David Kirkpatrick

June 21, 2008

Fired for teaching creationism …

Filed under: et.al., Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:36 am

… and just a little thing about branding crosses onto students.

An Ohio middle-school teacher, John Freshwater, lost his job for ignoring district warnings and continuing to teach christian beliefs, and for using a high-frequency generator to brand crosses into the arms of his students.

The best quote from the link:

Freshwater’s friend Dave Daubenmire defended him.

“With the exception of the cross-burning episode. … I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district,” he told The Columbus Dispatch for a story published Friday.

Yeah, take away the cross branding and continuing to use the bully pulpit of a middle-school science classroom to teach something better placed in a philosophy, theology, mythology or fiction study group, and I’m sure he’s an asset to the district.

March 5, 2008

Texas and Ohio voting fallout

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:23 pm

Larger than expected win in Ohio for Clinton, although smaller than was expected a few weeks ago. Women came out for Clinton in both states.

Texas was as tight as the polls suggested, and Clinton pulled out the popular vote. Full caucus results won’t be in for another several days, but it looks like Obama predictably won that round fairly handily. The result is Obama won Texas pledged delegate-wise.

Here’s a take from Sullivan:

From Kos’s counting, the night barely changes anything in the delegate math. Clinton wins Ohio 73 – 68 and Rhode Island 12 to 8. Obama wins Vermont 9 to 6 and wins Texas by 99 to 94 (because his narrow loss in the primaries is offset by a lop-sided win in the caucuses). These numbers may change a little as full caucus results come in, but not by much. Once all the dust has cleared, Obama’s delegate lead remains. RCPhas it at 1542 for Obama and 1447 for Clinton.

I see no reason why this race shouldn’t continue, and that it shouldn’t continue all the way. As a journalist, this is good news. It’s certainly great copy, as they say on Fleet Street. But I see no way that the Clintons can actually win it without re-opening Michigan and Florida, and shifting the super-delegates by super-human amounts. The result will probably be a slow, Limbaugh-friendly trashing of Obama – because Clinton has only gained traction by attacking him, or raising fears about him, rather than by a positive campaign for herself.

There’s also some polling evidence that Rush Limbaugh’s exhortion for GOPers to cross over and vote for Clinton worked in Texas.

From the linked Hit & Run post:

In the days running up to these last primaries, Rush Limbaugh told his national audience of conservatives to vote in the Democratic race.

I want Hillary to stay in this, Laura. This is too good a soap opera. We need Barack Obama bloodied up politically, and it’s obvious that the Republicans are not going to do it and don’t have the stomach for it, as you probably know. We’re getting all kinds of memos from the RNC, saying we’re not going to be critical there. Mark McKinnon of McCain’s campaign says he’ll quit if they get critical over Obama. This is the presidency of the United States we’re talking about. I want our party to win. I want the Democrats to lose. They’re in the midst of tearing themselves apart right now. It is fascinating to watch, and it’s all going to stop if Hillary loses. So, yeah, I’m asking people to cross over and, if they can stomach it — I know it’s a difficult thing to do, to vote for a Clinton, but it will sustain this soap opera, and it’s something I think we need. It would be fun, too.

It turned into a pretty hot meme in Texas, and on Monday, while Rush was out, guest host Mark Davis scored an interview with Bill Clinton. Did it work?


It’s a similar story in Texas, where Limbaugh has the most listeners of any of these states. Obama won the Republican vote 52-47, but conservatives (22 percent of all voters, up from 15 percent in the Kerry-Edwards primary) went against Obama. For the first time since Super Tuesday, they were Clinton’s best ideological group: She won them 53-43. And Clinton won 13 percent of the people who said Obama was the most electable candidate.

Ohio didn’t wind up being very close, but Clinton won the Texas primary by about 98,000 votes out of 2.8 million cast. If the exits are right, about 252,000 of those voters were Republicans, and about 618,000 were conservatives. Clinton truly might have won the Texas primary on the backs of Rush Limbaugh listeners.

Even with all the furious spin going on right now, and after Clinton’s best night in a month, her chances of winning the nomination are small. I’ve read this week Obama will announce February fundraising north of $50 million (as compared to Clinton’s already announced $35 million) and possibly a bloc of 50 superdelegate endorsements.

Marc Ambinder goes over the nomination math, and Clinton’s long, long odds, at theAtlantic.com’s new feature, The Current:

Barack Obama’s still-likely nomination owes a debt to John Rawls: the inequalities built into the Democratic delegate selection system benefit the little states and history’s most aggrieved figure — the liberal activist. Let’s say Hillary Clinton romps to victory in Ohio and Texas and Rhode Island. Tens of thousands of extra voters. At most, a few extra delegates. But a win is a win, right? Twenty-four … okay, forty-eight hours later, when the afterglow has faded and the Hill raisers are on vacation, Clinton delegate guru Harold Ickes will sit down at his desk, scratch his chest through the open folds of his shirt, and have the same problem he has right now: Barack Obama’s earned delegate lead is virtually insurmountable.

