Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When Marriage Mirrors Politics

My tiny wife and I finally sat down to discuss the brass tacks of merging our finances tonight. She had a simple plan in which my money was deposited into a joint account and she took what was needed from the household and moved it to her account to pay all of our bills with. Now I trust her implicitly. But I couldn't help raise the point that there was no fairness or accountability in her system. Under her system she could be skimming money to buy designer platform shoes that she only wore at work and I'd be none the wiser. (If find that using amusing hypotheticals in really serious discussions helps to keep the tension levels lower.)

So we hammered out a system that promoted both fairness and accountability. My pay gets deposited into the joint account, she takes out a fixed amount to pay our bills with, I have a set amount of spending money per week, and everything left over gets deposited to a joint savings account. Additionally any extra expenses accrued by me that exceed my weekly budget (mostly new shoes, winter coats, software, hardware, and my son's plane tickets) are charged to my one credit card and are paid for out of the savings account at the end of the month.

I didn't make this argument because I distrust mt my wife. She's more honest than I am. But it was the principle that mattered most to me. And the fact that she came up with a plan that was both fair and accountable in the blink of an eye speaks volumes about her. After all only those who don't have your best interests in mind would argue against a just, equitable, and balanced budget.

Of Note

I've been listed on The Best of the Web's blog directory for free under the category "Moderate"! It may not be an award but its the next best thing and it puts me in good company.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fighting Back (Gas Prices Edition)

Well we did it. We went out and bought a brand new car. After hours of research half a dozen test drives and two weekends spent shopping for cars we finally bought a 2008 Nissan Versa hatchback for me to drive.

We weren't planning on buying a new car quite this soon but my 1998 Ford Taurus' transmission started slipping (only if you gunned it) and rather than spend 700 to 1000$ repairing it when it finally crapped out we opted to trade it in for 700$ (fair market value IMO). We got a good rate of 4.9% due to my wife's superior credit score and monthly payment of 305$ for a 17,000$ car (including extended warranty).

We picked it primarily because it was the most fuel efficient vehicle in its class getting 33 MPG on average (38 MPG possible driving 65, on a flat interstate, with one passenger of average weight, with cruise control on, and the car being well maintained.) was highly recommended by Consumer Reports, and had the most bells and whistles of any car in its class including ABS, key less ignition, built in alarm system, variable speed transmission, power everything (except seats), and a six disk in dash CD changer with bluetooth and Ipod port.

Also of great import is that my tiny wife can see over the steering wheel if the seat is fully jacked up without having any major height oriented blind spots.

Unfortunately the only 2008 model we could find was a light gray without the spoiler and so its a really bland looking car. Especially considering that its major competitors were the Pontiac Vibe:











and the Toyota Matrix














which all were rated well but the Versa beat them out on mileage, power, safety (with ABS), and gizmos. But there isn't a speck of me in the car. I mean my first car was a new 1998 gray Ford Escort. But I chose that car. This one was decided on by consensus, need, and functionality. I assuage myself knowing that I've decreased my gas consumption by 33% which in turn saves me some money, reduces the amount of carbon dioxide I spew into the air, reduced the amount of money that governments that support terrorism receive, and if we use it to run errands on the weekend we'll save another ten bucks a week. But part of me would be much happier if the car reflected an iota of my personality rather than screaming entry level accountant. How American is that?

Who knows, once I slap a " Cthulu in 2008 Why vote for the lesser of two evils?" bumper sticker on it, add a NWF and a Coalition for Darfur window decal to it, and hang up a tacky air freshener I'll feel better about it. Until then at least I can take a little pride knowing that I'm making a tiny sacrifice for my family, my nation, and my world. After all don't the needs of the many outweigh the needs of a few or the one?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Introducing TGIF

I don't post often on Fridays. Largely because I want to spend as much time as possible with my family. I used to do a quick post about Darfur on Fridays but after a while it became apparent that our policy on Darfur wouldn't change until someone else was in office. I feel kind of bad for not posting at least five days a week and so I'm introducing TGIF. Essentially I'll be posting a song or video on Fridays until we get a new administration. After that I'll probably be posting Darfur updates and TGIF. After all reports on Darfur can be pretty grim and you may need something to lift your spirits afterwards.

So with no further aplomb I present the first installment of TGIF:

An anthem for the little guy..



Yes, that is Steve Burns from Blue's Clues with his band aka The Flaming Lips. He's due to have a second album coming out soon.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Blame It On The Grain

If you're currently blaming biofuels for the rise in food prices there's good news and bad news. First the good news. You're right. The bad news is you're mostly wrong. Over at the NY Times Roger Cohen points to the major culprits involved in higher food prices...

Hundreds of millions of people have moved from poverty into the global economy over the past decade in Asia. They’re eating twice a day, instead of once, and propelling rapid urbanization. Their demand for food staples and once unthinkable luxuries like meat is pushing up prices.

At the same time, the rising price of commodities over the past year has largely tracked the declining parity of the beleaguered dollar. Rice prices have shot up in dollar terms, far less against the euro. Countries like China are offloading depreciating dollar reserves to hoard stores of value like commodities.

Food price increases are also tied to oil being nearly $120 a barrel. Fossil fuels are an important input in everything from fertilizer to diesel for tractors.

Over at The Glittering Eye Dave Schuler comes to a similar conclusion:

Factors in rising food prices include:

  • Increased demand.
  • Rising oil prices (the cost of oil accounts for something like 25% of the cost of grain production).
  • Bad government policies.
  • Speculation.
  • Use of food crops for fuel production.
probably in about that order.
He, like me, is also of the opinion that diverting food to be processed into biofuel is a bad idea. We should be using marginal lands for farming grasses to convert to biofuel, converting agricultural waste to biofuel, and farming algae. The problem is that our subsidization of current biofuels is distorting the market demand for investment in these areas in addition to contributing to higher food prices. Unfortunately since these subsidies are helping prop up many American farmers the reality is that it would currently be political suicide for any member of the House or Senate to take up arms against them. And until food prices become high enough that subsidizing ethanol becomes impractical (as its one of the few things on Mr Schuler's list we can actually control), a large enough breakthrough in the biofuel sources I've mentioned occurs therefore rendering subsidies irrelevant, or there is a major public outcry we're stuck with them.

Of course if the price of beer keeps going up the latter may happen sooner than either of the former.

H/T to The Daily Show for the title

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Having a Bad Day?

It could be worse. At least you weren't saved from a lynching by being arrested for being part of a penis stealing ring.

Apparently truth is still stranger than fiction.

Fighting Higher Gas Prices

With some people paying 100$ to fill up their tanks it time to repost my list of gas saving tips...

gasbuddy.com tracks prices all over America on a station by station basis. They have websites for most major cities
(insert city name)gasprices.com so for me its sanantoniogasprices.com

Also make sure your tires are properly inflated normally thats 35 on the little meter thingy for most cars and light trucks. Under inflated tires can cost ya 2 mpg.

Remove any dead bodies from your trunk, move that dashboard altar inside, and limit yourself to 1 gun and 2 magazines per car. 100 additional pounds = 1 mpg

Time for that tune up and/or oil change that you've been putting off = up to 5 mpg (if you're bad about maintenance, request platinum plugs, they last for 3 years)

Other maintenance Air Filter (you CAN do this yourself in 5 minutes), PCV valve (costs 5$ and is as easy to change as an air filter), Fuel filter (these suckers vary wildly in price and ease of installation ask your mechanic about it when you get your tune up)

And ya may wanna run a gas treatment through your car next fill up. (I use Marvel Mystery Oil twice a year. I'd tell you why but it'd make a for longer potentially boring post.)

Sam's Club and Costco have the cheapest gas in town if you already have a membership. But don't go buying a 35 to 50$ membership just to save a dime per gallon on gas. However if you start buying you're gas, milk, potty paper, trash bags, water filters, pet food, laundry detergent and Vaseline there you'll save money in the long run. (Note: Costco is usually cheaper than Sam's. Costco caps its profit margin at 20% Sam's doesn't AND Costco's often have liquor stores in them. Always a plus.)

Plus in the event we are ever besieged by Zombies having to pull over to forage for gas as little as possible becomes really important.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Clinton Clinches Pennsylvania Primary




By an impressive 10% margin. The problem is that she only picked up roughly a dozen pledged delegates. As the number crunchers point out she'd have to win by 80% in the remaining races to catch up to Obama. With Obama predicted to win Oregon and North Carolina thats not going to happen. That brings us to the real question:

So super delegates, who is it going to be?

We Interrupt This Primary...

To kvetch about gas prices...

