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Showing posts from February, 2016

Super Tuesday - Will Trump Sweep? Will the GOP House of Cards Burn Down?

The polling numbers for Super Tuesday indicate that Trump is likely headed toward numerous victories.

Polls indicating likely Trump win
Virginia > 10%, 3 polls
Tennessee > 10%, 1 poll
Vermont > 10%, 1 poll
Georgia  > 10%, 7 polls
Massachusetts > 10%, 4 polls
Oklahoma < 10%, 2 polls
Alabama > 10%, 3 polls

Recent data (2/28) indicating likely Cruz win
Texas < 10%, 7 polls

Limited data indicating possible close voting
Arkansas, 1 poll in early February

Poor data (caucus states)
Minnesota, polls outdated
Colorado, no polls in RCP
Alaska, polls outdated

As a blogger in the #NeverTrump category, I am watching to see if Rubio and Cruz can make in roads somewhere, anywhere! Jen Rubin over at WaPo is discussing the formation of a new party as the GOP explodes.

Rubin: As we have discussed, if Trump is the nominee — and we are still not there yet, as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) rises to the occasion — all sorts of interesting possibilities unfold. A third presidential candi…

SEC Primary Day March 1, 2016

Am guessing it is pretty much over on the Democratic side.

Clinton should have a easy and sizable win over Sanders in South Carolina.

Of the March 1 primary contests for the Democrats, Sanders will win in Vermont as that is his home state. He may finish close or even win in Massachusetts. But everywhere else, he is looking at 10 to 20 percentage point defeats.

On the GOP side, here is a list of the states involved. Polling data exists for some states while it is sparse in others.

Alabama - no recent data
Alaska - caucus, limited data and hard to poll anyway
Arkansas - limited data show 3-way race
Georgia - recent data has Trump ahead
Massachusetts - recent data has Trump ahead
Minnesota - caucus, limited data and hard to pool anyway
Oklahoma - limited data show 3-way race
Tennessee - no recent data
Texas - recent data show Cruz ahead
Vermont - limited data but Trump ahead
Virginia - recent data has Trump ahead

Cruz definitely needs to win Texas and would want to win at least 1 or 2 o…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 33 - The Incredibles

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Previously LFC stunned Manchester City 4-1! However, that was way back on November 21, 2015.

Can Klopp's crew run the Citizens off the pitch again with the League Cup on the line?

Will post periodically in here in the build-up to the big game!

Selection options for Klopp: Good news in that some of the injured players have been training and might be options for selection on Sunday. Clearly, this is a decision between the medical staff and coaches. Do these returning players pass the "eyeball" test?

The Lucas-Sakho center back pair had a clean sheet on Thursday. Does Klopp go to them again? My guts tell me to stick with what has worked. If a change were to be made, perhaps Skrtel in for Lucas.

As for the midfield of Milner-Henderson-Can, Klopp has to decide if Henderson who hasn't been 100% since coming back from his injuries is still the better option than having Milner play central-mid and bringing in Lallana or Ibe at the wide. The other question mark is probably…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 32 - The Right Stuff

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Key players aren't yet 100% (Sturridge and Coutinho) and others won't be available for selection. Nonetheless, they should still have "the right stuff?"

They need to take the field and use their speed and skill and take it to Augsburg in front of the Anfield faithful. Last time in front of the Anfield fans, there was the "walkout" and the team flaked out and surrendered two goals snatching a draw from the jaws of victory.

No walk-outs by the fans this time are expected!

Barring any injuries, there should be no change in line up with Sturridge, Firmino, Coutinho leading the way. At midfield, Milner, Henderson, and Can. In defense, Clyne, Toure, Sakho, and Moreno. Would think LFC will be aggressive early to seek the lead and make Augsburg chase the game.

Likely subs, Origi and Ibe. Benteke will get in if they need a late goal otherwise Lucas enters to help in holding onto a lead.

Of course, another scenario is if the match goes to extra time and penalty kicks…

LA Galaxy and the Concacaf Champions League

Wednesday night 7pm PST, the LA Galaxy take on Santos Laguna in leg 1 of the Concacaf Champions League (CCL) quarter-finals. USA TV coverage on FS1.

Historically, Liga MX has dominated the competition and one would guess they are favored in this contest.

The Galaxy have added a lot of players and it isn't clear they have gotten used to playing together yet. Additionally, the team is still working up fitness levels for the MLS regular season which is a couple weeks away.

Meanwhile, Liga MX has been playing league games and their players are in regular season form.

Though expectations are higher for MLS, analysts remain realistic about the challenges ahead.

Caught about the last 15 minutes of the match. Looks like both sides were content with the 0-0 score line. Galaxy didn't look like they were pushing forward very much. Perhaps, they were already a bit weary by that point.

Looking at the match highlights below, the chances seemed pretty even though I think the Galaxy opportuni…

All Trump All the Time

What can you say?

