Saturday, February 09, 2008

An enigma, wrapped inside of a riddle: The Tesseract Archipelago

By J. Thomas Duffy

A concentration camp with a concentration camp that we pay a Communist nation to host.

I have to wonder, with all that we know so far, do they have a secret handshake as well? Have they issued super secret decoder rings? Lapel buttons, so they can know who is one of them, nod silently and knowingly, as they pass each other?

Well, after the Crony General the other day, the "Hear-No-Evil, See-No-Evil, Speak-No-Justice" Crony General, it really shouldn't come as a surprise that it has been uncovered that we have secret prisons inside secret prisons.

Only in the Bush Grindhouse...

We really should have titled this post "An Evil Enigma, Wrapped Inside A Riddle of Lies".

Larisa Alexandrovna of At-Largely didn't pull any punches, in a great post this past Thursday, "The Tesseract Archipelago..."
Here are a few nuggets:

"For the commie fearing right-wingers, their collective silence about US funding of communist Cuba through a business arrangement in which they give us land to house our concentration camps on is astounding. It is, however, no surprise that nationalists see human rights abuses as a necessary fall-out of war. After all, Christian extremists, like their Muslim counterparts see war as a tool of God, and they see God in a single man giving them orders, not in anything divine:

Aside from the security propaganda and its flag-waving boot-marchers, however, I want a legitimate explanation as to why we need this many camps, this many secret camps within camps, and just who the hell is being held there in secret and why in secret. I demand this as a US citizen. Because if we have people secretly boxed within secret boxes, which house even more secret boxes filled with even more secret people, then we cannot continue calling ourselves a democracy."

Maybe this is the reason that The Commander Guy thinks Vice President Darth Vader is "The Best Vice President In History".

How nicely it fits ... The secret, Shadow Government running secret prisons inside secret prisons.

Read Larisa's "The Tesseract Archipelago..."

Add it to the ever-growing Clean-Up/To-Do List, once we get these criminals out of office.


Bonus Secret Prisons Riffs

We Looked In the DIY Section, But Bob Vila Didn't Have A Handbook On It ...

Top Ten Cloves: Problems Created With President Bush Admitting To CIA Black Site Prisons

Paid News Scandal Widens; CIA Said To Run Network Of "Blue Hole" Newspapers; Detainees Forced To Work As Copy Editors Or Write Stories In Isolation; Old Typewriters With No Wite-Out Used

Breaking News! Leak of CIA Covert Prison System May Affect IPO, Franchising Rights; Early Heavy Investment Cools In Wake of Story; North Korea May Trade Nuke Program For Multiple Prisons

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

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Totalitarian elections in Burma

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Reuters: "Myanmar's (i.e., Burma's) military government will hold a referendum on a new constitution in May this year followed by multi-party elections in 2010, the first in two decades, state television announced on Saturday."

But don't expect genuine democracy. The new constitution, currently being drafted, will likely "ensure the top leadership comes from the military," and having many parties won't mean much if one party is permanently the dominant one and there is no real opposition to military rule.

Of course, other totalitarian and authoritarian states hold "democratic" elections, too. In this sense, the Soviet Bloc satellites of Eastern Europe were "democratic" -- just as Saddam was the "democratic" ruler of Iraq, like so many other examples.

In other words, Burmese "democracy" will be a sham. The totalitarians may want their brutally undemocratic rule to be given the stamp of democratic legitimacy, along with some international stamp of approval, but what they may not understand is that their motives are transparent.

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Pimp this post

By Libby Spencer

I wasn't going to blog about David Shuster's remarkably thoughtless off the cuff remark about Chelsea Clinton but in reading over the reactions, a couple of points come to mind. First of all, as AttyTood aptly points out, this is not the worst thing that has ever been said about Chelsea. I remember some rather awful things being said about her as a teenager in the White House and Will unearths a particularly loathsome remark made by John McCain himself.

Secondly, the connation of pimping has changed and the word is routinely used in ways that have nothing to do with prostitution, at least in the plying of the oldest profession sense of the word. I mean isn't there a TV program called something like Pimp my Ride? It's a hip expression now, not a dirty word. Shuster's real offense was in suggesting that there was something wrong or unusual in having a candidate's family member do some politicking. That point I think is being lost in the obsessing over the language he used to convey a false point.

Furthermore, by rights, guys like Chris Matthews should have been kicked off the airwaves long ago for much more egregiously sexist remarks that were couched in more polite language. Making Shuster the scapegoat draws the line in the wrong place and provides cover for the Matthews of the pundit class. It implies a simple grudging apology will do as long as street talk isn't used to ply their misogyny.

Lastly, I think the furor over this will cause more harm than good and I wonder if the rapid removal of Shuster isn't really a subtle plot to discredit progressives. It fuels the whole meme on the redmeat side of the fence that paints the PC/feminist crowd as overly sensitive nannies who want to outlaw free expression in order to protect themselves from every mild offense. It's difficult to argue otherwise when the term "blogwhoring" is an acceptable use of language widely employed in Leftopia. The furor then begins to take on a air of "it's okay when a leftie does it."

I guess it's too late now, since the tempest has already blown through the news cycle, but I fear we'll live to regret making an issue of this.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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Oh brother!

By Carl

There are some implications in
this article that are troubling. I'll get into it after the quote:

Mr. Obama’s admissions are rare for a politician (his book, “Dreams From My Father,” was written before he ran for office.) They briefly became a campaign issue in December when an adviser to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Obama’s chief Democratic rival, suggested that his history with drugs would make him vulnerable to Republican attacks if he became his party’s nominee.

Mr. Obama, of Illinois, has never quantified his illicit drug use or provided many details. He wrote about his two years at Occidental, a predominantly white liberal arts college, as a gradual but profound awakening from a slumber of indifference that gave rise to his activism there and his fears that drugs could lead him to addiction or apathy, as they had for many other black men.

Mr. Obama’s account of his younger self and drugs, though, significantly differs from the recollections of others who do not recall his drug use. That could suggest he was so private about his usage that few people were aware of it, that the memories of those who knew him decades ago are fuzzy or rosier out of a desire to protect him, or that he added some writerly touches in his memoir to make the challenges he overcame seem more dramatic.

That last bit is the part that concerns me most.

The GOP would have a field day with this, if indeed it turned out he embellished his "misspent youth". Remember the 2000 campaign and how Al Gore "said he invented the Internet"? He never said it, but I'd bet if you asked people about it, they'd say "Yea, he lied about that."

