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Field testing the iPad

Long time, no see, guys.  My work life has gotten interesting lately and I find myself back in the lab after 20 years.  And I just have to say that all in all, this has been a very good move for me.  I recommend it to any former lab rat who has found themselves behind a monitor for too long.  Technology has changed a great deal in two decades and learning and relearning new things makes work challenging and fun.  It’s the best of both worlds, really.  I still get to park my fat ass behind the computer for part of the day to play with models but my ass is getting smaller from running around the bench.  So, two thumbs up for the lab.

Now, I have a company lab notebook that’s all legal and stuff that I write things down in but when I was in the lab recently, I found that I wanted a notebook for jotting things down of a more general nature.  It’s mostly reminders, calculations and procedural stuff that could apply to any particular experiment, nothing proprietary.  I recently bought an iPad to semi replace my macbook that’s on it’s last legs so I thought I’d give it a try.  There have been other reviews of the iPad, most recently Anglachel’s.  But I think that the mistake that many people make about the iPad is that they concentrate too much on the hardware.  (If you find the device “too heavy”, you need to hit the gym)  To really understand how the iPad fits into the device spectrum, you have to think out of the box and focus on the apps.  And even though the apps developed for the iPad are still few in number compared to the iPhone, it’s in this area where motivated developers are going to make the iPad a truly revolutionary device.

For my purposes in the lab, the iPad is off to a good start but it could be amazing.  I prop it up using the apple cover in type mode (see pic above) and leave it on the bench, coming back to it now and then to make notations using the Notes app that comes with the iPad.   I can type through my nitrile gloves and my lab is mercifully free from most solvents so I’m not worried about corrosion.  The screen cleans up nicely with a kimwipe.  Nevertheless, a waterproof cover or thin film screen protectent is probably a good idea for people who want to take their iPad into the lab.   There’s an app for making stock solution dilutions and molarity calculations called LabCal.  It’s an iPhone app that runs on the iPad.  Although the iPad doesn’t come with a calculator, there are plenty of cheap calculator apps in the apps store.  I found a nice scientific calculator called Calc XT that has a nifty little scratch pad.  For reading general procedures, I mail the published documents to my email account and access the pdfs using GoodReader.  And for planning my work, I use Todo by Appigo.  These are the main tools I need everyday. I don’t have access to wifi or the 3G network in my area so my scribbles stay on the ipad.  Essentially, what I have is the equivalent of a little steno pad, folder and calculator but the notes are stored by date and everything I need is in one slim device.

But there are a couple of additional apps that I’ve found lurking in the apps store that point the way to the future.  For example, the American Chemical Society has an app that allows the user to select a number of journals to browse.  Highlights and abstracts are delivered to the app and the full journal article can be accessed directly, provided the user has a subscription.  This would be a great way to deliver literature electronically.  Ordinarily, I print papers out from the pdfs because I don’t like reading them on a computer screen.  But on an iPad, literature has the feel of reading a printed document with all of the digital benefits.

Another app, iKinasePro, is a bit pricier but at $9.99 is still a steal.  It gives the user access to a curated database of kinases, along with published inhibitors, links to literature and patents, and a multitouch kinome tree.  But what really drew me to this app is that it features a molecular editor from Chemene that is similar to a ChemDraw widget.  The user can quickly draw a structure and do a

The Chemene Molecular Editor

substructure search of the database to find hits.  The app does require access to a wifi or 3G network, as does the ACS app.  The kinome diagram also doesn’t allow for the finer resolution multitouch, the user can only select certain groups of kinases.  But motivated developers {{hint, hint}} should be paying close attention to that editor because that’s the way we need to go with the electronic notebook app that I’m sure someone is going to make a killing on.

