Thursday, October 30, 2008

Better Christians, please

Uh, wow. Either this is over-the-top postmodern performance art, or American Christendom is setting a new record for wackadoo:
For these and other reasons Cindy is calling for a Day of Prayer for the World’s Economies on Wednesday, October 29, 2008. They are calling for prayer for the stock markets, banks, and financial institutions of the world on the date the stock market crashed in 1929. They are meeting at the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve Bank, and its 12 principal branches around the US that day.

“We are going to intercede at the site of the statue of the bull on Wall Street to ask God to begin a shift from the bull and bear markets to what we feel will be the 'Lion’s Market,' or God’s control over the economic systems,” she said. "While we do not have the full revelation of all this will entail, we do know that without intercession, economies will crumble."
It gets better: Wonkette has pictures, and yes that's Christians worshipping at the feet of a golden bull.

I don't need Christian fundamentalists to read Harry Potter or agree with me on abortion, but could they at least read the fucking Bible? I'll drop my Exodus-based objections to this stunt on the grounds that maybe they only read the New Testament. But can I just point out that if you believe the documentary evidence, Jesus' relations with moneychangers were... frosty, at best?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama's infomercial, now with video

Only the pre-recorded part, not the live bit at the end.

Comment of the day

The best description I have seen yet of the voter who is still undecided at this point:

Person on an airplane and the flight attendant with the food cart rolls up and offers them the two choices. "Tonight we have chicken with noodles and dogshit with broken glass."

The undecided voter asks how the chicken is cooked.

Obama's infomercial

Sweet Jesus that was slick. From a purely technical standpoint, that was probably one of the best-executed events of the campaign.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who could've imagined

Joe the Plumber and independent voter lied about being an independent, being a plumber[1] and being named Joe[2]. So of course he's a Republican.
Joe the Plumber endorsed Republican John McCain for president on Tuesday and agreed that a vote for Democratic candidate Barack Obama would be "a vote for the death of Israel."

Samuel J. Wurzelbacher gained national attention when Obama told him during a campaign stop that he wanted to "spread the wealth around." Their exchange about Obama's tax plan aired countless times on cable news programs, and McCain repeatedly cited Joe the Plumber in their third and final debate and again at campaign events....

In a McCain rally at a flag store, Wurzelbacher said he feared that Obama would turn the U.S. into a socialist nation.
"In a McCain rally at a flag store..." You've got to be fucking kidding me. Why did the press bother listening to this fella again? It's been clear from day one that he's 100% straight wingnut.

[1] I have some discomfort with the idea of declaring that because a person isn't licensed in their profession, that implies they "aren't" that. Bloggers aren't journalists (except when they are) but that doesn't imply that bloggers aren't valuable for journalists, or that they can't do journalism from time to time. So not-Joe the not-Plumber may actually do fine plumbing work, but as a convention of language he isn't a plumber in my books.

[2] This one's easy. His name is Samuel, and he goes by Joe because "Samuel" reminds him of his mom telling him to make his bed. Still, Samuel it is and we should all call him that just to piss him off.

What Draper said

Robert Draper is blogging at GQ:
The Republicans who fawned over her superstar looks are now shocked—shocked!—to learn that her much-admired wardrobe has been purchased with RNC funds. I’ve heard from one well-placed source that McCain has snubbed her on one long bus ride aboard the Straight Talk Express, to the embarrassment of those sitting nearby. It has surely been implied to the governor that she should be eternally grateful to have been plucked from obscurity. And yet the high water mark of John McCain’s campaign for the presidency unquestionably began on September 3, when Palin gave her nomination speech—and ended precisely twelve days later, when McCain went off-script—I have that on the authority of the person who participated in the writing of said script—and told an audience that he still believed the fundamentals of the economy were strong.
In the whole debate over why McCain is losing (aside from the fact that it's a Dem year and Obama's campaign is superhuman) but one of the facts that seems to be simply given is that McCain was the strongest GOP candidate of the year. I don't think that's really the case. Given the evidence of the last 8 months, isn't it clear that McCain is simply a lousy candidate? No message discipline, no credible claims as a moderate anymore, no credibility on the economy, and the charisma of a glass of lukewarm water. Mitt Romney looks better (how exotic is a Mormon running against a guy who's last name is Obama?) and so does Mike Huckabee, frankly.

