March 31, 2008

Op piece on Hillary myths

Top 10 Myths Keeping Hillary in the Race

Chip Collis Mon Mar 31, 9:53 AM ET

I have noted a number of myths amongst the comments here as to why Hillary should stay in the race. Here are ten enduring, kudzu-like myths, with the debunking they sorely need.

Myth: This race is tied.

No, actually, it's not. Obama has the lead in number of states won, in pledged delegates and in overall delegates. Nothing will happen in the remaining primaries to substantially change that. As to the one thing Hillary does lead in, superdelegates, her quickly shrinking margin is among DNC personnel only. When you look at the elected superdelegates, Congressman, Senators and Governors (i.e. people who actually work with both Obama and Clinton) Obama leads there, too.

Myth: Okay, the popular vote is tied.

There are people who claim that because of the 3% separation, that Obama's lead in the popular vote is a "statistical tie." This is a myth because, when you can actually count things, there's no need of statistics and no such thing as a margin of error. The popular vote is not an estimate based on a sampling, like a poll. Like the general election, there are winners and losers and, so far, Obama is the winner.

Myth: Fine, but what if we count electoral votes? NOW Hillary is ahead!

Not so much. The proportions of electoral votes to population versus delegates to population are pretty comparable. So if you allocated electors proportionally in the same manner that you allocate delegates, Obama is still ahead. If you allocate them on a winner-take-all basis, then that would be the same as allocating the delegates on a winner-take-all basis, so why bring electors into it?

Myth: But if we did do it like the Electoral College, that proves Hillary is more electable than Obama, because of states like California.

This is perhaps the saddest little myth of all. It's ridiculous to suggest that Obama will lose New York and California to McCain because Clinton won them in the primaries. No, come November, those states will join with Obama's Illinois to provide 40% of the electors necessary for him to win.

Myth: Very well, then, Mr. Smarty-Math. But if we counted Michigan and Florida, THEN Hillary would be winning!

Nooo, she wouldn't. The margin would depend on how you allocate the delegates, but Obama would still be ahead. And he'd still be about 100,000 ahead in the popular vote, too, despite not even being on the ballot in Michigan. However, it would enhance Hillary's chances of catching up in the remaining races.

Myth: Ah HA! So Dean is keeping them out just to help Obama! And Obama is keeping them out.

That's two myths, but I'll treat it like one. The only people who can come up with a solution to this problem are the states themselves, to be presented to the Rules and Regulations Committee of the DNC for ratification. It was Rules and Regs, not Howard Dean, who ruled that Florida and Michigan were breaking the rules when they presented their original primary plans. If the two states cannot come up with a plan to reselect delegates, they can try to seat whatever delegates were chosen in the discounted primaries by appealing to the Democratic Convention's Credentialing Committee, which includes many members from Rules and Bylaws.

Myth: If they don't get seated until the convention but a nominee is selected before these poor people get counted then these states are disenfranchised.

There are two ways to debunk this myth: semantically and practically. The first is based on the word "disenfranchised:" these people have not been deprived of their right to vote. Through the actions of their states, their votes don't impact the outcome. Now, you may say that that is specious semantics (Myth: I do say that!) but practically speaking, this is the usual effect of the nominating process, anyway. All of the Republican primaries since McCain clinched the nomination have been meaningless, but those voters are not disenfranchised.

Florida and Michigan tried to become more relevant in the process by breaking the rules. They risked becoming irrelevant instead.

Myth: Well, I say they are disenfranchised, and Hillary Clinton is their champion.

Only when it suits her. Last fall, when the decision was first made to flush 100% of Michigan and Florida delegates, Clinton firmly ratified it. That was because the typical punishment of only 50% representation also kept the candidates from raising money in those states. Figuring that she would wrap up the nomination handily anyway, the clear front-runner agreed with all the other candidates - including Obama - to completely "disenfranchise" those two states.

Myth: Well, never mind 2007. She's doing more now to bring them in.

