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Alaska

With 60% of the precincts reporting, Obama has a 73-27 lead in Alaska.  Despite the lack of polling, the predictions at dKos look good.  Despite having on 13 delegates, it’s nice to see another state go for Obama.

Update: MSNBC has called Alaska and Missouri for Obama.

Missouri…!

A few hours ago it looked like Clinton’s lead in Missouri was unsurmountable. With 97% of the votes cast Obama is now up by 3,000 votes. It could still go either way, but it’s interesting in a state that I thought had gone for Clinton.

On the other hand, with 15% of the votes counted, Clinton leads Obama by 23 points (55-33). MSNBC just called the state for Clinton. Looking at the exit polls, it looks like the margin will closer to 52-43.

Update: Markos calls Missouri for Obama, although the networks are still silent.

Obama on Super Tuesday

Obama’s speech is upbeat, he keep smiling.  He really looks happy.  And he should be – he didn’t make the expectations, he didn’t capture New Jersey or Massachusetts or Missouri, but he did well.  His rhetoric is populist.  His narrative is classic Obama.

This campaign…is different.  Not because of me, but because of you.

Maybe he has been reading the blogs.  Maybe he (or his staff, more probably) have heard the message – that the best argument for him is that there is a groundswell, there is a movement for change, and Obama is the person most likely to do what the people are asking.  He plays on the idea that nothing will unite the Republicans like Hillary, although he says it without making the connection too obvious.  On the other hand on the issue of  lobbyist issue and on the issue of the war he makes the comparison with Hillary obvious.

From there, he talks about populist issues, he talks about progressive issues.  When he talks about alternative energy he does it with passion.  Hillary made the point, but she made it without passion.

We can do this.  Again, he seems to have a subtext of standing at the head of a movement, saying “I will lead” rather than “follow me”.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time…we are the change that we seek.  And he moves from Gandhi to Chavez.  Yes, we can…yes, she can.  And then what began as a whisper has now swelled to a chorus.  He repeats the language he started with.  And ends with chants of Yes, we can.

Obama’s grandmother awaits results

Markos posted a picture of Barack Obama’s 86-year-old grandmother, Sarah Hussein Obama, as she awaits the results of today’s Super Tuesday primary at her home in Kenya.

I love the image and the imagery.

Blogging on Quote Mined Research

Since it fits better there, I posted my angle on the whole whole Casey Luskin’s (mis)use of the ResearchBlogging icon at another of my blogs.  I also included a list of all the posts I could find on the topic.  Go check it out.

Obama wins Indonesia

Obama won 75% of the votes cast in the (US) Democratic party primary in Indonesia. Americans living outside of the US got to cast primary votes today.

Given the fact that Obama spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, it isn’t too surprising that we would do well there. But I suspect that his calls to repair links with the rest of the world will resonate with Americans living outside of the country – after all, they are likely to have seen first hand the damage that Bush’s policies have done to the reputation of the United States.

The ruins of Detroit

My comment on a post of Bug Girl’s got really long, so I thought I’d copy it here, with a few more thoughts. She posted a link to Sweet Juniper’s photos of the Detroit Public Schools Book Depository, apparently abandoned in the 1980s, still packed full of school supplies (including pallets of text books, still in their plastic wrapping). Looters, fire and decades of neglect have taken their toll. My comment from Bug Girl’s Blog:

When I saw 8 Mile I was struck by the image of barbarians living in the ruins of Rome. The parking lots with cathedral ceilings. The buildings that were works of art.

I also remember one shot of a neighbourhood that looked out of place in a Haitian slum. If I hadn’t seen that area for myself, I would have thought that they went out of their way to find the worst possible shot of poverty that they could find. While I can’t say with certainty that the shot I saw in 8 Mile was the same place I’d seen in real, the stuff I remember seeing wasn’t on a side street. Though I do remember looking down side streets and seeing half-collapsed houses.

Detroit is so heartbreaking. But what really shocked me was when my father-in-law mentioned that Flint was a well-to-do city 25 years ago. Having come to Michigan in the mid-90s, I had no sense of history. Detroit’s boom days seemed as distant to me as Bay City’s…my lack of perspective amazes me. But how does something like this happen – how is a building packed full of textbooks simply abandoned? It isn’t like the people fled an advancing army or were evacuated after a nuclear power plant melted down. It’s mind boggling.

Then I read Sweet Juniper’s blog post about his photography of the ruins of Detroit. In addition to the Book Depository, he also has pictures of Michigan Central Station. Unlike the relatively nondescript book depository, Michigan Central Station is on the National Register of Historic Places. According to its Wikipedia article, the last train left the station on January 6, 1988.

Pictures like these fill me with a mixture of sadness and wonder. There is something fascinating about these forgotten places. Sweet Juniper writes:

When I post pictures of Detroit, I am always struck by the way people respond in the comments with a sense of “sadness.” The reactions we have to ruins is something that fascinates me, and I’d love to hear more in the comments about how you feel looking at such buildings or even just seeing the photos I post on flickr. Of course, I sometimes share a sense of sadness, but still I wonder: why is it “sad” for a building to be left to decay if there is no one willing to use it? Can decay be something more than sentimental? Can it ever be beautiful? Can it just be respected for what it is, and not further corrupted by our emotions? And what is it that draws us to ruination? Why do some of us find it so compelling? I’d like to believe I am much more saddened by people whose lives fall apart than I am by crumbling stones or plaster. Sadly, social decay is just so much more easy to ignore, and not as prettily exposed with the lens of a camera.

It’s easy to see abandoned buildings divorced from context. But they represent broken and forgotten dreams. Some, like the train station, simply look abandoned. Again, reading the Wikipedia article, that probably was the case (although the fixtures and ornaments were probably removed by looters). The book depository is different – it looks like the building was just locked at the end of the day and no one ever came back. And while all the “valuables” have been looted, the books probably weren’t of interest to anyone. Books that could have changed lives were instead abandoned – forgotten by the city, of no interest to looters.