"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."


I actually watched tonight's debate in full down at Humbrews. I would call it a draw overall, which favors Obama. Considering he needed to change the momentum and this was supposed to be his zone, that's good.

TV coverage is somewhat unhelpful to me. It's mostly fluff and drek. The debate itself was pretty interesting though. The format was good in terms of getting into the weeds. I liked that.

Other notes:

  • McCain broached the idea of cutting Pentagon spending. That was the first surprising thing for me.
  • Neither candidate said anything bold or interesting about the Wall St meltdown. The next time I hear someone do the Wall St/Main St contrast, I may go on a killing spree. Such a cliche.
  • Obama does a lot of good things overall. He may not be a zinger kind of debater, but he speaks well. The Kissinger bit was strong. The "you were wrong" was also strong.
  • McCain did a lot better in all the talking-over moments. He doesn't back down. Obama does. That scores points for McCain; it shows him pushing Obama around a bit.
  • Both candidates show that media narratives trump facts: McCain brings up "Iran's Republican Guard" and Obama answers in the same words. Those were the boogymen in Iraq from back in the day, y'alls. Iran's crack paramilitary forces are the Revolutionary Guard.

Overall, it was surprising to me how narrow the terms of debate are here. Reagan is great. You can talk about the "freedom fighters in Iraq" without noting that, uhmmm, those are some of literally the same people who dropped the twin towers. Nobody calls any serious bullshit on the finance thing.

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Flex It

So, debate #1 is on Friday and the expectations game has begun. How will the Wall St. moneygrab play in? We'll see.

Also: attention students: Vote were it counts: http://www.countmore.org/

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Big Money

I have a lot of thoughts about this big bailout plan that's been unveiled. My interest is hopelessly nerdy and political, but what we're seeing right now is totally, like, crazy.

  • First of all, $700B?!?!? For a sense of scale, that's more than the Iraq war has cost to date (though Iraq will cost much more over time in terms of support for wounded, replacing equipment, etc). It's also about $2,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.
  • Secondly, the treasury secretary gets to do whatever the fuck he wants with it: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." Bold.
  • Gotta love capitalism.

The most interesting thing here to me is how this jives with what I recall from Polyani's The Great Transformation. What this appears to be is a move to protect people from the market, except that unlike in the past when those being protected were workers or families or the like, the entities being protected here are banks themselves.

Further, while there's clearly a huge amount of elites looking out for themselves here, the really striking thing is that the moral justification here is that if the whole shitpile were allowed to tumble, the impact on regular folks would be really bad. So you're going to see people making the argument shortly (if they're not already) that we're protecting the finance sector from the workings of the market in order to maintain the current standard of living for regular citizens.

Fucking crazy.

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For The Ladies

I've long enjoyed the static version of Get Your War On's sardonic humor, and this animated/voiced version made me laugh out loud, but it's pretty sick shit.

Incidentally, the most plausible rationale for Palin's insistence that victims of rape pay for their own forensic kits (rather than the police doing so, which is the humane norm) is that these kits contain emergency contraception, which Palin likely equates with abortion, which she also staunchly opposes as an option for victims of rape or incest.

McCain, also not so much into choice, btw. Loud and proud about his desire to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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Power In Numbers

Just wanted to back up my previous post about the upcoming election w/a quick look at polling numbers. These are from the current national averages where internal demographic breakdowns are publicly available.

Age McCain Obama
Research 2000
18-29 32% 61%
30-44 50% 43%
45-59 46% 47%
60+ 55% 39%
18-29 32% 60%
30-44 46% 46%
45-59 48% 45%
60+ 49% 41%

It's interesting to see the continuation of the work I did last cycle, watching the Millennial wave grow. It makes me wonder how much of a generation gap we're seeing, as it's hard not to think about how differently media-savvy kids see the back-and-forth that goes on vs. Gen X'ers and Boomers.

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And the Race Is On

So I was out of the world for the Democratic National Convention, and experiencing re-entry for the Republican shindig, so it's been catch-up on the politics front. It's definitely game-on at this point, with McCain taking his first ever national polling lead (slim, but statistically significant) and the state-by-state electoral college picture shaping up to look a lot like 2004, except perhaps with Colorado and Virgina as alternate "keys to the kingdom" from Florida and Ohio.

I've got a number of thoughts on the VP choices, so I thought I'd give a run-down of those before my take on the overall scene as it shapes up for the home stretch.

Vice Presidents

It's clear that Sarah Palin's selection shook up the campaign, something the McCain campaign needed badly, and they took a risk to get. While I doubt she'll peel off any meaningful numbers of Hillary Clinton fans from Obama -- they're not stupid -- she serves a much more important purpose for Republicans: as a devout Pentacostal Christian with strong socially conservative bonafides, she brings home many of the evangelical voters who put Bush over the top in 2004.

