According to Google, with 98% of the precincts reporting, the results are as follows:
It's looking like turnout is way down from Florida's 2008 Republican primary, and far below the Republican Party's expectations. (That's been a trend so far.) The best speech was Newt Gingrich's, the weirdest was Ron Paul's, the most desperate was Rick Santorum's. Now let's all agree to stop thinking about Florida for a few months, okay?
Rick Santorum just took the stage and congratulated Mitt Romney, but promised a different result in Nevada this week. First Santorum thanks the audience for their prayers as he took a few days off from the campaign to care for his daughter, Bella, who had pneumonia. She's getting out of the hospital, Santorum says. The campaign just gave him a giant card for Bella. Santorum says that "Republicans can do better" than they did in Florida. He says the dialogue is "going downhill," and he didn't get involved in the "melee of negativism," which he calls a "mud-wrestling match where everyone gets away dirty." He praises Romney's private sector experience and Gingrich's "considerable knowledge." He's trying to play himself as a peacemaker. "Let's focus on the real issue, which is defeating Barack Obama." The crowd goes nuts. It sounds like a smallish, mostly empty room.
"We're not going to do that with mudslinging," Santorum says. "Tomorrow, we're gonna give a speech on Romneycare and Obamacare," he promises. He says they're going to go on to the next states—including Missouri, which he pronounces as "Mizzureah." "We need someone who can be a conservative nominee," Santorum says, and Gingrich had his chance in Florida, to present himself as the conservative non-Romney candidate. Gingrich tried, but "it didn't work," Santorum says. He tells Nevada, "If you want a conservative, please vote for me. Thank you, God bless. Thank you." And that's it. That's maybe the most overt plea to be the not-Romney I've seen in the 2012 campaign.
I'm picking up the Ron Paul speech partway through. He's swearing to fight on, but mostly only in the "caucus states." "Something big is happening in this country and it's something favorable," he says, adding, "We need more personal liberty." He says "the brush fires of liberty" are being lit all around the country. "We don't even know where they are, there are so many of them." "Don't you think it's time we had a new monetary policy?" The whole room goes nuts. (Ron Paul is speaking in Henderson, Nevada, because he'd basically given up on Florida, where he's currently getting just 7% of the vote.)
"I've gotten some advice on the internet," Ron Paul explains, saying that people on the internet told him to change his foreign policy, but he won't do it. He wants to "bring our troops home and end these unwinnable wars." He says "I'd like to see our troops spending money at home." He says he's angry at the way our troops come "wimping home." Ron Paul says "people will use their liberty in different manners," but that's okay, because they'll have to be aware "of the consequences of their actions." He just said we need our "peace and our pros-uh-perity." I'm hoping he'll rail against "revenuers" next. He says his followers need to "attend...the caucuses" to help win their country back, and then he's out.
Wow. Dude is getting nuttier. Seriously, you can't expect to become president just by focusing on caucus states. What's his strategy? Has Ron Paul broken enough from reality to think he can barter his way to Ending the Fed with a brokered convention? This plan is only slightly more viable than his 2008 rent-a-blimp strategy, frankly. What a fundamentally weird man he is.
No sign of Newt yet at his Orlando headquarters, but everyone's holding "46 States To Go" signs and "Hurts So Good" is playing over the PA, which is kind of hilarious. "Hurts So Good" is followed by "White Wedding." Um, wow? The DJ here has a pretty good sense of humor, I think. (Which of Newt's weddings was the white one?) I count two whole African-American people in the crowd, although one of them could be a paid security person. Now Mayor Richard Crotty is speaking. "46 states to go," he says. I wonder where he got the idea to say that? Applause lines include: Repealing Obamacare, achieving a Republican majority in Congress this November, and introducing Bill McCollum.