McCain won not by being anyone's favourite, but by being everyone's least-hated. As Canadian Liberals have learned, that doesn't always lead to success.

America's finest news source

WINONA, MO—After learning about the importance of zinc mining to residents in the crucial swing state of Missouri, presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama both expressed their irritation Monday over being forced to adopt a position on the issue in order to please voters. "I'll tell you what I think about zinc mining—I don't," an exasperated Obama told reporters, adding that he would reluctantly research the subject after finishing the "million other things" he had to do. "What's McCain's stance on it? I guess I'll be for it, unless he's for it, in which case I'll be against it. Either way I don't care." McCain had an identical reaction when informed that he would have to take a stance on health care, the economy, and education.

Living Small

Really interesting old piece from the Atlantic about the rise of the super-home, and how ahistorical it is:
A short history of the American house since 1950 would have to include a chapter called "Bigger and Better." The Levittown house had two bedrooms, one small bathroom, and an eat-in kitchen; all its rooms were arranged on a concrete slab whose dimensions were twenty-five by thirty feet (an unfinished attic was often converted into additional living space). William Levitt's strategy becomes apparent if one compares his house with earlier designs for modestly priced houses, such as those included in homes of Character, a pattern book published in 1923 by the Boston architect Robert L. Stevenson. The porches, vestibules, entry halls, and dining rooms (or at least dining alcoves) that were standard domestic amenities in the twenties were absent from the Levittown house, which lacked even a basement. It was bare-bones living.

The prosperity of the next two decades was an opportunity to recover some of the lost space. Not surprisingly, new houses increased in size. In 1963 the average new house had 1,450 square feet (the Levittown house had 750 square feet), and over the next decade another 200 square feet, the equivalent of two bedrooms, were added. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average finished area of a new single-family house in 1989 was about 2,000 square feet, and thousands of houses were even bigger, often 3,000 to 4,000 square feet.
There are a variety of reasons why these super-homes become the preferred format for new homes, and it's increasingly unpopular to build small rowhouses even in downtown cores (where the municipal governments seems to instead opt for megatowers instead.) But a lot of it is the collaboration between local government and builders, even though there's a sizeable market for a smaller home even among new families.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Three Ashleys

Sean Quinn at 538 has one of the best blogposts of the post-primary season, I think.

What Ta-Nehisi said

And now let's give credit where credit is due. Howard Dean. He caught way too much shit for that comment about Confederate Flags and pickup trucks. He was the wrong guy to execute the plan. He was right--even if he was the wrong guy to execute the strategy. Barack Obama is now the candidate of white people who say nigger, but have lost their jobs, retirement and health care. Amazing. We don't have to like each other to realize that we could all sink together.
Canadian Liberals should totally ignore any lessons that might occur to them while watching a successful, center-left party beat the ever-loving hell out of conservatives. Crazy ideas like fighting for every seat, trying to actually draw in people to your left and right, and having a 21st century fundraising apparatus are totally unsuited to the Canadian context.

Far better to go with the Liberal playbook, c. 2004-present: try to scare people about Stephen Harper, then blame the NDP when it doesn't work.

It's 10am at McCain HQ, and the phone isn't ringing

Consider how bad John McCain's last week was. On Sunday, Colin Powell (despite my opinion of him, probably the most widely respected Republican since Eisenhower) endorsed Barack Obama. By Wednesday, McCain had locked down his own important endorsement -- Al Qaeda. And on Friday, the Pittsburgh PD announced they would be filing charges against a McCain volunteer who fabricated a story about being attacked by a black male black Obama black volunteer blackity black black.

By Saturday, CNN and other outlets were running stories about the growing divide between McCain and Palin on the campaign, calling Palin a "diva" who wouldn't take direction.

I don't think it's a stretch to say that any one of these stories would have chewed up a week's worth of news cycles only 8 years ago, maybe even 4. And John McCain was hit by all of them in one week.

