing state status and into the slightly safer weak category.

He can not keep letting Solid states move to Weak states and Weak states move to Lean states, and Lean states to McCain Lean states... which is what he has been doing for the last month.

That does sound a little passive though. This isn't just happening to Obama in isolation, McCain is doing it to him. McCain was a little late getting spun up and started in this campaign, but for the last month he has been firing on all cylinders, while Obama has been sputtering.

And now we spin into Veeps and Conventions. And then full speed to November.

Get ready for a fun ride.

And an election that could still very easily go either way.


Abulsme - Wed, 20 Aug 2008, 07:58:26 PDT
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Fay Just Sitting



As of the overnight 06 UTC update, Tropical Storm Fay was still just sitting over our old house.

It got there yesterday and then basically just decided to stop.

There should be another update out any time now and I imagine it will eventually move on, but for the moment...

I'm sure it would be fun to be there right now, but I don't mind all that much that I'm somewhere else now.


Abulsme - Wed, 20 Aug 2008, 06:37:52 PDT
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Election Results

Not that any of my readers are likely to actually care, but the results from the Washington State primaries can be found here as they come in. Presumably since ballots could have been stuck in the mail as late as Tuesday afternoon, these results are still preliminary. At least I assume so.

But I'm not seeing any write in results. Bastards. :-)

Edit 07:41 UTC: The page above didn't have some of the King county only results. They are here.


Abulsme - Wed, 20 Aug 2008, 00:25:42 PDT
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Burn Party

The election night party for Darcy Burner (who for awhile after her house burned down was staying with the family of a friend of Amy's from school) was within walking distance of our house. We walked by it on a trip to the grocery store after we dropped off our ballots at the polling place. We did not go in. Someone from Slog did though and remarked on the young people and took a picture.

Edit 07:34 UTC: More from Slog on the party in our neighborhood here.


Abulsme - Wed, 20 Aug 2008, 00:16:44 PDT
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Tue 19 Aug 2008

Fay over Palm Bay



Hey look, Tropical Storm Fay did indeed hit Palm Bay and Melbourne. Right smack in the middle of the 90% to 100% blob of purple. (As of the update from almost four hours ago.)


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 20:44:08 PDT
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Out of Time

Drat, I am out of time, and with six more items on the ballot.

Five of those are judges. And to be honest, I just don't have enough info here to make good decisions, at least not hurrying like this. One day maybe I'll know enough about local affairs to feel good about these, but not today. I really think judges should be appointed rather than elected anyway. So I don't feel too horrible leaving these blank for now.

So:

King County Superior Court Position 10: Three candidates, no time to research, I'm leaving it blank.

King County Superior Court Position 22: Three candidates, no time to research, I'm leaving it blank.

King County Superior Court Position 26: Only two candidates, so I'll write myself in.

King County Superior Court Position 37: Three candidates, no time to research, I'm leaving it blank.

King County Superior Court Position 53: Only two candidates, so I'll write myself in.

The last item is for "Precinct Committee Officer". It says "For this office only: If you consider yourself a Democrat or Republican, you may vote for a candidate of that party. For a write-in candidate, include party." Although I was an Obama delegate in the primaries, at this point I do not consider myself either a Democrat or a Republican, so I will leave this blank too.

And that is that.

Now time to rush to the polling place and get this in.

I have 20 minutes.


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 19:32:13 PDT
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King County Superior Court Position 1

More candidates than positions again.

Three candidates:

OK, I'll go with the one that is already a judge.

My vote:

Susan Amini


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 19:25:17 PDT
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Washinton State Court of Appeals Div 1 Dist 1 Pos 6

Only one candidate (Ann Schindler).

My vote:

Samuel Minter


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 19:24:20 PDT
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Washinton State Court of Appeals Div 1 Dist 1 Pos 5

Only one candidate (Linda Lau).

My vote:

Samuel Minter


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 19:23:46 PDT
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Washington State Supreme Court Justice Position #7

Only one candidate (Debra Stephens). I don't like one candidate elections.

My vote:

Samuel Minter


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 19:22:28 PDT
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Washington State Supreme Court Justice Position #4

Finally more candidates than winning slots again.

Three candidates:

  • Charles Johnson: He has been on the state Supreme court for 18 years. He's probably done a great job. But that is quite long enough.
  • C. Vulliet: His main thing seems to be a proposal to have a system of providing semi-objective information on current judges, so when people are voting in elections like this one, there is actually easily available information to try to make a reasoned decision. I like this.
  • James Beecher: Mostly saying the guy who is there has been there too long (which I agree with) and promising to modernize some of the practices. I like this too.
Both of the last two candidates are possible. But I think I'm going to go for the middle guy.

My vote:

C. Vulliet


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 19:12:15 PDT
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Washington State Supreme Court Justice Position #3

Top Two Primary. Only two candidates (Mary Fairhurst and Michal Bond).

My vote:

Samuel Minter


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 19:11:13 PDT
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Washington State Representative Position 2 District 41

Oh, this is even worse. A top two primary with only ONE candidate (Judy Clibborn). That is just wrong. And theoretically this means that some write in candidate (because there will be at least a few, and presumably at least some who can get more than a handful of votes) will actually win second place and get on the ballot. It will not be me. But I'll write myself in anyway.

My vote:

Samuel Minter


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 19:08:21 PDT
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Washington State Representative Position 1 District 41

Yet another top two primary with only two candidates (Marcie Maxwell and Steve Litzow).

My vote:

Samuel Minter


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 19:07:17 PDT
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Washington State Senator District 41

Once again a top two primary with only two candidates (Bob Baker and Fred Jarrett).

My vote:

Samuel Minter


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 19:05:48 PDT
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Washington State Insurance Commissioner

Another position that has no reason to be an elected position.

Three candidates:

  • Mike Kreidler (Prefers Democratic Party): The incumbent. "A focus of my campaign will be to educate voters on my proposal for a guarantee of quality affordable health care for every Washington resident. The people of our state have a right to a guaranteed level of financial security in the event of a health crisis. With my proposal we can save money and protect our freedom of choice while preserving the private marketplace." Interesting I guess. I don't have time to look at the actual proposal though.
  • John Adams (Prefers Republican Party): Actually works in the insurance industry. No. No insiders from an industry regulating that same industry. No.
  • Curtis Fackler (States No Party Preference): Running as a non-partisan. That's a plus already. I saw nothing I really like.
I didn't like any of these folks all that much, so once again I'll do a write in.

My vote:

Samuel Minter


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 18:54:39 PDT
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Washinton State Superintendant of Public Instruction

This is a nonpartisan office, and once again we have more candidates than winning slots.

