Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Happy Candlemas!

(Warning – turn down your volume control)

Imbolc marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox — too soon to celebrate a new season, but ‘winter’s back is broken’. Here in the Boston area, the official state whistlepig is almost certain to see her shadow, so it’ll be six more weeks of winter for us. As long as it’s not a repeat of last year’s February, we can live with it — it’s been an extremely clement season so far.

As for political news… from ground zero, the Des Moines Register:

Iowa Democratic Party officials worked into the early morning Tuesday trying to account for caucus results from a handful of tardy precincts in the extremely close presidential caucus race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

By 2:30 a.m., the party announced that it had results from 1,682 of 1,683 precincts, and that Clinton had eked out a slim victory…

About 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire released a statement saying the results were the closest in Iowa Democratic caucuses history. “After a year where Iowans took the time to see candidates, ask them thoughtful questions, and became volunteers and leaders themselves, tonight 171,109 Iowa Democrats came together with their neighbors to engage in a spirited discussion on the future of our country.”

If you believe NYMag, “Bernie Sanders owns the future of the Democratic Party.” If you believe the NYTimes’ Nate Cohn, a “‘Virtual Tie’ in Iowa Is Better for Clinton Than Sanders.” It’s more an argument over the arc of history than the November election, and right now it looks like both campaigns are working hard to make sure that their voters will show up in November to vote against the Repubs, whichever candidate ends up at the top of the ticket.

As for the Repubs — Alex Pareene, at Gawker:

[Monday] morning, the smart money had it that Donald Trump would win Iowa, and Ted Cruz would come in second—but it was possible that Trump could under-perform and Cruz would win. Well, Ted Cruz has won Iowa. Donald Trump is in second, and Marco Rubio is in third. But according to “the narrative,” Donald Trump is tonight’s big loser, and Rubio the upset victor.

The “expectations game” requires performing about as well as the polls said you would perform, or doing better. It is by that standard that Cruz and Rubio won, and Donald Trump swooned. Ann Selzer’s poll had Trump at 28 percent, Cruz at 23 percent, and Rubio at 15 percent. According to the results currently being reported on CNN, Cruz is at 28 percent, Trump is at 24 percent, and Rubio is at 23 percent…

What was wrong with the pre-caucus political analysis was the idea that high turnout would mean Trump was looking stronger. Turnout was high, and Trump didn’t surge. So either Cruz turned a lot more people out than anyone predicted, or a lot of soft “Trump supporters” showed up and were (rather easily) persuaded to switch to Rubio. If it’s the latter, that ought to make Trump worry about New Hampshire—but his lead there, so far, is massive, and primaries are very different from caucuses…

As I mentioned in my last post, the Trumpkins — with Breitbart.com cheerleading — are busy convincing themselves that Microsoft rigged the voting app to pump up results for their ‘water boy’ Rubio, in return for unlimited H1B visas come 2017. Carson’s voters, per Drudge, are upset that Cruz campaigners may have lied to caucus-goers about Carson dropping out prior to the tally. And everybody still hates the guy who actually got the most votes — Reince Priebus couldn’t even bring himself to mention Ted Cruz in the RNC’s official statement. So we got that going for us.

In happier parochial news, there’s a meetup this evening in Chicago, and I got an email from someone interested in adopting the Southside kitten (if his current cat housemate agrees).

Apart from all that, what’s on the agenda for the day?

93 replies
  1. 1
    Amir Khalid says:

    It’s also the Lunar New Year today, for Juicers of Chinese heritage and those who celebrate with them.

  2. 2
    David *Rafael* Koch says:

    (Everyone will like this one – honest)

    The Thrill of Victory


    The Agony of Defeat


  3. 3
    David *Rafael* Koch says:


    Tuesday’s hilarious Front Page: Dead Clown Walking

  4. 4

    The groundhog came up, saw that Trump is still in the race, said “Fuck that shit,” and went back to sleep.

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    @Mustang Bobby: Smart groundhog.

  6. 6
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @David *Rafael* Koch: They all have their legs crossed the same way.

