Amidst an increasingly unpredictable political season, tonight the Iowa caucuses will finally cast the first votes of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's an outsider vs. establishment war in both parties, as Republican leaders struggle to dislodge Donald Trump and Ted Cruz from the top while Hillary Clinton marshalls her endorsements and long résumé against the populist zeal of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. The best guesses of FiveThirtyEight, BetFair, and Ann Selzer's gold-standard Des Moines Register poll all favor Trump and Clinton, but the race remains very close, and turnout in the demanding and complicated caucus events will be key. Vox provides a helpful video explainer on the process [previously]. Pass the time with FiveThirtyEight's 40-minute elections podcast, and keep an eye on the New York Times live blog of the caucuses for real-time updates once voting starts at 8:00 PM Eastern -- and don't forget to leave your two cents in the MeFi election prediction contest!
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley has a plan for providing debt-free access to a college degree for all students within five years. [more inside]
David Simon runs into Governor Martin O'Malley on the Acela. O'Malley, current governor of Maryland and former mayor of Baltimore, was one of the inspirations for Tommy Carcetti, the ambitious Baltimore politician in Simon's series The Wire. O'Malley hates this connection, and has let Simon know. Still, both Simon and O'Malley were able to put aside differences and share a beer and a photo. [more inside]
Gov. Chris Christie vetoes New Jersey bill granting marriage equality. Meanwhile, the Maryland House narrowly passes such a bill. The MD Senate passed a similar bill last year, and no senators have announced any plans to change their votes, and Gov. Martin O'Malley has promised to sign it.
The sixth and final Scott Pilgrim graphic novel, subtitled 'Finest Hour' is being released tonight. There is a block party in Toronto to celebrate this fact. While waiting for your copy to arrive or the party to start, why don't you... [more inside]
RADIOMARU is (award-winning Canadian cartoonist) Bryan Lee O'Malley's website. Several free comics are in the offering, ranging from the quirky to strange to inexplicably bizarre. [more inside]