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The "Significant" States

[ 189 ] February 14, 2008 |

Shorter Mark Penn, Union Buster (TM): “The states that vote for Obama are insignificant. In fact, the only states that count are our home state, California, Texas, and states that held straw polls we can retrospectively claim to be primaries, preferably with the candidate who would be soundly beating us if any of his victories counted excluded from the ballot.”

I can’t say that the thought of having this strategic mastermind in charge of a general election campaign fills me with great hope. It also seems to me that it would have been better for Clinton to take some of the 5 million smackers she’s paying to get advice from idiots and use that to actually advertise and/or organize in the “insignificant” states.

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Producing a Generation of A*$holes

[ 64 ] February 14, 2008 |

Via AmericaBlog, there’s a story of St. Marys, a Catholic boy’s high school in Kansas that refused to allow a woman to referee one of its basketball games because [a woman] could not be put in a position of authority over boys because of the academy’s beliefs. I kid you not.

In fairness to the state’s athletic association, it will consider removing St. Mary’s from the list of approved schools and refuse to allow it to compete against other schools in the association (most of the state’s high schools).

But still. Nice to see that An American Catholic school is doing such a good job raising the fine young misogynists of tomorrow. [edited]

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Pitchers and Catchers Report!

[ 60 ] February 14, 2008 |

Our months long national nightmare is over. Only one question remains: Can the Reds really go 162-0?

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Straight Talkin’ Torture

[ 5 ] February 14, 2008 |

I’m not even going to pretend to be surprised that St. McCain is now facilitating the CIA’s use of techniques that are unlawful, including some that are torture even by Senator McCain’s own lights.” McCain’s public opposition to torture has been nominal when it comes to actually preventing (at least Republican) presidents from doing it for a while now. And since none of this will stop the media from almost uniformly lauding him as a principled opponent of torture with 100% more maverickitude, there’s no political (as opposed to moral) downside!

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Strangely, My Views Change Over Time…

[ 26 ] February 14, 2008 |

Saletan:

British activists called for a ban on “ultra-sonic dispersal devices.” The devices drive away teenagers by delivering unpleasant noise at high frequencies that can be heard only by people under 25. Activists say 3,500 of them are in use. Merchants’ rationale: We use them to drive away “anti-social gangs” that “deter customers, intimidate staff and can commit vandalism and violence.” Objections: 1) The devices “target all children and young people, including babies, regardless of whether they are … misbehaving.” 2) “Young people have a right to assemble … without being treated as criminals.” 3) “Imagine the outcry if a device was introduced that caused blanket discomfort to people of one race or gender.” Device inventor’s solution: I’ll “introduce a contract which stipulates to shopkeepers how it can be used.”

Odd; ten years ago I would have been strongly in favor of such a ban. Now, for some reason, I don’t have a problem with it. On the other hand, would anyone be surprised to find the McCain campaign installing such devices outside polling places in November?

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Things I Am Not Making Up

[ 11 ] February 14, 2008 |

Shorter TIDOS Yankee:

It’s a shame that some ignorant young Americans choose to hoist a flag that evokes terrorism and reminds an ethnic minority of its collective historical pain.

Yup. Sharp as a goddamn tack that boy is.

On a completely unrelated note, here are Bob and his friends protesting the enrollment of Autherine Lucy at the University of Alabama in 1956.



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Don’t Forget About John Davis!

[ 17 ] February 14, 2008 |

Lanny Davis argues that the superdelegates were intended to be an “independent” check on the whims of those meddling voters. I’m sure this will convince Clarence Thomas, but since I’m not an originalist it seems to me that delegates are free to vote by whatever criteria they choose, which includes doing what’s best for the party, and which would therefore include ratifying a clear choice by the party’s voters. I’m also confident that this will, in fact, happen.

For comic value, though, Sirota notes this gem in Davis’s historical argument:

We were also reminded that before these reforms, the “smoke-filled rooms” of Democratic Party leaders had led to the nomination and election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy.

Jeez, countless of tickets to work with and when picking random anecdotes he can’t even identify three decent candidates? It’s this kind of rhetorical skillz that have made Davis such an effective defender of progressive values on Fox News.

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The Candidate of No Substance

[ 6 ] February 14, 2008 |

Via gratifying convert to the anti-McCain cause Jon Chait, John McCain and an equally well-informed candidate discuss policy:

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Great Moments In Projection

[ 7 ] February 14, 2008 |

I was set to write a post about today’s MoDo. In today’s installment, she actually writes a couple of lucid paragraphs about the “media’s” sexist coverage of Hillary Clinton, while of course leaving out the little detail that she’s long been one of the major purveyors of said sexism. From there, however, she proceeds to the usual psychobabble and double standards that you would expect. Fortunately, Somerby has already taken care of it.

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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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