Monday, April 14, 2008

And so do we.

Time to get out your urine stick and twizzle it to the sky. Looks like its going to be another Dodger vomit fest this year.

The team is off to a putrid start led by the shameful hitting of $18 Million dollar Tubbo Andruw Jones and his smirky brand of the Canabis munchies. This fucking guy is so fat he makes me look fucking fat. Wait, I mean...this fucking guy is so fat he makes me look like I'm a fat ass. Or something like that.

The amount of money that Dodger GM, the toup'ed tiny el Wapo Ned Colletti, has spent on broken down and fucked up fuck ups like Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre (I like 'em though, I do) and especially fat and fucked up fuck up Jones, defies description.

But the McCourts are the robber barons of the moment. This nightmare will not end until they pack and leave town. And that won't happen anytime soon.

All of this is karma for the greed of this ownership. The horror of no spring training. The moral of the story is: don't go to fucking China.

What an embarrasment to our fair city. What a terrible thing to be a Dodger fan. An organization that has changed seats on the Titanic over and over and over. Until the bloated "All you can eaters" in the right field pavillion stay home and douse themselves with Farmer John, there will be what we have here.

Maybe Vinny is the leprachaun causing all of this nonsense. But its time for it to end.

Brooklyn meet LA. There is no difference.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Can you dig it?

Hey Mike,

Thanks for the kind words. I don't mean to complain (hell I don't!), but it seems like those who are truly walking in the path of God are meant to suffer. I had a pretty big revelation about that, however. Suffering in God's path is actually god remaking us. What we call suffering and want to avoid is actually the love of God and our cross. There is no way around it. Those who are not walking in God's path "dwell in poverty", though they may have the world. It makes no difference whether you have material things or not. I also believe that EVERYTHING that happens to us is exactly as it is supposed to be. In fact, it is EXACTLY what we want to happen to us, the good and the bad. Try this way of thinking for a while. It will blow your mind how massively it changes your perspective about what is good and bad in life. We don't know what is good or bad, Michael. Frankly, if you really think about it, if we did get the life our mind told us would make us happy and we were still UN-happy, well then, thank God for the unhappy life we have, if that makes any sense. (Sigh).

What I am trying to say is that it seems to all be about acceptance. But it seems like our ego balks at accepting what our life is, actually is, at any given time. If we did accept then our ego would die and we would be left with, in the ego's mind, the hole in the donut. Never mind that the hole in the donut IS God. The letting go IS the process. But we are so attached to identifying ourselves with this way of thinking and believing. I mean, really meditate on this concept: YOUR LIFE IS EXACTLY THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE. AND EVEN MORE THAN THAT (HERE'S THE BIG KICKER): IT IS EXACTLY THE WAY YOU WANT IT TO BE!

When you really consider this to be so, the ego collapses like an inflatable doll. It just pops and the air fizzes out and you are left with this hilarious understanding of what we like to refer to as our life. You then FEEL, and I mean really FEEL, that you are one with all that is. You let go, my man. And what you stand before is nothing less than the sum of all the parts and the fight is pretty much over at that point.

The KEY is to live in this place on a daily basis, with all of the incredible noise our mind continues to produce. Forget about the causes of our discontent from the outside. The overwhelming products of our discontent is from within ourselves. The mental movies and monkey chatter that we energize and BELIEVE. We are so accustomed to living as the slave in this way (The Matrix) that to be free is too traumatic and too frightening. How bout that? We are too afraid to be free.

When you bring all this to your awareness, Michael, you begin to bust it. You begin to say "I'm onto you fear. I'm onto you dread. I'm onto you shame". And it has no choice but to lay itself down at your feet and reveal the brilliant light behind its mask. You then SEE that even the ego is part of the shadow play and is not the enemy at all. And the play goes on and on and on until the etch-a-sketch is shook and we play again.

Hang in there my brother. God has not brought us this far to drop us. Have faith. BE grateful and know that you are the breath of all that is. That sweetness and joy that IS the Kingdom of Heaven.

And I did post comments on the blog. Did you not see them?

Your brother in all,


Friday, April 11, 2008


Obama makes massive, catastrophic gaffe in speech delivered last Sunday in CA. Potential campaign changing mistake a mere days away from Penn.

Obama: No surprise that hard-pressed Pennsylvanians turn Bitter
By Mayhill Fowler
Huffington Post

When I began following the Obama Campaign through Pennsylvania, the place was new to me -- as apparently it was to Senator Obama, since his Road to Change bus tour was heralded as the candidate's introduction to the Keystone State. Now the Senator has moved on to Indiana for a spell, but I'm back in PA, thinking about Obama's and my experiences of the people here.

Pennsylvanians are as friendly as Iowans-- and that's a huge compliment. (I love you Texas, but you get up on the wrong side of the bed a lot, or at least you did during the weeks before the primaries.) These Pennsylvanians are patriotic. On several occasions, they've awarded Barack Obama a standing ovation for his promise to restore the Constitution. Clearly, Quaker Staters feel a connection to the part their state played in the making of the Constitution; they see themselves in America's larger history.

At two town hall meetings in Pennsylvania, Senator Obama drew plenty of remarks about patriotism. In Harrisburg two weeks ago, one person called on by Obama chose not to ask a question. Instead a man who introduced himself as only Dennis told Obama, "Make a speech on patriotism because the Republican Party does not own the flag." In Wilkes-Barre a few days later, Obama fielded a similar comment from a man who said, "I believe that this nation now has dangerously low levels of patriotism and national pride.... My question to you is How are we going to reestablish America's reputation to Americans?" After leaving Pennsylvania and stopping over in Montana on his way to California, Senator Obama must have had these Pennsylvania questioners on his mind, because in Butte and Missoula he talked a bit about patriotism, introducing the subject as a theme we'll likely will be hearing more from him in the future, perhaps in a major speech at some appropriately historic date and time. Barack Obama and the rest of us will owe that to Pennsylvanians.

Another thing about Quaker Staters. The ravages of mining and old-style manufacturing have been unable, after all, to break the bond Pennsylvanians have with the natural world. Driving through the western part of the state, I thought again and again what great deer hunting country it is, and how my dad, a hunter in his younger days, would love it. Clipping a poem from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Jeff O'Brien, a citizen of Upper Turkeyfoot, Somerset County, I imagined Turkeyfoot's "ice hard in the cavities of the derelict woods/the long dark coming in the magnesium shifts of twilight" as I drove through and determined to order O'Brien's poetry collection from Amazon. I've wondered about Pennsylvania and its citizens in other times and seasons, and I would like to stay longer here to see.

In the midst of this harsh pastoral, Pennsylvanians are scrappy survivors. They complain (particularly about their governor and Clinton surrogate Ed Rendell, who doesn't seem as popular as the media make him out to be), but they endure. They refuse to be bound to the broken temples of commerce and manufacturing, the vacant Beaux Arts hotels, the rotting nineteenth-century row houses, the abandoned sidings and once-grand railway stations that inscribe Scranton and Wilkes-Barre and diminish Pittsburgh and Lancaster. Pennsylvanians are remarkably chipper. In the end, the material world that once gave them prosperity has not defined them. On the contrary, Pennsylvania unfolds in an interlocking chain of Turkeyfoots and Allentowns, held separately and together by a sense of shared community, of humor, of history, and of abiding faith.

These qualities of hospitality, patriotism and endurance are exactly what Californians need to hear about Pennsylvanians. And when he spoke to a group of his wealthier Golden State backers at a San Francisco fund-raiser last Sunday, Barack Obama took a shot at explaining the yawning cultural gap that separates a Turkeyfoot from a Marin County. "You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Obama made a problematic judgment call in trying to explain working class culture to a much wealthier audience. He described blue collar Pennsylvanians with a series of what in the eyes of creamy Californians might be considered pure negatives: guns, clinging to religion, antipathy, xenophobia.

