US Election 2012: Election Nerds Unite!

So tonight’s the night that hundreds of political hacks, opinion makers and general election nerds all over the world, stay up or get up early to see what happens in an election that they have no influence over, but arguable has the most effect on them outside of their own national elections, the US Presidential Election. So whats the story?

Well if you haven’t taken a nap, I hope you have tomorrow off because it will be a long night. The first polls begin to close at 2300 GMT in Kentucky and Indiana and the last poll closes at 0500 GMT (Wed) in Alaska.

But these arent the important ones. The battle ground states polls close as follows:

  • Virgina 0000 GMT
  • North Carolina 0030 GMT
  • Ohio 0030 GMT
  • Florida 0100 GMT
  • New Hampshire 0100 GMT
  • Pennsylvania 0100 GMT
  • Colorado 0200 GMT
  • Wisconsin 0200 GMT
  • Iowa 0300 GMT
  • Nevada 0300 GMT

Each state should be called based on exit polls and early results soon after.  So we should have an idea who will win between 0300 and 0500, as I said it will be a long night.

Is it just about Obama, Romney, the popular vote and the electoral college (there is a lot written about those elsewhere so I wont bother). Well it mainly is but there is plenty else going on 11 State Governors, 33 Senate Seats and all of the 435 seats in House of Representatives.

Some interesting races here to watch including can Scott Brown hold his Senate seat from Democrat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. Will Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana two Republicans who made bad statements on rape manage to get elected? Will Tammy Baldwin a Democrat in Wisconsin become the first open Lesbian in the Senate? Connecticut too has an interesting race with Linda McMahon (yes her from the wrestling) trying to win a seat and has spent a lot of her own money. It is highly unlikely that the Republicans will gain control of the senate, but will Democrats increase their control? Also will Maine elect independent candidate and former Governor Angus King?

In the House it is expected that the Republicans will retain control, but will Michelle Bachmann retain her seat in the Minnesota 6th? The Californian 30th, 31st and 44th  are also interesting thanks to redistricting and Open Primaries. The 30th sees two incumbent Democrats, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman battle it out. The 31st sees Republican Incumbent Gary Miller take on a Republican challenger Bob Dutton. While the 44th again sees two Democratic Incumbents Laura Richardson and Janice Hahn fight for a seat

In terms of ballot measures, four states are voting on Marriage Equality. Maine, Maryland and Washington are voting to allow Marriage Equality while Minnesota is voting on the definition of  Marriage (between a Man and a Woman).  Arkansas is voting on Medical Marijuana and Colorado, Oregan and Washington is voting on legalising it, while Montana is voting on banning Medical Marijuana. California is voting to ban the Death Penalty and to Increase Taxes to pay for education. Florida is voting to Limit Obamacare (as is Montana and Wyoming) and also on limiting public funds to abortion.

A long but interesting night ahead, and one which will show how Americans are moving on some interesting questions. Enjoy fellow elections nerds!

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Republican Nomination Race – February will be boring?

SARASOTA, FL - JANUARY 24: Lynn Coffin holds b...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

After the exciting initial contests in Iowa (Santorum), New Hampshire (Romney), South Carolina (Gingrich) and Florida (Romeny) which were at first wide open contests, February Republican Primarys will not be as exciting and the winner is nearly known before hand. While this may lead to some upsets, it is doubtful that any will occur.

Today’s Nevada Caucus is a perfect example. With results due from about 1am Irish time. Mitt Romney is expected to win by a 20 point margin, the only interesting thing will be what proportion of Nevada’s 28 delegates he will get and who will be runner up. A second place finish for Ron Paul could be a lift for his campaign.

The rest of the states voting this month also favour Romney as he carried them in his attempt at the Republican nomination in 2008.  Romney is could win a narrow victory in Maine’s week long caucus which began on Friday ends on February 11th. 24 delegates are up for grabs in the Pine Tree State.

On Tuesday, Colorado and Minnesota have their caucuses. In Colorado things are a bit tighter for Romney who is under pressure from Newt Gingrich here. Romney won this state in 2008 but in the polls before Christmas he was trailing behind Gingrich, but fortunes may have changed since them and the majority of Centennial State’s 36 delegates could go to Romney.

Meanwhile in Minnesota where in 2008 Romney won, he is under pressure from Gingrich majorly. In a poll last month for PPP Ginrich has an 18 point lead, but can he maintain it?  40 delegates are at stake in the North Star State.

