April 2008 Archives

Thank you Helen Thomas

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Helen Thomas asked the hard questions. Dana Perino then illustrated why sane people think that the White House lies, openly and brazenly. But what this video is really about is how some in the US have lost their moral compass.

There is NO JUSTIFICATION for torture. None. Ever. And for those who approve it, remember it is likely that you are authorizing it for your loved ones... your sons, brothers, cousins. Why should any country refrain from doing to US citizens what the US feels free to do to citizens of other countries as well as its own?

The Republican party has developed a moral and ethical morass so great, it's inconceivable that they'll recover from it. It should be rejected so utterly, so thoroughly that it is destroyed. No one, even a "moderate" Republican, should think that it's okay to associate with people who are so morally bankrupt that they think it's okay to lie with impunity, to torture, to scorn the law and the treaties of the United States of America.

What really counts: delegates vs. popular vote vs. superdelegates

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feliks at mydd posted a brief diary about the WSJ article below to which one commenter responded with the Clinton meme du jour ... she's ahead in the popular vote and the superdelegate count.

Oh please. Superdelegates as a category don't count for anything.  That's a pretty silly thing to itemize as a positive -- though per DemConWatch, Obama has 234 and Clinton 256. That's a difference of 22 -- a difference which has shrunk dramatically since Jan. 13 per DemConWatch's Superdelegate History Tracker. (The chart is pretty cool if you like numbers and graphs.) And then there are the officially undeclared superdelegates who are known to favor Obama such as Rep. James Clyburn. I know it's not comforting to Hillary supporters to confront these numbers but they're real.

As for the popular vote, NO - she does NOT lead.

I've seen the twisted counting methods by which one arrives at a number that says she has more in the popular vote.  Even 3rd and 4th graders know that something stinks when the methods leave out  people who showed up to be counted in states with caucuses, and include a state in which one of the candidates didn't even appear on the ballot.  But no problem -- go ahead and include that state counting the 238,168 uncommitted votes as Obama's as well as the people from the caucus states (see point #2 below).  Guess what? She still doesn't lead in the popular vote.  [Note that the figures at the top of RCP's chart do NOT include Michigan's uncommitted votes.  Obama leads in 4 of 6 methods of summation without those votes.  When those are added in, Clinton does not lead no matter how one adds up the figures.]

And last but not least, there's PocketNines' insight (h/t to Ben Smith) on the popular vote metric when applied to primaries.  #2 is my particular favorite.

Point Number 1:  If the popular vote determined the nominee, no candidate would ever go to Iowa or New Hampshire.  They'd spend all their time in big urban areas all over the country from the outset of the campaign, racking up raw numbers.  What would be the point of even visiting New Hampshire if you could camp out in Brooklyn?  Concrete Example:  Barack Obama would not have spent only a day and a half in California before the Feb 5 primary.  He would have never gone to Idaho.  Duh.

Point Number 2:  If the popular vote determined the nominee, no state in its right mind would ever hold a caucus, instantly disenfranchising itself.  Concrete example: Minnesota-Missouri.  Minnesota gets credit for 214K votes, and Missouri gets 822K votes, but they each get 72 delegates.  Is Missouri's voice 4 times more important than Minnesota's?

Point Number 3:  The arbitrary distinction between who gets to vote in these primaries is nothing like the general election, where everyone registered gets to vote.  In the primaries, sometimes it's just Dems, sometimes Dems and Indies, sometimes anyone.  Concrete example:  Texas gets a million more votes than similar overall population New York (2.8M to 1.8M), even though New York is far more Democratic, simply due to this arbitrary restriction on who can vote (NY = closed, Texas = open).

Overall point: regardless of the fact that Obama will win the popular vote, it is completely illegitimate in this race.  THIS IS NOT LIKE POPULAR VOTE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION.

I'd also like to point out Elizabeth Drew's thoughtful post which points out:

Why do white voters matter more than black voters?

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Al Giordano at The Field has an excellent post up that I'm not going to attempt to excerpt. It must be read in its entirety. The maps are very interesting but just as important is the comment highlighted by Jack & Jill Politics.

I wish the chattering classes would address this question.

Why, in all the MediaMathTM discussions we've seen on the talkinghead shows, do white voters matter more than black voters?

UPDATE: Here's a link to the Google cache of Al's post since it is no longer available via the original link.

WSJ Editor quits - Is Rupert involved in Syria story?

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Larisa Alexandrovna exposes the WSJ report on what was at stake when Israel bombed Syria last year. It seems it's not all as the WSJ or the Bush admin is spinning. From Larisa's blog, at-Largely:

Massive Propaganda Laundry at the Wall Street Journal...

This may or may not be related to why the Wall Street Journal's top editor, Marcus Brauchli, quit yesterday, but it sure looks to be connected. The "this" that I am referring to is the propaganda piece published in the WSJ - now owned by propaganda magnate, R. Murdoch - today on what went down in Syria last year:

"North Korea was helping Syria build a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor before Israel bombed the site last September, the Bush administration is set to tell Congress.

The new information could increase the position of hard-liners in Congress and the administration who have argued against a deal being negotiated to dismantle North Korea's nuclear-weapons program. The hard-liners say Pyongyang hasn't provided enough assurances it will dismantle its atomic arsenal in return for economic and diplomatic incentives.

Neither Israel nor the U.S. has made public information about the strike in Syria, though speculation has been widespread that the targeted site was a nascent nuclear reactor. Some Republicans have charged that the U.S. is playing down the matter to avoid hurting talks with North Korea.

Larisa quotes more of the WSJ assertions and then follows up with this: