Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Halloween!


i originally saw this as part of an obama "don't get complacent" ad, but the clip is so much better than everything else...

P.S. c'mon bloggers, blog!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let's go back to college! ELECTORAL College!

Here are last week's battleground states (by my definition), along with updated aggregate polling numbers (via

*-as of Monday PM
**-made a typo last week—this is the right number, sorry.

The bigger electoral picture hasn't changed much since last week. Obama maintains a 10.8% lead in Pennsylvania (it was 11% last week, so statistically identical). That means he can probably count on 260 Electoral Votes going into election night. If he gets those, he would need ten more from the group above. Again, Virginia seems like the best option, but Colorado and New Hampshire would also do just fine. (Or just Ohio. Or just Florida. And so on…)

In terms of these state numbers, the only notable change is that Obama appears to be pulling away in Ohio. There are no other significant shifts. Obama is doing a little worse in North Carolina and Virginia, but, on the other hand, a little better in New Hampshire and Nevada. And this is not just me talking—all the analyses I've read say the numbers are pretty much static right now. (Statis, of course, is good for Obama, since he's ahead.)

McCain goes into election night with 160 probable electoral votes. (And note that this is a generous assessment. has Georgia and North Dakota as toss-ups, and Arizona suddenly seems within Obama's striking distance, with McCain only +6.6%. These are all states I put down as probably going to McCain.) So, McCain will likely need 110 EVs from the group above—that is, a sweep.

One more point of reference. Here are the battleground states, the current %, and the aggregate percentage the candidate who won the state in 2004 had in the week of the election. Many obvious caveats: polling is different now, the electorate is different now, this compares numbers from the week before the election with the week of the election, and so forth. But still, it's interesting (reassuring?) to see that in key states, Obama is doing better than last cycle's eventual winner.

*-no aggregates available for these states, presumably because they weren't battlegrounds; these numbers are my "eyeball" aggregates of the polls, so, they're not exactly reliable

Monday, October 27, 2008

history lesson

late, late last night, when i was in the midst of studying brain tumors but just could not bring myself to think any more about neurology, my mind [and browser] wandered to [what else?] our pride and joy, chaucer's electoral analysis led me to, and subsequent musings on the electoral college. oh, the electoral college.... so fucking wierd. further procastination led me to - electoral maps since the heyday of US presidential elections. here are a few glimpses through the ages:

the first biggest ass kicking american electoral history. james monroe cleaned up. actually, he ran unopposed. john quincy adams got 1 electoral vote, but apparently it was just out of pity.

our friend JQA did a little bit better in 1824, but still lost to andrew jackson. this is actually the last election where 4 candidates all had a serious shot at getting tapped. this was also the last election that was decided by the house of representatives, since no candidate got a majority of the electoral vote.

1928 => 1932. the most profound change of mind americans have had.

and finally, the other greatest ass kicking in american electoral history. the gipper just destroyed walter mondale - 525-10. he even took massachusetts.

it should be interesting to see what happens next week. at least, by then there will be one less topic keeping me distracted from school.....

p.s. word on the street is that when this course ends [in 18 days!!!] we will actually be allowed to have a life again.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blinded Archived Email Challenge!

These are all real emails pulled from the archives. Your Friday Fun Challenge: Who wrote 'em??


The only TV I could possibly provide would be tiny, thus rendering
Jodo Kast the size of a pea. I recommend the joint purchase of a huge crappy Goldstar for the year, with each of us chipping in about 30 bucks (plus 300 from Jeremy. That kid's name is Jeremy, right?) A table can easily be jacked from somewhere, and I can probably foot a VCR.


let me just say this. if we do Make It Through this year. and there
is No apocoplyse. and the world continues running As Is. then my entire faith in the continuance of everything and all will be restored forever.
completely. I think I can safely promise now, that with the events of the past few days and months and this building mound of absurd disasters, if the soil AND sky continue to makes it past december 31st, 2000 – I will never ever Question the world coming to end again. Never again think that Times are so Wierd and Unruly that existence might explode. Never doubt in Tomorrow. Never look for omens. Never really give ONE credible thought that the world will ever end in the history of time and futures forever. Because if it doesn't end now, it won't. period. ok. i needed to say that because its true.

[Reply to the above:]

even has turned from Butt to Doom

who told me i should see hannah and her sisters after we saw annie hall?
i rent the movie, smoke a bowl, sit down and play the dvd. here i am
waiting to have a good light time and the movie is heavy and emotionally exhausting.
i hate you all.


I don't know how you knew that I was broken, but I am fucking broken.
It's not so much that I am Joyced, as that I've become Joyce.

-Cleanse me, for the love of God cleanse me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dear Scott McClellan

Take your endorsement and shove it up your ass.

Paging Matteo

When can we expect a full report on CMJ '08?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a few good links

more politics

One Man's Electoral Analysis

With the election less than two weeks to go, I have increased my immersion in Internet campaign reporting and opinion to saturation levels. And like a soaked sponge held above this page, I'll be dripping my thoughts all over the blog in the next couple weeks.

Lately, I have been very curious about how the electoral college is going to play out. The media is obsessive about national polls, but national polls aren't totally relevant to the final outcome--arguably not relevant at all. The media also periodically offers a random assortment of polls from "battleground" states, without any context to what those polls mean to the larger electoral picture. What does it mean that a new poll has Obama up three in Ohio, and McCain is up five in Georgia?

In order to ease my confusion, I spent a couple hours researching the latest state polls and various scenarios and trend lines and whatnot. I now think I have a clearer picture of how things will play out, though of course, we are always one heart attack or racial slur away from a total upending of everything. Bear in mind that I am bad at math and don't have a terrific handle on state abbreviations, so there may be some errors. Overall, though, I think the portrait is accurate.

First things first: 538 total Electoral Votes (EVs), 270 needed to win.

Obama has 213 EVs essentially banked, McCain has 142. Certain states just aren't in play and don't seem to have any prospect of being in play. Given recent trends, it seems Obama *might* be able to pull from McCain's banked EVs, the opposite scenario less likely, but given that the election is thirteen days away, it's not probable that either candidate will overcome a 10+ polling advantage in places like Texas or New York.

In addition to each candidate's banked EVs, it seems *very likely* that Obama will win Washington, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, for an additional total of 47 EVs, bringing him to a highly probable total of 260 EVs.

McCain seems to have Georgia and North Dakota locked up, giving him another 18 EVs, for a probable total of 16o EVs.

In other words, both candidates can rely on 260 (Obama) and 160 (McCain) EVs going in to election night. That means of the remaining states, Obama needs to find 10 EVs, McCain 110. So at this point, Obama has a real advantage.

Here are the non-banked, non-very likely states, along with their current aggregate polling numbers and EVs.

NH / 4 / O +5.8
IN / 11 / M +3.5
MT / 3 / M +3.7
OH / 20 / O +.7
MO / 11 / O +1.6
NV / 5 / O +2.4
FL / 27 / O +2.9
NC / 15 / O +3.1
CO / 9 / O +5.7
VA / 13 / O +8.5

Based on these polling numbers, if the election were held today and each state fell as these polls suggest Obama would pick up an additional 115 EVs, and McCain 14 EVs. Their grand totals would be 364 Obama and 174 McCain--an Obama blowout.

So, just to avoid a blowout, McCain needs to make up ground. Now, granted, the above states (many of them, at least) have narrow enough margins that you'd think McCain could pick some off. But, again, he needs 110 EVs to win, and there are only 118 EVs available in that group. So McCain needs to basically run the table to win.

To put it another way, McCain could win Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia and still lose. He could win those states, and hold the states where he's leading, and lose.

Another perspective--if Obama holds his banked and highly probable states, he needs one state of 10+ EVs to win. If he holds Virginia (where he is way ahead), he wins. If he picks off Florida, he wins. Missouri, he wins. Ohio, he wins. Again, these are all states where current polls show Obama ahead, and if he wins one of these and loses every other swing state, he wins.

This is why pundits are now saying McCain's path to victory is very narrow--it is really, really narrow. He needs to win every 10+ EV battleground state, including ones where he is currently trailing, he needs to hold Indiana, and then scrape together another 13 EVs from the remaining states.

Let's circle back to the beginning at this point. I stated that Obama had in his "very likely" column Pennsylvania. Despite the fact that McCain trails very badly there (down 15.3 in aggregate polls--hence the Very Likely Obama status), McCain & the GOP are recently committing a lot of time and money to the state, while pulling out of theoretically swing-able states like Colorado. This makes sense given the broader electoral picture. If McCain can shake loose these 21 EVs from Obama's pile, it gives him a ton more flexibility in the rest of the map. He can lose some of the bigger states, and still win. He probably thinks, at this point, that he has a better shot claiming Pennsylvania than running the table in the closer states.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The keys to this election are Pennsylvania and Virginia. If Obama wins these two, he is virtually (mark the word, as Dan Rather would say, virtually) assured of victory. He can win without the help of wild cards like Florida and Ohio, which, given their history, seems important. If McCain takes Pennsylvania, he is very much back in the game electorally. If he doesn't, he needs to pull out Virginia, along with every other big swing state (and more or less all of the smaller ones, too) to get to 270.


Monday, October 20, 2008

This Weekend

Hey everyone,

interested in going upstate this weekend? I have a place up there (no too long a drive), and I thought it would be fun to get away for a bit. It might rain this weekend, but we can reevaluate as it approaches. Let me know if you're interested so I can make plans. Autumn upstate is very pleasant.

Now that it's all said and done...

Would you rather have just lost 7-0 in Game 5?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

An Interview with Colin Powell

Given all the attention Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack has gotten, I thought I'd sit down with him and talk it over a bit. Since this campaign has been going on for nearly four years now, I was curious as to why Colin chose this moment to endorse.

JMF: So it's official?
CP: Yes, I hereby endorse Barack Obama for President.
JMF: What a heroic showing of independence, breaking with your party when every pundit and poll in the country suggests your party is going to lose horrifically in three weeks.
CP: Well, Josh, as you know from your experiece playing paintball, in war, as in politics, timing is everything.
JMF: It's true. When George Bush was hugely popular, you served in his administration and even lent your credibility to starting his war in Iraq.
CP: Knowing how unpopular that turned out to be, I want to note I always opposed it.
JMF: As we all did. Now Obama looks set to sweep into Washington along with huge new Democratic majorities…
CP: …And I have never wanted to be a Republican less. Exactly.
JMF: But let's assume you really do want Obama to get elected.
CP: Yes. Let's make that assumption. Everyone, make that assumption.
JMF: Okay… Making that assumption, wouldn't your endorsement have helped Obama more, say, when he was tied with McCain?
CP: Of course.
JMF: And it's not like his candidacy was any less transformational three weeks ago.
CP: Nope. But three weeks ago, how could I know who would win the election? What am I supposed to do—break with my party and then see it rise to power!? Where would I be then?
JMF: Hated by Democrats for the war, hated by Republicans for stabbing McCain in the back.
CP: This way, if Barack wins, Democrats will love me again. And what Republicans think won't matter.
JMF: Here's hoping.
CP: I mean, maybe I get appointed to Secretary of State again! I get a whole do-over on the entire Bush presidency.
JMF: I guess someone should get a do-over on those years… But I guess I just can't get over how conformist this position is.
CP: Let me level with you. I didn't become a soldier because I wanted to do things my own way. This idea that career military men are going to be these groundbreaking leaders is, frankly, a little absurd. Soldiers follow orders. That's the job, right there. That's why McCain is maverick right up until Bush wanted something from him. Then, he literally fell in line.
JMF: But you know what the conservatives are going to say. Since you never spoke out against the war, didn't endorse Kerry, didn't do anything against the Republican establishment until now, they're going to say this is "about race."
CP: Anyone who would say that doesn't realize I care far more about my own political success than some abstract notion of racial solidarity.
JMF: So they're misunderestimating you?
CP: Exactly.

Powell gives Obama Endorsement

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cheer on those Rays!

Rays don't fail us now!

Ten things overheard from the Sox fans who left Fenway early (Game 5 ALCS)

By David Brown

10. "No, kids, we're going. You have to get up for school in an hour."