Its official. The weekly cost of gasoline for my family exceeded 100$ this week. That makes it the highest weekly expense right behind food. If current trends continue it'll become the absolute highest weekly expense in about three months. In order to combat this ever growing expense I'm going to see if I can't get my schedule changed so that I go to work two hours earlier so my tiny wife and I can carpool. Additionally she is interviewing to teach at a school closer to home and either I'll be interviewing with an ISP nearby or we'll be buying a car that gets 30 MPG to help offset the cost of me commuting (additionally both of our vehicles are 10+ years old so having a new car has additional benefits.)

Of course it occurs to me now that this would be the prefect time to make an argument for getting a motorcycle. After all they do get better gas mileage than most cars and as long as you aren't insisting on a Harley they cost less than a small car.

Seriously though if we, as a text book middle class family, are looking at making major changes to our lives due to the cost of gas how is this affecting people of similiar means who live in states where the cost of gas is even higher than Texas? Let alone those with lower means and older cars?

Monday, April 21, 2008

McCain Won't Back The New GI Bill

But he is crafting a similar version of his own...

From The Daily Press:

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has suggested he would oppose a bipartisan measure by Virginia Sen. Jim Webb to expand college tuition benefits for military veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

McCain told reporters Monday he was working on alternative legislation aimed at ensuring that troops do not leave the military earlier than planned to go to college.

"We are working on proposals of our own," McCain said on his campaign plane, according to ABC News. "I'm a consistent supporter of educational benefits for the men and women of the military. I want to make sure that we have incentives for people to remain in the military, as well as for people to join the military."

McCain's new move comes as a blow to Webb, a freshman Democrat and former Navy secretary who had been quietly building bipartisan support for months.

Webb's GI Bill, a centerpiece of his 2006 campaign, would pay the college tuition of many military veterans who have served since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The amount of tuition paid would not exceed the cost of the most expensive state school in a veteran's home state, in most cases.

The current Montgomery GI Bill pays only a small fraction of the cost of college today.
Why won't he just support the current bill? Odds are given the administration's resistance to it because it could conceivably reduce retention goals McCain may sense a veto on the horizon. Although I find the retention argument against this bill to be weak. In my opinion those that want to leave the military will and the additional few that might leave solely to go to go to college because of this bill will be offset by the few that join the military during war time to solely go to college. Should W veto the bill in its current form McCain's will make an excellent plan B to ensure that our servicemen get the quality education they deserve however the logic behind W's and McCain's reticence to support the bill in its current form escapes me.

Clinton Still Leading In Pennsylvania Polls?

Depending on who you listen to she got a six to seven point advantage over Obama ...or not

Zogby:

UTICA, New York—The final weekend before tomorrow's important primary election in Pennsylvania was good for New York's Hillary Clinton, as she made a definitive move toward victory over rival Illinois' Barack Obama, a fresh Newsmax/Zogby daily telephone tracking poll shows.

She gained two points over the past 24 hours as Obama lost one point, and she now leads 48% to 42%, the latest polling shows. Meanwhile, the undecideds dropped by two points. Her edge was three points yesterday but had wobbled within a tight margin. Clinton's advantage is still within the margin of error, but she is close to getting beyond it as Election Day looms.


Gallup:
PRINCETON, NJ -- The peeling away of national Democratic support for Barack Obama seen this past week may have run its course. After trailing Hillary Clinton by one percentage point in Saturday's Gallup Poll Daily tracking report, Obama now leads Clinton by two points, 47% to 45%.

If we assume that Zogby is right even if the margin for error goes in Clinton's favor its not going to gain her a enough delegates to drop Obama's lead below the triple digits. This is the last chance Clinton has to do that and I don't see it happening. That means that after this its all up to the super delegates and how that is going to turn out is anyone's guess at this point in time.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

The New Shadow War

Against Scientology...



Fifteen protests across the globe and counting. More here.

Hat tip to The Poligazette

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Clinton Pulls No Punches in Pennsylvania

It seems that the general consensus is that Clinton won tonights debate. It seems that the moderators put Obama on the hot seat when he was having an off night (again) and this time he didn't have Edwards there to pick up his slack. Marc Ambinder theorizes that the roughing that Obama took might actually come back to bite Clinton in the butt.

