Isaac Chotiner

Anthony Minghella, the ridiculously talented writer and director, died suddenly today of a brain hemorrhage. The news was sudden and shocking; Minghella had been busy finishing his latest movie, an adaptation of No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Minghella had a remarkable career in the film industry, where he won an Academy Award for his beautiful direction of The English Patient. His gifts as a writer were equally impressive--he not only wrote The English Patient, but also penned the screenplay for his excellent adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr.

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Barack Obama picked up another superdelegate vote today, courtesy of Margie Gavin Woods' endorsement. Woods is the Minority Leader of the Will County Board in Illinois, for those of you wondering how powerful you have to be to help decide this election. According to NBC News, Obama has gained 48 superdelegates since February 5th and Clinton has gained zero. Perhaps the Clinton campaign has 50 superdelegates in its back pocket, and is waiting for the right time to announce the news (after a big PA win, perhaps).

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Mark Halperin has the outlines of a plan currently under discussion for seating the Michigan and Florida delegations. Florida would be seated with half a vote each (netting Clinton 19 delegates) and Michigan would be split 50-50. According to Halperin, Clinton and the DNC would be happy with the proposal but Obama might not be. Call me crazy, but isn't this a fantastic deal for Obama? He puts the Florida and Michigan results behind him, and assures that he goes into the convention with a 125 pledged delegate lead. Moreover, there is no possible Clinton momentum from re-scheduled primaries.

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It is perhaps bad form to have two sports-related posts in a row, but tonight the Houston Rockets accomplished something that has only happened twice before in NBA history: They won their 20th straight game. To win twenty games in today's NBA is no joke (there are a lot of very good teams, espcially in the Rockets' own Western Conference), but this streak is noteable for other reasons. About two weeks ago, the Rockets' second best player, Yao Ming, went down with a season-ending foot injury.

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Josh's post below raises the interesting question of whether Obama should let the Florida delegates be seated at the convention. And, I think there is a good case to be made that he--Obama, not Josh--should.  Suppose the results from the January primary are allowed to stand. This will net Clinton 37 pledged delegates, and therefore Obama's pledged delegate lead will go from approximately 161 to 124.

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After Senator Clinton disavowed Geraldine Ferraro's comments about Obama and race, Ferraro proceeded to dig a little deeper by saying the Obama camp was harassing her because she was white. Surely she had become an embarassment to the Clinton campaign, I thought; we won't be seeing her much anymore. But wait, here she is on Good Morning America (according to Time's summary): Said “every time someone opens their mouth” to speak about Obama they are accused of racism. Stood by the comments, and is “absolutely not” sorry she made them.

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Interesting: Florida's congressional delegation said Tuesday it opposes holding a Democratic presidential vote by mail, and Barack Obama expressed concerns about the fairness of that option. Democratic leaders in Florida and Michigan have been considering a mail-in election to allocate delegates to the Democratic national convention between Sens. Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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The Spitzer scandal has brought forth some articles like this very good one from Emily Bazelon on whether prostitution should be illegal. Meanwhile, Matt Yglesias opines: Whenever a politician gets caught up in a prostitution scandal, I do need to return to the fact that at the end of the day I don't really think the exchange of sex for money is serious wrongdoing in the sense that justifies criminal sanctions. One thing that I think often gets lost in these debates (whether they be over prostitution or drug legalization), is that an action can be wrong because it is illegal.

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Hillary Clinton in Newsweek: How can you win the nomination when the math looks so bleak for you?It doesn't look bleak at all. I have a very close race with Senator Obama. There are elected delegates, caucus delegates and superdelegates, all for different reasons, and they're all equal in their ability to cast their vote for whomever they choose. Even elected and caucus delegates are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to. The strategy here seems completely mystifying.

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Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell avoided saying anything inappropriate on Meet The Press this morning, which must have calmed nerves in Clinton-land. Still, this comment about Clinton's "win" in Michigan, where Obama was not even on the ballot, was pretty amusing: I'm calling for a revote.  But, Tim, you run against uncommitted, that's the toughest election to win. I'd rather run against an opponent anytime than against uncommitted, and Hillary Clinton got 55 percent of the vote against uncommitted.   --Isaac Chotiner

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