I'm not sure this is what at least this lot of Californians needed to hear about Pennsylvanians. Such phrases can reinforce negative stereotypes among Californians, who are a people in a state already surfeited with a smug sense of superiority and, as an ironic consequence, a parochialism and insularity at odds with the innovation, prosperity and openness for which California is rightly known. (Of course, this is a generalization, and as such does not fit everyone; but as a state characteristic I stand by it.) Californians might be better served by hearing that Pennsylvanians have a strong sense of their place in American history, for here California is wanting. California needs to hear that other Americans have gone through hard times and survived, humor intact. Since Barack Obama sees himself as the candidate best able to unify the country, these are the messages he needs to carry and his frank words about Pennsylvania may not have translated very clearly.

To give Obama his due, he spoke about working class Pennsylvanians likely because he had been thinking about them a great deal. And he spoke, as he often does away from large rallies, in a calm, even, matter-of-fact way. Every town hall meeting I've observed, from California to Iowa, Nevada to Texas, has showcased Senator Obama's core decency and high measure of regard for each individual.

It's curious, then, that he often has such a hard time making a connection with many working class Americans. With plenty of time for people to get to know him, like in southern Illinois before his first state legislature race and in Iowa before the caucuses, Obama has forged that connection. People get comfortable with the way his mind works. Obama is the man with the big picture; he jumps quickly from the particular to the general and back again, for he makes sense of the world in a synchronic rather than a linear way. For all his soaring rhetoric, there is a dispassion about him. And yet he blends rationcinative intelligence with empathetic understanding. This is a rare combination, and for many people, this aspect of Obama takes some getting used to. His Puritanical streak, moreover, while amusing to the press can be off-putting to everybody else.

Wednesday in Levittown, Obama told his audience, "We can find areas of common ground." But if we are going to move from divisiveness to comity, then Obama must show that he can lead us to see one another at our best and to measure one another at our highest worth. "I'm going to have a big table and will invite everybody," Obama often says. These were his exact words to Johnstown March 29. "I'll have the biggest chair, because I'll be President," he added.

One of the roles of host is making introductions. Just as Californians need to learn a few things from Pennsylvanians, the reverse is also true. California is the, most racially tolerant and ethnicity-tolerant state in the Union. California has found a way to bring strict environmental standards to prosperity's table. Californians celebrate entrepreneurship, open-mindedness and creativity.

In answer to the Wilkes-Barre gentleman's question about low levels of national pride, Senator Obama said, in part, that a new generation needs to move into government service, for there is "something big and noble and exciting and important about serving the country." First, however, Senator Obama-- and also Senators Clinton and McCain-- must see us and talk about us in such a way that sets the bar high. A leader will hold us to that standard. "Californians and Pennsylvanians," our next president must say, "find your best selves in one another."

Monday, April 07, 2008


April 03, 2008
No Really. Hillary Has a Decent Shot
By Sean Oxendine

It has become something of a pastime among polling geeks like myself to use Jay Cost's primary vote calculator to predict the outcome of the Democratic race. Most who have played with it have come up with some kind of scenario where Hillary leads in the popular vote.

Now, I don't mean to pat myself on the back, but a few days before Jay's calculator came out, I had my own estimate coming to this conclusion. But this calculator provides some more concrete ways of estimating the popular vote. Let's look at this in more detail (especially given all the calls for Hillary to drop out).

Before we do a state-by-state assessment, people who followed me from know about my obsession with political geography. In case you didn't know, I've hand-programmed maps for every congressional election going back to 1972, with about half the states going back to their origins. I love maps and their use at displaying political data. This Hillary-Obama race gives a perfect opportunity to analyze along these lines.


So, let's look at this map:

Take a close look at this map. It is the Hillary/Obama results on a county-by-county basis for the states that have voted in primaries east of the Mississippi and that border states that have not yet held primaries (plus AL, MS, and GA, for educational purposes). The bluest counties are counties that she carried with at least 60% of the vote; the greenest counties are counties that he carried with at least 60%.

Looking on a county-by-county basis gives us a better idea what may happen in upcoming elections than the state-by-state vote. States are large, diverse places, while counties tend to be more compact and uniform, and can hence give us a better idea what is going on on the micro level.

One of the most common arguments against Hillary's ability to win the popular vote, and hence have an argument to present to Superdelegates, has been the fact that she hasn't won over 60% of the popular vote in more than a handful of states. To win the popular vote, she will have to win over 60% of the popular vote in at least a couple of states, maybe more. Contrary to many people, I think this is possible, given this map.

