So yes, I have a teenage daughter, so yes, I had to see Twilight. It was not a movie I would have chosen. But never the less, there I was, on opening weekend, in a theater full of teenaged girls and a handful of parents and dragged along boyfriends. And yes, I was watching Twilight.
Although of course Amy has, and Brandy has as well, I have NOT read the book, so I had no real idea about the details of the plot or anything, although of course I knew that there were vampires and a love story. That was enough to make me somewhat scared of the movie, as were the hordes of teenage girls. But here we were.
Well, it is certainly true that a good deal of the movie is just the two main characters staring at each other and swooning over each other. And while that does get old fast, it just made me laugh. Funky camera angle. Close up shot of characters eyes looking intensely at other character. Teenage brooding. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be taken seriously, but whenever they did that sort of thing I had trouble not laughing out loud.
And then at some point you got into actual running around avoiding and fighting bad guys. That wasn't all that bad. I mean, not great either, but you at least something was happening other than people pining over each other. Then there is the big fight in the end. And then we get things set up for the sequel.
Pretty much all par for the course.
Overall, I surprised myself by not hating this movie too much. It was OK. It was kind of cute. I did not mind spending a couple of hours watching it. I would of course though never have any desire to see it again.
Of course, Amy has already seen it twice. Which means it hit the intended audience perfectly.
I started these tallies when I took time off during the conventions to watch the conventions and to get some stuff done during that time. When I wasn't taking time off, I of course didn't get as much done, but I still got some done.
In the two weeks that included my time off, I did:
7 hours of random things from my projects list
5 hours of catching up on putting things in Quicken and/or paying bills
4 hours on genealogy stuff
2 hours of catching up on old email
1 hour of reading
In the 12 weeks since then, I've done...
15 hours of catching up on putting things in Quicken and/or paying bills
3 hours of catching up on old email
2 hours of reading
Yeah... I need to pick up my pace a bit. And I can't use the election as an excuse any more.
I once again am frustrated by a live news event on CNN, because they keep showing the stupid American CNN people instead of just switching full time to CNN-IBN which is doing a fine job with much more serious and knowledgeable people. In this case it may just be because they are local, but they still are better placed to talk about this than the US anchors. Dump the US anchors, and show us the locals, thank you.
Every time I see CNN International (which was on CNN overnight), or other "serious" international news coverage of events I am reminded of just how vapid the American version of CNN is these days, and it is annoying and sad.
(Note: The CNN International and CNN-IBI feeds are available online at the moment... here. I've switched to that for now.)
Pretty much as soon as I got home from work, I fell asleep. Many many hours earlier than I would normally sleep.
Soon thereafter I was in an airport terminal waiting to board a plane to somewhere in Eastern Russia. Somewhere in Siberia. It was a random trip. I was supposed to be staying with some family at my destination, but I was getting nervous because I just realized I didn't speak even a word of Russian and was traveling alone. They started boarding the plane. Somewhere around this point I thought, "Hey wait, maybe I need a visa to go to Russia" and I called Ivan. Ivan was whispering, because he was also on a flight, and was not supposed to be using his phone. I asked him what to do. He told me of course I needed a Visa, and I should not get on the plane. I looked for a help desk to ask what to do, but I could not find one. So I got out of line and left the airport.
And then I woke up.
Meanwhile, while I was sleeping, things continued to play out in India. While normally this is something I would have been glued to the TV for, this time it initially happened while I was at an all day meeting at work, and then I just came home and fell asleep, so I am a bit behind.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I haven't posted anything of much substance since election night. I haven't been inspired, and outside of work have basically been relaxing and spending more time with the family rather than blogging or for that matter doing anything really useful at home.
I am running WAY late this morning because when Brandy got up and left for her morning class, somehow the door wasn't fully latched or something. When I came out almost an hour later, the front door was open and the dog was not at home. So Amy and I started searching the neighborhood. I found Roscoe calmly walking (and greeting another dog that was being walked) along the way back on a route we often walk him... to the neighborhood grocery store and back. He found the door open, and just decided to do it on his own.
Anyway, that was much excitement, but everybody is fine. Although there was a half hour or so that was very worrying.
Electoral College: Called - Missouri for McCain - That's All Folks
Based on the "Last Updated" time on CNN's election results site, my best estimate for when Missouri was called by CNN is 21:09 UTC yesterday. So consider this to me an update covering the time immediately prior to 21:15 UTC yesterday.
Missouri is called for McCain. This is the last outstanding state.
This makes the results (assuming no faithless electors) Obama 365, McCain 173... which has been what it would look like it would be for quite a bit now, but now it is official. (Well, not really, not until the electoral college votes... but all states have been called by CNN now.)
So, how did I do?
Well, every single state that I did not say was a too close to call swing state, I got right. But lets be a little more critical than that. If you look at my last regular daily update on November 3rd, the "Current Status" where everybody got their leans had Obama 338, McCain 200. What did I miss? I thought McCain would win North Carolina, Indiana and all of Nebraska. Obama of course ended up winning North Carolina, Indiana and Nebraska's 2nd District.
Of these, I had considered both North Carolina and Indiana as too close to call and that they could easily go either way. So not too upset about that. On Nebraska I had decided early on not to look at the possibility of Nebraska splitting unless the state itself looked somewhat close. That seems like an error now. However, I'm not sure what else I would have done, as I did not see regular polling on the separate Nebraska districts anyway.
BUT... there was one more error.... after my last daily update on the 3rd, I continued to log polls as they came in on election day itself, before the real polls started closing. I logged one change early in the day that flipped Missouri to just barely on the Obama side of the line instead of just barely on the McCain side of the line.
So my actual final "everybody gets their leans" prediction was Obama 349, McCain 189 which was actually closer to the actual final result than my final prediction on the 3rd, but only because a couple of the states I got wrong canceled each other out. (Missouri and Indiana both have 11 electoral votes, so when I got them both wrong the total remained the same.)
So, in the end, out of 50 states and DC, I ended up predicting correctly on all except North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri and the 2nd district of Nebraska. And my electoral college total was only off by 16. And with the exception of that pesky single electoral vote from Nebraska, all of the states which I "missed" were states that I had actually described as being too close to call.
All and all, I think those are pretty good results. So I am happy with that.
I'll do one more update when I combine the wiki pages for the historical predictions through the race with the pages reflecting actual results and get everything all cleaned up to sit there forever for random people googling about the 2008 race. And then I'll finally be done with this! :-)
Edit 21 Nov 04:06 UTC: Fixed Typo in Obama's actual electoral college vote total (365 instead of 265). Thanks to the reader who pointed this out.
Just checked CNN... I think I also did a few hours ago, but I can't really be sure... and they finally called Missouri for McCain. I'll have my next to final update of my charts when I get home in an hour or so. (My final update will be cleaning up the electoral college stuff to put it in a final archival state.)
Edit: The Missouri results on CNN say they were last updated at 00:09 UTC today, so I'll use that as the time the state was called unless one of my readers can point me at a better time, or I find one myself.
Once again I'm a couple weeks late posting, but a little while ago the three of us went to see Eagle Eye. I'd seen a couple of promos, was not all that impressed, but a movie was happening. Oh wait, I forgot, Brandy and I went as chaperons. Amy sat many rows away from us... with a BOY. :-)
In any case, it seems the movie was very very loosely based on an Isaac Asimov short story in the sense that it shares some very high level elements, but isn't really like the original story all that much at all.
