Apr 30, 2016

The Five Stages of Grief

It is time to move on, but so many folks are still having a hard time.

Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the first woman from a major political party to be nominated for President of the Unted States.

And, she's going to win, too.




--Ardent Henry


Apr 1, 2016


I am not quite sure how Senator Sanders is expecting to woo Democratic Superdelegates to his cause when,

  1. He is currently suing the DNC.
  2. He still refuses to kick down any of his large campaign war chest to down ballot dems, and 
  3. He still trails Hillary Clinton by every metric for the nomination.  

And, then there was this.  

"Any stupid, absurd remark made by Donald Drumpf becomes the story of the week," Sanders said. "Maybe, just maybe, we might want to have a serious discussion about the serious issues facing America."

I beg to differ, Senator.  Protecting a woman's right to choose is a pretty fucking serious issue facing America right now.  And, this is not the first time Sanders has maintained a blase attitude towards this issue, or the organizations, and folks, that care about such things. It is fantastic that he has a 100% pro-choice rating, but I do not see him as being the sort of valiant executive that will do everything in his power to protect a woman's right to choose.  I know damn well Hillary Clinton will.

HRC enjoys a pint in Wisconsin

And, Sanders wants more debates, and an apology from Clinton.  Good luck with that, Senator.  

-- Michael David Spitler

Mar 31, 2016

Hey, folks


Do not believe for a second any of the outrage from the anti-choice crowd re Drumpf's statements yesterday. There is nothing the forced birth folks would love to see more than women (especially women of color!) carted off to prison facing murder charges for terminating their pregnancies. Problem is they cannot say that sort of stuff out loud.

Once again we have an instance of Drumpf putting voice to the GOP's deepest darkest desires. The party line for forced birthers is that the woman is a "victim" and the doctor is a murderer. But the only reason they stick to that is because if they didn't they would never get elected, and also because they are cowards and bullies who want to legislate women's reproductive organs, and yet, never have to take any real responsibility for such legislation.

But, hey, Nader-loving, Sanders supportin', Susan Sarandon says not to worry. She, and a horde of other Sanders acolytes, are perfectly willing to vote for Drumpf if Bernie cannot secure the nomination because that will hasten the Revolution.

Sure, Sister.




-- Michael David Spitler


Mar 24, 2016

St Helena

Thanks to my food and wine mentor, Annie Smith, for this.


St Helena contains my favorite winery of all-time, Keenan. It has my favorite Michael Three Star Michelin Star restaurant, Market. And, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. And, the crazy renovated hotel downtown. We will never stay there again. And, the amazing Cabernet Sauvignon fruit that makes some of the best wine in the world. I love its' toy town feel, and Sunshine Grocery. I love how the winemaking legends have lunch at Market (and other places.) I love the art cinema downtown. I love the down home yet sophisticated feel of the locals.


St Helena is so so so special to me and the Wife. This is my pathetic tribute to it.



All my love,


Mar 22, 2016


Alright, all you Berniebros, Bernie folks, and Bernie kids, now is your time. Are you excited? Are you truly feeling the Bern? Because until 19 April when New York state has its' closed Primary, there will be eight Democratic contests, seven of which Senator Sanders should win. In fact, I suggest to you, that the high point of Bernie's bid for the nomination will occur on 5 April when he delivers his speech celebrating his recent wins in Wisconsin and Washington state. That may very well be the absolute high point of Sanders' long career of public service. Plus, the media will be lapping it all up. "Bernie is only two contests behind!" And the knives will come out for Hillary all over again, "Can Bernie do this?" will be furiously whispered all across the cable networks, newspapers, and digital ink of blogs.

"Can Bernie do this?"

Bernie's finest moment of the campaign -- much like what happened with Michigan and the five state Hillary sweep one week later -- will have its' own hangover. That hangover is called New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Those four Hillary wins at the end of April will all but seal the deal, and that is when we will seriously start hearing the media say things like, "... the first woman ever to be nominated by a major party for President of the United States".

Because I hate to break it to you, but, No, Bernie can not do this. Look at the math. After Bernie's Magical Mystery Tour through the West, where he wins Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Wyoming, and Wisconsin, I have him cutting into Secretary Clinton's lead by forty-five delegates. That means there will be another eight contests run off the clock and Clinton will still have a commanding lead of two hundred and seventy-five pledged delegates with only twenty states to go.

In order just to reach a virtual tie -- and I certainly do not think that Clnton's super delegates would switch to Bernie if he was only on even terms with her in pledged delegates -- Bernie would have to average +14 pledged delegates for every single one of the last twenty contests. And we all know he is not going to win all twenty contests, which means he needs a lot of big state Bernie blowouts.

Say what you will about Hillary's sweep through the South, or the Michigan debacle (she lost by two points), or her "uninspiring speeches", or how she should "smile more", but the fact remains that even if Hillary does not win a big state -- and she has won just about every big state contested so far -- she at least keeps it close enough that Bernie cannot make any serious headway.

That is why I do not buy in to any of this "Hillary is underachieving" boojwah. Hillary Clinton leads in contests won, the popular primary vote (by two million votes) and the pledged delegate count. Hate to get all Drumpf on you, but that is what winning the nomination looks like.

Creating hashtags and crushing it on Twitter does not necessarily win you elections.


I am 47-6 picking primary contests so far. That works out to 89%. I am not going to reach my goal of 95%. My new goal is ninety percent. I have been wrong on Missouri for both parties, Oklahoma for both parties, Maine for the GOP, and Michigan for the Dems. I am picking Arizona for Clinton, and Idaho, Utah, Washington state, Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, and Wisconsin for Senator Sanders. (I am at liberty to change my Wisconsin pick as we get closer to it. I still think Clinton has a shot at eking out a narrow victory there.)

As for the upcoming GOP contests, I have Drumpf winning Arizona and Cruz winning Utah. I am not ready to pick the Wisconsin GOP Primary yet.

Love you all,

Mar 15, 2016

Could She Have Had A Worse Week?

Michigan should not have been the nightmare it was for Madam Secretary. Despite being one of the biggest Primary upsets in decades -- Nate Silver likes to point to 1984 New Hampshire where Hart beat Mondale after being seventeen points down in the polls (Mondale still won the nomination) -- Senator Sanders actually only beat HRC by one percentage point, and on balance lost ground in the delegate count due to him getting thrashed in Mississippi.

But then Sanders had a great debate against Clinton in Miami, and Ms Clinton quickly seemed to come undone, saying insanely idiotic things about the death penalty, and the Reagans and AIDS.
Clinton had clearly started to take this election for granted. And, I suppose, I, and other folks had, too.

You know, whatever, I, or the media, do regarding handicapping this race, really has very little impact compared to what Clinton does to actually winning the nomination.

She should have handled the Michigan set back much better than she did. HRC is rattled right now, and she has to get to work to actually sealing this deal before Sanders starts to actually believe he can win this thing. She still has a significant lead, and there really is no need to panic. She is going to say more stupid things, there will be more unforced errors, but Sanders is going to fluff his lines, as well. Sanders can not win every news cycle until the Convention.

So is Michigan an outlier? Or is it a storm warning for the feel the bern tsunami revolution headed our way? I am betting on the former, and, however it turns out ultimately, I can guarantee that it will be another very long night with three very tight races.

North Carolina will call for Clinton round about 4:45 PDT, and Florida for Clinton, too, about a half hour after that. That will establish what Sanders must overcome the rest of the night. I figure that to be about fifty delegates. Even if Sanders were to win all three remaining states, once again, on balance, he would end up further behind Clinton than he is right now.

But if Sanders sweeps Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri tonght, no one is going to be talking about delegate counts much, except to point out that the rest of the month looks very good for Bernie, and he can finally start to chip away at that lead. It would be like Michigan all over again, everyone waiting breathlessly for HRC's next gaffe. The Vermont Catamounts take down Syracuse again.

