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Posts from 2011 May 24

By Brendan Loy

This afternoon, eleven months to the day after I got my first iPhone, I broke it:

iPhone broken

D’OH!!! #PANIC!!!

I was listening to a tornado coverage on an Oklahoma radio station, KRMG, via TuneIn Radio, when my earbuds’ cord got caught on something and, when I made a sudden movement, the iPhone went flying out of my hand and landed 2 or 3 feet away, and maybe 4 feet down, on the blacktop of the parking lot, face-down. BOOM.

Thankfully, it’s insured via a rider on my homeowner’s policy, so if all goes well, I’ll be able to replace it for just a $50 deductible. Still, what a pain in the butt.

P.S. It still works, by the way!

By Brendan Loy

Now that the Generic Republican is officially running, I’m thinking he needs a slogan that truly reflects his exciting identity. Here are some of the ideas I’ve come up with:

• Pawlenty 2012: Adequate for America
• Pawlenty 2012: Less Frightening Than The Various Alternatives
• Pawlenty 2012: We Are The Ones We Have Been Vaguely Waiting For, Sort Of
• Pawlenty 2012: In Your Heart, You Know He’s Alright
• Pawlenty 2012: Mediocrity We Can Believe In
• Pawlenty 2012: Bland Over Blue

What say you, O Internet masses? Any better ideas?

On a more serious note, I’ve been pondering my GOP nomination odds since I posted them in a comment Sunday night, and I think I may be underestimating Romney’s chances a bit. I have Multiple-Choice Mitt with a 22% of winning, well behind T-Paw’s 33%, based on the notion that Romney’s manifest flaws and his sordid past will prove too much to overcome, and Pawlenty (who presently barely registers in the polls, whereas Mitt has a low plurality lead) will eventually rise to the top, given the absence of viable alternatives (no Daniels, etc.). But it occurs to me that, while Pawlenty is clearly the Generic Republican, Romney is the Default Republican — the candidate who people just sort of assume is the front-runner, and who is liable to get a decent baseline of support from relatively low-information voters unless and until somebody else catches fire. (And really, is it even possible to imagine Tim Pawlenty “catching fire”?) Some years, the Default Republican and the Generic Republican are the same person — think Bob Dole — but this year they’re definitely not. Looking at Romney vs. Pawlenty as Default Republican vs. Generic Republican is a pretty useful framing of the race, I think.

Anyway, Romney’s status as the Default Republican potentially matters a lot, in general but especially in one specific, plausible scenario: if the need arises to rally around an anti-Bachmann or anti-Palin (or anti-Santorum??), and Pawlenty’s campaign hasn’t taken off yet, Romney would be the logical hold-your-nose-and-vote-for-someone-who-isn’t-crazy choice. Basically, as I think about it, Pawlenty really, really needs to win Iowa, so he can use the momentum boost (a la John Kerry) to suddenly vault to the front of the pack. If, instead, an unelectable far-right candidate wins Iowa, it’s very possible that Romney’s superior name recognition and poll numbers — and the #PANIC!!! of the GOP’s non-crazy wing — would allow the Default Republican to become “inevitable” before the Generic Republican ever has a chance to really catch on.

Oh, and also: Pawlenty has a money problem. Romney doesn’t. That matters, too.

In light of this, I think I’d revise my odds to something like:

Pawlenty 28%
Romney 27%
Bachmann 10%
Perry 8%*
Palin 6%**
Huntsman 5%
Cain 4%
Gingrich 2%
Other 10%

*Assumes a roughly 20-25% chance he runs.
**Assumes a roughly 50% chance she runs.

Compare and contrast with Intrade, which I think is slightly undervaluing Palwenty and Bachmann, and waaay overvaluing Huntsman, who I personally like but can’t imagine winning the nomination. Also, although I don’t specifically call out Jeb Bush on the above list (he’s subsumed within the 10% for “Other”), Intrade’s 0.3% odds for Jeb winning the nomination seem like a bargain to me. He very likely won’t run — but if he did, he’d have a helluva good shot.

(Apropos of which, if Perry jumps in, he becomes an instant front-runner on my list, and Pawlenty’s chances are shot to hell. If Palin jumps in, she and Bachmann roughly switch places.)

By Brendan Loy

pg2_a_4horsemen_600

Harold Camping, the nutjob blasphemer fundamentalist evangelical preacher and radio host whose prediction of a May 21 Rapture launched a thousand snarky tweets, isn’t backing down in the face of the…uh…evident lack of a Rapture over the weekend. Instead, he’s doubling down!

Camping says the world will still end on October 21, as he’s predicted all along. Originally, he said there would be a five-month period of Tribulations in between the Rapture (May 21) and the Apocalypse (October 21). But now he thinks everything is going to happen all at once: Rapture, Tribulations, Apocalypse. Boom. “The great earthquake and rapture and the universe melting in fervent heat will be happening on the last day – October 21 2011. It’s all going to happen on the last day.”

But wait — what about May 21, this past Saturday? What happened? Well, Camping says the Second Coming and Day of Judgment did happen on Saturday; it just took a different form than expected. He explains:

We were convinced that on May 21 God would return here in a very physical way by bringing a great earthquake and ushering in the final five months of the day of judgement and the fact is when we look at it spiritually, we find he did come. …

On May 21 2011 we didn’t feel or see any difference in the world but we know from the Bible that God brought judgement day to bear on the whole world – and it will continue right up until October 21 2011 when the whole world will be destroyed. …

When you study the Bible, you’re always learning. We had all of our dates correct. But God had not opened our eyes yet to the fact that May 21 was a spiritual coming – not a physical coming. … We didn’t understand the spiritual meaning of May 21.

So, why did God change plans, and decide to compress the Rapture and Apocalypse into a single fiery day of reckoning on October 21? Camping has a theory:

The great earthquake didn’t happen on May 21 because no-one will be able to survive it for more than a few days or let alone five months to suffer God’s wrath because everything will be levelled and destroyed after that earthquake and there will be no food or water to keep everyone alive.

The Bible tells us that Christ has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. God is a very compassionate God and while the law of God demands that there has to be punishment it does not mean God is going to punish, and punish, and punish, and punish.

God hadn’t thought about the implications of the great earthquake before, I guess. Hey, the Dude’s got a lot on his mind, cut him some slack!

Anyway, the October 21 Rapture/Apocalypse prediction is an intriguing one for me, because, if all goes as planned (in my life, not in Camping’s delusions theology), I’ll be flying from Denver to Chicago that day, in order to attend the USC-Notre Dame game in South Bend the next day, October 22 — the first night game in 21 years at Notre Dame Stadium, and my first time back since 2006. The trip is my 30th birthday present from Becky, and I can’t wait.

But, alas, I guess this means I’ll never get to see that game, because the “universe will melt in fervent heat” before the Irish and Trojans ever get to take the field. D’oh!

This leads me to one inescapable conclusion, well expressed by former “Boi From Troy” Scott Schmidt on Twitter:

@brendanloy apparently god wants to spare Notre Dame embarrassment of losing to KiffinTue May 24 02:38:23 via TweetDeck

Heh.

On the bright side, if the timing is right, maybe I’ll get an awesome view of the Rapture from the airplane; I’ll have to be sure to get a window seat, and watch for Ascenders passing through our cruising altitude on their way to Heaven. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get a front-row seat to the Apocalypse, whatever that would look like from above.

Oh, and one more bright side: no more #PANIC about the implications of turning 30, nine days after the Apocalypse! ;)