Farewell to a Great Man


In about 40 minutes, President Barack Obama is going to give his farewell address to the world. And I for one will miss the hell out of him.

president_official_portrait_hires

Goodbye.

Let’s take a moment to realize just how incredible this president has been.

First, he’s not fully white. He’s also not fully black. He’s a mix of both, very much like our country itself. He’s also proof that, yes, in fact someone who isn’t completely white can indeed be elected to the presidency.

Second, he accomplished quite a bit and quite a bit was done during his time in office. Same-sex marriage is legal across the country. He restored our standing in the eyes of the world, and opened relations with Cuba, in addition to negotiating a deal with Iran. Obamacare/the ACA remains the law of the land and, really, isn’t likely to go completely away. As Biden once pointed out, bin Laden is dead, and GM is alive. Those are both because of things our president did.

And lastly, he managed to have a full eight years in office with not. One. Scandal. None. That’s pretty impressive. No blowjobs from interns, no torture of prisoners, no trading arms for hostages, no bugging the offices of his opposition, nothing. This is quite impressive, especially in the post-Watergate era.

Obama has not been everything he could have been. He faced unprecedented opposition from the Republicans who from day one were determined to not allow him to govern. He thought he could compromise and meet them halfway. But this was the crowed who believed compromise to be weakness, and they weren’t going to give him anything.

As a result, Obamacare was watered down, Gitmo was never closed, and we remain deep in the Middle East quagmire.

It is to our country’s great shame that this amazing man is being replaced by Donald Trump. It really disappoints me and boggles my mind. But Obama still remains the best president I’ve ever lived under, and I strongly doubt that’s going to change any time before 2021.

A Reminder of Who We Have Now


Our president. I feel quite pleased and honored to have lived during his time in office.

Live-Blogging the State of the Union, 2014


President_Barack_Obama

7:05pm MST – Well, here we are, ready for another year of blogging the State of the Union. I’m a bit late starting up on this, but they’re still doing the pre-game show, so that’s ok. Why am I late starting? Because I am using a brand-new computer! Yay!

As always, feel free to hit F5 at any time for frequent updates!

7:13 – Watching CBS’ coverage, where someone just made the sage observation that a fifty-year-old man is going grey. What a shock!

7:15 – Starting off by touting all the successes, like higher graduation rates, and lower unemployment rates. Not bad. I’m tired of the “the state of our union is strong!” boilerplate.

7:16 – As he lists off these people and their successes, I can’t help but notice that he doesn’t add, “The billionaire, sitting in his mansion, creating jobs.”

7:19 – Some not subtle jabs at the Republicans for their fiscal irresponsibility. I hope we get more of that.

7:20 – Create new jobs, not new crises. I like the idea, but will the Republicans let that happen?

7:22 – Talking now about the lack of upward mobility and the income inequality. We knew this was going to happen. I’m pleased to see a sitting president take on these issues, but I wonder if it’s something he can do anything about. Let’s see what he suggests.

7:24 – I remain baffled that people can look on this president with hate, and that they can call him some radical socialist. I see a political moderate who is trying the best he can against an insane opposition.

7:26 – Here we go. Incentives for companies to move jobs back to America and a cut to their tax rates. I’m ok with those ideas.

7:29 – Lots of stuff about encouraging innovation. It is important to remember that things like the internet came about because of government investment.

7:31 – Lots of stuff now about natural gas and what a great thing it is. I agree that it has plenty of potential, but like we see in any and all situations like this, we need strong regulation in addition to development of gas.

7:32 – I am all in favor of taxing away tax subsidies for multi-billion dollar oil companies and funneling those off to development of solar. But politicians on both sides are most certainly not in favor of it. We shall see what happens.

7:34 – “The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” I am baffled again, because I know, know that is a controversial statement. The mere fact that many Republicans didn’t applaud tells you all you need to know. Sad.