The country is in a foul mood.

Sanders isn't going to get the Democratic nomination but he will be a thorn in Clinton's side probably throughout the nomination process.

Trump, if nothing changes, is headed for the Republican nomination. National Review sounded the alarm back in January 21, 2016. Perhaps it is already too late for the GOP to stop him.

The fact that these two figures are doing so well is an indication of the angry feeling among the voters disenchanted with the way things are working in Washington DC.

Here is a round up of three articles about Trump I came across today.

LA Times McManus acknowledges Trump's political acumen.

Excerpt:
He's turned out to be a disciplined candidate with a clear strategy. He's not the unguided missile he once appeared to be. His attacks on other candidates may have looked petulant, but it's now clear that they were calculated. For much of last year, Trump concentrated his fire on Jeb Bush, who was lon…

The GOP Heading into a Dead-End?

Scenarios:
1. Trump wins the nomination and loses the November election.
2. Trump is denied the GOP nomination when support finally gathers around one of his opponents. However, that candidate is so weakened by the process that the Democrats win the November election.
3. Trump is denied the GOP nomination when support finally gathers around one of his opponents. Trump decides to do a third-party run and the Democrats win the November election.

In any of the 3 scenarios, it is possible that the GOP will lose the Senate as well. And if things really go downhill, the House will be flipped to the Democrats.

Awhile back, I made the following speculations.

Probably after New Hampshire and almost certainly after South Carolina, the Establishment will be faced with the following possibilities:
1. One of the establishment candidates has clearly broken through and it is a 3-candidate race with Trump/Cruz/Establishment going forward.
2. None of the Establishment candidates has broken through and th…

This Voter's Discontentment

Of the current viable candidates, I find problems with each one and will not vote with much enthusiasm when the time comes for Californians to vote. I remain undecided.

Problem with each candidate:
Clinton - none of the strengths of Bill and all his liabilities
Sanders - socialism is great until you run out of other people's money
Cruz - sharp elbows not a "happy warrior"
Rubio - great biography but what has he done? (the same could have been said of Obama in 2008)
Trump - are you serious?

Guessing GOP Nevada Caucus

Very little polling data in Nevada for the caucus on Tuesday.

Until the race is down to a 2-way or 3-way race, Trump will probably keep racking up the wins.
Update: Here is an item that maps out how Trump can reach the needed delegates even in a three-way race.
Update: sounds like the Nevada caucus is not very well run. I suppose that is why hardly anyone is attempting to poll Nevada.

Prediction
Trump 34%
Rubio 28% 
Cruz 27%
everyone else combined 11%

Actual
Trump 46%
Rubio 24%
Cruz 21%
everyone else 9%

Update: Have clearly underestimated Trump's popularity and staying power. In national polling, Sanders is logging about 42% and Trump 34%. This is an indication with the dissatisfaction with the establishment.

I wonder if California will have a say in the nomination races?

I registered to vote when I turned 18 and was an "independent" (decline to state - in California). That was way back in 1981. As such, I did not vote in partisan primary elections for a long time because I was no…

Guessing the Nevada and South Carolina Results

The Democrats have a caucus on Saturday in Nevada. The polling data has it very close. I suspect it will be close but probably not Iowa close.
Prediction:
Clinton 50
Sanders 49
Actual:
Clinton 53
Sanders 47

Iowa and New Hampshire might well be the high water mark for Sanders. There is no indication of a surge for Sanders in South Carolina. In the national polling data, two of five recent polls have Sanders either close or leading while three of five have Clinton with a modest but solid lead. Thus, he would probably need a surprise upset in Nevada to have a chance at changing the narrative. The other game changer would be a new scandal, more smoke/fire from existing ones or some health issue.

Update: Barring new scandal, more smoke/fire from existing ones or some health issue, it is over. So far, there is no indication Sanders is moving the needle in South Carolina. He will run to the end to try to influence the party but that is all she wrote.

As for the Republicans, they have a primary …

The Contest Over the Supreme Court - raw political power

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Charles Krauthammer usually gets to the heart of a particular controversy. Here is an excerpt from a piece he has written about the struggle over finding a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia.
Let’s understand something about the fight to fill the Supreme Court seat of Antonin (“Nino”) Scalia. This is about nothing but raw power. Any appeal you hear to high principle is phony - brazenly, embarrassingly so. Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431564/supreme-court-republicans-senate-obama-nomination

I suspect many people in the country believe that the Presidency is the most powerful branch of government. Because of this belief, they think that President Obama should get what he wants. Thus, they feel that for the Senate to either reject by vote or reject by not holding hearings on a nominee is "unfair" and "un-Constitutional."

