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Obama needs but one swing state to win

Posted on 2008.03.07 at 16:41
(note: my new blog at gregoryharbin.com is now up and running. This will slowly transition to a more personal page, with gh.c being for my articles)

I put together my first electoral map, based on survey data from SurveyUSA which was released yesterday. Rather than assigning delegates in the states that were close, I went ahead and designated a 'swing state' those which have undecided numbers that would put one or the other candidate over the top. With this metric, I have Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia as purples. After assigning the rest, I have Obama with 267 electoral votes, McCain with 139.

I expect Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina to be Obama's main focuses, as they have very close margins, and any of the states would tip the electoral scales over the magic 270 number. McCain has a much harder battle, needing to win every single swing state to win.

There are of course unforeseen irregularities that could change this map, and I'm sure I'll have to redraw it many times before November, but as of now, this is how it looks.

tainted love

Posted on 2008.03.06 at 21:31
I really should have been posting about Idol before now, but, here goes.

I was happy to see Luke sent home. He's good looking, but his style of singing just wasn't clicking with me. I was less happy to see Kady go. She's obviously the 'prettiest' of the bunch, and she had an okay voice, but I do agree with Simon that she was a robot. With a lot of work, she could be a star.

Asia'h, I hated her version of whatever that was that she did. She's cute, and will do well on the Disney Channel, but she wasn't going to win Idol. Danny I was okay with. The guy was starting to grow on me, and I wanted to keep watching whatever is happening with him and Ramiele. I would have sent Chikezie home to be sure.

Who do I like?

On the guy's side, Michael Johns is by far my favorite. He's got that brilliant star quality. He'll be famous with or without a win, but he's in the top 5 for sure. I also like David Cook, and do I really need to say, of course I like Archie. Who doesn't?

My pick on the girls' side is Kristy Lee Cook (I'm assuming no relation to David). Ooh, she's sooo cute. And her singing is out of this world. Her country Journey was awesome. And looking like Keri Russell never hurt anyone. I'm kind of disappointed by the girls this year, but out of who's left, I like Brooke (last week's was better than this week's, but she's still good), and Syesha Mercado.

My bottom-dwellers are Chikezie, Amanda, Ramiele, and David Hernandez. I expect Rami or Chikezie to go home next week.


Posted on 2008.03.05 at 17:20
OK, the press is reporting 'Hillary's Big Three Wins.' Let's be clear here. Hillary netted exactly four delegates. Four. That's four (4). That's fewer than Obama netted in ANY of the previous eleven contests, save the Virgin Islands, which had but three (3) delegates to give him.

Four delegates, people.

Also, she did not, let me repeat, Hillary Clinton did NOT win Texas. She barely edged him out in the primary, but lost by a large margin in the caucus. In the end, he's getting 99 (ninety-nine) delegates to her 94 (ninety-four). That's a net gain of five (5) for Obama. Again, bigger than her net at the end of her supposed big day.

She won exactly two states yesterday, both obvious Clinton strongholds, which she was winning by much higher margins only two weeks ago.

Out of the upcoming twelve (12) contests, she's going to win exactly maybe two. 2. PA and West Virginia. Maybe.

It is over, Hillary Clinton Campaign. You made a good show of it, and I'm sure you'll be a fine Senator once you stop running for President (although I'm not sure you know how to do that). Please, go back to New York, and help President Obama get his legislation through.

Lest anyone doubt that I know something of what I'm talking about, I'll post my delegate projections again, this time with the new totals added in. After the 14 (fourteen) contests that that occurred since I started that list, I am now off by 11 delegates each way. To quote the great Emperor Palpatine, "Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen."

you have a choice

Posted on 2008.03.03 at 22:51
Much happier with this version of 'Falling Slowly.' Still nowhere near perfect, but I'm happier. Comments appreciated.


And for the record, no, I will not be attending a Primary Results Baratch Obamarty tomorrow, no matter how fun that sounds. I will be glued to my TV, however, and eagerly awaiting Hillary's (surely she must!) concession speech.

moods that take me and erase me

Posted on 2008.03.01 at 23:07
Inspired by JoCo mentioning on Twit that he's recorded everything on a Mac Mini, I sprung into recording action today, choosing for my attempting Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová's glorious, Oscar-winning 'Falling Slowly.'

