Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Completely off topic

If anyone is interested in watching tonight's lunar eclipse, we've got clear skies, and our students are streaming live video here:


A tale of two headlines

The Chicago Tribune, historically a country-club Republican paper, described last night in their headline by saying:

Wisconsin to Obama, Decisively

The paper formerly known as the Wall Street Journal, which, now Fox-ified, is wetting itself to run against HRC, said

Obama Holds Off Clinton in Wisconsin

'nuf said.

Does this robe make my butt look big?

There isn't much I can add to this.

At the Electoro-Plex


Theater One: No Country for Old Men

Theater Two: The Hottie
and the Nottie

Theater One: There Will Be Blood

Be sure and visit us for our upcoming favorites weekend, where we will be showing

The Sting




The primary by the numbers

Note: Some of the numbers here may be off a few delegates, but it shouldn't be many.

We're far enough into the process where the variability has decreased, and we can with slightly more accuracy discuss what the possible outcomes are. As of this morning, Obama has roughly 1187 pledged delegates and Clinton has about 1028 (according to If any of the superdelegate counts are to be believed, Obama has roughly 169 and Clinton has 239, giving them totals of 1356 and 1267, respectively. They need 2025 delegates to win the nomination, meaning that Obama needs 669 and Hillary needs 758. There are 1426 delegates left to get (Edwards has 26, and I'm including that in this number), 1049 of which are pledged and 387 are superdelegates.

Now, what about the future? How does each candidate picture getting those delegates?

Let's assume, as a best case scenario for Hillary, that she does as well in Texas and Ohio on March 4th as she did in California, where she won by a 10-point margin (and roughly 43 delegates). I don't see her winning by more than that, unless Obama falls on his face somewhere - he's winning too many subgroups, and even if she can hold the line, asking for more than what would essentially be a 30+ point turnaround from Wisconsin would be unreasonable. There are a total of 334 delegates available in those two states, 90% of California. In this scenario, she would gain around 186, and he would get 148. The other two March 4th states are Rhode Island and Vermont, with a total of 36 delegates. Comparing that to Maine and Delaware (two reasonably similar states which voted on Super Tuesday or later), that would project Obama to get 22 and Clinton 14 from those states. So the big "firewall" day would gain her a net +30 delegates, which would reduce the gap from around 90 to around 60 (assuming no changes in the superdelegate spread). Pennsylvania has another 158 delegates, and by this logic, she could gain another +16 on him (87-71).

Interim break: totals including projections for TX, OH, RI, VT, and PA:
Obama - 1597 (428 remaining to win)
Clinton - 1554 (471 remaining to win)

What are the other states still to vote? Wyoming, Mississippi, North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Oregon, Kentucky, Montana, South Dakota, and Puerto Rico (and Democrats Abroad). Given the results of the last 2 weeks, Obama has to be favored by significant margins in WY, MI, NC, IN, OR, MT, and SD. Kentucky could go more like Tennessee, he's really unpopular in WV (my sister lives there and has given me the inside info), and I have no idea what will happen in PR. Those seven states have a total of 315 delegates available. If they go anything like the states have gone in the 10-election winning streak, he'd come out with ~65% of the delegates, or 203 (compared with 112 for Clinton). Let's knock that down a bit, and call it 190-125. Then Obama's at 1787 and Hillary's at 1679. Those other states (KY, WV, PR, and the Dems Abroad) have a total of 141 delegates. Let's say she cleans up there, on the order of TN, which would give her an 81-60 edge in those states. Then, after all the pledged delegates are counted, the totals would be (there are roughly 57 assorted delegates that haven't yet been assigned due to close votes - I'm splitting them evenly):

Obama - 1875 (150 needed)
Clinton - 1789 (236 needed)

We'd then have to turn to the superdelegates. In this scenario (which, again, is a best-case scenario for Clinton), she'd need to get 236 out of 387 superdelegates (or 60.9%). That's certainly possible, given that she's won about 58.6% so far. If that happened, she could win the nomination, with these totals:

Pledged delegates - Obama: 1706, Clinton: 1550
Superdelegates - Obama: 318, Clinton: 475

In this scenario, she wins 2025-2024, on the strength of grabbing 60% of the superdelegates while winning 47.6% of the pledged delegates, and, obviously, causing headaches and turmoil the entire time. That would be a disaster.

I think a far more likely scenario is that Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania end up as essentially a tie (or, given momentum, an edge to Obama). If they're a tie, he'd be at 1902 before dealing with the remaining superdelegates, and she'd be at 1762. To win then, she'd have to take 68% of the superdelegates, and unless all the higher ups in the party want to screw themselves over, I don't see that happening.

Here's a more likely (in my opinion) projection of how this goes. One input is how Obama's done in the last 10 races - if we don't count the Virgin Islands and DC (both of which are outliers for different reasons), he's winning by a 29 point margin on average. That's a landslide, folks.