On the 28th it gets a bit more interesting with Primaries in Arizona and Michigan. Romney only carried Michigan in 2008 as Arizona went for its own John McCain. He has a 10 point lead according  to an average of polls on RealClearPolitics in Michigan and has a good shot at a good portion of its 30 delegates.

Meanwhile in Arizona the last Rasmussen Report poll had Romeny with a 24 point lead over Gingrich. Arizona is a winner takes all primary with 29 delegates up for grabs and will be an important state for momentum as it takes place 7 days before Super Tuesday.

So with Mitt Romney ahead in most of the states voting this month it could be a tad boring unless there is a major upset, but it does give us plenty of time to look forward to Super Tuesday on March 6th when Georgia (76 Delegates), Ohio (66 Delegates), Virginia (49 delegates), Oklahoma (43 Delegates), Massachusetts (41 Delegates) and Vermont (17 delegates) all going to the polls. Lets see what happens

A Churches Pragmatic Approach

Though I am not a chritian (still not sure what I am) I am always heartened of reports in the press of Churches that a Pro-LGBT. One of those churches is the Episcopal Church in the United States. Two Bishops in California have released guidelines for clergy to allow gay marriages to take place in their church. The marriage itself will not be carried out by a clergy member but by the civil registrar.

The two Bishops, Marc Andrus, Bishop of California, and Mary Gray-Reeves, Bishop of El Camino Real, deserve great applause and appreciation. This comes about due to the May 15th Supremem Court ruling in California. Also there will be a amendment in the fall elections to try and change the constitution to ban gay marriage. Could be an interesting election, its one I will be watching more then the Presidentials, well nearly!

Of course this serves to highlight the growing split in the Anglican Communion in which the Episcopal Church is a member. The Lambeth Conference, which takes place next month could either split the church or heal it. Though gay issues are not on the agenda, the Nigerian Church is not very pleased with the goings on in the US. Expect it to feature a lot, if they get their way!

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Full Story:
US Bishops issue guidelines for gay marriages – Religious Intelligence
Links of interest:
Evangelicals Concerned
Lambeth Conference

How Germany NOT the US Screwed up the invasion of Iraq.

Okay let me clarify a few things first about my position on Iraq etc.

1. I was opposed to the war in Iraq
2. I believe the International Community now have a role in ensuring Iraq does not become a Failed State

okay on with the post. I found this on Speigel Online via Toytown

How German Intelligence Helped Justify the US Invasion of Iraq
By Erich Follath, John Goetz, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark

Five years ago, the US government presented what it said was proof that Iraq harbored biological weapons. The information came from a source developed by German intelligence — and it turned out to be disastrously wrong. But to this day, Germany denies any responsibility.

Full Story

Ah we all remember this now dont we? Well it turns out the source is here in Germany (down south from me) and is still being protected by the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst – German Intelligence agency). Now personally I don’t think this is much of issue if Germany had supported the was, it would just be egg on their face, but NOW they just look hypocritical and that is far worse.

Gerard Schröder, along with Chirac in Paris and Putin in Moscow vehemtly opposed the war in Iraq, but why did the German Chancellor, who’s office is responsible for the BND allow them to give this ‘eveidence’ to the US. Surely it should have been surpressed given his stance on Iraq.

Schröder knew about the information along with the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Joschka Fischer, and Minister for Defence, Peter Struck. (The current Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and the head of the BND, Ernst Uhrlau, also held important poistions under Schröder). If “Serious doubts were expressed” why was not the evidence given a health warning?

Rafed aka Curveball, as he has become known, is still living under BND protection. Despite the fact that he lied to them. He conned the German State, and then the Germans helped Con the US into going into Iraq which Germany OPPOSED!

I think this saga has provided a wakeup call to the intelligence community and more information is needed for states to go to war. Funnily enough this wake-up call hasnt arrived yet in Germany, then again, German soldiers arent under attack in Afghanistan, German public opinion is still against the war, most German people dont know that their government provided the information for the US to invade Iraq. Spiegel might help change that.

The New Threat to America

hehehe, serious blogging will return tomorrow! 😀

Me Not Meth – New Campaign in Ca

MeNotMeth.org
Via gay news blog

California drug officials launched an $11-million barrage of billboards, bus wraps, cable TV ads and a website Thursday aimed at discouraging gay men from using methamphetamine, an illegal stimulant linked to risky sexual behavior and the spread of HIV.

