U.S. election 2008 prediction

November 3, 2008

OK here’s my U.S. election prediction for tomorrow’s poll.

U.S. election 2008 prediction

Obama to win by 200 electoral college votes; 369 to McCain’s 169.

Though I’d dearly love Obama to take Arizona too – McCain’s home state – I just can’t see him manage it.

I’ve went with North Carolina for Obama, even with the ballot snafu that will probably hinder the Democrats vote.

I’ve went with McCain for Missouri. Apparently Missouri has a reputation for picking the winner, or going with the favourite, but I can’t see McCain winning it this time.

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McCain – Palin split losing election

October 27, 2008

The reported feud between McCain and Palin advisers seem to be having an affect on Republican support.

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone,” said one McCain adviser, “she does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.”

For her part, it seems Sarah Palin has decided not to trust her Republican aides:

Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain’s camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain’s decline.

It does seem the feeling is mutual:

“She’s lost confidence in most of the people on the plane,” said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to “go rogue” in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.

“I think she’d like to go more rogue,” he said.

The article continues:

Some McCain aides say they had little choice with a candidate who simply wasn’t ready for the national stage, and that Palin didn’t forcefully object. Moments that Palin’s allies see as triumphs of instinct and authenticity — the Wright suggestion, her objection to the campaign’s pulling out of Michigan — they dismiss as Palin’s “slips and miscommunications,” that is, her own incompetence and evidence of the need for tight scripting.

Watching that video convinces me that the McCain aides are right. If ever there was a need for tight scripting then I think that video proves it. Whether Sarah Palin has the competence to deliver a tighter speech is another question.

It comes as no surprise then, that the home states of Palin and McCain seem to be having doubts over their nomination.

The Anchorage Daily News has come out in favour of Barack Obama.

And latest polls from Arizona show increasing support for Barack Obama, in one poll McCain is only ahead by two points!

Of course, it would be a huge ask for the Democrats to actually win either state for Obama. The mere fact that they are gaining support in Arizona and Alaska does show how much trouble the Republican campaign is in.

The McCain – Palin split is just a symptom of this trouble.

But its a clear indication to the voters that the Republican campaign is in disarray. Its a clear indication that McCain will lose the election.

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Sarah Palin and fruit flies

October 25, 2008

I guess no-one should be surprised by the latest anti-science diatribe by Sarah Palin.

This time she’s picking on the humble fruit fly.

She was giving a speech on promoting the funding of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):

“For many parents of children with disabilities, the most valuable thing of all is information. Early identification of a cognitive or other disorder, especially autism, can make a life-changing difference.”

Now given that Sarah Palin has a Down’s Syndrome son, you may have thought have fighting for disability funding would have been a home run for her. You may also have expected her to champion scientific research into disabilities.

So for her to question the earmarked money for scientific research was a bit surprising:

“Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? […] You’ve heard about some of these pet projects they really don’t make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.”

Fruit fly research.

The fruit fly research that she is talking about must be the Olive fruit fly research. The Olive fruit fly is an invasive pest that threatening California’s multi-million dollar olive crop. In trying to save a chunk of California’s economy in these difficult times, the $211509 French grant probably is a worthwhile investment.

Besides, if you know anything about science, you’ll know that vital findings have resulted from the most tangential experiments. Who knows what benefits might come out this study?

Certainly not Sarah Palin.

If she was only aware of what research of the humble fruit fly has already given to science I bet she wouldn’t have mocked this research in her speech.

For example, progress in birth defects research. That work brought a Nobel Prize.

Progress in autism research. The very condition that Sarah Palin started her talk about. She has a nephew suffering from autism. Fruit fly research may bring vital clues to improve his life.

Diabetes research.

Cancer research. Indeed, fruit fly research has led to critical advances in the treatment of colon cancer and possibly all cancers.

Alzheimer’s research. And scientists have just cured fruit flies from Huntington’s disease, a massive leap to the treatment of humans.

And work on increasing the life-span of fruit flies may have benefits in slowing ageing in humans.

And what makes the fruit fly so ubitiquous in medical research?

