Saturday, February 09, 2008

Rasmussen Markets: Obama will prevail

Rasmussen Markets data now gives Obama a 58.2% chance of winning the nomination while expectations for Clinton are at 41.5%. Numbers in this paragraph are from a prediction market, not a poll. Using a trading format where traders "buy and sell" candidates, issues, and news features, the Rasmussen Markets harness competitive passions to provide a reliable leading indicator of upcoming events. We invite you to participate in the Rasmussen Markets. It costs nothing to join and add your voice to the collective wisdom of the market.

The two candidates square off in two caucuses and a primary (Louisiana) today, and Obama appears poised to win all three, as well as the Maryland and Virginia primaries next Tuesday. If he indeed wins all five, his lead in both states won and delegates over Clinton could become a notable factor.

Obama also is attracting millions of new dollars in support, while Clinton has been forced to loan her campaign money. By the end of this month, Obama's momentum may begin to sway the super-delegates who are not tied to voting for any one candidate. The prospect of a brokered convention has party leaders worries, but of course it has reporters excited.

We'll continue our selected coverage as the numerical patterns reveal themselves. There's little point in covering the GOP contests any longer: McCain's lead over Huckabee is insurmountable, making the Arizona Senator now the presumptive nominee.


Friday, February 08, 2008


This guy tools around the neighborhood in what he calls "the world's smallest pickup truck. When I asked if I could take his picture, he seemed pleased...

...then insisted I get a "side view," as well. Only when I downloaded the second one did I notice that he had laid back as if asleep. I have no idea why he did that.


News reports are out tonight that Obama actually won Super Tuesday with the number that matters most now -- delegate count.

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press Writer 45 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Three days after the voting ended, the race for Democratic delegates in Super Tuesday's contests was still too close to call. With nearly 1,600 delegates from Tuesday contests awarded, Sen. Barack Obama led by two delegates Friday night, with 91 delegates still to be awarded. Obama won 796 delegates in Tuesday's contests, to 794 for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to an analysis of voting results by The Associated Press.

The New York Times reported that they split the popular vote down the middle, sharing just under 15 million votes cast with a margin of difference of less than half of one percent! (Clinton 7,427,700 v. Obama 7,369,798.) Obama won 13 states and Clinton 9.

To place this all in context, Danogram forwarded a fascinating article by Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal stating outright that Clinton is losing to Obama, much to the dismay of Republicans, who think that they can beat Clinton in November, but if Obama is the nominee, the Democrats are going to win the White House going away. (To read her analysis, simply click on the title of this post, which links to it directly.)


From the political to the environmental. The days are growing longer again, the temperatures are (slowly) rising. My new central heating system should be operative by Monday, just in time for the cold we've been enduring for a month to yield to warmer weather.

As if already anticipating spring, the buds are on the plum tree.

I was developing this fantasy of growing food in the backyard until last night, when my house mate dropped in for a chat, she reminded me that only a few "crops" grow well in this climate, principally lettuces, cherry tomatoes and a few hardy local herbs.

That would be a start, I suppose, but then she also reminded me that whenever we turn the earth over here, the neighborhood cats (including Oliver) show up to turn the bare soil into their preferred toilet.

She told me one more thing I did not know -- that an extremely large raccoon lives nearby...and two nights ago, when I was away at a party and the furnace workers were here, with my front door open, this creature was apparently about to enter my flat when she shooed him away.

I have lost my childhood fondness for raccoons. You know, that was the Davy Crockett era, when we all wore coonskin caps, although come to think of it, someone had to kill the animal that turned into my hat (note to younger readers: there were no synthetics yet, only the real deal), so let me clarify that what I was fond of was a skinned raccoon's coat, not the wily animal itself.

There are seven secret streams running under San Francisco. Most of them have long since vanished from view, buried under concrete, vegetation, viaducts or other urban creations.

But they are still there, and the one I call the 28th Street hill creek ran straight under and through the backyard of the house I used to own on that street in Noe Valley, between Sanchez and Noe. The long-forgotten stream surfaced into two lovely, rock-lined ponds separated by a narrow "bridge" of earth and stone.

When we moved in, in the summer of 2000, around eight large goldfish called these ponds home. They had plenty to eat (we never had to feed them) and they were skilled at sensing the approach of a predator (usually a house cat), darting under the "bridge" or sinking to the bottom of the pond, at a depth where no predator's paw could reach.