But Hillary Clinton has a Reverse-Teflon problem: her negatives are up, and when she's perceived as the attacker, the attacks never seem to settle on Obama and always seem to boomerang back on her. So it would be unwise to declare that Hillary "won" the debate in the dynamic sense just yet. (How much money will Obama raise off this debate? $3m million? $4 million?)
If thats true how much will the fact that Clinton's campaign is currently running 100% negative ads in most PA markets hurt her?

Here's a glimpse into Hillary's ad strategy in the final stretch of the Pennsylvania primary:

In most of Pennsylvania's markets, the only TV ad Hillary is running right now is a negative one -- the spot hitting Obama over his "small town" comments, a political ad buyer who tracks buys in Pennsylvania tells me.

The buyer says that as of this morning, that ad -- and no positive spots -- are running in the Pittsburgh, Erie, Johnstown/Altoona, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton markets.

Given how tired many are of Rovian style politics nationally could Clinton win PA and by doing so lose the nomination?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What, Me Worry?

About the event of a Zombie attack? Nah. Because all you really need is a good hidey hole, a machete or crowbar, and of course this:



HT To The Daily Dish

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Things I Have Learned

If you go to Wal-Mart and buy a six pack of beer, a shop vac, some personal lubricant, a bottle of Wesson oil, and one of those shiny silver emergency blankets the cashier will not only look at you funny, they'll also go out of their way to avoid touching you when they give you your change.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Modernizing the G.I. Bill


Looks like McCain hasn't signed on yet...

From the LA Times:

McCain must lead the charge

A new GI Bill needs his support, yet the war-hero candidate appears reluctant.
By Wesley K. Clark and Jon Soltz
April 10, 2008
Sen. John McCain served his nation with honor in Vietnam, and he is right to be proud of his service. But by hedging on whether he will support a "GI Bill for the 21st Century," he is casting doubt on his own commitment to the newest generation of American heroes.

The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, sponsored by Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), will restore the promise of a cost-free education to those who serve in the military. The original GI Bill transformed American history, providing education for returning soldiers. The GI Bill not only recognized our nation's moral duty for the enormous sacrifices of our World War II veterans, but it helped create America's middle class and spurred decades of economic growth for our country. Economists estimate that the original bill returned anywhere between $5 and $13 for every dollar we spent on it. But the original GI Bill has become woefully outdated, to the point where the average benefit doesn't even cover half the cost of an in-state student's education at a public college.

The Post-9/11 Veterans Act, which has an estimated cost between $2.5 billion and $4 billion, is common-sense legislation. With 53 cosponsors, including nine Republicans, the three other Vietnam War veterans in the Senate and former Secretary of the Navy John Warner, the bill simply updates what the late historian Stephen Ambrose called "the best piece of legislation ever passed by the U.S. Congress." Yet, faced with unprecedented filibusters, it needs 60 cosponsors. As de facto leader of the party, McCain could signal to other Republicans to sign on to the bill and assure passage.

Instead, McCain has said he hasn't had time to read the bill and isn't sure if he could support it. It's hard to believe that neither he nor anyone on his staff has had time to read such an important bill, which has been around since before he started running for president. But, even if true, McCain must do the right thing now.
Frankly I'm surprised he hasn't taken a position on this bill. It seems right up his alley after all. One could could argue that its too expensive right now. In my opinion that would be a short sighted point of view. Given the difference in wages between high school grads and college grads we are effectively enabling people to pay more taxes when the nation invests in their education.

One thing I'm certain of is that if McCain either fails to vote for this bill or votes against the Dem's 527s will be reminding us of it repeatedly once election season officially starts.

Then there's this gem...
The White House has voiced concern on the bill, arguing that if returning troops are offered a good education, they will choose college over extending their service.
And thats wrong in what way? The GI bill is more or less a quid pro quo arrangement. They agree to take care of America in return for us agreeing to take care of them. Once the military appears to be unable to take care of their end of the bargain then suddenly Job Corps starts looking like a better alternative to military service for those seeking money for college.

Of course all of these retention, recruitment, and education issues would be a moot point if we paid our soldiers the same as their private contractor counterparts.

H/T to OTB

Thanks to The Political Cat for linking to this post

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

U.S. Starts "Manhattan Project" on Cyber Security (Finally)

And it only took the resignation of four Cyber-Security Czars for them to get around to taking the threat seriously...

