"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why Obama gets the Youth Vote

Interesting story:

While enthusiastic Democrats of all ages produced a 90% increase in turnout for the first caucuses, the number of young voters was up half again as much: 135%. The kids preferred Obama over the next-closest competitor by more than 4 to 1.


Obama is the only candidate in either party who is viewed favorably by a majority of young people, and he has half again as much support as his nearest competitor, Democrat or Republican.


In South Carolina, Obama drew more under-30 votes than all Republican candidates combined, according to exit polls.


If you want to feel old, just tell a group of teenagers today that you can remember a time when the Clintons were hip. There was this guy on TV, see, called Arsenio Hall, and Bill Clinton went on wearing sunglasses and playing a saxophone, and, well, no, it wasn't on YouTube — this was before most people had heard of the Internet — oh, never mind. There's nothing new, for today's young people, about a Clinton replacing a Bush.


His campaign is crawling with cool young people, and the candidate fits right in. We've yet to see Obama flustered or harried; instead, he gives off the enigmatic Zen confidence of the guy who is picked first for every game.


He tells young people they can make a difference, and they decide to vote, thus making a difference. "Hope is the thing with feathers," as Emily Dickinson put it, and if Obama can make it fly, it can have deep implications in a society primed to follow the passions of youth.


When young people get involved, they tend to stay involved. The graybeards of today's Democratic Party were once the inspired youth of the New Frontier, or Clean for Gene McCarthy, or bell-bottomed foot soldiers for George McGovern. Scan the crowd at an Obama rally, squint, and you just might see the future.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Difference Between Obama and Clinton Summarized

This is a telling section of this story:

When Bush proclaimed, “Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but among terrorists there is no doubt,” Clinton sprang to her feet in applause but Obama remained firmly seated. The president’s line divided most of the Democratic audience, with nearly half standing to applaud and the other half sitting in stony silence.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bush at all-time low (again) in polls

The economy and the war in Iraq have brought President Bush's approval numbers to 32% in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll -- the lowest rating of his career for this poll.

Where the press release tells us, "Just 32 percent of Americans now approve of the way Bush is handling his job, while 66 percent disapprove," that's about all we get about it. But the actual breakdown of those responses is very telling. You can look at the full report (PDF) here. Respondents were asked, "Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president? Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?" The responses worked out this way:

-Strongly approve: 16%
-Somewhat approve: 16%
-Somewhat disapprove: 15%
-Strongly disapprove: 51%

In other words a majority of Americans strongly disapprove of Bush. Not since Truman has that been the case and these low numbers for Bush have been stuck there for months (since last pril when he tied Truman for low numbers)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Super Tuesday won't finish the race

There is an interesting analysis here about the proportion of delegates that the Democratic Contenders might get based on polling numbers.

The conclusion?

If these numbers hold true, and the candidates split the remaining 350 delegates which the polling doesn't account for, the Democratic primary season seems likely to continue well beyond February 5th. The fact that 20% of all delegates come in the form of superdelegates means that a candidate would have to amass more than 62% of the delegates awarded during primaries to secure the nomination without help from superdelegates.


Further complicating matters is the fact that Democrats don't hold winner-take-all primaries, making a breakaway lead in delegates by any one candidate very hard to accomplish. Moreover, Edwards continues to make clear his intentions to stay in the race through the convention -- knowing that a few hundred delegates might swing the nomination to either Clinton or Obama -- putting him in the position of "kingmaker". While serious momentum swings are possible in the lead-up to Super Tuesday which could strongly tilt the race to one candidate, there's no hint of it. And since both Clinton and Obama continue to be able to fundraising at very high levels, this race is giving every indication that we should settle in for one of the longer primaries battles in a generation.

This seems to agree with the Associated Press analysis here:

Don't look to crown any presidential nominees on Super Tuesday. The race for delegates is so close in both parties that it is mathematically impossible for any candidate to lock up the nomination on Feb. 5, according to an Associated Press analysis of the states in play that day.
We could be in for a loner race than most.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why the Manely Report is Misguided

This article is more about Iraq than Afghanistan, but there are some telling similarities.

Events have (yet again) reached a turning point. There, at the far end of the tunnel, light flickers. Despite the hand-wringing of the defeatists and naysayers, victory beckons.
Not true.

By shifting the conversation to tactics, they seek to divert attention from flagrant failures of basic strategy. Yet what exactly has the surge wrought? In substantive terms, the answer is: not much.
Same with Manley's discussion about 2000 more troops. this is just a surge by any other name.

A nation-building project launched in the confident expectation that the United States would repeat in Iraq the successes it had achieved in Germany and Japan after 1945 instead compares unfavorably with the U.S. response to Hurricane Katrina. Even today, Iraqi electrical generation meets barely half the daily national requirements. Baghdad households now receive power an average of 12 hours each day -- six hours fewer than when Saddam Hussein ruled.
And so on...

In short, the surge has done nothing to overturn former secretary of state Colin Powell's now-famous "Pottery Barn" rule: Iraq is irretrievably broken, and we own it. To say that any amount of "kicking ass" will make Iraq whole once again is pure fantasy. The U.S. dilemma remains unchanged: continue to pour lives and money into Iraq with no end in sight, or cut our losses and deal with the consequences of failure.
Again, replace "Iraq" with Afghanistan and the comparison is startling.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hmmm....Think there's an election coming in Alberta?

Albertans for Change http://albertansforchange.com/

Ads - now running on television.

365 Days left of Bush

On January 20, 2009 a new president will be sworn in.

