in defense of the New Yorker cover

I have to disagree with the critiques - i think it's brilliant satire. The rightwing pundits will try to argue that their critiques of Obama are "on the merits" but if you take their attacks literally (he's a crypto muslim, an extremist, a marxist, etc.) then the cartoon on the cover is in fact the logical portrait that results. Its a mirror reflecting all the ugliness about Obama in the right wing media at once.

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The audacity of Advani

L.K. Advani, of India's BJP party, is better known for fiery, nationalist, partisan rhetoric than he is for unity and change. At 80 years old, he's more McCain than Obama. However, as he makes his bid to be India's Prime Minister, he's trying to poach from the Obama playbook:

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the Global Cooling Bet

In response to a paper in Nature that argues that global warming may be entering a lull, the RealClimate blog is extending a friendly wager offer to the authors of the paper, and inviting them to guest post on the blog. I hope the authors (Keenlyside et al.) take RC up on this, as it's a great idea and very much in the spirit of open scientific debate. As the RC folks put it,

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smoking ban = more deaths?

Milwaukee Talkie blog links to a new study by Wisconsin economists at UW Oshkosh and UWM, that suggests that county-level smoking bans actually increase deaths due to drunk drivers going to and from smoking-enabled bars in adjacent counties. Implementing statewide bans is not a panacea either, for the same reason scaled up: adjacent states without smoking bans then become the destination. The specific applicability to Wisconsin is hard to predict:

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IN and NC: head fakes and decision trees

This Dem primary has been invaluable in the sense that it has been a goldmine for the demographics of the liberal, Democratic-leaning electorate. In a post I did a while back, I compared the primary outcomes for Ohio to Wisconsin and found that the two looked remarkably different:

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today's the day nothing changes

My specific (and meaningless) prediction for PA is that Hillary wins by 8 points. My general prediction is that regardless of the N-point win, Hillary carries on with her campaign. And that's just fine with me. As I have explained at length, I don't believe any of the conventional wisdom in the hyperpartisansphere that She's Lost, He'll Lose, She's a Traitor, He's a Liar, and/or We're Screwed.

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the terrorist endorsement

The usual suspects are crowing that the Terrorists endorse Obama. It turns out that Ahmed Yousef, one of the top political leaders within Hamas, said the following:

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She's Lost, He'll Lose, She's a Traitor, He's a Liar, We're Screwed, and Why Can't We All Get Along?

Don't Panic!

Even as Pennsylvania looms like a storm on the horizon, the dry spell between primaries has left the fields of the liberal blogsphere in substantive-debate drought, ablaze with the fires of fraternal warfare. The lines of polemic have consolidated around several narratives:

- Hillary should resign, because she can't win

  • Obama is a weak candidate in the general election
  • Hillary is destroying the party by giving the GOP ammunition/using their attacks
  • Obama is just another politician who lies and panders
  • McCain is benefiting from the delay in choosing a nominee
  • The damage to the Democrats from this civil war is permanent

I like to think of these tropes as She's Lost, He'll Lose, She's a Traitor, He's a Liar, We're Screwed, and Why Can't We All Get Along, respectively. And yet all of these, every single one, is completely wrong.

Let's take a cool and clear-headed view at each in turn.

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Clinton loses PA

a bit premature? well, not really.

I don't think that Obama will "win" PA. It's still very probable that Clinton will eke out a margin of victory of 5-10 points. But what Clinton needed in PA was a blowout win, not a nail-biter, to make her argument that only she has the clout to carry large states with convincing margins. A close win will also do little to advance her popular vote argument.

Ultimately, Obama has the best expectations going in. If he loses big, it won't hinder him, because that was the conventional expectation anyway. If he loses by a small margin, he gets the coveted "outperformed expectations" media narrative. And of course an upset win by Obama ends Clinton's campaign.

Clinton has only one narrative of victory - a big win. Anything less is a loss, and the polling trends are pretty stark in what they portend on that front.

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the "woman card" and "feminine wiles"

Oh my goodness. Redstate, of course. where else?

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