But, then, after 9/11, dot.bust, and the many other social and personal disasters that chose to visit us all over the next two years, a new killer appeared on the scene. It started when we found pieces of some of the larger fishes' bodies strewn around the yard one sad morning.

I set up surveillance (me on the back porch at night) and discovered that the hugest raccoon I'd ever seen was murdering our fish at night. I scared him off when I could, but eventually he succeeded in liquidating every last fish in our pools. His arms were simply too long for any of them to escape his attacks.

I thought of him as a serial killer, and cursed the fact that I had no live 16-gauge shells to put into my vintage shotgun, especially because his nightly raids made my children so very sad.

Alas, many other forces were at work against our vulnerable little family, and we all soon forgot about the giant raccoon as we struggled with the dragons that at times seemed to come at us from every side.

When the battles were finally over, and our life savings, the house, and our sense of unity all were gone, and the kids had to learn how to adapt to the "Mom's House, Dad's House" routine, which brings us essentially up to the present moment.


Here is some good news.

Next week, I am scheduled to release a brand new blog, this time supported by a major media company. I am excited, and will provide links to it once it is "live." Until then, if you must go elsewhere, dear reader, please visit our sister blog, Sidewalk Images, where similar stories get told with many fewer words.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Eduardo's Opinion

My neighborhood is what it is. Because Obama has little name recognition here, he couldn't prevail in Tuesday night's primary. As it turns out, I was the only citizen in this part of the Mission District hanging signs and passing out leaflets, on behalf of any candidate.

The few neighbors I was able to engage in conversation are sufficiently bilingual themselves to render my very weak spoken Spanish less than a liability,
Gracias, Dios.

One of the best conversations I had was with Eduardo, who talked with me about his political feelings. He said he supported Clinton because the Clintons have been there for Latinos for a lot of years. But he also said he could just not envision her as President.

When I asked him to explain what the main issues that concern him are, he talked about all the people who are losing their homes in this "sub-prime mortgage crisis" that is sweeping through California and many other states. He also talked about the war in Iraq, and how that does not represent the values that he, as a Latino-American holds dear.

Perhaps most revealingly of all, he derided the tax rebates that both Republicans and Democrats are offering this election year. He said it would be better for all of us if the government focused its efforts at keeping those people in their homes who otherwise will be pushed out onto the street.

After our conversation, Eduardo told me he thinks Obama is the person he thinks could be "Presidential."



Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Me and my shadows (Yo y mis sombras)

Bob looked somber as he sought me out in the waiting room.

"It looks like you've got a lot of problems, but I don't know exactly what they are yet. I'll let you know in fifteen minutes."

Fifteen minutes grew to an hour. I'd gotten up from the faded couch where I'd been sitting, leafing through old magazines, and walked around the building, escaping the pitying looks of the others waiting there. "Poor guy," their expressions seemed to say, "you've really got problems."

Except for one large elderly lady who just beamed me a demonically huge smile. No doubt she had hearing problems

Walking around, muttering various phrases in various languages to myself, I wondered what would happen if this was it, if the worst-case scenario came true, and my car was indeed damaged beyond repair. Would my life be circumscribed even more to my immediate neighborhood than it already was? Was that even possible? But I certainly could not afford to buy a new car, not right now, without a job, with my "retirement" savings disappearing like garbage down the garbage disposal, swirling downward to the point of disappearing altogether.

As I contemplated these dark thoughts, Andrew happened by. Now, I like both of these customer service representatives, though I think Bob needs to work on his bedside manner just a tad. Earlier, at 7:30 AM, when I dropped off the car (in order to get its routine maintenance done quickly, so I could get back home, vote, and settle in with studying the numbers coming out of Super Tuesday, I mentioned it only had a few thousand more miles on it since my last visit, five months ago, because I'd lost my job, and only used it for a bit of city driving now.

"That's stressful," said Bob, and I suddenly felt bad about all the stopping and starting, parallel parking, weaving and bobbing, upping and downing I'd been putting this poor machine through for months now.

A bit later, I realized that he had been referring to losing a job as stressful, but I never completely shook off the guilty feeling that somehow I hadn't been taking good enough care of my auto. What kind of Michigander was I, anyway?

As I continued muttering beneath my breath, I looked up and noticed that I'd departed the auto service shop and walked upwind to a large, rundown building that had once been the original Toys R Us. Now it was Babies R Us. "How would you like to have a job for a company with a name like that?" my inner Filipino queried me in Tagalog. "Hi, this is Fred from Babies R Us, can you send us another load of diapers, please?"

I entered the shop right as it opened for business with three other mothers, one clutching her infant to her breast. The employees were gathered for their morning meeting, and they were all Filipinas!

Wow, clairvoyant again!

Not really. Everybody at the car shop was probably Filipino, too, except for Bob and Andrew. The magazines on hand had names like New Pinay Times, or Travel to our Motherland, etc.

After all, this is Colma.

Andrew is more the talkative, bubbly type than Bob, and he called to me as I passed by the service entrance on my way back from Babies R Us, indicating that my car was all fixed and ready to go.

"It was a Code 1442," he offered, without further explanation.

(What the hell is a Code 1442! It sounds awful, though happily I guess they've been able to bring it back from the near dead.)

I didn't bother to ask any follow-up questions. Years of working with software engineers has taught me to just repeat whatever they say, and eventually the obscure becomes the familiar. Just like learning any new language.

It took another half hour, but then Bob triumphantly drove my newly washed car back to the front of the service entrance. This is the moment every patron waits for, to see his or her precious vehicular friend, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to get back on the road again.

"Yeah," he explained, "it was a Code 1442, and you know, a leak in the gas tank. But Brian hooked it up to the (unintelligible) device and placed the tank under enormous pressure." (I tried to imagine what this must have been like for my little car. Was it like a doctor forcing air into your stomach to see if it will pop?)

"And, guess what," Bob continued, "nothing. No leak. So it must have been a false alarm."

(That's good, I think, as long as Brian didn't create a leak by putting so much pressure on the tank with the (unintelligible) device.

"So, here's your bill: $44.83. We didn't feel comfortable billing you for labor because we couldn't find anything wrong."

I suddenly remembered how much I like Bob. Plus his deep love of carnations, two vases of which graced the otherwise dilapidated service entrance lobby.

Nevertheless, I grabbed my keys from him, paid this little bill, and high-tailed it out of there. I'd spent four hours worrying about the darkness, and how it was time to taste the light.

Later, in line yet again at Safeway, I found myself behind an elderly Chinese lady who was speaking with a young, shy, attractive Chinese checkout clerk. Feeling an unnatural sense of elation, I suddenly blurted out "Nee ho mah!" in perfect Mandarin, causing both of them to look up, startled, at my smiling face.

"Oh, he speaks Cantonese," said the old lady, through her small collection of teeth.

"Sun's Up," I tried to say, struggling to recall the phrase for "Good Morning," but from her expression I realized I may have said, "You, mother, resemble a horse." Striking those multi-tonal rhythms correctly is difficult for us mono-tonal Westerners, and the same "word" has so many meanings in Chinese...

Thankfully, they went back to their conversation, as I slunk out of there with my carrots, my cucumber, and my edamame.

Driving home, I passed some of the "Si Se Puede" signs I'd taped up around my neighborhood the night before. I'm not really cut out for public life, I mused. It makes me extremely uncomfortable to go door to door and pass out leaflets; and I also feel awkward taping up signs with duck tape. I'd carefully attached four pieces of tape to each of the corners of the 12 plastic signs I'd been allotted before I left my abode, but inevitably, as I walked, they'd become hopelessly tangled and taped to each other.

Therefore, I had to drop the pile and extricate each sign, one at a time, before I could place it up on the corner of a building facing each intersection. I tried to wait until no one was around but inevitably, a car's headlights would illuminate me, this tall figure in jeans, leather jacket, with long hair topped by a black baseball cap, loitering there in the shadows.

"Is it legal to be doing this?" I worried.

In any event, my efforts were for naught, since Latinos flocked to Hillary and shunned Obama. All in all, another unsuccessful day in this rather unremarkable life.

(Though I did end up cooking a rather tasty spaghetti and meatballs dinner for my kids, plus the boys and I once again somehow navigated our way through that tricky Pythagorean theorem!)

I drifted to sleep around midnight, whereupon all of these varied experiences revisited me in my dreams.

Woke up as exhausted as if I'd lived Super Tuesday twice, whereas just one time through would have been plenty, thank you.


Yo y mis sombras

Bob parecía sombrío como él me trató a cabo en la sala de espera.

"Parece que tengo un montón de problemas, pero no sé exactamente lo que están aún. Me mantendré informados en quince minutos".

