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Molly Ivins Would Be Proud

[ 30 ] February 14, 2008 |

Today, a federal court of appeals struck down Texas’s ban on sex toys, which criminalized the promotion and sale of vibrators, etcetera. It’s obviously ridiculous (patently so) that there are still states in which state law limits with what devices people can get pleasure in their own homes. But at least now there’s one fewer. And perhaps this decision will signal changes in other states, too, especially given that the decision was on federal constitutional grounds.

Molly Ivins would be proud.

(via)

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The Chances

[ 28 ] February 13, 2008 |

Jerome Armstrong seems to think that even if Clinton doesn’t have the advantage right now, she’s still in pretty solid shape. Kos disagrees. By my own analysis, she looks to be in terrible trouble. When I made this analysis, based on some very simple assumptions about delegate distribution (55% to the winner, 45% to the loser), the race came to a dead heat. What’s taken place since then is that Obama won Maine, and won considerably higher than 55% of the delegates in all of the other races. Consequently, I have Clinton winning Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, and Wisconsin, plus a few other states, and still being down by eighty pledged delegates at the end of the day.

And it’s actually a bit worse than that for Clinton, because it seems to me that, even assuming all of the states go the way I predict, Obama stands a better chance of getting more than 55% in the races he’s likely to win than she does in the races she’ll win. Now maybe I’m wrong about this, and she’ll blow Obama out of the water in Texas and Ohio, but the problem is that she needs to blow him out of the water; narrow wins aren’t going to cut it. Also, while I think a good case can be made that Clinton can contend in both Wisconsin and Hawaii, it’s notable that the campaign doesn’t seem to think that this is the case. There’s a difference between lowering expectations in these states and ensuring defeat, and the apparent indifference of the campaign to next Tuesday’s primaries goes a long way towards the latter.

Anyway, it looks to me as if Clinton is going to have to do very, very well across the rest of the calendar, and get the delegates from Florida and Michigan on the most favorable terms, and win the superdelegates in order to be competitive. This isn’t impossible, but it doesn’t seem very likely.

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The Dumbest Congressional Use of the Word "Lynching" since 1991

[ 28 ] February 13, 2008 |

So I happen to be watching Roger Clemens’ testimony on C-SPAN 3, and I just heard Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) describe the hearings as “a new definition of the word ‘lynching.’”

Just so we’re clear:

Pictured at left:
Actual Lynching

Pictured at left:
A “new definition of the word ‘lynching’”

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"The tree of progressive politics must be watered with the metaphorical blood of sellouts"

[ 7 ] February 13, 2008 |

I think this correctly assesses the significance of Donna Edwards defeating Al Wynn in the primaries last night, with the caveat that I get the sense that Wynn and a lot of blue dogs aren’t so much sellouts as just straightforward conservative hacks. Either way, while you have to live with blue dogs in conservative districts there’s no reason to tolerate them when they waste safe seats.

Meanwhile, although I am amused that Rudy!’s campaign manager has endorsed Clinton’s campaign strategy, presumably as recently consistent with his own (“1.Lose state after state by resounding margins. 2. ? 3. Victory!”), I also agree that burials of Clinton are very premature. Evidently, she’s not comparable to Giuliani, as 1)she’s actually won several important states, and 2)she’s a good campaigner well-liked by Democratic primary voters. Obama deserves to be favored because he’s generally increased his support as he’s had time to campaign (a primary reason, of course, why trying to claim that Florida can be treated like a normal primary just because lots of people voted is silly.) But Clinton can at least take a very close race to the superdelegates if she pulls of strong wins in Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and these states are demographically favorable states in which she leads in the polls. These leads may evaporate as her leads in a lot of other states have, but until they actually do she has a reasonable chance of winning, and her buy option at 25 is probably a decent bet.

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No You Can’t

[ 0 ] February 13, 2008 |

A parodic McCain response to the viral Obama Yes We Can video.

I particularly like the signer.