It was a fun little action movie I guess. You needed a lot of the "suspension of disbelief" juice in your system of course, but as long as you don't think all that much and just enjoy the ride, it is fine and dandy.
I was fully expecting a sequel setup in the last few moments of the movie, but I didn't get it. Which is probably OK, because I doubt it did well enough for them to want to make a sequel. It was fine though.
One thing to watch out for... there is a character who helps in some key moments in the film who is named Major BOWMAN. There is a clear reason he is named Bowman. They didn't make it quite as obvious as they could have... I would have really appreciated it if they did. But it still was glaringly obvious to me and I laughed.
Electoral College: Called (Again) - Nebraska Second District
I stopped checking every fifteen minutes many days ago. I even stopped checking every few hours. But I was still checking at least once a day, and at 03:00 UTC today I noted that CNN finally, many days after other news organizations did so, reversed their earlier call, and moved Nebraska's Second Congressional District into Obama's column.
So we now have:
McCain Best Case: Obama 365, McCain 173
Current "everybody gets their leans": Obama 376, McCain 162
Obama Best Case: Obama 376, McCain 162
The one remaining state, Missouri, is still officially too close to call. However most analysis I've seen shows it is highly unlikely that Obama will take the state, so of the remaining scenarios, it looks like the "McCain Best Case" is the one likely to happen.
Official results in Missouri are due on Tuesday. It is likely to be close enough that Obama COULD ask for a recount. But he is pretty unlikely to actually bother, as it won't make a difference to the final outcome... other than to potentially put him over the 375 electoral vote line that some people use to define a landslide.
Just an update on election results. Almost everyplace in the universe has now reflected Obama's win in Nebraska's second district. But not CNN. And CNN is what I'm basing my charts on, so this annoys me. It looks like final results from Missouri are due around Tuesday. Hopefully CNN will reflect THOSE when they happen. If CNN still hasn't reflected Missouri 24 hours after other people start officially calling it, then I'll go ahead and call it. At that point if CNN still hasn't reflected the change in Nebraska 2, I'll put it in now. In both cases, I'll try to go back and reflect both as of some sort of reasonable time based on when they were called by other sources.
Today, President-elect Barack Obama announced that he will be giving up his Senate seat, effective on Sunday. “It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate,” Obama said in a statement. The Chicago Tribune notes that the news puts added pressure on Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) to name a replacement for Obama, who is currently the only African-American senator.
Although I care about all five of these lines to some degree, I care most about the blue line. Down 46% over the last year as of the last close. I am really very ready for it to start going up again now please. Unfortunately, the amount I have in the yellow line is trivial. Oh well.
Electoral College: Called - North Carolina for Obama
This update reflects states called by CNN in the 15 minutes before 15:30 UTC on November 7th.
There was one state called. North Carolina for Obama. This was the second "surprise" of the season compared to my immediately pre-poll closing predictions. North Carolina had been in the Obama column since the end of September, but had moved to the McCain side right before the election. This makes my record at this point 48 out of 50, with one state left to call.
McCain Best Case: Obama 364, McCain 174
Current "everybody gets their leans": Obama 375, McCain 163
Obama Best Case: Obama 375, McCain 163
I should note however, that although CNN called Nebraska's 2nd District for McCain, and has not yet retracted that on their Election Results Page, many other sources have since called that district for Obama, thus taking an electoral vote away from McCain and giving it to Obama.
I'll keep sticking with CNN's tally here though, although they have been excruciatingly slow after the point Obama reached 270. I think in 4 years I'll have to use a different primary source.
For the moment though, I presume CNN will eventually catch up on the Nebraska electoral vote, and will eventually call Missouri.
Edit Nov 17 05:32 UTC: Corrected Obama numbers in the three scenarios above, which were all missing 3 electoral votes (from Vermont). The numbers above are now correct.
Right around the moment I posted complaining about CNN not calling North Carolina yet, they did. I'm at work now though. I'll update charts and such when I get home this evening. I have a modified time on the CNN Election map page of 15:29:48 UTC and will thus reflect the change accordingly in the graphs.
Note: Actually, that timestamp is the moment I last loaded the page. So apperantly, when I loaded it to check the map this morning, they had already called NC, I didn't notice, and I posted complaining about it anyway. Or some such. But I know I had checked it a few minutes prior to THAT and they had not yet... so the timeframe is just about right. Between 15:15 and 15:30 this morning. At least that is my best guess at this point. If one of my readers has a better timestamp for when CNN called NC, please let me know.
Oh, and I haven't even looked at my personal email in several days. Since election night, my time on the computer at home has been less than maybe 10 minutes a day. Essentially, I've been taking some time off of that as well. So if you've sent me email or even posted comments on my blog or such, I may well have not even looked at it yet, and I most definitely haven't answered. Sorry about that. I'll catch up eventually.
CNN's electoral map is not even on their front page any more. A bunch of others places called North Carolina for Obama yesterday. Several are saying that Nebraska 2 is too close to call after all. CNN has not reflected those changes yet. If CNN hasn't moved at all by the time other places start calling Missouri, maybe I'll start making changes on my charts based on non-CNN sources. Come on CNN, get with it!
CNN still hasn't called them, although I think I saw a couple of other places have. Meanwhile, CNN did call the Nebraska 2nd District, while some other places have not. I decided at the start to follow CNN's calls for simplicity, so I will continue to stick with that and wait for CNN to call the remaining states.
This update reflects states that were called by CNN in the 15 minutes before 16:15 UTC.
A number of places called Indiana last night, but CNN just called it now, for Obama. This is the first state which has gone in a different direction than the "everybody gets their leans" numbers as of right before the polls closed. That average had McCain ahead by 3.4%. But Obama wins the state.
The range of possibilities left for the final electoral college count (absent faithless electors) is now very narrow:
McCain Best Case: Obama 349, McCain 189
Current "everybody gets their leans": Obama 360, McCain 178
Obama Best Case: Obama 375, McCain 163
North Carolina and Missouri are still too close to call.
I took Monday and Tuesday off, but I was planning to go in today unless the election was still in doubt. (I'd told folks there this in advance.) But, it is not in doubt, so even though there are three states outstanding, I'll head into work momentarily. I have to take Amy to school, so I'll be a little late to our all hands, but I'll go.
I'll try to periodically check CNN to note when they call the remaining three states, assuming it even happens today. But if any of you notice CNN calling Missouri, Indiana or North Carolina, can you drop me a quick line saying when you first saw which state? I was to be able to adjust my charts accordingly... Oh crap... Indiana just called for Obama.
Well, what I just said for Missouri and North Carolina.
Let me know if you see them flip, and I'll update the charts to reflect the correct time of the change.
We were about to run out the door, but let me see if I can adjust Indiana real quick...
A reader pointed out overnight that Iowa was the wrong color. Apparently in my 04:45 update, my paint tool went astray. All the numbers were correct, but Iowa was the wrong color. It has been fixed now in the main page, and on the last post I made for the 08:15 UTC update last night. The incorrect maps still appear on the 04:45, 06:45 and 07:30 updates, but I have added a note about the error. Boy is my face (like Iowa was not) red. Anyway, fixed now, and thank you for the reader that pointed it out.
