Wednesday, April 30, 2008

So It Goes
Maybe this is more appropriate to save for a Media Monday, but hey why wait? NYTimes blogs seem to offer more and more interesting writing and writers every time I look. Today, distracted by the link while trying to care about the front page news, I found "Measure for Measure." It's a blog about songwriting. One of the contributors is Rosanne Cash, who is documenting a collaboration with Joe Henry and also commenting on her personal songwriting thoughts as well. It's some great stuff, and well-written. I'm not nuts about the song they came up with, but that's not really the point, or why it's worth following the thread.

Here are her contributions - there are 3 posts so far. Scroll down, and start from the bottom post and work your way up.
I had a post all lined up tonight about the Rev. Wright business - my take on what compels men in a position of guidance and authority to seemingly sabotage the efforts of their protege (or of their flock in this case). I think that's what has happened here with Wright and Obama.

Lucky for you, you are spared the whole thing, because then I read John Cole's post and remembered how stupid it is that we get sucked into these trivial political vortexes. Why is Wright a story? Aren't we in a recession and in 2 wars of dubious progress, exacerbating a climate crisis and a food shortage, and ignoring a health care crisis, while trampling the Constitution? How do we have a news cycle to spare on this other crap? Or, as Cole says:
Maybe it is because I am totally and unrepentantly in the tank for Obama, but I just can’t get worked up over what his pastor said. Maybe it is because I am not religious, and I am used to religious people saying things that sound crazy. Or maybe I just refuse to spend any more time and energy getting worked up over and denouncing, distancing, and rejecting the wrong people- people who really don’t matter in the big scheme of things. If you have a memo from Jeremiah Wright to John Yoo showing how we should become a rogue nation, let me know. If you have pictures of Jeremiah Wright voting against the GI Bill, send it to me. If you have evidence of Jeremiah Wright training junior soldiers on the finer aspects of stacking and torturing naked Iraqi captives, pass them on.

Until then, I just can’t seem to get all worked up about the crazy scary black preacher that Obama has to “throw under the bus.”
Hello!! Our President *sent us to war* on the grounds of a big mistake while he was on some kind of testosterone bender *and we are still there* 4,000 dead soldiers later.... He appointed some political crony with no experience to head FEMA and they sat around while *one of our major cities drowned* and those are just the 2 monumental blunders-of-a-generation that come to mind first. And in the all important election to clean up after his mess, this is what people want to talk about? A candidate's pastor and all the crazy things he's said? Seriously?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama Press Conference [UPDATED]
Supposedly to address the newest round of Rev. Wright, who I thought was by turn smart, funny, challenging, and incredibly egotistical and sanctimonious yesterday.

Not sure I think it's a good idea to sanction another go of questions about it, but they must know it's hurting.

Meanwhile new polls have Obama down by 6 in IN and up by 12 in NC, and new superdelegate endorsements have him within 20 of Clinton in that score now.

[UPDATE: Well, I get it now. Obama has thrown Wright completely under the bus. Ran over him, backed up, and ran over him again. Can't say that he doesn't deserve it. Press guy on MSNBC saying he's never seen Obama so angry as he was over Wright essentially hijacking the campaign at a bad time, and accusing the Senator of pandering in his Philadelphia speech on race, which was in fact very gracious toward the Reverend.

UPDATE 2: Better said, Andrew Sullivan is correct. Rev. Wright is the one who threw Obama under the bus. Obama just refused to stand for it.]

Monday, April 28, 2008

What have you been reading, listening to, watching?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Schumer Spreads Falsehood on Behalf of Hillary
The mistaken notion that Puerto Rico will hold a winner-take-all primary was debunked months ago. Still, today on Wolf Blitzer's Late Edition, Senator Schumer repeated this untruth and of course Wolf did nothing to challenge him.

This matters because Puerto Rico is no small contest. 63 delegates will be up for grabs and if it was indeed winner-take-all, it would be perhaps the most influential primary in the entire country. As a key adviser, Schumer should know that it's not the case, especially if his argument is what a boon it will offer Hillary. But Wolf should know too, and call him on it when he perpetuates the false notion that there is a chance for her to significantly close the pledged delegate gap when in fact there is not.

Puerto Rico is a proportional primary like all the rest.

[UPDATE: Here's the transcript of the exchange.
BLITZER: All right. Here are the delegate counts, the estimates that we have, Senator Schumer. I'll put them up on the screen right now.

For Barack Obama, he has 1,724 delegates. That includes both the pledged and the superdelegates. Hillary Clinton has 1,589.

It's almost certain -- and correct me if I'm wrong, Senator Schumer, that he'll wind up with more pledged delegates. The question is, who will get more of those superdelegates? And in the end, who will reach the magic number of 2,025?

SCHUMER: Right. Well, I think you're right. I do think the number of even pledged delegates is going to narrow. I think Hillary is going to do better in the upcoming primary contests and catch up a little bit. And the one that people often forget is Puerto Rico. It's the last one. It's on June 3rd. It's 63 delegates, I think it is, and it's winner-take-all. She's way ahead in the polls there.

So, even assuming that all of the delegates that are pledged in these primaries break evenly -- and I don't think that will happen -- then you have a margin of 60 or 70 in the superdelegates. There are 300 of them. They could go either way.]

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Delegate Obsession Update [UPDATED 5/1 to reflect new superdelegate endorsements and new polls in IN and NC favoring Hillary.]
After PA, the current pledged delegate count gives Obama a lead of 154, 1490-1336. Current superdelegate endorsements cut that lead to 133, 1734-1601.

Following my formula for analyzing polls, in which the most recent 3 for each state are averaged, and the remaining (undecided) percentage points are awarded 2:1 in favor of Hillary, future states for which recent polls are available show Obama winning NC, OR and SD, losing IN, and getting pounded in WV, KY and PR, resulting in a net gain for Hillary in delegates of 40 (if you assign popular vote percentages to the delegates at stake - a crude approximation to be sure), which would make the delegate total:

Obama 1908
Clinton 1815
Obama +93

Currently, 2,024 delegates are required to win the nomination. Obama can safely count on at least 1 additional delegate from Guam (out of 4), and 7 from Montana (out of 16) giving him a projected 1916. There are 285 superdelegates left to endorse. With 108 of them (37.9%), Obama will have enough delegates to win, presuming none of his current delegates defect. If the campaign knows of 100 or so who are willing to endorse, the next couple of weeks would be a great time to unveil them.

Side note. Hillary's argument to the remaining superdelegates will obviously depend on the popular vote. Applying the percentages I've used from the polled states to the turnout estimates I have read would give Hillary a gain of just over 500,000 votes in those remaining states (minus Guam and MT, for which there are no polls). This will still leave Obama ahead in the popular vote count by about 100,000, unless you - unfairly - leave out the caucus states, in which case the popular vote total is closer, but Obama still narrowly leads. Adding Florida - where the candidates did not campaign - would put Hillary in the lead by a few hundred thousand. That will obviously be her argument to those remaining 300 superdelegates, that considering every state with a primary, more voters prefer her.

Because she stands to rack up huge margins in WV and KY (gaining over 300,000 in my estimate), I am hoping that wins in NC and IN on May 6 convince superdelegates to put an end to this nonsense before we ever get to those 2 states on May 13 and 20, respectively. And why wouldn't you? If you are for Obama, wouldn't you rather come out after a couple of wins, then wait through some pounding losses that give Clinton the impression of momentum?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Today's Tennessean reports on the decline in membership in Southern Baptist churches - and baptisms to their lowest level since 1987, prompting this marvelously self-aware explanation:
The president of the Southern Baptist Convention blamed the decline in part on a perception that its followers are "mean-spirited, hurtful and angry."
Ya think? He left out a few choice adjectives, but it's a decent start.
Nerd Alert
Is there an online sensation that could make fantasy sports players seem less nerdy? How about Fantasy Congress! I'm drafting Ted Kennedy in the first round! That man knows how to pile up points.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

McCain falls in line with Republicans, approves of their killing the Equal Pay Act.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

OK I'm Done Whining
For now. About Hillary and the superdelegates.
Delegates Shmelegates
I can only imagine the extreme ridicule that would be heaped on Obama from the Clinton camp if he tried to argue that the contest should continue despite being way behind in the one metric laid out in the nomination rules: delegates. I don't think it's a stretch to say that it wouldn't occur to Obama or to most of us to even dare make the case that an insurmountable pledged delegate lead should be ignored because he still considers himself a stronger candidate that the party leaders should install as the nominee.

In a very real sense, only the Clintons and their groupies are brazen enough, and selfish enough, (and powerful enough) to openly question the process in this way. Obama would be long gone, if not out of a gracious nod to reality, then at least under intense, heckling, Huckabee-like dismissal. Even if he waited around for it to become mathematically impossible, he would have long since stopped campaigning against the presumed nominee.

This popular vote argument is outrageous, a denial of the rules as they are laid out, and nothing less than an attempted coup by the Clinton power structure, which simply can't face or accept defeat by an outsider. As Obama himself has said, if he had thought that his goal was to win the popular vote, he would have campaigned differently. Much differently. The same as a general election would be conducted differently if popular vote matters. On the (far) outside chance that she overtakes him in the popular vote, superdelegates would still take the party down a generation of revolt to vote her in. And that leads me to the thought that initiated this post to begin with:

From this point on, the superdelegates who have not endorsed are a cowardly bunch and nearly as much to blame as the Clinton campaign for this thing dragging on. Every primary we are forced to endure from here on out is a colossal waste of time, a beauty contest for the sole benefit of the 300 superdelegates remaining. All of the money spent and attacks bringing the Party down are purely for their amusement. Every superdelegate that has not endorsed is now prolonging the process. The only ones who have even an argument for delaying are those in states that have yet to vote. Not many of those left.

Every superdelegate who is for Obama should come out and drive the numbers up and make it mathematically impossible for her to win, ASAP. There's no excuse for waiting beyond political cowardice. You know who is ahead by the rules, and who will be ahead at the end. Either have the nerve to pick against the Party nomination process as decided by the voters (which is surely their right), or get the hell on board.

If they really think there are issues with Obama that make them hesitant to support him, they should say so out loud and detail what those issues are. Yes, they are allowed to stay quiet and wait all the way until the Convention. It is their right. But doing so makes them cowards, and they damage the Party's chances - hence damage the country - in the process.

We shouldn't be waiting for the 4 million or so who are still to vote, because nothing they do will change reality: Obama is in the lead. And will be. 300 people - not 4 million - hold the keys to the nomination. They are the ones making us wait. They should be held accountable for that, starting now.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

That is my current election return mood. The Clinton campaign is content to ruin the party for a generation, ruin the chances of a young political superstar, and run the country further into the ground under Republican rule. If Hillary can't be President, they are telling us, then let no Democrat be President. She would rather travel the country convincing especially elderly and blue collar voters that they simply can't trust Obama with their vote, knowing full well that *there is no way for her to win the nomination.* Oh and by the way, the networks have projected Barack Obama the winner of the pledged delegate count. That was supposed to mean something because of, you know, the rules, but oh well.

I'm not shocked that Hillary is refusing to lose gracefully. I am shocked that so many Democrats are falling for, and perpetuating, her political suicide mission. (Even my anti-Obama Hillary-supporting feminist friend has come around now. I'll have an Obama sign in her front yard by fall.) Why are so many elected officials still supporting her through her tearing down of our nominee?

I'm giving the media and the Democratic higher-ups just 2 more weeks to figure this out. And if they don't, I'm gonna....I'm an angry blog post or something. So, think about that before you deny me a celebration after North Carolina on May 6.

If there was any sanity around, we would currently be celebrating the true news, which is this:
My baseless prediction is Clinton 53, Obama 47, slightly closer than most are predicting.

For a while there I really thought Obama would catch her and win even in this Hillary haven. A state couldn't be much more perfect for her. The worst part is that a modest victory - and far cry from the 20-point lead she had a few weeks ago - will do nothing to improve her chances of somehow rising from the ashes and grabbing the nomination. Her only longshot possibility is a catching him in popular vote, based on a hope that huge turnout and a massive win in Puerto Rico will garner hundreds of thousands of votes in June. Yep - that's the plan. Puerto Rico, to claim the popular vote lead. Even then, she has to convince superdelegates, and lots of them, that a popular vote lead is worth supporting her over.

The number I'm looking at is 200,000. If she can't gain that many votes on Barack in PA, catching him would seem just about impossible. He's ahead by about 700,000 now. If he holds her closer to 100,000, it's a huge victory and even her popular vote plan will be in shambles. If she gains closer to 300,000, it will still be possible to pull off.

Don't even think about pledged delegates. She is behind by at least 161. She will have to win 364 of the remaining 566 pledged delegates to be selected to catch him. That's more than 64%. There is no real chance of catching him in pledged delegates.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What have you been listening to, reading, watching?

PBS Watch
Bill Moyers' Journal is usually worth watching, but maybe especially so this coming weekend.