We have six candidates this time:

  • John Blair: Pushing Individual Student Trust Accounts. Essentially a voucher program, but with some severe restrictions... so you couldn't use it for most existing private schools. This seems awkward.
  • Don Hansler: No website. I am tempted to just not even waste my time at all on candidates without websites. He does say he'll send you more information if you email him. That is broken. He wants a two tier high school diploma, and bonuses for good teachers, but based on ratings from parents and students, not objective measures.
  • Randy Dorn: For better objective subject matter standards and changing the math curriculum to something concentrating on skill mastery instead of more fluffy stuff. Also for more accountability in the school program. So far I'm liking this guy.
  • David Blomstrom: Um, his website is "seattle-mafia.org". And... "Viva Chavez! No, I haven’t lost my mind - just my profession (teaching) and students.* Disgusted by voter apathy, I’m trying to tap into the energy generated by Venezuela’s president. Hugo Chavez has some good ideas, too - like holding corrupt corporations accountable and nationalizing strategic industries. In fact, public education’s biggest problem is corporate corruption, the de facto privatization of our schools. Yet the media have once again turned this race into a forum on the WASL - which I’ve fought for over a decade. So why do the media ignore and even lie about me? This race has also been dominated by corrupt teachers unions, another scourge I’ve been attacking for over a decade. This isn’t a tea party, folks. We’re at war with our own government, with Corporate America, and we’re getting our butts kicked, liberals, conservatives and independents alike. Well, I’m not afraid to fight. I’m even attacking Bill Gates, right in his home town. I don’t respect software terrorists who exploit children. How can we take back America if we can’t even rescue our local schools?" Yup. OK.
  • Enid Duncan: Once again no website. Please. "Addressing learning differences (learning disabilities) are a priority for me. I will always be a champion for the rights of parents to be involved in every aspect of their child’s education. I believe very strongly in fiscal responsibility and have a reputation for maximizing taxpayer’s value." Seems reasonable, but very lacking in detail, and I can't get more because, no website.
  • Teresa Bergeson: The incumbent. She has been there for 11 years. I'm not sure what she has done and how good of a job she may or may not have done, but a decade is more than enough.
Given the above, my vote goes to:

Randy Dorn


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 18:27:29 PDT
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Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

Same thing again. Top Two Primary. The top two will move on to the general election. There are two candidates (Peter Goldmark and Doug Sutherland). Both of them will win. It is a waste of my time to look at this further. I will write myself in.

My vote:

Samuel Minter


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 18:25:18 PDT
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Washington State Attorney General

I'm not even going to bother researching this one, because it annoys me. This is a top two primary. There are only two candidates. (They are John Ladenburg and Rob McKenna.) So guess what. Those two will win unless a write in does really well (unlikely). So this is a waste of my time, and everybody's money. If there is a top two primary, and there are only two candidates, then A) something is wrong, there should be someone else running, and B) just move them on to the next round automatically, don't waste time and space on the ballot and in the voter pamphlet and everything. Please.

So, in cases like this, I express my displeasure once again with a write in vote for myself. (And yes, I know I am not an Attorney, but I don't care.)

My vote:

Samuel Minter


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 18:21:06 PDT
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Washington State Auditor

I'm getting annoyed at all these positions that really should be professional positions, not political.

Anyway, three candidates for this one:

  • Brian Sonntag (Prefers Democratic Party): No website. Altready on my bad side. He is apparently the incumbent. Some folks have said he has done a good job.
  • Glenn Freeman (Prefers Constitution Party): Has been an auditor at Boeing. Talks about making this position independent and non-partisan. I like that.
  • J. McEntee (Prefers Republican Party): Once again no website. This is 2008 people. He talks about the incumbent being there too long, and some waste in the office.
The only one of these three that interested me at all was the middle guy.

My vote goes to:

Glenn Freeman


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 18:12:50 PDT
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Washington State Treasurer

OK, I'm home from work now (just slightly earlier than I normally would be, but not much). Time to continue on with the ballot stuff. I have two hours until the polling places close. The closest polling place is a 10 minute walk, or two minute car ride away. But to avoid cutting it too close, I'll give this 90 minutes, then whatever I have is whatever I have, and I'll have to leave the rest blank.

Anyway, three candidates for this one:

  • Allan Martin (Prefers Republican Party): A current Deputy Treasurer. Endorsed by the outgoing Treasurer and a bunch of county treasurers of both parties. Seems solid.
  • Jim McIntire (Prefers Democratic Party): Endorsed by one of the big newspapers and what looks like a bunch of unions. An Economics Professor.
  • ChangMook Sohn (Prefers Democratic Part): Washington State's Chief Economist. Also seems solid.
First of all, once again, why is this an elected partisan position? This kind of position should be a non-partisan position hired due to the expertise and skill of the individual. Not an elected position. The right way to evaluate these candidates is by an extensive review of their resumes and previous accomplishments. I don't have the time or ability to do such a review, and I'm guessing most voters spend even less time on this sort of thing than I do. From what I can see any of these three would probably be good. But for now, I'm going to go for the one endorsed by the other Treasurers, rather than the one endorsed by unions ot the other one endorsed by what looks like random other people.

So my vote is:

Allan Martin.


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 17:55:31 PDT
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Sam Hearts Time Machine

Earlier today, while I was at a meeting, unbenounced to me my Treo was in my pocket with buttons getting pressed which resulted in a whole bunch of email I had received today being deleted. Not just moved to the Trash mind you, but actually deleted. I noticed after I left the meeting. The messages still showed on the Treo, just grayed out indicating they were deleted. But there was an undelete option. So I spent a couple minutes undeleteing one by one each of these messages. I thought I was fine. I thought I was good.

But then, next time I looked, all those messages were gone. I checked the Trash. I checked the spam folder. I logged into my mail via a web client and did searches. But no, they were all just gone. All of them.

And there was at least one I knew was important. (Although I consider all email important of course.)

I was very unhappy. I was very mad at my Treo.

Of course, meanwhile, at home, my Mac Mail client was open and happily getting mail every few minutes. And once an hour Time Machine was happily doing its backup thing. And it turns out it had done one of those happy backup things about 10 minutes or so before the time all of the emails got zapped.

So a few clicks in time machine, and I restored all the emails from 00:00 UTC Tuesday until 21:50 UTC Tuesday (the last backup before emails went poof). Some of those emails hadn't gone poof, but I got the whole bunch just to be sure.

And thus I now believe nothing was lost. And I definitely got back the handful of mails I had already looked at and KNEW were missing.

Thank you Apple.

And damn you Treo. (Specifically SnapperMail.)