Not really. Recent stories in the St. Petersburg Times political blog said that 1) the Obama camp has reached out to the Florida Democratic party about a compromise and that 2) the Clinton camp will discuss nothing else but re-votes, which are legally, practically and politically dead.

Myth: Whatever! Hillary can still win! I know she can! She and her 37% positive rating will sweep through the remaining primaries and Michigan and Florida, winning 70% of everything and superdelegates will flock to her banner and Barack Obama will personally nominate her at the Convention and John McCain will give up and George Bush will even quit early so she can take over and... and... and... can I have a glass of water?

Yes, and you should lie down, too.

Posted by Shelby at 03:41 PM | Comments (3)

March 29, 2008

For the cat lovers among you...

Posted by Shelby at 01:22 PM | Comments (4)

Jon Stewart on Obama on race...

It's old news now, but as I'm sure you know, Obama made an incredible speech about race recently in response to the widely-publicized sermons of his pastor, Rev. Wright. If you missed watching the speech live (as of course I did), I highly recommend reading the text, which is available many places--here's one. Alternately, or additionally, I've embedded a video of the actual speech in the extended entry below.

To be completely honest, in my opinion, this speech on race is second only to King's, "I Have A Dream" speech. What makes Obama's speech so groundbreaking is that he is the first prominent African-American leader to openly acknowledge that white people feel resentful too, for having to bus their children to underperforming schools or losing jobs or scholarships in the name of Affirmative Action. Regardless of my feelings on those issues, they are very important issues to a lot of white people and it was frankly refreshing to see a black leader address and acknowledge those feelings.

Which brings me to the point of this entry--Jon Stewart of the Daily Show on Comedy Central. Our dear friend Anita posted this clip on her blog and I had to steal it from her. Stewart is a comedian (a brilliant one, in fact) but through his humor, his analysis of Obama's speech is dead-on. Here's his clip:

This is the video of Obama's actual speech.

Posted by Shelby at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2008

Don't kiss me--I'm not Irish

Well I've had a helluva weekend here. It started with a bang as I felt ill with bad abdominal cramping, nausea, and some lightheadedness on Thursday. I took a nap and felt a bit better so decided to go ahead and go to work anyway.


While standing at my register at work attempting to be cheerful, my abdominal cramping went from very bad to very worse, and then the room started spinning and contracting. My vision reduced down to tunnel vision and I nearly passed out. I managed to sit down in time, then made my way upstairs but was so disoriented I took a wrong turn out of the elevator on my way to the break room (and that floor is not large). I finally managed to collapse in the break room where my sainted manager commented in a very concerned way, "Oh my God, you're turning yellow."

Long story short, Disney first aid was called. Over a decade or so ago, Disney ran into a lawsuit where there was a gang knifing at the park and they didn't respond quickly enough to the medical emergency and in a rare instance, actually lost a lawsuit about it. So Disney has quite the emergency procedure in place. Within about 2-3 minutes the Disney nurse was on scene, followed shortly by the Disney EMTs. The Disney nurse arrived carrying the AED (external defibrillator). I pointed to it and said, "Don't worry, I've got one."

After determining initially that I wasn't having a heart attack, they called the ambulance, at which point the Anaheim EMTs arrived. So in our tiny break room was me, my sainted manager, one Disney nurse, one Disney EMT, two uniformed Disney security guards, one "executive" (out of uniform) Disney security guard (and presumably the one who would then testify that if I filed a lawsuit, everything had been handled correctly), two Anaheim EMTs, a gurney in the hallway, and several other bear builders saying, "Um, I just need to get into my locker to get my wallet/jacket/purse."

