Friday, March 07, 2008

Now don't you feel silly

The president has set us straight on those God-fearing telecom companies and those pesky lawsuits:
Now the question is, should these lawsuits be allowed to proceed, or should any company that may have helped save American lives be thanked for performing a patriotic service; should those who stepped forward to say we’re going to help defend America have to go to the courthouse to defend themselves, or should the Congress and the President say thank you for doing your patriotic duty? I believe we ought to say thank you.

Damn, I'm really starting to hate her

TORONTO (AP)--Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff said someone in Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign gave Canada back-channel assurances that her harsh words about the North American Free Trade Agreement were for political show, according to a report by the Canadian Press.

The report comes just days after a Canadian government memo stated Barack Obama's senior economic adviser told Canadian officials that the Illinois senator's own comments about NAFTA were for "political positioning." The release of that memo helped Clinton defeat Obama decisively in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Ohio, where the trade treaty is unpopular.

On Wednesday, the Canadian Press quoted an unidentified source as saying that Ian Brodie, Harper's chief of staff, made the comment last week to a crew for Canada's CTV television network during a press gathering to discuss Canada's budget. According to a person with knowledge of the incident, the source was a CTV journalist.

The Canadian Press story said a CTV reporter asked Brodie about remarks by Clinton and Obama that they would seek to renegotiate NAFTA.

"He said someone from Clinton's campaign is telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt. ... That someone called us and told us not to worry," the journalist quoted Brodie as saying, according to the report.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Fascist Ball

Apparently fascists like to dance.

War is the Health of the State

In Chimpy's world, at least...
No Need for Lawmakers' Approval of Iraq Pact, U.S. Reasserts

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer

The Bush administration yesterday advanced a new argument for why it does not require congressional approval to strike a long-term security agreement with Iraq, stating that Congress had already endorsed such an initiative through its 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein.

The 2002 measure, along with the congressional resolution passed one week after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks authorizing military action "to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States," permits indefinite combat operations in Iraq, according to a statement by the State Department's Bureau of Legislative Affairs.
A so-called "emergency" authorization empowers the Bush administration to pursue endless war and permanent empire. That makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It's not Karl Rove's math...

So, last night was a good night for the Clinton campaign. They learned that going negative gets them votes, and votes get them the media, and the media gets them the story. Congrats to them, and thanks for all the wonderment and joy.


Did yesterday change anything? If so, how? And what has to happen in the remaining 12 races (WY, MS, PA, IN, WV, KY, ND, MT, NC, OR, Guam, and Puerto Rico) for her to win this thing?

Well, over at Daily Kos, a diarist named PocketNines has done a little bit of math (no, don't run away!) and we learn some interesting things from this diary:

Because of the way that the Democratic party splits delegates proportionally, merely winning a state or a district doesn't necessarily grant the winner a large margin of delegates.

In order to cross all thresholds except the initial break that give you a +2 delegate swing, you need to win by an extra 200/X%, where X = the number of total delegates at stake. Let's see how this works by easy example - West Virginia and its 10 statewide delegates. 200/10 = 20%. To go from 5-5 to 6-4 there you have to win by over 10% (55-45). But to get ANOTHER +2 you need to add 20% to your win and win by 30% (65-35).

What do we see here? In a district/state with 10 delegates, the "winner" gets 5 if they get less than 55% of the vote, 6 if they get between 55 and 65, 7 if they get between 65-75, 8 if they get between 75-85, 9 if they get between 85-95, and 10 if they win more than 95%. So, a 10-point win by either candidate only nets a +2 delegate margin, and to increase that they have to win by 30%. Trivia: In how many states has Hillary gotten more than 65% of the vote? Answer: One - Arkansas (70%)

What's the upshot of this? If Hillary was able to win every race by 10% and every district by 10%, she'd get a net gain of 58 delegates (Obama's lead is somewhere around 140-150 right now in pledged delegates). If we raise that number to 16.5% (58.25-41.75), then she gains 64 delegates on Obama. If she won every district by 24.9% (62.45-37.55), then she gains 110 delegates on him (and still trails by 30-40).

Putting it this way, there is no realistic chance that she'll catch him in pledged delegates, and likely not even get close. If she's still down by 80+ delegates, her means of victory are in SuperD's and/or Florida and Michigan. Of course, if she wins every state from here on out by 10%+, then her case to get the SuperD's is reasonable (not airtight, but it's certainly an argument with value). But if she splits the states reasonably evenly (which is still a good scenario for her), she won't gain any appreciable number of delegates on him, which means that she'll need a huge number of the remaining SuperDelegates to go her way.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Meanwhile, back in Frostbite Falls...

The beat goes on.

BAGHDAD - A pair of car bombings, at least one of them a suicide attack, killed 26 Iraqis and injured dozens in Baghdad yesterday, Iraqi security and hospital officials said.

Hard work, makin' progress...

A question for the resident physicist

Old I know (but so am I), but it came up recently in another forum.

What do you see in the Pentagon surveillance footage, from size and motion to the colors of the explosion?

My kid (17) wants to teach physics.

Will wonders never cease?

From the Colonel's paper. The Tribune endorses a, shudder, Democrat!

For Congress: Bill Foster

The race to succeed former House Speaker Dennis Hastert in the 14th Congressional District has gotten very ugly very fast. That doesn't say much for the candidates. It does suggest that a congressional seat once considered safely Republican is now in play.

You have Republican Jim Oberweis and Democrat Bill Foster running in a special election Saturday in a district that runs from the far western suburbs across northern Illinois almost to the Iowa border. The winner gets to hold the seat for less than a year. They'll run against each other again in November for a full term.

Oberweis, from Sugar Grove, is chairman of Oberweis Dairy. Foster, from Geneva, worked for 22 years as a physicist at Fermilab and started a company that manufactures theater lighting equipment.

This page is closer to Oberweis than Foster on several economic and foreign policy issues [Editor's note: D'uh, ya think???]. But we watched Oberweis in his races for the U.S. Senate in 2002 and 2004, and for governor in 2006. We've watched this race for Congress. His campaign style has consistently been nasty, smug, condescending...and dishonest.

In 2004, he ran an ad in which he hovered over Soldier Field in a helicopter and said 10,000 illegal aliens come to the U.S. each day, "enough to fill Soldier Field every single week." The number was grossly inflated and the ad smacked of fear-mongering. In 2006, he ran TV ads that used headlines from the Tribune and other newspapers to attack an opponent. But the headlines were fake. They hadn't appeared in the newspapers.

This year, Oberweis' campaign is based on the notion that his opponent is a big-spending liberal. Oberweis' TV and radio ads quote Foster saying, "There's nothing in life that you can't improve by pouring money at it. ..." Foster did say that, at a League of Women Voters debate. But the transcript makes it clear he was talking about the federal government's "poor efforts" to improve air-traffic-control safety. His conclusion: "This is one example of a place I would look to save taxpayer dollars." And Oberweis' immediate response at the debate? He said: "I find myself in the almost embarrassing position of tending to agree with Bill on some of his comments there."

The sum impression of Oberweis from four campaigns: He sees public office as an opportunity to pick a fight. Bill Foster tells us that he will be a Blue Dog Democrat -- that is, part of the moderate caucus in the House that puts a high priority on controlling federal spending and returning to a balanced budget. He would almost certainly have to take a moderate Democratic line to hold this seat from a district that gave President Bush 55 percent of the vote in 2004 and 54 percent in 2000, and elected Hastert to 11 terms in the House.

He surely will be more willing than Oberweis is to listen to people with whom he disagrees. So we'll trust Foster when he says he would emphasize transparency, responsibility and bipartisanship in government. He is endorsed.
Call Hell and see if it's freezing!

Kudos to Nancy Nall

Nancy Nall, formerly of the wife's hometown paper, deserves a huge pat on the back for exposing one of the little Bush minions, a tiny troll named Tim Goeglein, as a shameless plagiarist. He was actually paid on our dime to minister to wingnut religious groups. Intellectual dishonesty in the Bush administration? I'm shocked I say, shocked!

Nice work, Nancy.

Hillary, meet Jabberwocky

Have a mirror handy?

The junior senator from New York, pandering on Iraq, stated that

We have given them the gift of freedom, the greatest gift you can give someone. Now it is really up to them to determine whether they will take that gift.
Hmmm, occupation is freedom, war is a gift, I don't understand...oh wait! I remember :

There was a book lying near Alice on the table...she turned over the leaves, to find some part that she could read, for it's all in some language I don't know,' she said to herself...She puzzled over this for some time, but at last a bright thought struck her. `Why, it's a Looking-glass book, of course! And if I hold it up to a glass, the words will all go the right way again."

Now where is that mirror?

Clinton's Laws of Politics

Bill in 2004:

One of Clinton's laws of politics is, if one candidate is trying to scare you, and the other one is trying to make you think, if one candidate's appealing to your fears, and the other one's appealing to your hopes. You better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.
That law still in effect, Bill?