Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April Will Be the Cruelest Month, for Ted Cruz

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land
Ted Cruz should be riding high off his win in Wisconsin last night, but his victory speech didn't sound it, and that's because he can smell the lilacs coming up in the Atlantic Coast primaries later this month. Forget the polls, here are the odds, according to Pivit:

State Date Delegates Trump Cruz Kasich
New York April 19 95 99% 1% 1%
Connecticut April 26 28 93% 5% 2%
Delaware April 26 16 92% 8% <1%
Maryland April 26 38 68% 32% <1%
Pennsylvania April 26 71 87% 13% <1%
Rhode Island April 26 19 92% 6% <1%
Indiana May 3 57 18% 82% <1%
Nebraska May 10 36 2% 98% <1%
West Virginia May 10 34 84% 16% <1%
Oregon May 17 28 20% 80% <1%
Washington May 24 44 17% 83% <1%
California June 7 172 58% 42% <1%
Montana June 7 27 2% 98% <1%
New Jersey June 7 51 97% 2% 1%
New Mexico June 7 24 27% 73% <1%
South Dakota June 7 29 7% 93% <1%

So Ted Cruz is likely to lose the next 6 contests. The month of May may be better for Cruz, where he is in line to win 4 of 5 states, unless his voters lose faith, which could very well happen under the crush of April's cruelties. If he can keep his voters motivated, we're off to the contested convention, with my calculations showing Donald Trump finishing with 1190 delegates, just short of the 1237 he needs to clinch before the convention. I have a theory about the contested convention: either Donald Trump will be the nominee or he'll get to pick the nominee.

The Democrats may have a contested convention too. Because of their super-delegate system, Hillary Clinton would have to win close to 60% of the elected delegates to win the nomination outright before the convention. But she's 2.4 million votes ahead of Bernie Sanders, even after her loss in Wisconsin last night, so I imagine she'll be able to hunt up enough delegates in the end.

Update 4/27/2016: Donald Trump now looks to have overtaken Ted Cruz in Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico which puts him on track in my ledger for 1277 delegates which is 40 more than he would need to clinch the nomination.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Dime Bags? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Dime Bags

Just what was the Cambridge City Council smoking when they passed the new dime bag ordinance which took effect on March 31, 2016, April Fools' Day Eve?

The new rules were very helpfully explained on this sign at the supermarket checkout:

This version appeared at the pharmacy checkout and at all manner of retail stores across the city ("Together, we can reduce waste and protect the environment"):

In other words, those evilly convenient "single use plastic bags" with the easy-to-carry handles are banned. You can still ask for a paper bag:

That will cost you a dime plus a penny for sales tax, if you accurately declare the number of bags you are taking at the self check-out:

Or, you can bring your own bag. I now have six, three cloth and three heavy plastic, as a couple of well-meaning charitable organizations keeping sending me bags. But there is a lot of material in one reusable, so having six reduces the net savings for the environment:

Stores can substitute compostable plastic bags made from materials "capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site such that the material breaks down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with known compostable materials." But so far, stores are having none of that, and the old plastic bad dispensers at the checkout are empty:

You can still get some plastic bags for free. The Cambridge City Council didn't have the nerve to eliminate or charge for the plastic bags you get at the supermarket in the produce or meat aisles:

These also qualify under an exception for bags without handles, because it's that little extra plastic in the handle which makes the bag easier to carry that is evil:

You can make your own handle (don't tell the Cambridge City Council):

My problem is that I have been reusing those bags with plastic handles for lining my trash cans and garbage disposal. It's been years since I have purchased a box of trash or garbage bags - if I have to start again, that's an unintended consequence. Fortunately, I have a secret stash of contraband: