Friday, August 29, 2008

 

Note to John McCain

Just because someone has less experience (sorry being the mayor of a town smaller than Hanover or governor for 1 1/2 years of a state smaller than Bronx County isn't experience) than any candidate in the past 60 years doesn't mean this person is somehow a change candidate. As I recall another governor of a much larger state worked well with both Democrats and Republicans.... I also recall he didn't have too much experience (6 years in the governor's mansion). You know who I am talking about.

The point of the matter is that people are not tired only of the same old politicians but of the same old ideas. Okay, so perhaps I'm a little harsh... I mean supporting Pat Buchanan is new from a major candidate.

You could have done something that would have alienated both dems and republicans... which well would have been maverick as hell. But instead, you caved to political pressure. You chose someone that the base loooooooooooooves. And in the process, you went unconventional... in a bad way. And unfortunately for you, not all of us drink the kool-aid that Fox News is shelving out.... we don't drink the MSNBC kool-aid either, fyi.

I guess it is difficult for someone who is now 20 years old to think that his 11 year old self who sat and listened to WCBS 880 hoping you would win the New York Primary thought you pull the horseshit you did earlier today.

Cynics win. Yet, again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

 

Watch C-Span sure, but most Americans will not be

If you weren't one of the lucky few watching C-Span, you missed a brilliant speech by Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. I was watching MSNBC, so I only saw Schewitzer's hand motions and Bill Clinton's reactions. But you could sense the energy in the room. I watched it on Youtube... and he was clearly playing to the crowd.... and boy did he ever.

But if you missed it, don't be upset. Personally, I believe that in order to best judge what is going to happen in terms of post-convention bounce, you must watch what most Americans watched (then don't watch MSNBC, someone with a sense of humour might say). Most Americans don't watch C-SPAN (even I do). No matter how good Schweitzer might have been, most Americans are talking about Clinton... or maybe Warner's lackluster performance.

In either case, Youtube allows you to watch the speech and see a potential '12 (if Obama loses) or '16 candidate, while watching MSM (mainstream media) allows you to see the convention through the eyes' of the public.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

 

John McCain's Strategy: Thread the Needle

Many have mentioned that in some odd ways this election has some similarities with 2000. On many levels, it does not (war, no "incumbent", non-apathetic voters). But take Obama's campaign, a young politician with not of experience choosing an old Washington insider as his veep.

But it's electoral map strategy is also quite similar, put the opposing side on defense and go into their turf. George Bush went onto Al Gore's turf in Arkansas, Louisiana, Arizona, New Hampshire (6,000 votes... Ralph Nader mad the difference), West Virginia (you know that was once a solidly blue state?), and of course, Tennessee. Had Al Gore won any of those states, perhaps the utter mess of the past eight years would just be some horrific nightmare inflicted upon us by a Stephen King novel.

Barack Obama is on once Republican land this year. Montana, Alaska, the Dakotas (though I don't buy those two), Colorado, Virginia, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and New Mexico are states that W. won and Obama hopes to win. He will without much doubt capture Iowa and probably New Mexico (though that state is always tricky to poll due to the American Indian population). Unfortunately for Obama, these two states only get him to 264 electoral votes when combined with Kerry's 2004 performance.

On 538 and RCP, Obama currently is projected to win Colorado plus the other two states I mentioned. Colorado does put him over the top to 273 electoral votes. Somehow in some way, McCain manages to hold the fort in all of those other states. Of course, he is barely holding on.... leads of less than a point on 538 and less than 3 points on RCP in these states are not uncommon. Obama could easily win Virginia, Ohio, and Florida and welcome to blowout city.

A week ago when McCain was leading in Colorado, Silver's models had a slightly difference look than today.
Things get confusing, however, when looking at the electoral college. We project Obama to earn slightly more electoral votes on average. However, we also project John McCain to win the election slightly more often. What accounts for the discrepancy? Obama's wins tend to be larger, and McCain's tend to be smaller. If Obama wins this election by between 7 or 10 points, there are very few high-EV states that he won't be able to put into play; even something like Texas is probably winnable. If McCain were to win by that margin, on the other hand, he would still almost certainly lose New York, he would almost certainly lose Illinois, and he would almost certainly lose California. Those states represent 107 electoral votes that are essentially off-limits to McCain, even on his very best days.
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/08/todays-polls-820.html

With perhaps the hope of a Michigan and New Hampshire victory, McCain has got to defend all of these states in order to win the election. And shockingly, he might just do it..... if Al Gore was nearly able to thread the needle and win Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, and New Mexico to come up 4 electoral vote short, perhaps McCain can.....