Still waiting for Missouri, Indiana and North Carolina. All are slow due to counting of provisional and absentee ballots and such, which are numerous enough to potentially change the outcome. I wish they would hurry though! I have other things to do!
It is 10:00 UTC. Ten hours after the first states got called. We are still waiting for three. Don't know why they are taking so long, but I think I need to try to nap at least a little bit. Just watch though, 10 minutes after I decide to put my head on a pillow, they'll start calling states again, and that would annoy me. I'll try to check on the status of those three states periodically while I sleep, but I'm not sure how well that will work.
King County, WA (2006-Present): Obama
Brevard County, FL (2004-2006): McCain
Bucks County, PA (2003-2004): Obama
Middlesex County, NJ (1997-2003): Obama
Alexandria, VA (1995-1997): Obama
Allegheny County, PA (1989-1995): Obama
Frederick County, MD (1984-1989): McCain
Durham County, NC (1973,1976-1982,1983-1984): Obama
Washington, DC (1983): Obama
Marion County, IN (1982): Obama
Dane County, WI (1971-1973): Obama
This update covers the 15 minutes prior to 08:15 UTC.
Montana gets called for McCain. The range of possible results narrows a bit more.
McCain Best Case: Obama 338, McCain 200
Current "everybody gets their leans": Obama 349, McCain 189
Obama Best Case: Obama 375, McCain 163
If one sticks to one common definition of landslide, namely 375 electoral votes or more, Obama now needs to sweep the remaining three states for this to be a "landslide". Of course, there is no single accepted definition of landslide, and some people will be calling this such regardless.
Still waiting on North Carolina, Indiana and Missouri. Still no deviations from the predictions this site had with the "everybody gets their leans" line immediately before the polls closed.
Of course, various places are now calling Indiana for Obama. If CNN eventually decides to agree, that will be the first deviation from predictions, as the five poll average here had McCain again by 3.4% heading into the election.
Edit 09:24 UTC - Added the slug about the time the update covered, which I had forgotten when I originally posted.
Edit 15:15 UTC - A reader pointed out that Iowa was the wrong color in the map above. This has been corrected on the main page and on this post but not on the two older posts that were effected. (Although I have added notes on those posts about the error.) Bad paint tool. Bad. The numbers however are correct.
I'm not going to post links to all of them, but as I keep watching my various Google News feeds, I'm seeing pictures of massive spontaneous street parties in cities across the country. Just masses of people taking to the streets and celebrating. All in blue areas of the country no doubt. And I'm sure things look and feel much different in the deep red areas, or even in the swing states. But it is still remarkable.
Apparently here in Seattle is no exception, and downtown has been going nuts.
On our street in the suburbs, despite Obama signs in many windows, it is quite quiet.
Of course, it is almost midnight in the suburbs and all.
Anyone who is not at least a little moved is not alive. I was a lot moved.
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
OK, now that I have time to breath while waiting for these last five states to be called, I can look at the 936 items that have built up in my Google reader while I was tracking the results, or the 137 emails I've gotten in that same time period. (Yeah, most of those are automated mails I get whenever I make blog posts, of which I've done a few tonight. :-)
But still, lots to catch up on.
I hope those last five states get called quickly though. In the last 30 minutes, I've actually started to think that maybe I'll be able to sleep tonight after all. :-)
I have been so busy trying to catch up on the graphs for the results, I didn't comment on the speech yet. But it was very powerful. It was Obama fully in post-partisan unifying mode. And as usual when he is in that mode, he pulled all the right strings. It was inspiring and made one feel proud.
Speech aside, the moment itself was exceptionally powerful. Even as I was furiously making graphs, I admit I shed a tear or two. The morning will see us begin to see what an Obama administration will actually look like. And it can not possibly life up to the expectations that have been built up. But for the moment, it was good to just absorb the moment and the historic impact of today.
Electoral College: Called - South Dakota, Nebraska and Nevada
This is the 04:45 UTC update, covering states that were called in the 15 minutes before that.
South Dakota and Nebraska for McCain.
Nevada for Obama.
I'l drop the "SuperBest" estimates from the summary, as there are no longer any uncalled "Weak" states.
McCain Best Case: Obama 338, McCain 200
Current "everybody gets their leans": Obama 349, McCain 189
Obama Best Case: Obama 378, McCain 160
There have still been no surprise states.
I am now once again caught up with all the states CNN has called. There are still five states yet to be called. Alaska, which should go McCain. And then North Carolina, Indiana and Montana which are leaning McCain. And finally Missouri which was leaning Obama.
We'll see if any of those end up being surprises. North Carolina and Missouri were both within a percent as of the last polls. If there is a surprise, I would guess it would be one of those two states. But Indiana or Montana switching would also be well within the realm of possibility.
So far my final predictions from right before the polls closed are 46 for 46. We'll see how the last 5 states go. :-)
Edit 06:03 UTC - Actually, it looks like CNN has only called 4 out of the 5 electoral votes for Nebraska. Looks like that 1 electoral vote (probably Omaha) is still too close to call. Gotta love the states that split their votes.
Edit 15:15 UTC - A reader pointed out that Iowa is the wrong color in the map above. This has been corrected on the main page. Bad paint tool. Bad. The numbers however are correct.
That was quite gracious, although the crowd wasn't always. You could see the sadness and disappointment. And Palin was crying. It makes you wonder if they had actually been deluding themselves over the last month into thinking they actually did have a chance. It has been clear for awhile that they were done absent a major event... that never happened.
This is the 04:00 UTC update, covering the states that were called in the 15 minutes before that time.
That was just one state. Virginia, a "Weak Obama" state, was called for Obama.
Also, I noticed that in the 03:00 Update, I accidentally moved Nevada in my spreadsheet instead of New Mexico. They have the same number of electoral votes, so the "Won" lines didn't change, but since New Mexico was Strong Obama while Nevada was only Weak Obama, this meant the McCain SuperBest line moved down prematurely. I have retroactively corrected the chart here and on the main page, but not on previous posts.
There still have not yet been any states that have not gone the way they were predicted in my averages. We still have six "swing" states that were too close to call to go though, so that may very well yet happen... and likely will on at least one state.
Electoral College: Called - Pennsylvania and New Hampshire for Obama
This is the 01:45 Update.
Both Pennsylvania and New Hampshire called for Obama.
Both of these states were "Strong Obama" states in the final polls, so neither of these is a surprise at all, and the summary yet again remains the same. It will stay exactly the same until they start calling "Weak" or "Lean" states.
And of course, the numbers ACTUALLY don't predict the everybody gets their leans numbers from the last post. They say that anything between Obama 406, McCain 132 and Obama 291, McCain 247 is very very possible.
My final "everybody gets their leans" prediction before CNN starts calling states is Obama 349, McCain 189. My gut tells me that Obama will actually over-perform that. But I don't trust my gut, I'll stick with what the numbers tell me.
If you want to see my updates as soon as I make them, refresh the Electoral College Prediction page occasionally. I will be making the changes there first, then post on the blog about them. Of course, it also takes me a few minutes to update that page fully. The chart at the top will change first. Then the table summary. Then the possible totals. Then the map. The process takes a few minutes, so during that time the various bits are out of sync with each other. Normally that doesn't matter too much, but right now with lots of people looking, it could produce odd results. (At the moment for instance, 11 people are looking at that page.)