Quince minutos creció a una hora. Que había incorporado desde el sofá en que se desvaneció había sido sentado, leafing a través de revistas viejas, y caminaron alrededor del edificio, pitying escapar de la mira de los demás esperando allí. "Pobre chico", sus expresiones parece decir, "que haya realmente tiene problemas".

A excepción de una gran señora que acaba de ancianos con vigas me demonically enorme sonrisa. No cabe duda de que había problemas de audición

Paseos alrededor, muttering diversas frases en varios idiomas, a mí mismo, me preguntaba qué pasaría si se trataba de él, si el peor de los casos se hizo realidad, y mi coche fue realmente dañado sin posibilidad de reparación. ¿Mi vida se circunscribe aún más a mi vecindario inmediato de lo que ya era? ¿Es posible que incluso? Pero yo ciertamente no puede darse el lujo de comprar un coche nuevo, no ahora mismo, sin un puesto de trabajo, con mi "jubilación" economías desaparecer la basura como por la eliminación de desechos, de remolinos de la baja hasta el punto de desaparecer por completo.

Como he contemplado estos oscuros pensamientos, que pasó por Andrew. Ahora, que me gusta tanto de estas representantes de servicio al cliente , aunque creo que Bob tiene que trabajar en su cama de forma sólo un poco. Anteriormente, a las 7:30 AM, cuando he echado el coche (a fin de obtener su mantenimiento de rutina realizado con rapidez, así que podría volver a casa, voto, y se asientan en el estudio con los números que salen de Super Martes, que he mencionado Sólo había unos pocos miles de millas más al respecto desde mi última visita, hace cinco meses, ya que había perdido mi trabajo, y sólo la utilizó para un poco de conducir de la ciudad ahora.

"Eso es estresante", dijo Bob, y de repente me sentía mal sobre todo a la interrupción y de comenzar, estacionamiento paralelo, tejido y bamboleo, upping y derribo que había sido puesta a través de este pobre máquina de meses.

Un poco más tarde, me di cuenta de que se ha referido a la pérdida de un puesto de trabajo como estresante, pero yo nunca completamente sacudió frente a la sensación de que de alguna manera culpable yo no había sido lo suficientemente bueno teniendo cuidado de mi auto. ¿Qué tipo de Michigander era yo, de todos modos?

Como he seguido muttering debajo de mi aliento, busqué y notado que me partió la tienda de auto servicio y caminó a una gran ceñida, resumen edificio que había sido una vez el original Toys R Us . Ahora se Babies R Us . "¿Cómo te gustaría tener un trabajo para una empresa con un nombre como ese?" mi interior me preguntó filipino en tagalo. "Hola, esto es desde bebés Fred R Us, puede que nos envíe otra carga de pañales, por favor?"

Me entró en la tienda, ya que inició su andadura con otras tres madres, una clutching su bebé a su seno. Los empleados se reunieron en su reunión de mañana, y todos fueron Filipinas!

Wow, clarividente de nuevo!

No realmente. Todo el mundo en el coche tienda fue probablemente filipino, también, con la excepción de Bob y Andrew. Las revistas a la mano tenían nombres como Nueva Pinay Times , o Viajes a nuestra Patria , Etc

Después de todo, este es Colma.

Andrew es el más locuaz, bubbly tipo de Bob, y él pidió que me lo pasé por la entrada de servicio en mi camino de regreso de Babies R Us , lo que indica Que mi coche era todo fijo y listo para funcionar.

"Se trata de un Código 1442", que ofrece, sin más explicación.

(¿Qué diablos es un Código 1442! No suena mal. Oh, mi pobre coche, aunque supongo que ya felizmente ha sido capaz de llevarlo atrás de la cerca muerta. )

Pero yo no se molestaron en preguntar cualquier preguntas de seguimiento. Años de trabajo con ingenieros de software me ha enseñado a repetir lo que acaba de decir y, con el tiempo se convertirá en el oscuro familiar. Al igual que el aprendizaje de nuevos idiomas.

Tomó otra media hora, pero entonces Bob triunfalmente llevó mi coche recién lavado de nuevo a la parte delantera de la entrada de servicio. Este es el momento para cada patrón de espera, para ver su precioso vehicular amigo, de ojos brillantes y tupidas de cola, listo para volver al camino de nuevo.

"Sí", explicó, "se trata de un Código de 1442, y usted sabe, una fuga en el tanque de gas. Pero Brian enganchado a la altura de la (ininteligible) y el dispositivo colocado el tanque a una presión enorme." (Traté de imaginar lo que este debe haber sido como la de mi pequeño coche. Es como obligar a un médico aire en el estómago para ver si se abrirá una ventana emergente?)