7:37 – Kind of meaningless boilerplate about having the VP head up some group to improve the way we train new workers. We shall see if it comes to anything, but I’m not holding my breath. The stuff about needing to extend unemployment benefits is much more solid.

7:42 – A call for high-quality education for all. That’s basic, but needs to be said. We do have the best educational system in the world…for those who can access private schools. We need to spread that around.

7:43 – To the older generation, having high-speed, broadband internet access sounds like a luxury. To people my age and younger, it’s pretty much a necessity. The internet remains one of the greatest inventions in human history and everyone needs to be able to access it.

7:46 – Good lord. Who is that person wearing orange with green glasses?!

7:48 – Here comes the minimum wage push. Pushing, I should note, not just Congress, but pushing business owners, too.

7:51 – A $10.10 minimum wage would be nice, but I don’t think it is likely. Still, he is right. It would help American workers, and give people more money to spend, thus improving the economy and improving businesses.

7:52 – Hmmmm. A new savings bond idea just for workers to save for retirement. I’m interested. Do tell me more.

7:54 – Personalizing the health care reform is a very smart idea. I know I have coverage I wouldn’t have otherwise, as do my two best friends and my mom.

7:55 – I love that the Republicans are so deep in denial that they can’t even applaud the idea of people not being excluded for pre-existing conditions. What a group of assholes.

8:00 – Here comes the suck-up to the military.

8:04 – Well, now, there’s a thinly-veiled swipe at the way Bush handled Iraq and Afghanistan. Good.

8:05 – Boehner can’t even applaud the idea of protecting privacy?

8:07 – Sucking-up to Israel. That got everyone on their feet!

8:09 – So, check it. We have sanctions against Iran to force them to the negotiating table. Now that is happening, and yet people still don’t think we should be negotiating with them. That seems to include all the Republicans and most Democrats. Sad.

8:16 – I really, really dislike the level of importance the military has in American political life. Do you know, back in the early days of the republic, there was serious discussion about whether or not a healthy democracy should have a standing military? We should, but it needs to be way smaller and have way less influence in our political arenas.

Well, that’s that. A good speech. I think that if the Democrats are smart, they will spend 2014 running on the successes of Obama’s presidency, and running in favor of things like Obamacare. I don’t see that being a losing proposition except in places where Democrats aren’t likely to win anyhow. An all-around great speech.

Finally Blogging About the Inaguration


So I’ve finally had the chance to watch the speech. I was going to try to do one of my live-blog articles about it, but I think I’ll just cover it like this. I really enjoyed it! I’m pleased that Obama made comments about the importance of living up to the spirit of this nation. I’m pleased that he made comments about gay rights and seems to be willing to push progressive issues. I’m also very pleased that it seems to have been a fairly inclusive speech. That said, I’m also quite happy that he didn’t directly challenge the GOP. He didn’t cave into them. He didn’t really acknowledge them in any way. He seems to have decided they are irrelevant. I hope he’s right.

The second term is underway. We shall see where it goes. By the end, my guess is unemployment at around 5%, gay marriage recognized everywhere, better health care for all, two new SCOTUS justices and an incoming Democratic president. I hope all those things happen anyhow. We shall see.

My Last Bit on the Elections


(for now)

Live-Blogging the Election Results


So it seems to be completely finished. We’re still waiting for the results in Florida, Virginia, Nevada, Colorado and Alaska, but they don’t matter. It’s over, it’s done. Now we can move on and make sure the next four years are even better for the country than the previous four have been.

9:18pm – CNN has officially projected Obama to win Ohio and therefore the Presidency. It is over. The American people proved they aren’t as stupid as I often think they are.

Thank goodness.

9:17pm – CNN has called Missouri for Romney. No shock there, and likely small comfort.

9:16pm – Oregon now. It is almost impossible for Romney to win this. MSNBC has called it for Obama.

9:09pm – CNN projects Obama to win Iowa and New Mexico. No surprises in either one.