I won't be quite real time when states are called by CNN. For that, watch CNN.
I'll be posting updates to my graphs approximately every fifteen minutes or so, capturing any states that were called in the previous fifteen minutes. So, if CNN calls a bunch of states at 00:00:05 UTC... I'll probably have the graphs up reflecting those shortly after 00:15 UTC.
For all intents and purposes, Abulsme.com called the election for Obama on October 3rd when our "Best Case" for McCain was no longer to win. In the time since then, McCain has never changed that basic situation.
Because of that, today I'm also tracking McCain's "SuperBest" scenario, where he not only wins all the swing states, but also all of Obama's "Weak" states, leaving Obama with only the states that he is ahead by more than 10% in. In that (very unlikely) scenario, McCain would still win... 291 to 247. For purposes of tonight, I'll "call the election" when the SuperBest scenarios for the two candidates agree with each other. Basically, that will be when we hit the point where in order to win, the losing candidate would have to start winning states the other candidate is ahead by more than 10% in.
State Court of Appeals Division 1 District 1 Position 6: Only one candidate, so I vote for me.
State Superior Court Judge Position No. 1: My primary choice was Susan Amini. She did not make it to the general election. So I have to look at the other two. Looks like Bradshaw has a bit more relevant experience. I have no other real way to decide here. So I'll vote for Tim Bradshaw.
State Superior Court Judge Position No. 22: I ran out of time in the primary, so I have to look for the first time today. Garratt has been a judge before. Her opponent has not. I will vote for Julia Garratt.
State Superior Court Judge Position No. 37: I ran out of time last time as well, so looking at this at the first time. As before, I'll go with the person who is already a judge, although I'll say again that I don't think Judges should be elected positions. The mere fact of having to worry about election has the potential to hurt their impartiality. But oh well. My vote goes to Jean Rietschel.
City of Bellevue Proposition No 1 Levy for City Parks and Natural Areas: This would improve a tax increase to pay for parks. It said tax increase. Not right now thank you. I will vote REJECTED.
Sound Transit Proposition No 1 Mass Transit Expansion: This would raise taxes (although not by much) to fund the expansion of buses and trains to more places in the area. If you have read any of my other comments today, you'll know I'm fairly anti-transit. It is not that I can't enjoy a good train system if it is there. I like the Metro in DC. And some of the proposed routes might actually be useful to me. But... I just think it is not the best use of resources, and the subtext of trying to get people to drive less annoys me. I will vote REJECTED.
And that is the end of my ballot. Time to get it all set in the official security envelope and walk it over to my local polling place to put in the box.
Just noticed that while there was only one candidate on the ballot for State Supreme Court Justice Position #3, in the top two primary in August, there actually were two candidates. I voted for myself in protest, but presumably the top two should have won and moved on. Why is there only one candidate on the November ballot? Mary Fairhurst is here, but Michael Bond is gone. Why? I did a quick Google, but didn't find anything.
Anyway, I already voted for myself as a protest since there was only one person on the ballot.
Ah... I found it. There is a minimum percentage of the vote threshold to move on to the General election, even if you come in second. Mr. Bond did not meet that threshold. That sucks. If you are going to do a top two thing, number two should get on the general election ballot, even if they only got 1 vote. With some way to deal with ties of course.
State Representative Position 2 District 41: There is only one candidate, so I vote for me.
State Supreme Court Position No. 3: There is only one candidate, so I vote for me.
State Supreme Court Position No. 4: There is only one candidate, so I vote for me.
State Supreme Court Position No. 7: There is only one candidate, so I vote for me. I note that I had a reader write in to say they would vote for me on this one. Brandy also changed her vote at the last minute to vote for me on this one as well. Three votes. Woo!
State Court of Appeals Division 1 District 1 Position 5: There is only one candidate, so I vote for me.
Gotta love those write in votes.
More in another post soon. There are four more positions left to vote on, then two propositions.
Commissioner of Public Lands: My primary choice was once again me, and once again just a protest because there were only two candidates. So I need to look at the candidates. Once again, with brief looks at their statements and their websites, I find nothing particular that would make me lean one way or another. This really should be an appointed position. In any case, as the tie break, I will go with the challenger. My vote goes to Peter Goldmark.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: My primary choice was Randy Dorn. I vote for him again.
Insurance Commissioner: My primary choice was me. Because I didn't like any of the candidates. OK, I will vote for me again.
State Senator District 41: My primary choice was me, but only because there were only two candidates. So once again I should look at the candidates. If Fred Jarrett had an issues section on his site, I could not find it. Meanwhile, I could easily find Bob Baker's issues page without trying. And I like a lot of what I read. Plus... I've seen his yard sign. It has very few words on it other than his name. It says "No Tolls on I-90 Bridge". I go across that bridge a couple times a day, and I agree completely. And from his website it seems he is also generally of the same pro-car orientation as I am. So my vote goes for Bob Baker.
State Representative Position 1 District 41: My primary choice was me. Once again a protest of only having two choices. So once again, I need to look at the candidates. Once again I think transportation is the deciding issue for me. Litzow is against tolling on I-90 and seems more car friendly. My vote goes to Steve Litzow.
I have now finished Page 1 of the ballot and am starting Page 2. Most of the positions here were also on the primary ballot, and I did my research then. If my choice in the primary is on the general election ballot, I'll just go ahead and choose them without further research. If they did not make it, I'll look at more. I'll just include a lot of these in this post.
Lieutenant Governor: My primary choice was... me. I thought all of the candidates sucked. I will stick with my previous judgment and vote for myself again.
Secretary of State: My primary choice was Sam Reed. I vote for him again.
State Treasurer: My primary choice was Allan Martin. I vote for him again.
State Auditor: My primary choice was Glen Freeman, who did not make the General election. Rereading my comments from before, I don't like either of the two on the ballot, and will write myself in.
Attorney General: My primary choice was me, but it was a protest for there only being two candidates in a top two runoff, which is a waste. Guess I should look quickly at the two candidates. I am only doing a very brief look due to time. Bleh, there are three debates online between these two, but I don't have time for that. Just with a quick look at their statements and their websites, I don't see much that would make me lean to either of the two. I consider it a tossup. In the case of a tossup, I will prefer the challenger, as I think generally it helps to shake up a position occasionally. Therefore I will vote for John Ladenburg.
This is another rematch. Four years ago Christine Gregoire (Democrat) beat Dino Rossi (Republican) by less than 200 votes it seems. I was not in Washington at the time, and have not followed local issues much since, so I didn't know much about either person.
My first impression of Governor Gregoire was when I saw her at Democratic Caucus events earlier this year. My impression was decidedly negative. Almost every word out of her mouth made me want to scream.
Meanwhile, I knew nothing at all about Rossi.
For this general election, I had several Gubernatorial debates on my Tivo. I of course waited to the last minute and had not watched any of them before election day. I just watched the first one I had, recorded September 20th. It is the only one I had time to watch, and so therefore my vote will be based essentially only on the candidates' performance in that one debate.
I continued to have an incredibly negative view of Gregoire.