I think the countdown to Sam giving in and getting the iPhone is getting pretty short. :-)


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 17:47:08 PDT
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Washington State Secretary of State

Why are things like this even elected offices? They should be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state legislature or something. Anyway, four candidates:

  • Sam Reed (Prefers Republican Party): This is the incumbent. He has been Secretary of State since 2001. "Throughout his eight years in office, Sam led major election reforms: Consolidating 39 separate county registration systems into one statewide database to remove duplicate voters, felons, and deceased voters; moving the primary to August so those overseas can receive their ballots in a timely manner; ending ballot enhancements; and auditing county election departments. Sam kept fighting for your right to vote without being restricted to a party, and was ultimately supported by the U.S. Supreme Court. Thanks to Sam, you can now go online to register to vote, start a business, or research your family genealogy. He saved and enhanced Washington’s oldest institution, the State Library, and he started the nation’s first state digital archive." He was a major proponent of the top two primary. I may have to vote for him just for that.
  • Mark Greene (Prefers Party of Commons Party): He likes the top 2 primary. He is a representative of a party that is "economically progressive, culturally traditional" which is just about the opposite of me (economically conservative, socially liberal). So no.
  • Jason Osgood (Prefers Democratic Party): He is against flawed electronic voting machines and some voter privacy violations and some other things that he says Reed is for. This might be good. I am wary of those things too. There are some places I found that says he is against the top two thing too. I can't verify that in my quick searching. He is also against all-mail voting. I like the idea of all mail voting. I'll pass on him due to these two items.
  • Marilyn Montgomery (Prefers Constitution Party): She is an advocate of equal ballot access laws (to stop the extra roadblocks to third parties). I am generally in favor of this. There doesn't seem to be a lot more here though, and it isn't quite enough to convince me.
So my vote is:

Sam Reed

And now lunch is over and I need to run to a meeting. More when I leave work in a few more hours.


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 12:32:24 PDT
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Washington State Lieutenant Governor

Only five candidates this time:

  • Brad Owen (Prefers Democratic Party): No website. You suck. And you are the incumbent. Therefore you suck more. How can you be the incumbent Lieutenant Governor and not have a campaign website? Have I mentioned that you suck? "As president of Strategies of Youth, he travels throughout the state with his musical, multi media program to deliver positive messages about substance abuse and bullying awareness to youth." Really? You're actually in office, and the kind of thing you can come up with? WTF? And he has been Lieutenant Governor for 11 years? Wow.
  • Marcia McCraw (Prefers Republican Party): She wants to increase volunteerism and transparency in government. OK stuff I guess.
  • Arlene Peck (Prefers Constitution Party): "All decisions made while in office will be based on these documents and Biblically prescribed moral values designed to protect the fabric of our society. Though some may bristle at the thought of bringing together Christian belief and affairs of civil government, I firmly believe, as did the Rev. Charles G. Finney, that 'God will bless or curse this nation (and our state) according to the course Christians take in politics.'" Next...
  • Jim Wiest (Prefers G.O.P. Party): His website is broken. "Warning! The specified site was not found". And this is apparently the guy who was the Republican candidate in 2004. He says this election he is the only candidate with a plan to end homelessness. But there is no additional information. (Maybe there would be if his website wasn't broken, but...) He says he got 1.1 million votes in 2004, so it seems he actually isn't one of the stupid fringe candidates, but that seems hard to believe.
  • Randel Bell (Supports Democratic Party): He submitted no information at all for the ballot. No picture. No statement. No URL for a website. Nothing. Absolute total fail.
All five of these people seem to suck beyond belief. I can't bring myself to pick any of them. Therefore, I'm going to do a write-in vote.

My vote:

Samuel Minter


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 12:15:47 PDT
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Washington State Governor (Part II)

This is a continuation of Part I.

OK. It is lunchtime now. Time to crank through a bit more of this. I've got about an hour. Then if needed, there will be more time later. Things are not all mail-in yet, I can drop my ballot off at the polling station until 03 UTC. (Another 8 hours from when I am writing this.)

Anyway, the next five Governor candidates:

  • Christian Joubert (Prefers Democratic Party): Starts his statement by saying "Because I feel Washington State should be leading the Nation in promoting a Spiritual Civilization based on holistic medicine..." And the website? OH MY GOD! MY EYES ARE BURNING! OK. Next.
  • Christopher Tudor (States No Party Preference): Hmm, some stuff about being independent of party, some stuff about cleaning up government. Nothing to detailed though. Nothing much concrete enough to make a decision on.
  • Javier Lopez (Prefers Republican Party): "As an artist and inventor I have come up with an invention that will solve all of the world’s problems. I have invented an air engine that has the power to operate an automobile while relying on air as its fuel source. Adoption of this technology would mean an end to reliance on fossil fuels, stopping carbon-monoxide emissions, pollution and global warming." Umm.... OK.
  • Mohammad Said (States No Part Preference): Platform Elements... Washington National Guard unilaterally withdraw from Iraq... Amend the constitution so that the state legislatures declare war instead of the US Congress. Oh, and "Finally I would like to sound the alarm, that AIPAC and other Jewish Zionist Lobbies who represent less than 2% of American People are using the United States through their mighty power in the News Media, Financial Institutions, Hollywood and Entertainment Industry, Both Political Parties, Congress and the White House as Proxy to wage war against any country perceived to be threat to Israel, like in Iraq.". Yum Huh. OK. And the website: "The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later. " Good job there.
  • James White (Prefers Independent Party): Some seemingly random platform items with no real information. He also has a rambling thing talking about defending the Constitution, but without really explaining what he is talking about.
Wow. What a horrible set of choices. All ten of them. For the moment I think I am going to go for Dino Rossi. I however reserve the right to not vote for him in November. I will look at the winning two candidates much more closely than I've looked at them today.

My vote:

Dino Rossi



Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 11:45:16 PDT
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Washington State Governor (Part I)

Once again a top two primary. Oh my. There are TEN candidates here. This will take awhile.

The candidates are:

  • Dino Rossi (Prefers G.O.P. Party): First of all, just say Republican. What are you trying to pull? Second, G.O.P. stands for Grand Old Party, so he apparently prefers the Grand Old Party Party. I should exclude him just for that. In general, I see a lot of fiscal responsibility stuff, which I like. I like some of his positions on education too. Possible.
  • Will Baker (Prefers Reform Party): Number One, His website is "TheTruthRocks.com". Really? Come on. And it plays music. And the website sucks. Number Two, his entire theme seems to be about going after the current Governor for some possible misfeasance. Even if all those charges are 100% true, it is not enough of a platform. His website mentions some other things, but all crusading type things rather than addressing central issues.
  • Christine Gregoire (Prefers Democratic Party): She is the incumbent. Her website has various things about her record, but not a specific issues section that I could find. Also, when I saw her in person earlier this year, I was not impressed and she annoyed me. And while I don't follow local news closely, I just don't remember hearing anything that really left me with a positive impression. In her time in office she has moved the state budget from deficit to surplus. That is good. But I think I don't like her.
  • Duff Badgley (Prefers Green Party): Website is for the "Climate Change Action Group" not for him personally. Fail. His platform includes outlawing single occupancy vehicles among other radical authoritarian things to "save the environment". Double Fail.
  • John Aiken (Prefers Republican Party): His main issue seems to be Energy Self Reliance, although he comments on some other things too. All of his comments are way too long to read though. Needs to learn the art of the quick summary at the top, then details for those who want them. But you need a broader view to be governor anyway, not just look at a few issues.
Crap, I'm out of time. I need to hop in the car and get to work. And I'm only half way through the Governor candidates. I'll post this as a "Part I" and continue at lunch.


