A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Presidential Power Rankings, Part II

Iowa is coming up in less than a week, New Hampshire to follow shortly thereafter. I cannot remember a more upside down race in recent history. Voters seem apathetic about all the options in front of them. The polls show tightening races all over the place. I am not sure this time around how much of a bounce Iowa will provide--I don't think it will slingshot its winner to the nomination automatically, the way it did for Kerry in 2004, but the victor will undeniably gain a ton of buzz heading into New Hampshire and the larger states. I will go once again with the top 7 most viable candidates...I have replaced Thompson (whose effort seems to be fading fast) with Huckabee (who has been surging the last couple weeks). Let me know how accurate you think these predictions are; once again, this is in order of likelihood of being President if the general election was held today.

1. Mitt Romney--He's weathered the storn thus far, and poured a considerable amount of time and money and energy into Iowa. In the late stages, he is doing a fairly decent job fending off Huckabee's surge, and his speech about his faith--while not exactly a barnburner--did enough to quiet suspicions about him for now. He has the best organized team, and he leaves nothing to chance--qualities which will help him overcome his robotic exterior and repuation as a soulless flip-flopper.

2. John McCain--Will lose bad in Iowa, but is coming on strong in New Hampshire. He has risen from the dead and is finishing up strong. As GOP voters worry about Romney's lack of spine, Giuliani's social positions, and Huckabee's nationwide appeal, McCain's pragmatism and experience seem more and more appealing. He will be a player before this thing is said and done.

3. Barack Obama-- Successfully retooled his campaign approach and decided to come after Clinton hard. His attacks have not blunted his wide appeal, and his numbers have steadily risen in Iowa, New Hamoshire and SC. He has erased double digit leads by Clinton and is runninng neck and neck with ehr and Edwards. The only downside is his caucas-goers are young college kids primarily who have no idea how to mobilize properly. I suspect Clinton's vote turning machine will be rivaled by no one, but Obama still retains most of the buzz.

4. John Edwards--Playing the Kerry role from 2004. Has gone from a distant third to neck and neck with the other two. He is closing masterfully and his populist rhetoric hardly ever veers into class warfare. Plus, never underestimate being the lone white male in the race. He has more buzz than Clinton, just not as much as Obama. Labor will back him solidly.

5. Hillary Clinton--Still the establishment's choice, but has responded poorly to attacks from Obama and Edwards. Her tightly controlled press appearances have reminded many of the current White House. The buzz seems to be off for now, but the distance between her, Obama and Edwards is still pretty slim. Anything can happen, and I would never underestimate the ability of the old Clinton hands (the Begalas and Carvilles, ect) to tap into the DNC apparatus to churn out the votes. Still, her star has dimmed quite a bit for now. On the other hand, if she can still hang on and win Iowa or at least finish a very close second, she still stands the chance of running the table. How's that for equivocating?

6. Rudolph Giuliani-- As we have suspected, though he has been the national front runner for some time, his numbers were soft. He seemed like a placeholder, and his latest tumbles confirm that. Its not just that he is percieved as liberal on social issues; its that he just hasn't been that impressive as a candidate in general. Plus, I really think that his strategy of waiting out Iowa and NH and holding out hope that people still remember him by the time Super Tuesday rolls around is retarded. Its all about the buzz you have, and winning Iowa and NH gives a candidate a formidable oresence. For him to so easily forsake those states was a silly tactical move, and one that has damaged him.

7. Mike Huckabee-- His strength in Iowa has been impressive, but I do not think he has the wide recognition or appeal (or finances) to build upon an impressive showing there. If he wins Iowa, he will be like Pat Robertson in 1988; I don't see him making much of his efforts here, but his leap to the first tier of candidates with such limited resources is nontheless impressive.

***in sum, I think Romney wins narrowly in Iowa over Huckabee and then he and McCain slug it out in NH. On the Democratic side, I really see a way for Obama or Edwards to take out Clinton in Iowa and really make a dent in her aura of invincibility*** You guys should let me know if my analysis is wildly off the mark. These days, I get my facts from Meet the Press and Drudge. I know very little, but thrse are my impressions.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina

It's early, but it's clear there's going to be a whole lot of horseshit about Benazir Bhutto and how her assassination is a tragedy, with the one light for a progressive Muslim state was extinguished in a hail of gunfire.

As Chuck D might say, "Don't believe the hype."

Or, as the O.D.B. might say -- were he not a martyred democrat in his own right -- "Bitch took my money!"

Indeed, bitch did take my money -- except by "my" I mean Pakistan's, and by "money" I mean hundreds of millions of dollars. US dollars. The real ones. While the NY Times might now be leading the charge in whitewashing her past here in the west -- the early obituary on their web site's front page describes her as an "charismatic and sly political operator" -- they also ran a story 8 years ago describing the $100M that was probably just the tip of the fucking iceberg. This would seem to lay bare the fact that Bhutto, like so many other Harvard-educated heads of illiberal states, was at best a secular kleptocrat. And, like so many other failed states, she was a kleptocrat that perpetuated the worst kind of inherited rule in a nominally democratic system.