First, on policy: She is very statist. It seemed like almost everything was something that could and should be solved by government. This is something I dislike a lot. One of the big issues seems to be transportation policy. She was repeatedly slamming roads and pushing public transportation sorts of solutions instead. Screw that. Give me my car damn it. Give me roads to drive on it. Make the roads big and wide. Take your collectivist trains and buses and shove them. OK, that is overly harsh. I like the occasional train and bus, although I would prefer when they are private efforts rather than public. But they should not be primary policy. Promote maximum flexibility for the individual please. And that is small vehicles that seat a handful of people at most. And this is just typical of the other policies she was promoting. They were all about ways that government could engage in social engineering to try to solve problems. I know government must be involved to some extent in many of these things, but please make it as little as possible.
Second, her attitude and temperament: She seemed cranky and angry. And bitter. She was constantly attacking Rossi. It was very very negative. Very little positive about herself, just attack, attack, attack. And she seemed arrogant and dismissive. She said several times "Those aren't the values of the people of Washington". How dare she presume to represent the values of the entire state. She won by a hair's breadth last time, half the state obviously disagrees with her.
Meanwhile, Rossi seemed even tempered and stable. He never raised his voice or sounded angry. And he kept talking baout fiscal responsibility, living within our means, and generally not having government intrude where it did not need to. And on transportation he was much more pro-car.
I can't say I actually LIKED Rossi. He seemed a little slimy too. And perhaps even like he was hiding his true self a bit. It seemed slightly fake. Like he was forcing himself to be calm.
However, more so than before, I actively DISLIKE Gregoire, and I definitely disagree on her general approach to government.
Therefore, my vote:
Dino Rossi (Prefers G.O.P. Party)
...although I must say, that absolutely idiotic "GOP Party" thing almost makes me want to change my mind in and of itself. Grand Old Party Party my ass. Just say Republican.
United States Representative Congressional District No 8
This is one of the "close" House elections nation wide. So my vote may actually make a difference here. It is a rematch of a race two years ago. The incumbent is Republican Dave Reichert. The challenger is Democrat Darcy Burner.
I am honestly very very tempted to assume an Obama victory, and then in the interest of having as divided a government as possible (which I generally think is better) voting Republican for the House, regardless of the actual candidate and their positions on things. I think having a healthy strong opposition is important. I don't like it when one party controls the Presidency and both houses of Congress. That looks pretty much inevitable though. But maybe keeping a Republican in this seat would at least reduce the Democratic margin by one, whihc might help just a little bit. Maybe.
I am tempted by the argument above. But I also fundamentally believe that it is counter-productive to make electoral decisions on meta-arguments about the state of the whole government. I believe you should for the most part ignore party affiliations and just look at the people running for office themselves as well as the positions they hold on issues. And you should vote for the person who on an individual basis you would most like to see in office.
I saw Darcy Burner at various events over the course of this year. I have heard her stump speech. At first I rather liked her. But then on a number of things she got a bit too partisan for me. She was a bit too dogmatic. She didn't seem to give even a nod to the concerns and viewpoints of those who disagreed with her. She was right and they were wrong. It was that simple. I did not like that. (Of course, they were Democratic Party events full of partisans, so I should probably make allowance for that.)
On the other hand, I really do not know much about Reichert other than what is in his candidate statement and what is on his website. I found nothing horribly objectionable, but nothing to call him out either. And there is one thing in specific I'd be looking for in order to vote for a Republican for Congress. I'd want to see him ignoring party lines and showing active criticism of the Bush administration for the extensive executive overreach it has conducted over the past eight years. I would want to see them defending the rights and prerogatives of the congress vs the executive. I would want to see them defending the rights of the people against the power of the government. I have seen none of that. (Example of a Republican who has done all of the above and whom I would support... Ron Paul.)
Therefore, despite the fact that she annoyed me a bit, I think Darcy Burner is a closer match to my own positions and will better represent me in Congress. Plus, I think she is a geek. And that is a good thing. (OK, a Microsoft geek, which isn't quite as good, but still.)
OK, I read the bios and statements of all eight tickets on my ballot. But I am running out of time and won't waste it going through all of them. All of the third parties this year are a joke and aren't worth it. (This includes the Libertarians, who I am usually inclined toward.)
Anybody who has been reading my blog or listening to my podcast this year knows my choice here, I've talked about it multiple times.
I disagree with Barack Obama on a lot of things, mainly in the area of Domestic Policy. I will be angry and annoyed at many things he does. But on foreign policy, which I generally believe is more important, I am very closely aligned with Obama's positions.
But more importantly, there is an issue of temperament and process. From reading his books, especially his second book, one thing is clear. Obama is a thoughtful person. He considers issues carefully and deliberately. He takes into account and respects the opinions even of those he disagrees with adamantly. He is calm and cool in a crisis. He does not act impulsively. He acts out of rational analysis, not out of emotion.
This is the kind of person who should always be President. It is not what we have had for the past 8 years (arguably for the last 16 years actually). It is certainly not what John McCain would provide. But it is what is needed.
And yes, I believe the post-partisan message Obama has expounded in his 2004 Convention Speech and with regularity since then. I hope that his "Progressive" supporters that expect him to push strongly for highly partisan left-wing policies will be sorely disappointed. Of course, it could just as well be me who is sorely disappointed. As I said, I expect to be quite upset with many things Obama does.
But not only do I believe he is better than the alternatives, I believe that on balance he will be a positive force more in line with what I would want than not.
So my vote:
Barack Obama and Joe Biden (Democratic Party Nominees)
Electoral College: New Mexico Strengthens for Obama
YouGov looks like they have done polls in all 50 states plus DC. I've processed them up through Tennessee in alphabetical order. So far only one category change.
New Mexico (5 ev): Obama's lead in the five poll average goes over 10% for the very first time. As such the state moves from "Weak Obama" to "Strong Obama". This will reduce McCain's "SuperBest" scenario.
Electoral College: Virginia stops Swinging, Pennsylvania Strengthens
I actually took a few hours to sleep, so I'm a couple hours late posting these changes, but with some new Zogby polls, we have two states changing status:
Pennsylvania (21 ev): Obama's lead in Pennsylvania once again hits 10%. McCain's managed to pull Obama's lead down from 14.1% to 5.4%... but then it stalled and Obama's lead started growing again. As of now with the new Zogby poll added to the five poll average, Obama's lead is exactly at the 10.0% mark, but that is enough for the state to move back into "Strong Obama" territory.
Virginia (13 ev): McCain had also reduced Obama's lead in Virginia, making it poke below the 5% line. But with the new Zogby poll, it pushes again above 5%, making the state move back to "Weak Obama". Virginia is once again NOT a swing state, and is not included in McCain's best case scenario. It is still however included in the "SuperBest" scenario I added for election day.
The next thing on the ballot is President/Vice President. And then I still have 23 more items on the ballot. But I think I need to catch a few Z's. I'll try not to be gone too long, I know all my readers are anxiously waiting for my vote for Washington State Superior Court Judge Postition No. 22 and such. I am running out of time of course, and should probably just keep powering through, but I think I need to stop to be horizontal for just a little bit. :-)
This makes the King County Executive, King County Assessor and the King County Council into non-partisan offices. I frankly think ALL elected offices should be non-partisan. Parties are generally a bad thing. I'd rather candidates stand on their own views and merits rather than tying themselves to some larger group. The opposition to this points out that candidates will still have such associations, it just won't be on the ballot. Sure, but the information will still be easily available for those who want it, and this may just encourage people to think about the candidates themselves rather than just voting blindly for the party they generally prefer. This is a good thing.
Basically, this makes it a bit harder to get County Level Initatives on the ballot and changes it from the nonsensical two step process where first you vote if you want it on the ballot, then if that passes it appears on the next ballot... and makes it just go straight on the general election ballot if it gets enough signatures... with a higher number of signatures required.
I fundamentally think that ballot initiatives are generally not the right way to do things. And if they are possible at all, it should take a pretty high bar to get on the ballot, and that sort of initiative should be a very rare thing. Maybe one or two a decade.
So this effort to make it a little bit harder to do is fine with me.
Electoral College: Obama loses strength in Michigan
Another change from a new poll, this time from me reviewing each of pollster.com's state charts one by one, which I usually do daily, but I'm doing every 6 hours today. I'm not sure about this one though, as I've found no other reference to this poll yet, and it looks like an extreme outlier, but would fit in EXACTLY with the trend if you reversed Obama and McCain's numbers. So I suspect this may actually be a typo on Pollster which will be corrected later. If so, I will undo this change if/when I see evidence of the other result. But in case this is real, it causes Obama's lead in Michigan to dip under 10%, moving the state from Strong Obama to Weak Obama.
This would establish an office responsible for producing economic forecasts and analysis which would be used to guide budget decisions. I repeat my statement about how the fact that a ballot measure is needed to approve this sort of thing is crazy. But this seems reasonable.
This would allow the County Council to establish additional qualifications for certain elected positions. (For instance, requiring that a Sheriff have law enforcement experience.)
I fundamentally think that any position that really and truly requires very specific qualifications should be an appointed position, not an elected position. If however a position is made an election position, regardless of the job description, then the voters should have full and total authority to vote in whoever they want. (I'd even disagree with age and citizenship requirements and such... if it is an elected position, let the voters decide... let them vote for a ripe watermelon if they really want to for that matter.)
Voters may sometimes be stupid, but the nature of a democracy is that if the voters want something, they get it... and often it is exactly what they deserve when they make a stupid choice. But the whole point is that it is the choice of the electorate. And MOST of the time, they make decent decisions.
This change is unnecessary and stupid. And it is only even being considered because there are elected positions that should not be elected positions in the first place.
This is about changing the makeup and authority of various county committees. Honestly, I couldn't care one way or another, and it seems to me that something is very broken in how county government is organized if you need a ballot item to change minor things like this.
Anyway, this seems harmless, and the local government folks seem to want it, so...
I have logged 15 polls since my last daily update but I just logged the first one that moved any state to a new category. A new Rasmussen poll moves the five poll average in Missouri (11 ev) back to the Obama side of the fence. The same caveat as usual, either way the state is too close to call. We'll see when the actual results start coming in.
But for now, a new status update.
In order to show any sort of McCain win scenario, I've added a "SuperBest" scenario, where a candidate gets not only all of their strong and weak states, and all of the swing states, but also all of their opponent's weak states. McCain can still win if he manages that. :-)
The first polls (other than Dixville Notch, which we should have results from in about an hour) close at 23:00 UTC. That is a little under 19 hours from now.
Those are partial states though. The first moment entire states will be closed is 00:00 UTC. At that point Georgia (15 ev), Virginia (13 ev), Indiana (11 ev), Kentucky (8 ev), South Carolina (8 ev) and Vermont (3 ev) will be closed and the networks will start calling the ones that are not close, and will start showing preliminary results for the ones that are.
At that hour, watch Georgia, Virginia and Indiana carefully. Between looking at how the three of them are going, we'll probably have a good sense for how the rest of the night will go.
Basically adds disability and sexual orientation to the list of things that the County can't discriminate against in hiring or contracting.
I am generally opposed to laws that in any way whatsoever restrict who PRIVATE entities can hire or why they can hire them. That includes non-discrimination laws. I think private entities should be able to do whatever the hell they want, and if they make decisions in ways other than merit alone, they will suffer the economic consequences of that stupid choice.
However, this is GOVERNMENTAL hiring and contracting. I very much think the government should be required to not discriminate on irrelevant attributes. If I was doing such, I would not give a list of things you can't discriminate on, I would instead require that ONLY attributes directly relevant to the candidate (or contractor's) ability to accomplish the tasks required of them for the position / assignment could be taken into account. (Of course, this would prohibit any and all forms of affirmative action as well, which would be a good thing.) This does not go that far.
But I guess as long as you are going to have things on a list, it is OK for these things to be on the list too.
That's McCain's win percentage in fivethirtyeight.com's latest update. Those are the longest odds he has ever had in their tracking. That's about a 1 in 50 chance of victory. That still isn't impossible... but...
This would convert the County Director of Elections from an appointed position to a non-partisan elected position.
Absolutely not. This is silly. Policy making positions should be elected. Jobs like this should be appointed or hired through some other process. And really? Electing the Director of Elections? There is at least one election they won't be impartial on no matter what you do. Bleh.
Basically, this would require, in the words of the summary "long-term care workers to be certified as home care aides". It basically establishes a set of education and training requirements and requires that these workers be registered by the state and licensed.
I am fundamentally opposed at a very basic level to the government licensing ANYTHING. (And yes, that probably even includes drivers.) It is just plain none of the government's business to keep track of such things, or to set requirements. This is not to say that it is not good for such workers to have training, background checks, etc. It is just to say that I do not believe this should be government's job.
There are various private solutions for this. Government does NOT need to be involved.
It needs to be the responsibility of those hiring for these sorts of workers to check qualifications to whatever degree they deem necessary (or not). And of course government should be involved if there is fraud or mistreatment or the like. But making sure that workers get some sort of mandatory training and then providing a license and keeping a big registry of such people? No thanks. Much too big brother for me.
There can also be plenty of room for private providers of certifications that would gain reputations and be looked for by those doing hiring. But such things need to be voluntary, not mandated by law... both for the person looking to do work, and the person or organization looking to hire them.
This is a basic death with dignity initiative, which would allow terminally ill patients, with a number of safeguards, to request and receive lethal prescriptions to allow them to end their lives.
I read through the entire text, and the statements for and against. I believe more than enough safeguards are present here and that this is a good change. Fundamentally, the choice to end one's life should always be available to those who wish it. If I was in charge, I'd go even further and probably not even restrict it as much as it is restricted.
But this is good and reasonable, and if I am ever in that sort of situation, I would certainly want to have that sort of choice available to me. I'm not by any means sure what I would choose, but I certainly would not want the law to say that anybody helping me in that situation was a felon, which is what the law says today.
Of course I didn't even get to spend any time with the ballot at all yesterday because I was doing other things, and I actually had the nerve to sleep. So now, here it is, election day, and I still haven't started on the 35 items on my ballot. Well, here we go. Here is the first one.
The full text of Initiative is here (pdf). Basically, it is about neutering HOV lanes. Generally, that is something I approve of. I think HOV lanes are annoying social engineering to try to get me to not drive my car alone. I think that is annoying and I don't like it. Anything that would move in the direction of eliminating that sort of thing is great.