McCollum "was elected in 1980 with Ronald Reagan," he says. Those were dark days for Republicans: They didn't think they'd ever take back Congress. But then came Newt. McCollum has a really annoying, high-pitched voice. He sounds like the way I imagine Dennis the Menace would sound all grown up. He praises Newt for all of Bill Clinton's achievements, and says "Newt is a messenger and a leader," and "a true supply-side Ronald Reagan economic conservative." McCollum says Gingrich is the only candidate who can fight Obamacare, a thinly veiled dig at Romney. And here comes Newt, to "Only in America." Will we get pissed-off Newt, or polite Newt?
Gingrich is wearing a shiny tie. Callista is in black and pearls, and could be dressed for a funeral. "I want to thank Floridians," Gingrich says, citing their "positive" attitude. "Florida did something important...it is now clear that this will be a two-person race between the clear conservative and the Massachusetts Moderate. The voters of Florida made that clear." Gingrich rails about "the same people who said I was dead in June and July," saying "we are going to be the nominee in August." He quotes Abraham Lincoln's "of the people, by the people, for the people," saying "we are going to have people power defeat money power over the next few months. How are we going to do that?" Apparently, with "ideas" and "solutions" and "having a history of actually doing something in the past." "This is the most important election of your lifetime," Gingrich says. If Obama gets elected "you can't imagine how radical he'll be in his second term."
This, again, is standard Newt post-election stuff, but he's delivering for a Florida room, by being a little more relaxed than in Iowa. He's smiling, pointing at friends in the audience. Romney can't adjust the way Gingrich can. The two speeches side-by-side are really quite striking. Gingrich is recollecting the glory days of '94.
Ann Romney is taking the stage with the Romney spawn. "Thank you Florida," she says. "This is a very wonderful reception...you know this experience of Mitt running for president has been an extraordinary experience." I guess she means this time Mitt ran for president, and not the last time. You can't have two identically extraordinary experiences, right? She suggests that Mitt can get a little silly on the campaign bus. He's human, guys! Now she's thanking a long list of folks, urging the audience to applaud only at the end. The audience, against Ann Romney's pleas, applaud after each name. "You're not listening," she chides them. She sounds angry. Then, when she gets to the end of the list, she tells them to applaud.
And here's Mitt. Gray suit, ugly tie. He looks pretty fucking smug. He praises his opponents, saying these "three gentlemen are serious and able competitors, and I want to thank them." "Our opponents have been watching...and they like to believe a competitive campaign will leave us divided and weak." Romney disagrees, saying "it will prepare us." When they get together in Florida in seven months for the Republican convention, Romney promises the Republicans will be "a united party." And now he's launching into his regular old stump speech, saying "we're here to collect" on Obama's suggestion that if he didn't improve the economy, he'd be a one-term president. Romney said he's met some Hispanic businessmen in real life. "Leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses." He quotes Tom Paine, telling Obama to "Get out of our way." Romney says he lived "outside Washington," and so "I know how government can kill jobs, and, yes, I know how it can help from time to time."
Romney is citing his work on the Olympics again, and his record as governor of Massachusetts. Remarkably (not really), he doesn't mention the crown jewel of his term as governor, health care reform. "Without raising taxes, I will finally get America to a balanced budget," he says, to roars of approval from the packed room. "President Obama's vision of a free economy is to send money to his friends," he says, adding he wants to return money to the American people. Then he hits "Obamacare's" bureaucracy, and says President Obama sits with his buddies "in the faculty lounge"—big laugh there from the audience—denigrating different parts of America. Romney says he'll stand for religious freedom, bigger military—"so powerful no one would ever think of challenging it," his standard line—and he'll quit with Obama's "policies of appeasement."
Whereas Obama wants to fundamentally transform America, Romney says he'll return hope to America. "Our blueprint is the Constitution of the United States." "Hope is a new job and a paycheck and not a word on a bumper sticker," Romney says, and he adds that he's against handing out "goodies" and helping people "from cradle to grave." And he again hits back at how Obama wants to make America into "the worst of what Europe has become." That's a pretty solid applause line for the fluent-in-French Mitt, all around the country. And he ends not with his "shining city on a hill" bit or his "speak-singing the words to 'America the Beautiful' bit," but with his campaign slogan: "Believe in America." As I said in my feature this week, Romney's only got one gear: Full-on Tom-Cruise-style enthusiastic. This speech was the same as his other speeches, in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina. You could not tell, if you heard each of them without the state identifiers, whether he won or lost the state he's speaking in. It's pretty clear from this speech that Romney hasn't changed his methodology or his delivery—basically, he won Florida because he fought dirty and he tossed a whole lot of money around. This is not a man who learns from his mistakes.