Monday, August 25, 2008

 

Coming to Riverdale: Snotty, Pretentious Columbia Faculty and Graduate Students

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080825/FREE/50522/1058/newsletter01

Clearly, a steal for the ever expanding Columbia. Now, if I read the location correctly, I believe this was the condominium that was supposedly going to house Derek Jeter. Tells you how bad the housing market is.

The location is right on the Henry Hudson Parkway, which makes it easy for one to jump in a car and ride to Columbia. For those traveling by subway (which I got to think is plenty), the commute will between 30 and 40 minutes... if of course, you catch a bus right away and get on a subway right away. In reality, it will be closer to 40 minutes to an hour at worst.

All I can say is God hopes they aren't looking for late night take out.....

 

Keith Olbermann: Way Out of Line

Earlier this evening MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann stepped over the line in a somewhat confrontation with Joe Scarborough. Scarborough was speaking about the recent closing in most polls, both nationally and state-by-state. He spoke of the new found hope in the McCain camp and new weariness of the Obama camp. Scarborough wasn't making news.

In describing the feelings of McCain's camp, Scarborough said they felt like they dug themselves out of a hole with a shovel. Olbermann interrupted Scarborough to say "Jesus, Joe. Why don't you get a shovel?"

I'm not exactly sure whether Olbermann was telling him to just go away... or making some sort of bury with a shovel death joke.

Olbermann went on to talk about the only poll that shows Obama improving his position in the past month over McCain, the USATODAY/Gallup poll.

In fact, most of the trends have been in the other direction. See this fivethirtyeight.com diagram,

Or perhaps this Pollster.com diagram showing McCain's upturn (also showing a slight Obama upturn):



NBC News, LA Times, and CNN all show a tightening race. Other polls show the race static or bouncing up and down (Rasmussen/Gallup Tracking).

And the USA Today Gallup poll likely voter model is for a lack of a better word suspect. Nate Silver rips it in this fivethirtyeight.com gem, http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/08/on-likely-voters-and-long-tail.html

The basic gist of the complaint is that it sets arbitrary cutoff points to determine likely voters.

Now, all of this doesn't even touch on the closing of the state polling (the one that really matters). All major websites (pollster.com, RCP, and Fivethirtyeight.com) have showed Obama's lead in the electoral college dropping to below 50 and he below 300 electoral votes. In fact, it was for a short time in the past week McCain with the slight lead in the state by state polling. Although Obama has recovered to take a slight lead (mostly due to an Ann Selzer poll in Michigan on fivethirtyeight and a few polls out of Colorado on RCP), the race remains tight.

The bottom line is that not only was Keith out of line with his comment, but he was also factually wrong.

See the video:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

 

How Can Clinton Supporters be Comforted by the events of the past 24 hours?

Unity. That's the Democrats calling card... Unity of Obama and Clinton.

Yet, the the Politico's two front stories are all about rehashing the primary battle. The first is about the sniping back and forth between the Clinton and Obama camps. Bill Clinton is upset that he wasn't the highlight speech of the economy night. It was well documented that during the primary Clinton believed Obama was suggesting that there wasn't much of a difference between the Bush and Clinton years.

Obama's camp is frustrated by both the Clinton's camp unwillingness or inability to cap stories that she wasn't vetted seriously and their seeming belief that Obama owes the Clintons something.

It is no secret that although Hillary has at least somewhat embraced Obama, Bill has been less welcoming to an Obama candidacy. Yes, the two of them have talked on some three-plus occasions, but it was always Bill who wanted to attack Obama in a more negative tone (I was at one of the first occasions of this) during the primary.

The second story comes from Riverdale Alum Governor Ed Rendell. His belief (a belief I personally think is correct) is that MSNBC was basically in the bag for Obama. It was evident that Chris Matthews had a man crush on Senator Obama. Hillary Clinton and Matthews had some famous press run ins. Keith Olbermann was no fan of Clinton with his special comment condemning the Clinton campaign tactics. And of course, the famous David Schuster line about Chelsea Clinton being a quasi prostitute.