I am 38-4 picking these contests. I got Oklahoma wrong for both parties, Maine wrong for the GOP, and Michigan wrong for the Democrats. That works out to a ninety percent average, and I take this little game very seriously. Primaries are much harder to predict than a General, and my personal goal is to get up to around ninety-five percent when this is all over. But it sucks because I make no bones about having a horse in this race, and my friends can be real dicks, pointing to the Jumbotron and shouting, "Scoreboard!" Folks that barely follow politics, or newcomers, or people that would rather be mean. I gotta let those folks be, and pay them no never mind.

This is how I see the results: Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, and Ohio for Clinton. Missouri for Sanders. Clinton should take 55% of tonight's pledged delegates, increasing her lead by sixty-five.

For the GOP I have Trump winning Florida, North Carolina, and Illinois. Cruz will win Missouri, and Kasich will win Ohio. Rubio will suspend his campaign later this week.

I love you all,

Mar 4, 2016

Jim Webb is Bucking to be Drumpf's Veep

Ugh! I have been telling you guys about Spy Magazine and the "short-fingered vulgarian" for months now. John Oliver does a segment, and now you folks all wake up. Anyroad,

The biggest winner on Super Tuesday was Hillary Clinton. The second biggest winner was Trump. It was almost insidious his performance a few days ago. He won a bunch of states, but he did not win them all. Tailgunner won two, and little Rubitron won his first state (Minnesota), too.

Trump needs folks to stay in this thing, so his not sweeping all the states actually works to his favor. And Trump needs to keep winning states with just one-third of the Primary vote, and with the other clowns thinking they are still in this thing, and finally attacking Trump, and not each other, it looks to still be too late. Get ready for the coronation. Hey, these asshat GOP guys are not too bright.

I did not watch the shitshow last night, but I am aware that Fox hates Trump and Rubio now. Trump apparently looked flustered. Folks waved for the cameras behind the moderators last night! Just like a football game! Florida is currently being bombarded with anti-Trump ads. Rubio hates Democrats for talking about folks being poisoned in Michigan, and nobody really cares what Mittens thinks anymore.

Will the anti-Trump campaign and "strategic voting" derail Drumpf. I don't see it.

There are nine contests for the GOP over the next five days. I have Trump winning Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, and Mississippi. I have Cruz winning Kansas, and Rubitron winning Puerto Rico. I have no idea who will win Idaho and Hawaii. (Maybe Cruz and Rubitron, respectively?)

The Drumpf Dirigible floats on.






March Madness: Predictions For the Next Six Democratic Contests


That is what it looked like in 2005 when the Vermont Catamounts stunned Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA Tourney. And, that is essentially the kind of thing that feelthebern is trying to do now, eleven years later,

Can Bernie Sanders fit in to Cinderella's slipper, and win it all at the Big Dance?

It has been a wonderful run, and there is no reason for him to give up now, but the math is not adding up, and Midnight is drawing near.

The feelthebern kids are trotting out the delegate counts, excluding the Super Delegates -- which they should -- saying, "Only two-hundred down! Lots of big states coming up!"

What they fail to mention is how delegates are awarded proportionally in the Primary contests. And that the math looks especially tough for the cause in those big states in March.

Take a look at the 2016 Primary Forecasts at Nate Silver's 538. (Or, maybe not if you are a dreaming about a revolution.)

Michigan, 8 March: HRC a greater than 99% chance to win.
Florida, 15 March: HRC a greater than 99% chance to win.
Illinois, 15 March: HRC a 98% chance to win.
Ohio, 15 March: HRC an 87% chance to win.

What those numbers mean are that not only is Madam Secretary likely to win all four of those delegate rich states, but that she is polling to win those states by very large margins, which will reflect in the proportional allotment of delegates.

Bernie is going to win some states this month, too. But, for Sanders to realistically have a shot at this thing, the numbers above would have to be completely flipped. He would have to have a 99% chance to win Michigan, Florida, and Illinois; an 87% chance to win Ohio. Because he is down by 200 delegates, and he has to make that deficit up quickly. He can not do that by plucking off Maine, Nebraska, and Kansas, crossing his fingers and counting on New York, California, Oregon, and Washington state. California does not vote until June! This will all be wrapped up by then.

I do not want Bernie to drop out. I want him out there as long as he is willing, and he has money. I would like to see him start sharing some of that money with the DNC for down ballot races, like Hillary has been doing all along; and I'd like to see his supporters start donating to down ballot Democrats, as well. But this nomination contest is essentially over, and on March 16 Bernie and his supporters are going to have to start planning their endgame. Midnight is drawing near.

As for the next six contests: Bernie will win Kansas, Nebraska, and Maine. Ninety-seven delegates are up for grabs there. Hillary will win Louisiana, Michigan, and Mississippi. Hillary's states have 247 delegates in play. For all six contests I have Clinton claiming 55% of the delegates, extending her 200 delegate lead by about thirty, or so.





Go Catamounts!





Ardent Henry


Feb 28, 2016

Democratic Predictions for Super Tuesday, Part III, the "SEC"

Before I start with my predictions for the "SEC" region of Super Tuesday, I would like to point out a couple of things to the feelthebern folks: Please please please stop touting hypothetical one v one match ups for the general election. Those polls do not mean a gosh darn thing right now. Plus, the GOP and their Super PAC legions have yet to spend one dollar on negative ads against Senator Sanders. In fact the GOP and their Super PACs have only spent money running negative ads in the Primaries against Madame Secretary. (Yeh, and she is still beating Bernie. Impressive.)

Second, there was a lot of whinging yesterday from the feelthebern crowd about, "Well, she won South Carolina. Big deal, it won't vote Democratic in the general." So, those Democrats in red states do not count? Seriously? And, that attitude does nothing so more as show your naïveté re elections. That is exactly how you win nominations! Dems have to win Red State Primaries, and Reublicans have to win Blue State Primaries. In fact, that is one of the litmus tests for selecting a nominee, and producing someone who can win the General.

Anyway, the "SEC" is the best region for Hillary on Super Tuesday. This will be a Red State rout for Ms Clinton, and she will win every single one of these states on March 1. And, by big big margins, too.

The states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia. Senator Sanders best chance for an upset would be Virginia, but I find it very unlikely.

Moreover, I do not see Sanders hitting any of Nate Silver's "benchmarks for the Nomination" in this region. Maybe in Alabama. Maybe in Virginia.

I have Clinton winning 63% of the SEC delegates on March 1. About 250 to 150 for Sanders. For all three regions on Super Tuesday I have Ms Clinton winning 58% of the delegates, a total margin for Ms Clinton 590 to the Senator's 450.

And, since all Democratic Primaries have delegates awarded proportionally, this means Senator Sanders is in a world of hurt. After Super Tuesday Sanders would have to win every single little state, and would have to not only win states like CA, OH, PA, FL, NY, IL, but win them by very large margins to make up the one hundred and fifty delegates he is behind in.
It is not impossible. Just very very difficult.


Democratic Predictions for Super Tuesday, Part II, "The Big XII"


This is the second of my three posts for predicting the Democratic Primaries on Super Tuesday. This post focuses on "The Big XII" region: Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado (hey, they used to be in The Big XII), and American Samoa (which I have got to throw in somewhere.)

This is a good region for Hillary Clinton, mainly because of Texas, which has the largest amount of delegates so far, and because she is doing so well in the Lone Star State.

Even if Hillary lost both Oklahoma and Colorado, both of those losses would be nail biters, and the delegates would split fairly evenly.

Although there has been a fair amount of talk about how well Senator Sanders is doing in Oklahoma, and about his massive rally in Tulsa recently, I am from Oklahoma, and I have a very hard time believing he is going to win there. I have Madame Secretary winning Oklahoma by a slim margin, winning huge in Texas, and winning American Samoa (despite Tulsi Gabbard's leaving the DNC and endorsing Sanders.)

There has been hardly any polling from Colorado, so, I am going on my gut, and the social media I have been following, and calling it for Bernie. But it will be close.