From Wired:

U.S. Has Launched a Cyber Security 'Manhattan Project,'
Homeland Security Chief Claims

SAN FRANCISCO -- The federal government has launched a cyber security "Manhattan Project," U.S. homeland security secretary Michael Chertoff said Tuesday, because online attacks can be a form of "devastating warfare", and equivalent in damage to "physical destruction of the worst kind."

Speaking to hundreds of security professionals at the RSA security conference, Chertoff cited last year's denial-of-service attacks against Estonia, and hypothetical hack attacks on financial networks and air traffic control systems, as proof that a federal strategy was needed.

"Imagine, if you will, a sophisticated attack on our financial systems that caused them to be paralyzed," Chertoff said. "It would shake the foundation of trust on which our financial system works."

...

The Bush administration's Cyber Initiative has gotten $150 million in funding for this year, and the administration is requesting $192 million for 2009.

Chertoff hopes that the government's new cyber security efforts will lead to technology breakthroughs that it can share with the private sector. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Rod Beckstrom was recently named to head that effort.

In fact, Chertoff imagines the government's cyber security center will transform its current intrusion detection system, named Einstein, into a pre-computer crime detector.

"We might have the ability to understand the signature of an attack before it is launched," Chertoff said. "I think it could become an early warning system that might be able to detect an attack before it is coming. Giving an adversary one bite at the apple before we understand the attack's meta data, or the code, is one bite too many."

One side-benefit of better cyber security is less identity and intellectual property theft...

I've been harping about the need for this for a long time. Its good to see DHS and the administration taking this seriously. The attack on Estonia as well as increased hacking by China into govt and private networks probably greatly contributed to the DHS finally taking network security seriously. I just wish that they had been more proactive in implementing this initiative. Given the amount of time it'll take the R&D people to come up with solutions our networks will continue to be vulnerable for a long while. In theory had we taken up a similar initiative shortly after 9/11 we could have already had security solutions in place by now.

However internet security tends to be reactive rather than proactive. So while I'm glad to see them finally getting the ball rolling on this I'm hoping they'll get everything up and running before the Zombies get us all.

The Other Beginning of the End

Looks like my preferred title is already in use today on another topic.

From Computerworld:


Open source 3D printer copies itself

Based in the Waitakeres, in West Auckland, software developer and artist Vik Olliver is part of a team developing an open-source, self-copying 3D printer. The RepRap (Replicating Rapid-prototyper) printer can replicate and update itself. It can print its own parts, including updates, says Olliver, who is one of the core members of the RepRap team.

New features include, for example, heads that can be changed for different kinds of plastic. A head that deposits low melting-point metal is in development, he says. The metal melts at a lower temperature than that at which plastic melts, which means the metal can be put inside plastic, says Olliver. “That means, in theory, we could build structures like motors.”
Now all someone has to do is incorporate one of these printers into a combat robot and the stage will be set for the eventual enslavement of humanity.

And now a word from our sponsor:



Monday, April 07, 2008

Obama Courting Pro-Gun Voters in PA

A smart play on his part if he's hoping to close the gap with Clinton.

From The Politico:

Barack Obama did not hunt or fish as a child. He lives in a big city. And as an Illinois state legislator and a U.S. senator, he consistently backed gun control legislation.

But he is nevertheless making a play for pro-gun voters in rural Pennsylvania.

By highlighting his background in constitutional law and downplaying his voting record, Obama is engaging in a quiet but targeted drive to win over an important constituency that on the surface might seem hostile to his views.

The need to craft a strategy aimed at pro-gun voters underscores the potency of the issue in Pennsylvania, which claims one of the nation’s highest per capita membership rates in the National Rifle Association.

It also could provide clues as to whether Obama, as one of the Senate’s more liberal members, can position himself as an acceptable choice to a conservative-minded demographic in later primary contests and in the general election.
...
The campaign has asked gun rights advocates like state Rep. Dan Surra, a Democrat from rural Elk County with an “A+” rating from the NRA, to form a coalition of supporters who can vouch for Obama.

“It is clear out there that I am for Obama, and they have reached out to me as a sportsman and a gun owner,” Surra said Thursday. “There has been an outreach to pro-gun legislators, pro-gun people who are sympathetic to Obama’s message.”

The campaign sent an e-mail this week to the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, saying it would “appreciate all sportsmen taking time to learn the facts: Our candidate strongly supports the right and traditions of sportsmen throughout Pennsylvania and the United States of America.”