I can't make popcorn fast enough to keep up.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

If you're looking for something to do election night...

...because drinking alone is so dull, even when you're celebrating:
Join the Democrats Abroad Canada gang for the best Party in TORONTO! Bring your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues -- watch the U.S. Presidential Election Night as it unfolds!

Super size TVs -- on two floors.

Hot assorted tapas / appetizers throughout the evening. (Full meals available for purchase.) Cash bar.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008
6:30 p.m. until whenever
(we’re starting earlier so we don’t miss a thing!)

Plaza Flamingo Restaurant (aka Plaza Obama),
423 College Street (just east of Bathurst), Toronto
$25 donation to DAC voter information / outreach efforts. Pay at the door.

But, come early. The east coast polls close at 7:00, and the race is on!
Note the donation at the door. According to Scientician and Apocalypse expert Robert Q. Farley, this race could end before 10:00 pm, so don't waste time eating, it'll just slow you down.

If you're looking for other Democrats Abroad chapters in Canada, you can see a list here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Epic failz

One of the few arguments that Sen. Clinton's campaign ever made that actually made sense was an attack on Sen. Obama's then-high approval ratings vs. Clinton's then-lower ratings. The argument was that Obama had been relatively untouched by the GOP slime machine, and once they worked him over his numbers would be as low, if not lower, than Clinton's. It was plausible at the time, but I didn't think it was a sufficient argument for a Clinton candidacy.

It turns out, though, that even if plausible it was incorrect: Obama's approval ratings have not only held firm, they have improved over the last almost 11 months. Kos has the details.

I have been astonished to see the GOP playbook rendered totally ineffective this year. It's as if gravity itself is working against them, and I frankly couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My crystal ball totally rocks. How's yours?

Me, not too long ago:
if Wall Street collapses entirely they'll deserve every bit of it and the supply of donations to the Republican party will dry up appreciably. I call it win-win.
The Washington Post, today:
Expected to be a force in the final weeks of the presidential race, outside groups and the pointed advertising they brought to the airwaves in recent campaigns are barely evident this year. Political operatives say the fact that many wealthy potential donors have shied away from investing in efforts such as the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is that they are simply too busy trying to salvage their own financial portfolios.
I make this look gooooood.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Please, Liberals, as a friend and well-wisher...*

...stop listening to Scott Reid, if you ever did.
I think we start with the voters we've just lately lost, that are most within reach. Not those we've rarely held or fall farthest away.

Mr. Dion gave us a new life in Quebec. I agree we need to work on that base and expand it. We can also reclaim support in Vancouver. And among New Canadians and the Jewish community. And we have to break out of urban Canada - that comes with a more resonant focus on the middle-class.

However, a Howard Dean-ish "50 States"-like approach to rebuilding a party that hasn't actually been torn down is a mistake in my view. To focus on the 100 seats in which we are weakest - to dedicate any substantial resources to large parts of Alberta for example - is simply poor strategy. It won't work. It will hurt and it will surely diminish our voter coalition rather than strengthen it.
Some of what Reid says is, in fact, sound tactical thinking -- especially the part about trying to get back the voters most recently lost. But re-read part of the above for me:
However, a Howard Dean-ish "50 States"-like approach to rebuilding a party that hasn't actually been torn down is a mistake in my view.
There are a number of things that strike me about this statement:

1) Scott Reid doesn't understand how bad things are for the Liberal Party of Canada at the moment.

2) More importantly, Mr. Reid has a dangerously high threshold for deciding when, exactly, the Liberal Party of Canada should make reform a serious priority.

It's #2 that interests me most. Consider two pairs of elections, one of which began the Democratic Party's shift to a 50-state strategy (2000-2004) and the Canada's most recent election and the immediately preceding one (2006-2008).

Dem. Vote in US Presidential Election
2000: 48.4%
2004: 48.3%

Liberal vote in Canadian election
2006: 30.23%
2008: 26.23%

In the US, the change in the Congressional vote is even more striking, because in 2004 the Democrats actually gained substantially vs. their turnout in 2002. Yet, despite having a party that was objectively in a much stronger position both relatively and absolutely, the Democrats (wisely, in my view) began a concerted effort to fight for areas of the country where they had not been competitive before. Given that the victory in 2006 was won on the backs of Virginia and Montana Democrats, it's clearly paid dividends.