    Why does that strike me a creepy?

  7. 7
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    @Mustang Bobby: I thought the groundhog was frighten by the sunk on top of Trump’s head.

  8. 8
    raven says:

    Joe and Mika doing their best to undermine Hill. I wonder why?

  9. 9

    @David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch: It’s the groundhog’s cousin Ralph. It’s a terrible job, but someone’s gotta do it.

  10. 10
    Randy P says:

    @David *Rafael* Koch: Damn, I hope not. Trump is scary but hilarious to contemplate as the Republican candidate in the general. Plus I love the schadenfreude of reading how the party establishment is panicked about everybody knowing he represents their base.

    Cruz is just scary, period.

    Re: Groundhog Day. As a kid in a place where snow routinely falls into April and it’s not unusual to get a few inches in May, I was always puzzled by the concept of Groundhog Day. Winter is just getting started on Feb. 2. How could anybody be talking about winter ending in early February? Or even 6 weeks later?

    When I lived in the DC area, gardening columns talked about putting in the first round of crops in February, so I guess that’s the answer to my question. But it still seems absurd and unnatural to me.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    “She does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

    “You know who’s one of the great beauties of the world, according to everybody? And I helped create her. Ivanka. My daughter, Ivanka. She’s 6 feet tall, she’s got the best body.”

    “Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father.”

    Q: “Donald, what is the favorite thing you have in common with your daughter?

    A: “I was going to say sex but I couldn’t say that to her” (he was sitting right next to her on tee vee)

    Creepy is as creepy does

  13. 13
    raven says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: They should be in full lotus?

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Schlemazel says:

    I find the results a bit disheartening. I was really hoping for a 4 or 5 way tie for third so that a lot of these losers would slog on. My deepest hope for the GOP was no clear winner in Cleveland with 3-4 id monsters and their ugly-to-the-bone troops slugging it out. Lots of blood, bruised feelings and life-long resentments. It could still happen but it is a lot less likely today

  16. 16
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @raven: Lotus? Nah. It just looks very regimented with everyone’s foot pointing to the right.

  17. 17

    @raven: I love the tail action when he finally spots the groundhog. “Oh, cool!”

  18. 18
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Amir Khalid: Well, people are already travelling, but per Google the Year of the Monkey doesn’t actually start till next Monday

  19. 19
    amk says:


    “Lots of blood, bruised feelings and life-long resentments.”

    religious nuts, racist nuts and corporates are my gods nuts split rather nicely evenly. The libertarian nuts lost out so badly, so they may take their balls and go home.

    So it is all gonna happen.

  20. 20

    Cruz began his victory speech with “Give all glory to God,” which, as someone tweeted, is Republican for “Allahu akbar!”

  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    Repeating for the morning crowd.

    It’s been several years now since TCM brought it out of the vaults and who knows when it will come around again.

    Thursday, February 4, 8:00 a.m. – The Green Goddess. Primarily for old movie/early talkie buffs. Stilted, dated, and hokey as can be. But in every scene he appears, one cannot tear one’s eyes from George Arliss’ Oscar-nominated role. He brings an easy theatricality honed from decades on the stage, a style which was considered old-fashioned then but is beyond Brandoesque in its modernity to today’s eyes. Too, his get-up later on in the fim (skirting a fuller spoiler here) is more than a fashion statement, it’s a fashion bellow.

  22. 22
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    DES MOINES – A Bloomberg-sponsored poll, made public in extravagant Bloomberg style amid shrimp and champagne, delivered some sour news about Michael R. Bloomberg himself: Few Iowa voters like him as he weighs a third party White House run.

    A poll of likely caucusgoers conducted for Bloomberg Politics and The Des Moines Register and released on Saturday night found just 17 percent of Democrats and 9 percent of Republicans had a “favorable” view of Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.

    Among likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa, half had an unfavorable view of Mr. Bloomberg; 26 percent of the Democrats had an unfavorable view of him.

    By comparison, 50 percent of the Republicans polled had a favorable view of another Manhattan billionaire, Donald J. Trump,

    And that’s that.