Or "Al Gore said he discovered Love Canal's problems," when in fact he merely held some hearings where that story came out. Or how Al... well, you get the picture.

Then Gore proceeded to run one of the dumbest campaigns in history and still managed to win the election, if not the office.

It's bad enough that Obama decided to confess to drug use as a kid, and I'm not talking about smoking pot. That's going to be ample enough ammunition in the general election, and may yet play a role in the primaries (this story came out now for a reason, I suspect): people in the heartland don't like cocaine and don't cotton to cocaine users. He'll have some work to do to mend minds there.

But if it turns out that he was embellishing his drug use for some bizarre "street cred" or to make his tough life seem more Lincolnian and less middle class, well, then that was just stupid and is going to hurt him in ways he can't possibly have foreseen. He didn't need to do it. I think we can all imagine what life for an interracial kid growing up without his father might have been like in the 70s and 80s. We get it, and why he might have experimented with drugs.

People will forgive bad decisions made as a teen. People don't forgive bad judgement when you're in your forties. You're supposed to know better, particularly if you are running for office.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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Advantage: Obama

By Michael J.W. Stickings

1) Obama has the lead and the momentum coming out of Super Tuesday.

2) Obama is raising astonishing amounts of money. Clinton is lagging behind.

3) With McCain as the almost certain opponent, Obama is more electable than Clinton.

4) Obama leads in the polls in key states like Washington and Virginia. He should also win Louisiana, Nebraska, and Maryland.

5) Obama could win all four votes today: Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, and the Virgin Islands. He could have even more momentum heading into Maine on Sunday and Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. next Tuesday.


Let's look more closely at #5:

Simply put, the calendar favours Obama. The media may have called Super Tuesday a draw, but Obama won not just by taking more states and more delegates but by blocking Clinton and by putting himself in a position to win the nomination.

Slate's Trailhead blog examines the upcoming primaries and caucuses. Here are the predictions:

-- Louisiana (2/9): Obama
-- Nebraska (2/9): Obama
-- Washington (2/9): Obama
-- Virgin Islands (2/9): Clinton
-- Maine (2/10): Obama
-- D.C. (2/12): Obama
-- Maryland (2/12): Obama
-- Virginia (2/12): Obama

Then there are Wisconsin and Hawaii on 2/19, both of which could go to Obama.

Look at that list. It's pretty impressive. And the impression you get is that Obama is indeed in a very good position at the moment.

Of course, nothing is certain. Far from it.

Washington could go for Clinton, as could Maine, Virginia, and Wisconsin. (Although the Virgin Islands could go to Obama.) On 3/4, Clinton could win two of the most important prizes of all, Ohio and Texas. And, along the way, something could come up that shifts the race in Clinton's favour. For example, Obama could fail to live up to expectations, which are now quite lofty (such as my own). Or Clinton could beat Obama handily in the debates. Or the media could for whatever reason turn against Obama. In general, too, it is unwise to count out the Clintons, Bill and Hillary alike. They have been counted out many times before, only to emerge stronger than ever. Clinton was counted out after Iowa, after all, but then came New Hampshire. Obama may be the narrow frontrunner, but Clinton is fighting hard.

Still, right now, Obama has the advantage, in my view, and over the next few weeks he could take a commanding lead -- if not so much in terms of delegates and the popular vote but in terms of states won and momentum. It's all about the delegates, I know, but wins in most of the upcoming votes could give him significant momentum going into Ohio and Texas -- both of which have been looking good for Clinton -- and then into the key states to follow, such as Pennsylvania. In other words, winning will lead to more winning, and Obama will look more and more not just like the frontrunner but like the presumptive nominee. Even the Clinton boosters in the Democratic establishment wouldn't be able to deny it, at least not with any credibility.

It could all go wrong -- and it very well might -- but for Obama there is at least now a much clearer path to victory than there was before Super Tuesday -- not to mention, further back, when the race looked like Clinton's to lose.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

"Hi, 17 for Hannah Montana 3-D... We brought our own glasses."

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Who knew? Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Madman of Tehran... a huge Hannah Montana fan.

(Actually, it's a pic of the day at the Globe: "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wears 3-D glasses to see an aerial map as he visits the aerospace industries center of the defence ministry in central Tehran." But maybe that's just what they want us to believe.)

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Ubiquitous Big Brothers

By Carol Gee

"Infragard -- FBI deputizes citizens," is the Common Dreams (2/7, Matthew Rothschild) story headline. To quote:

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does-and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.

Our devoted Big Brothers - they are everywhere these days -- The government is ubiquitous; it is everywhere and it claims it wants to take care of us. Our current president (OCP), the Biggest Brother (see GWB Resume -- h/t to Jon for this), promises that he's going to protect the country. Our current congress brothers and sisters got together with him yesterday to pass legislation to take care of the country through "Economic Stimulus." Paul Krugman editorializes, however, that "it is still a long story with fairly dire news."

If this is what having ubiquitous big brothers gets us, we are saying "no thanks." Despite every effort, OCP (at 30% approval) and Congress (at 22%) have just hit bottom in current public opinion polls. High interest in the presidential campaigns is perhaps an indication of how sick the country is of all of this and how much we want it changed. (Memeorandum has a lot more on this aspect). Before proceeding with the ubiquitous government argument, tells about the word "ubiquitous:"

Main Entry: ubiquitous
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: ever-present
Synonyms: all-over, everywhere, omnipresent, pervasive, ubiquitary, universal, wall-to-wall

Wall-to-wall Mikes -- The Three Mikes have been up to the Hill this week making lots of headlines about how much they want to protect the country. They were everywhere on the television screen and in the news. Admiral Mike McConnell - Director of National Intelligence, General Michael Hayden - Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Judge Mike Mukasey - Attorney General of the U.S., have all testified before Senate and House committees in the past couple of days. Other high intelligence officials included FBI Director Robert Mueller and General Maples from the Defense Department. State Department and the Department of Homeland Security officials were also invited to be on the Intelligence Committee panels, though their roles were very limited during the public hearings on the state of the nation's security.

Another word, "waterboarding," was ubiquitous in the questions from Senators and House Members. Representative Jane Shakowsky asked General Hayden why water boarding had recently been admitted. The decision to use the technique was taken five years ago because of "fear of an imminent attack, a weak understanding of Al Qaeda, and the legal landscape at the times. General Hayden, who supported the decision to go public, explained that the public debate on the subject had now become widespread and was a distortion of the facts. He added that the intelligence community's actions will, necessarily, be framed and guided by the American political process. "Whatever the laws and rules are, we will obey them." It seems that water boarding in not lawful under current statutes. Another Mike, Attorney General Mukasey has refused to investigate waterboarding.

