Saturday, April 5, 2008

McCain v. Obama

In today's political ticker from CNN there is an article about an occurrence in which Ed Schultz, a radio talk show host, called McCain a "Warmonger". He spoke at  the North Dakota Democratic party event, at which Sen. Obama also spoke. McCain was upset by the choice of words, although it is true that he is a supported of the very unpopular Iraq war.
McCain then put some blame on Obama's part for this choice of words because he also spoke at the event, however, Obama was not there when it was said, and Ed is not an official supporter of his campaign. Obama even denounced this radio host because he criticized him by referring to him by his middle name, Hussein. 

I just thought this was foretelling of the disagreements to come between Obama and McCain, if Obama can gain the Democratic nomination. Who do you think will win?

"If Superdelegates Were Smart They Would Choose Clinton"

So Cole Murphy-Hockett, part of the class of '07, wrote this blog about a month ago, and for those of you who didn't read it, I thought it was a very intelligent, well-thought out analysis of the primaries as of early/mid march, and is definitely worth a read. (I know its not my turn for blogging this week, but I thought its worth the effort to post)

I hope I don't get any negative flack for writing this. I support both Clinton and Obama, and no matter who gets the nomination I will support and vote for him or her. Either candidate will be better than McCain, and either will be infinitely and unarguably better than Bush. It's just that, in the name of procrastination, I started reading a bunch of articles and found some interesting things that I think people should be aware of.

Obama claims superdelegates should lend him their votes because he has won more states and has more pledged delegates than Hillary. I agree on the second point, it's kind of undeniable that he has managed to amass more delegates, which, ultimately, is what the nomination comes down to. However, I found it interesting that Obama claims he should win based on the number of states he has been victorious in. It seemed to me that Clinton won the bigger, more important, states, but I wasn't sure so I explored further.

I wrote down all the states, as of today, that Obama has won, and I wrote down all the states that Clinton has won. Obama did indeed have almost twice as many, 27, to Clinton's 16. But which states are the important ones? I grouped them by size: Clinton won most of the larger ones, Obama most of the smaller ones. In order to quantify the relative importance / size of the states, I wrote down the number of electoral votes each candidate would receive from winning each state in the upcoming election. I know electoral votes have no bearing on the primaries, but whoever the eventual victor is, (s)he will have to compete in the actual election when electoral votes are notoriously important. It's definitely fair to consider them in a race this close. Anyways:

Clinton 263, Obama 202

(I counted Texas as a win for Clinton even though Obama won the caucuses. The primary is definitely more representative of the state as a whole...)

So then the thought occurred to me that no matter the number of electoral votes a candidate amassed, that some of these wins, in the actual election, would never even happen. Some states are red states, some are blue states, and some are swing states. It's likely that no matter who the candidate is, the blue states will go to the Democrats and the red states will go to the GOP. So I looked at swing states.

Clinton 95, Obama 60

Clinton appears to be more capable of winning the all-too-important swing states. Ohio and Florida, arguably the two states that gave Bush the white house in the last elections, Clinton won. (Both Obama and Clinton's names were on the ballot in Florida, neither campaigned there... it seems like a fair contest). Should not superdelegates, in a race so, so close, look at which candidate can better deliver these crucial swing states in the general election?

I also looked at the number of red states each candidate has won.

Obama 76, Clinton 51

A large portion of Obama's delegates thus come from states he (nor Clinton) would never be able to win in the general election. Less of Clinton's wins come from these GOP dominated red states.

In order to try and encompass all aspects of this analysis, I took the electoral votes from all the contests thus far, and added up all the blue state votes to give them to each candidate. In the general election, both will be able to win these votes. I then added the swing state votes each candidate received to that candidate's total. Finally, I subtracted the red state votes each candidate received from that candidate's total.

In finality: Clinton 227, Obama 167

If the general election were occurring right now, it seems Clinton would have the upper hand based on this information.