Thank god.

Beset by growing economic concerns on top of the long unpopular war in Iraq, President Bush starts the last year of his presidency with the worst approval rating of his career.


Bush is just two months away from Truman's record of 38 months without majority approval -- far beyond any other.


Intensity of sentiment, moreover, remains very heavily against the president. Fifty-one percent strongly disapprove of his work overall, while just 16 percent strongly approve -- strongly negative by better than a 3-1 ratio.


Among those who disapprove of the war, Bush's approval rating is 12 percent; "wrong track," 91 percent.


Republican self-identification has moved back down, to an average of 25 percent across 2007 -- its lowest yearlong average since 1984.


Bush is at career lows in approval in three groups as well as overall -- among liberals (9 percent approve of his work), moderates (24 percent) and independents -- the center of American politics -- among whom just 25 percent approve.
Can't wait for him to finally be gone.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm Impressed

This lady not only graduated with a degree in cybernetic engineering, but she went on to become the managing director of the "Ukrainian Oil" corporation and then, oh yeah, became the Prime Minister of Ukraine - Yulia Tymoshenko

No wonder she is #3 on Forbes list of the 100 most influential women.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Canada is 10th Happiest Country

According to Business Week magazine:

According to Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist at Leicester who developed the first "World Map of Happiness," Denmark is the happiest nation in the world.

White's research used a battery of statistical data, plus the subjective responses of 80,000 people worldwide, to map out well-being across 178 countries. Denmark and five other European countries, including Switzerland, Austria, and Iceland, came out in the top 10, while Zimbabwe and Burundi pulled up the bottom.

Not surprisingly, the countries that are happiest are those that are healthy, wealthy, and wise. "The most significant factors were health, the level of poverty, and access to basic education," White says.

Each country gets its own page, here is Canada

Canada may sometimes feel overshadowed by its giant neighbor to the south, but a strong sense of national identity and abundant natural beauty help make the sprawling and sparsely populated country one of the world's happiest. Canada also punches above its weight economically, with a huge $1.1 trillion GDP and per-capita that ranks among the world's highest. It also has strong health care and a low crime rate.

Take that, Ireland.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mad TV iPod Commercial

Great Stuff!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rolling Stone savages Rudy Giuliani

An excerpt from the full story:

Rudy Giuliani is a true American hero, and we know this because he does all the things we expect of heroes these days -- like make $16 million a year, and lobby for Hugo Chávez and Rupert Murdoch, and promote wars without ever having served in the military, and hire a lawyer to call his second wife a "stuck pig," and organize absurd, grandstanding pogroms against minor foreign artists, and generally drift through life being a shameless opportunist with an outsize ego who doesn't even bother to conceal the fact that he's had a hard-on for the presidency since he was in diapers. In the media age, we can't have a hero humble enough to actually be one; what is needed is a tireless scoundrel, a cad willing to pose all day long for photos, who'll accept $100,000 to talk about heroism for an hour, who has the balls to take a $2.7 million advance to write a book about himself called Leadership. That's Rudy Giuliani. Our hero. And a perfect choice to uphold the legacy of George W. Bush.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Who won the New Hampshire Primary?

If you define "win" as "gets the most delegates for the convention" - which is the point after all - then you have an interesting situation:

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama each won nine delegates in New Hampshire's Democratic primary, followed by former Sen. John Edwards with 4 delegates, an AP analysis of primary results shows. All 22 of New Hampshire's delegates to the national convention this summer have been allocated.

Clinton and Obama won the same number of delegates, even though Clinton edged Obama in votes, because New Hampshire awards delegates proportionally, and the vote was relatively close.
So by my count that is 1.5 for Obama and .5 for Clinton.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Huckabee vs. Rick Mercer

Remember Rick Mercer's "Talking with Americans"?

Just watch the first minute and a half - Governor Mike Huckabee talks about Canada's igloo capital.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Carbon Tax vs. Cap and Trade

So the federal Conservatives are rejecting the recommendation for a carbon tax:

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, a panel of Canadian experts from environmental groups and the business world, concluded that Canada could achieve a 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by acting as soon as possible with measures that would put a price on activities that result in the release of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.
Although the Harper government asked the round table for its advice in 2006, Environment Minister John Baird quickly dismissed the carbon tax proposal as a "Liberal idea," explaining that he had already addressed the concerns raised in the report by introducing a new federal green plan that sets a price on carbon emissions.

They (the cons) are now proposing a Cap and Trade system:

Baird has rejected all criticism of his government's plan from independent research groups, economists and environmentalists, insisting he would stick with a plan to limit the growth of pollution from large industries instead of forcing them to make absolute reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions.
The government has not finalized regulations for industry, but it has pledged to deliver them in 2008 to start up a new domestic cap and trade system, along with a technology fund.

I actually don't think the NDP should be critical of this, I think they should be supportive. After all, it is what they have called for:

Give fair notice to large emitters that, starting in 2008, permissible emissions will be capped and the cap will be annually reduced with an eventual goal of a 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.

Introduce a market-based auction for available emission credits in 2009, with credits divided among sectors. At the outset, the auction will cover less than 10 per cent of available credits, with a goal of all emission credits sold by auction by 2030. Proceeds from the sale of emission credits will go to sustainability projects.

Note the date of June 20th, 2006. The NDP was ahead of this bandwagon and should be congratulating the conservatives on having seen the light and having come on side.

BTW, I happen to think a cap and trade system makes a lot of sense, both environmentaly and economically, So do the union of concerned scientists, read more here.