Starting Point - current tally
Obama 1365
Clinton 1267

The superdelegates have been breaking more in his direction over the last few weeks. She'd held a consistent 90+ margin, and now it's down to 70. I won't assume that it will narrow any more, but that they'll split the remaining superdelegates roughly 50-50.

Obama 193
Clinton 194

Remaining states and delegate breakdown predictions (written as Obama/Clinton state and total, without additional superdelegates):

Texas (105/88 - 1470/1355) - he'll be helped by the caucus format
Ohio (66/75 - 1533/1430) - Ohio is too red, and in a hick/racist way
Rhode Island - (13/8 - 1546/1438) - for the same reasons as the potomac states, etc.
Vermont - (11/4 - 1557/1442) - no state that elects Bernie Sanders will support someone who voted to authorize the damned war
Wyoming - (8/4 - 1565/1446) - look at Idaho and Utah
Mississippi - (18/15 - 1583/1461) - 19more like Alabama than Georgia
Pennsylvania - (90/78 - 1673/1539) - she'll be helped by the New York proximity and the racist governor, but by now, the momentum of him winning 15/16 races since Super Tuesday) is too much too stop
North Carolina - (75/40 - 1748/1579) - between SC and VA, and he'll romp here
Indiana - (40/32 - 1788/1611) - lots of Illinois folk to drive across the border
West Virginia - (12/16 - 1800/1595) - despite the historical fact that WV was created because it was the part of Virginia that didn't want slavery, Obama is way unpopular there
Oregon - (35/17 - 1835/1612) - another Western caucus state
Kentucky - (23/28 - 1858/1640) - caintuck just worries me, even though it's a caucus state
Montana - (12/4 - 1870/1644) - western state again
South Dakota - (11/4 - 1881/1648) - ditto
Puerto Rico - (25/30 - 1906/1678) - frickin' guess
Democrats Abroad - (5/2 - 1911/1680) - ditto

Actually, I think it could go a little better than this as the momentum builds, but let's say this happens. Now, if we add 1911 to 193, Obama's at 2104, and the Democratic nominee for president. The real question, in this model, is if after March 4, splitting Ohio and TX, and having a net delegate loss for Clinton of 20 on her firewall day, does she have the decency to drop out, or will she continue trying to hamstring Obama all the way to Denver?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Expect the ugly to continue

After Obama's win in Wisconsin tonight, the "inside information" (via MSNBC) from Hillary Clinton's campaign:

"If you look at his negatives, they have nowhere to go but up."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Like this is good news...

Israel Readies Missiles in North


(JERUSALEM) — Israel has deployed U.S.-made Patriot air defense missiles near the northern city of Haifa in case of an attack by Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas in response to the killing of the group's top commander, security officials said Monday.

Thanks George.


The demise of the paper formerly known as the Wall Street Journal in the Rupert Murdoch Era is official.

The WSJ was never an exciting read, but they provided invaluable business reporting. The news department did so with the full knowledge that the editorial page was manned by major loons. Dow Jones did a remarkable job of maintaining the massive wall between news and editorial--I'd hazard a guess that the news group didn't even tell editorial where the Christmas party was going to be.

Alack and alas, now that Rupert Murdoch has taken over the WSJ, this once useful if dull paper has become just another mouthpiece in the Faux News arsenal. Just check out this FRONT PAGE headline from a recent edition:

Democrats' Attacks on Business Heat Up

Yeah, that is exactly "Fair and Balanced."


Thank God for the Constitution!

I'm sure Thomas Jefferson would be proud (or at least Ben Franklin!)

From the 5th, a bedrock conservative circuit.

Federal Appeals Court Overturns Texas Sex-Toy Ban

FORT WORTH, Texas — A federal appeals court has overturned a statute outlawing sex toy sales in Texas, one of the last states — all in the South — to retain such a ban.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Texas law making it illegal to sell or promote obscene devices, punishable by as many as two years in jail, violated the right to privacy guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Companies that own Dreamer's and Le Rouge Boutique, which sell the devices in its Austin stores, and the retail distributor Adam & Eve sued in federal court in Austin in 2004 over the constitutionality of the law. They appealed after a federal judge dismissed the suit and said the Constitution did not protect their right to publicly promote such devices.

In its decision Tuesday, the appeals court cited Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 opinion that struck down bans on consensual sex between same-sex couples.

"Just as in Lawrence, the state here wants to use its laws to enforce a public moral code by restricting private intimate conduct," the appeals judges wrote. "The case is not about public sex. It is not about controlling commerce in sex. It is about controlling what people do in the privacy of their own homes because the state is morally opposed to a certain type of consensual private intimate conduct. This is an insufficient justification after Lawrence."