The mobile electronic notebook could be a godsend for labrats.  Imagine one app that does it all: records your steps, has a built in calculator, can calculate dilutions from stock solutions, can calculate the MW from the structure you draw, can fetch the synthetic pathway from the literature, can register your compound, and allow you to search for similar structures and their related activity and ADME data in the database.  Well, that’s just off the top of my head.  And if the lab pages are uploaded to a cloud server, there’s no reason to store anything on the iPad, making loss of proprietary data less likely.

Companies interested in protecting their proprietary information can get an enterprise version of the SDK.  Security of the local wifi and cloud server are out of my scope but where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Ahhhh, there’s the rub.  In many of the companies that I’m familiar with, there is a ginormous bureacracy of Microsoft borgs who will tell you that resistance is useless and that you will be assimilated to the same stupid image that the accountants use.  Mobility, without a mouse or a keyboard?  In. Your. Dreams.  In Microsoft’s holey products, there is a lifetime of employment security for hives full of corporate drones hired to test and patch the version of IE that is already several years out of date and to stamp out proliferating viruses.  Apple products are verboten.  They’re too sleek and simple.  The macbooks run on linux (One helpdesk borg asked me how to spell linux when I needed help with my HP linux workstation.  Yep, it’s that bad.)  The iPad uses an iPhone OS but still, Apple make the borgs antsy.  Which is why we may never get iPads for the labs. I don’t think this is going to change unless the borgs are given ultimatums employment incentives to experiment with other platforms.

Too bad, because I think there is a lot of potential on both the development and the efficiency side of the mobility equation.  It would be a shame to see the modern lab, stripped down and uber frugal, hobbled by a Microsoft mentality.  But whatever the fate of iPad in the lab, it’s a handy device to have around.  Still, if you can’t use it in the lab,  you can go home and use it to rent a movie from Netflix and forget all about work.

Ahhhh….

Tuesday: Serenity Prayer

Gov. Jon Corzine used his divine right change NJs primary results

Gov. Jon Corzine used his divine right to change NJs primary results

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Learn this prayer because we are going to be reciting it a lot in the next four years.  There’s nothing we can do about Obama as our president.  What we *can* do is make sure that the way he got to be president, ie. by cheating and corruption, never happens again.

One of the things we need to work on to prevent cheating is the primary election system.  As a New Jersey resident I can say without a doubt that if the primary problem isn’t fixed, I see absolutely no reason why anyone in this state would ever bother to vote in one.  The idea that the party machine in this state could invalidate my primary vote after the state legislature wasted time moving the date of the primary up by four months, allocated  millions of dollars for the election and after candidates and their volunteers worked their butts off, well, it just infuriates me.  It can NEVER happen again.  So, going forward, I’m going to want to see a real lobbying effort to pass legislation that will require delegations to stick to the primary results on the first vote at the convention.  State party committees that violate this law should be required to pay the state for the primary.  Maybe delegates need to be fined as well. perhaps in proportion to the number of people they represent.  In NJ, the densest state in the nation (in more ways than one), the resulting fine could be quite substantial.  But if we don’t make the penalties steep, there will be no way to hold the delegates accountable and the primaries will become meaningless.

The other issue we need to address is how the primaries are conducted in the first place.  I think we can all agree that caucuses need to be eliminated.  I realize that this means that some smaller, less populated states may have a harder time funding a primary.  Why not use revenue sharing like the National Football League?  The party committees from larger or richer states could help fund states like Iowa and Kansas.   There are a couple of other proposals on the web that are worth looking at.  Will Bower has a proposal at Huffington Post that focuses on regional primaries.  Several monts ago, Anglachel wrote a more detailed proposal that addressed issues most of us probably hadn’t considered, like delegate allocation based on proportional turnout.   In other words, urban areas wouldn’t be awarded more delegates based on some past election results or to correct for some historical injustice, real or imagined.  Delegates would be awarded based on how many people actually showed up for the primary:

Allocate delegates on the basis of proportional turn out. This means that a delgate is granted for every 100,000 or 15,000 or 250,000 or whatever the threshold number is no matter what state you are in. No gerrymandered districts with the voter in precint 1 counting for more than those in precinct 4. States that want to hold caucuses can do so, but the low turnouts for caucuses will result in a lower delegate count and thuis voice at the national convention. Want more voice at a national level? GET OUT YOUR VOTE.

There’s a lot of wonky goodness in both of these posts so let’s get to it. We’ve got to be quick though.  The DNC is going to elect a new Obama friendly chair and it will be an uphill fight from now until 2012.  But what is the alternative?  This is one thing we *can* change.

Friday: The Treasury Secretary begged Pelosi on his knees?!

According to the NYTimes, the meeting on the financial bailout yesterday at the White House had definitely gone into fiasco territory:

The day began with an agreement that Washington hoped would end the financial crisis that has gripped the nation. It dissolved into a verbal brawl in the Cabinet Room of the White House, urgent warnings from the president and pleas from a Treasury secretary who knelt before the House speaker and appealed for her support.

“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush declared Thursday as he watched the $700 billion bailout package fall apart before his eyes, according to one person in the room.

WTF?!  This “sucker”?  That’s the way *I* talk, but I’m a blogger.  It’s part of my charm.  Shouldn’t we expect the President to behave like this is a very serious matter?  Oh, nevermind.  And what’s with Paulson falling to his knees before Pelosi?  This isn’t public theatre. What’s next?  A slug fest in Congress between the Democrats and Republicans?

Usually, I don’t do the sanctimonious little finger wag at the players in dramas like this when they get a little ‘exercised’ and passions erupt.  But this is so over the top:

In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

Mr. Paulson sighed. “I know. I know.”

The bailout deal looked resolvable until John Boehner pulled the rug out from everyone and said the Republican caucus in the House would not support more government regulation.  Everything is going as Anglachel predicted the other day.  This is a set up and trap by the Republicans to hang the whole stinky mess around the Democrats’ necks:

But a few blocks away, a senior House Republican lawmaker was at a luncheon with reporters, saying his caucus would never go along with the deal. This Republican said Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the chief deputy whip, was circulating an alternative course that would rely on government-backed insurance, not taxpayer-financed purchase of mortgage assets.

He said the recalcitrant Republicans were calculating that Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, would not want to leave her caucus politically exposed in an election season by passing a bailout bill without rank-and-file Republican support.

“You can have all the meetings you want,” this Republican said, referring to the White House session with Mr. Bush, the presidential candidates and Congressional leaders, still hours away. “It comes to the floor and the votes aren’t there. It won’t pass.”

It will also expose Obama’s tender underbelly.  When push comes to shove, he will save his backers on Wall Street over the hardworking American men and women who are going into massive debt on their behalf.  Er, that would be *us*.

If Obama had any core Democratic principles, he would know not to yield.  If he weren’t a lightweight, he could add his critical mass to the Democrats in negotiation.  Hey, here’s his first opportunity to reach across the aisle to get things done with Republicans in a post-partisan fashion and they are about to eat his lunch.  So much for the future leader of the free world who thought it was more important to strut his stuff in Berlin than sit with his advisors and hammer out policies that might work or that he actually believed in.

To be a successful president, and believe me, George W. Bush has been successful beyond expectations, you have to be able to do long term planning.  You have to be able to think several moves in advance.  OR you have to believe in what you *say* you believe and stand your ground.  Obama seems to be lacking in both of these areas.

I hope the Superdelegates are uneasy.  I hope they are regretting what they did last summer when they ignored the woman with the public support, the steely spine and the nasally voice of the policy wonk. SHE wasn’t even invited to the party and had to make her case directly to the American people, talking to bubble headed newsreaders who wanted to know what she thought of Sarah Palin.  I have nothing but contempt for the Superdelegates and it will give me great pleasure to vote against Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine when they run again.

What was their point, exactly?  Why support *this* man at *this* time in our nation’s history?   Someone better start talking.  The grown-ups out here are losing patience and the Democrats are headed for a four year time out.