Senator Sanders will not hit any of Nate Silver's "benchmarks for the nomination" in this region. And, I have the delegate split as 60/40 for Ms Clinton. She should end up with roughly 230 delegates to Sanders' 150.





Ardent Henry


Feb 25, 2016

Democrats Super Tuesday Predictions, Part I, "The Big East" UPDATE!!! 2/29/16

I am going to divide my predictions for the Democratic Super Tuesday Primary contests in to three different posts. They will divided regionally, and they will be named after college athletic conferences (which you should know are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.) I have also decided to give the feelleberne folks the good news first. So savor.

The "Big East" Primaries on March 1 are Massachusetts, Vermont, Minnesota (I told you it wasn't perfect), and Democrats Abroad.

I am calling that Senator Sanders will win all four of these contests. Minnesota and Massachusetts will be close, Vermont will be a blowout, and who knows about Democrats Abroad, really, though I figure those sort of folks probably skew fairly left.

I am predicting that Sanders will claim 58% of the delegates in these states, giving him a Big East margin of roughly 150 to 100 for Clinton.

As for Nate Silver's famous "benchmarks for a Sanders nomination", I only see Sanders hitting that in Vermont. Maybe in Massachusetts. Maybe in Minnesota. If he does hit three benchmarks in this region it will have been a big night for him. Because the other two regions on March 1, "The Big XII" and the "SEC" do not look nearly as good for him as this region.


UPDATE:  I am changing my call on Massachusetts.  Clinton wins Massachusetts narrowly, and splits the delegates for that state at about a 55/45 rate.  


GOP Super Tuesday Predictions


Or, it is the short fingered vulgarian's world, and we are all just living in it. One of the betting markets that the 538 nerds love has Trump at about fifty percent to win the nomination, Rubitron at forty, and Cruz in single digits. Notably, Nate Silver is still reluctant to "buy" Trump at this point. He is "holding".

The theory is from Nate, and others, that Rubio really is still in this thing at least until Florida on March 15. Rubio would have to win his home state, a state he is currently trailing in the polls, Puerto Rico, and blue districts in states like Illinois, California, and Ohio. And, Rubio is going to have to start finishing in second in just about every contest until Florida and beyond, wherein he will have to start winning the back loaded winner take all states at the end. He also needs Carson to stay in longer than Cruz, and needs Kasich out sooner rather than later. Plus, Rubio needs the big money guys that are on the sidelines to start backing him.

Gosh, that seems like a tall order. It is possible, and I suppose we can not officially call the nomination for Trump until Florida, but I see this as incredibly unlikely. More and more I am starting to believe that the GOP machine is beginning to resign themselves to a Trump nomination. Perhaps they think they can control him at that point. Good luck with that.

As for the big money guys hitching their star to Rubio's wagon, I see no reason why they should do that on March 2. Because it is going to be a massive Trump fest the day before.

On Super Tuesday I have Trump winning Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.

I think Rubitron should finish in second in all of those states mentioned above except for Arkansas and Oklahoma, where Cruz would.

I think Cruz will win Texas, and Trump will finish second there.

I honestly have no idea who will win Alaska and Minnesota. Rubio's best shot for an upset victory is Virginia, and maybe Minnesota, who the heck knows.

And, I am calling the American Samoa Primary for Marco Rubio. So, he has that going for him.




Ardent Henry


Feb 23, 2016

Douglas (Dougie) Slocombe (1913-2016)


Douglas, or Dougie, as he was known to his friends and co-workers, Slocombe passed away yesterday in West London, where he lived with his daughter, following complications from a fall. He had just celebrated his one hundred and third birthday earlier in the month.

Probably best known for shooting the first three Indiana Jones films with Steven Spielberg as director, I know him better for all the amazing work he did at Ealing Studios. What he shot there at that famous West London studio reads for me like a personal Greatest Films of All Time list: Hue and Cry, Dead of Night, It Always Rains on Sunday, Saraband for Dead Lovers (Ealing's first crack at luscious English Technicolor), The Man in the White Suit, The Titfield Thunderbolt, The Lavender Hill Mob, and, of course, Kind Hearts and Coronets, which he personally believed to be the finest screenplay he had ever read. (He will not get any argument from me on that score.)