It also has some seemingly common sense things like requiring traffic light synchronization and some other stuff like that.
However... I have a number of problems with this anyway.
First, it seems like this is the sort of thing that really should be determined either by the legislature, or by non-political bureaucracies. I generally don't like Initiatives. This is what we elect legislators for. So if they are used, it seems like they should be used for issues where there is a real reason why the legislature is not adequate. I'm not sure this is such a case.
Second, it hard codes into the law what "peak hours" are for purposes of allowing open use of HOV lanes in non-peak hours. That is silly, and does not properly allow for changes in usage patterns over time. If you were going to have a policy to allow something in non-peak hours, you should make an objective definition of that based on something that can properly be adjusted over time without a change in the law. I won't try to be a traffic engineer and make that definition, but it definately should not be a fixed set of hours. It should be something based on current level of traffic flows, where if the flow was some fraction of peak traffic, it would be considered "off-peak". Of course, in truly non-peak conditions, using the HOV lanes or not is a non-issue, as all lanes are flowing freely, perhaps making this irrelevant. This whole idea only makes sense if you are opening the HOV lanes during hours where traffic is still congested...
Third, according to the financial impact statement, the cost of the transition would be significant.
Fourth, the initiative includes a lengthy new section being added to the RCW (Revised Code of Washington) which explains the "intent" of the various changes. In general, I don't like laws explicitly stating their intent. I don't care what their intent is, other than what the words of the law itself says. I know this is a common practice of course, but I still don't like it. But this statement in specific is not just describing the intent, but also includes a long litany describing the history of these efforts, how the efforts were rebuffed in the past, etc. It just sounds like a bitter diatribe about this whole thing. That sort of thing is fine for the summary statement (maybe) but should not be part of the initiative itself.
So, with all that, despite the fact that I generally agree with many of the goals of this initiative, I find the implementation fatally flawed.
It is now election day (UTC at least) so as of a few minutes ago I opened my 2008 Electoral College Results page. There are no updates there yet. There will be no actual called states for almost another day of course, but if any additional last minute polls move any state from one category to another, I'll get the updates up as soon as I find out.
Electoral College: On Election Eve, North Carolina Flips to McCain
This is the last regularly scheduled daily update, so I am including the map even though it has not changed today. Starting in just over 2 hours, at 00:00 UTC, I'll start doing updates as soon as I get them if there are any remaining last minute polls, and starting in just over 24 hours when we start getting actual results I will make changes reflecting those results. I'll be "calling" states based on when CNN calls them.
But for today, there is only one change.
North Carolina (15 ev): Since the end of September, Obama's lead in North Carolina in my five poll average has ranged from 0% to 3.5%. It has always been very close though. Today, for the first time in a month, the five poll average moves to the McCain side of the fence. So the state moves from "Lean Obama" to "Lean McCain". As usual, I will caution that the true condition of North Carolina (and all of the swing states) is "too close to call", and being slightly on one side of the line vs slightly on the other side of the line, is not really a significant difference in where the state is.
McCain Best Case - Obama 278, McCain 260
Obama Best Case - Obama 406, McCain 132
If everybody gets their leans - 338 Obama, 200 McCain
So, once again, and for the last time before election day... if John McCain gets all of the states he is ahead in, plus all of Obama's lean states... he still loses.
However, it must be said that it certainly does appear to be the case that McCain has had some momentum over the last week or so. He has pulled several "Lean" states from Obama's side to his side. As we keep saying, they are still all too close to call, but it does make the task of McCain winning "all the swing states" seem a bit easier. He now only had to pull three more states from Obama's side (Florida, Ohio and Virginia) to accomplish that goal.
Of course, that still would not be enough. Which is where McCain's Pennsylvania gambit comes in. As of today in the last five poll average, Obama is ahead by 8.8%. If there is more tightening there than the polls are showing, because of a Bradley effect or anything else, and McCain can somehow pull out a win in Pennsylvania, after already sweeping all of the swing states, then he could pull it off. His other paths involve a combination of Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, but those seem less likely.
There is still not a path for victory for McCain in these numbers.
If I had to make a guess based on the polling pattern of the past two weeks rather than just trusting my numbers completely and going for the "everybody gets their leans" results, I would say that the final result will be closer to McCain's best case than Obama's best case.
On the other hand, the reports of super high early voting turnout which is leaning democratic, plus the massive Democratic Get Out the Vote effort this year, and the "enthusiasm gap", and some last minute one off polls showing Alaska and Louisiana close... which are probably outliers... but... all of those things would lead me to guess something closer to Obama's best case.
And well, since there are conflicting reasons to go one way or another, I'll stick with the numbers. If I had to make a prediction, I'd use the "everybody gets their leans" numbers. Obama 338, McCain 200.
But I don't really want to be nailed down that way either. So as a final prediction, I'll just say that I'm pretty confident that the final result will be somewhere between the "Obama Best Case" and "McCain Best Case" I have outlined above.
Which means an Obama win.
We shall see if I am right. Election day coverage on abulsme.com starts shortly.
I just put in my entry at Brendan Loy's Electoral College Contest. I of course based my entry on my own Electoral College Predictions. Specifically, based on my November 2nd update. I won't be doing the November 3rd update until after his deadline. I won't reveal my exact methods in picking my answers for the tiebreaker questions though. :-)
My gut though is telling me that Obama will actually do better than the "everybody gets their leans" line that I used to enter the contest. But I felt like I was honor bound to go by what my numbers are telling me, rather than what my gut is telling me. :-)
If anybody else wants to enter Brendan's contest you have until Noon Eastern (17 UTC). Instructions for entering can be found at the link above.
I think if you win you get a mug saying you won the contest or some such, but I could be wrong. :-)
We probably won't do this on a regular basis, because it is looking to be somewhat of a pain. However, Ivan and I are recording this week's Curmudgeon's Corner NOW. If you wish to watch live, it will be below...
OK, in UTC terms it is now the day before election day. I have taken both today and tomorrow off of work. So it is now time to start working through the ballot. There are 35 items. The Presidential race is #12. As I do this, I will, as usual, post my thoughts and votes. I hope to space this out a bit and finish sometime Monday, so I'm not rushing through anything on Tuesday. Of course, if history is any guide, I'll be rushing to finish and get it turned in on time.
Two states change status today, both in McCain's favor:
Ohio (20 ev): After maxing out at an 8.2% Obama lead a week ago, Obama's lead in Ohio falls below 5%, making it a swing state again, and putting it once again within reach for John McCain.
Virginia (13 ev): With a pattern very similar to Ohio, Obama maxed out with an 8.0% lead a week ago, but his lead in the five poll average drops below 5% today, making Virginia once again a swing state.
McCain Best Case - Obama 278, McCain 260
Obama Best Case - Obama 406, McCain 132
If everybody gets their leans - 353 Obama, 185 McCain
Now, the bottom line remains the same as it has for quite some time. McCain can win all of his strong and weak states, plus all of the swing states, and he would still lose. However, it is important to note that his loss in that case is narrower than it has been in a couple of weeks, plus since then he's taken the lead in a couple of states, and Obama's had a couple of swing states weaken... most notably Pennsylvania. And Pennsylvania is at a 6.4% Obama lead now. Way down from Obama's 12.0% peak.