Chiang Ann-shyn – director of the Institute of Biotechnology and director of the Brain Research Center at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu City, Taiwan – explains in this article:

‘One reason fruit flies were used was the similarities between their genes and human genes, Chiang explained. Although a fruit fly carries only around 135,000 genes, which might seem few in comparison to a human being’s 4 billion genes, a large number of genes that suffer from human genetic disorders can be found in the fruit fly. “Flies are cheap to breed, and their genes can be manipulated quickly,” he declared. Moreover, better understanding of genes would allow scientists to search faster for novel therapeutic drugs for healing diseases like Alzheimer’s, he added.’

I think its clear by now that Sarah Palin has no understanding of science.

Her Young Earth creationist views.
Her disregard for climate change.
Her appalling environmental record.
Her attempt to ban books from the local library in Wasilla.

And now this.

Go back to what she said at the start: “For many parents of children with disabilities, the most valuable thing of all is information.”

What Sarah Palin is promoting with her fruit fly ‘I kid you not’ nonsense is dis-information.

Its just as well it looks like the Republicans look like they are losing the election.

Having Sarah Palin as Vice President with an elderly, poor health John McCain as President just doesn’t bear thinking about.

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McCain – Obama debate

October 9, 2008

Just watched the edited highlights of the John McCain – Barack Obama debate on Newsnight.

I couldn’t believe that the Republician representatives on the programme declared that it was a good night for John McCain.

My word! That’s utterly inexplicable.

If that was John McCain on a good night then I’m glad I missed the bad nights!

He really showed his age and his war wounds:- hobbling about the floor and latterly hanging onto his chair towards the end of the debate. I don’t mind his age but it brought home to me how his physical condition may affect his ability to be President. And brings me back to the scary thought of Sarah Palin becoming President, should McCain’s health deteoriate still further.

In fact, McCain’s televisual performance reminded me of the oft-quoted Nixon – Kennedy debate; the perception that Nixon lost against Kennedy due to a bad shave. Neither Nixon or McCain came across as television-friendly.

Its often said that listeners of the Nixon – Kennedy debate on radio scored Nixon higher.

Alas, I doubt even that is true of John McCain.

To me, Obama was more insightful and had more answers than McCain. Even on McCain’s supposed strong suit of foreign policy he failed to hit a blow.

In fact, for someone with a supposed grasp of foreign policy how could he let this statement out of the bag:

“We will be talking about countries sometime in the future that we hardly know where they are on the map”

And by the future, he obviously meant his political future if he was President, so its basically today’s countries with maybe a couple of changes, perhaps.

And if he doesn’t know where they are on a map, how the hell can he have a good grasp of foreign policy?

And if he does have a ‘good grasp’ on foreign policy by American standards, does that mean Obama’s is worse?

Could either McCain or Obama pick out Scotland on a map? Would they be shocked if Scotland was to become independent as the Unionist partisan newpaper The Scotsman recently suggested?

I’m firing that question especially to John McCain who is supposedly a descendant of King William I of Scotland.

The same link gives Barack Obama as a descendant of King Edward I of England, the Hammer of the Scots. The same king that battled against William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. The same king that on leaving Scotland said:

‘Bon besoiogne fait gy du merde se delivrer’
(‘It was well to be rid of shit’)

I wonder at the end of the debate just who was thinking that?

Barack Obama?

John McCain?

Or the American public?

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McCain gives up on Michigan

October 3, 2008

John McCain has given up on campaigning in Michigan to concentrate on more hopeful states. Campaign officals confirmed the move is to concentrate on other swing states:- Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin.

Its a clear indication that Michigan will be Democrat blue in the coming election.

Michigan is one of several key swing states in the U.S. election.

In fact, Obama is currently ahead in most of these key swing states. This makes it a tough ask for John McCain to make a comeback and win the presidency.

Over at RealClearPolitics.com they have

Obama 260
McCain 163

Still to play for 115

And of those ‘toss up’ states the latest polling is:-

State Electoral votes Obama % McCain % Prediction 2004 result 2000 result
Ohio 20 48.0 46.0 Obama +2.0 Bush +2.1 Bush +3.5
Florida 27 48.6 45.6 Obama +3.0 Bush +5.0 Bush +0.1
Nevada 5 47.8 47.3 Obama +0.5 Bush +2.6 Bush +3.5
New Hampshire 4 46.7 45.4 Obama +1.3 Kerry +1.3 Bush +1.3
Virginia 13 49.0 46.6 Obama +2.4 Bush +8.2 Bush +8.1
North Carolina 15 47.0 46.5 Obama +0.5 Bush +12.4 Bush +12.8
Missouri 11 46.8 48.5 McCain +1.7 Bush +7.2 Bush +3.3
Indiana 11 45.3 47.5 McCain +2.2 Bush +20.7 Bush +15.7
Colorado 9 49.0 44.6 Obama +4.4 Bush +4.7 Bush +8.4

According to RealClearPolitics Wisconsin is already Obama’s to lose.