"Y, ¿adivinen qué," Bob continuó, "nada. No fuga. Así que debe haber sido una falsa alarma."

Wow. Eso es bueno, creo, siempre y cuando Brian no creó una fuga por poner tanta presión en el tanque con el dispositivo (ininteligible).

"Aquí tiene su factura: $ 44,83. No hemos de facturación que usted se sienta cómodo para el trabajo porque no hemos podido encontrar nada malo".

Me acordé de lo mucho que me gustan Bob. Además de su profundo amor de claveles, dos jarrones de agraciados que la otra en mal vestíbulo de entrada de servicio.

Sin embargo, me agarró las llaves de mi de él, rindió este pequeño proyecto de ley, y de gran cola hacia fuera de allí. Había pasado cuatro horas preocuparse por la oscuridad que todos temen, y ha llegado el momento de saborear la luz.

Más tarde, de acuerdo una vez más en Safeway, me encontré detrás de un anciano chino señora que estaba hablando con un joven, tímido, atractivo chino empleado de la caja. Sentimiento contra natura sensación de euforia, de repente me blurted out "Nee mah ho!" En perfecto mandarín, causando dos de ellos de mirar hacia arriba, startled, en mi rostro sonriente.

"Oh, él habla cantonés", dijo la señora, a través de su pequeña colección de dientes.

"Sun's Up", traté de decir, luchando por recordar la frase de "Buenos días", pero a partir de su expresión me di cuenta de que pude haber dicho, "Usted, la madre, se parecen a un caballo." El logro de los múltiples sonidos y ritmos correctamente es difícil para nosotros los occidentales mono-tonal, y la misma "palabra" tiene tantos significados en chino ...

Afortunadamente, se volvió a su conversación, como he slunk salir de allí con mi zanahorias, pepino mi, y mi edamame .

Conducir a casa, pasé algunos de los " Si Se Puede " Me signos grabados alrededor de mi barrio la noche anterior. Yo no soy realmente recorte de la vida pública, he mused. Esto me hace muy incómodo para ir puerta a puerta y salgan folletos, y también me siento incómodo con la grabación de señales de pato cinta. Me cuidadosamente adjunta cuatro piezas de la cinta a cada uno de los rincones de los 12 signos de plástico que había sido asignado antes de salir de mi morada, pero inevitablemente, como he caminado, que podría convertirse irremediablemente enmarañada y grabadas entre sí.

Por lo tanto, tuve que soltar la pila y sacar cada signo, uno a la vez, antes de que yo podría colocarlo hasta en la esquina de un edificio frente a cada intersección. He intentado esperar hasta que nadie está alrededor, pero, inevitablemente, un coche de faros que iluminan mi, esta alta cifra en jeans, chaqueta de cuero, con el cabello largo, cubierto por un tapón negro de béisbol, el merodeo existe en la sombra.

"¿Es legal que se hace esto?" Me preocupaba.

En cualquier caso, mis esfuerzos fueron para nada, ya que los latinos acudieron a Hillary y Obama rechazado. Con todo, que pierda otro día en esta vida y no sin complicaciones.

(Aunque yo lo hice terminar la cocción más bien sabrosa cena de espaguetis y albóndigas para mis hijos, más que los muchachos y yo, una vez más, de alguna manera a través de la navegación por nuestra difícil que teorema de Pitágoras!)

Me deriva a dormir alrededor de la medianoche, después de lo cual todas estas variadas experiencias revisar mí en mis sueños.

Desperté como agotado, como si yo hubiera vivido Super Martes dos veces, mientras que sólo un día ha sido lo suficientemente abundante, gracias.


Dust Settles: Dead Heat

Last week, before any poll projected it, we here at DWC predicted that Obama would win the popular vote in California. We were wrong. Clinton won by a substantial margin.

As for the all-important national allocation of convention delegates, however, the two Democrats are in a virtually tie. CNN estimates Clinton's total at 825 and Obama's at 732, a slender lead nowhere near what would be needed to wrap up the nomination before this summer's convention.

Obama's camp is providing an alternative estimate of the current national delegate distribution: Obama 908, Clinton 884.