9:03pm – CNN now projecting Wisconsin for Obama and North Carolina for Romney. About time for both. 238 vs 191.

9:00pm – CNN is projecting the following: Obama takes California, Hawaii and Washington. No surprises with any of these. Romney takes Idaho and Montana. Obama now leads 228 to 176 in the electoral college out of 270 needed.

8:55pm – Puerto Rico had their vote today. 53% voted to change their current political status, with 65% then going on to say they wanted to be a state. Hooray! With luck, we’ll have another state in the next couple years, with two more Democratic senators and some more Democratic congressmen.

8:50pm – CNN has called AZ for Romney, of course, and Minnesota for Obama, of course. 169 to 157 now, but CA polls are about to close, and we all know where that one is going.

8:46pm – Been fiddling with CNN’s electoral vote calculator. If Obama takes Florida, as looks likely, it seems like Romney could take every other swing state, including Ohio, and lose. Let’s hope.

8:27pm – I am updating this a lot less frequently than I expected to. Bah.

8:04pm – Wolf Blitzer: “We’re about to make a MAJOR projection!” And that projection is…New Hampshire for Obama. So…yeah. That’s another four whole votes! Wowsers.

8:00pm – Here we go! CNN projects Romney in Utah. So no shock there. That seems to be their only projection right now. 158 to 143.

7:56pm – Another 21 votes getting knocked out at the top of the hour. It’ll be MT, UT for Romney and IA, NV for Obama. Or so I predict. Because I have a brain.

7:46pm – CNN is projecting Elizabeth Warren to win the Senate seat in Mass, and Joe Donnelly in Indiana. This is looking better and better for the Democrats!

7:41pm – CNN has called PA for Obama. That’s another 20 electoral votes.

7:07pm – CNN is now saying the GOP will keep control of the House. This is, again, no real surprise.

7:06pm – So far, the election is going exactly as predicted by 538. Of course, even if Silver gets it 100% right, he’ll still get his numbers in the next election trashed by whomever they don’t favor.

7:00pm – The following states have been called for Romney: Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska (taking at least 3 of the 5 votes), North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, and Mississippi. Not a single surprise with any of these states. For Obama we have: Michigan, New York, and New Jersey. That brings us up to 152 electoral votes for Romney vs 123 for Obama.

6:56pm – 14 states with 156 electoral votes closing at the top of the hour, including here in AZ. Fun times soon!

6:42pm – In the latest edition of Unsurprising News, CNN is giving Alabama to Romney, bringing us to 82 for him, 64 for Obama, but don’t be discouraged, Obama fans. The major liberal states like New York haven’t finished voting yet.

6:37pm – Still waiting for the polls here in AZ to close. I am, of course, favoring all the Democrats. I’m also against the initiative that would limit us to only two people in each election, and in favor of the initiative that would make our 1% sales tax increase permanent. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best way we have to fund education at the moment, since our governor has no interest in doing so.

6:30pm – Romney gets Arkansas and Tennessee. No shocks here. That brings us to 73 votes for Romney and 64 for Obama.

6:28pm – A number of pundits have made claims about how the election is going to go. Many will be wrong, some spectacularly so. Nothing will happen to those who are wrong, but should something happen to them, and if so, what?

6:19pm – CNN is showing that Maine will be electing Angus King as an independent Senator. Bob Corker wins in TN. Democrats in FL, Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island.

6:13pm – Hmmm. CNN only just now called GA. For some reason I thought they had done so earlier. Oh, well.

6:08pm – Romney claims he’s written only one speech tonight, not two. Yeah…I doubt he really wrote either. I’m sure
his speechwriters wrote up two with his guidance. Anything else woudld be stupid.

6:60pm – So far Romney has more votes nationally, but let’s hope that changes. The last thing we need, regardless of who wins, is a repeat of 2000.

6:03pm – In other news, Bernie Sanders, the only openly socialist member of the Senate, has been reelected. Go, Bernie! Go, Vermont! I just wish he was actually affiliated wit the Socialist Party.