These results suggests that McCain should concentrate on the bigger college votes of Ohio, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina; where Obama’s poll lead is tightest.

Lets go with these RealClearPolitics predictions to see what might happen:-

If these bigger key swing states moved to McCain, along with Missouri and Indiana where McCain is marginally in front it would give McCain 260 electoral college votes.

Tied with Obama’s 260 [predicted by RealClearPolitics].

Given that Obama should pick up Colorado’s 9 votes, that could leave the fate of the election in the hands of Nevada (5 votes) and New Hampshire (4 votes).

Should they both go McCain’s way; it’ll be a tie! Something that pundits have already been postulating; here and here. An Obama – Palin presidential ticket?

269 tie Obama - McCain

That is a lot of ifs for McCain, and its doubtful if he’ll manage to take all of the bigger key swing states to make it interesting. We’ll see if McCain’s Michigan gamble pays off.

Right now the election is Obama’s to lose.

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Sarah Palin and Obama fundraising

September 16, 2008

Its strange the effect your political opponents can have on your own team.

With the surprise choice of Sarah Palin, the Obama camp received more than $10 million in just 24 hours.

The money has flooded in throughout the month of August and beyond when reports of Palin’s attempts to ban books, her pro-creationism, her environmental record, her lack of experience, her ties with the Alaskan Independence Party and worries about her foreign policy attitude all made headlines.

It means the Democrats are seriously worried about the chances of a McCain – Palin victory, and given the age of McCain (as Frankie Boyle remarked he could be assassinated just by someone bursting a paper bag nearby!) it means a Palin Presidency would be likely.

A truly scary thought for Democrats!

This made August the best month for Barack Obama’s fundraising ever.

Back in Scotland, Iain Gray, the new Labour MSP leader has just picked his new shadow cabinet.

Its doubtful whether the SNP will be worried at all.

Outwith the coming Glenrothes by-election campaign, I don’t think the SNP coffers will similarly see a spectacular rise in donations.

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Russell Brand and George Bush

September 10, 2008

Only a couple of days after I suggested Sarah Palin might be forgiven for putting Russell Brand’s My Booky Wook on to her pile of books for her book banning / burning, now Russell Brand has really upset the Republicans.

At the MTV Video Music awards Brand joked that George W. Bush was a ‘retarded cowboy’.

He then came out to urge support for Obama.

“Some people, I think they’re called racists, say America is not ready for a black president.

“But I know America to be a forward thinking country because otherwise why would you have let that retard and cowboy fella be president for eight years?

“We were very impressed. We thought it was nice of you to let him have a go, because, in England, he wouldn’t be trusted with a pair of scissors.”

He then rounded on Sarah Palin’s situation with her pregnant teenage daughter.

Speaking of Palin’s daughter’s boyfriend, Levi Johnston, Brand said: “That is the safe sex message of all time. Use a condom or become a Republican!”

That’s surely going to drive Palin to strike the match on My Booky Wook!

Now its revealed that MTV had forced Brand into telling lower key jokes!

He revealed: “I had JOHN McCAIN gags pulled. And they asked me to tone down the gags about SARAH PALIN.

“I wanted to say she was forcing her teenage daughter to have a baby because she is so anti-abortion.

“But also, as a Republican, she is pro-execution so she is going to give her the electric chair for being a little sl*t. They weren’t keen on that one.”

Nevertheless, MTV now want him to host the 2009 awards.


Sarah Palin and the Alaskan Independence Party

September 3, 2008

It really does seem now as if the Republicans picked Sarah Palin without a full background check. Day by day new stories are breaking as the past catches up with the Alaskan Governor.

Now the Alaskan Independence Party are claiming that both Sarah Palin and her husband were former members of their party.

Sarah Palin with Alaskan flag Alaskan Independence Party logo

The Alaskan Independence Party was formed in the 1970s. Although most activists want Alaskan independence, it is a broad group that calls for a multi-option referendum as its main policy.