It's been decades since one of the parties didn't have a "presumptive nominee" until its convention, but that appears inevitable for this year's Democratic Party. One key factor is that Obama has a lot more money than Clinton, and a much broader base of small donors, who can keep contributing. Her backers are rich people who have maxed out already. It takes money to compete, and he's the one who has it.

The Republicans do have a clear leader, McCain, but he does not yet have enough delegates pledged to him to wrap up the GOP race. Furthermore, he faces a growing split within his party, with Southerners, evangelicals, and conservatives backing Huckabee.

So, you'd have to say we still have two dynamic races, and that either could go one of two ways. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mid-evening update: Winners and Losers

Mike Huckabee has won plenty of red states tonight, which has to be a troubling sign to John McCain. Mitt Romney won some gimmes, but unless he steals California, he looks like a fading force within the GOP.

McCain is taking some heat from the right. It's not clear whether he can hold the conservative base that has sustained the Republican Party for a quarter century. Instead, he appeals to independents, moderates, and people who live in fear of another 9/11 type terrorist attack.

I'd have to say that Huckabee now has a certain kind of momentum, partly because, like McCain, he is not really cut from the mold of the most conservative Christians. He's a reasonable, likable fellow, with a Bill Clinton-type of cool who comes across well to independents and moderates.

This split between two (relative) centrists has the potential to render the GOP impotent in November, but it is revealing that the GOP is praying that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee.

Both Clinton and Barack Obama delivered speeches to their faithful tonight, many hours before we will have any real sense of which one wins California. Her speech was solid but predictable. Polished. His was raw but powerful. And extremely emotional.

Conservatives, it is said, tend to vote with their heads; while liberals vote with their hearts. That said, both parties' core probably vote with their instincts.

As I survey the races at this hour (after 9 pm PST), Obama appears to pulling out in front in Missouri. If he wins that state, he will have secured the majority of states at issue in tonight's primaries.

As I write this, CNN says Hillary has won my state tonight. If true, this is a serious loss for Obama. CNN also claims McCain has won both Missouri and California, so if that proves to be true, the GOP race could be essentially over, despite Huckabee's surge.

It's a little hard to believe that Clinton will actually beat Obama in California by a margin that is more than a few percentage points. You just don't feel that that could be true on the ground here. But Obama fans have to feel worried about how the actual votes being reported in California depart so horribly from what voters said in exit polls.

This is the place where the "Bradley effect" was first noted, i.e., where voters over-reported their support for a black candidate when asked by exit pollers. For the good of all Americans, let's hope that whatever amount of residual racism still exists does not derail the candidacy of the most inspirational candidate in either party: Barack Obama.

Despite the major media projections, I will stick to my instinct: Obama will prevail in California. There are reports that many independent voters' ballots were rejected in Los Angeles County, where the Clinton machine holds undue influence. Virtually all independents voted for Obama. Some of us smell a Florida/Ohio type fix out here tonight.

If so, the results may not be determined until the lawsuits are settled. So, don't fall for media reports that Obama has lost California just yet. I, for one, am not prepared to conclude that that is true...


It's early but...

As the first returns come in (from the ten states where polls have closed), it seems like Obama and McCain are surging nationally. Before we have solid numbers, there are some innovative ways to game the political trends. One is Rasmussen Markets, which is based on the concept of "futures" as "purchased" by participants.

In the Democratic primary races, until the last few days, Clinton maintained a huge advantage (often two to one) over Obama, but yesterday Obama has drawn even. The state by state analysis via Rasmussen Markets predict that Obama will win 14 states tonight and Clinton only 8. On Obama's list is the biggest prize of all, California.

Of course, the real race is for delegates, which are rewarded proportionately, no one can make any responsible projections at this point.

The influential RealClearPolitics calculates the poll of polls and today their national averages read like this:


Clinton 44.8%
Obama 41.6%


McCain 42.8%
Romney 24.5%
Huckabee 18.0%
Paul 6.0%

Finally polls indicate both the GOP and Democratic races in California too close to call, though this state is notoriously hard to call before hand. I know that I was voter #123 at my precinct station this morning in the Democratic primary.

Democratic Exit Polls have been rolling in. here you go:

GA: C- 25.5, O - 75.0

CT: C - 45.0, O - 52.2

IL: C - 29.1, O - 69.6

AL: C - 37.0, O - 59.6

DE: C - 41.9, O - 55.6

MA: C - 47.3, O - 49.8

MO: C - 45.1, O - 49.8

TN: C - 51.6, O - 41.1

NY: C - 55.6, O - 42.2

NJ: C - 47.0, O - 52.2

AR: C - 71.2, O - 25.5

OK: C - 60.5, O - 30.4

AZ: C - 44.8, O - 50.5

NM: C - 45.6, O - 51.8

UT: C - 39.9, O - 60.1

CA: C - 49.6, O - 46.3


Monday, February 04, 2008

The Player

All photos courtesy of Brian Castagne.