Wednesday: Maelstrom

The last time woman took charge

The last time woman took charge

The atmosphere is pretty charged lately, isn’t it? Are you hanging in there? It’s going to get increasingly stormy as immovable object meets irresistable force. The party is so determined to install Obama that is willing to tear itself to shreds before our very eyes to do it. And all this self destruction for what purpose? So Hillary Clinton will never be president? What’s that all about anyway? Will we ever understand why the powers that be want to squash her?

MoDo wrote a column this morning that I did not read because I couldn’t get past the blurb on the opinion page:

Hillary Clinton feels no guilt about encouraging her supporters to mess up Barack Obama’s big moment, thus undermining his odds of beating John McCain.

Ladies, putting aside the lie that Hillary is putting us up to this (she has absolutely nothing to do with our movement), is there something familiar about that sentence? Did it strike a bell deep in the corner of your mind where you have stored an unpleasantry? From personal experience, I can say that without exception, I have never met a man who did not behave as if his reason for being was more important than mine. No matter how supportive they were, when push came to shove, it was always my life that more easily sacrificed and compromised. My wishes and aspirations were a little less lofty. My gifts and talents a little less meaningful and worthy of praise. Nothing short of my winning a Nobel Prize, a Pulitzer and a humanitarian award would be acknowledged as sufficient for a life changing decision to go in my favor. Maybe even that wouldn’t be enough. When push comes to shove, where a man lives, what he does with his time, what career he pursues and what dreams he has will always come first. The only power women have in most relationships, ultimately, is the power to walk away from them. That is, if she wants to be judged a person in her own right.

This is what MoDo’s blurb is saying to me. Hillary Clinton, one of the most accomplished women this country has ever produced, a woman gifted by intelligence, tenacity, fortitude and perserverence, who has more qualifications and experience than either of her rivals, is expected to graciously step aside so her presence doesn’t mess up her less qualified male counterpart’s fading chances of victory. Maureen Dowd *enjoys* reinforcing this notion. She makes her living doing it.

When Hillary made her suspension speech, she said that women hadn’t broken through that glass ceiling yet. What is happening before our eyes right now is the final step to finally breaking through: asserting the right to be acknowledged as a person worthy of equal respect and not backing down in the face of overwhelming odds. If it messes up Barack’s life, who the f$^* cares? Why should she care more about his aspirations than her own, especially when it is *his* actions that are tearing the party apart? I have never seen a party so committed to ruining itself, its reputation, its very chances of survival, all for the sake of an ambitious, unprepared and unscrupulous man like Barack Obama. To watch this happen is like watching someone in the midst of Darwin Award winning behavior. It is both fascinating and horrifying.

We are witnessing the Democratic party, run by a bunch of white males, like Dean, Kerry, Kennedy, Carter, McGovern, Edwards, etc, telling this woman that she is less worthy. Incredible.

On a similar note: Anglachel has started posting again after an unbearably long absence. Today she has a piece that looks at what the Republicans are likely to make of the Democratic party’s decision to ditch its more deserving candidate for its weaker male standard bearer. I mentioned months ago that affirmative action would be our Achilles heel that the GOP would zero in on. Anglachel seems to have the same idea in Barking Up the Wrong Tree. Here is the money quote:

Obama is the candidate against whom this argument [affirmative action] can be deployed most effectively. You Obamacans can scream bloody murder at me all you want, but it is simply a fact. His race makes the argument easier to make, but it is his muddy personal history, his razor thin resume, and his questionable electoral wins that make him vulnerable. As Somerby pointed out, the squalls of “Racism! Racism!” do nothing but play into their hands as well because the Republican argument isn’t about race. It may appeal to racists, but affirmative action can be defeated even in California (in a way that gay marriage probably will not) because it is, at base, about economic competition and rules that deliberately confer advantage to a less formally qualified contestant. When Obama defenders can’t get out of primary campaign mode and reckless accusations of racism (because some well-off white liberals really can be shamed into voting for someone just because he is Black), they do nothing but reinforce the Republican charge against affirmative action; that it is merely promotion of race, it is not about potential or character or disadvantage (In what world is Barack Obama “disadvantaged”?), but about pushing qualified students and job applicants out of the way for lazy non-whites. It is simple for them to work in xenophobia and jingosim, too, by talking about promotion of “illegals” over “citizens”.