As I was completely unable to walk, I got to hop up on the gurney and go down to the ambulance. Fortunately we went down the back way through the loading dock so it's not like I got to ride through Downtown Disney waving at all the guests. Unfortunately we went through the loading dock which also happens to be where we dump our trash at night and it STINKS. Once in the ambulance I asked to go to the good hospital, St. Joseph's in Orange. I have to say, on the whole, Stanford hospital holds a special place in my heart (har har har) but St. Joe's is the best ER. I've never spent the night there so it's hard to say whether or not the food compares to Torrance Memorial, however. St. Joe's is also the CHOC (children's hospital) of the Central/Northern OC area.

At St. Joe's I had a number of people say, "HI Shelby! Oh, my kids love Build-A-Bear!" I found that very strange until I realized I was still wearing my uniform shirt and NAME TAG. Sheesh. Still, I wasn't as bad as the girl who was there the last time we were there wearing her complete costume (plus name tag) including striped socks that looks like they should have been sticking out from underneath Auntie Em's post-cyclone house. While we were there this time a guy dressed like a chef (I recognized the uniform as one from a Downtown Disney restaurant) who had apparently cut his hand. St. Joe's is Disney's go-to hospital for all work emergencies.

My experience at St. Joe's was good. They were very good about keeping us informed as far as what to expect time-wise. They took approximately half my body weight in blood and did the typical--EKG, chest x-ray (I get a chest x-ray no matter what due to my heart condition. It's like "I stubbed my toe!" "Oh, okay, let's just get a chest x-ray first..."), etc. Then the nurse said it would be 1-2 hours for the blood test results. Then the doctor came in and did his thingy and explained (again) that it would take 1-2 hours for the blood test results. They were also concerned about a possible blood clot due to some major muscle pain and fatigue I was having, so apparently one of the blood test checked for markers. The doctor said that if the test is negative, it's 100% negative, but if it's positive, it could mean a blood clot or it could mean several other things. His ETA was 1-2 hours on the initial blood tests and if the one came up positive, I'd need a CAT scan which would add another 2 hours.

Naturally the blood test was positive and I needed the CAT scan *sigh*. His estimate was just about right though--we were out in around 4 hours.

Needless to say, there was no blood clot. I went home with a diagnosis of a vasovagal response to abdominal pain (no explanation for that) and got some pain medication (woo!), muscle relaxants, and some anti-nausea medicine. And instructions to see my normal doctor in a few days.

I then completely lost track of Friday and most of Saturday as I slept in my drug-induced stupor. We knew things were bad when we were watching Simpsons episodes on DVD and I kept saying things like, "I don't understand this. Is it just me or is this way over our heads?" Kevin was like, "Honey, it's a cartoon. It's just you." By Sunday I was feeling significantly more functional and it occurred to me that my abdominal pain may very well have been a ruptured ovarian cyst. I've had that once before and the symptoms were very similar (intense pain, fainting, nausea, etc.).

Today I had hoped to see my regular doctor but he had no open slots so I went to the Urgent Care center. I got 3 diagnoses there:

1) She agrees with my assessment of a ruptured ovarian cyst. She said I had the classic symptoms and her exam indicates that would have been the case. It wouldn't have show up on the CAT scan because, well, it was already ruptured.

2) The upper abdominal pain I was experiencing was probably my gastric reflux acting up. I'd been taking one prescription medication but it pretty much quit working. I've been meaning to get to the doctor to try something else but never got around to it. Until now, which would be around to it. I got a new prescription for that.

3) The upper body muscle ache and fatigue I'm feeling is most likely the flu. She said that this year's flu tends to either attack people in an upper respiratory manner, but a lot of people are having just general fatigue and muscle soreness. Kevin has been coughing and hacking up a storm (poor guy!) and I've had the sniffles and a minor cough, so I would definitely put money on having the flu. Of course, there's nothing to be done about that except live with it until it goes away.

So that's that. Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Don't kiss me--I'm not Irish and I've got cooties.

Posted by Shelby at 10:41 PM | Comments (4)

March 15, 2008

Happy 12th Birthday Small Dog!