The Website is an excellent resource and the TV ad is very good. I’ve posted about Cystal Meth, or ‘TINA’ or whatever you want to call it, before and again these are worth a look.

Of course the most interesting and horrify part is the stories of people affected of the drug. Please take the time to look at this website

Meth Facts
Methamphetamine is a stimulant that affects the body’s central nervous system. Commonly known as “crystal,” “speed,” “meth,” or “Tina”, methamphetamine is an off-white, odorless crystalline powder that tastes bitter and easily dissolves in water. Methamphetamine may be smoked, snorted, injected or swallowed.

Meth FAQ
What are the short-term effects of methamphetamine use?
Methamphetamine increases energy and suppresses appetite. It slows digestion and increases alertness and concentration. The effects last from 6 to 12 hours or more. Depending on how much or how long one uses, one can become easily agitated, which can sometimes lead to violent behavior. Methamphetamine, like cocaine, strongly activates the reward and pleasure systems of the brain, particularly three important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. As a result, methamphetamine elevates mood, induces euphoria, increases alertness, reduces fatigue, increases energy, decreases appetite, increases movement and speech, and/or provides a sense of increased personal power. However, the drug eventually “hijacks” this reward and pleasure system. Methamphetamine increases blood pressure, heart rate and sweating, and causes anxiety, irritability, insomnia, paranoia, and sometimes even psychosis. Once the high wears off, mental and physical exhaustion set in, often with a deep depression that sometimes includes thoughts of suicide.

What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine use?
Methamphetamine causes long lasting changes in brain chemistry, particularly in the pleasure systems of the brain. These changes impact abilities such as memory, judgment, and reasoning. Other long-term effects include extreme cravings for the drug and dreams of use. These brain changes do not disappear quickly after you stop using methamphetamine and are important factors leading to relapse. However, these conditions improve with extended discontinued use of the drug through treatment. The sooner a user gets into treatment, the better, and the longer a user stays in treatment, the greater the chances that treatment will be effective.

What are some physical signs that someone is using methamphetamine?
Common signs that someone is using methamphetamine include teeth grinding, obsessive picking of the face or body, hallucinations (in what one sees and hears), euphoria, extreme energy, inability to sleep for days, dramatic weight loss, paranoia and violent behavior.

Is it possible to overdose from methamphetamine?
Yes, one can experience overdose from methamphetamine use. Death from a methamphetamine overdose is associated with kidney failure and collapse of the circulatory system. A large percentage of patients who die usually have symptoms of coma, shock, inability to urinate, and muscle twitching.

In addition, methamphetamine use can cause an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and vascular constriction. These symptoms may cause heart problems, stroke, and kidney failure.

How is methamphetamine produced?
The process for making methamphetamine is potentially explosive and produces toxic byproducts. The main ingredients used in the process are ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are chemicals found in common cold and allergy medicines. Methamphetamine is manufactured using toxic chemicals such as lithium from batteries, bleach and drain cleaner, paint thinner, lye, red phosphorous and iodine crystals.

What can one expect when coming down or withdrawing from methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine withdrawal, or “crashing,” symptoms can last from days to weeks and involve loss of energy, depression, fearfulness, prolonged sleep or difficulty sleeping, shaking, nausea, sweating, hyperventilation, increased appetite, irritability and drug craving.

Why is there an association between methamphetamine and HIV?
The association between methamphetamine and HIV transmission is related to 1) the tendency of users to engage in unprotected and uninhibited sex while under the influence of methamphetamine among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (G/B/MSM) and 2) the risks associated with injection drug use for those who inject methamphetamine.

In terms of sexual transmission, many G/B/MSM who are methamphetamine users may not use condoms and may have sex with many different partners while experiencing the effects of the drug. Sexual activity on methamphetamine can be rougher and can last longer. This increases the likelihood that a condom breaks or a sexual partner experiences injury during intercourse, which in turn increases the risk of HIV infection.

Another contributing factor is that G/B/MSM who use methamphetamine have a higher rate of HIV prevalence than those who do not use methamphetamine. Different studies have found that gay men who use methamphetamine are two to four times more likely to be infected with HIV. For those infected with HIV, methamphetamine use can lead to a lapse in HIV medication regimens, weight loss and vitamin depletion. Use also decreases the sleep essential to maintaining the immune system and causes a drop in T cells and NK cells.

Super Tuesday: New Mexico still a tie….