My version falls short of theirs on every level, but at least I finally recorded a song with guitar, voice, bass, and piano. Much more an experiment than something meant for enjoyment, I put this online mainly for criticism and posterity.

Falling Slowly (lyrics and music by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, instruments and voice by Gregory Harbin/Johannes)

kicking squealing gucci little piggy

Posted on 2008.03.01 at 12:52
Selected songs from Radiohead's 1997 masterwork "OK Computer," examined as an allegory for the 2008 American Presidential election:


The "next World War" is our current War on Terrorism, and the unpopularity of the Iraq Invasion has led America to look for a 'jack knifed juggernaut,' a leader who stood up against the war even before it was unpopular. And so, "in an interstellar burst," Barack Obama is here to save the Universe--or at least America.

In the deep, political ignorant sleep of the innocent--college students--Barack Obama is born again. Riding a fast bandwagon to success, he's amazed that he's still alive: an inexperienced minority senator running for the most powerful job in the world.

Paranoid Android:

"Please could you stop the noise," Hillary Clinton is "trying to get some rest." All these unborn chicken voices--"Yes We Can"--keep ringing in her head. When she is President, everyone who's opposed her will go "against the wall." Republican opposers of her Universal Heath Care plan, their opinions "are of no consequence at all."

"You don't remember--you don't remember--why don't you remember my name?" asks Hillary, unable to comprehend why name recognition isn't giving her more success--she screams at the DNC "off with his head!"--until she realizes that Barack has been able to turn her record against her: "I guess he does."

Now, Hillary needs anti-Barack sentiment to "rain down, rain down" in a steady stream. It won't come from the grassroots, but from her position of power, she believes she can force it to come "from a great height, from a great height."

"That's it," Barack. "You're leaving." American values--"the crackle of pig skins", soccer moms networking about Barack's supposed Muslim heritage, the panic, and the vomit--who will be there at 3 AM to pick up the phone at the White House? In desperation, Hillary cries out, "God loves his children!"

Karma Police:

High on 80% approval ratings after 9/11, George Bush commands the Karma/Anti-Terror Police: "Arrest this man" for picking up a copy of "The Anarchist's Cookbook" at a local library. "He buzzes like a fridge, he's like a detuned radio." He just LOOKS like a terrorist, throw him in Gitmo. And who's that with him? She looks like a terrorist--"her Hitler hairdo, it's making me feel ill." It looks like we've crashed an entire terrorist party. "This is what you get when you mess with me"--you're either with us or you're against us.

Four years later, he's "given all I can," but "it's not enough." His approval ratings in the low twenties, Bush is worn out. "I've given all I can," but until 2009, he's "still on the payroll." Worried about his legacy, he stays the course. "This is what you get when you mess with us!" he screams. Fighting to control his press, he travels to Africa, where he has arguably done a lot of good. A stunned populace wonders when he had time to fix Africa, but Bush just smiles in relief. "Phew, for a minute there, I lost myself."


John McCain will "stop at nothing" to become President. Seemingly unable to appeal to both Moderates and Conservatives, McCain has begun electioneering. He says "the right things," and hopes he can "rely on your vote." In an impassioned plea, he promises to "go forwards," if his supporters will only "go backwards," and somewhere, in a mystical equilibrium that would secure 50.1% of the vote, "we will meet."

"Riot shields, voodoo economics," all the policies of McCain's past, you need just ignore all that. It's history. He's against abortion! "I trust I can rely on your vote." He supported the surge! "I trust I can rely on your vote." He's a war hero! "I trust I can rely on your vote."

since you left me out in the cold last fall

Posted on 2008.02.23 at 22:01
I have now seen most of the films nominated in this year's Oscars (yes, even you, Atonement; Atonement, how you thrill in the first fifty minutes, and then fall into almost complete squalor for the rest of the running time, Atonement, whom I hope the novel, whose beginning is almost more utterly rapturous, does not fall apart as well upon entering her second epoch), and therefore feel somewhat strong in my expertise on the subject, and as well rather confident in my ability to prognosticate.

After some thought, I decided to rank the Best Picture nominees thusly, ignoring the Oscars, and only looking into my soul for her desires:

5. Juno
4. Atonement
3. Michael Clayton
2. No Country For Old Men
1. There Will Be Blood

The predominant theory of Academy voting is that the word 'Best' should most properly be replaced by 'Most': Most Acting, Most Cinematography, Most Writing.