The dog whistle here is on behalf of McCain. He’s earned this job and he will make sure that you get what you have earned, unlike these effete Democrats (sorry, that’s always going to be part of the argument) who let themselves be bullied into placating interest groups and handing out unearned rewards. St. John the Maverick will give you straight-talk and an honest deal. On another day, I’ll get a bit more into the “high-minded ways” that Somerby mentions because that, too, is part of the attack on affirmative action, one the Obamacans of Whole Foods Nation seem incapable of understanding.

Just go read it. It’s excellent.

One final note. It seems that we have a resident poet. JohninCA writes many of his comments in verse and I thought I’d put a few of my favorite beauties on the front page today. I’m thinking that we need a poet laureate:

Benjamin Franklin’s opinion was sought
About what his peers in Philadelphia wrought.
“A republic, if you can keep it,” he said,
But which, without vigilance, soon would be dead.
There was no political party back then,
The vote was for whites, and only for men.
The franchise didn’t exist for the rest,
Outside those circles the right was suppressed.

Now there’s one party that plays loose and fast
With the primary votes that were cast,
Four delegates for one man it seized,
Fabricating the results as it pleased.
The price for its perfidy it must now pay,
As insurrection carries the day
Now is the time to be buried for good
Imposture and treachery for which it stood.

****
Down with dissembling, down the the lies
Down with the party with no other guise
To offer disquieted voters this fall,
Down with cabals where deception is all.
Down with the standard bearer and hack
Who lacking a teleprompter can’t back
Campaign themes of increasing duplicity,
While the nation prays that it soon spared will be.

****
Denver’s the city– there is the place
Where the party which has well earned its disgrace
Which dissembled with voters, and overreached
And the faith of its loyal activists breached
Must stare aggrieved voters clear in the face
The penalty for its behavior to face
The piper it paid; now it must hear the tune
And face the storm to erupt at high noon.

****
If I were a Democrat, my heart would break,
For arrogance this man must take the cake,
By fiat, four delegates he’s able to pull,

Now that they’re his, their state votes in full.
With dubious tactics securing the win,
Competition seems to be the only sin,
The thing that’s important, as Joe Stalin notes,
Is not the voters but who counts the votes.

****
Ludacris opened his mouth all too soon
His lyrics were more than inopportune
His words are the most unfortunate progeny
Of profane hatred, if not misogyny
Their tenor can end in no other result
Than undermining his candidate’s very own cult
While helping the backlash which, in the fall
Might just help McCain to go and win it all.

****
It’s hardly a reason for much surprise,
That D registration is not on the rise.
The party that put a knife in our back
Now finds that its base is beginning to crack.
It counted on victory in the fall,
But shouldn’t be sanguine about it at all,
The hare and the tortoise, that old fashioned tale
Suggests, in November, McCain will prevail

PUMA PAC makes “The Show”

Murphy gave an interview on NECN. {{sniff}} They grow up so fast.

Funny, she doesn’t look like an old, working class, uneducated, sino-peruvian lesbian, not that there’s anything wrong with that. She looks like a youngish strawberry blonde lovely from Massachusetts with the same two apple computers that I have. Do you suppose the Obamaphiles and media people were *wrong* about us???

And now for our theme song:

In other news, Anglachel appears to be on a hiatus. Her posts are agonizingly brief. She’s had to deal with some personal issues. One is resolving itself, the other just happened. Unfortunately, her house was burgled. :-( Send her good thots and let’s hope that this too shall pass before we start climbing the walls.