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 09:02:06 PDT
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US Representative, Congressional District #8

OK, here I find myself on election day and almost out of time. I of course intended to space out all these ballot items and have plenty of time left. But in fact, I have about 45 minutes right now before I need to get on the road for work, and then maybe I have some time at lunch. But basically, I am going to crunch through as many of these as I can, and will probably spend less time researching, and less time talking about my choices. Oh well.

In any case, the next item on the agenda is the primary for my Representative for Congress. Now, this is a good time to mention that as of this election, Washington State has a "Top Two Primary" where all candidates (regardless of party) appear on the same ballot, then the top two end up on the ballot in November. This was very controversial, but I like it.

For this spot there are five candidates:

  • Boleshaw Orlini (States No Party Preference): He says in his little summary paragraph that he was inspired by Ron Paul, but provides no details, and has no website. Fail.
  • Richard Todd (States No Party Preference): Seems to basically be running promoting the need to be independent of parties. I like that idea, but the website is painful and the little of it I read did not impress me.
  • James Vaughn (Prefers Democratic Party): I was actually tempted by this guy. I really want to vote for someone other than the two front runners here. And some of the policy statements this guy makes on his site I completely agreed on. But then there were others I just did not like one tiny bit. In the end, I won't make that jump.
  • Dave Reichert (Prefers Republican Party): This is the incumbent. It was interesting noting what major issues were completely absent from his website (Iraq). In general, I would not be automatically opposed to voting for a Republican. And if Obama ends up winning in November, I actually would prefer a Republican congress for balance. However, I can not in good conscience vote for any incumbent congress person who has not been a extremely vocal critic of this administrations overreaches. And I have heard no such thing about Reichert.
  • Keith Arnold (Prefers Democratic Party): His main emphasis seems to be on the need to eliminate the US Supreme Court. Nuff Said.
  • Darcy Burner (Prefers Democratic Party): I saw her in person a couple of times when I was doing the local Obama Delegate thing. She seemed nice, but I was really turned off by how partisan she was at those events. Meaning how much she talked about how bad the Republicans were and how we needed Democrats in office. Now, she did talk about issues too. But the emphasis on partisanship turned me off a lot. Having said that, she did actually seem to be somewhat reasonable on many of the issues. And although I am not super excited by her, she seems like the best of this bunch.
So, my vote:

Darcy Burner


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 08:44:38 PDT
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Electoral College: Obama loses strength in Minnesota



The good news for McCain continues. Today it is in the form of Obama's lead in Minnesota dropping below 10%, moving the state from "Strong Obama" to "Weak Obama". There is still quite a way for it to go before it becomes a swing state though. So the overall summary stays the same:

McCain Best Case - McCain 298, Obama 240
Obama Best Case - Obama 384, McCain 154

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 293, McCain 245

Given how close together the two conventions are, and how state polling takes awhile to show any effects, I'm not sure if any "bounce" from the Democratic convention will even be visible. We'll see I guess. In reality, I think we'll have to wait until mid-September to try to get a picture of what things really look like after both candidates have picked their Veeps and had their conventions.

But right about now I could see Obama really wanting a big convention bounce. His really strong position in mid-July has just been steadily eroding ever since then. He's still ahead at the moment, but McCain definitely has the momentum at the moment.

Note to future candidates: Wait until mid-November for the vacation. Take a day here or there to recharge perhaps. But a full week? Bad idea.


Abulsme - Tue, 19 Aug 2008, 07:31:23 PDT
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Mon 18 Aug 2008

Fay Coming to my Old House

The odds of tropical storm force winds at my old house in Palm Bay, FL went above 50% in this morning's update from the NHC:



Of course, I don't live there any more, and where I am I think the odds of tropical storm force winds are pretty low I would think. :-)

My Curmudgeon's Corner cohost is of course also looking like he'll get some weather out of this in Miami as well. I trust nothing too bad though. Looks like only a 60% chance or so of tropical storm force winds and pretty much no chance of hurricane force winds. So all should be fine.


Abulsme - Mon, 18 Aug 2008, 10:11:15 PDT
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Curmudgeon's Corner: Smart for a Change

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Sam's Portuguese
  • All Georgia All the Time
  • A Little on Russia
  • McCain and Obama on Georgia
  • The Pseudodebate
  • Accidents and Electronics
  • Final Call on the Dem Veep
  • Separation of Public and Private
  • Washington State Top Two Primary
  • Fay Heads for Ivan
1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

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Abulsme - Mon, 18 Aug 2008, 06:20:52 PDT
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Sun 17 Aug 2008

Twenty Dollar

Hey, I just noticed that sometime on Friday my all-time income from the ads on this site just went over the $20 mark! It took one week short of a year. Woo!!!

Of course, I don't actually get paid until it reaches $100.

But still.

Woo!

:-)


Abulsme - Sun, 17 Aug 2008, 23:28:00 PDT
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Probably My Only Olympics Post

The Guinea Pig Olympics
(telegraph.co.uk)



(via Neatorama)


Abulsme - Sun, 17 Aug 2008, 12:16:02 PDT
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Sat 16 Aug 2008

DVD: Roswell: Season One: Disk Two

A few weeks ago it was time for another DVD that we own but have never watched. Amy chose. It would be disk two of season one of Roswell. Amy had a friend over that night. We all watched the first episode together. But then partway through the second episode Amy and her friend and Brandy started making noise and throwing candy around, and after the second or third time it happened I couldn't deal any more and left them to watch the rest on their own. (When I watch DVDs I need to do so in complete silence, concentrating on the screen, and any distractions throw me completely out of the experience and make me quite unhappy.)

Anyway, slowly over the last few weeks I watched the rest of the episodes on this disk. I finished sometime last week. So time to post it.

Not too much to say though. The episodes were:

"Missing": A lost journal with all sorts of secrets. I don't remember much else. It wasn't hugely memorable, but it was an OK episode.

"285 South": This is the one that I left in the middle of. I liked it better. It was a little funny, and they went and found the dome thing.

"River Dog": They go and find a cave with stuff in it that may have information about their past.

"Blood Brother": Max gets injured and Alex helps cover up, and his relationship with Liz suffers. I actually liked this one the best of the four I think.

All in all four decent episodes. Nothing super exciting though.


Abulsme - Sat, 16 Aug 2008, 16:29:28 PDT
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Thu 14 Aug 2008

Hot Hot Hot

It is over 95 degrees in my office. The little portable AC unit stopped working last week some time. And it is hot again in Seattle. Not 95 degrees hot, it is only 80 outside right now, but the office heats up like an oven in the afternoon when the sun hits that side of the house, and it lasts for many many hours. It probably won't be a temperature where I could feel functional in there until well after midnight.

I have retreated to the bedroom, where is is only 87. Of course, that is still too hot for me.

It might be a little cooler still downstairs, but for the moment I'm staying here.

But I hate the hot and sticky. I pretty much can't function. So all the normal things I'd do in my office in the evenings are not happening. Instead I am lying here watching things on the Tivo. Completely non-productive. But doesn't require movement.