Shocker. Romney is the first Republican candidate to win two states in the 2012 election cycle, with Gingrich in second, Santorum slopping into third, and Ron Paul in last place.
Now we're just waiting on the speeches. I expect Romney might be first. Will he sing again*? Will he gloat**? Will he even mention Gingrich's name***? All the answers will be revealed very soon.
UPDATE AGAIN: Exit polls are indicating Romney could be up by 14 percent. MSNBC has some granular information about the turnout. Romney is dominating in just about every demographic except those voters who consider themselves to be "very conservative." Gingrich owns those voters. The teabaggers still haven't embraced Romney. Gingrich also leads in evangelicals and social-issue voters. These are not good numbers for Romney as he heads into the general election; he needs to convince the teabaggers—those who are obsessed with small government, unless it's controlling the genitals of Americans—that he's their guy.
* I hope not.
** I hope so.
*** I doubt it.
At 3rd and Pike, of course:
On 1/31/12 at approximately 2:45 p.m., a woman called 911 and reported that she had been stabbed by another woman while riding a Metro bus... It is unknown what precipitated the assault. The suspect will be booked into King County Jail for Investigation of Assault.
Because Florida always does elections wrong, some 40% of the state is already reporting their results before the polls close everywhere in the state. Nate Silver says Romney's got 50% of the vote, so far, though that early lead isn't likely to hold as the more traditional conservative northwestern part of Florida starts reporting. Regardless of how the rest of the state votes, I expect Romney will be declared the winner at about fifteen seconds after 8 pm.
Meanwhile, this screenshot of the CNN live video from Gingrich's Orlando headquarters seems to suggest that Gingrich isn't quitting tonight:
Yes, dear God, yes. 46 more states to go!
While checking me in today at the doctor's office, the receptionist was checking my file to see that my insurance information was up-to-date, and she asked me, "Do you have a religious preference that you'd like listed here?"
No, I said, and that seems like a strange question.
"Well, it's here on the form," she said, sounding unsure. After a pause she added, "Just in case things go haywire and we need to know who to call!"
You mean my emergency contact? God is my emergency contact?
Is this a new question on "The Form," or what?
Thanks to the pesky dual time zones in Florida, the polls are still open until five pm Seattle time. We'll start reporting on results then, but here's something to chew on: While a few pundits are suggesting that the race will be all tied up by the time the night is over, Public Policy Polling would like to remind you that there are more states in the Republican primary besides Florida.
In Ohio Gingrich is at 26% to 25% for Romney, 22% for Santorum, and 11% for Paul.
What might be most interesting in both states is what happens in a head to head between Romney and either Gingrich or Santorum:
-In Missouri Santorum leads Romney 50-37 and in Ohio Santorum leads 45-38.
-In Missouri Gingrich leads Romney 43-42 and in Ohio Gingrich leads 42-39.
Two takeaways from those numbers: if this ever came down to Romney, Paul, and just one out of Gingrich and Santorum, Romney would be in a lot of trouble. And he'd be in more trouble if the single conservative alternative ended up being Santorum.
Romney is the likely nominee. But if either Santorum or Gingrich drop out sometime soon, the race becomes a race again. And that's a bad sign for Romney in the general election.
When Star Trek obsessive Tony Alleyne was separated from his wife, he embraced the chance to turn their old flat into a recreation of the inside of the Starship Enterprise. But the 58-year-old's painstaking efforts may have been for nothing. His ex-wife wants to sell up - and she intends to offer buyers a more conventional looking home.
Mr Alleyne has spent the last ten years transforming the one-bedroom property into a sci-fi fantasy, with a computerised flight deck, flashing lights and even 'transporters'.
He is devastated by the news that his ex-wife Georgina wants to sell the flat in Hinckley, Leicestershire, where he has been living by himself since their break-up.
What will happen if we continue to allow straight people to get married and then divorce? It's a slippery slope. Before you know it straight people will be getting divorced and engaging in bestiality, or worse! This aggression cannot stand. Who else's dreams will straight people ruin through divorce?
h/t: Clyde Peterson!
The Verge introduced me to the Kissenger, a device that allows long-distance couples to "kiss" over the internet:
Wow. And if you think that's sad, go look at the "mini-surrogate" video from the same company, which involves creepy dolls making frantic gestures on your behalf. Don't get me wrong—the technology will be there one day for physical long-distance communication. But we're definitely not there yet.
Your last SLLOTD struck my fancy and I responded to the couple looking for a unicorn in NYC. I am somewhat familiar with the unicorn community. I didn't choose to be labeled a unicorn; flattered, yes, but it's not the only thing I'm interested in. Most of the time I'm just happy to be a horse. In fact, I had a conversation recently with a friend in which we observed that the term "unicorn" doesn't even accurately apply to bi women anymore—single, hot, up-for-threesomes bi women—because they seem so common these days. The new unicorn is the bi-male, Dan, because a decent (everyone equally involved) MMF threeway is so much harder to put together than an FFM one.
I wrote to Penny&Marco and am in contact with them and I've been offering them some advice based on my experiences as a "unicorn" (by the more accepted female definition) in NYC and thought maybe you'd be interested in hearing my advice and sharing it with your readers. I've been reading your column for the last 14 years and am so indescribably grateful for your advice that I have to offer at any opportunity I might have to help by sharing my experiences. The pic I've enclosed, btw, is hopefully just to prove my assertion that I fit the term "unicorn," at least for the hot part, if you're going to accept my advice as any sort of guest "expert." Here goes:
1. My first tip is to use OkCupid. Many people think it's only for this or that type of dater. The problem is that you have to stay on the site for a few months in order for it to adapt to your needs (e.g. if you're rated in the top 50% of attractiveness, you are only shown to others in the top 50%; elitist sure, but just an example of how it helps narrow it down). Many people sign up and expect it to work right away or they give up. I've been up on it for about two years, I get a lot of messages from couples and people in open relationships because I am in the system as a bi-female who doesn't believe in monogamy and is cool with open relationships, among many other subtle indicators of who I'm interested in and who should be interested in me. That OKC even allows these indicators may make them pretty unique in the dating site realm. That's where couples should start.
So, you know that old joke about the retailer who sells items below cost, but claims he'll make it up on volume? Well, Amazon's latest earnings report is kinda like that:
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), the world’s largest Internet retailer, missed analysts’ fourth-quarter revenue estimates and reported a 57 percent decline in profit, dragged down by shipping costs and the money-losing Kindle Fire.
Sales rose 35 percent from the previous quarter to $17.4 billion, but that fell short of the $18.3 billion Wall Street consensus. Net income fell to $177 million, or 38 cents a share, down from $416 million and 91 cents in the year ago quarter. That actually beat analysts consensus projection of 16 cents a share.
But perhaps what most disappointed Wall Street was the soft guidance for the current quarter, which came in at between $12 billion and $13.4 billion in sales, and a possible quarterly loss, compared to the $13.4 billion to $14.9 billion analysts had been projecting. Shares fell about 10 percent in after-hours trading.
As for the Kindle, Amazon says it sold 177 percent more units than in the previous holiday quarter, but once again didn't release any actual numbers. That's a healthy increase, but I'm wondering if it's as healthy as most observers expected?
In any case, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos doesn't seem to be too worried about slim margins or quarterly results, instead choosing to sacrifice short term profits as part of a long term strategy. Time will tell.