This is an open thread…

Monday: Obama Pod People

We last few remnants of the “shrieking band of paranoid holdouts” are now under attack. Remember the NYTimes article from just a few days ago where Claire McCaskill said that the Obama camp would wait a respectful few days so we could get over it and then they would launch another assault? Well, it looks like it’s here.

In the past day, The Confluence, Corrente, Reclusive Leftist, Anglachel and others have seen a number of pod people showing up in the comments. They *say* they are regulars but for some reason, they speak the language of the converted. Ahh, conversion diaries. It takes me back to my DKos days, even before the primary season began. There was no better way to make the recommended list than to claim you were a recovering Republican or Iraq War enthusiast. Well, who doesn’t want to belong? It gives the listener a sense of security. The new person is like US! Love bombing follows, group identities are formed. It even happens here to a certain extent.

But this is forced. It comes from some external source. It takes on our identities but it is not one of us. There’s no emotion. It’s empty.

What is the point exactly? It’s not like we can’t identify these imposters pretty quickly. We know how to read an IP address. Yes, believe it or not, Obamaphiles, there are a few of us Clintonistas who have the nollij. We can reed and rite and doo rithmatik too. It’s amazing how good special ed is these days.

But why go the psychological warfare route? It seems like the lazy way out. Is it more effective to make us feel overwhelmed, helpless in the face of an insurmountable wave of Obamaphilia, to condition us to learned helplessness? “Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated” Why not try to win us over with the force of the policy proposals, committments to our causes, understanding and acknowledgment of the principles we hold dear? Is that just too hard or is it because you don’t want to?

But here’s an even better question? Why bother at all? We’re just little asteroids floating along in the blogoverse, our carbon footprints barely noticeable amidst all of the bigger and more numerous pieces of space debris. The amount of attention now dedicated to bringing us into compliance seems inversely proportional to our importance.

Or is it?

Maybe you guys need us after all.

One more thing: Anglachel has posted several parts of a series this past weekend that are really worth your attention. Check out, The Frontlines of Democracy, Bittersweet Acceptance and Partisan. Highly recommended. Other interesting posts: The Ghost of Violet Socks poses a question in Through the Looking Glass. Why is Obama’s nomination more historic that Hillary’s? (BTW, Violet could use some filthy lucre to keep the server gods appeased. If you have a few bucks, you might want to visit her PayPal link) Lambert at Corrente likens the political system to a pimple in The Village is a Sack of Pus Waiting to Burst. Such an evocative title.

Anglachel says it’s in Obama’s court

I was going through withdrawal today and then, miraculously, I see that Anglachel has a post.  Missed the Bus is her way of talking everyone off the ledge.  Not everyone is there but some of us are getting a bit testy with the ones who are getting hysterical.  Like we want to line up and slap the person spazzing out like they did in the movie Airplane.

According to Anglachel, Obama is in a bit of “a tight spot” on this whole FL and MI delegation thing:

But, we’re looking at a lady or tiger situation here, or rather a co-dependent win with the lady and a crushing defeat you will never recover from tiger. Fail to seat Hillary’s supporters while their votes still count and you lose in November. Seat them and you risk losing the delegate lead and get relegated to VP. (And, yes, Hillary will make Obama her VP without batting an eye.) If you still somehow managed to squeak out the delegate count, you instantly make her VP, thereby legitimizing your biggest political opponent, or you lose in November. There’s no recovery from that. Failing to give respect and power where it is due only strengthens your opponent for the next round.

To be honest, he has completely failed my test.  Waiving the rules is something he should have done months ago.  And now he is essentially saying. “Don’t look at me, it’s all in the DNC’s hands.”  Not so fast, Barack.  We know how the DNC has been stacking the deck for you.  Donna Brazile has allbut threatened to take her dishes and go home if the Superdelegates do their jobs and nominate the more electable candidate.  You can *try* to pin it on the DNC but that’s just a cowardly way out.

So, now he is no leader, not confident and a coward.  Great!  Just great.  And this will be our leader of the free world after George W. Bush relinquishes his throne.