FISA law as amended may permit ubiquitous domestic surveillance -- Many of the Senators and Representatives asked various members of the intelligence panels questions about current efforts to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The bill, S 2248, is now (9:30 AM ET) open for debate on the Senate floor. Under an agreement between Democrats and Republicans, today and Monday will be for 6 to 8 hours of formal debate on amendments to the FISA bill. There will be no roll call votes until next Tuesday. TPM Muckraker reports that amendments have already been voted down. The four-year sunset provision failed, as did the Feingold-Dodd amendment to limit the use of illegally collected information also failed, 40-56. In previous posts many bloggers, including me, have urged activists to call congressional offices (linked to phone numbers) to urge modification of this too-far reaching modification of the foreign surveillance laws. With vigorous input from constituents, there is a chance to change the direction of what seems to be a steamroller trend towards Big Intel Brothers who do not have appropriate regard for the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.

To occupied countries the Military may seem ubiquitous. The New York Times reports that Military doctrine in undergoing a major change. If this is a turn-swords-into-plowshares revolution in the military I would welcome it. I get the feeling, however, it is more like Colin Powell's maxim, "If you break it, you fix it." To quote from this fascinating story:

The Army has drafted a new operations manual that elevates the mission of stabilizing war-torn nations, making it equal in importance to defeating adversaries on the battlefield.

. . . It is also an illustration of how far the Pentagon has moved beyond the Bush administration’s initial reluctance to use the military to support “nation-building” efforts when it came into office.

. . . The manual describes the United States as facing an era of “persistent conflict” in which the American military will often operate among civilians in countries where local institutions are fragile and efforts to win over a wary population are vital.

What to say to ubiquitous Big Brothers -- When you get a chance, raise your voices in another hearty, "No Thanks!" to the FBI enlisting a cadre of corporate citizens. To favor these people with extra security for the price of information and assistance to put down insurrection, seems unseemly. If you want to, say "Thanks to the Three Mikes, but only if you operate firmly within the rule of law." Later, it may be entirely possible to say "Thanks" to the military planners considering offering nation-building services as well as kinetic services to countries of interest to us, but only if the U.S. forswears the neocon way of preemptive and preventive war-making.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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On the side of al Qaeda?

By Capt. Fogg

Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence tells us that al Qaeda is losing favor with Muslims around the world. It's only a matter of time until the neocons take credit and tell all of the losers and surrender monkeys out there that it was the success of the surge and that they are vindicated. Of course the key fact is ignored that what the press calls the "Muslim world" seems to have been more sympathetic to us than they are now until George tried to impress the innocent bystanders by blowing Iraq to halfway to hell; women, children, house cats and all.

The idea that sectarian war in Iraq was the doing of hordes of invaders from al Qaeda (or sometimes Iran as befits the story of the day) and not from Islamic history itself with the help of the European people who decided Iraq should be one country and George Bush who just wanted to blow something up, still stocks the neocon shelves. It's still on sale and McConnell's reassurance advertises that:

So that is another sign for us that the billion Muslims that practise their faith as good citizens are not for Al-Qaeda and that it's the extremist branch.

I have a feeling that was more so back when the Bush mafia was still sitting in a circle in some basement room playing with their privates and plotting war. I have a feeling that the "Billion Muslims" never supported any slaughter of the innocents in the first place, either the three thousand in New York or the better part of a million in Iraq, not to speak of the 4 million destitute and homeless. I have a feeling that all the support it ever had before Baghdad was shocked and awed came from Bush's oil buddies.

I just hope that come November the wholesale repudiation of Bush and his Napoleonic greed will show the world that the bulk of our 300 million people are good citizens who do not support the extremist branch still represented so forcefully and well by the Republican Party.

(Cross-posted from The Impolitic.)

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Fuck you, Mitt Romney

By Michael J.W. Stickings

That was Jon Stewart's message to Romney last night, and many of us had been thinking it all day long, in one form or another, upon hearing or reading Romney's CPAC speech, which included this:

If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

Yes, that's right, the Democrats are coddlers of terrorists and enablers of terrorism. And Romney was just doing what was best for the country. Like I said, fuck him. This is why -- or one of the main reasons why -- I truly despise the Republican Party and pretty much everything that goes on over on the wingnut right, where they either believe this bullshit, have repeated it so often that it has come to be the bullshit truth to them, or they know it's not true but feed it into their smear machine for partisan gain (and to their fellow partisans, who lap it up and lick it clean).

As Christopher Orr put it at The Plank, Romney was just doing the Republican thing, trying harder to be "a shrill, divisive, pandering hack" -- he hasn't been enough of one, perhaps, but he's looking to the future, specifically to his own future in the GOP. (The rest of the speech, including a ridiculous attack on France (a popular target for the ignorant, xenophobic morons to whom he was pandering), was similarly appalling -- and appallingly stupid.) Put another way, Romney may have suspended his campaign, but he's still campaigning -- not for '08 but for '12, or maybe '16.

As my friend Steve Benen put it, "we might still have Romney to kick around again at some point down the road" -- it's nice to have something to look forward to, isn't it?

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Evangelical assholery

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The AP is reporting that James Dobson, child abuse advocate and founder of Focus on the Family, will endorse Mike Huckabee for president.

No surprise there. Dobson hates McCain, just like he hates anyone who doesn't kowtow to his right-wing Christianist agenda -- and to him personally. In fact, he hates McCain so much he won't even vote for him come November. Not that he'll vote Dem or anything, he'll just sit on his ass and not vote at all.

Should he stay in the race -- and note that he likes and respects McCain, unlike Jimmy D. -- Huckabee will almost certainly get a boost from this, just as he'll get a boost from Romney's withdrawal. But it won't matter. Huckabee may be a social conservative, but he isn't what the anti-McCain purificationists of the conservative movement are looking for. While he could make some races more competitive, it's doubtful he'll stay in the race much longer.

The truth that the right now faces is that McCain will be the GOP's nominee for president, a nominee without the support of most conservatives, a nominee loathed by many among the party's core constituencies (justifiably or not).

All the Dobson endorsement means now is that Huckabee is sure to be on McCain's veep shortlist.

