Saturday, September 13, 2008

Phrase of the day

“We will take no lectures from John McCain who is cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern Presidential campaign history. His discredited ads with disgusting lies are running all over the country today. He runs a campaign not worthy of the office he is seeking,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

h/t The Politico

Thursday, September 11, 2008

LHC status

In case you want to check on the status of the LHC.

Holy catfuck, Batman!

h/t Think Progress:
Q But Osama bin Laden is the one that — you keep talking about his lieutenants, and, yes, they are very important, but Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of 9/11 –

PERINO: No, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of 9/11, and he’s sitting in jail right now.

Well, that's good.

Oh, and

I know Pete asked this one before too, but how are we supposed to greet each other today? "Happy Patriot Day?" December 7 has the much less jingoistic appellation of "Pearl Harbor Day," (which, btw, I found on a list of "Fundays" on a page for home schoolers, meaning that the people who help others home school are just as bright and aware as those who choose to screw up their own kids themselves).

Oh, wait. I can send a card. A google search of the phrase "patriot day" cards turned up 75,600 hits, with the ones on the front page, yes, from companies who supply a set of just-too-patriotic for words cards, some with soul-punishing flash animation. Peruse at your own risk.


Olbermann says it pretty well here, using big words and sentences and stuff. And I've written about 9/11 in this space before. I have neither the energy nor the interest in dragging up all that venom again. There's an eight week old boy who drains the energy from me (no, he's not a vampire) and who is far more interesting than anything the giggling murderer or any of his band of merry Constitution-raping war criminals can do. On the other hand, I cannot let another year of exploiting tragedy for personal gain and squandering an unasked-for but nonetheless real opportunity to actually make the world a better place without delivering this message to those who have spent the last seven years driving this country into the abyss, and to those who cheer on the insane, cackling Bus Driver of Doom, and to those who sit by passively and do nothing:

Fuck You.

Oh, and to Johnny Boy, who knows how to get Bin Laden but is apparently waiting until he's president so that he can get the glory? I hope President Barack Obama sends you overseas so that you can get freedom tickled by our operatives in Albania until you give up your secret on how to defend this country, you sick lying pathetic bastard.

end venom

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Eight weeks out

One thing I've been rolling around in my mind is taking a weekly look at where the election stands, not from the minutiae of daily polls, but in a more comprehensive view. Clearly, we know that the national polling data is irrelevant except in how it frames the story of the election process. Right now, the GOP is riding on the crest of it's post-convention bounce (the democratic bounce got squished by the compression of the conventions as well as the Palin announcement, as McCain knew it would), and the scenarios are looking better for them now than they once did. We will see if that continues after the bounce settles next week.

What I've done is look at two websites doing projections - and (Incidentally, 538 is run by Nate Silver, one of the wizards behind, my favorite baseball analysis site.) E-V compiles polls and comes up with a composite spread (using a rather straightforward system). 538 is more complex, with a model they're still tweaking, and they assign not only a weighted average of polls (in part based on which ones tend to be reliable) but also a percentage likelihood of victory.

For example, right now, E-V gives Obama a 7 point win in Oregon, while 538 gives him a 7.4 point win and an 88% chance of winning. I put this data together and sorted it into five categories:

1. McCain will win barring something bizarre - McCain has a polling lead of at least 5 points in both models as well as a greater than 80% chance of winning.

2. McCain is likely to win - at least one of the three criteria above is met, but not all 3.

3. Obama is likely to win - at least one of the three criteria above is met, but not all 3.

4. Obama will win barring something bizarre - Obama has a polling lead of at least 5 points in both models as well as a greater than 80% chance of winning.

5. Tossup - the other ones.

To see if this makes any sense, let's first look at which states fall in which categories:

McCain win (in descending order of certainty): Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Idaho, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, South Carolina, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, West Virginia, Missouri. Total: 165 EV.

McCain likely: South Dakota, North Dakota, Indiana. Total: 17 EV.

Obama likely: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington. Total: 49 EV.

Obama win: DC, Vermont, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Maine, California, Delaware, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, New Mexico. Total: 211 EV.

Tossup: North Carolina, Montana, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire. Total: 96 EV.

So, what do we think? It looks pretty good to me. It's a little odd seeing New Mexico in Obama's column, but that state has evolved recently, and other than that, there's nothing on the Dem side that surprises me. Obama will do very well in Iowa (where he has an excellent ground game) and states like Wisconsin and Minnesota, where they're sick of Bush, and despite McCain's efforts, aren't really in play. I also don't see a chance that Washington goes for McCain.

I'm going to work through two scenarios - one pretty balanced and one heavily tilted towards McCain.

Scenario 1: All the "likely" or "win" states go in the expected direction. Before the toss-ups, it's Obama 260, McCain 182, meaning that Obama needs 10 more for the win. What are the odds of that? Treating all the toss-up states as 50-50 to go each way, there are 2^8=256 possible combinations. The only combinations where Obama doesn't get to 10 EV's are as follows:

Obama wins 0 of the tossup states (1)
Obama wins only one of the following: MT, NH, NV, or CO (4)
Obama wins two of the following three: MT, NH, or NV (6)

That gives Obama a likelihood of winning of 245/256 = 95.7%.

Scenario 2: McCain gets all his likely states, plus stealing Michigan and Pennsylvania (and getting Ohio in the process). Obama does hold on to Washington. McCain 237, Obama 222. In this model, there are 128 combinations, and Obama would need 48 EV (of the available 76), and since Florida is worth 27, the only way he can win without Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania is to win NC, MT, NV, VA, CO, and NH. Putting it all together, he'd have a 34/128 = 26.5% chance.

What does that tell us? At this point, McCain should be hitting the PA, MI, OH, and FL hard. Very hard. If he can grab all 4, or even 3 of 4, he's got a real shot. If he only takes two out of the 4 (say Florida and Ohio, two pretty big prizes), Obama needs only 10 more EV to win, and winning NH and CO (which would both be in his column right now, even with the GOP bounce) would put him over the top.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A new look for the election

Thought I'd change things up for the last 58 days. There's also some new links - check 'em out.