Not. Bloody.  Likely.

Saturday: Follow-ups

You know, I haven’t been to North Carolina for years. I’ll bet spring is really pretty there. Hmmm, Brook has been saying for some time now that she would like to visit Williamsburg in VA and that’s really close to NC and, heck, I haven’t been to Kitty Hawk since I was 5 years old when my Dad took us to see the Wright Bros. Monument. And the BFF went to school in NC. So many good reasons to visit.

Anyway, I like to look forward, not back. There’s not a lot you can do about the past. You can’t unsay things you regret later. You can only learn from your mistakes and move on. With that in mind, here are a couple of posts from around the blogosphere that reflect on things better left unsaid:

  • Jerome Armstrong has another memo from the other side, this one from an Obama delegate in PA who recaps the fatal mistakes that lead to Obama’s humiliating loss in PA (did I do it right, MABlue?). This one is a doozy. Some of the dumbass things include going to San Francisco and dissing small town voters, debating very poorly and not passing around “street money” in Philly. As to that last one, I know for sure they did it in NJ, but either Obama is watching his spendthrift ways lately or he just takes his African-American constituency for granted (I think it’s a little of both) but he didn’t pass out enough cash to ward leaders and volunteers. Now, I have to pause for a second and say that as far as I know, Clinton’s campaign doesn’t do that. For one thing, the money is very carefully budgeted and there is no waste. I’ve never been offered cash for volunteering and I don’t know of other volunteers who have been offered it either. Yeah, we Clinton supporters are in it for the fame and glory. But seriously, how sad is it that you have to pay your volunteers to GOTV? Shouldn’t they *want* to do this for altruistic reasons, like, maybe they believe in the candidate? But I think the more egregious thing about the street money issue with Obama is the campaign was aware of this custom in Philly and chose to spend its money instead on $11 Million in advertising. As the delegate alludes to in his memo, the Obama PR operation gets paid per ad in a way so that there is an incentive to produce more ads and consequently more money for the PR firm. It’s a racket. There’s probably a cost-benefit analysis somewhere that shows how many ads deliver the greatest punch. Obama’s campaign exceeded this number many times over. And his campaign contributions went to pay the PR firm instead of going into the hands of the volunteers who would have flushed out the voters on primary day. I don’t know about you but the overall sense of the campaign just looks like a racket to make money for some very enterprising individuals connected to David Axelrod. And everyone thought Mark Penn was bad. He might be a loathsome person but at least he knew how to win the big states for Clinton.
  • In Metaphor? No, Murder, Anglachel recaps what she wrote previously about Keith Olbermann’s room scenario. She’s got a point in that Keith’s frustration with Hillary’s tenacity is starting to make him indiscreet and he’s blurting out what he’s really thinking. But Anglachel and I know that while Keith is unlikely to act on that frustration, there will be some listeners who think it’s a great idea. I think Hillary has pretty good secret service protection. I have a feeling their monitoring tools are much more sophisticated than we think. But that’s not to say that someone won’t flip out and try something. She’s not a large woman. And who’s to say that this comment won’t encourage men to let down their guard in everyday situations? This genie is out of the bottle. Keith can’t unsay it and I doubt that any of us can influence the network to take these things seriously. But Obama and other party leaders should step up to the mic and say enough is enough. It’s getting dangerous for women in the public forum when stuff like this goes unchecked.

I have an idea that I hope a couple enterprising readers will take me up on. I’d like to read “on the ground” reports from North Carolina and Indiana so we can live vicariously. Are there any Conflucians that are volunteering for those two states who would be interested in contributing a post or two? Let us know in the comments and make sure your email is the one you actually use to get email so we can contact you. (no, we will not broadcast your address to the world)

Friday: Happy Birthday, Katiebird!

Today is Kbird’s 20+ some_multiple birthday. Let’s give a round of applause to a wonderfully subversive blogger who has reached that magical age where she is now a threat to the dominant paradigm.