But the real question is why all of this stuff is coming out now? What type of united front is this?

Some Clinton supporters not supporting Obama is not some sort of fly by night story. It isn't something that will go away. 27% of Clinton supporters are undecided and another 21% are supporting McCain. The campaign better get on this in the next two months, or somehow, someway, the Democrats will squander another huge gimme.

See articles here:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0808/12782.html
http://www.politico.com/blogs/michaelcalderone/0808/Rendell_Obama_coverage_was_embarrassing.html

Saturday, August 23, 2008

 

Obama comes full circle.. "Full-Eyed" Pragmatist

Nate Silver has said something... that to lack a better phrase is dead on. In his post http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/08/clear-eyed-pragmatist-obama-brand-has.html , Silver artfully and articulately paints the Obama transformation.

He has gone from the man who had pictures painted of him that look like Jesus to a man who is trying to be a white working class hero.

Anyone who knows me knows I am in someways an idealist (three New York baseball teams, gentrification of the Grand Concourse, listening to Barbara Jordan's speech from '76 etc.), but in other ways, I am a true realist. I recognize that while the United States is engaged in Iraq our role in the world to deal with such things as the Georgia crisis is greatly reduced. No matter what we claim to be our duty internationally in terms of keeping countries at bay (in other words keep them from invading other countries), our stature is greatly reduced as long as we stay in Iraq (our own type of occupation). This is common sense.

I have always understood that Obama would pivot once the general election came. His type of grandiose change that was understood by the idealists and youth of the Democratic party would never come to fruition in the general. The reason is simple... to quote Maxine Waters (D-Cal), "we don't need hope, we need action". This is how most Americans feel (if you are wondering why Obama won the primary, a complex but simple answer exists for another post). They want leaders who understand the issues at hand. They wanted specific proposals to deal with the problems we faced today.

I know many of my friends who supported Obama in the primary were not in love with him because of his understanding of the issues at home. Most did understand and respect his initial opposition to the Iraq War, but many (not all) didn't care or know his withdrawl plan. Many wanted to "change" the page from the Bush administration in some way. They saw the Bush administration as a bunch of secretive wealthy men. Obama's campaign was wide open in both its loose (in the sense of being open to people) candidate and its reliance on web fundraising (not for the rich).

The primary campaign was never about "realistic" change or "experienced" change. It was about symbolic change from Bush and partisan fights. If the debate had been framed in the "realistic" frame, one of the other candidates might have won (maybe even Joe Biden). Because let's face it, candidates who brought have change through legislation in either an executive or legislative role have a better chance of bringing future change through legislation. This was the core argument of Governor Bill Richardson and Senator Joe Biden.

Now, however, is not the primary fight. It is about pragmatism in the words of Joe Biden. And many Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, and Richardson (plus the other two) supporters, must decide whether they want to be the pragmatists they were during the primary campaign. Do they want the solid change in the Democratic way? Or would they rather be idealists and say "if it's not my guy/gal, I'm going to the other side"?

Their choice.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

 

Dear Senator Obama:

Whatever you do don't pick Governor Sebelius. If you want to go with a "new" type of politician governor, go with Kaine. If you want to go with a woman, go with Clinton. If you want to go with a "new" type of politician woman, go with McCaskill.

Sebelius has not been an effective orator on the national stage (see State of the Union response). Her pick will enliven Clinton supporters for picking a woman that isn't Clinton (trust me, I know these people). At least McCaskill is tough and has been effective on the small screen.

Kaine will be safe.... and he comes from a state that will be huge (could swing it that point or two).


Or you can just go with Bayh or Biden (though that pick is MBNA... at least according to Kos).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

 

Now Rachel Maddow... anyone who isn't a partisan hack will stop watching MSNBC after 7pm

I started watching MSNBC when Joe Scarborough was in prime time... when Dan Abrams had his first show... when Chris Matthews had one time slot in the evening..... before Coast to Coast with Ron Reagan and Monica Crowley came and went.

I probably was the only one watching when Pat Buchanan (guest-hosting the Scarborough Country) announced that Bernard Kerik would not be Secretary of Homeland Security.

Back in the day, Keith Olbermann was the only voice on a "major" TV channel to attack the Bush administration. I remember begging a liberal computer teacher at Riverdale to watch Olbermann.

How times have changed?