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Anglican assholery

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I tend to agree with Samizdata's Johnathan Pearce: Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, is an ass:

Dr Williams believes that aspects of sharia law -- which aspects he does not explictly say -- should be allowed to form part of the law of this country. He does not explain what tests should be used to decide what bits of sharia law are acceptable and what are not. For example, in some of the most conservative muslim lands, the death penalty is used for offences far less serious than murder, such as adultery. We are not told what the Archbishop thinks about this; or whether he thinks things such as arranged marriage, etc, are acceptable. But he needs to be clear about what he thinks is acceptable, otherwise, all we can assume is that the fellow is mouthing vacuous platitudes, nothing more.

In other words, the religious head of the Church of England (i.e., the Anglican Church -- the British monarch is the nominal head) is advocating illiberalism, a direct assault on the liberal foundations of British law (and hence of the British state, not to mention British society).

No wonder the C of E is going down the toilet.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

War, interrupted

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I'm tempted to say something snarky, but I suppose it's a good cause.

Angelina Jolie, one half of the Brangelina super-being, is in Iraq, as a U.N. goodwill ambassador, for talks with government and U.S. officials (e.g., Gen. Petraeus, pictured here) on the plight of "over two million displaced people":

There's lots of goodwill and lots of discussion but there seems to be a lot of talk at the moment and a lot of pieces that need to be put together.

Of the two million internally displaced, it's estimated 58% are under 12 years old. It's a very high number of people in a very, very vulnerable situation and a lot of young kids."

Given that she has significantly more credibility than anyone associated with the ongoing disaster that is the Iraq War and Occupation -- indeed, more even than her entire country -- perhaps she could use her mega-celebrity status to try to persuade Gen. Petraeus to face up to reality and see the war for what it is, surge included, namely, an abject failure.

Yet the problem of displaced people isn't about to go away anytime soon, war or no war, occupation or no occupation. This grossly mismanaged war may have toppled Saddam's brutal regime, but it also unleashed vicious sectarianism. Bush and the other warmongers may have talked up democracy, however unrealistically, but the real effects of their war are civil war, mass murder, and precisely the sort of instability that has produced the problem Angelina is addressing.

Petraeus can have his photo-op with the pretty lady. More talk is all there will be.

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Obama -- now more than ever

By Edward Copeland

I know that Mitt Romney had a big uphill climb at this point to be able to keep John McCain from getting the GOP nomination, but dammit, I wanted him to win anyway because he'd be the easiest one to beat. Barack Obama could beat McCain, but McCain will make it closer than it should be. (Don't believe for an instant that outraged Republicans will abandon McCain in droves. Only cretins such as Limbaugh and Coulter would prefer Hillary to McCain because they know that Hillary would make them more money than McCain would.)

However, the sad fact is that Hillary as the nominee doesn't have much of a chance of winning and, against McCain, is almost certain to lose. Obama would make it a real race, especially seeing him on a stage debating McCain, with his youthful 46 making McCain's early 70s look even older.

With the Democratic contest so tight and Hillary already seeking to change the rules after she won the meaningless Michigan and Florida primaries to get their delegates. (You know, she would have a fair case if it were just Florida, but since all the other major Democratic candidates weren't even on the Michigan ballot, that could hardly prove fair). Then, there are the nearly 800 superdelegates to consider, elected Democratic officials and other party hacks. For all the superdelegates who hold office, they damn well better vote the same way their districts did (be it for Obama or Hillary), because if they do otherwise their constituents will have a moral obligation to vote the House members and any senators on the November ballot out over that issue. It's not like these Democrats have accomplished much since they took over Congress last year, why not toss them out if they try to ignore the voters' wishes, especially if it's coming at Hillary's behest, making her seem more like Dubya than ever before.

All is not lost yet, but it damn well could be unless everyone rallies behind Obama. Otherwise, we will be swearing in President McCain in January 2009.

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Tossing in the Mitt

By Edward Copeland

The Fix at The Washington Post is reporting that Mitt Romney is either suspending or completely withdrawing his quest for the GOP presidential nomination:

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will suspend his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, according to sources within his inner circle.

A number of those sources said a decision could come as soon as his speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference this afternoon in Washington, D.C.

Romney was set to do a call with his finance committee just before addressing the conservative gathering. His decision follows Romney's disappointing showing on Tuesday, when he picked up a number of states in the West but fell short in critical battlegrounds that would have established him as the primary challenger to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

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What the hell is going on in the world?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

This is the latest installment of our "Around the World" series -- just with some serious exasperation attached to it.


First, two comments from Kevin Drum:

-- "Seriously, I guess we should all just shut up and wait to see what happens. I really have no idea what's going on anymore." (link)

-- "Right now I'm wandering aimlessly around the web looking for news -- any news -- that's not election related. After all, there's only so much you can say about a day when both Democratic candidates tied and their demographic appeal stayed pretty much the same as it's always been." (link)


I spent much of yesterday thinking about Super Tuesday and voraciously reading whatever I could get my hands on (rather, whatever I could click on). I stand by my initial view, expressed in the early-morning hours, that Obama won. By that, I don't just mean he won more states (which he did) and delegates (which he also did) but that he won by blocking Clinton's path to victory and by putting himself in a position to win the nomination, as well as by gaining both credibility and momentum by winning impressively all over the country and by drawing even, roughly speaking, with his opponent, recently the evident frontrunner.

Super Tuesday was supposed to be Clinton's day, the "national" primary day that would propel her to the nomination. Obama was expected to do well in the early states, in Iowa and South Carolina, and he won both, but Clinton regained her footing in New Hampshire and seemed to have everything in place to meet early expectations, namely, expectations of victory. But now Obama is back, raising extraordinary amounts of money and looking good heading into the next set of primaries and caucuses. If he wins all or most of those votes -- Louisiana, Washington, and Nebraska on Saturday; Maine on Sunday; Maryland and Virginia next Tuesday; Wisconsin and Hawaii the following Tuesday -- he could pull well ahead of Clinton going into the big March 4 votes in Ohio and Texas. Clinton looks good in those two states, but the hybrid system in Texas may benefit Obama and, with Obama having a lot of time to campaign personally in Ohio -- and his numbers tend to go up when he campaigns personally anywhere -- he could pull that one out, especially if he's riding the momentum of other victories.

This is not to say the race is over. No, this just seems to be the best-case scenario for Obama going forward, one that would give him a significant delegate lead, and perhaps even the perception of virtual invincibility, after March 4. What is amazing about Obama's solid performance yesterday -- and this is why I think he won in the larger scheme of things -- is that he was able to put himself in this position, a position that seemed remote at best just last week. Of course, Clinton could still pull off victories over the next few weeks, surprising the media and slowing (if not reversing) Obama's momentum, and could win both Ohio and Texas, and then, after that, other big states like Pennsylvania. And, of course, there may be (and are likely to be) some surprises along the way. And it could still be a long, tight race.