However, Constitutionally, the branches of government have a balance of power relationship. It is equally "Constit…

POTUS 2016 Election Watch

Taking a look at the RCP collection of polls, there haven't been many recent national polling data on the Democratic side. Thus, Quinnipiac that had Sanders down at -2 remains an outlier. But there
simply isn't enough recent polling to be conclusive about that.

Update: The Quinnipiac poll (2/15) is not quite mirrored by the CNN/Suffolk (2/15) that has the race at +10 for Clinton a much smaller lead than all previous polls. The other development is the very close race indicated by the Nevada polling data. This is definitely not what Team Clinton wants to see. The Democrats have their South Carolina primary a week later than the Republicans. Clinton still holds a solid but shrinking lead there. A Sanders win or another "draw" in Nevada could fuel a stampede in South Carolina?

Meanwhile, on the GOP South Carolina side, it is looking like a 3-legged race (in the national polling figures in addition to the South Carolina numbers) between Trump/Cruz/Rubio. Kasich and Bush …

Liverpool Klopp Episode 31 - Toy Story

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LFC's next two matches are the two-legs of Europa League knock-out round of 32. Since the winner of the Europa Cup gets an invite to the Champions League, Klopp has said he will field a strong side probably similar to the one last Sunday at Aston Villa.

The injury list is still long leaving Liverpool short on center-back options. Hopefully, the aging wily veteran Toure can continue to sip from whatever magical waters he has been drinking from lately and Sakho will stay focused for a full 90 minutes, they should be okay. On the offensive side of the field, the question mark is the durability of the the newly returned Coutinho and Sturridge. Am anticipating they will be subbed off at some point regardless of the score unless the medical staff is very confident they can go longer. Thus, Origi and Benteke and others need to be ready to come in and make a difference.

In any case, let's hope the team can put together an end-to-end performance against Augsburg on a cold winter's …

RIP Steven Stucky, Nov 7, 1949 - Feb 14, 2016

Was reading the LA Times over breakfast and saw the news of the passing of composer Steven Stucky.

As a subscriber to the LA Phil since 1999, I was aware he had a professional relationship with the orchestra but didn't really know much about the details. Swed, in his piece remembering Stucky's impact on the LA Phil, provided the story.

Some extended excerpts from Swed:
I first met Steven Stucky at Yaddo, the arts colony in upstate New York, in the summer of 1988. He was a 38-year-old composer just beginning to emerge on the national scene. He had been named composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and I had come to interview him for his first major newspaper profile. A native of Kansas who had grown up in Abilene, Texas, and taught at Cornell University, he agreeably combined an academic's inner dry wit with a courteous aw-shucks veneer. [......] Who knew that this affably backward-looking, backwater nerdish composer appearing unworldly even in the Victorian …

Liverpool Klopp Episode 30: Don't Let Me Down

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Things have been a bit crazy the past few days. But am finally awake this Sunday morning in the PST and am heartened to see LFC leading by 2 over Aston Villa.

Of course, last week, watched them collapse in the final 10 minutes to Sunderland!

Don't let the traveling KOP down!

Oh my, in the last handful of minutes, have seen Liverpool blast in 2 goals!

Ooof for the Villa fans as the Reds have netted their 5th goal!

Wonder how Roger Bennet of Men in Blazers will describe this performance in the next MIB podcast? One of his favorite ways of describing LFC's high possession, lots of shots, but usually zero goals, is that Liverpool came out "like a manic labradoodle going off leash at the park."


image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labradoodle#/media/File:Labradoodle_Brown.jpg

Wow, LFC just got goal 6 off a corner with the finish by Toure!

Good to see Coutinho back in there. We saw what a difference he makes in the mid-week FA Cup match. And today, we can see hi…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 29: Independence Day

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After that collapse against Sunderland on Saturday, Liverpool needs to have a gut check performance and deliver a knock-out blow to West Ham's FA Cup aspirations.

LFC fans would love to see Sturridge, Coutinho, and Origi back in. However, since they are recovering from injury, it is unlikely all three would get in and Klopp has indicated he will stick with the younger lineup he has used thus far in the FA Cup. Allen, Brannigan, and Lovren do not appear likely to be ready for the match on Tuesday.

So here we go with some guesses: Mignolet, Clyne, Sakho, Caulker, Flanagan, Lucas, Stewart, Ojo, Benteke, Sturridge, Teixeira.

Here is the XI:

Confirmed #LFC team to face @whufc_official: Mignolet, Flanagan, Lucas, Ilori, Smith, Stewart, Chirivella, Teixeira, Coutinho, Ibe, Benteke. — Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 9, 2016
Here are the subs:

Confirmed #LFC substitutes against @whufc_official: Ward, Enrique, Milner, Henderson, Sturridge, Origi, Randall. — Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 9…

New Hampshire Primary Predictions

On the Democratic side, Sanders wins this one. The open question is how big a victory. How about this for a guess:
Sanders 56
Clinton 44

Actual
Sanders 60 Clinton 38

This will be Sanders' high-water mark as Iowa and New Hampshire are the most fertile grounds for Sanders. Mostly likely, going forward Clinton will start racking up clear cut wins.