Of course, everyone will be desperate to find some sort of good vs. evil storyline to make sense of the total clusterfuck that is Pakistan. The central conflict of assassin vs. assass...ee is straightforward enough; and since the assassin's a terrorist we're left with Bhutto as the hero. I would urge us all to remember that having boobs doesn't necessarily qualify you for sainthood.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"What's a Tortoise?"

My advance New Year's Resolution is to save more, but the 5-disc version of Blade Runner was just released and the consumer-whoritude cortex of my frontal lobe is twitching.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Point Break

The NFL can do many things -- not provide an adequate health care or assistance program for ex-players, blackmail their fans into publicly-funded stadiums, found a boondoggle of a private cable network to undermine their own business -- but they cannot, they will not, make me care about the Pro Bowl.

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Ball Don't Lie

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Circle the Wagons!

Jesus, christ, you should hear the ESPN sportwriters getting together to poo poo the Mitchell report, specifically on Roger Clemens. It is fucking disgusting. Baseball journalism is by far the worst sports journalism. Of course, if you read firejoemorgan.com you already know that.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Early Predictions

As has already leaked, Roger Clemens is included in the Mitchell Report on steroid abuse in baseball. I predict a number of people will be shocked -- shocked! -- that a 45 year old man who regularly pitches in playoff games after 6 weeks of preparation would have had any chemical enhancement.

I further predict that one of the few (only?) big-name, big-production player who isn't named is Alex Rodriguez. I think he's just a genetic freak who has freakish purple lips and is just a little weird.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Your New Favorite Blog

Gil Arenas, letting you know what he's watching on TV and what he thinks of Emeka Okafor trying to get paid the same as Dwight Howard.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fuck Yeah

I was informed by a professor today that somebody had already collected all 19th century elections in a dataset. Hell fucking yeah. That just saved me months and months of my life.

Second Life

Having burned 4 years of my life in acquiring a non-terminal degree that hasn't contributed anything to my resume, I find myself in the position of working with a lot of people who are two to three years younger than I am.

One of the upshots is that it provides a little color that my otherwise straight-laced, incredibly responsible existence wouldn't. For example, a friend of mine here had a drunken one-night stand the other day. With another employee. Who managed to pee his bed in her sleep. And who then, having failed to wake up early enough to make a stealth escape from his apartment, jetted under the pretense of having a "client meeting" to prepare for. On a Saturday morning. Without her underwear.

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Monday, December 10, 2007


...is the Next Big Thing. You may have noticed that the mainstream media these days are bending over backwards to let every retarded hillbilly have their editorial say-so on world events. It's a pretty straightforward attempt to coast on that whole "blogging" thing that the kids are into, wherein people repost NY Times stories, add a sentence or two of pith and call it a brave new Journalism.

Anyway, ESPN has added a similar function, "ESPN Conversation." Readers of any page on the site can add a comment, and then, magically, the best or most representative comments get included on that page in a special, highlighted position. Let's go to the video tape!

Title: "Man falls over railing, pronounced dead at scene during game."

SAN FRANCISCO -- A fan attending the Minnesota Vikings-San Francisco 49ers game at Monster Park died when he fell at least 20 feet from an upper concourse to the mezzanine level, team and local police said.

The man, 31, went to a concession area near halftime, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. He fell over a wall that is 4 feet high and 6 inches wide with a 4-inch sloping ledge.

"This person tried to jump up on one of the walls to sit, and he misjudged and he fell," said San Francisco police spokesman Sgt. Neville Gittens said, according to the Chronicle.

According to 49ers vice president Lisa Lang, paramedics worked on the man for about 30 minutes. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The man's identity has been withheld, pending notification of his family and an investigation by a medical examiner.

"The police did their investigation, they interviewed witnesses and security, and they are treating it as an accident," Lang said.

Friday, December 07, 2007


At first I was amused by Romney's attempt to manufacture history by taking a bullet for the Church of Latter-Day Saints (of Gold Tablets and Magic Hats). Now though, as is so often the case, I'm angry.

Kennedy's 1960 "It's Okay to be Catholic!" speech was premised on the idea that while we can't expect religious candidates for office to suddenly drop everything they believe in, we can -- must -- require them to not use office as a vehicle for the faith. This is otherwise known as "obeying the Constitution."

Romney's speech argued that being a Christian is a requirement for public office, but that conservatives should skootch the velvet rope over a bit to include Mormons. That was it. That was the entire speech. That, and we should talk about faith in politics, make sure that our officials are Christian, but not ask them about what they actually believe. God forbid if we actually got an answer about why the president wears magic underwear, or why they think Native Americans are actually Israelites cast out of the Holy Land, or why his church really hated black people.

That said, the Speed Racer trailer looks sweet.

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