Well its coming down to a wisker in New Mexico. At the moment tallies from the reporting precincts have Clinton on 49% of the vote and Obama and 48%. Its been neck and neck there since yesterday and neither candidate can pull ahead. New Mexico has 26 delegates for convention and think it will play out like this across the US. Clinton and Obama will trade wins and states whos delegates dont cont cause they broke party rules (Michigan and Florida) might come into play to break the deadlock who knows!

Over all Obama has won the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Conn., Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minneasota, Missouiri, North Dakota and Utah.

Clinton on the other hand won in the following states, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Mass., New Jersey and New York. I think Mike Gavel will drop out of the Democratic race soon enough (bet ye for got he was running!)

Though Obama won in Alabama, Clinton will have more delegates from Alabama then Obama as she won more precincts. Delegate estimates (emphasis on estimates!) have Clinton on 823 and Obama on 741. It is estimated that 2,025 delegates are needed to win.

For the Republicans, McCain i think has it. It has swept up California, New York and Illinois all delegate rich states. Huckabee was the surprise of the day winning in five states and Romney won 7 states. I think Romney really need to go away and think if he should continue.

McCain won in the states of Ariyzona, California, Conn., Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New York, New Jersey and Oklahoma. Romeny won in Alaska, Colorado, Mass., Minneasota, Montana, North Dakota and Utah. Huackabee won in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virgina.

The Republican Delegate estimates look like this, bear in mind most republican states have a winner takes all situation for delegates unlike the proportional system used by the democrats. McCain has 680, Romney has 270, Huckabee has 176 and Ron Paul has 16. It is estimated that you need the support of 1,191 delegates to win the nomination.

Thats it for now. Hopeful will blog about Lisbon and Germany tonight. Unless something unexpected happens in New Mexico!

Super Tuesday: More full results 6pm CET

A big gap between the last post and this one and only 2 extra states have 100% of precints reporting. I reliase that Eastern Time US is six hours behind me!

Here we go

Connecticut
Dems: Obama wins here with 51% of the vote giving him 26 delegates. Clinton gains 22delegetes on 47% of the vote.

Reps: McCain easily wins this primary on 52% of the vote. Romney is in second on 33% while Huckabee is a distant third with 7% of the vote.

Massachusetts´
Dems: Both sitting Senators (Sens. Kennedy and Kerry) in Massachusetts have endorsed Obama, and gues who won? Clinton! Clinton gained 56% of the vote complared to Obamas 41%. This gives Clinton 54 delegates and Obama 37.

Reps: This is the state that Romney used to be Govener of. He won here by a margin of 10% over McCain. Romney got 51% of the vote.

So of the states fully declared for the Democrats Obama has won: Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota and Connecticut. Clinton has won: Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Tennessee. With 13 states still not 100% reporting, including delegate rich states like California and New York, delegate numbers wont be known till tomorrow Id say.

For the republicans, its all about McCain. He is definatley the front runner in this fight. He won Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma and Connecticut. he is also the projected winner in California and New York. Romney has to go away and think about things. He won in Montana, North Dakota and Massachusetts. Huckabee in the big surprise of the night has won in two states that are 100% reporting including Tennessee and West Virgina. I think the GOP ticket is farily certain now. Im predicting a McCain/Huckabee ticket for the Republican Party Nomination. I am notourisly bad at predictions especially Eurovision, but as my last prediction was Guiliani (who since dropped out) I have had to change!

Super Tuesday: States with final Results 10am CET

Heres a rundown of full results as at 10am CET

Deleware
Dems: Obama wins here with 53% of the vote leaving Clinton behind on 43%. In the important delegate race, Obama gets 9 to Clintons

Reps: McCain wins here with 45% of the vote giving him 18 delegates. Romney comes second with a 33% of the vote and Huckabee comes third with 15%. The important threshold for delegates in 15%.

Idaho
Dems: Obama streaks ahead here and wins with 79% of the caucus goers supporting him. Thet gives him 15 delegates to Cintons 3 (And 17% of the vote!)

Kansas
Dmes: Another cuacus victory for Obama this time giving him 74% of the vote and 23 delegates. Clinton has 26% of the vote and 9 delegates.

Missouri
Dems: the smallest of margins sperates the democratic contenders in this state. Obama and Clinton have evenly split the delegates between. In the actual vote Obama won by 1% leading Clinton 49% to 48%.