Here, he steals the ball.

And begins his run.

With defenders closing in, he drives.

And gets off his shot.

Later, he makes an incredible play, saving an errant pass but slamming hard into the wall.

I worry as he crumples.

Is he hurt? He looks hurt.

If he is, no one will know that until later. Here he is, back in action, red hair flying.

My hero? You better believe it.

p.s. The official season is over, but tonight in a scrimmage game, he scored 24 points, 20 of them on driving layups.


Obama and Romney Soaring in California

The latest Rasmussen Tracking Poll reports Obama has overtaken Clinton in the Golden State and now leads by a bare margin of 45-44%.

Surprisingly, Romney has caught McCain in California, according to the poll, and they are tied 38-38%.

Rasmussen finds that Obama also is making up ground nationally, and trails Clinton now by 46-40%. (But this morning the latest CNN poll found that Obama has actually taken over the national lead -- Obama at 49% and Clinton with 46%.)

The Republican race nationally has tightened as well, says Rasmussen: McCain 33%, Romney 30%, Huckabee 20%, and Paul 5%. (CNN says the race isn't close -- 44-29-18-6% for the four candidates.) My hunch is that many voters were turned off by McCain's immature conduct during the last GOP debate, and are switching to one of the other candidates.

The mainstream media are predicting that the GOP race will be essentially over after tomorrow's primaries in 20+ states. I'm not so sure. McCain won't win every race, and even if he takes most of the big states, he will not yet have enough delegates to ensure his nomination.

The Democratic race will certainly go on after tomorrow. If Obama beats all expectations and actually wins California, which I predicted he would last week, he may well end the day leading Clinton slightly in delegate totals. Most observers expect Clinton to win most of the states tomorrow, but due to proportional allocation of delegates (as opposed to winner-take-all), the actual numbers of delegates will mean more than bragging rights of winning a state.

It promises to be one of the most exciting primary elections in California history. The state traditionally has held its primaries in June, which most years is long after the nominations have been secured...


Strange Streets

In preparation for Super-Duper Martes, signs were taped to telephone poles and street light poles this morning. An old guy with long, gray hair and a black baseball hat was doing the precinct work. He noticed that there was remarkably little signage in the Mission this election cycle.

Stopped by the UPS Store, waited in line behind one person, but never got served. The person in head of me was the person being served. She was a plain enough looking girl, though somehow exceedingly odd at the same time. She was talking so loudly that I figured she was speaking to the exceedingly slow-moving clerk in the next room who was apparently searching for a record of this customer's missing delivery.

But, since her loud voice was discussing things like "we should do well the Texas market," and her green handbag blared out her eco-credentials, I eventually figured out she was wearing her hands-free cell unit clipped under one ear, and was shouting into it to her friend or colleague or fellow oddball.

Amazingly oblivious to the rest of us in the lobby (the line by now stretched back seven or eight deep), she then started flapping her arms, much as a large bird unable to fly might do. A chicken came to mind. She also was twisting her head around in some sort of exercise motion, but the flapping of her arms was truly an unprecedented sight for me.

Occasionally, the UPS clerk surfaced with an update, which always was that the package was not there, whereupon the flapping ostrich shared with us all that they shouldn't try to deliver packages at her home because she's never there during the day, and even if she was, the doorbell was broken.

At some point in this tiny drama, the word narcissist escaped my lips, in a whisper. It was at this point that I realized I must really escape, and I did so, muttering under my breath.

It's 49 degrees and sunny outside; breathing the fresh air reminded me how much more I like watching real birds than fake ones. Then, I found myself wondering why some people feel such a sense of entitlement to take up public space. If shouting into a cellphone and flapping your arms like a chicken is becoming acceptable social behavior around here, I'm heading to Japan.


Guess Who's in the Lead?