Meanwhile, Scott Reid thinks that the Liberal Party -- which he concedes just had it's worst showing ever -- doesn't need to do anything as drastic as what the Democrats do.

No wonder we can't get serious about climate change in this country. Even when it's literally their own friggin jobs at stake, the Liberal Party has no interest in changing a losing strategy.

Just thank your lucky stars these guys went in to politics instead of firefighting.

"Ah! Somebody help me!"

"Let's not overthink things here..."

"Fuck you, my house is on fire!"

*I am actually not wildly friendly or wishing the Liberals well at this point. Fooled ya!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Has Colin Powell redeemed himself?

No. The dead aren't alive, and the guilty go unpunished.

But, redeemed or not, I'm glad Mr. Powell is around to remind the non-crazy GOP what a sane party looks like.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Barack Obama at the Alfred E. Smith dinner, October 16th:
One other thing: I have never, not once, put lipstick on a pig. Or a pitbull. Or Myself. Rudy Giuliani, that's one for you. I mean. Who would have thought that a cross-dressing mayor from New York City would have a tough time winning the Republican nomination? It's shocking.

That's a tough primary you had there, John.
Watch the video, catch the whole thing:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Also liked, "contrary to the rumours, I was not in fact born in a manger. I was born on Krypton, and sent to Earth by my father Jor-El..."


From Bill Clinton to John McCain, Senator Barack Obama has proved adept at driving very smart politicians out of their comfort zone, leading them to make comments or embrace tactics that end up backfiring.

Maybe it was one tsk-tsk too much, but at Wednesday night’s debate, something seemed to snap inside Senator McCain after listening to Senator Obama’s cool, high-minded lecture about inappropriate conduct at Republican rallies.

“What is important is making sure that we disagree without being disagreeable,” the 47-year-old freshman Democrat told the 72-year-old four-term Republican. “What we can’t do, I think, is try to characterize each other as bad people.”

Mr. McCain, who had appeared composed and confident up to that point, responded by veering into heated denouncements of Mr. Obama’s loose ties to Bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground leader, and the community organizing group Acorn, which has been accused of voter fraud. Mr. McCain did not explain what Acorn was, probably confusing many viewers, and he never regained control of the debate.

“All of these things need to be examined,” Mr. McCain said about Mr. Ayers and Acorn.
It was shocking how bad McCain looked last night. Absolutely murdered on his appearance, whether it was his grimaces, his sighing, whatever. Watching the pundits praise his performance convinced me I was in bizarro-land, until the snap polls came out and gave the debate to Obama by even larger margins than before.

I really do wonder what the ceiling on Obama's vote is. I month ago, I would have said a 5% margin, and about 290 electoral votes. But is already putting Obama at 8 points up with 310+. Meanwhile, is predicting 354 evs for Obama, with a smaller margin. I assume the race will tighten somewhat, as nominal undecideds pick a side. But all the polls show Obama winning more of the undecideds than McCain, so I can't see it contracting that much.

Almost any scenario you can reasonably imagine at this point shows Obama winning one of the largest victories in my lifetime.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


How toxic is the GOP brand? This toxic:
Yes, the spot worked. Yes, they believed the charges against Obama. Yes, they actually think he's too liberal, consorts with bad people and WON'T BE A GOOD PRESIDENT...but they STILL don't give a f***. They said right out, "He won't do anything better than McCain" but they're STILL voting for Obama.

The two most unreal moments of my professional life of watching focus groups:

54 year-old white male, voted Kerry '04, Bush '00, Dole '96, hunter, NASCAR fan...hard for Obama said: "I'm gonna hate him the minute I vote for him. He's gonna be a bad president. But I won't ever vote for another god-damn Republican. I want the government to take over all of Wall Street and bankers and the car companies and Wal-Mart run this county like we used to when Reagan was President."