He also shot Julia, Guns at Batasi, The Italian Job, The Lion in Winter, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rollerball, Never Say Never Again, and The Servant.

Speaking to the BBC last year, Slocombe recalled working under the Ealing Studio mogul, Sir Michael Balcon, as well as filming on location in a city still scarred by bomb damage.

"I think I'm the last man standing," he said. "All the major technicians and the producers and directors are gone - and that famous repertory company of actors and actresses."

One of my favorite stories about Slocombe is how he shot in camera a half dozen members of the D'Ascoyne family, all played by Alec Guinness, using multiple exposures over a period of a few days. Since the lighting had to be the exact same for every exposure, and the camera could not be moved even a millimeter, he slept in the studio to make sure everything went correctly.

Slocombe, himself, was also a perfect gentleman, who was extremely generous with his time, talking to interviewers about his work and process numerous times, even in his later years.

I only wish I could be at Stage Six in Ealing right now to raise a pint in his honor.

Mr Slocombe is survived by his daughter, Georgina.







-- Ardent Henry


Feb 19, 2016

Prediction for the South Carolina Democratic Primary

For the I'm With Her crowd February 27 can not get here fast enough. Finally Hillary Clinton will get the type of result that her campaign needs (and deserves.)

Moreover, Ms Clinton has the opportunity here to win a slightly smaller than three to two ratio of the delegates. She would have to win by at least eighteen percentage points to achieve that, which is right where I am calling this race: HRC 59% Sanders 41%.

The TradMedia will shrug their shoulders and continue to laud Sanders' insurgent 'revolution',  "She was supposed to win in South Carolina" they will say, but Clinton supporters and the campaign will at last have some wind behind them as they head in to Super Tuesday. They will enjoy some of those plane rides, too, now.

March 1. That is where all of this really really gets serious.


Feb 18, 2016

Prediction for Democratic Caucus in Nevada

This contest is a bona fide pick 'em, or toss up. I could very well be wrong regarding the winner, but whoever does prevail, I am sure it will be by a razor thin margin.

Which also means that even if Clinton wins, it will be viewed by the TradMedia as a devasting loss. It will be another tough tough week for the I'm With Her folks until South Carolina on the 27th.

And so despite the Clinton folks frantically moving the goalposts in Nevada (and irking Harry Reid in the process), I am picking Hillary Clinton to win the popular vote in Nevada by the thinnest of margins, 51% to Sanders' 49%.

Note, too, that Sanders could well earn more Nevada delegates (not counting super delegates here) than Clinton due to the caucus process. That is exactly what Obama did to Clinton in 2008.




Ardent Henry


This Is What We Do

In the exceptional and absolutely must be seen documentary, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, there is a witness who is describing the Chicago Police's assassination of Fred Hampton, and she says (I am paraphrasing) that the police had made a terrible mistake by not locking the flat up, and sealing the "crime scene".

I am here to tell you there was no mistake made. The Chicago Police and Hoover and the FBI left that house open on purpose. They were sending a message to all the black folks and Black Panthers, in Chicago, and throughout the country and the world: "This is what we do," they said, "To uppity negroes."

Everyone, please take a couple of hours out of your busy lives, and watch Stanley Nelson's timely and important documentary. You will be better for it.




-- MDS


Feb 16, 2016

Nevada GOP Caucus Prediction

Nevada, for both parties, is going to be very hard to predict. Good polling, or any polling, for that matter, is remote and precious.
Regardless, as far as the GOP is concerned, I see no break in Trumpmentum. I have Trump winning big again, and scaring the living daylights out of the "establishment".
Will Robotron, Kasich, and Jeb! be forced to say nice things about Planned Parenthood just to stay in this thing?

Trump 31%
Cruz 19%
Jeb! 18%
Rubio the Robot 15%
Kasich 12%
Carson 5%