Okay, I’ve been reading…

Okay, I've been reading knitting sites for the last hour and I tell you it is torture to do that when you have left your crocheting at home. Hear that, Barbara? Torture! Also, I want a thousand dollars to spend on yarn. I may have to swing by my LYS (local yarn store) on the way home and at least poke through their 50% off bin. Although you KNOW it's just there to seduce you into buying the full price fancy stuff. I'd love to roll around naked in a big vat of cashmere yarn. That would make me happy.

I really do want to learn how to knit. I may ask my family for knitting classes for Christmas. And maybe learn to embroider. Because when I see pieces like this bird and berry pullover by Franklin, I just melt. I want to make little sweaters for Kavi, and then embroider them with fire lizards and rocket ships. (Probably not on the same piece.)

Did finish the grading for my morning class, but now I must tear myself away from the knitting sites (my hands are itching anyway, so it's probably just as well) and grade for my afternoon class. In two hours I get to go home and crochet socks for Kevin. It's an amazingly good way to relieve election stress, because if I weren't obsessing about crocheting, I'd be reading fivethirtyeight and trying not to vomit from the terror that it may still go horribly wrong.

Kevin is NO HELP AT ALL, as he is not at all confident that Obama will win. Argh. I think he's just being a pessimist, but I'm not sure. He is almost always right about everything. (And yes, that can be a little annoying to live with.) So if he says it could go either way, well, argh!!!

Grade, teach, stop at yarn store, go home and crochet. It's a stunningly beautiful day (high of 72), so I may also finish planting the bulbs for my condo this afternoon. Gardening is probably at least as good as crocheting for distraction, I bet. And digging into hard clay-ish soil takes enough effort that I might work off some of my frustration.

Students, if you're reading this, I hope you give me a little credit for actually showing up today, much less being coherent in class. As I was walking into the building, some students were walking out, talking about how their professor had cancelled the class because he was 'ill'. Yeah, right. I know that ill whereof you speak, and I still made it in.

2 thoughts on “Okay, I’ve been reading…”

  1. I’d love to roll around naked in a big vat of cashmere yarn.


    …Re the election: if you believe fivethirtyeight.com (and they apparently have quite a good track record with baseball statistics), Obama currently has a 96.3% chance of winning the election. So if you believe those numbers, then from a mathematician’s perspective, McCain’s 3.7% chance is not infinitesimal. But it sure ain’t good.

    And there are very few ways that McCain could get there; for more on that, see What a McCain Win Looks Like from fivethirtyeight yesterday. Among other things, that post suggests that he would have to win all of Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana and Montana, and almost certainly have to win Ohio and North Carolina. All of those states are polling fairly even, but some of them have had Obama consistently at least a couple of points ahead for a while (see pollster.com), so the chance of McCain winning all of them is pretty small. (That last sentence is a bit of an oversimplification, but it’s not worth elaborating on in this comment.)

    See also pollster.com’s Electoral Vote Bar Chart, showing how many states (including several leaning-blue ones) McCain would have to pick up to get to 270. Also their comparison of 2000 and 2004 to 2008. It’s hard to make either of those charts look like a McCain victory.

    In Pennsylvania, which McCain seems to be counting on winning (even though nobody outside of his campaign thinks he can win there), a huge effort by the McCain campaign has shifted the polling numbers significantly: in the past week, he’s gained 5.4 points there. That means that he has only 7.3 more points that he needs to gain there by tomorrow in order to win the state. Needless to say, shifting the vote there more in the next 30 hours than he has in the past 7 days combined seems unlikely.

    My impression is that the main things that could result in a McCain victory at this point are (a) drastically lower-than-expected youth turnout (there’ve been a couple of good articles about why that’s unlikely lately, but I don’t have any links handy), or (b) it turns out that all of the polls have been totally and completely wrong throughout this whole campaign cycle (could happen, but would mean that most of what we think we know about polling is wrong). A week or two ago, various people were suggesting that option (c) would be a huge game-changing external event (like a terrorist attack), but at this point I think it’s too late for that. (Note that roughly a third of the electorate has voted early.)

    So … Kevin’s technically right that it could go either way, and certainly Kevin has a good track record. But the likelihood of McCain winning is pretty small at this point, even if you don’t believe fivethirtyeight’s exact numbers.

    But I’d also like to add one more thought: if McCain wins, it won’t be the end of the world.

    McCain has actually been a pretty good guy in many ways up until the past few years. Who knows whether a President McCain would be more like the McCain of 2000 or the McCain of 2008. But even if he sticks with his current political incarnation–y’know, we’ve had strongly conservative presidents before. (We’ve had Republican Presidents for 20 out of the last 28 years, and 28 out of the last 40 years, though their degree of conservatism has of course varied.) We’ve even had bad presidents before. It’s certainly possible to imagine that a McCain (and/or Palin) presidency would be extraordinarily awful. But it’s also possible to imagine that it wouldn’t. It seems to me that the country usually manages to muddle through somehow.

    Among other things, note that both houses of Congress will almost certainly be controlled by the Democrats, which makes it unlikely that even a strongly conservative President would be able to push through a strongly conservative legislative agenda. The Supreme Court is another matter–but we’ve been hearing doomsday scenarios about Supreme Court appointees since 2000 or earlier.

    I’ll certainly be unhappy if McCain wins. But even in the unlikely event that it happens (and it really is unlikely at this point), I don’t think it’ll be disastrous.

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