Still, there is cause for concern on Clinton's part, and, in her Tuesday night speech, her appeal to progressives, reiteration of the bogus "experience" argument, and general scrappiness seemed to reflect such concern, particularly in comparison with Obama's genuinely presidential address. (And then there's Clinton's huge self-loan, an indication that she's running well behind Obama financially and is desperately gearing up for the tough fight ahead.)


I'll get into the Republican race tomorrow or Friday -- maybe. It just looks like the GOP will have as its nominee a man who isn't liked by some of its core constituencies, who may even have a majority of the party faithful against him. Yes, it will be McCain, it seems, and that will be that. Huckabee can only win narrowly in southern states and Romney looks more and more loserish to me, a man who can win his home states and those states where he overspends wildly but nothing else. And so the rifts over on the right and within the GOP will deepen, and conservatives will have to decide whether they want to swallow their ideological pride (and their purificationist longings) and back McCain or rebel against their party (thereby ensuring McCain's loss in the general election, perhaps in anticipation of a post-election coup to recapture the party).


Alright, so I've said a lot even though so much has already been said. Though I admit, like Kevin, that I may not know what's going on, I do think Super Tuesday was better than a draw for Obama.


Oh, here's a good Super Tuesday summary from the otherwise wrong-headed Mark Steyn: "The real story of the night, when you look at their rallies and their turn-out numbers, is that the Dems have two strong candidates either of whom could lead a united party to victory. Forget the gaseous platitudes: in Dem terms, their choice on Super Duper Tuesday was deciding which candidate was Super Duper and which was merely Super. Over on the GOP side, it was a choice between Weak & Divisive or Weaker & Unacceptable. Doesn't bode well for November." (link)

Nope, doesn't bode well at all.


But what else is going on in the world? Here are some quick links:

1) Chad: "At least 100 civilians were killed in last weekend's fighting between rebels and government forces in Chad, according to aid agencies."

[The rebels seem to have agreed to a cease-fire, but there could now be a refugee crisis.]

2) Tajikistan: "Tajikistan is in the grip of emergency food shortages, the UN's World Food Programme is warning... Some humanitarian agencies claim Central Asia's poorest nation is heading towards catastrophe."

3) Pakistan: "Taliban militants declared a ceasefire today in fighting with Pakistani forces. The Pakistani government, meanwhile, says its is preparing for peace talks with the Al Qaeda-linked extremists in the lawless tribal area near the border with Afghanistan."

[Shouldn't this story be getting a lot more attention?]

4) Italy: "President Giorgio Napolitano dissolved Italy's Parliament on Wednesday, and the cabinet scheduled national elections for April 13. Mr. Napolitano's move followed the failure of Italy's political factions to agree on a plan to revise the country's flawed electoral law before a new vote."

5) Serbia: "Serbia's nationalist prime minister yesterday blocked the signing of a landmark pact between Belgrade and the EU in an attempt to delay the secession of Kosovo."

[Thankfully, the pro-European incumbent, Boris Tadić, narrowly beat a right-wing nationalist in the second round of the recent presidential election.]

And on a lighter note:

6) France: "Nicolas Sarkozy, who less than three months ago became the first French president to divorce while in office, is now reported to be on the verge of becoming the first one to wed while occupying the Elysee Palace."

[The lucky (?) lady is singer-supermodel Carla Bruni. "I have tried to lift France out of the mud," de Gaulle once said. "But she will return to her errors and vomitings. I cannot prevent the French from being French." Not that I really care about Sarkozy's personal life. It is what it is, and his politics are worse.]


Well, there's some of what's going on around the world, hellish and otherwise.

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Like NOLA all over again

By Libby Spencer

While the media was focused on the primaries, the devastation in the mid-south got short shrift in coverage and it's a real disaster out there. Monkeyfister is on the scene and has been liveblogging the storms along with the horrible after-effects and has issued a call for help.

A small-blog swarm on that post would be greatly appreciated by more people than just me. I can't describe how wide-spread the damage is down here. It's enormous. The Media, per usual, is only just now waking up to the situation, after their Super-Duper-Let's-All-Wet-Our-Pants-Together- Tuesday Political Hangover. Like NOLA, these are REALLY poor folks down here, and have nothing, and nowhere to go.

A short post about this at YOUR Blog, linking either to my post, above, or directly to the two Orgs mentioned in the post above, would sure be a big help, and would be greatly appreciated by many people who are relying on help. They are all that we have right now.

He also has practical suggestions for what we can do to aid our fellow Americans in their time of need.

Right now, I recommend the:

American Red Cross
Mid-South Chapter
1400 Central Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104


United Way of the Mid-South phone in a donation at (901) 433-4300.

They take DIRECT donations, so you can skip all the National-level waste and delay, AND they serve nearly every community in the effected radius.

At least 52 people are dead and as you can see in the photos, untold thousands that survived have lost everything. Please do what you can to help and check in with Monkeyfister for regular updates.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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The Washington-Moscow-Tehran nuclear axis

By Michael J.W. Stickings

There's an interesting piece in the Times today about U.S. connections to Iran's nuclear program. It deserves some attention:

The Energy Department is subsidizing two Russian nuclear institutes that are building important parts of a reactor in Iran whose construction the United States spent years trying to stop, according to a House committee.

The institutes, both in Nizhny Novgorod, gave American officials copies of sales presentations that listed the Bushehr reactor, which Russia has agreed to fuel, as one of their projects. One institute is providing control systems, including control room equipment, and the other, hundreds of pumps and ventilation fans.

The Energy Department is subsidizing the institutes under the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention, a program set up in 1994, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The program was intended to prevent newly impoverished scientists and their institutions from selling expertise to states or terrorist groups that want nuclear weapons.

The United States supplements the salaries of scientists and pays overhead at those institutes, according to the House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee.

It was not immediately clear whether the Energy Department was contributing to the salaries of the very scientists involved in the Bushehr reactor project. Two Michigan Democrats -- Representatives John D. Dingell, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak, chairman of that committee's Oversight and Investigations subcommittee -- asked that question in a letter sent on Wednesday to Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman.

"What policy logic justifies D.O.E. funding Russian institutes which are providing nuclear technology to Iran?" the letter asked. "How does this advance our non-proliferation goals?"

Good questions. (The likely answers: "There isn't any." "It doesn't.") Let's hope Bodman looks into this troubling matter and answers the questions honestly. This is sort of like the Dubai Portgate scandal -- but potentially much, much, much worse.

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Let's hear it for prison rape!

By Michael J.W. Stickings

You know, I didn't think much of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius's Democratic response to the State of the Union last month, and, to put it mildly, I don't think much of this:

The son of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is peddling a board game titled Don't Drop the Soap, a prison-themed game he created as part of a class project at the Rhode Island School of Design.

John Sebelius, 23, has the backing of his mother and father, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius. Sebelius spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran said both parents "are very proud of their son John's creativity and talent."

Yes, that's right, Governor Sebelius is proud of her son for creating a game that is being marketed with this slogan: "Where no one playing enters through the front door!"

Get it? Huh? Get it? -- You know, drop the soap? Hey, you know what happens when you drop the soap, right?

The contact information at Son John's website is... can you guess? The governor's mansion. (Which, presumably, can be entered through various different doors.)

Thankfully, not everyone finds this so amusing. The Pitch, an alternative Kansas City newspaper, appropriately titled its article on the story "The Idiot Son: A Board Game," and, as The Kansas City Star is reporting, the game has been "condemned by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission" (yes, there is such a body, and it's a good thing there is). After all, the game -- and I use that word loosely -- makes references to "being cornered by the Aryans in the Shower Room," among other such delightful predicaments of prison life.

But the governor remains behind her idiot son: "I certainly don't condone rape at all," she said. "The game was made strictly for entertainment purposes."

Really, Governor, do you find it entertaining? Do tell.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

President Hillary

By Carl

Barack Obama just set another nail in his coffin.

You can do a lot of things. The one thing you cannot do is criticize the only two term Democratic president of the last sixty years in this fashion. People in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, where the Big Dog is genuinely liked, won't like it and won't stand for it.


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And the frogs came up, and covered the land

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I'm still digesting yesterday's Super Tuesday results, and I'll post some reflections (and predictions) later. Quickly, I'll just say this:

-- Though he did rather well yesterday, in terms of winning delegates, McCain is a hollow frontrunner. He's only in that position because of the weakness of the Republican field and because conservatives, most of them decidedly against him, are divided.

On the other side, yesterday was a draw that, on a larger scale, Obama won. Given where he was just a few weeks ago, he did astoundingly well, winning all over the country and pulling even with Clinton (for whom Super Tuesday was the day that, it was once thought, would propel her comfortably into the lead) in preparation for an upcoming series of primaries and caucuses that seem to favour him.

More on this later. For now, something different, from a key battleground state.

From the Globe: "A White's tree frog from Australia sits in the rain forest exhibit at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo."

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Seen in the light of day

By Carol Gee

It is now the day after Super/Duper/Tsunami/etc. Tuesday. As the sun comes up it is apparent to me that my Texas vote in our March 4 primary may make a difference, after all. I like that idea. Lots and lots of voters also thought it would make a difference as they turned out to ballot or caucus yesterday. The New York Times has a great overview of it all. The Washington Post's "The Trail" provides a great state by state Super Tuesday digest. As in every election so far this year, there were large numbers of people casting votes, according to the Associated Press. As a result, the Republican race is more decisively in the hands of Senator John McCain and the Democratic race is more even between Senators Clinton and Obama than ever before. It is, as I said recently, a "delicious dilemma." Roger Simon at calls it "a fine mess."

In the light of day we see the damage from widespread tornadoes that brought terrible tragedy to several states in the U.S., including Super Tuesday states Arkansas and Tennessee. Over 30 people were killed, according to the Reuters story, from which I quote:

The storms tore across Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama, overturning trucks, trapping people, ripping up houses, smashing cars, and uprooting trees. By Wednesday morning, the city of New Orleans and the state of Georgia were also under tornado warning. Two of the states hit by the tornadoes -- Arkansas and Tennessee -- were among the 24 "Super Tuesday" states that held nominating contests before November's presidential election.

Sunrise in Washington will see Congress still hard at work, despite the political races and a 370 point stock market plunge on Super Tuesday. The Senate is debating its own economic stimulus package, as well as amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), according to The Washington Post. To quote:

Senate Democrats yesterday scrambled to find Republican votes to support their $157 billion economic stimulus measure and delayed a vote until later this week so that their presidential candidates can return to the chamber and support the measure.

. . . Reid said yesterday that "Obama and Clinton will not miss this important vote we're going to have on the stimulus package. But I have to give them a day's notice to get here."

Meanwhile, Democrats scheduled votes for today on several amendments to the electronic surveillance bill. However, it put off until tomorrow a vote on an amendment that would deny immunity to telecom companies being sued for invasion of privacy for cooperating with warrantless government wiretaps after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The immunity provision battle has been provoked by dozens of privacy lawsuits and an outcry among liberal activists, but the Senate has already cast one vote showing that Democratic leaders lack the votes to strip legal protections for the telecommunications industry.

In light of the information provided to the public yesterday by leaders of the nation's intelligence community, voters might have been frightened enough to vote for any candidate who promises to keep us safe from our enemies. Off the Senate floor yesterday the Senate Intelligence Committee held its "annual national threat" hearing at which the heads of all the major security agencies testified. The list included FBI Director, Robert Mueller, and the head of the intelligence arm of the defense department, among others. See it on C-SPAN: Senate Select Cmte. on Intelligence Hearing on Annual Threat Assessment (02/05/2008). In testimony General Michael Hayden, Director of the CIA made an admission of waterboarding that marked a first for the Bush administration. Admiral Mike McConnell, Director of National Intelligence warned that Al Qaeda is attempting to train and infiltrate terrorists who are indistinguishable from the rest of us into the U.S. Glenn Greenwald at closed his insightful post yesterday with this, from which I quote:

This is really, really scary. We better forget about checks and balances and oversight and restraints of any kind and everything else and just make sure that the President can spy on our emails and telephone calls with no oversight, otherwise Al Qaeda is going to slaughter us in our Homeland. And we also better make sure that telecommunications corporations don't have consequences when they break the law, otherwise we're doomed, because Al Qaeda is coming.

Or, as leading fear-mongerer and proponent of limitless surveillance powers, Jay Rockefeller, put it today:

"Al Qaeda has used this border safe haven to reconstitute itself and launch offensive operations that threaten to undo the stability brought to Afghanistan and undermine, if not overthrow, the Pakistan government," said Mr. Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat.

This, Mr. Rockefeller added, gave Al Qaeda "a base of operations from which to plot and direct attacks against the United States."

After scaring everyone with the latest Al-Qaeda-is-Coming warnings, the CIA also admitted for the first time that it waterboarded detainees in its custody, but what's a little water up the nose -- or a little presidential omnipotence -- when Al Qaeda is coming to get us in our Homeland?

Senator Rockefeller shed a little light, for me at least, on why he has gotten off track as a rational Democrat who has an understanding of the importance of guarding civil liberties as well as spying on our enemies. To explain my view, at one point he gave a little history lesson about China. He talked about how the Chinese leaders have never been elected, and have, thus had to practice repression, "because they fear their own people," the Senator said. Later, Rockefeller questioned the witnesses repeatedly about the possibility of people in the United States becoming disaffected enough to turn to terrorism. He decried the state of the nation's youth because of sex and violence in entertainment, etc. I understood, all of a sudden, that Senator Rockefeller, may have become afraid of his own people. It sometimes happens to people as they grow older. How many of us elders have come to believe that the nation's youth have "gone to hell in a hand basket?" I am not one of them. I find myself much more in the camp of those fresh faces standing on the stage behind Senator Barack Obama. I now find myself a universe apart from the Democratic Senator from West Virginia, for whom I used to have a great deal of affection and admiration.

I am now deep into today's FISA amendments debate on C-SPAN. I am not optimistic that a majority of the Senators will come to their senses. They have, themselves, become the latest victims of the administration's relentless fear-mongering.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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No exit

By Capt. Fogg

So what the hell does all this mean? Maybe Super Tuesday is just another Super Bowl with less substance behind the selection of loyalties. I couldn't watch either one actually; only enough of CNN's election coverage to make me retreat to the bowels of my DVR for something recorded and saved for an evening like that.

It wasn't the results; they were as expected. It was the exit poll interviews where respectable blue haired ladies, stewed for a lifetime in small minded stupidity, told us why they always vote for true Republicans like Romney. It was the weathered old veteran of too many shit-faced Friday nights at the VFW hall who is solidly behind McCain because they're both "retired military." It was Mike Huckabee with his homespun homilies and selected Biblical references and the horrifying idea that anyone stupid enough to support him is allowed to roam the streets unsupervised. It is the glaring evidence that the United States of America is simply too superstitious, too uninformed, too deluded and most of all; too damned stupid to be trusted with important decisions.

Is it that Karma is more than wishful thinking and that Democracy in America withers like an unwatered plant because we've stifled so many movements, supported so many tyrants, sent men to smash elected governments, murdered elected leaders and starved populations abroad while eating ice cream in starched Sunday clothes, singing hymns to our own greatness?

Perhaps the appearance of any remaining viability to the Republican party and its dimwitted dogmas and captious rhetoric is supported only by the corporate media's "fair and balanced" game. Maybe the Democrats will win every election outside of the Confederacy, but maybe too I'll just stop caring. Maybe I'm too old to believe that anything matters. Maybe I'm right about the utter futility of human endeavor and the meaninglessness of existence and maybe I should just forget about it all and while away my remaining years walking on the beach and collecting shells; watching Mayberry reruns of an evening and relaxing by the pool while it all goes to hell.

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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Lead balloon Wednesday

By Carl

So many overhyped and overinflated races yesterday. Some interesting developments came out of them, however:

1) First off,
Mitt Romney pulled in 90% of the vote in his "home" state of Utah. Never before in the history of the primaries has a candidate from either party polled so high. It's a testament to two things: Mormons stick together, and there's a lot of inbreeding going on.

2) For the Democrats, the only
real surprise of the evening was the margin of popular vote victory in Massachussetts for Hillary Clinton, who basically became the anti-establishment candidate in a state notorious for going against the establishment. When your opponent is endorsed by both Senators Kerry and Kennedy, and the governor, Deval Patrick (who happens to be black), and all you can ante up is an endorsement by Robert Kennedy Jr., you can almost guarantee yourself a win, it seems.

3) Every poll that had Obama closing in on Clinton in California was dead wrong, as
I pointed out a few days ago.

4) Anybody who believed
Mike Huckabee wouldn't win West Virginia has obviously never been there. I haven't, but I've been in the deep woods of western Virginia. Trust me, Huckabee would have won if he had been exposed as gay on Monday, they love their preachers there that much.

5) Georgia was a mild surprise: I thought the coast and Atlanta would give McCain more of a push, but in a quirky fluke, Romney may have siphoned off votes from McCain.

6) By the way, almost none of this is final as there are still two million absentee ballots nationwide to count. This is New Mexico is still in play.

7) Speaking of New Mexico, it's interesting that Bill Richardson didn't make an endorsement ahead of the primary there. If he was angling for the Veep spot, I think he's pulled a Mario Cuomo here and out-cuted his chances.

8) We can finally point out that Obama carried a state with a majority of the white vote. Several now, but one big knock against him in anticipation of the general election was his marginalized white support.

9) There's a large "but" there. Obama is still having trouble with white rural and suburban voters and those might go towards a McCain candidacy. He does well in counties where there are universities, and in urban areas. You might not think this is a bad thing, but intellect is not high on the list of values of poor and working class white voters. They like smart, but not necessarily book smart. New York, for example, which is actually "redder" in the Southern Tier than even Alabama, Obama took just one county, Tompkins (the home of Cornell University), and that by only a couple hundred votes out of twelve thousand.

10) March 4 is Texas and Ohio, lest you thought the days of big delegate prizes was over. Clinton should easily win Texas, probably more easily than California. Ohio, as always, will be a battleground state. I anticipate a Clinton win, but I'm not holding my breath there.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday Live

By Creature

UPDATED FREQUENTLY -- MJWS comments in red.


6:13 - Just settling in with MSNBC on the TV. Turnout is strong. Exit polls shows voters want change, but Hillary wins in the commander in chief role [stupid fuckin' litmus test, if you ask me]. The Clinton folks are downplaying today's vote hard. I'm betting their internals look bad. If I had to make an early prediction, I'm going with Obama scoring big across the board. It won't be decided tonight, but the Clinton folks will not be able to spin a win out of it. Stay tuned.

[Oh, and, Mr. "change-the-Constitution-to-reflect-the-living-god" Huckabee won West Virginia. No, he's not dying for a VP slot with McCain. Not at all.]