I know superdelegates are supposed to take a lot of factors into account when they make their choices, but I think one of the most important factors is electability. It seems as if Clinton is better prepared to deliver the important swing states and that a greater percentage of Obama's votes thus far have come from red states that he would never win in the general election. Should not the superdelegates support Clinton based on these factors?

Should not superdelegates support Clinton based on the disenfranchised voters in Michigan and Florida (granted Obama wasn't on the ballot in Michigan)?

A recent poll in Mississippi, the place of today's primary, suggested that Obama backers are more inclined to support Clinton backers than vice versa. 42% of voters who chose Obama said they would not mind if Clinton was the nominee, whereas only 10% of Clinton backers said the same for Obama. Moreover, 6 in 10 said that Obama should choose Clinton for his running mate if he wins, whereas only 4 in 10 said Clinton should choose Obama.

If Clinton can better deliver crucial states, and Obama backers are happy to support her, then should not superdelegates deliver the nomination to her?

Obama still has more delegates than Clinton does, however a large portion of these delegates come from caucus votes. Caucus attendants aren't representative of the voting populace as a whole, generally only strong supporters of a candidate take the time to attend a caucus. If one thing in this election is certain, Obama's supporters are clearly more vocal and active than Clinton supporters. I have never in my life seen such excitement for a candidate. It's a great thing for politics. However, should these fewer, more fervent supporters be given greater weight than the quieter, equally numerous (perhaps more so), supporters of Clinton?

As I said before, I support both candidates. The whole change vs. experience debate has no effect on me. Both candidates are qualified for the job, perhaps Clinton a little more, however I'm sure Obama would do just fine. Both would be able to effect change, perhaps Obama a little more, but again, it will be difficult even for him to unify a country so split on partisan lines. Rhetoric can only go so far, both candidates will find it difficult to make sweeping changes in Washington next January.

After looking at the statistics and trends, it seems as if Clinton may be the smarter choice for superdelegates. People say she's not as electable, but the facts beg to differ with that assumption. With a race so close, it's obvious that superdelegates will play a large role in the nominating process. Some say that they should bank on the side of the candidate with the most delegates after the primaries, but if the difference in delegates is less than 5%, shouldn't the superdelegates (the supposedly knowledgeable party insiders) be able to consider factors that the general voting public may have overlooked?

Thanks for reading! If you disagree with me that's fine, but note that I tried to present everything as objectively as possible.

Cole Murphy-Hockett

Thursday, April 3, 2008

McCain's Economic Plan

This article is written from a different perspective. It is written from the point of view of Elizabeth Edwards, wife to John Edwards. Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer and she claims that under McCain's economic plan, it "would do nothing to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to those, like her and Mr. McCain, who have pre-existing medical conditions." McCain's response "was condescending and dismissive — a statement that Mrs. Edwards doesn’t understand the comprehensive nature of the senator’s approach, which would harness “the power of competition to produce greater coverage for Americans,” reducing costs so that even people with pre-existing conditions could afford care." The article continues to bash McCain's economic plan. I was wondering whether this really promotes the public into siding with the Republican party. The opposition is not disagreeing with McCain's economic plan, but his own party is doubting the plan. How does this make the Republican party look? I know many people in our class are liberal, but how does this change/ not change your view on the Republican party at the moment?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Speaking of a Recession:

Here is an article to take some time to look into. It talks about the possible recession in the US. Ben Bernanke: (the Federal Reserve boss) speaks of how the real GDP has not grown much in 2008 and there is a possibility that it may contract a little. Not only is this a little striking, but it raises the attention of the public. I just wanted to see how our economics class would react to this article. It's interesting because, in class, we talked about how GDP may not even really be a measure of a nation's economic process, but more of a nation's economic activity. Now, those are two completely different things and it's interesting to see how some people react to this article. My reaction, personally, is not to be too concerned, but to still acknowledge the aspect of a possible recession. How do my fellow classmates feel?

Planning for the Inevitable?

I was sifting through recent news and I noticed how everyday there are more and more ways to help our environment. This is great, everyone (especially americans) really needs to make changes now to their own lifestyles to protect our world for a better tomorrow. But I was thinking, how much do these little tips like turning off power switches or using less water really change our environment? And how much do we have to do to ensure that our planet stays with us?

It seems to me like although everyone wants to make a change and stop the effects of Global Warming, it may only slow it down if do anything at all and things will really change then. This article I read seems to have a plan for when we hit rock bottom. It's about how after Global Warming everyone will move to the poles to get away from the roasting equator, and people will be able to live in underwater cities. It seems too rediculous to me that the world could live underwater around only the two poles but it is an interesting idea. Any other takes on the progression of our environment?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy April FOOLS!

Here is a excerpt from an interesting article about Hillary Clinton's odd humor:

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton walked somberly into a press conference Tuesday and stood before microphones. Reporters tensed, sensing something big might be afoot.
"This has been a very hard-fought race," she said. "We clearly need to do something so that our party and our people can make the right decision. So, I have a proposal."
The tension grew. Reporters shifted in their seats. Was she dropping out of the race? Offering to join rival Barack Obama as his running mate?
April Fools!
"Today, I am challenging Senator Obama to a bowl-off," Clinton said, provoking relieved laughs from the assembled scribes.
Clinton carried on, making reference to Obama's disastrous outing at a Pennsylvania bowling alley Saturday.
"A bowling night. Right here in Pennsylvania. The winner take all," she went on. "I'll even spot him two frames."
"It is time for his campaign to get out of the gutter and allow all the pins to be counted. I'm prepared to play this game all the way to the 10th frame. When this game is over, the American people will know that when that phone rings at 3 a.m., they'll have a president ready to bowl on day one." ...

There is more amongst the article. Clinton fills her speech with puns and small jokes to humor her audience. I just wanted to get a reaction from my adolescent peers about this "humorous" speech and how they feel about it. N-j-o-y!

Poor Oil Companies

Congress is preparing to question oil executives from the five largest publicly traded companies as to why they need 18 billion dollars in tax cuts over the next ten years. This comes as a huge suprise under the backdrop of record gas prices and record profits. Congress is considering taking away the tax breaks and putting the money towards alternative energy research, which I think is a great idea. Hopefully, congress' questions will shed light on why exactly we are facing such astronomical gas prices and if there is any possibility of the prices going down in the near future. What should we do? Should we allow these companies to recieve huge tax cuts, or should we demand a greater effort be put into alternative energy research? In my opinion, the environment is the most important issue, and we should therefore force them to either invest more money into alternative energy research or we should deny them the tax cuts. What do you think?

Look out for those 2nd graders!

A 7 year old student showed up to school on monday with two loaded handguns in Baltimore County, Maryland. The guns were discovered when one fell out of the student's pocket during class. The teacher immediately took her students to the office and called the police. Upon searching the student's locker, the police found the second gun, which was also loaded. Police believe that the child had no intention of harming anyone, simply believing that the guns were toys. He was staying at his uncle's house, and most likely found the two guns there. While the child will not be charged with any crime, the uncle will likely face charges of child endangerment and leaving guns within a child's reach. While there will be no charges brought against the child, he will likely be expelled because that is the mandatory punishment for bringing a firearm to school. This story was extreemly suprising to me because I couldn't believe how irresponsible the uncle must have been to allow that to happen. This is a compelling argument against the "right to keep and bear arms" as decreed in the Constitution. Do you think that this type of occurance, along with many recent school shootings are enough cause to increase regulations on firearms? What do you think is a fair punishment for the uncle?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Google Hackers

It seems like today all our internet needs and wants can be found on google. And I'm sure like myself, you all use google on a daily basis to search for practically anything. In fact I found this article on USA Today by searching through current event on google. So it seemed to me that this article was a bit frightening by how easily all our PC's could be getting bugs and viruses, or giving others our most secret passwords without knowing it at all. Anyways it just interested me how much our privacy can be invaded through the internet and it seems to be basically "anything goes" in our cyber world, good thing I have a macbook.