By this measure, then There Will Be Blood should win for Most Directing, and Le Scaphandre et le Papillon for Most Cinematography.

Day-Lewis is an obvious lock for Most Acting by a Male--even reading the 'if I say I am an oil man, you'll have to agree' speech in the novel 'Oil!' brings chills to my spine), although why Mathieu Amalric is not nominated, I don't know. Does the Academy think that acting can't be done by the voice? Johnny Depp was really better than that glorious portrayal?

Casey Affleck is a lock for Most Acting in a Supporting Role, as amazed as I am to hear those words typed onto the page.

I can't decide about Best Actress. Ellen Page wins for Most Acting in a Film Anyone Has Ever Freaking Heard Of. Blanchett wins for Best Job Recreating A Role You Already Won An Oscar For, Too Bad the Film Sucked. Marion Cotillard is the dark horse, and in veritas, I hope she gets it.

Saoirse Ronan is a lock, a lock I say, for Best Supporting. She was by far the best part of Atonement.

I cannot see Blood not sweeping Directing, Art, Editing, Adapted, and Picture.

I'm still annoyed that my boy Greenwood from Radiohead is being denied his Best Score Oscar because he quoted from Brahms. Oscar rules are mistaken here. Score is therefore a real toss-up. I hated Atonement's score, but it's the sort of thing that will win awards.

Original Screenplay, I believe, with go to Michael Clayton. Give Tony Gilroy an Oscar so he'll stick to this sort of film. He doesn't need to waste his talent on endless Bourne films.

Um, so a sort of list?

Best Picture
* There Will Be Blood

Best Animated Feature
* Ratatouille

Best Documentary Feature
* Sicko

Best Actor
* Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood

Best Actress
* Ellen Page - Juno

Best Supporting Actor
* Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Best Supporting Actress
* Saoirse Ronan - Atonement

Best Director
* Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood

Best Cinematography
* Janusz Kaminski - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Art Direction
* Jack Fisk and Jim Erickson - There Will Be Blood

Best Costume Design
* Marit Allen - La Vie en Rose

Best Film Editing
* Dylan Tichenor - There Will Be Blood

Best Makeup
* Ve Neill and Martin Samuel - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Best Original Score
* Dario Marianelli - Atonement

Best Original Song
* Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova - "Falling Slowly" from Once

Best Original Screenplay
* Michael Clayton - Tony Gilroy

Best Adapted Screenplay
* There Will Be Blood - Paul Thomas Anderson, from Oil!, novel by Upton Sinclair

I've got nothing to lose

Posted on 2008.02.20 at 18:17
Am I now a member of a more august class, a higher order of supporters? I feel the odd need to subdivide myself into a smaller group. "Bearded White Guys For Obama," perhaps.

it doesn't matter who's wrong or right

Posted on 2008.02.20 at 00:36
Three things:

1. I have Radiohead tickets!

2. I heart heart heart Questionable Content!

3. Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' is absolutely fantastic.

grew larger than my hands ever grew

Posted on 2008.02.13 at 00:17
Some notes from tonight's primaries in Virginia, Maryland, and the Federal City:

  • Obama is now winning by ten more delegates than I had predicted in my post-Super Tuesday prediction.

  • He increased his lead over Clinton 54 delegates, a blow out by any standards.

  • He is now (not including super delegates) 883 delegates away from the nomination.

  • He would need to win 92% of the upcoming delegates to win without the use of super delegates. Including the super delegates already endorsing him, he would need to win 70% of upcoming delegates to reach the magic number of 2,025.

  • Obama has won 53% of the delegates overall, and 66% since Super Tuesday. According to my predictions, which have been low, he will take 57% of the upcoming delegates.

  • But assuming he takes half of the super delegates, as would be expected in a close race, he needs win only 47% of the upcoming delegates.

  • Clinton, meanwhile, has won only 47% of the delegates so far, and only 34% since Super Tuesday. Note that she won only almost half of the pledged delegates on Super Tuesday, which she trumpeted as a win.

  • Clinton would need to stop her slide, and even reverse it, to achieve 76% of upcoming delegates assuming her current super delegate count holds steady, or 60%, assuming she wins the support of half the super delegates.

  • Did you understand all that? Then I promise you you are now more informed that most of the people on network television.

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