The fact that air conditioning is rare in this part of the country is so annoying.

It is because it is only like this a few days a year, so for the most part it isn't worth it.

But I can't stand these few days.

And the thought of a new one of those portable AC units that actually works is very appealing right now. Of course, by the time I decide that maybe, just maybe, it is actually worth going out and getting one, the heat will be gone.


Abulsme - Thu, 14 Aug 2008, 20:20:09 PDT
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Sent Home

The power won't be back for many hours, so an announcement came booming over the speakers telling everybody to go work from home. So that is that. I'm at lunch now. After that I will work from home for the afternoon.

Woo.


Abulsme - Thu, 14 Aug 2008, 12:43:11 PDT
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No Power

There is no electricity here at work. So everybody is having a little bit of trouble doing normal activities.

Actually, there is not "no" electricity. Looks like there is an emergency generator going or something. There are some emergency lights. One elevator is working. And the network is working. And people are using up their laptop batteries.

It does not stop certain types of meetings though, so I gotta go...


Abulsme - Thu, 14 Aug 2008, 11:03:08 PDT
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Roll Call Vote

Several places are now reporting that the deal is done, and Hillary Clinton's name WILL be placed into nomination at the convention. Good. I do not like Hillary, but I like the idea of the vote at the convention actually somewhat resembling the numbers that came out of the primary process rather than being artificially unanimous.

Of course, this will give all the superdelegates (and the rest of the delegates for that matter) one last chance to change their minds and go for Clinton after all... Nah... won't happen. :-)


Abulsme - Thu, 14 Aug 2008, 09:13:29 PDT
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Electoral College: Virginia flips back to McCain



For the first time since July 1st a state actually flips from one side to the other. All other recent changes have just been in the level of strength one candidate or another had in a state.

The change on July 1st was Virginia flipping from Leaning McCain to Leaning Obama. Virginia now flips back to Leaning McCain. Either way, Virginia is a swing state. It is essentially too close to call. At the moment my five poll average actually has McCain ahead by 0.2%. That is close. That is a tossup.

But it does move into McCain's column at this point for the "if everybody gets their leans" count. And this continues a string of good news for McCain. McCain has indeed "shown up" and is in the process of making this a real contest again. Ohio is also very close right now, with Obama with a very slim lead. If McCain manages to flip Ohio as well then we will once again essentially have a tie game.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 298, Obama 240
Obama Best Case - Obama 384, McCain 154

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 293, McCain 245

Recent trends have all been in McCain's direction. Perhaps it is time for Obama to come back from vacation and start participating again.


Abulsme - Thu, 14 Aug 2008, 08:30:35 PDT
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Wed 13 Aug 2008

Ahhh... That's Better

Just picked up my car from a major repair. Fixed lots of things that had been not quite right for quite a few months. It now no longer shakes violently when I slow down, which is probably a very good thing. The driver's side window now opens and closes normally. The noises it makes when it runs are less than they were. It no longer has a flat tire. Etc, etc, etc.

MUCH better.

This time around the dealership basically said they wouldn't fix it because there was too much wrong and it was too old. So we took it somewhere else and they happily made my car feel a lot better. But in between I was actually starting to think seriously about what I would get if I had to get a new car NOW.

Now, it is a Saturn with 190K+ miles on it. It isn't going to last all that much longer. Sooner or later (probably sooner), the engine will just die and then I'll probably have to get a new car.

But in the meantime, hopefully this will give this old car another 6 months to a year... if I'm lucky. But even if it doesn't, it will keep me happy for the moment.

And it is MUCH better than it was before we took it in initially at the end of last week.

Good.


Abulsme - Wed, 13 Aug 2008, 19:24:18 PDT
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Leaving Voice Mails

Here is a hint, if you call me, and you get my voice mail, and you leave me a voice mail... there is then no need to call every hour all day long to leave more basically identical messages with no new information. That is annoying. When you also alternate the calls to me with calls to Brandy doing exactly the same thing, and leaving the same message on her voice mail time after time, that is also not helpful.

When I get around to checking my voice mail, I'll get all of the messages all at once. Calling over and over again and leaving the same message over and over again will not get me to call you back any sooner. In fact, it will probably make me pissed off and not want to call you at all, even if I was actually expecting your call and did have business to conduct with you.

Also, if you leave me a voice mail, please leave an actual message giving information I can use to know the relevant information when I call you back. Don't just say "This is Joe Bob from Company Q, please call me back right away." Especially if you leave that message 16 times on two voice mail boxes in an 8 hour period.

Thank you.


Abulsme - Wed, 13 Aug 2008, 09:18:19 PDT
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Electoral College: Alaska Swings, Obama weakens in New Jersey



Mixed results today. Good news for each candidate in different places.

The good news for Obama: McCain's lead in Alaska drops to less than 5% in my last five poll average. This moves Alaska from "Weak McCain" to "Lean McCain". And it means Alaska is a swing state and really is up for grabs. Now, Alaska has apparently voted Republican in all but one election since it became a state. So tipping Alaska over might be a big deal. Except for the fact that it is only three electoral votes. But it looks like Obama might actually be competitive here, and this improves Obama's best case slightly.

The good news for McCain: Obama's lead in New Jersey slips to less than 10% in my last five poll average. New Jersey moves from "Strong Obama" to "Weak Obama". The state is still a long way from being a swing state, but this weakening continues a trend over the last few of weeks, where Obama's positions in Michigan, Wisconsin, South Carolina and New Hampshire have all deteriorated somewhat. But while Obama's lead is diminished in New Jersey, it is still substantial enough to keep it blue on the overall map.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 298, Obama 240
Obama Best Case - Obama 384, McCain 154

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232


Abulsme - Wed, 13 Aug 2008, 08:53:38 PDT
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Tue 12 Aug 2008

Curmudgeon's Corner: Showing Up to Bang Georgia

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Russia and Georgia
  • Edwards in the News
  • Olympic Coverage
  • Tourism Briefly
  • More on DRM
  • Lack of Consequences
  • McCain Shows Up
  • Scam Update
1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

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Abulsme - Tue, 12 Aug 2008, 21:34:05 PDT
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Sun 10 Aug 2008

Abulsme Function in OEIS

As of about 19:30 UTC on Sunday, the Abulsme Function is represented as A105272 in the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.

That sequence in particular traverses the array produced by looking at Abulsme(L,S) for all valid combinations of L and S starting with Abulsme(1,1); Abulsme(2,1); Abulsme(2,2); Abulsme(3,1); Abulsme(3,2); Abulsme(3,3); Abulsme(4,1); Abulsme(4,2); Abulsme(4,3); Abulsme(4,4); Abulsme(5,1); etc... In this way you get one infinite sequence with all values of the function.

Some other infinite sequences generated from the function by fixing S and increasing L (starting with L=S) have also been included.