Olbermann is the darling of the left. His leftist stances have only intensified and become more open. He posts regularly on Daily Kos. And the gall that MSNBC has to fairly anchor election night coverage is beyond me. If he wasn't/hasn't been openly been rooting for Senator Obama, then call me Howdie Doodie.

Chris Matthews.... well lets just say he is openly going for Obama (see his exchanges with any Clinton people during the primary). No longer does he rave about voting for Bush (who would?).

Ron Reagan has the occasional appearance on the channel..... otherwise, he is relegated to his talk show host duties in Seattle.

Joe Scarborough does well in the morning.... or so I hear. I never wake up early enough to watch. Following Tucker Carlson's departure from the nightly lineup, MSNBC was left with zero conservative hosts (sorry Kos folk, Matthews isn't conservative).

Now, the only show besides David Gregory's (good family man, saw him at the Mets/Nationals game last Tuesday) Race for the White House that doesn't have an openly partisan host is going, going, gone.

Abrams' second show is ending this Thursday night.... to be replaced by Rachel Maddow. To give you an idea, Maddow is a genius, Rhodes Scholar's generally are. But she has also been hosted her own show on liberal Air America since 2005. So it will be Matthews, non-partisan, Matthew, Olbermann, Maddow, Olbermann....

No wonder this lineup is the left's answer to Fox News. Cuse me as I pack up and move to CNN.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

 

Flying from Hanover to New York? Forgetta bout it

Doing a random google search, I have learned that Lebanon's Municipal Airport (LEB) will no longer serve as a hub for flights to and from New York's La Guardia Airport (LGA). Known for some as a way to quickly but expensively (169+) get to New York (an hour flight with little security) as compared to the 7+ hour train and 6 hour + bus ride, the route will be replaced by a cheaper ($54) route to and from Boston's Logan Airport (BOS).

Personally, I have no clue why anyone would spend to fly from Boston with a car/bus ride of 2 hours and 30 minutes.... but then again, I'm no businessman.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/new_hampshire/articles/2008/07/26/lebanon_airport_to_begin_regular_boston_flights/

Monday, August 11, 2008

 

What I've learned on the subway so far

As I have expanded my subway horizons, it's always interesting to see where "whitey" is, and where he isn't.

The 1 subway line, which a friend says "is the end all be all answer for any subway route riddle for our part of the bronx just like "God" is an answer to any religious-philosophical question", is really not all that "white" north of 145th street. Something that would have shocked me at the beginning of the summer.

Sure you see white people on the train sometimes, but, for the most part, the train like the neighborhoods that surround it from 168th to 231st is made up of mostly Hispanic (non-Black) passengers. It seems that most Riverdalians take the car or the express bus. Black (non-Hispanic) people also seem absent for the most part (for most of the ride actually). Not a real surprise as will be discussed tomorrow.

Further, my ever increasing post-11pm 1 subway rides show families, single young men, and workers to all be apart of the near late night subway rides. And the ride is by no means lonely... with the exception of being the only person in the car with a white teenager for two consecutive nights (same kid.... he had some sort of soccer tournament it seemed) for the last two stops. Any myth held by some Riverdalians that the one train is somehow unsafe past 10pm seems like nonsense to me. Everyone is just looking to get home.

The A subway line, which is much closer to Riverdale than people I've encountered think*, shows the pattern of the increasingly gentrified Northern Manhattan. In the words of one Washington Heights resident who lives on the A line, the 1 line is a "pain in the ass". In fact, the walk between 181st A and 1 line is a good 5 minutes and a hill acts as a geographic boundary between lower and upper income residents.

In terms of ethnic makeup, the A train despite or (I prefer) because of its termination in Inwood has more white passengers than the 1 train at its northern terminal.

Those that know me, know I'm a huge fan of the A train due to its express service through Manhattan as well as its Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station drop offs.

C, D, and 4 trains tomorrow.

*-Two to three minutes further than the 231st 1 station.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

 

A Rejection of Racial/Religious Politics- Steve Cohen vs. Nikki Tinker

Tonight, Steven Cohen (D-TN) defeated Nikki Tinker in the Democratic Primary for Tennessee's Ninth Congressional District, a majority African-American district. The win all but assured his reelection in the largely Democratic district.

Winning with nearly 80% of the vote, Cohen sent a loud and clear message: racial politics will not be tolerated in 2008. Tinker (Black) ran ads linking Cohen (White/Jewish) to the KKK and referencing his religion (again, Jewish). She added a new chapter to the book of dirty campaigning.

