When You Miss out on the News

Posted in news, personal, tv at 8:35 pm by danvk

Last we spoke, I swore to not pay attention to the news for a few months. How quickly the world changes when you’re not paying attention! I walked by a TV this afternoon and heard a general saying this:

We want to capture R. Kelly, the world’s most notorious terrorist.

I know R. Kelly is bad, but the world’s most notorious terrorist? It took me a minute to realize what the quote really was:

We want to capture or kill the world’s most notorious terrorist.

What does this say about me!?


Some Delegate Math

Posted in news, politics at 11:49 pm by danvk

I came to a realization last weekend while watching Mike Huckabee, Harold Ford, Jr. and various pundits discuss VP candidates on Meet the Press. We’re going to be hearing this exact argument for the next three months. I’ll care then. After the Oregon and Kentucky primaries tonight, I’m going to stop paying attention to the presidential race. There’s just not going to be any news of note until this fall. Why worry?

But before checking out for a few months, I’ve got one last Presidential Primary post left in me.

The question for the last few weeks has been “why is Hillary still in this race?” She can’t win a majority of pledged delegates, overall delegates, states, or votes (unless you use very strange definitions of who “counts”). Could she have something up her sleeve with Michigan and Florida?

According to Daily Kos, here was the delegate count at the end of the night:

  Pledged Super Total Needed
Obama 1,656.5 304.5 1,961 64
Clinton 1,501.5 277.5 1,779 246
Remaining 86 214 300

Obama passed 1,622 pledged delegates tonight and claimed a majority. But that excludes Florida and Michigan. Florida had 185 delegates and Michigan had 156. To get an absolute majority of pledged delegates including Florida and Michigan, he’d need 1,622 + (185 + 156)/2 = 1792.5 delegates. With only 86 pledged delegates left, there’s no way he can make Florida and Michigan irrelevant.

Or so goes the argument. But what did those excluded Florida and Michigan actually look like?

  Florida Michigan
Obama 69 0
Clinton 105 73
Uncommitted 0 55

I don’t know precisely how the “Uncommitted” delegates work, but I imagine they’d be under enormous pressure to vote for Obama at the convention. Add those in and you get:

  Pledged Fl.+Mi. Total Pledged Needed
Obama 1,656.5 124 1780.5 12
Clinton 1,501.5 178 1679.5 113
Remaining 86 0 86

So if you include the Florida and Michigan delegations, he hasn’t passed that magic mark, but he’s extremely close. And more interestingly, he’s the only one that can pass that mark. Hillary needs 113 pledged delegates for a majority, but there are only 86 left. This is because of the Edwards delegates.

If you don’t give Obama the 55 uncommitted delegates from Michigan though, he’s unlikely to pass the 50% mark, even by June 3. Could that be the trick? It seems a bit far-fetched. We’ll find out in three months when I start paying attention again!


Cliff House and the Sutro Baths

Posted in personal, travel at 10:52 pm by danvk

First off, apologies for the Craig- and Ryan-like pace of updates to danvk.org.

On Sunday, Ryan and I rode out to the far Western edge of San Francisco, just north of Ocean Beach. While it’s only six miles from my apartment, this felt like a much longer trip. There are no freeways in this part of the city, so our route was stop and go through neighborhood after neighborhood: Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Pac Heights, Laurel Heights, Inner Richmond and Outer Richmond.

This is the land of Adolph Sutro, a former mayor of San Francisco who I learned about from this Sparkletack episode. Sutro’s two claims to fame in this area are:

The second Cliff House, which lasted from 1896-1907. This must have been especially dramatic back then, when this area was completely uninhabited. Nowadays we’re on the third Cliff House, a swanky restaurant with spectacular views. I’d love to eat there someday, but that degree of swankiness requires a special occasion.

The remains of the Sutro baths, which Sutro once hoped would be his great legacy. It’s a shame that these public baths no longer exist. I can only imagine how nice it would be to relax here with a magnificent view of the ocean and feel the sea breeze coming in. The rocks you can see peeking out of the sea were covered in mussels, which made the waves slowly drain off them, rather than crashing. It was a sight to behold.

Here’s what the baths used to look like. I believe you can see the lack of a Cliff House in the background.

I was disappointed to find out that the baths were enclosed. While it is a spectacular building, I liked the idea of catching the sea breeze from the baths. I also find it amazing how very old these ruins look, even though the building only burned down in 1966.