6:58 - Georgia, if it's called early it's a good sign for Obama. Waiting... Waiting... Obama wins Georgia. Let's see by how much. Exit polls show Obama got white voters (43%). Now can we put the white-vote question to bed?

7:46 - While waiting for the eight o'clock poll closings, I did take a peak at some raw exit numbers via Meme and, with all the usual caveats, Obama's numbers do look good. How ironic would it be if the Dem race solidifies and the GOP's falls apart?

MJWS: My concern is that it might be too late for Obama. He's on the rise and would have benefitted from an extra few days. Hopefully he did enough to pull off a win in California. I don't know about the GOP, though. I long thought the race was Romney's to lose -- and well, he seems to have lost it. But I think I was wrong all along. His support is weak, Huckabee (helping McCain) is draining his base on the right, and McCain has somehow managed to run an effective campaign against weak opponents. So what if Malkin and Coulter and Rush are against him? It's not like conservatives love Romney or Huckabee all that much.

7:58 - The suspense is killing me. And, here we go... Illinois goes to Obama (no surprise). Oklahoma goes to Hillary. The rest are too close to call. Which may be good for Obama because Hillary should be winning some of the big ones easy (and therefore quickly callable).

8:29 - Arkansas goes to Hillary (no surprise, the Clintons are royalty there). Olbermann makes a Tron reference. He's my hero.

MJWS: Is it desirable to be royalty in a place like Arkansas?

9:00 - Massachusetts is Hillary country. So much for Camelot. And, New York falls to Hillary too. I guess the Empire State likes the policy of empire after all.

MJWS: I wonder what New Yorkers will think when President Clinton II launches a pre-emptive strike against Iran. (Sorry, that was horrendously snarky of me. Some of the co-bloggers here are Clinton backers, and I do respect their views.) Too bad about Massachusetts, my former home state. I thought the Kerry-Kennedy endorsements would have made the race closer.

CNN is reporting that Clinton did extemely well among women and Latinos in New York. The latter, of course, is a key constituency nation-wide this year, one that Obama needs to win. The question now: Where will the Hispanic vote go in California? To Obama, one imagines...

9:22 - My girlfriend's home state, NJ, goes to Hillary. I seem to be typing Hillary's name a lot.

9:48 - Howard Dean: It's the delegates, stupid.

10:04 - Obama gets North Dakota, Utah and Kansas. It's seven/six hope vs. more of the same.

10:24 - I want Hillary to lose just to keep Terry McAuliffe off the TV. Dude, enough with the commander-in-chief sell. Jeez, what a tool. At least Matthews called him a flack (then kissed his ass, typical).

MJWS: It's not just McAuliffe, it's the whole gang of Clintonistas. I can't stand them.

Obama's doing pretty well tonight. I'm disappointed about Massachusetts and New Jersey, where I thought he would do better, but he's winning in the south and the west. It all comes down to California now, though. He needs to win or at the very least to make it close. It's my understanding that Obama should do well in the next round of primaries to come. If he can generate some momentum in California, he's got a shot at winning it all. But Hillary is doing well, too, and not just in the north-east: Tennessee, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma.

On the Republican side -- oh, Romney's talking now -- it looks like it's all McCain now. Huckabee's done well in the south, and he was awfully cocky in his speech, but he's done. Romney has Utah (duh), Massachusetts (duh -- although he's not all that popular there, is he?), and a few other states -- not too bad. You know, maybe the Republican race is a bit closer than I think. McCain is still the clear frontrunner, though.

Two quick CNN-related questions:

1) What does Wolf Blitzer look like in hi-def?
2) Why Bill Bennett? Why? Why? Why? Why?

10:30 - Connecticut goes to Obama. A much needed North-East win for him. Not to mention it was a Hillary stronghold.

10:43 - Mike Huckabee is cleaning up in the South. They do like their god down there. It's going to be hard to keep him off a VP short list now.

10:55 - Hillary on the TV. She's keeping it positive. Dare I say: hopeful. She doesn't do soaring well, but she is trying.

11:28 - Russert: Again, people, it's the delegates.

With California leaning toward Hillary, the storyline for the Dems has become clear. Hillary has fought off Obama, but Obama holds his own in delegates. No surprises. No big upsets (maybe Connecticut). The race, it goes on.

11:44 - Obama: one thing we don't need results to know, our time has come/our movement is real/hold on for that change/end the politics of fear/to all those not drinking the Kool-Aid, we need you/and, yes we can/let's get to work.

Boy, he's good at the speaking.

12:41 - Missouri goes to Obama (this could be the surprise he needed). I go to bed. Goodnight, Super Tuesday.

MJWS: Yes, Obama was very impressive. Clinton was scrappy -- trying to seem like a progressive and making the whole experience argument (which I think is largely bogus -- it's not like Obama would curl up in the fetal position upon finding himself in the Oval Office) -- but he was (dare I say it?) presidential? At the very least, he was his typical inspirational self. Clinton can handle herself in the debates, pulling out facts and policy details, but Obama is the great orator.

It looks like Obama has pulled ahead in Missouri, which would be a big win, thanks to the urban vote in St. Louis and Kansas City. But California is going for Clinton -- how close will it be? Clinton is way up right now. (In terms of delegates, Obama may be ahead.)

Here's how I see it right now: Clinton won in her strongholds of the north-east and Arkansas/Tennessee, as well as in Arizona and California, but Obama did well across the country, in all regions of the country: Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota, Colorado, Alaska, etc. And although Clinton will end up with California, the very fact that Obama made it such a close race there, or at the very least closed the gap significantly, speaks to how successful his campaign has been in recent days/weeks. It may be that Super Tuesday was a draw, more or less, but, to me, Obama's was the more impressive performance. (Allow me to rethink that, though. It is awfully late now, I'm tired, and perhaps a tad delusional.)

On the Republican side, I think it's over for Romney -- which means I was seriously wrong about his chances. Not too long ago, I wrote a post explaining how and why he was going to win. Much of my case depended on Huckabee withdrawing and McCain failing to win conservatives against the only conservative left, Romney. But Huckabee is still in there, hurting Romney, McCain seems energized and has picked up big-time endorsements, and Romney just isn't strong enough among conservatives. Maybe Huckabee is right -- maybe this is now a two-man race between him and McCain. Regardless, I just don't see how McCain loses this now.

And so, on we go -- now at 12:44 am ET. The Republican race has been decided, I think, but, on our side, Obama and Clinton are locked in an astoundingly tight battle.

Thanks, Creature. Good night, everyone.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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