From their website:-

The Alaskan Independence Party can be summed up in just two words:

ALASKA FIRST!

Until we as Alaskans receive our Ultimate Goal, the AIP will continue to strive to make Alaska a better place to live with less government interference in our everyday lives.

The Alaskan Independence Party’s goal is the vote we were entitled to in 1958, one choice from among the following four alternatives:

1) Remain a Territory.
2) Become a separate and Independent Nation.
3) Accept Commonwealth status.
4) Become a State.

Lynette Clark the chairwoman of the AIP claims that both Sarah and her husband were members in 1994. They even attended the convention in Wassila.

Lynette was unsure if Sarah Palin wanted full independence for Alaska or wanted a lesser role like that of a Commonwealth member of the United States. “It never came up in conversation,” Clark recalls. “But when she joined the party, our platform was right under her nose.”

For their part the Republicans claim that Sarah Palin was a Republican member since 1982.

It seems records are sketchy from that time in the Alaskan Independence Party. Could they both be right?

Bloggers are indicating though in these comments that there seems to be a gap in Sarah Palin’s Republican registration records: 1990 as Republican then 1995 as Republican – which would leave room for her membership of the Alaskan Independence Party inbetween. They also point out that voter registrations are pretty meaningless anyway.

The director of Alaskan Division of Elections points out that they have no voter registration record of Sarah Palin as anything other than a Republican but have records that her husband Todd Palin was a longtime member of the Alaskan Independence Party.

In any case, Sarah Palin sent a video message to the Alaskan Independence Party this year congratulating the party. Hardly an indication of someone against their policies! (I can just see Gordon Brown doing a similar message to the SNP!!!)

It is highly embarassing for John McCain.

His election slogan is ‘Country First’.

The Alaskan Independence Party slogan is ‘Alaska First’. Indeed that was also Sarah Palin’s election slogan of 2006.

What would Sarah Palin do as Vice President?

And how will it play in the rest of the United States?


Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter

September 2, 2008

So its been announced that Sarah Palin, the newly picked Republican Vice President, has a daughter who is pregnant.

Over on this side on the pond its hard to see what the fuss is.

OK she is seventeen and that’s fairly young.

Its over the age of consent in Alaska.

I can only see this being a minor issue in the U.S. states that have an older age of consent. Even then they must surely recognise that the laws in other states are different.

Its not going to swing the Republican vote. There is only one other party and that’s the Democrats. Who cares when John McCain knew? He’s not the father! (Its a boy called Levi. I didn’t think wearing Levi’s could help your fertility but there you go!)

I doubt it will influence swing voters. Those that are bothered about this sort of thing are more naturally Republican voters anyway.

What did strike me is Sarah Palin’s daughter’s name.

Bristol.

The very name of the beautiful Alaskan bay that Sarah Palin wants to destroy by permitting the building of a huge mineworks.

Could it be a la Brooklyn Beckham style the very place of conception?

I think we should definitely not be told!

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Republicans and Hurricane Gustav

September 1, 2008

Hurricane Gustav makes its way steadily to Louisiana.

As New Orleans is being evacuated and response teams are put in place, it strikes me that this time George Bush is learning from his mistakes over Hurricane Katrina.

But will Hurricane Gustav make the Republicians reassess their stance on climate change?

John McCain has at least made encouraging noises in the direction of tackling the situation. Then he goes and appoints as his Vice Presidental candidate a woman who believes that global warming is not man-made and has an appalling environmental record in her home state in Alaska.

A clear sign that he is pandering to the hard right of the Republican party.

This just smacks of a continuation of the Republican environmental policy instigated under George W. Bush. The defining environmental policy of Bush’s government was a refusal to sign the Kyoto agreement that introduced emission targets.

So do I think the Republicans will reassess their stance? I suspect not directly.

What may make the difference is that these Hurricanes affect the oil price in the United States, as they cut off oil production in the U.S. gulf coast.

Unfortunately, it may take a few of these hurricanes before America finally gets the message on climate change. By that time the global oil price could have sky rocketed and the U.S. may well have made more environmental damage by drilling for oil in environmentally sensitive areas in its lust to keep its oil price low.

As climate change becomes more pronounced, hurricanes and other weather phemonema will get more dangerous.

How many of these extreme hurricanes will New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf coast have to endure before Republicans take the environment seriously?

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