Can the Environment be turned into a game?

Talking about the environment in class today got me thinking about doing an interesting blog about the environment, so here it is:

"Eco Creatures," a flabby but somewhat child-cute game for the Nintendo DS, caught my attention just as it was intended to: It's "an eco-friendly adventure," said the press release from publisher Majesco Entertainment. And how is that? Well, it "promotes awareness of the perils of over-industrialization, deforestation, pollution, extinction and global warming, as well as their effects on various life forms." The age rating is Everyone, which means the game is recommended for anyone 6 or older. The controls are poor. You find out early, for instance, that you can't fight effectively without making yourself stupidly vulnerable to attack. Even little kids know that makes the game a dubious value at $30, regardless of any environmental merit. You're supposed to nurture your creatures, but it's hard to get in the mood when the clunky game play is making you crazy.

This little bit comes from a Mercury Review of the game. I think that it is a great idea to incorporate the idea of saving the environment into a game, but does it seriously have to be so lame? It's an interesting topic and what's your take on it?


Obama wins over Texas

Sen. Barack Obama has won the overall delegate race in Texas thanks to a strong showing in Democratic county conventions this past weekend. Obama picked up seven of nine outstanding delegates, giving him a total of 99 Texas delegates to the party's national convention this summer. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won the other two, giving her a total of 94 Texas delegates, according to an analysis of returns by The Associated Press. Obama leads the overall race for the Democratic nomination with 1,631 delegates, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as superdelegates. Clinton has 1,501, according to the latest AP tally.

Senator Barack Obama has won over the current president's state. Is this a turning point for the Obama campaign or is this just a stepping stone?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Don't Mess with North Korea!

After South Korea's top military officer said he would consider attacking North Korea if it tried to carry out a nuclear attack, North Korea responded by threatening South Korea with complete and utter destruction. "Our military will not sit idle until warmongers launch a pre-emptive strike," said an unidentified South Korean military commentator. "Everything will be in ashes, not just a sea of fire." This aggressive attitude comes unexpected from South Korea, which has traditionally been content to watch passively as North Korea developed their nuclear capabilities. On Friday, North Korea test-fired a barrage of missles into the sea, and warned that it would "mercilessly wipe out" any South Korean warships that strayed into North Korean waters. This event sheds new light on the North Korean conflict. They are obviously capable of harming millions of innocent citizens, both in Korea and abroad, and it is impossible to know if they are only bluffing or if they seriously intend to launch any missiles. With increased activity, the U.S. government may find it necessary to intervene in the name of national security as it did in Iraq, although that is less likely because there isn't much oil to be found in Korea. What are your opiniones? Should the U.S. intervene with greater force in North Korea in order to protect innocent lives in South Korea and America, or should the U.S. stay out of it and avoid the possibility of another "War on Terror" in a new location? Does North Korea pose a credible threat to anyone around them or are they all talk?

Democrats Fight Back

42 Democratic congressional candidates banded together last Thursday to announce that, if elected, they will push legislation calling for an immediate drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq. They hope to only have a small security force remaining in Iraq to protect the U.S. Embassy in
Baghdad. This announcement came as a suprise becuase the issue of the War in Iraq was expected to take a backseat to many pressing economic issues in the upcoming elections. The nation's attitude towards our continued occupation of Iraq is continually souring and it seems that we are closer than ever to a possible end to the conflict. It has yet to be seen if these politicians will actually follow through on their promises, if they even get elected. Should the War in Iraq be the primary issue in the upcoming elections, or should we concentrate on other threats to our country, such as economic recessions and social issues? Also, many people point out that the intense controversy over the war causes disunity among Americans, and makes it even harder for us to triumph in Iraq. Is it wrong for these candidates to so openly oppose the actions of this nation, or are they right in what they are doing?