CNN Poll: Obama Leads Hillary Nationally By Three Points
By Eric Kleefeld - February 4, 2008, 8:33AM

This morning's CNN poll gives Barack Obama the national lead over Hillary Clinton — the first time ever that Obama has led in a major national poll, though the result is still technically a statistical dead heat. Here are the numbers, compared to the last poll from just over two weeks ago:

Obama 49% (+16)
Clinton 46% (+4)

This poll would seem to indicate that Obama is picking up most of the former John Edwards supporters, as well as a good number of the undecideds.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Boys' Night Out, More or Less

I'm not sure that there is a better feeling in the world than being at the airport when your little girl, returning from a long weekend in New York for her cousin's bat mitvah, spots you in the crowd and runs to jump into your arms, kisses you, and says, "I love you, Daddy."

Except for that moment, it was all males all the time here, as eight of us (three grown men and five growing boys) gathered for a ritual Super Bowl party today. I had to leave for the airport with under a minute left, and the game in the balance, so I heard the Giants' winning touchdown pass over the radio, but that was easily as exciting as it would have been watching it on TV.

It conjured memories of my childhood, 1957 to be precise, when I listened to NFL games on my transistor radio as we were finishing our house on Morin Drive the outskirts of Bay City, Michigan. I built rich impressions of the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams in my mind, based on what I heard over the crackling airwaves from announcers, but I do not think I ever actually saw either team play football.

Radio is such a superior medium for imagination. I can still "see" Y.A. Tittle dropping back to throw another long pass...

This afternoon, I scrounged up chips, fresh hot salsa, cornichons, sharp cheddar cheese, crackers, garlic hummus, baby carrots, sweet cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, sunflower seeds, and a variety of non-alcoholic drinks for our party -- not exactly your red-blooded American BBQ'd-ribs-and-beer delight, but hey, this is San Francisco, after all.

Anyway, we later validated our collective male credentials with three huge pizzas as the main course. And by then, the cheering for the underdog Giants hereabouts was downright deafening.


It may not look like much now, but this is the beginning of central heating in my flat. We've been freezing here since the failure of the electric wall heaters. This week, a new system will get installed, so we'll move from the 1890's to the 21st century. Woo-hoo!


What Tuesday May Bring

With the final round of public opinion polls emerging in the final days before Super Tuesday, even the most diligent observers could be forgiven for throwing their hands up in confusion.

First, the Democrats.

* The Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Clinton leading Obama 47-43% in the Super Tuesday primary states.

* The latest Pew poll has a larger national lead of any poll for Clinton, 46%, with Obama at 38%.

* Rasmussen also says Clinton is widening her lead over Obama nationally to 8 points, 47-39%.

* Meanwhile, in the largest state, the Field Poll reports that Obama has closed to within two points of Clinton in California, 36-34%, with 30% supporting others or undecided.

* And, Zogby reports that Obama has actually taken the lead in California, 45%-41%.

Then, the Republicans.

* Pew says McCain has it in the bag, with 42%, followed by Romney 22%, and Huckabee at 20%.

* But Rasmussen says that the GOP race is much closer: McCain has 33%, Romney at 29%, and Huckabee at 21%, and Paul at 6%.

* The Wash.Post/ABC poll finds that McCain has twice as much support as Romney, 48-24%, Huckabee gets 16%, and Paul 7%.

* In California, Field reports McCain has an eight point lead over Romney (32-24%), while Huckabee gets 13%, Raul 10%, with 21% supporting minor candidates or undecided.

* But Zogby says Romney leads McCain, 37-34%, in California, with Huckabee trailing badly with 12%.


So, in both parties, you can find numbers to make you hopeful about the chances of either leading candidate. Over a period of weeks and months, two candidates are surging -- Obama and McCain.

While it seems likely that the two Democrats will fairly evenly split delegates, with slightly more going to Clinton, due to the proportional system their party uses; McCain appears poised to largely sweep Super Tuesday for the GOP, with its winner-take-all system of awarding delegates.

Forgetting who will win what, by far the most interesting ideas being advanced in this election cycle at the moment are coming from the minor Republicans, Huckabee and Paul. Huckabee, the conservative, wants to reform the tax system in a manner that would benefit low-income people. On the war, Paul is the only Republican opposed to it, and he is eloquent on the subject.

As far as creative thinking among the leaders, Clinton and Romney seem bereft of new, exciting ideas. She's viewed as calculating her stands to the results of her internal poll trackers, and he's seen as a Johnny-come-lately to conservatism.

Obama and McCain appeal to their supporters by appearing true and faithful to their principles. In the end, these qualities could well propel both men to their parties' nominations. That is the view from here.