In the meantime, Anglachel comments on Paul Krugman’s latest column on why it is that Obama has “Every freakin’ advantage a candidate could hope for and the guy cannot win”. It takes me back to a post that Lambert made several months ago that was noted by Paul Krugman (I think we can all see that Paul Krugman is at the heart of this conspiracy now. And I live only 9 miles from Princeton. Coincidence? Cue the Theremin music.)

But seriously, as long as Obama remains a soft and amorphous candidate, some people are going to find him appealing as a Tofu Candidate. You can pour any sauce you like on him and he will take on that flavor. But pin him down and mold him into a real Democrat and poof!, he’s just another ground beef patty. There goes all of his appeal as a transformative figure. I think that’s what is about to happen. Voters are going to start asking him some hard questions and he’s going to have to declare and when THAT happens, he’s not going to be so cool with some constituency.

Well, whatever works.

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Wednesday: Good Morning Starshine!

Hillary wins PA by 10! While the citizens of the Big Orange Cheeto and other places wander amid the wreckage with glassy eyes, clutching their keyboards and moaning incoherently, the rest of us have a lot to look forward to. Well, we tried to warn them but would they listen? Noooo. Now, they’re either going to have to walk it back to look credible or lose even more marbles in their crazy pursuit of ad revenue. Well, that won’t last long.

In other news:

  • The New York Times has all the bloody details and a couple of cool maps showing where she won in PA (see the frontpage). Harrisburg went Obama as expected, but surrounding counties went Clinton. It was definitely worth the effort.
  • Anglachel sums up the PA primary and the state of the race in a series of posts: Exit Poll Data looks at her support and what it means for Obama (it’s not good), Deal spells it out so that even the Cheeto people can understand it, while Frugality marvels at Obama’s spendthrift ways. Hillary was a miser by comparison. From Deal, she explains what is going to bring us all down in November if we go forward with a weak candidate who can’t close the deal and is afraid to take care of some unfinished business:

    I’ve talked extensively about the stupidity, the sheer political suicide of refusing to seat Florida and Michigan. I’ve also talked about what the refusal to revote actually says about Obama’s own calculation – he knows he’s a loser and he’s afraid to face the voters. The Blogger Boyz want to yammer on about rulz and delegates and margins and popular votes and how Obama is such a precious beacon of hope and change…. From a strategic point of view, you don’t want a candidate who gets a nomination by disenfranchising his opponent’s voters because they can take their revenge in the general by voting for the other guy, or just not voting at all. It’s in Obama’s hands to restore legitimacy to this nomination by taking his chances with all the voters.

    Well, who ever expected the Big Boyz to make sense?

  • CNN Political Ticker comments on the NYTimes editorial slamming Clinton’s negativity. Apparently, while we political junkies weren’t looking, she attacked him relentlessly. And by that they mean, she ruthlessly appealed to Pennsylvanians and beat him in debate with her viciously flawless performance. Not only that, but did you see her on Oblermann the other night going on and on about stuff she would do about gas prices and Iran? Does the woman know no shame? Displaying superior abilities to lead is just mean. Honestly, I have no idea what the Times is referring to. The editorial almost reads like a parody. Can anyone please explain this to me?  (Update: Apparently, it has something to do with her ad and the Iran statement about how we would totally obliterate them if they tried to launch nukes at Israel.  That’s not negative.  That’s how we operated for some 40 years during the cold war with the Soviet Union.  I think it was called nuclear deterrence or detente of something like that.  Sort of like holding a gun to each other’s heads and saying, “You go first”.  Has the NYTimes forgotten history?  And what is so bad exactly about including images of the depression, bin Laden and Katrina in an ad?  Are we really going to have Care Bears and Rainbows of Hope if Obama is president?  This editorial has to be one of the most bizarre I’ve ever read.  And wouldn’t you know, they stopped taking comments.  Chickens.)
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