Standard Operating Procedure
You can watch the trailer to Errol Morris' new documentary here. And a NYTimes review is here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Definitely Felt the Earthquake This Morning
In my half asleep stupor I convinced myself it was just a train going by or something like that. Not until I woke up did I remember that I don't live near a train. It was a very slight vibration, like what I used to feel during the spin cycle of my old washing machine, or like when my family used to live under the roller coaster at Coney Island (no, wait, that wasn't me. That was Radio Days.)

Kinda crazy to find out on the news this morning what it really was. I assume our Illinois friends felt it much more profoundly - hope everyone is ok and everything stayed on the walls and what not.
Did I Mention...
...that a guy has invented a machine that purports to kill cancerous cells?

It seems worth repeating. And, although this isn't evidence that it will actually work, it occurs to me that this is exactly the kind of step forward described again and again in Bill Bryson's history of science, in which someone without the "proper background" applies what he nonetheless knows and intuits and solves a problem that nobody else could figure, or even knew was a problem to be solved.

We can always hope.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Oh yeah, while you're waiting for the game to start (see post below), or during the intermission, read this. Some guy with a couple of radios and a hot dog pan has gone and cured cancer. No, really. (maybe)

via Kos.
Why Watch the Debate?
Here's what I've decided, for the good of my health - and it has the benefit of being true: the Democratic nomination is over; one of the candidates is just taking a little time coming around to the reality. So, trying not to obsess over the process of getting there, knowing that really no matter what happens in PA, or in NC or IN for that matter, Obama's lead in pledged delegates is simply insurmountable.

So, really, why bother yourself with this torturous debate, which could have you variously cringing or throwing things at the TV, as Hillary continues to pile on with GOP-style attacks designed to cripple out assured nominee?

Intead, watch an underdog with at least a mathematical chance of victory: the Nashville Predators, taking on the Red Wings in game 4 of their playoff series, trying to even things up. I have my doubts that the Preds can actually come up with a second win in a row over the best team in the NHL, but - as opposed to Hillary's postseason effort - at least they are still in the race, one win from tying things up; and even a loss tonight does not knock them out just yet.

The game is on the Versus Network around 9 Eastern/8 Central. I'll be in section 330, wearing the same lucky underwear I wore for the thrilling game 2 victory (kidding, mom).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Salmon Crisis
A NYTimes editorial today builds on a piece from last month I read showing the collapse of the West Coast salmon population. The development caused the Fishery Council to "cancel all commercial salmon fishing" this season.
The warning signals of the collapse came last fall. Among the adult salmon that return from the ocean to spawn in the rivers of their birth are immature ones that have spent as little as a year in the ocean. The quantity of these younger fish, called jacks, is a reliable predictor of the abundance of the next year’s run. Last fall, the count of the fall Chinook jacks from the Sacramento River was less than 6 percent of the long-term average.

Two factors are suspected. One is federally sanctioned diversion of water from the Sacramento River into the irrigation system used by farmers in the Central Valley of California. The other is a climate-driven change in the normal upwellings in the ocean that could have deprived the young fish of food.
In today's opinion, the NYTimes says:
This decision is necessary if there is to be any hope of salmon recovery. It will mean even more if it shocks Congress into a serious investigation of the West Coast salmon crisis, exposes the politically driven policies of the Bush administration and persuades a new president of the need to rebuild wild salmon populations and the economies that depend on them.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What have you been listening to, reading, watching?

Film Recommendation
During the last week I saw The Illusionist, with Paul Giamatti and Edward Norton. Surprisingly good! When a plot is essentially predictable but still compelling in the execution that's a pretty impressive accomplishment.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Turning Off -- Sunday Edition Deep Thought [UPDATED--Must Read]
I haven't watched one of the Sunday talk shows in about a month, and I seem to be a generally happier person.

I have no interest in enduring an hour of Russert's smile while he bounds through this complete nonsense passing as a new Obama scandal as if it raises a completely legitimate, important point.

I wish Obama would make (would have made) one tweak in his statement. It's not that people are bitter in general (though maybe they are). It's that they're bitter *toward the Democrats* for failing to govern in a way that looks after their interests.

[UPDATE: via Kos, Read Robert Reich. The whole post is powerful and on point.

UPDATE 2: Here, by the way, are Obama's remarks in question with a bit more context.]