9. "Blankin' Sawx. Two lousy world championships in the past five years. I'm turning in my season tickets tomorrow morning."

8. "Not even the filthy Yankees could choke on this lead. I'm outta here."

7. "Cover your heads for the perp walk, gents. You don't want to show up later on SportsCenter leavin'. You'll look like one of those blouse-wearin', poodle-walkin', bandwagon-jumpin' Tampa fans."

6. "Stu, for the last time. Nobody cares if that dirty Yankee Boone hit the homer off Wakefield five years ago tonight."

5. "Will yah walk fastah, mawwm? C'mon!"

4. "Son, it's not 'giving up' when you have no hope."

3. "I'll be dipped. I really thought the papers were kidding when they said there was a baseball team in Tampa Bay."

2. "Ow! Hey, that came from the Red Sox bullpen! Papelbon!"

1. No, it's OK! I left in the top of the seventh of Game 4 against the Yanks in '04, too. This is but the first step in the second-biggest comeback in major league playoff history! You're going to thank me later!

!!!!! GO RAYS !!!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama - McCain IV - The Lost Debate

Disgrace is the norm

sometimes it helps to say stuff even though it seems everyone kind of knows it:

just a moment while i plug alternet.  a little one-sided, but since it's the right side, it's ok!



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Weezy F. Baby

Lil Wayne on making it: “When you’re really rich, then asparagus is yummy.”

Lil Wayne on safe sex: “Better wear a latex, cause you don’t want that late text, that ‘I think I’m late’ text.”

Lil Wayne on possibly less safe sex: “How come there is two women, but ain’t no two Waynes?”

Scroll down a bit to get to a great article (picked up from Sasha F-Jones's blog) about the Wayne:


This is hilarious. It's like the evolution of Being John Malkovich. In the parlance of the today, a "game changer"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And then I'll shut up about him...

...but first, click on the title for a profile (and hilarious glamour shot) of nerd hero Nate Silver, baseball geek turned electoral prognosticator.

I love his site, not only because he's currently projecting an Obama crush-job, but because the reasoning behind it is a lot more transparent and even-handed than the likes of Daily Kos etc.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

med school is getting better

here's what we are learning this week:

Family Dinner at Katie and Josh's House

Hey y'all,

Come over tonight for taco fun...and wine fun. I blame Dave for introducing me to, but now Josh and I have too much wine. So, come over and drink it with us. We can do a potluck of sorts with tacos and nachos.

Let's get an idea of who might be interested.....then we can figure out who brings what.

So, who is in? We'll probably open the doors at 7ish or 8ish.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

wine party (with food) tomorrow!!!

more details to come...

upper east side perks (besides small dogs)

Dr. Hamid Al-Bayati, Iraqi Ambassador to the U.N.
First we saw him on the Daily Show:

The we saw him in Central Park!
Really friendly guy, although he did have his little kid on a leash.
(on the other hand, it was a monkey leash)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Friday Fun at McSorley's -- UPDATED

Tonight at 9PM at McSorley's! Let's drink until Tom goes home (i.e., to his cot in the basement).

Matt, when the beer gardens close, you know where to go.

Dave, please head over there now to save us a table.

Joe, get in the car.

Sol & Ashley, I would be honored to buy the Matriarch a glass of light and some cheese and crackers.

Eat it, Voight!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Other Side

Considering that he called the meltdown well before it happened, it's very confusing as to why he appears to have associated with Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines (in consulting capacities, no less), two guys with authority who appear to have ripped off Fannie and Freddie pretty badly.

At this point, I don't think anything could surface to convince me that Obama is the wrong choice. But this is not a good sign. Shows very poor judgment in my opinion, especially considering the situation he knew we were in.

March 2007

Okay, not to be the guy who always posts electoral stuff but this was amazing to me to read. Check out THIS LETTER Obama wrote 18months ago to chairman Bernanke warning about the Housing crisis. Incredible.

Friday, October 3, 2008

"A bunch of bums in Brooklyn"

I have no idea who this guy is, but we're on his personal blogs list (lower right), with a pretty apt description.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008