a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Best headline of the day: Bossy Old White Women Rule

Posted on the April 24th, 2008

Russell Morse definitely knows how to bring fresh meaning to the saying “telling it like it is.” In a commentary piece for New America Media yesterday, Morse begins:

PHILADELPHIA, PA — I’m concerned that this election is turning me into a misogynist.

Last night, I watched Hillary Clinton deliver her victory speech in a hotel in downtown Philadelphia, cringing. I looked around nervously and realized I was in a ballroom full of my mom. Instantly, I became terrified of this middle-aged white woman army, marching through America, stomping young people’s dreams out with their sensible shoes.

If you’re in Barack Obama’s camp during this hundred-year primary, you may love every word Morse writes. If you’re in Hillary Clinton’s, probably not so much.

Maureen Dowd, eat your heart out!

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Democratic presidential primary: follow today’s action

Posted on the March 4th, 2008

In the U.S. Democratic Party’s presidential primary race, today could be decisive or… maybe not.

Voters from four states are going to the polls — Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont — in the tug-of-war between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to become the nominee. For a report of the number of pledged delegates at stake, see this article in the Washington Post (“Obama, Clinton In Key Face-Off Texas, Ohio Results May Determine Campaign’s Future”by Anne E. Kornblut and Perry Bacon Jr.,Washington Post Staff Writers, March 4, 2008).

For the WaPo‘s breakdown, by state, of delegate numbers, and the current tally for the candidates, you can go here (Primaries and Caucuses/Democratic Party Delegate Tally).

And for any other political junkies out there, who may need some sustenance while waiting (impatiently) for contests results to come in tonight, here are a couple of places to go online for aid and comfort:

The Huffington Post has a good summing-it-all-up article of each candidate’s situation in the respective states as this day of voting opens (“Ohio, Texas, Vermont, Rhode Island Primaries: Hillary Clinton And Barack Obama’s Day Of Reckoning” by Tom Raum, March 4, 2008, courtesy of Associated Press).

And one of the best online blogs to click on to follow the action as it’s updated throughout the day — opinion, analysis of incoming results and predictions — is DailyKos.com. You’ll find vigorously expressed commentary and uncensored comments by supporters of both Obama and Hillary here.

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Will Democratic Party Super Delegates spoil the broth for voters?

Posted on the February 7th, 2008

As it appears that the Democratic Party could be headed for its first brokered convention since 1952 (see here), news headlines about the key role of the party’s Super Delegates are mushrooming. Why? It could be they, rather than primary voters, who decide whether Obama or Hillary becomes the party’s nominee.

One of the best articles I spotted this morning about this is Primary Colors Revealed: Delegate Soup and American Politics by Rob Creekmore (Feb 4, 2008) on themsj.com. It’s a concise description of what Super Delegates are, how they came to be, and how they can disenfranchise voters.

The article begins with a punch to the solar plexus:

“Barack Obama. Winner of 34 primary delegates to Hillary’s 21. Champion of 63 caucus delegates over Hillary’s 47. Still losing to Hillary. So what’s behind the fuzzy math that the Associated Press is using to claim that Hillary is in the lead? They’re called Super Delegates, they’re not bound by primary or caucus elections, and they will account for a full 20% of the vote at the upcoming DNC convention.”

For a statement today by Barack Obama himself on the Super Delegate issue, go to The Huffington Post here.

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Super Tuesday: Who really won?

Posted on the February 6th, 2008

Was the winner Obama or Hillary?

From what I’ve read in my morning’s online swim through the flood of news reports, the consensus is that it’s a split decision.

The facts

Hillary won the big states of New York and California, plus six others. Obama won 13 states, possibly 14 (New Mexico is still counting votes — Obama’s ahead slightly). Latest detailed update here on Bloomberg.com. State by state statistics in The Los Angeles Times here (click on name of state for dropdown table).

Some perspective

From some who are watching closely, Obama had the bigger night. (full disclosure: I voted for Obama) In fact, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of DailyKos, titled one of his posts “Huge Night For Obama.”

“She [Hillary] didn’t exceed expectations anywhere. She lost states she led big in just a few weeks ago. She’s hurting for money. The calendar up ahead is tailor made for Obama. The momentum is there,” Moulitas wrote.

An example of Obama’s big mo, as it’s called, can be seen in the California results, even though he lost the state. Only two to three weeks ago, some polls reportedly had Hillary up by more than twenty points there. But by Super Tuesday, after only a brief time of campaigning in the state, Obama cut that lead to nine points (with 92% of the vote counted), see The Los Angeles Times page here.

Up next

Over the next few months, 26 more primaries and caucuses are scheduled. Puerto Rico, scheduled for Saturday, June 7, is the last. See The New York Times page here for complete schedule.

Coming soon: within the next three weeks (Washington, Louisiana, Nebraska, Virginia, Maryland,the District of Columbia, Wisconsin and Hawaii); then in early March, there are four more (Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont); and on April 11, another big state with lots of delegates (Pennsylvania). For more details, see a Boston Globe article here.

Predictions are that Obama will do well in these upcoming weeks. Bloomberg.com has a statement from the Clinton camp:

“Clinton’s chief strategist, Mark Penn, acknowledged that his candidate may be at a disadvantage in the next contests. ‘We’re coming on to some states that are more favorable to Obama,’ he said, adding that Clinton would likely fare better in the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4.”

The final decision

Most political experts I read are predicting that the Obama and Hillary battle won’t end until the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado at the end of August. The decision will then come through what is called a brokered convention — and there hasn’t been one of those for the Democrats, according to the Wikipedia article, since 1952.

As Obama keeps saying, he’s the candidate of change. Seems like he’s started already.

UPDATE: It seems Barack Obama won a clear delegate victory over rival Hillary Clinton after all in yesterday’s Super Tuesday contest. According to a new post “Obama Claims Delegate Lead” on the Politico.com website, “The Obama camp now projects topping Clinton by 13 delegates, 847 to 834.”

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A Russian take on Super Tuesday

Posted on the February 5th, 2008

Starting off my day, as I usually do, with a quick visit to news.google.com to see the latest headlines, today I clicked on a video from Russia Today about Super Tuesday. The video (below) recaps what’s happening in the race for the White House. It includes short commentary from some U.S. political reporters, some campaign footage, candidate info and general trivia about the election.

Russia Today, if you don’t know about it, is a Russian news channel in English (also online). It offers round-the-clock coverage by a team of 700 — Russian and foreign journalists and support staff — on what’s happening in Russia and across the globe, according to the website. The channel has been broadcasting since 2005, it reports, and is run by the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti.

The news channel also has its own YouTube page here.

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