Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday clips

Full Moon Fever

It's the biggest full moon of the year tonight, and since we're near the equinox it's also the highest in the sky. Not to mention a Friday night. So any strange behavior you witness tonight, say at bar time, can be easily explained.

The technical term is "perigee Moon" because it occurs at perigee, the point of the Moon's orbit closest to Earth. We're also close to perihelion, the part of the Earth's orbit closest to the sun, so there's a bit more sunlight for the moon to reflect. The end result is tonight's full moon is as 14% wider and 30% brighter than normal.

  • FiveThirtyEight looks at the spotty electoral history of self-appointed senators, while Club For Growth asks, in light of Blago's price tag, just how much is a Senate seat worth, anyway? (They say $6.2 million.)

  • Kos makes a prediction about new congresman Anh (Joseph) Cao of New Orleans: "He either switches (no big deal in Louisiana), and faces a competitive Democratic primary in which he may or may not survive (but probably not), or he stays a Republican and definitely loses in 2010. Either way, a Democrat will hold this seat soon enough, and either way, the future of the GOP won't be Cao."

  • The campaign managers meet at Harvard and David Plouffe has a couple interesting observations of special interest to Iowa caucus partisans:

    1) "Plouffe said that the Obama campaign had set a goal of 90,000 caucus-goers whose support and attendance was either certain - 1s - or mostly certain. They met the goal two days before Iowa, leading Plouffe and the others to believe that the Des Moines Register poll showing Barack Obama winning soundly was picking up on something."

    2) "Plouffe acknowledged that if Florida had kept its delegates and its January date on the Democratic nomination calendar, Obama might not have won the nomination. 'Florida was concerning to us. If that Florida primary, coming three days after South Carolina, it might have mitigated all of South Carolina, and, in fact, we might not be the nominee.'"
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