Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quick And Dirty (Or Not)

Just a few news items and other things of interest:

  • More bad news from a Nobel Economics laureate. I wonder, though, if Thomas Sowell has a point here (he usually does).
  • My take on bailing out the Big Three automakers? Too bad, so sad. You had your chances to change and you blew it. Apparently, Mitt Romney and Gary Becker agree.
  • Want a good explanation of the roots of the Great Depression? Click here. Want to get it pretty much all wrong? Click here.
  • My take on Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State? Bad move, Mr. President-Elect. You will live to regret this one. Let's hope she won't make it through the Senate. Apparently, Christopher Hitchens agrees.
  • I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that this is the civil rights issue of my generation.
  • I am not sure what to make of psychology sometimes. On one hand, psychological research occasionally produces interesting conclusions based on good research. On the other, psychologists say stuff like this that make me think it is a pseudoscience.

Enjoy and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Eternal Gratitude

I would like to extend my sincerest, heartfelt thanks to all of you who have sent your kind thoughts and words to me and my family in this tough time.

I am still trying to come to terms with all of this. Something tells me that I never really will.

COTL will return to its regularly scheduled whining about (fill in the blank) next week. Do expect, however, that I will reflect a lot on my mom and what she meant to me and my family. I am not sure I have the words, but I sure will try. My mom always liked reading things that I wrote, and I will contiune on with all of that.

In closing, it is interesting what helps you through grief and sadness. It can be the kind words of friends, a song or the comforting feeling of familiar things. For me, this song has been much in my mind as of late. Click here to listen.

Thanks for your continued support. Goodness knows I need it right now.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Live Blog? D.O.A., I'm Afraid.

I know, I know, I know.

I know what I said I would do. There is no need to remind me (why do people feel the need to do this, anyway)?

Yes, folks, there was no live blogging here on election night. Allow me to explain...

My reasons are twofold: practical/logistical and, well, something less practical or logistical.

Practical and logistical problems first. I shuttled between two locales on election night and was caught up in the public transit system for about a half an hour. This half an hour was at a crucial juncture in the evening, when the returns were coming in and (as it turns out) the election was being decided. I also, through no fault of my gracious hosts, didn't have access to the requisite technology to make it happen.

Other problems second. The unfolding of events on election night were, how shall I put this, rather dull. The whole thing was over and done with by around 9:30PM CST. The winner was declared, the victory seemed pretty decisive and (no surprise here) the talking heads kept on talking.

So, Will, how DID you spend the rest of the evening. Here are some sketches:
  • Red AND blue Jell-o shots.
  • Waiting for either Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann to openly weep on air.
  • Listening to a fatter guy than myself (oh, they exist) ramble on about bingo, how cheap his fried chicken dinner was, the bus ride to bingo and how everyone from Texas is insane (I think).
  • Waiting for anyone to openly weep on television and trying to place money on this proposition. For this, I was called an asshole.
  • Missing Dan Rather and his penchant for, well, made-up idioms. I had to settle for Paul Begala saying "lights out, Cub Scout."
  • Hamm's, The Beer Born In The Land Of Sky-Blue Waters...and still represented by Norm Coleman, apparently.
  • Cheering when people DID openly weep on television. For this, I was called a heartless asshole.
  • Conjecturing that the Dow would drop at least 400 points the next day. I was pretty damned close.
  • Evan Williams Bourbon, It's What Clint Eastwood's Sweat Probably Tastes Like.
  • Listening to two of the finest political speeches that I have heard in some time. John McCain - why didn't you talk like this the whole time? It was the reason people (including myself) liked you at some point.
  • Having that feeling that I was all dressed up and had nowhere to go. In other words, I was blue-balled by the news media. Thanks for that, dickweeds.

Well, I did enjoy my evening immensely. For political hacks like myself, it is like four Super Bowls rolled into one.

What reflection on this presidential election that I will do will be short and will be soon so that we may move onto other topics including economics, Studs Terkel, Russia, UW Badgers Football (or lack thereof and others.

I leave you with a thought to ponder and a piece of advice for all of those candidates who won on Tuesday:

The state is not the society.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Shannon Makes The Call: The Presidential Race

Click here for my map of the final electoral vote count.

If you don't want to do that, here is the summary of my prognostications:


Total Electoral Vote Counts (270 Needed To Elect)

Obama/Biden = 338 McCain/Palin = 200


Margin of victory in Ohio = 3%.

UPDATE: Eric Andersson has pointed out that my Electoral College map is identical to that of one of the supreme political operatives, image makers and glorious dirtbags of our time. Who, you ask? Click here to find out.