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Alan Keyes Watch

[ 20 ] February 13, 2008 |

So Alan Keyes wasn’t on the Republican ballot in either Virginia or the District of Columbia. Nevertheless, with nearly 70% of Maryland’s precincts reporting (9:26 PM Alaska time), he’s locked in a battle with Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson for fifth place.

I’m going to stay up all night if I need to, but after the ass-kicking he delivered to both of them in Kansas last week, I’m confident the 500-vote gap will disappear and Keyes will be wearing their ears on a necklace by tomorrow morning. (This is a guy, you’ll recall, who wasn”t afraid to expel his lesbian daughter from the family, so I doubt a pair of has-beens are going to keep him down.) If my predictions hold true, Keyes will have beaten four candidates who lacked the oysters to continue fighting, leaving Mittens as the only withdrawn candidate to out-poll him in the Potomac. This, to use a term of art, is what’s known in the political trade as “momentum.”

Earlier in the week, Alan Keyes was understandably buoyant about his prospects of winning the Republican nomination through a brokered convention. In an interview with The Beaumont [Texas] Enterprise, he quickly brushed past the question of whether he could actually overtake McCain before the party gathers this summer in Minneapolis St. Paul.

Of course I can. I am both the most experienced in every respect, and the best candidate. I proved that back in 2000, when I won every single Republican debate.

I think it is just a matter of getting the word out, from the grassroots to the media, to overcome the effort of the elite to destroy the freedom of choice of the American people.

If you don’t see the choice, be the choice. Americans should not accept the other choices. We are the masters of the political realm in this country, not a bunch of self-serving elites.

People should step forward and offer leadership. I happen to be in a positon to do that, it is not only my right, it is my obligation.

When the history of this political season is written, I’m confident the Keyes campaign will have completely revolutionized the way we think about the nomination process. Unlike Fred Thompson, for example — who blew his wad fighting in vain for an early-stage victory in South Carolina — Alan Keyes is a patient man. And unlike the Mayor of 9/11, Keyes has wisely chosen not to spend tens of millions of dollars only to pull in one lonely convention delegate. In preparation for the state’s March 4 primary, he’s campaigning non-stop in Texas, hoping to catch the rest of the Republican field when they’ve either given up or taken victory for granted. He’s got a lot to overcome, of course. The media treat him as if he were some kind of clown, and even the political futures markets ignore him, which is a total mound of fucking bullshit, since Alan Keyes is the only candidate who actually believes in free markets.

Anyhow, the next few weeks will be crucial for the Keyes campaign. He’ll be spending Valentine’s Day at the Houston Pachyderm Club (look for him in the Spaghetti Warehouse room) before heading to League City for a Friday evening engagement at the Shrine of the True Cross Church. And if anyone knows Mike Kinsky — Keyes’ point man in Southeast Houston — you’ve probably received your invitation to the reception he’s generously hosting at his home.

In case you’re not quite as worked up as you should be about this, go listen to “Yes Keyes Can!” — an excellent mash-up from fellow Keyes enthusiast Undercover Black Man.

. . . UPDATE (6:34 AM): A recount is in order. Like the man says, “If you can’t see the change, be the change.”

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Preview of the First Republican Attack Ad

[ 18 ] February 13, 2008 |

Barack Obama’s last name rhymes with “Osama”…. as in Osama Bin Laden.

Barack Obama’s middle name is “Hussein”… just like Saddam Hussein.

Barack Obama says that he’s fought on the streets of Chicago… just like Al Capone.

Do we really need a President who’s worse than Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and Al Capone combined?

Vote John McCain for President.

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Potomac Tuesday Open Thread

[ 18 ] February 13, 2008 |

After New Hampshire, no blowout predictions or any such thing from me. However, VA already called for Obama.

…D.C. called for Obama at 8:00:01. This is probably not surprising.