Her hopeful exit from politics is a hopeful sign for the future.

Cohen will continue to represent the entire 9th district.... every citizen, no matter his/her religious, ethnic, sex, sexual orientation, or race.

 

From Mi Casa to Shea Stadium

1 hr 12 minutes. A slow 10 minute ride to the 4 train (thanks Pa), 4 minutes on the platform, 31 minutes to Grand Central, 5 minutes waiting for a 7 express, 22 minutes to the stadium.

On the 4 train, I sat next to someone who spoke on his cell about "he's a snitch, I'm not a snitcher." Coincidence or not, three cops entered the train at this point....

Also, a ride on the 4 train makes you realize how badly a Second Avenue Subway is needed... Pack to capacity about 3 stops in.... The one train gets filled around 116-125 street about 12-14 stops in.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

 

Yankee Stadium Subway Routes and Ticket Secrets

With a dear friend of mine going to the Yankee game today, I wanted to try a little subway experiment. A race between two subway routes to Yankee Stadium and see which one was quicker.

To give you an idea of what was going on, my friend lives in between the 79th and 86th and west of Broadway.

Standard practice for those who live in so said area is either to take the 1 southbound to 59th and transfer to the D (and take it up to Yankee Stadium) or to walk to Central Park West and take the C to 125th and transfer to the D*. Unfortunately, the 1 train wasn't southbound at either 79th or 82nd, so he had to take the C to 125th (the C wasn't running, but the A was running its route).

My belief is that strictly on the weekends, when the B is out of commission, a third route is faster. Take the 1 northbound from either 79th or 86th (I personally prefer 86th) to 96th transfer to the 2 (who switch lines with the 5 today), it's on the same platform as the 1, to 149th where you transfer to the 4 and take that to the stadium.

Well my route took probably around 25 minutes (give or take 5).

But alas, my plot was foiled. Turns out the D train going northbound was stuck somewhere well south of 125th street. So, my poor friend had to take a cab from 125th street.

But in better news, my newfound subway expertise came in handy today by helping at 7 people find their way.

Once I found my way to the stadium, I confirmed a past lesson and learned a new one in my quest to get a ticket to the Yankee game.

The new found lesson has to do with Stubhub.

For those that don't know, StubHub is a website which allows people to resell their unused tickets to future games. Unlike many other websites of similar nature, Stubhub is officially licensed by Major League Baseball (so much so that both the Yankees and Mets have ticket pick up places at their stadiums). Usually the prices at Stubhub start out at a ridiculous level (often double, triple, or even quadruple the face value). But if you think about it, what happens to unsold tickets as game time approaches?

If you are a seller, you would rather take a 20 dollar lost than a 60 or 70 dollar lost. In either words, if you aren't using the ticket, you want to sell them for something. So the tickets that were once selling for 150-200 dollars come to down to 40-70 dollars. So, you can usually get pretty good tickets, if you are willing to wait until the last minute to buy tickets.

The problem for me was they were only selling tickets in pairs of two or three... and I was by myself. So I couldn't buy a ticket.

So I went to the Yankee Stadium ticket window... and had an old lesson confirmed.

Repeat this mantra over and over again, no Yankee game is ever really sold out. They may say it's sold out, but usually, at least a couple (around 1000) will be available the day before a game. The reason? I'm not exactly sure, but the fan who sat next to me today, believes it is because those (1000) tickets are reserved for the family of players... and those that go unused are sold to the public.

The tickets range from the upper deck reserve (Tier) to the Field Box Championship (325 to 400 bucks no thank you). The problem is that the tickets come out at different times, so at some points only the upper deck maybe available. I usually strive for an in between seat (Main Reserve). Usually, I am able to exploit this system through Ticketmaster online. But unfortunately, Ticketmaster online went down after midnight.... so I was left without my vehicle.

But when I went to the ticket window at 3:50, they did, in fact, have "limited seating" in the Main Reserve. Jackpot.

And although the Yankees won and my subway route plan was left unsolved, it was a nice day in the end.

Two lessons learned and one to be continued...

*- Keep in mind the B, which travels along Central Park West and goes to Yankee Stadium at Rush Hours or at minimum travels along the D line to 145th street, doesn't travel on weekends.

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