So, once again gaming out what McCain would have to do to win given where things are now...
First he must win in ALL of the states he is ahead in.
Then he has to win ALL of the swing states Obama is ahead in (but barely): Florida (Obama ahead by 2.8%), Ohio (Obama ahead by 3.8%), North Carolina (Obama ahead by 0.4%) and Virginia (Obama ahead by 4.8%).
And then he must find 10 electoral votes by winning some combination of Pennsylvania (Obama ahead by 6.4%, 21 electoral votes), Colorado (Obama ahead by 7.2%, 9 electoral votes), Nevada (Obama ahead by 6.0%, 5 electoral votes) and New Mexico (Obama ahead by 8.3%, 5 electoral votes).
If McCain manages to pull that off by winning Pennsylvania, his move over the past few weeks into Pennsylvania will be hailed as genius just because he won. It won't be true of course, there were better places he could have put his resources several weeks ago that he might have been able to move instead. But that will be forgotten if he actually manages it.
Right now in my charts, there is no McCain path to victory because he would not only have to win swing states, but take states where Obama is ahead by more than 5%. But if he manages to tighten Pennsylvania just a little bit more, there will be such a path, although still a very difficult one.
He has just over 50 hours before the first polls close on election day.
(Although, as noted in yesterday's update the polls lag slightly, so if anything big changes in those 50 hours, the polls will probably be blind to it.)
There will be one more regularly scheduled update tomorrow, then starting at 00:00 UTC on election day, I will switch to updates whenever there are new polls... or actual election results as they get called. I will try to be as close to real time as I can manage.
Someone apparently found this post I made when filling out my primary ballot earlier this year. This person emailed me yesterday to know that they are writing me in for Washington Supreme Court Position #7. I'll probably end up voting for myself again in the general election as well, since the person on the ballot still has no competition. So I'll have a whole TWO VOTES! My nefarious plan to take over the whole world takes another step forward! :-)
Which reminds me, time is short. I need to start work on my general election ballot shortly.
So, I've once again been slow posting, but a couple of weeks ago, the three of us went out to the movies. This was an Amy and Brandy choice, and not the sort of movie I'd usually choose to go to, but I'd picked the last movie, so we went to Quarantine. I'd never heard of it at all before going, so other than Brandy and Amy telling me it was a horror/suspense sort of thing, I had no expectations whatsoever. It turns out it is actually a remake of REC a 2007 film from Spain. I put that film on my Netflix list. Sounds like it is pretty similar other than being in Spanish.
Anyway, the main interesting bit about this film, is the whole thing is done Blair Witch style with a handheld camera. This time instead of some random kids doing the camerawork though, it is a local news reporter working on a story of the average night in the life of a firehouse full of firefighters. There is about 20 minutes of just goofing around in the firehouse, then the alarm rings and the fun begins. It is not a fire though.
The go to a building for a medical situation, and then the building gets locked down. As the name would imply, there is a quarantine, and there is a highly contagious thing going around. The fear and suspense builds, and then you get the normal horror movie sort of thing where one by one the people get infected and/or killed.
I won't give any more away, but I will say that it was pretty decent. I liked it. It was tense at time. At other points it was actually very funny. I'm not sure if it was SUPPOSED to be funny. But horrible things would be happening on screen, but the entire theater would just be laughing at it because it was, well, sort of funny.
The one other note I have, is that the people in the row behind us WOULD NOT SHUT UP FOR THE ENTIRE MOVIE. They were talking CONSTANTLY. Sometimes things about the movie, sometimes just random chatter. I wanted to scream at them, but I did not. I just sat there and stewed in my anger. I can't stand it when people talk in movies. Reacting when things happen on screen, laughing, gasping, whatever... that is fine... and actually is one of the unique bits that going to the theater can bring that you don't get watching a movie at home... but a constant stream of talking? And not just whispering either, but often full volume talking? That is just obnoxious and rude. Grrr...
Anyway, decent movie. Not amazing. Not worth a second view. But fine for killing a few hours on a weekend. It probably would have been OK to wait for the DVD though.
Electoral College: Missouri flips to McCain, Arizona swings again
In today's update we have 41 new polls in 21 different states, but only two states change status. (Plus, I have a correction on the status of one additional state, see the end of the post.)
The two changes:
Missouri (11 ev): After being "Lean Obama" for most of October, McCain takes the lead in the last five poll average in the state of Missouri, moving the state back to "Lean McCain". I do note that the largest lead Obama ever had in the state was 3.5%, and now McCain's lead is 0.4%. Both "Lean" categories are considered "Swing States" for a reason. The polls are close enough that random poll variation could easily push a candidate from one side to another, or any random event that gains traction could move the state from one category to another at any moment. So these states should be considered too close to call, regardless of which side of the line they are on.
Arizona (10 ev): Arizona became a swing state a few days ago, then McCain had a couple of good polls and the state moved back to "Weak McCain". Today, with some additional polls showing a close race again, as of today McCain's lead is once again under 5%, and the state is once again "Lean McCain". It is once again a swing state, and it is once again too close to call.
McCain Best Case - Obama 311, McCain 227
Obama Best Case - Obama 406, McCain 132
If everybody gets their leans - 353 Obama, 185 McCain
This is getting repetitive to say with every update, but where we are right now is STILL that McCain can win every single state that is close, and he would still lose. To win right now, he needs to win all of his strong and weak states, plus ALL of the swing states, plus some combination of Pennsylvania (21 ev), Ohio (20 ev), Virginia (13 ev), Colorado (9 ev), Nevada (5 ev) and New Mexico (5 ev) that adds up to 43 or more electoral votes. Obama has leads greater than 5% in all of those states at the moment.
Another note is probably relevant right now. If a game changing event happened in this race at this point, something that would cause people currently for Obama to change their minds in droves and switch to McCain, it is almost certainly too late to see the results of those changes in the polls before the actual election on Tuesday. When we start including the last pre-election polls into the mix on Monday, they will be reflecting the state of the race as of this weekend at the latest. If something big happens today, Sunday or Monday, the polls will be basically blind as to how that changes people's minds (or not).
OK, finally, a correction.... on my October 29th Update I stated that Mississippi moved from Strong McCain to Weak McCain as McCain's lead dropped below 10%. This was actually the result of a math error. (For those who care, I was accidentally looking at a four poll average instead of a five poll average.) McCain's lead had been reduced by the new poll, but it hadn't quite dipped below 10%. At the time of the update I did on the 29th, the lead should have been 11%. Today it is down to 10.4%. But it has not actually dropped below 10%. So Mississippi is still "Strong McCain" and should have been between the 29th and today as well. I have corrected the chart in this post and the main Electoral College Prediction page. Graphs in older posts remain uncorrected. Because this was a Strong/Weak difference, the summary totals were not affected. I apologize for the error.
Extra Credit (25 points): Do some article research on one of the "toss-up" or "swing" states mentioned in the lean to areas and explain why that state is labeled as such. Make sure that you provide a bibliography for your source(s). Due on Thursday, November 6
Extra Extra Credit (25 points): Using your Prediction Map and watching the National Presidential Elections, summarize how the "toss-up" or "swing" states did. Your summary should reflect each of the states electoral count and what difference in made in the election. Due on Thursday, November 6