  23. 23

    I have to have a long list-making session with my boyfriend and father… for now though, I’m writing a little app to help me track my medicine (why doesn’t this exist FFS?) and listening to The Mountain Goats.

    The loneliest people in the whole wide world
    Are the ones you’re never going to see again

    Auspicious start to the day, whee.

  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    @Mustang Bobby

    Six more weeks of derp.

  25. 25
    Baud says:

    @NotMax: Only six? The election isn’t until November.

  26. 26
    bystander says:

    Congratulations to Ted! Just think, instead of the first woman or the first Socialist Jew, we could have the first POTUS with Canadian citizenship! Someone who could bridge the cultures and end the 250 yearlong strife.

  27. 27
    Germy says:

    @NotMax: Arliss was a prominent anti-vivisectionist who founded the National Anti-Vivisection Society of Chicago.

  28. 28
    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    Coolness*. The Chinese New Year stamps are always some of the prettiest put out by the USPS. This year’s design, to be issued Feb. 5.

    *Except for what will be several nights of fireworks being set off here at random times.

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    Now GMA is saying Iowa is too close too call and Sanders isn’t conceding the narrow loss. I iz confused.

  30. 30
    NotMax says:


    Proportional primaries end in exactly six weeks, though.

  31. 31
    Baud says:


    I hate our convoluted primary rules.

  32. 32
    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    Ought to mention that the stamps being issued in Malaysia are neat-o too.

  33. 33
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    NC State Health Plan board could remove option popular with workers

    It takes them four paragraphs, but they eventually lay the blame squarely where it belongs: the Republican Legislature.

  34. 34
    Baud says:

    Punxsutawney Phil is live on my TV.


  35. 35
    Baud says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    LOL. Like anyone will blame Republicans while Obama is in office.

  36. 36
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Media still acting as if the Iowa caucus is winner-take-all, I see.

  37. 37
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Baud: Are you sure that’s not Trump’s hair?

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @Just One More Canuck:

    Similar levels of pageantry surround both.

  39. 39
    debbie says:


    Cruz Calls On Democrats To Support His Campaign In Iowa Victory Speech

  40. 40
    Baud says:


    Well, he could be the easiest to beat, so it makes sense.

  41. 41
    debbie says:


    Do you think the GOP establishment will ever accept him? I can’t imagine that.

  42. 42
    Baud says:


    They’ll accept their nominee. It’s the one thing they do right.

  43. 43
    Baud says:


    Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog meteorologist of central Pennsylvania, didn’t see his shadow this morning — and so, according to legend, 2016 will be an early spring.

    For those who rightfully mistrust Establishment Meteorology.

  44. 44
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Fiorina’s Caucus party. How bad was it? Not even Carly went to it.

  45. 45
    Baud says:


    Maybe she fired everyone.

  46. 46
    NorthLeft12 says:

    Any comments here on Mitch Albom’s lofty thoughts about the settlement that a woman reached with Florida State University due to the alleged rape by QB Jameis Winston and their subsequent handling of it?


    “First, I’ll say I’d feel a lot happier about this if the woman took the money and gave it to charity and said ‘that’s not what this was about.’ I always am suspect when people end up saying, ‘well, I’m going to take [the money].'”

    says the rich white guy.

    Yes Mitch, its all about how you feel. I always thought that this guy was a bit of a sanctimonious ass, now he has taken it to another level. Let’s see if Mitch donates all his future book earnings to prove to people that he doesn’t write just for the money.

  47. 47
    raven says:

    Tet seems a little late this year.

  48. 48
    Baud says:


    I am saddened by his unhappiness. I wish there were something we could do.

  49. 49
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: Hopefully, herself included.

  50. 50
    Peale says:

    @David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch: yep. New York City Mayor is a springboard to New York City Mayor.

  51. 51

    Finished the app. Yay hacking. ‘Night y’all.

  52. 52
    Baud says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It would be the best thing she could do for her campaign.

  53. 53
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Baud: Well, they do give a Rethug some space to whine that people aren’t signing up for the “Consumer Driven” high deductable HSA plan.