Friday, April 11, 2008

Nice Response by Obama
SusanG at DailyKos runs down the latest Obama scandal. Apparently, he said some voters are angry and frustrated at the fact that Washington has consistently failed to successfully address their economic challenges. I know....who could say such a thing? Click through to read the hysterics of the Clinton and McCain campaigns, who called him "elitist" and "out of touch." But more importantly, click through *and scroll down* to watch the response of Obama later in the day speaking in Indiana.
Perception Versus(?) Reality [UPDATED]
Today's NYTimes Blogs includes the second post in a series by documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. They are both a great read, especially if you have seen his amazing and haunting film, "The Thin Blue Line." Here he is focused on the issue of perception and reality, and deception - either from within, or without - as well as the nature of re-enactment. This is the way the first part of the series ends.
The brain is not a Reality-Recorder. There is no perfect replica of reality inside our brains. The brain elides, confabulates, conflates, denies, suppresses, evades, confuses and distorts. It has its own agenda and can even work at cross-purposes with our conscious selves. Consciously, we may think that we see all and know all, but our brains may be “blind” to much of what is going on around us.

Many people believe they have found a way around the eccentricities of the brain by substituting a camera, but this only defers the problem. It does not solve it. Even photographs have to be perceived. They have to be seen. There is no shortcut around the Cartesian riddle of separating reality from the appearance of reality. There is no shortcut to reality. The brain is all we have.
I really recommend both pieces.

[UPDATE: Love the Internets. Why do I not visit Morris' blog regularly to make sure I catch every post? Scrolling through his previous writings, I stumbled upon another series; this one has 3 parts, and it's even more fascinating. Here's part one, part two, and part three. Can you tell Friday afternoon has already started my weekend?]

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Are There Any Commercials..
...more annoying than those commercials?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

McCain Pastor Interview
Those handful of you who are familiar with the Baptist world may be interested in this little inside baseball tidbit.

A little background first: John McCain has been rightly criticized for his pandering to the Religious Right this time around. It's been painfully obvious, to the extent that one wonders why the panderees aren't more uniformly insulted by his sudden advances (It's as if only James Dobson sees clearly here...). You'll remember that back when reasonable, straight-talking McCain was running for President in 2000, he considered fundamentalist leaders to be something of a scourge on the Republican party, and he said so - "agents of intolerance", he called them. Fast-forward 8 years later and he's speaking to Falwell's crowd at graduation, begging for Hagee's endorsement and oh yeah, he's not Episcopalian anymore. He's Southern Baptist. (Or, at least he attends a Southern Baptist church in Arizona - not technically a member) Has there ever been a more unconvincing attempt by a politician to be accepted by conservative religious Southerners, (who generally view Episcopalian as another word for Catholic, which is to say, only grudgingly American)? But, I digress.

McCain's new Sunday stomping ground while home is mega-church North Phoenix Baptist, a member of the very right-wing Southern Baptist Convention. But here's the thing. Apparently, McCain's conversion to the far-religious-right just couldn't quite stomach a full-fledged fundamentalist doctrine once a week. The church he joined is actually quite the moderate congregation, in Baptist terms. (In normal parlance, that means it's only woefully mainstream conservative.) As one former Baptist leader who would know said to me, "If you were looking to appear like you're in league with the fundamentalist, politically ambitious crowd, that's not a church you would join."

Getting around to actual news of the day, and the reason for this post, McCain's Arizona pastor, Dan Yeary, has been quite the sought-after interview lately, what with Hagee's controversial endorsement and Jeremiah Wright's unfortunate ascendance on the national political scene. But Yeary has been reluctant to put his name out there, and respectably so, I suppose. Still, the demand may have gotten to him, or else the need to address an issue or two weighed too heavily, and so he decided to seek a reasonable religious outlet for an interview after all.