…Democratic turnout appears to be roughly double Republican turnout. In Virginia. To put it more clearly, right now Obama is receiving more than 3x the votes of McCain. I know that the Republican race is supposed to be over, and that might depress turnout, but still…

…ROB: is it just my imagination, or is Pat Buchanan making sense? While I hope that the campaign doesn’t go negative, I think he’s right that in order to win Clinton needs to go on the attack right now. She’s not going to out-positive or out-likable Obama at this point.

…ROB: And for crying out loud, can’t either of them come up with a campaign song that’s not by U2?

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Please Please Please

[ 0 ] February 13, 2008 |

If Huckabee wins Virginia, this will be the happiest day of my life.

….er, except for my wedding day. Ahem.

UPDATE: McCain up by ~150 votes with 29% reporting. Shut the counting down now!

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Why Pantload Will Be Voting for McCain

[ 15 ] February 12, 2008 |

Shorter Pantload, explaining why conservatives just might want to reconsider their loathing of John McCain:

Tobias: You know, Lindsay, as a therapist, I have advised a number of couples to explore an open relationship where the couple remains emotionally committed, but free to explore extra-marital encounters.

Lindsay: Well, did it work for those people?

Tobias: (chuckles) No, it never does. I mean, these people somehow delude themselves into thinking it might, but…. But it might work for us

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Campaigns And Rules Matter!

[ 57 ] February 12, 2008 |

Josh Patashnik notes the vote-predicting regressions run by Pablano, which suggest that “if a normal campaign had been conducted in Florida just like everywhere else, there would have been a 12-to-14 point swing in Obama’s favor.” In some sense, this data is superfluous, because outside the necessity for desperate ad hoc pro-Clinton spin nobody would argue that no-stakes straw polls produce the same results as actual elections, or that campaigns in primary elections don’t matter. It should also be obvious that to cite the raw level of turnout as a reason why the non-election should be retroactively counted is to commit the same fallacy as the Literary Digest poll with a 2.3 million sample that had Alf Landon in a landslide over FDR in 1936. Not only would the size of the electorate had been different in a real election, but the composition of the electorate would different because vote preferences aren’t static.

Meanwhile, since we’re likely to hear more such desperation if Clinton doesn’t do well today, I suppose I should address this:

[A]n all time record voted.

Obama lost be 300,000 votes.

He lost. There will NOT be a new selection process.

Obama was ON the ballot.

Throw these results out at your peril. Florida will be lost to us.

Even if you agree that fundamental norms of fairness and legality should be violated to change the rules ex post facto to benefit a particular candidate and count a non-election as an election, this argument that we can’t afford to alienate Florida fails on its own terms because it ignores the obvious costs of such an action. Would a marginal increase in Democratic prospects in Florida be worth a convention battle that would tear the party apart? This is, to put it mildly, implausible. And, moreover, the assumption about Florida itself it highly dubious. What do you think that, for example, African-American turnout would be in Florida given the widespread (and correct) perception that Clinton stole the nomination? Do you think there’s much of a chance the Dems could win Florida under this conditions? Of course not. This dilemma might be a good argument that the DNC’s action against Florida was excessive, but to just change the rules in a way that would allow delegates from a non-election in Florida to determine the nominee would compound the error in numerous ways.

This may be unduly optimistic, but having said this I’m not too worried about this happening; I don’t think the people responsible for determining this have the kind of death wish for the party that some Clinton supporters do. The superdelegates will ratify any candidate with a significant lead in pledged delegates, the Michigan and Florida non-primaries will not count towards pledged delegates, and the delegates from these states will not be seated unless they can’t affect the outcome of the nominating process.

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More on Axe

[ 59 ] February 12, 2008 |

Following up on D, Axe has perhaps taken it to a new misogynistic low with their newest add (and here you didn’t think they could go any lower). Behold:

As Jezebel says, the ad “stinks worse than their crappy cologne.” Anyone else think Barack Obama could sue for defamation simply because the company implies that he wears the stuff? Apparently McCain could too.

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