Take a look at some things. First, take a look at Illinois. One common story is that he will have the advantage in Indiana because it borders Illinois. There is probably some truth to this, due to spillover media. But look closer. In truth, Hillary carried large portions of Southern Illinois. Obama's huge advantage was built almost entirely in the Northern section of the state, near Wisconsin (which he also won big). As he got further South, he wasn't able to carry that portion of the state, even with his "home state advantage." In Southern Indiana -- where (at least) two of the state's nine Congressional districts are located -- districts with heavy Democratic registration among white, rural voters -- Hillary will have a large base of operations. But more on that later.

Also, look at MS, AL, and GA. These states are often thought to be purely Obama country. But this map shows that Hillary did quite well in the Northern portions of those states. The same is true of Western Virginia. Again, more later. This is just to set the stage.

South Carolina is a little more difficult, since it is a three-way race. I added a red tint for John Edwards' performance in the counties. We can still see the same basic trend -- as we get farther from the coast, the counties tend to get less green (except for the awesomely-named Horry County in the Northern-East section of the state -- Fertile . . . I mean, Myrtle Beach is there and the county as a whole is whiter than the surrounding areas).

Now part of what is going on here is the so-called black belt which runs from Texas across to Virginia. Originally named for the black, fertile soil, it has since become an appropriate descriptor for the racial composition of the counties as well. Looking at this map:

We can see the nice correlation between race and Obama's performance. Obama did not fare well in Northeast MS, Northern AL, and Northern GA (as well as Western VA) at least in part because there is such slight AA presence there.

Indeed, consider this blowup map of MS.

Note how Obama performed best in the areas in the West and middle of the state -- in the Northeast and Southeast, his performance was not as strong. These also happen to be the whitest portions of the state.

But that can't be the entire story. After all, WI is almost uniformly white, and Obama performed well there. He did well in portions of Ohio.

But there is another aspect to this as well. Consider Virginia. Here is a blow-up of how the state voted.

Now, let's try something different. Let's overlay a topographic map of the state with the voting map.

And now the trend becomes clearer. As we get into mountainous country, into Appalachia, Obama's percentages, even in good states, drops precipitously.

In Mississippi, we see a similar result:

Here, the Delta region is plain as punch; when the hills start, we start to also see Obama's vote share drop (this is mitigated in the south-central portion of the state due to the aforementioned black belt running through). Thus, it isn't just the whiteness of districts, it is white, poor, Appalachian counties that constitute Hillary's wheelhouse. Now again, this isn't anything new. Its just that the maps drive home just how stark this divide is.

So what does this mean for us. Well, consider THIS map:

The black line traces the exact contours of Appalachia, according to the United States Government. You can see the nearly perfect correlation here with Hillary's vote performance. The correlation is scary in some states, particularly Ohio, Georgia (where the Atlanta suburbs provide the only mitigation) and Virginia; in most states it gives a pretty good description of where Obama starts to have a chance Note: TN is all blue, save for the Southwest portion and the greater Nashville area in the center. This is because, although Appalachia stops east of Nashville, you are still very much in hill country until you get to the western third of the state, where Obama at least occasionally has a good showing. BTW, did you know that Northwest TN was Davy Crockett's old district? True story.

Anyway, this map doesn't tell the full extent of the story -- in many of the TN, OH, and VA counties, Hillary was well over 60% of the vote, even reaching 90% in one Virginia county. In other words, even though she hasn't reached 60% of the vote in many states, she's done it in several counties. The question is: Are there states with enough Appalachian counties left to push her across the 60% threshold? I think the map above tells us "perhaps so."

Given this background, let's return to Jay's calculator.


Jay's default is the 63%-of-the-Kerry vote turnout that has been the norm for closed primaries to date (and let us be clear -- this just Jay's default, not his actual judgment). I think this is unlikely to be the case. I think it will be much higher. PA is going to be the center of the political universe for the next few months. It is the only game in town. The GOTV operations will be in full swing. And people have been registering and switching parties at a furious pace. I am going to put it turnout at 80% -- closer to an open primary.