    “These proposals are going to make the State Health Plan the worst state health plan in the United States of America”


    “Ultimately, I think this was the legislature’s fault,” Hall said, noting it was lawmakers that pushed the plan to find cost savings. “I think it’s just another way to cost shift onto the working class. Not only are we doing that, but we found a sneaky way to make them (the health plan) the hatchet men.”

  54. 54
    Brandon says:

    @raven: Well, she had all the advantages going in: universal name recognition, 8 years to prepare, $160m in the bank, no worthy blue dog challenger and an early 40 point polling advantage. I know it is not a popular opinion around these parts, but (and this is a non-Bernie fan speaking here) I think that on the balance of evidence that she’s just not a particularly strong campaigner or candidate.

  55. 55
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @NorthLeft12: Tamir Rice’s family is only in it for the money as well. The best defense is still a good offense.

  56. 56

    @Brandon: I invite you to withstand three decades of attacks thrown at every aspect of your personal and professional life and still have the cajones to not only try for, but win, Iowa. You can borrow a pair of hers if you don’t have enough.

  57. 57
    Baud says:

    @Brandon: And if she were, she’d be accused of seeking a coronation.

  58. 58
    raven says:

    @Brandon: Yea right, it has not one fucking thing to do with the fact that she’ll bury whichever asshole they run.

  59. 59
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Brandon: OR it’s a difficult year for any “Establishment Candidate”.

  60. 60
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Brandon: I think it’s Iowa. What happens in Iowa stays in Iowa. If Bernie’s plan is “Iowa, NH,….. I win!” he’s not going to get very far.

  61. 61
    amk says:


    bernie is the president of iowa, happy?

    no? how about president of iowa & nh?

  62. 62
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Hiya, fellow spawns of Satan.

  63. 63
    Carolina says:

    You know, I’m feeling neither the Bern nor the Hillarity, but I do find it interesting that Sanders insists that he can pull off at a national level what he hasn’t come close to achieving in Vermont.
    Single Payer — Soundly rejected in Vermont
    Free Tuition — An out-of-state resident will pay roughly the same to go to UVM as they would to go to Princeton.
    Break down Big Business — 5 Walmarts in Vermont, a state that’s small enough for a single area code.

    Wishing you the best, Bernie, but yikes.

  64. 64
    Baud says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Hey, I want in that club.

  65. 65

    @Baud: Take the left-hand path, my friend. Hell, I’d vote for a Satanist over these weird Abrahamic folks, no offense.

  66. 66
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Hmm. Maybe I’d do better if I injected more religion into my campaign.

    Pastahu akbar. Give all glory to the FSM.

  67. 67
    Thoughtful David says:

    I’m guessing that Trump will now ramp up his birther attacks on Cruz to 11. Trump hates to lose, and he won’t go quietly. I will be sitting back watching it and drinking a very tall glass of schadenfreude, with a washtub of popcorn on the side.
    I think this was one of the best results I could have hoped for.

  68. 68
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: You were either born into it, or not.

  69. 69
    Brandon says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I believe that people can be as belligerent on the internet as they want, but I would just caution you to consider gendered put downs when I assume you would not similarly approve if the gendered put downs were the other direction. Furthermore, while you may be partly correct that the media and VRWC may have something to do with it, you also remove agency from Mrs. Clinton. She has had 3 decades of public life to sell herself to voters in various positions of government and I think it’s telling that she has not done better to achieve tangible/signature accomplishments as well define herself and market those accomplishments to voters.

    @Baud: I am not sure I understand the coronation argument well, but am game to consider it if you could explain it better to me. I just find it remarkable that 5 months ago she looked unstoppably inevitable (sort of like W’s primary campaign in ’99) and now her campaign looks a bit wounded and many people believe that this Democratic primary could last well past Super Tuesday. I find this remarkable.

    @raven: My point is that I wouldn’t be so sure with the confidence. She will most likely win the nomination obviously. But I think the general will be a lot closer than most people imagine.

    @BillinGlendaleCA: That’s possibly it as well. But if that’s the case, you would think her campaign will all the high priced advisors and consultants would’ve picked up on that earlier and helped to craft a better message to appeal to these people. Attacking universal health care just seems tone deaf if this is the current environment.

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think that’s right to some degree. IA is IA. I think it is also important to note that very few IA winners in non-incumbent contests actually went on to win the general. I read it is only Carter, W and Obama. So perhaps a tie in IA was best for both candidates.

  70. 70

    @Baud: Ritual magic can never hurt.


  71. 71
    Brandon says:

    @Carolina: As they say in Spanish, I think we’re simpatico on the candidates and your points on Bernie are well made. If he actually had a record of creating a progressive utopia in VT and ran on a campaign of delivering that nationwide I think he would be more credible.

  72. 72
    WereBear says:

    @NorthLeft12: I’m currently reading Jon Krakauer’s book on the University of Montana’s rape scandals of the early 2000’s. Missoula.

    I am reading it with long spaces in between because I find it so upsetting. Rigorous police investigation uncovers both the real, and the rare false, accusations of attack.

    And yet, this does not happen very often.

  73. 73
    satby says:

    @Baud: And I was just telling the girls on the ride to school that he almost always sees his shadow!

  74. 74
    satby says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: We boomers need to stick together.

  75. 75
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @WereBear: Damn, I missed that Krakauer book. Onto the list it goes.

  76. 76
    satby says:

    I hope there’s lots of folks coming to the Chicago meet up tonight.

  77. 77
    WereBear says:

    On the one hand, I have a darling new purse (after a rigorous search, I’m not one of those who simply sighs and buys a tote bag) and Mr WereBear fixed one of our Litter Robots. Which made the cats very happy. And that kitten in Chicago seems to have found a home.

    On the other hand, the thaw is wreaking havoc with our Winter Carnival and the ski season, and my pneumonia has moved into my nasal passages. Miserable and exhausted, I am.

  78. 78
    Paul in KY says:

    @NorthLeft12: I think Mitch Albom is a POS.

  79. 79
    Paul in KY says:

    @Thoughtful David: You would expect he’s going full metal jacket on Cruz.

  80. 80

    @WereBear: What kinda purse? Do share the details and a photo. I am more of a bag person than a shoe person.

  81. 81
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Baud: There is a saying in NY that “winter isn’t over until it snows on Easter in April.” It has happened, the year I remember is 1970.

  82. 82
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Brandon: Pro tip: Don’t reply to more than 3 people in one comment. 4 or more links will throw you into moderation every time around here.

  83. 83
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: You’re saying you’re a bag lady? Poor dear, how can we help? ;-)

  84. 84
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    Dang. It’s been so hard to keep track of public holidays since I left the workforce.

  85. 85
    PurpleGirl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m a tote bag lady. I have a lot of them and use them regularly. I also like handbags but don’t buy as many of them. My favorite tote bags right now are the ones I’ve bought at the NYS Sheep and Wool Festivals. I also have totes from the Greater New York Bead Society and the Handweavers Guild.

  86. 86
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Amir Khalid: My development’s management office made up a calendar for alternate side of the street parking. On it they have Asian Lunar New Year as being Monday, February 8th.

  87. 87
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    The Water Boy wins by finishing 3rd? This seems like another case of a Republican benefiting from the soft bigotry of low expectations.

  88. 88
    Peej01 says:

    I grew up in the Syracuse New York area. My mother’s favorite saying about the groundhog was that if he saw his shadow it was six more weeks of winter and if he didn’t, it was forty-two more days of winter.

  89. 89
    Paul in KY says:

    @Amir Khalid: Is your finger OK now?

  90. 90
    Paul in KY says:

    @Peej01: I’m going to start using that one!

  91. 91
  92. 92
    WereBear says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Me too! I got this one:

    Alvar crossbody bag by Kipling

    In the almost-gone color of Purple Q

  93. 93
    NorthLeft12 says:

    @WereBear: I like Krakauer’s writing. Is this his latest work, as I cannot remember hearing about this.

Comments are closed.