What could happen to shift the race?

(1) Those "d@m# emails." Even though Sanders won't talk about them, reporters do and probably enough voters do to keep the issue alive. Thus, if the FBI were to declare there was wrongdoing, or some other "shoe drops," it will further erode confidence in Clinton's denials.

(2) Perhaps, those high-priced Clinton "Wall Street" speeches may get leaked in some fashion (remember the Romney 47% remark?) thus further emboldening the Sanders side.

(3) If Sanders' victory gets close to the 20% mark (I forecast only a 12% win), then the rebellion in the party is far stronger t…

Liverpool Klopp Episode 28: We Can Work It Out

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"Life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting my friend."
Tough times for Liverpudlians.

Fan favorite Jon Flanagan is out again with more knee surgery.....
UPDATE: OPPS! My bad, as that link is an old one back to 2015 that is still visible on the Echo web page. Flanagan is fine and is on the substitutes bench for today's match!

A supporter group is calling for a fan walkout at the 77 minute mark of Saturday's match against Sunderland at Anfield to protest ticket prices.....

Center back Skrtel has an injury setback.....

Rumors of Sturridge wanting to leave the club in the summer.....
UPDATE: He is on the bench today!

January transfer window target Alex Teixeira appears to have chosen the bigger paycheck of the Chinese league over LFC.......

Criticism of the club's performance swirls around the team amidst the congested fixture schedule.....

Sunderland appears to be relegation bound and should be an easy win for Liverpool. But then again, New…

LA Galaxy Starting XI and Supporting Cast?

Okay, what is the LA Galaxy line-up likely to look like in the 2016 season?

Defense
Starters
Rogers
DeLaGarza
Cole and Van Damme - rumored to be in negotiation with these 2 30+ year old European players
UPDATE: Van Damme has been signed 1/26
Cole has been signed 1/27
Reserves
Leonardo
Gargan
Romney

Midfield/Forwards
Starters
Dos Santos
Gerrard
Lletget
De Jong - rumored to be in negotiation with this 30+ year old European player
UPDATE: De Jong officially signed 2/3
Reserves
Larentowicz - LAG Confidential have doubts about the wisdom of this signing. I wonder if he might get some back four time in addition to being slotted in as a defensive midfielder?
Husidic
Garcia

Forwards/Midfield
Starters
Keane
Zardes
Reserves
Gordon
Magee - experienced player for squad rotation
Villareal
Boateng - Since AEG has eyes and ears in Sweden they picked up this younger player for further development

Goalie
Starter
Kennedy
Reserve
Rowe

My feeling is that at most they will sign two of the three (Cole, Van Damme, and De Jong) …

Liverpool Klopp Episode 27: Thunderball

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The crowded fixture schedule takes Liverpool to King Power Stadium to take on League leading Leicester City. Should be quite the match up! Seems like forever that they last met, but it was only just a month ago on Boxing Day that LFC stunned the Foxes with a 1-0 win. In that match, Origi got injured and has been out ever since. Benteke was subbed in and he got the game winner in the second half.

Klopp seems to have a fairly fixed "A" team. Thus, we should be seeing those players against Leicester. The open questions:
Does Lovren, who played a full 90 against West Ham, start alongside Sakho in place of Toure?
Has Smith earned a shot at displacing Moreno?
Is Henderson ready to go after having to be taken out early against Stoke?

I think Lovren is in if there is no issues with his recovery on Sunday/Monday.
Moreno stays in the starting XI.
Henderson is in if there is no issues with his recovery from the Stoke match though Allen would be an easy choice to plug in if he needs a …

Iowa Forecast

Finally. Actual. Voting.

Anyway, time to take a guess at the outcome!

Sanders 47 Clinton 46.
ACTUAL: Clinton 50 Sanders 50

Trump 26 Cruz 25 Rubio 20.
ACTUAL: Cruz 28 Trump 24 Rubio 23

Will the Sanders people turn out?

It could be an Obama-style upset as in 2008. Or it could be a Dean-like fade out as in 2004. I'm thinking Sanders pulls it off and it is those "d@m& emails" that causes a small number of Clinton supporters to either go to Sanders or O'Malley.
ACTUAL: Far closer than the Clinton people wanted to see.

Will the Trump people turn out?

I don't think so. But Cruz clearly stalled out and will fall short of catching Trump. Rubio gains ground at both their expense but not enough to overtake them.
ACTUAL: Turnout in the GOP Caucus was up across the board with nearly 187,000 voters a huge increase over 2012

The mystery is who finishes fourth?

Will Carson loyalists hang on to get him fourth place? Will Ron Paul's supporters back Rand Paul to get him to …