12 years ago today, a beagle mommy in Southern Illinois had a litter of puppies. 5 months later, one of those puppies, Scout Elizabeth Dog, would pick me out to be her mom and we'd go home. Since Scout was 5 months when I got her I don't have any of those awwwwwwww baby pictures, but Scout has made up for it by being an awwwwwww doggie her whole life. Here's an early shot of her in September 1996. So much has changed since then, but one thing remains the same: Scout is the best beagle girl in the world! Happy 12th birthday Scout! I love you!

Posted by Shelby at 12:20 PM | Comments (2)

March 12, 2008

It's a Beagle Photoshoot!

I figured it had been too long since we've seen some good beagle pictures, so I did a photoshoot! There are a lot of piccies so I put them in the extended entry. Click on any for a larger image...

Sleepy Scout

Scouter loves to stretch

Digory on the move. Scout is squinting because he just whapped her in the face with his tail. This happens a lot.

Digory can be hard to photograph because he's always moving. Note the wagging tail.

There we go--now he's sleeping!!

This was a great picture until Scout got up and walked away.

The Brave Little Dog takes on the vacuum! I'll bite you, bitch!

Scout saves the household by capturing the hedgehog.

Behold the Mighty Hunter!!

"Quit harrassing me. I'm taking my hedgehog elsewhere"

"Is there anything more satisfying than the taste of a fresh kill?"


"Meh, I don't care"

Profile of a dog who doesn't want to sit

Dog butt

"If you took this sock off, I'd be happy to chew it for you"

I love Scout's markings

"That's enough now. Bye!"

Posted by Shelby at 10:14 PM | Comments (4)

March 09, 2008

Up with Spam!

I get spam comments here. I wouldn't call them "a couple" or "a fair number" or "a handful," but they do happen. I'd say I get maybe 3 or 4 spam comments a day on various entries. Our spam filter actually catches a huge amount of them so I really don't have any complaints on that front. It's more a minor annoyance than anything else. Kevin did set the blog to shut off comments to old entries and that helped a lot. But every once in a while I'll have a single entry that just attracts spam like honey to flies.

I should probably take down the porn, hunh?

I'm kidding, Dad.

Well you may remember my recent entry on what I call the "Up With Hillary" video. For whatever reason, the rest of my Hillary threads have flown mostly under the radar, but Hillay4U&Me has just attracted a tremendous amount of attention. Therefore, comments have been disabled. It has taken me 3 days and manually deleting approximately 100 spam comments on that single post before it occurred to me to just disable the comments on that post.

I'm not always very smart, but at least I'm not running for President. And I am smart enough to disable comments for this post.

Posted by Shelby at 07:02 PM

March 08, 2008

It's 3 am I must be lonely

Oh that glorious 3 am ad of Hillary's? Turns out the footage of the sleeping children was stock footage from 8 years ago. Now imagine that one of the children in the footage is about to come of voting age. Imagine if that child already strongly supported a candidate. Imgaine if that child's candidate turned out not to be the one in the commercial. Hahahahaahahahahaaaaa!!!!!!

Posted by Shelby at 05:12 PM | Comments (1)

March 07, 2008

Jedi Training Academy

My friend Wendy and I went to Disneyland on Tuesday, and it was really fun because we took it at a very leisurely pace and got to hit some things we'd never done before. One of those was attending the Jedi Training Academy.

Okay, the Jedi Training Academy? Coolest. Thing. Ever.

It happens on the stage in Tomorrowland (by the hamburgers) about every hour. What it is is that little kids get to train as a Jedi knight and then get to do battle against the Dark Side. The first thing that happens is the two Jedi Masters (one male, one female) emerge to great fanfare and John Williams music. They then randomly select children in the audience to participate in the Academy. The official Disneyland guide says that children should be between 4 and 12, but the kids we saw were all around 4 to 6. None of the kids we saw selected could have been older than 8. It was interesting because it became clear that the Jedi Masters were very careful to not break up sibling groups. Here's a hint for the Jedi Training Academy: dress all your kids the same. Wendy and I were standing next to these two guys and when their kids were chosen they cheered like they'd just won the Superbowl. It was hilarious.