As for the predicted results, I will go ahead and use the estimate from this excellent blog at MyDD. I think it is an excellent analysis. I happen to think that it is a little bit generous to Obama in its classifications. Consider that in the RCP average, he has been flatlined at around 36% for almost a month now. Indeed, he has never been above 43% of the vote here in any poll. Hillary's numbers have bounced around significantly.

I have seen numbers like this before, and it was the Bush-Kerry race, where Kerry was usually static around 46, 47 percent of the vote, while Bush bounced around. It is common in races where people aren't sold on the "incumbent," but aren't sure about the challenger. In the end, the incumbent usually gets his or her votes. This is why last-minute voters break so heavily for Hillary. Throw in a modest Bradley effect, and she could win here by over 20 points.

Regardless, let's assume 80% turnout, with a 16-point Hillary win, and let's move on.


People are assuming that Obama will do well in Indiana, in part because of the close proximity to the Chicago media market. We can test this somewhat. Take a look at Western MO.

Looking at this, I am fairly confident that Obama did not enjoy any significant spillover in "home state" support. I can tell much more easily where St. Louis and the University of Missouri are located than I can Illinois. There is some "greening" of the map as we move further North, but we would expect this, given results in IA and WI. This is consistent with what we saw in Illinois as well, except that the state as a whole was biased toward Obama (as one would expect from his home state), so downstate was still somewhat green. NOTE: You could do this for WI as well, but it will be hopelessly biased, since the counties bordering IL comprise the great Milwaukee and Madison areas. But even here, his performance in counties bordering IL runs about 10% below what they did in Illinois counties just across the border.

So I don't accept much of a spillover. Moreover, I suspect that the eighth and ninth districts in the South will go heavily for Clinton, though the University of Indiana may give him a bit of a boost in the Ninth. Moreover, looking at the Ohio maps, she ran about ten points ahead of Obama in the counties bordering IN -- which bodes well for his performance in the Sixth and Third. The Fourth and Fifth are harder to predict, though given their small-town and rural feel, I would guess there would be a good turnout.

Many have speculated that Obama will do well in the First and the Seventh. I suspect he will do well in the latter (Indianapolis). Marion county is about 1/4 black, and much of the inner suburban area is in this district.

But what about the First, with Gary? In truth, Lake County is about 26% black. But the rest of the county is ethnic whites -- not exactly Obama's wheelhouse. Moreover, there is a long history of racial tension here, with the current congressman, Peter Visclosky, defeating an appointed AA representative back in the 80s, much to the chagrin of local AAs. In short, I'm not sure how many votes Obama really gets here.

Which to my mind, shapes up to a Clinton win. I will call it 8%, but that is just a guess, and I am guessing that it is on the pro-Obama side.

North Carolina

North Carolina is an exceedingly difficult state to predict. As Jay Cost has noted, it is demographically varied, and has several population centers. I agree with him. So I will guesstimate. Looking at my map above, it is more Appalachian than South Carolina by far -- the region only grazes the northeastern tip of that state (where Obama did his worst by far). It is more so than Virginia or Georgia as well. Adjusting for the greater App. presence (three Congressional districts -- 1/4 of the state's total -- fall largely within the region) let's bring Obama's margin down from the 63% or so he got in GA and VA to around 59%.

Now you have to remove NoVa and Atlanta. Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, and the Piedmont Triangle (Winston Salem, etc), have about 1M people. NoVa has about 2.5M, 1M alone of whom are located in Fairfax County. There is nothing on this scale in North Carolina. The three large NC areas are more akin to areas like Hampton and Richmond in terms of their impact on the state, which still went heavily for Obama, but weren't responsible for his margin -- that came from NoVa. Add in that the state is much whiter than GA (about ten points), and I think a 12-point Obama win is reasonable.

Now we come to WVA and KY. Here is where Hillary gets her big wins. WV is entirely Appalachian. It is one of the whitest states in the country. It is also one of the poorest. And the most Democratic in terms of registration. Hillary routinely won upwards of 70% of the vote in neighboring counties -- in fact, I believe she has carried every county which borders the state except for six counties in VA (one of which is Loudon, a DC suburb).