And with an endorsement last month from Sen. Bob Casey Jr., Obama got a boost within a community that the Pennsylvania Democrat has courted assiduously. As part of an initiative to move beyond his party’s traditional bases during the 2006 Senate campaign, Casey visited stock car races, demolition derbies and gun clubs. Campaign operatives to both senators are now working closely together.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton does not appear to be making the same level of effort. She has reminded audiences in the last few months that she learned to shoot a gun during childhood vacations in Scranton and bagged a duck as an adult. But neither the state Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs nor her pro-gun Democratic supporters have heard of any specific campaign outreach.
Additionally CNN reports that he's outspending Clinton 3:1 on PA and that he's managed to close the gap between them to seven points. Thats important because Obama doesn't have to win PA to stay in the game. All he has to do is not lose by much. After all if he can go to the convention with a triple digit lead over Clinton he'll seem to be the stronger candidate.

However The Politico article does shine light onto what could prove to his Achilles heel in the general election.
Obama has long backed gun-control measures, including a ban on semiautomatic weapons and concealed weapons, and a limit on handgun purchases to one a month. He has declined to take a stance on the legality of the handgun prohibition in Washington, D.C., which the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing, although Obama has voiced support for the right of state and local governments to regulate guns.
Simply put McCain's voting record on gun rights is better than Obama's. If Obama stands by his voting record he risks losing pro-gun moderates. If he states that his current position differs from his voting record it'll appear opportunistic and risk looking like any other politician which will cost him moderates who are truly looking for an "agent of change". Its a bit of a catch-22 but how well Obama handles the issue may be a prime indicator of what to expect from him as president.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Things I Have Learned

Never ask a lady,"When is the baby due?" without having prior confirmation that a baby is actually on the way.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Rough Week

So far this week my laptop's hard drive crashed, my slippers gave up the ghost, my favorite hat was mauled by the washer, both of the catfish died, my car's rear driver side wheel has started making a metallic rubbing noise which causes the car to vibrate at interstate speeds (two weeks after shelling out 420$ to have the rear brakes fixed), I caught a cold, and I'm working mandatory overtime every day this week.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Of Note

Over at Right Wing Nut House Rick Moran has a well written and solid post entitled America's Shame in which he expresses dismay over America's use of torture from a conservative point of view. Here's an excerpt:

But for me and many others on the right, the issue of torture defines America in a way that does not weigh comfortably on our consciences or on our self image as citizens of this country. I am saddened beyond words to be associated with a country that willingly gives up its traditions and adherence to the rule of law for the easy way, the short cut around the law, while giving in to the basest instincts we posses because we are afraid.
Drop by and read it. It'll probably be the best post you read today.

Chuck Hagel on The Daily Show


Stewart raises an interesting point around 4:50

Things I Have Learned

Writing fake news is harder than blogging.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Pennsylvania Primaries Postponed

Looks like a significant portion of their voting machines are on the fritz...

From Fox News:

April 1 2008 -Philadelphia- Pennsylvania secretary of the commonwealth Pedro Cortes announced that thousands of voting machines were malfunctioning. In a press conference late Tuesday evening he stated,"Simply put, they (the voting machines) won't start up. We are working closely with the manufacturer Diebold to solve this problem. However, due to the large number of machines affected we are forced to postpone the Democratic primaries until all volunteers are trained to process paper ballots or all of the machines are repaired whichever happens first."
...
"All voting machines will be repaired as soon as possible however the cost of retraining volunteers would have to be covered by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party."
...
Following an emergency meeting party chairman T.J Rooney issued the following statement," The costs of retraining exceeds the amount of funds we have on hand. We have, however, brought this matter to the attention of party's national leadership and expect it to be resolved soon. Rest assured that we will do everything possible to ensure that all Democrats can vote in a timely manner."
...
A spokesperson for Diebold could not be reached for comment.
That means the primary season lull will be even longer. I've spoken before on the dangers electronic voting machines and the problem in PA only serves to highlight my previous points. Simply put when it comes to something as complicated as voting follow the K.I.S.S. rule. Keep it simple stupid. However this situation greatly works on Obama's favor. Since he is the underdog in PA it will allow him more time to stump around the state and drum up support. That may make this a very close race. Ironically it may work out so that Diebold's error may ultimately prove to have more to do with Clinton's undoing than any of Obama's fine rhetoric.

h/t Memeorandum