So once selected, the kids were given kid-sized Jedi robes and a "training" light saber. The light saber had a button and when you pressed the button and flicked your wrist, the saber part extended, just like an umbrella. You also could press the saber to collapse it back into the handle. The kids practiced engaging their sabers and then the two Jedi Masters taught them a very short routine (right shoulder! left shoulder! right leg! duck! right leg again! left leg! head shot!). Once the routine was taught, the music amped up and two Storm Troopers arrived on the scene. Fortunately there were approximately 25 young Padawans to control the situation.

In a dramatic entrance shortly after the Storm Troopers, Darth Vader himself came up on the rising stage, accompanied by Darth Maul--two seriously badass bad guys. They looked fantastic too--true Disney style. Once they preened briefly, the kids lined up and each one got to do "battle" with one of the Darths. The Jedi Master helped each kid battle with the routine they'd been taught and they defeated their respective Darth. The Darth Maul was great--Vader was up on the stage but Maul was on the floor and in between kids he totally engaged with the audience in character.

After the kids individually defeated the Darths, they grouped together (one kid got to use the Force to repel the Storm Troopers by pushing out his hand, and the troopers jumped back--very funny) and the Darths admitted defeat, for now. The kids then got to take the Jedi Oath, lined up on stage for one last photo shoot, and that was it.

It was SO COOL. I totally wish they would pick adults because I'd be the first in line. Seriously.

Posted by Shelby at 11:16 PM | Comments (1)

March 03, 2008

Enquiring minds want to know...

Does anyone else remember the 80s commercials for the National Enquirer newspaper? The one that went, "Enquiring minds want to know--I want to know!" Among the salacious gossip rags with purely invented stories, the National Enquirer actually has hints of truth from time to time. However, they are always good for a shocking (but untrue) headline and a fabricated story or two.

It's hardly what I would call reputable journalism, however, so I was surprised when a blog entry on Obama's official website proudly declared, "Enquirer endorses Obama on Democratic side." I thought, "wow, that's probably not something I'd call attention to."

And then I realized they were talking about the Cincinnati Enquirer.

I guess that makes more sense.

Posted by Shelby at 11:32 AM | Comments (2)

March 02, 2008

It's 3 am and the Commies are coming!!

No doubt you've heard of, read about, or seen Hillary's famous "3 am" ad. In case you haven't, you can see it here. In the ad, there are children sleeping and a phone ringing in the background, although the phone is not ringing where the children are--it's ringing in the White House. The ad doesn't specify who's on the other line, but "something's happening in the world" and it's probably not the Lottery people calling to ask when they can deliver your oversized check. The ad then asks us whom we'd like to answer that phone--someone who already knows the world's evils, the military, "someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world." In other words, someone with experience. I found myself wondering, as I often do, what experience it is that she's talking about. It's an important issue for me because my only experience with 3 am phone calls are from people who were drunk and dialed the wrong number. I think I would like to elect someone who knows how to handle a 3 am phone call.

I worried about this for a while, but fortunately I found an actual transcript of a very important 3 am phone call that Hillary handled. It's really a rare opportunity--certainly one we're not going to get from Obama who hasn't lived in the White House and therefore hasn't had his 3 am phone conversations recorded. This, my friends, is where White House experience matters. Of course the parts of the transcript that involved who the call was from and what it was about have been edited out--national security and all that--but this just absolutely firms up my belief in Hillary's experience. Click on the extended entry for this historic transcript.

Place: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington D.C., USA
Time: 03:00 (3:00 am)

[begin transcript]
[sound of phone ringing]
[sound of First Lady Hillary Clinton picking up the phone]
"Yes, of course. Just a moment. HONEY! The phone's for you!"
[end transcript]

Posted by Shelby at 07:48 PM | Comments (1)