If you were a far-right conservative Baptist in bed with the Southern Baptist movers and shakers, you would grant this interview to the Convention's "news" arm, Baptist Press. Instead - and what's interesting here - Yeary dialed up their direct competitor, Associated Baptist Press, which was in fact created to offer a moderate, journalistically sound, Baptist alternative to the overtly political, one-sided, PR-machine-masquerading-as-a-news-organization that Baptist Press became after the fundamentalist takeover of the denomination. This interview is quite the get for ABP, really. And, as if to send a little tweak in BP's direction, the ABP article includes this (my emphasis):
Yeary has been reluctant to talk to the news media about the McCains or his relationship with them. He has turned down many media requests in order to protect his relationship with the family and their privacy. But he initiated an interview with Associated Baptist Press in an attempt to quell continued journalistic curiosity about McCain’s faith, saying he trusts the independent national news organization’s reputation for fairness.
I don't know how this interview came about. The McCain camp's idea? Yeary on his own? Either way, if the SBC poobahs are paying attention they are a bit insulted, as well they should be. ABP primarily serves the kind of Baptists the SBC calls liberals and heretics, the kind they ran out of their Convention 20 years ago--the Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Bill Moyers, church-state separating kind of Baptists. Our own Kenny B was the original Washington Bureau Chief for ABP - that kind of Baptist. For whatever reason, Southern Baptist exiles are where McCain's pastor felt comfortable. One reason is, clearly, Yeary is right: ABP is fair and reasonable and a respected news organization. They're decidedly not political. Still, considering the politics of it all, it's an interesting choice.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Wonder what happened in committee hearings with Petraeus today? The NYTimes liveblogged the action. In true liveblog fashion, if you want to read the events chronologically, scroll to the bottom first, and make your way toward the top.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Some Day...
...we might get word that the climate crisis is not as bad, and not moving along as fast, as we have been fearing, but not today.
One of the world's leading climate scientists warns today that the EU and its international partners must urgently rethink targets for cutting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of fears they have grossly underestimated the scale of the problem.

In a startling reappraisal of the threat, James Hansen, head of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, calls for a sharp reduction in C02 limits.

Hansen says the EU target of 550 parts per million of C02 - the most stringent in the world - should be slashed to 350ppm. He argues the cut is needed if "humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilisation developed"....
"If you leave us at 450ppm for long enough it will probably melt all the ice - that's a sea rise of 75 metres. What we have found is that the target we have all been aiming for is a disaster - a guaranteed disaster," Hansen told the Guardian.
Does This Mean I'm a Hockey Fan?
I understand there's some kind of basketball game on tonight? Some sort of championship or whatever? But I'm skipping it so I can watch the draft lottery and playoff previews on the NHL Network. (Heck, I might have even skipped a really juicy committee hearing on C-Span for it.) I'm still learning the finer points of the game, and don't know too many of the players outside the Central division - besides the ones everyone knows - but playoff hockey is becoming one of my favorite TV times of the year. Rooting for the Canadiens and the Pens in the East, and the Preds (of course) and the Avs in the West. Crosby, Malkin and the Pens drop the puck at 6 on Wednesday!
What have you been reading, listening to, watching?

Article 19 Film Recommendation
I saw 2 good ones over the weekend: Paranoid Park, Gus van Sant's newest, and finally saw last year's Eastern Promises which was really great - pretty graphically violent a time or 2.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Weekend Assignment
It's the 40th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. If you haven't read his final speech lately, do yourself a favor. Read the whole thing. Or better yet watch the video.
Lovely Symbolism
I suppose it wasn't likely the campaign's decision to have a black man holding McCain's umbrella for him while he apologized for consistently opposing the Martin Luther King holiday (in front of an audience that wasn't thrilled with him, by the way). But still...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Was talking this over with Kenny B, and also Kenny T. An interesting DKos post looks into the problem of Appalachia for Obama, which would explain why he was never close in TN, lost OH, and will likely lose WV and KY and PA. I'm not sure I understand his struggles there especially, but it would seem to be true. Personally, I think Obama will make it pretty close in PA, if not win. But WV and KY will be tough. If he pulls off a PA stunner, we probably wouldn't even make it to those states anyway. Do I have any evidence, you ask, that PA is within reach? Yes I do. [UPDATE: and there's this.]

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Fantasy Life of Teachers
Involves things like this. Note the "3-chamber barrel", and the promise of twice the endurance.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Kudos to Olbermann
If you have been following his show, you know he has waged a week-long campaign against Walmart for its treatment of an ex-employee who's been on the receiving end of some serious personal tragedy. I won't go over details here but worth passing along that CNN reports Walmart has relented. I love stories like this, not just because it's the rare example of the greedy corporation brought to account, but because it puts the lie to their primary argument here: our hands are tied. The policy simply won't allow any flexibility. I guess that's just not true.

But even beyond that, I'm sure that Walmart was right. That probably *is* the policy everyone deals with. So now they've made an exception and hopefully opened themselves up to challenge from many others.