Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Getting on the Record

(Preliminary Note: I am writing this at 11:00 AM, while sequestered at the Federal Courthouse in Milwaukee. I have no Internet access and am unaware of any exit poll data. My only bit of empirical evidence is that I didn’t have to wait in line this morning to vote.)

(Preliminary Note for the optimistic Republican: Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.)

As longtime readers of WHTC may recall, I accurately predicted the results of all 50 states in the 2004 presidential election. See here for details. I haven’t had the time to track the polls as closely this year, but I didn’t want to pass up a chance to match the feat again.

Unfortunately for the future of the Republic, I see Obama winning fairly comfortably, 311-227. I think McCain has run a pretty good campaign overall, but the currents working against him will prove too tough to overcome.

McCain States

North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Obama States

District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Rhode Island

The good news is that we should know a lot by early in the evening. If things look hopeful, I’ll stay tuned into the night. If they don’t, I’ll do homework while watching my wife play Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on our Wii. A good night either way. Here is a mini-schedule of the important early closings with some things to watch for:

7:00 ET: Georgia, Indiana, and Virginia. If the networks don’t call Georgia and Indiana for McCain early, or if they immediately call Virginia for Obama, things will look pretty grim.

7:30 ET: North Carolina and Ohio. Cliches endure for a reason: As Ohio goes, so goes the presidential race. Though unlikely, an immediate call in North Carolina for McCain would be a strong indicator of a good night for him.

8:00 ET: Florida, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. Florida and Missouri have been two of the closest states coming down the stretch; both are must-wins for McCain. The GOP, meanwhile, has campaigned harder in Pennsylvania in the last month than in any other state, so an early call for Obama would be disastrous.

(Closing Note: A semi-regular blogging schedule should resume in December. This semester has been brutal.)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Because I Can't Find It Anywhere Else on the Web . . .

Secondary Epic

W. H. Auden

No, Virgil, no:
Not even the first of the Romans can learn
His Roman history in the future tense,
Not even to serve your political turn;
Hindsight as foresight makes no sense.

How was your shield-making god to explain
Why his masterpiece, his grand panorama
Of scenes from the coming historical drama
Of an unborn nation, war after war,
All the birthdays needed to pre-ordain
The Octavius the world was waiting for,
Should so abruptly, mysteriously stop,
What cause should he show why he didn't foresee
The future beyond 31 B.C.,
Why a curtain of darkness should finally drop
On Carians, Morini, Gelonians with quivers,
Converging Romeward in abject file,
Euphrates, Araxes and similar rivers
Learning to flow in a latinate style,
And Caesar be left where prophecy ends,
Inspecting troops and gifts for ever?
Wouldn't Aeneas have asked:--"What next?
After this triumph what portends?"

As rhetoric your device was too clever:
It lets us imagine a continuation
To your Eighth Book, an interpolation,
Scrawled at the side of a tattered text
In a decadent script, the composition
Of a down-at-heels refugee rhetorician
With an empty belly, seeking employment,
Cooked up in haste for the drunken enjoyment
Of some blond princeling whom loot had inclined
To believe that Providence had assigned
To blonds the task of improving mankind.

. . . Now Mainz appears and starry New Year's Eve
As two-horned Rhine throws off the Latin yoke
To bear the Vandal on his frozen back;
Lo! Danube, now congenial to the Goth,
News not unwelcome to Teutonic shades
And all lamenting beyond Acheron
Demolished Carthage or a plundered Greece:
And now Juturna leaves the river-bed
Of her embittered grievance--loud her song,
Immoderate her joy--for word has come
Of treachery at the Salarian Gate.
Alaric has avenged Turnus. . . .

No, Virgil, no:
Behind your verse so masterfully made
We hear the weeping of a Muse betrayed.
Your Anchises isn't convincing at all:
It's asking too much of us to be told
A shade so long-sighted, a father who knows
That Romulus will build a wall,
Augustus found an Age of Gold,
And is trying to teach a dutiful son
The love of what will be in the long run,
Would mention them both but not disclose
(Surely, no prophet could afford to miss,
No man of destiny fail to enjoy
So clear a proof of Providence as this.)
The names predestined for the Catholic boy
Whom Arian Odovacer will depose.