The cases for S=1 and S=2 matched sequences already in the OEIS:

  • S=1: A000012 (The all 1's sequence)
  • S=2: A024222 (Perfect faro shuffles with cut required to return a deck of size n to original order)
Higher values of S yielded sequences new to the OEIS though:Only these have been added, although of course sequences can be generated with any positive integer S. These sequences do reach a limit with increasing S though, and the limit of the sequence has been added to the OEIS as well.Woo! My mathematical masterpiece first documented when I was in 8th grade, and further expounded on from then until around my Freshman year of college, and basically untouched since then... which would be about 17 or 18 years now... is finally recognized. :-)

A certain person with the initials JPS once suggested that the Abulsme Function, when combined with 12 dimensional contour integration, could be used to go back and time and prevent the Space Shuttle Challenger from exploding.

Um... no.

But it is in the OEIS now.

Which is great.

Oh, and I should add, you can even listen to the sequence. I particularly like it when played by a marimba. It has now been added to my iTunes library. :-)


Abulsme - Sun, 10 Aug 2008, 23:41:35 PDT
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Sat 09 Aug 2008

Electoral College: Obama weakens in Michigan, Michigan Swings



This is definitely now a trend in McCain's direction. Obama's lead in Michigan (in my last five poll average) now falls below 5%. This makes Michigan into a "Lean Obama" state rather than a "Weak Obama" state. This makes it a swing state, and one that could really easily go either way. Michigan has 17 electoral votes. More than any swing states other than Florida and Ohio. So this is very important. Michigan is a big deal.

Without Michigan, McCain had a whole raft of states that he HAD to win in order to get to the 270 mark. With Michigan in play, we now have only Florida as a MUST WIN for McCain. The others McCain can potentially lose and still win... if he can pull of Michigan.

Obama is still in a strong position, but without Michigan categorized as a "safe" state, it is looking a bit less strong than it was.

In the summary, McCain's best case improves.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 298, Obama 240
Obama Best Case - Obama 381, McCain 157

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

We've been talking on Curmudgeon's Corner for quite awhile now about how McCain needed to start actually showing up to play the game. Although he is still behind, I think McCain has now showed up and is starting to play. Mainly through negative ads that looked desperate to start with... but look like they might actually be having an effect in McCain's favor in some critical states.

Of course we have both conventions coming up pretty soon. And there is more news of all sorts every day. This can still be very volatile. It will be interesting to see if McCain can build these handful of reversals into any real momentum, and if that momentum will be able to persist through the conventions.


Abulsme - Sat, 9 Aug 2008, 16:18:16 PDT
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Obama'd Rickroll



(via Andrew Sullivan)


Abulsme - Sat, 9 Aug 2008, 13:04:29 PDT
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Fri 08 Aug 2008

Electoral College: Obama loses strength in Wisconsin



It has been a full two weeks since there has been any state changing categories in my electoral college calculations. There have been plenty of polls, just not much movement. At least not movement that changed categories. Today brings movement though, and once again it is good news for McCain. This time Obama's lead in Wisconsin drops to below 10%, moving that state from "Strong Obama" to "Weak Obama".

Looking at the trend lines, it seems that the "bounce" Obama got after securing the nomination has indeed peaked. While some news has been mixed, for the most part since mid-July McCain has very gradually taken back some ground.

For the most part though, the race seems to be in the summer doldrums. Not much is changing. Things are just sort of slowly moving forward, with most polls just continuing to confirm that things are still at about the same place.

As we approach the conventions and the end of the summer, I expect we'll start to see some more motion again. But for now, it seems things are relatively static, although moving a tad, just a bit, slowly, in McCain's direction.

Since today's change just moved a strong state to a weak, and didn't change the inventory of leaning swing states at all, the summary remains the same:

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 281, Obama 257
Obama Best Case - Obama 381, McCain 157

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232


Abulsme - Fri, 8 Aug 2008, 08:24:08 PDT
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Wed 06 Aug 2008

AbulHuffed

As was announced earlier, on Wednesday Chris Weigant included a link to us on one of his Huffington Post columns. This site is indeed getting some extra traffic due to this. So for those new people, welcome.

Besides the 2008 Electoral College Prediction pages and the blog itself, other popular items here include the:

If you find any of this interesting, please do come back.

In the meantime, for regular readers, here is the article that mentions this site... along with additional analysis of the state of the race.

Electoral Math Charts Updated
(Chris Weigant, Huffington Post, 6 Aug 2008)
It's time once again to take a look at the Electoral College math from state-level polling. Nationwide polls are not completely meaningless, but they are pretty irrelevant -- because that's not how we elect a president. You have to win enough states to get more than half the electoral votes in the Electoral College. While many would like to change this system, it's what we've got for the 2008 election, and so looking at the state-level polling is much more important to figure out where the race is right now, and what the trends are.

...

[Blatant website plug: ChrisWeigant.com has just added a new 2008 Electoral Graphics page with a constantly-updated electoral graph and electoral map. These are different graphs than the ones I use here, and are created by Samuel Minter of Abulsme.com. The data gathering and methodology he uses is superior to what I have used, as he averages the last five state polls for every state (which smoothes out the outlier poll numbers). I encourage you to check this page on a daily basis to see how the trendlines are moving, right up to the election.]


Abulsme - Wed, 6 Aug 2008, 19:38:40 PDT
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Tue 05 Aug 2008

Follow the Forger II

I don't believe it is the same set of documents being talked about, but when reading today's notes from Ron Suskind, I was reminded of my post "Follow the Forger" from October 2003. Well, Suskind claims to have found at least one forger of documents related to the Iraq/Niger/Yellowcake connection that was claimed but did not exist.

The Forged Iraqi Letter: What Just Happened?
(Ron Suskind, Huffington Post, 5 Aug 2008)

What just happened? Evidence. A secret that has been judiciously kept for five years just spilled out. All of what follows is new, never reported in any way:

The Iraq Intelligence Chief, Tahir Jalil Habbush -- a man still carrying with $1 million reward for capture, the Jack of Diamonds in Bush's famous deck of wanted men -- has been America's secret source on Iraq. Starting in January of 2003, with Blair and Bush watching, his secret reports began to flow to officials on both sides of the Atlantic, saying that there were no WMD and that Hussein was acting so odd because of fear that the Iranians would find out he was a toothless tiger. The U.S. deep-sixed the intelligence report in February, "resettled" Habbush to a safe house in Jordan during the invasion and then paid him $5 million in what could only be considered hush money.

In the fall of 2003, after the world learned there were no WMD -- as Habbush had foretold -- the White House ordered the CIA to carry out a deception. The mission: create a handwritten letter, dated July, 2001, from Habbush to Saddam saying that Atta trained in Iraq before the attacks and the Saddam was buying yellow cake for Niger with help from a "small team from the al Qaeda organization."

The mission was carried out, the letter was created, popped up in Baghdad, and roiled the global newcycles in December, 2003 (conning even venerable journalists with Tom Brokaw). The mission is a statutory violation of the charter of CIA, and amendments added in 1991, prohibiting CIA from conduction disinformation campaigns on U.S. soil.
Mr Suskind is of course promoting a new book where he goes into these accusations in more detail I gather. I have not read it. I have no good way to evaluate if any of it is true.