I am not sure how to take this news.

Shannon Makes The Call: Senate Races

Here are my picks for what I and the aforementioned Andrew "Eric Andersson" Erickson thought were the more competitive/interesting Senate races.

NB: The winner's name appears in capital letters. The incumbent (if there is one) is marked with an "*" The party designations should be self-explanatory, as should the abbreviations for the states.


  • VA: WARNER (D) def. Gilmore (R)
  • NM: T. UDALL (D) def. Pearce (R)
  • AK: BEGICH (D) def. Stevens (R)*
  • CO: M. UDALL (D) def. Schaffer (R)
  • NH: SHAHEEN (D) def. Sununu (R)*
  • NC: HAGAN (D) def. Dole (R)*
  • OR: MERKELEY (D) def. Smith (R)*
  • MN: FRANKEN (D) def. Coleman (R)* and Barkley (I)
  • GA: CHAMBLISS (R)* def. Martin (D)
  • KY: MCCONNELL (R)* def. Lunsford (D)
  • MS: WICKER (R)* def. Musgrove (D)
  • LA: LANDRIEU (D)* def. Kennedy (R)
  • ME: COLLINS (R)* def. Allen (D)
  • TX: CORNYN (R)* def. Noriega (D)
  • NE: JOHANNS (R) def. Kleeb (D)


Margin of victory in GA Senate race = 1.5%

Shannon Makes The Call: House Races

Here are my picks for what myself and an equally astute political hack (hat tip to Andrew "Eric Andersson" Erickson) thought were interesting races in the House.

NB: The winnners' names are capitalized. The incumbent (if there is one) is marked with an "*" The party designation should be self-explanatory. In each case, the state abbreviation is followed by the particular congressional district in question.


  • AL-02: LOVE (R) def. Bright (D)
  • AL-05: GRIFFITH (D) def. Parker (R)
  • AK-AL: BERKOWITZ (D) def. Young (R)*
  • AZ-03: SHADEGG (R)* def. Lord (D)
  • AZ-05: MITCHELL (D)* def. Schweikert (R)
  • AZ-08: GIFFORDS (D)* def. Bee (R)
  • CO-04: MARKEY (D) def. Musgrave (R)*
  • CT-04: HIMES (D) def. Shays (R)*
  • FL-21: MARTINEZ (D) def. L. Diaz-Balart (R)*
  • FL-25: M. DIAZ-BALART (R)* def. Garcia (D)
  • GA-08: MARSHALL (D)* def. Goddard (R)
  • IL-10: SEALS (D) def. Kirk (R)*
  • IN-03: SOUDER (R)* def. Montagano (D)
  • KS-02: BOYDA (D)* def. Jenkins (R)
  • LA-06: CAZAYOUX (D)* def. Cassidy (R)
  • MI-09: PETERS (D) def. Knollenberg (R)*
  • MN-03: MADIA (D) def. Paulsen (R)
  • MN-06: TINKLENBERG (D) def. Bachmann (R)*
  • NV-03: TITUS (D) def. Porter (R)*
  • NJ-03: ADLER (D) def. Meyers (R)
  • NM-01: HEINRICH (D) def. White (R)
  • NM-02: TEAGUE (D) def. Tinsley (R)
  • NY-29: MASSA (D) def. Kuhl (R)*
  • OH-01: DRIEHAUS (D) def. Chabot (R)*
  • WA-08: BURNER (D) def. Reichert (R)*
  • WI-08: KAGEN (D)* def. Gard (R)
  • WY-AL: Lummis (R) def. Trauner (D)


New Dem/GOP split in House = 267/168.

Shannon Makes The Call: Governors

Here are my picks for all of the governor's races to go off tomorrow.

NB: The winner's name is in capital letters. The incumbent (if there is one) is marked with an "*" The party designations should be self-explanatory, as should the abbreviations for the states.

  • DE: MARKELL (D) def. Lee (R)
  • IN: DANIELS (R)* def. Long-Thompson (D)
  • MO: NIXON (D) def. Hulshof (R)
  • MT: SCHWEITZER (D)* def. Brown (R)
  • NH: LYNCH (D)* def. Kenney (R)
  • NC: PERDUE (D) def. McCrory (R)
  • ND: HOEVEN (R)* def. Mathern (D)
  • UT: HUNTSMAN (R)* def. Springmeyer (D)
  • VT: DOUGLAS (R)* def. Symington (D) and Mollina (I)
  • WA: GREGOIRE (D)* def. Rossi (R)
  • WV: MANCHIN (D)* def. Weeks (R)


Margin of victory in NC contest = 2%.