6:00pm – Per CNN, the following states have gone for Obama: Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts (one of Romney’s home states), Maine (3 out of 4 votes at least), and Rhode Island. Romney gets Oklahoma. Obama leads 64 to 40.

5:55pm – GA called for Romney. He’s now up 33 to 3, but don’t panic, my friends. This is nothing yet, since none of the more liberal states have checked in. Tons of states are closing at the top of the hour, and that’s going to give us a better picture.

5:44pm – CNN is calling South Carolina for Romney with 1% of the vote in and Obama up by 75%. Amusing, but likely accurate.

5:30pm – CNN is projecting Romney to win in West Virginia. No surprise there. That’s another 5 electoral votes for him. Polls have closed in North Carolina and Ohio, but we have no winner in either yet.

5:26pm – Here’s a poll.

5:23pm – CNN gives Indiana to Romney. No shock there. This gives Romney 19 electoral votes to Obama’s 3, but you’ll excuse me if I don’t panic just yet.

5:20pm – For fun, here’s the predictions from a conservative friend of mine. He says Romney will win by 285 electoral votes, taking the “swing” states of CO, FL, NC, OH, VA and WI. He thinks Obama will win IA, NH, NV, MI and PA. I think he’s right about Obama, but I think Obama will also take CO, VA and WI.

5:15pm – Now CNN is talking about some county in Indiana that has picked the right candidate in all but two elections. Big horking deal. If you have hundreds of counties, which we do, simple math indicates that over time at least a couple will end up seeming to be very accurate in what they pick.

5:00pm – CNN gives Vermont to Obama and Kentucky to Romney. Per the instructions of my mother, who lives in Kentucky, sorry about that.

4:55pm MST: Here begins the live-blogging. I guess we get to see where this goes. 538 is currently showing Obama standing a better than 90% chance of winning, with a slightly better than 50% chance of taking Florida, thus giving him about 313 electoral votes. I remain skeptical of that and stand by my earlier prediction.

My Election Day Prediction


By Tuesday it’ll all be over except the shouting, which will go on and on and on and on and on and on…

Anyhow, it’s time for my election prediction! To do this prediction, I am using CNN’s electoral college calculator. Here is what it shows today.

I think they’re being a bit optimistic on what states are swing states. But, hey, their job, I suppose, is to get viewers and if they say that there’s almost no real swing states, that doesn’t exactly engage the viewer. Here’s the map from fivethirtyeight.com.

Sorry about the small size. Anyhow, I think that’s far more realistic. If you go to the website, you can click on each state and get the percentage likelihood of winning, which is fun.

To make my personal electoral college map, I blanked out the CNN map.

Then I plugged in my picks, and, what do you know, we wound up with something quite a bit like the 538 map.

My personal prediction for the 2012 United States presidential election.

As you can see, I say that Obama will end up with 303 electoral college votes, winning the swing states of Colorado, Ohio and Virginia. I gave Romney FLorida.

Now I suppose an argument can be made that I’m being overly confident. Very well. Let’s give Romney Virginia and Colorado, which I think is within the realm of reality, and 538 shows Obama’s chances of winning in those states as being in the 60 – 69% range, which is the lowest on the map for him. If I do that, Obama still wins with 278 electoral votes out of the 270 needed. Now if Romney took both of those swing states and took Ohio, which 538 shows Obama standing a nearly 80% chance of winning, then Romney does indeed win the election with 275 votes.

Now let’s try this in a situation where Obama wins Colorado and Virginia, as well as Ohio, and also takes Florida, where 538 shows Romney standing only about a 59% chance of winning. If that happens, Obama wins by 332 votes, which would please me to no end.

You can play with all sorts of scenarios on the calculator. But I think mine, which, as I admitted, bears a close resemblance to what is on 538, will wind up being accurate. Obama will win with 303 electoral votes and we can all collectively move on.