Palin also shook up the scene by virtue of her novelty, both in that she's relatively unknown, and in that she's a telegenic woman. It's a story, and conservatives are excited again. Paradoxically, while she brings home a devout demographic, she also gives more secular red-meat Limbaugh-lovers something to get excited about. VILF is the term, which sounds silly, but the anecdotal evidence is strong.

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Very Hot

Wicked cool.

This SaysMeTV site is potentially a hugely game-changing service. Letting normal people advertise (and having community funding around it) could have a radically democratizing effect on the media space, because you can drive a top-notch 21st century marketing campaign from your basement now.

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Right on Schedule (Guard your Milky-Skinned Daughters)

Update: excellent response from Obama. Political Judo, even. If he's able to consistently push back like this, they should have no problems.

So right in line with my post on anti-Obama smear emails below, <a href="http://openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=7228>a new high-profile advert from the McCain campaign:

Paris and Britney. What did I tell you, Whipple?

The real hammer-points here, of course, are Taxes and Oil. I don't think the tax argument will really affect many swing voters (there are some who were already convinced, but most realize that people making a couple hundred K can afford to pony up for America), but Obama and the Dems in general need a coherent answer to this drilling nonsense. It's working, from what I can see, even though it's bogus and people know it. They've turned it into a battle for leadership: even if it's not going to do any good, the Republicans are doing something and the Democrats are against doing something, etc.

At a certain point here, I'm going to have to get myself into the fray. As I've been relating to most of my political cohort, I'm not "sold" on Obama, in the sense that I'm not a true believer. However, I think he'd be a hell of a president, and I want him to win, and I can give you some pretty good reasons why.

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Rumors, Propogated By Our Enemies

Via Atrios (the coolest dude in the 'sphere), we discover that the good satirists over at Sadly, No! have the latest Obama smear email. It's a doozy, digging into Vince Foster territory; the death list.

The themes here are somewhat predictable: black nationalism, drug ties, FBI informants, radical Islam (9/11, event) and, of course, the ultimate threat of an African Calligula ruling the roost, seducing our milky-skinned virginal lasses with his carribean reefer and dark-continent jazz guitar:

The following is a partial list of deaths of persons connected to Barack HUSSEIN Obama during his time inside the United States. Read the list and judge for yourself…


MERCEDES HUGLEY, one of Obama’s many white, female conquests while at Harvard. Filed sexual assault charges against Obama for date rape in 1990. Because “date rape” was not considered a crime like it is today, she ended up dropping the charges. Two years later, she was found dead of an apparent cocaine overdose.

Just in case anyone's confused, this is, naturally, bullshit.

However, it's another example of why this election is going to be so awesome. It's going to be like that clay you put on a bee sting to pull out the toxins. It will be hilarious, tragic, and ultimately (hopefully) very healing.

But seriously, "Mercedes Hugely?" You'd think they'd at least make up a name that was a bit more believably WASP-y, like, say Keelin Isabelle Nelson.

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Deep In The Heart of Texas

Things are churning here. The Netroots Nation scene continues to evolve. It's a younger crowd every year it seems, though still wonky and sometimes a bit paranoid (the cute blond girl I chatted with complained of accusations of being a Republican plant), but overall everyone looks good. People have lost weight and look healthy; they know they're winning, even if the win is questionable and the progress seems too slow.

A great find has been hanging w/the coolkids behind Music For Democracy, which is shockingly familiar, and fun. I also got to play Phil Donahue -- microphone man -- in a nice little "Dean to Obama" session. You might have seen my somewhat poofy hair on C-Span there.

It all makes me consider my own future. This world is one I've grown ever more distant from over the past four years, and a world in which I feel like I've let a lot of people down, or at least not realized the great expectations that I and others helped to engender. For instance, we evangelized Drupal as a platform technology which helped break up the DC tech oligarchy and drive "the .org boom," but ultimately that promise remains unfulfilled, and our personal interests become diffused, focused on other things. The technology is better than ever, but our crucial human energy is missing, and so the value remains undelivered.

As I said before, it feels like my immediate first-degree network is coming up in the world, starting families, careers, etc. As I said before, it's a wonderful thing, but I feel the spread, the phenomena of "continental drift" as my Pa used to say.

I realize the impossibility of holding on to the past. In truth there are more people I love and cherish that could ever be knit together directly. I just worry that in the midst of everything everyone will just slip slide away, that I'll say stuck where I am and the distances will continue to grow.

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