Harvard Business Review tells us about former Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Operations and current J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson's attempts to rebuild the department store into something new:
... Johnson aims to create 80 to 100 highly-branded "stores within a store" (e.g. a Martha Stewart boutique). Channeling the spirit of Apple's Genius Bar, every J.C. Penney will also have a "Town Square" offering complimentary services to customers as well as promotions such as free hot dogs and ice cream in July.
The lynchpin of J.C. Penney's revitalization is a new "Fair and Square Every Day" pricing strategy. The plan stems from Johnson's realization that three-quarters of everything sold at J.C. Penney is typically sold at a 50% discount from list price. Instead of using deep discount sales to attract customers, starting this week the chain will simply offer three prices: (1) "Every Day", (2) "Month Long Value" (theme sales such as back-to-school related products in August), and (3) "Best Prices" (clearance). Prices will also now end in "0" instead of "99" and price tags will list just one price (instead of including the de rigueur "previously sold at a higher price" convention).
When I was a kid, Sears tried to do away with sales, pushing an everyday low prices angle. It was a New Coke-level disaster that lasted, if I recall correctly, much less than a year. Is this re-imagining destined for the same fate? Or is Johnson going to redesign the department store for the 21st century? Is this the first real attempt to make brick-and-mortar stores something that the internet can't replicate? It's up to you to decide, Slog!
Like many of my fellow Americans, one of my memorable wha? moments when I was a young naif, first traveling in other countries, was the realization that grown-ups in pretty much every other place in the world were allowed to drink in movie theaters.
You went to the concession stand to get your popcorn (or whatever weird snacks were popular in whatever country you happened to be in), your soda, your coffee... and your booze: beer, wine, small jars of Slovak liquor that tasted like gasoline to sip-'n'-grimace through a showing of As Good As It Gets during which almost nobody in the cavernous Soviet-era theater watched but just talked through. Whatever you wanted.
Now Washingtonians have the chance to live the dream. A new bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Moeller and Sen. Craig Pridemore (both D, from the Vancouver area), will allow a "theater" (defined in the Senate bill report as "an establishment in which feature motion pictures are regularly exhibited") to get beer and wine licenses so you can drink while watching a movie.
Why would two guys from Vancouver sponsor this kind of bill? The Colombian newspaper has the big scoop.
Kiggins Theatre owner Bill Leigh has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into fixing up and reopening the downtown Vancouver landmark. He hopes a new bill proposed by a Southwest Washington lawmaker will help him attract more patrons by allowing him to serve alcohol in the theater’s auditorium.
That's democracy, people, working for you. I imagine Seattle voters would like this bill to pass as well—what's good for the movie-watchers of Vancouver is good for the movie-watchers of Seattle!
From his lesser-known sequel to Rules for Radicals:
Rule 23: Always separate your cause buttons for easier reading.
Rule 24: Layer for warmth.
Rule 25: "Birth of a Nation" is a great pre-action psych-up film no matter the political faction.
Rule 26: Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you're in the clear. Also, vomit is an acceptable protest projectile.
Rule 27: Ridicule is the most potent weapon you can use as a commenter on Brooklyn Vegan.
thanks to slog tipper Brad "media lad" Katz
The volcano and the city. The image is perfect.
The desk of Alithea O'Dell:
I'm willing to bet that you—yes, you, right there—would find better use for twenty million dollars than whatever the fuck the Rick Perry campaign did with it:
Though he raised more than $20 million overall during 2011, Perry raised less than $2.9 million of that amount between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, federal records indicate, as disastrous debate performances and plummeting poll numbers crippled his fundraising efforts.
Perry’s campaign had more than $15 million cash on hand in early October. By the year’s end, that dwindled to less than $3.77 million.
Basically, they could have given around $50 to everyone who voted in New Hampshire and Iowa. I bet they would have had much better results if they did just that. It's hard to overstate what a colossal, magnificent failure the Rick Perry campaign turned out to be.
Yesterday evening, at the twilight of "Hug a Uterus" lobby day in Olympia, the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee approved the Reproductive Parity Act (SB 6185), which would preserve the current trend that all health insurance policies sold in Washington that offer maternity coverage to also cover elective abortions.