Charleston is something of a population center, but it is more like Knoxville in TN, where Obama pulled even, but no more. Add in gritty blue collar towns like Wheeling, Morgantown, and Huntington, and it is not impossible to imagine a 70%+ Hillary result. But let's call it more in the mid 60s -- say 65%, for a 30% win.


KY is similar. Remember, Hillary did well in Southern Illinois, and walloped Obama in Southeast Missouri. She received around 80% of the vote in several counties along the TN-KY border. And Southern Ohio was Hillary country as well.

He will likely perform strongly in Louisville and the Cincinnati suburbs, and may have a good show in Lexington. But the 1st (Jackson Purchase), 2nd (Pennyrile) and Fifth (Appalachia) will be big Obama Clinton counties. The "Old Seventh," which is basically an extension of West Virginia will run up huge Hillary margins. And notice that in KY, rural counties make up entire Congressional districts.

Basically, I think we're looking at a strong Hillary showing on the order of 15-20%. Maybe higher. We'll call it 20% and move on.


I will go ahead and use Jay's defaults of 10 point Obama wins in MT and SD, and a 5-point win in OR. To tell the truth, I have no idea what will happen in these states. Yes, Obama crushed in caucuses in neighboring states, but they were caucuses. These are primaries. I have no frame of reference here. MT in particular is difficult to predict, since there is a heavy blue collar Dem base in the unionized, mountainous West. OR is whiter and poorer than CA or WA, and Hillary did well in the non-binding WA primary (at least compared to the caucus result). Regardless, these are small states. Leave them as is.

Puerto Rico

That leaves Puerto Rico as the wild card. No one knows what will happen here. The Democratic and Republican parties don't exist in the state. Hillary has the support of most of the politicians here; Obama had the Governor, but he was just indicted. Moreover, it is dicey using results from Mexican-Americans in TX and AZ here; Puerto Ricans are different culturally, linguistically, and even ethnically.

Then again, PR has a strong connection with NY, and she performed well in the PR community in her primary, as well as in Hudson county in New Jersey. I haven't seen any indication that Obama has performed well with Puerto Ricans anywhere. And there's the FALN pardons. So Cost's 25% victory for Hillary sounds about right, maybe even conservative.

That leaves the question of turnout. This is the million dollar question. We have no way of knowing how many people will turn out. The island has 4M people. Cost put his default at 1M. I think it will almost certainly be higher. In 2004, turnout for the delegate to the Congress -- a non-voting member -- resulted in 2 million votes cast. FOR A NON-VOTING MEMBER. Imagine the excitement -- in a state where American party labels mean nothing -- to be able to pick a President. I think the 2004 delegate race is a floor. We'll set it there, understanding that it might go higher.


All told, this gives Hillary around a 100K margin of victory, using Obama's best count system (use caucus estimates, don't us FL or MI). In truth, I think the best system credits FL -- both were on the ballot, neither campaigned, and even though the delegates don't count, the votes were still cast. Under this count, she wins by almost a half million votes -- exactly Gore's popular vote win over Bush.

And therein lies the rub. Are the Democrats, who still feel victimized by 2000, going to go with the person who very narrowly won the bizarre system of delegate allocations? Who won because of Texas' primacaucus, and the refusal to seat FL and MI?

But then again, are they going to not nominate the first African-American who won the most delegates? Or will they gamble on the notion that balck's will still turn out Democrat, or will at worst stay home, while the women and blue collar Dems who supported Hillary might really vote for McCain?

It's a mess for Democrats under that scenario. I don't know what the Superdelegates will do. Heck, we don't even know who all the Superdelegates are at this point! But she has a reasonable pathway to get to this point. And once she gets there, it is anybody's ballgame.

(BTW, also note that calling for her to drop out before PA, PR, KY and WV vote would be akin to asking Obama to drop out because he was trailing with GA, AL, and MS yet to vote. It's cutting her off before literally her best states vote).

UPDATE: I should also add that this isn't a prediction, it is a scenario. Predictions are foolish at this point. But I think it is a plausbile scenario, and it is why she continues to fight.

Oxendine writes The Race 4 2008 Blog.

Page Printed from: at April 07, 2008 - 11:55:25 PM PDT