Reps: McCain did a similar feat here. He beat Huckabee by 1% and Romney by 4%! The results were McCain 33%, Huckabee 32%, Romney, 29%. Is Huckabee making himself the prosective VP candidate?

Monatana
Reps: Caucus goers here preffered Romney with 38% supporting him. McCain (22%) and Huckabee (15%) were pushed to third and fourth respectively as Ron Paul came second with 25% of the support.

North Dakota
Dems: Again caucus goers supported Obama giving him 61% of the vote and 8 delegates. Meanwhile Clinton got 31% and 5 delegates.

Reps: Here caucus goers again supported Romney giving him 36% of the vote. McCain came second with 23%, Ron Paul third with 21% just pushing Huckabee into fourth on 20%.

Oklahoma
Dems: Here Clinton wins by a margin of 14%! She gets 55% of the vote getting 24 of all those important delegates. Obama gets 31% and gets 14 delegates.

Reps: McCain beats Huckabee to win this state with 17% of the vote to Huckabees 33%. Romeny comes third with 25% of the vote. McCain gets 32 delegates to Huckabess 6.

Tennessee
Dems: Clinton wins here on 54% of the vote compared with Obama’s 41%. This leaves her with 34 delegates and Obama with 21.

Reps: Huckabee here beats McCain to win 34% of the vote and 12 Delegates. McCain gets 32% and 7 delegates. Romney comes third with 24% and 3 delegates.

West Virginia
Reps: One of the tighest caucus results I’ve seen. Huckabee edges out Romney by 5%. He has the support of 52% of state delegates compared to Romney’s 47%. McCain got 1% of the vote!

Will put up further results when I get them.

Super Tuesday: Results so far. 9am CET

These are the results I have at hand from CNN at 9am CET. With 24 states holding contests its a biggie. Especially with delegate rich states as California and New York being the big ones. All percentage figures are of Precints Reporting results unless otherwise stated.

Alabama
Dem Primary: Obama (99% precincts reporting)
Rep Primary: Huckabee (99% precincts reporting)

Alaska
Dem Caucus: Obama (98%)
Rep Caucus: Romney (90%)

Arizona
Dem Primary: Clinton (82%)
Rep Primary: McCain (81%)

Arkansas
Dem Primary: Clinton (87%)
Rep Primary: McCain (87%)

California
Dem Primary: Clinton (48%)
Rep Primary: McCain (47%)

Colorado
Dem Caucus: Obama (99%)
Rep Caucus: Romney (95%)

Connecticut
Dem Primary: Obama (99%)
Rep Primary: McCain (99%)

Delaware
Dem Primary: Obama (100%)
Rep Primary: McCain (100%)

Georgia
Dem Primary: Obama (99%)
Rep Primary: Huckabee (98%)

Idaho
Dem Caucus: Obama (97%)
Rep Rimary on May 27th

Illinois
Dem Primary: Obama (97%)
Rep Primary: McCain (97%)

Kansas
Dem Caucus: Obama (100%)
Rep Caucus on February 9th

Massachusetts
Dem Primary: Clinton (97%)
Rep Primary: Romney (96%)

Minneasota
Dem Caucus: Obama (81%)
Rep Caucus: Romney (82%)

Missouri
Dem Primary: Obama (100%)
Rep Primary: McCain (100%)

Montana
Rep Caucus: Romney (100%)
Dem Primary on June 3rd

New Jersey
Dem Primary: Clinton (99%)
Rep Primary: McCain (99%)

New Mexico
Dem Primary: With 54% of precints reporting Clinton is 2% ahead of Obama. Its far from over here. Its too close to call
Rep Primary on June 3rd

New York
Dem Primary: Clinton (99%)
Rep Primary: McCain (99%)

North Dakota
Dem Caucus: Obama (100%)
Rep Caucus: Romney (100%)

Oklahoma
Dem Primary: Clinton (100%)
Rep Primary: McCain (100%)

Tennessee
Dem Primary: Clinton (100%)
Rep Primary: Huckabee (100%)

Utah
Dem Primary: Obama (99%)
Rep Primary: Romney (99%)

West Virginia
Rep Caucus: Huckabee (100%)
Dem Primary on May 13th

McCain is now definatley the frontrunner for the GOP nomination and Clinton and Obama are still neck and neck. Its still all to play for.

Up Next Feb 9th
Kansas caucuses (Rep Only)
Louisiana primaries
Nebraska caucuses (Dem Only)
Washington caucuses