But... If even 5% of all the things this administration has been accused of over the last 7+ years are even partially true, then the fact that there have not been full fledged impeachment proceedings is extremely shameful.

I wonder just how many preemptive pardons will be issued on January 19th. I am anticipating quite a few.

Not that I really think even a potential Obama administration would be interested in going after any of these jokers (including W). Instead they will look the other way and decide to worry about the future rather than the past, to not reopen old wounds, to "heal" etc. Blah Blah Blah.

Sorry, these folks need to be held to account. All the way up and down the command chain. Including W and Cheney.


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Aug 2008, 23:40:42 PDT
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Cinema: X-Files: I Want to Believe

Not this past weekend, but the weekend before that, we went to see the new X-Files movie. This was specifically prompted by Brandy, who REALLY wanted to see it, but both Amy and I wanted to see it too, so that was that.

I've seen a lot of reviews panning this movie for various reasons, but I'll just say I liked it. I liked the X-files when it was on, and this was just like a giant episode. And not one of the "conspiracy" episodes either, but more like one of the one off episodes. I thought that was just fine though. I liked those kinds of episodes just fine when it was on TV.

And yes, it had more about Mulder and Scully and their relationship. Some people really hate that. I think it is just fine. And come on, given the whole history and all these two have been through, like they aren't going to end up there? Geeze! :-) I like the two characters. I like exploring them as people. They don't just have to run around doing the chasing aliens thing ALL the time. This was OK.

Anyway... as I said... basically just a long episode. If you liked the show, and you liked the non-arc episodes, then you should like this too.

If you didn't like the show, or just didn't care and never watched it, you are probably quite safe skipping this movie. You won't miss a thing.


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Aug 2008, 23:23:28 PDT
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King County Initiative 26 and Council-Proposed Alternative Question 2

Official information here (pdf).

This is the follow on to Question 1 which I blogged about on Saturday. There are two possible initiatives to choose from. If Question 1 passes, then the winner in Question 2 will appear on the ballot.

Boiled down, the first option "Initiative 26" makes a number of local offices that have been partisan offices into non-partisan offices. The second option "Council-Proposed Alternative" does the same thing, but also provides for candidates to still identify their party preference on the ballot. (Although such identification would not imply the endorsement of the party.)

WTF?

The argument is that it is better to be open about a preference which will exist anyway than to hide it, and that putting the party preference on the ballot gives the voters more information in order to make a educated choice.

I frankly think that is bullshit, and is just an attempt to essentially keep the positions partisan, even while calling them non-partisan. It is an effort to maintain the status quo while pretending to do otherwise.

I generally am displeased with political parties and think that any effort to disrupt the influence of such organizations, and rather have people make decisions based not on party identification, but rather by evaluating the individuals involved and their specific views, is a positive development.

If candidates want to make known a party preference, then they can put it on their websites, they can talk about it, people can discuss it. But it should not be on the ballot. (Frankly, I think all elections should be that way.)

And honestly, I think that if an office is truly a non-partisan office, then close identification with any political party should be a major negative for any candidate. If it is a non-partisan office, then people running for those positions, or elected to those positions, should make a significant effort to NOT be tied to beholden to any political party.

In any case, as I'm sure is obvious by this point, my vote is for:

INITIATIVE 26


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Aug 2008, 22:52:39 PDT
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Paris Responds

For those of you who may not have seen it yet. Ouch. Poor McCain.



(via Huffington Post)


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Aug 2008, 19:25:39 PDT
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No Bayh

And another rumor gets popped. At least for the moment.

Bayh: Obama hasn't asked me to join ticket
(Mary Beth Schneider, Indystar.com, 5 Aug 2008)

Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., told The Indianapolis Star today that Sen. Barack Obama has not asked him to be his running mate and that he's not expecting Obama to announce his vice presidential pick when Obama is in Indiana Wednesday.

Asked if he will be Obama's vice presidential choice, Bayh said; "I have no idea. You'd have to ask him."

Bayh will be introducing Obama at Wednesday's town hall meeting in Elkhart, but said he knows of no plans for a private meeting with Obama, even though both men are flying into northern Indiana tonight. The length of Obama's visit here -- he arrives at about 6:30 p.m. and isn't scheduled to leave until about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday -- had acceleratd already flying rumors that Bayh will be Obama's choice.

But Bayh said he believed the campaign was trying to add another stop in Indiana, accounting for the length of the visit.
(via TPM Election Central)


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Aug 2008, 17:15:19 PDT
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Sam Syndicates Something

As a semi-announcement, my Electoral College Prediction pages are now also being included as a feature on chrisweigant.com.

New CW.com Feature! Charts! Maps!
(Chris Weigant, 5 Aug 2008)

The last time I wrote a column about the Electoral College, I provided some graphs to liven up what I was talking about. I got a comment from someone who had his own graphs, who invited me to check them out. I did so, and liked his graphics so much that I asked him if I could cross-post them here for my readers. He graciously accepted, and I've got most of the bugs worked out (I think)… so I'm giving CW.com readers a one-day preview before I officially roll it out on Huffington Post as well.
As he mentions, it may get some additional exposure tomorrow.


Abulsme - Tue, 5 Aug 2008, 12:37:54 PDT
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Mon 04 Aug 2008

Bayh?

The rumors all over the place seem to be veering quickly in the direction of Evan Bayh for Obama's Veep. I saw it first on Brendan Loy's blog while I was at Seafair Sunday... I just never had a chance to post.

Obama to announce Evan Bayh as veep in Elkhart on Wednesday?
(Brendan Loy, 3 Aug 2008)

With the Beijing Olympics set to begin Friday, and continuing until the day before the Democratic National Convention starts, Barack Obama's last chance to make a pre-convention vice-presidential selection without competing against the Olympics in the news cycle would be early this week... say, Tuesday or Wednesday.

...

As the article notes, 21 hours in northern Indiana "seems like an awfully long time to be in one place."

...

Anyway, what could this mean? A long, mid-week visit to Indiana, right before the Olympics? Could this be the big announcement at last? Obama-Weis '08? ;)

Actually, the speculation is that it could mean Bayh's the guy

"The visit...could be to announce the selection of Senator Evan Bayh as Obama’s running mate. ... Democratic sources say Secret Service is working out details with local police that would include a motorcade. ... Sources say the details appear to be different than a normal presidential candidate visit."

There will be a rally in Elkhart on Wednesday morning, according to the South Bend Tribune. There is no official word yet on whether Bayh will be in attendance. The event will be open to the public.
I guess there won't be long to wait to see if this is true, or if it is just another random rumor.

As I mentioned on this week's podcast none of the veep possibilities really excite me. And that includes Bayh. But maybe he'd push Indiana out of swing state status to a clear Obama lead.