There are a variety of delegate calculation spreadsheets floating around, and I’ve plugged numbers in all of them, using the red-rosiest scenarios I could contemplate for Clinton. Under a fairly neutral scenario, she needs about 55 percent of the remaining pledged delegates to catch Obama, assuming she takes half the remaining superdelegates. (A generous assumption, given that his rate of superdelegate acquisition is about four to one right now.) To get 55 percent of the remaining pledged delegates, she needs to win about 72 percent of the popular vote in most of the rest of the 18 or so states that haven’t voted. Clinton has won, in truth, nearly as many actual votes as Obama, and most of the biggest states. If merit governed the delegate selection process, Clinton would have an equal claim to the nomination. But merit, in this process, is a lower order principle.

March 4, 2008

Texas and Ohio get out the vote

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:37 pm

I’ll periodically update this page tonight as results come in from Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont. All numbers from CNN unless otherwise noted.

Right now CNN is calling both Ohio and Vermont for McCain. I expect him to handily win all four states in contention tonight since the Huckabee protest voting seems to be dwindling.

In fact, in Texas and Ohio a number of Republicans will likely vote in the Democratic primary for Clinton hoping to extend that contest.

CNN has called Vermont for Obama, an expected result.

7:30 — Very early — less than 1% reporting — Clinton leads in Ohio and Obama in Texas. Keep in mind all numbers from Texas tonight will reflect only the primary votes. The caucuses will take up to a week to report and the delegates earned in Texas won’t be final until then.

8:00 — CNN calls Texas for McCain and announces those delegates give him the GOP nomination. I’m not sure about that delegate math, it seems I read somewhere he couldn’t secure that number tonight, but it was/is a matter of time. As reported on CNN, it’s amazing to think where McCain was just months ago. Broke and trailing the field. Now he’s on the ballot in November. Congrats to John McCain and his staff.

8:20 — CNN calls Rhode Island for McCain. Still very early and Obama leads in Texas, Clinton in Ohio and Rhode Island. The Texas caucuses are going on and pretty crazy from what I hear.

9:15 — CNN calls Rhode Island for Clinton. She still leads in Ohio and Obama is holding a narrowing lead in Texas. To offset the expected Obama win in the caucuses Clinton needs to win the Texas primary by a sizable margin.

10:00 — CNN calls Ohio for Clinton. From the exit polls she cleaned house with the female vote. Clinton has pulled slightly ahead in Texas, but based on numbers I checked out at the NYT’s website Obama won heavily in Dallas, Tarrant, Harris and Travis counties (that’d be Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin, respectively.) The only major urban area Clinton is leading (by a smaller margin than Obama in the other four) is Bexar, San Antonio’s heavily Hispanic county. I’m going to guess Obama will regain the lead as these major urban centers fully report. Very close vote at any rate.

10:15 — To further solidify the GOP, Huckabee called McCain to concede and McCain travels to D.C. tomorrow for Bush 43’s official endorsement.

11:00 — Last update of the night. Clinton is holding a slim margin in Texas — numbers right now from the state Office of the Secretary of State stands at 50.58-47.45% Clinton. From what I can tell from online tools, a lot of votes have yet to be registered from Dallas and Harris (particularly Harris) counties. Both Obama strongholds. The actual numbers are close enough those two counties could swing the total vote back to Obama.

Clinton had a good night compared to the entire month of February. On the downside is she was expected to completely blow Obama out of the water in both Texas and Ohio as recently as three weeks ago. Of course the night will probably a draw, at worst delegate-wise, and once the Texas caucus results roll in sometime next week Obama will most likely go down as the overall winner.

Clinton’s not leaving the race, but by every method of reckoning she has almost no chance of winning the pledged delegates or the total vote nationwide. For more on that follow this link to a Jonathan Alter article for Newsweek. On the Democratic side of the field, let the spin begin.

McCain and the GOP have to be very pleased with tonight’s results.

March 3, 2008

Texas and Ohio voting looms

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:14 am

Tomorrow sees four primaries (well three primaries and one primary-plus-caucus) — Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas (the primary plus), and Vermont.

On the Democratic side Texas and Ohio are the key votes. If Clinton doesn’t win both, and realistically both by unheard-of-for-her percentages, she should concede the nomination to Obama. My guess is she won’t do it because her campaign has already begun spinning for a bad outcome.

Don’t have any numbers in front of me, but last I heard it’s expected Clinton will win Rhode Island handily and Obama will do the same in Vermont.

Clinton led Ohio by 30 points just weeks ago, and as of the weekend Obama has pulled within five points. An amazing narrowing of the gap. 

Obama trailed in Texas as well, and now is actually slightly ahead in most polls. I’m looking forward to voting tomorrow. It’s been a while since I’ve had any real say in a presidential nomination for either party. Haven’t decided whether or not to do the caucus tomorrow night. From what I understand it may be complete pandemonium.

For the GOP, McCain has the nomination wrapped-up and polls suggest the Huckabee protest votes are starting to tail off.

February 26, 2008

Clinton’s staff looks wistfully toward the exit

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:51 pm

From the Daily Dish. It looks like Clinton’s staff is already making contingency plans ,,,

After all that wine, demoralized Clinton staffers can’t wait for next week:

Advisers figure that a loss in Texas is as likely as a win in Ohio; a large number of staffers appear to be willing to quit en masse next Wednesday if there’s a split decision and Clinton gives notice that she intends to fight for another month.