Rep. Eileen Cody's (D-34) companion bill (HB 2330) was also approved by the House Health Care and Wellness Committee on January 26.
The bill still must pass out of either the House or the Senate by February 14 or else it's dead, but still: Light hurrahs all around.
Back (click to enlarge):
...religious bigots seem tremendously concerned with the life expectancies of gay men. They don't think we should exist... but they want us to lead long and healthy lives.
Sens. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa), John McCain (R., Ariz.) and two colleagues Tuesday are introducing legislation that would kill off the dollar bill in favor of dollar coins, touting the move as a way to cut costs over the long run.Will this spell the end of the gambler's roll? (Brendan Kiley explained to me that a gambler's roll is the opposite of the traveler's roll—I sadly only knew the gambler's roll from its racist name, which I picked up at my British standard all-boys school. It has always surprised and embarrassed me how colonial-era antisemitism was so easily adopted by black Africans.)
“Promoting the dollar coin is a smart investment for our country that saves taxpayer’s money,” Harkin said.
Yes, it's an internal poll, and campaigns only release (or leak) their own polls when it serves their interests. But those caveats aside, this poll looks pretty good for Darcy Burner.
Among primary voters who vote for one of the Democratic candidates on the initial ballot, Darcy Burner currently leads the pack with a decisive lead. Burner leads with nearly half of the vote (45%), followed by Laura Ruderman (15%), Steve Hobbs (13%), Suzan DelBene (12%), Roger Goodman (10%), and Darshan Rauniyar (5%).
The poll, based on a random sample of 504 likely 1st CD primary voters, conducted by Lake Research Partners on behalf of the Burner campaign, between January 23-26, has a sampling error of +/- 4.4 percent. It also found that 54 percent of
respondents "primary election voters who pick a Democratic candidate in the initial ballot" have a favorable opinion of Burner, while only 9 percent have an unfavorable opinion. So much for the "everybody hates Darcy" meme.
Again, campaigns tend to only release polling results when it's to their advantage. My understanding is that Suzan DelBene's campaign also had a poll in the field in January, and I've got a call in asking if they have different results. No word yet.
As I wrote following last week's candidate forum, it sure looked like the other Dems were running against Burner, as if she were the frontrunner, not DelBene, as has been widely presumed. So perhaps this polling data somewhat explains that dynamic?
Newt Gingrich is wildly optimistic about his chances:
“I’m not going to lose big here,” Gingrich told reporters about the election today. He added this campaign has a long road ahead: “I would say probably six months — probably June or July — unless Mitt Romney drops out earlier.”
Meanwhile, Romney thinks Gingrich has been a big baby about all this negative campaigning:
Romney: "When attacked, you have to respond....It would be wonderful if campaigns were nothing but positive but that's certainly not the reality."
But all the negative campaigning is hurting Romney's likability:
Mr. Romney’s favorability rating was unchanged, on average, over the seven polls, some of which showed it increasing and others decreasing.
His unfavorable rating was up, however, in 6 of the 7 polls, and by an average of 3 percentage points.
Will Gingrich get stomped? Will Romney find his own pulse? Will he continue to trash Gingrich—and his own reputation—in his acceptance speech? Voting ceases in America's Wang* at 5 pm Seattle time. We'll be bringing you all the Florida results live right here on Slog.
* "America's Wang" is ™ David Schmader. All rights reserved.
Sporting the most regressive tax structure in the nation by far, and facing relentlessly negative revenue forecasts at a time when the budgets of less sales-tax-dependent states are beginning to recover, you'd think a capital gains tax would be a no-brainer for Washington state. A five percent excise tax on capital gains (profits from the sale of stocks, bonds, and real estate), with a $10,000 exemption, would raise over $500 million a year, while impacting only the wealthiest three percent of households.
That's money we desperately need to pay for K-12 schools, public universities, prisons, parks, and everything else state government does. And with capital gains highly concentrated in the hands of the rich—96 percent goes to households with incomes over a million dollars a year—such a tax would constitute a small but welcome step toward tax fairness.