Abulsme - Mon, 4 Aug 2008, 22:58:46 PDT
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Curmudgeon's Corner: Even Still Anyway

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Tourism
  • DRM Keys
  • Congress After Dark
  • Offshore Oil
  • Desperate McCain
  • Veep Veep
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Abulsme - Mon, 4 Aug 2008, 21:23:52 PDT
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Sometimes One, Sometimes Another

There are now two different types of ads on here rather than just the one that was there before. Neither will make me any cash of course, it is just a matter of trying out new things and seeing what they do. (I added ads to this site for the first time a few weeks short of a year ago, and I have yet to make my first $20, although I'm close!)

You'll randomly get one type or another on each page view. Woo.


Abulsme - Mon, 4 Aug 2008, 03:09:59 PDT
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Sun 03 Aug 2008

Florida and Michigan

I continue to think that even now, this late in the process, they should get no delegates at all. That was the original sanction, and anything other than that shows that the rules are meant to be flaunted and mean nothing.

Obama Asks That Florida and Michigan Delegations Get Full Votes
(M.S. Bellows, Jr., Huffington Post, 3 Aug 2008)

The Obama campaign just issued a press release containing a letter to the DNC Credentials Committee asking that the Democratic National Convention delegations from Florida and Michigan be seated with full, rather than half, votes. That request brings the contentious "early primary" dispute over those two states full-circle: Hillary Clinton's supporters previously had suggested that she might appeal to the same Credentials Committee to have those delegations seated in full despite the fact that those states violated party rules by holding their primaries too soon, with the intention that those votes could throw the nomination to Clinton. Obama's letter today displays the degree of finality and inevitability his nomination has garnered since Clinton conceded, and is an effort to mend fences with Michigan and Florida voters and Clinton supporters.
Of course, the final vote at the convention may also look very different than the final delegate tally from before Clinton's concession as well, as there is a move (supported by Clinton herself) to not even have Clinton placed into nomination, but instead to nominate Obama essentially by acclimation. As anybody who has read or listened to anything I've had to say this year knows, I am no fan of Hillary Clinton. But I still think this is bullshit. Ideally, the role call vote at the convention should reflect the results of all the various primaries and caucuses. This should mean that Hillary (and the others who earned delegates) should indeed get their chance to have those delegates counted.

Of course, as I repeatedly pointed out through the whole primary season, delegates are not ACTUALLY bound my anything, even those pledged delegates. They can do whatever they want. So I guess it is OK if Hillary delegates choose to vote for Obama. I just wish they would stick to their guns and vote for the candidate they truly supported. The winner would remain the same, but the result would be more "true". And THEN they can all rally behind the nominee or whatnot.

Oh well. It doesn't look like that is what will happen.

(Please keep in mind, this is from the same person that believes it is a travesty in baseball when they don't play the second half of the ninth inning if the team up to bat in that second half is already ahead, because yes, the winner has already been determined, but not what the final score SHOULD be.)


Abulsme - Sun, 3 Aug 2008, 21:20:00 PDT
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Redness Comes

Spent about five or six or seven hours at SeaFair with Brandy and Amy. Everything from the neck up is now bright red in color and tingly from the sun. Oops. I got home and immediately fell asleep for a nice nap. I'm now awake again and will try to get a thing or two done before heading to bed again for real.


Abulsme - Sun, 3 Aug 2008, 21:16:24 PDT
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Sat 02 Aug 2008

No Bread Today Thank You



Abulsme - Sat, 2 Aug 2008, 22:34:02 PDT
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Fire Flavored Pizza

So... a few minutes ago Brandy put the pizza box and pizza in the oven to keep warm... but the oven was hotter than she thought it was. A few minutes later when Amy went to get another slice, she noticed that inside the oven the pizza and pizza box were quite nicely on fire.

Brandy and Amy managed to put it out. But the house is now full of smoke.

Maybe we'll go out for awhile.

I can't breathe. Cough.


Abulsme - Sat, 2 Aug 2008, 21:04:52 PDT
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Fri 01 Aug 2008

The One Indeed

OK, most of McCain's recent efforts have just been sad. I'm not sure if this one will be effective, but it is indeed funny. Good job for once.



(via Marc Ambinder)


Abulsme - Fri, 1 Aug 2008, 23:20:46 PDT
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King County Initiative 26 and Council-Proposed Alternative Question 1

Official information here (pdf).

Basically, question one is just asking if either of two proposed initiatives to amend the King County charter should be on the General election ballot. Both amendments would make the county executive, assessor and councilmembers into non-partisan positions. They differ however in how that would happen, and how information would be presented to the voters. If Question 1 passes, then Question 2, regarding which of the two proposals would be on the ballot, becomes relevant. I'll wait to Question 2 to discuss the merits of the two proposals.

For now, the question is if either of them should be on the ballot.

I am generally in favor of direct elections when it comes to questions of how government should be organized (as opposed to specific questions of policy).

So my vote here is:

YES


Abulsme - Fri, 1 Aug 2008, 19:02:18 PDT
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Local Primary and Special Elections

Just got my ballot in the mail. Like other times, I'll post here on each question and how I end up deciding. The actual election isn't until August 19th though, so I have time, and will probably space these out rather than do them all at once. But I'll start with one tonight in a few minutes.


Abulsme - Fri, 1 Aug 2008, 18:57:57 PDT
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A Veteran's Dog

Awww...

Homeless Vet, Best Friend Reunited
(Chip Yost, KTLA, 31 Jul 2008)

The dog left on the doorstep of the southern California pet clinic was sick. The letter left with him was heartbreaking.

"Dear Drs., please forgive me for this horrible transgression. I have no where else to turn so I ask you to mercifully, gently and lovingly please help him sleep. His name is Kaiser and he's 16-and-a half years old. He's been my friend, my teacher, my pupil, my lifelong loving and loyal companion," the letter said.

On the envelope, the author of the letter said that he thought Kaiser had two strokes the night before.

"Be good to him as you would your own child, for he's been mine for a loving lifetime," the envelope read.

...

"I'm a homeless disabled vet, and I know when it's time to say goodbye to a friend, and it's time now. He's such a part of my being, I'll once again be alone in my life. I love you Kaiser, thank you for caring, sincerely, Kaiser's Soul Mate."

Debbie Herot, a manager at Pet Medical Center Chatoak in Granada Hills, found the letter and the dog on the clinic doorstep as she came in to work last week.

Though she tries to keep an emotional distance from the pets she sees, in this case, she couldn't do it.

"After you're in this business for so long you learn to look the other way, because we have to euthanize animals. This one i couldn't euthanize," Herot said.
(via Neatorama)

Of course there is a happy ending.


Abulsme - Fri, 1 Aug 2008, 09:01:50 PDT
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Bye Bye Laptop

Why is this sort of thing tolerated? Even for five minutes. It is ridiculous.

Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border
(Ellen Nakashima, Washigton Post, 1 Aug 2008)

Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
(via Huffington Post)


Abulsme - Fri, 1 Aug 2008, 08:42:30 PDT
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