The next was a woman, late 50s, Democrat but strongly pro-life. Loved B. and H. Clinton, loved Bush in 2000. "Well, I don't know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy but I'm sick of paying for health insurance at work and that's why I'm supporting Barack."
Holy hell. There are actually voters out there who think nationalizing industry is the way Ronald Reagan would do it? Awesome.

This election is the best thing George W. Bush has ever done for the United States.

Air capture of CO2?

Fascinating if true:
University of Calgary climate change scientist David Keith and his team are working to efficiently capture the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide directly from the air, using near-commercial technology.

In research conducted at the U of C, Keith and a team of researchers showed it is possible to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) – the main greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming – using a relatively simple machine that can capture the trace amount of CO2 present in the air at any place on the planet.

"At first thought, capturing CO2 from the air where it's at a concentration of 0.04 per cent seems absurd, when we are just starting to do cost-effective capture at power plants where CO2 produced is at a concentration of more than 10 per cent," says Keith, Canada Research Chair in Energy and Environment.
The article says that capturing a tonne of CO2 would cost just 100 kwh of electricity, meaning that the energy costs should be something like $10-15/tonne of CO2. A cap-and-trade system with a floor price of $40/tonne would work rather nicely in this case.

There's still the question of what to to with megatonnes of CO2. I'm definitely a sequestration skeptic, but there's multiple forms of solid carbon that could theoretically preserve the carbon underground or underwater for millenia without risk of it coming back.

The pages drip with blood

If you haven't seen this Rolling Stone profile on McCain yet, you really ought to read the whole thing. The intro is murder:
At Fort McNair, an army base located along the Potomac River in the nation's capital, a chance reunion takes place one day between two former POWs. It's the spring of 1974, and Navy commander John Sidney McCain III has returned home from the experience in Hanoi that, according to legend, transformed him from a callow and reckless youth into a serious man of patriotism and purpose. Walking along the grounds at Fort McNair, McCain runs into John Dramesi, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was also imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam.

McCain is studying at the National War College, a prestigious graduate program he had to pull strings with the Secretary of the Navy to get into. Dramesi is enrolled, on his own merit, at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in the building next door.

There's a distance between the two men that belies their shared experience in North Vietnam — call it an honor gap. Like many American POWs, McCain broke down under torture and offered a "confession" to his North Vietnamese captors. Dramesi, in contrast, attempted two daring escapes. For the second he was brutalized for a month with daily torture sessions that nearly killed him. His partner in the escape, Lt. Col. Ed Atterberry, didn't survive the mistreatment. But Dramesi never said a disloyal word, and for his heroism was awarded two Air Force Crosses, one of the service's highest distinctions. McCain would later hail him as "one of the toughest guys I've ever met."

On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and political leaders in a distant corner of the globe.

"I'm going to the Middle East," Dramesi says. "Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran."

"Why are you going to the Middle East?" McCain asks, dismissively.

"It's a place we're probably going to have some problems," Dramesi says.

"Why? Where are you going to, John?"

"Oh, I'm going to Rio."

"What the hell are you going to Rio for?"

McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.

"I got a better chance of getting laid."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Christ. Prime Minister Stephen Harper for another few years. Some thoughts, with absolutely no guarantee that I didn't start drinking a couple of hours ago:

1) The Liberals, NDP, and Greens all failed to make the argument that Stephen Harper was disqualifyingly bad -- hard to do when he's the sitting Prime Minister, granted. Why the failure? Because Stephen Harper is not disqualifyingly bad. I didn't, and never would, vote for his party. But progressives lost the plot when we assumed everyone else saw Harper as badly as we did.

2) I just realized our two main choices were between an English Steve and a French Steve.

3) Could another 18 months of Liberal fratricide solve the problems that the previous 18 months of Liberal fratricide caused? Wait and find out!

4) Jack Layton keeps adding incrementally to the NDP caucus. At this rate, the NDP will be in majority territory by about 2050 or so. By which point Hudson's Bay will be one single, giant tar sands settling pond.

5) If you don't have to stifle even a small giggle when someone says the word "caucus", there's no hope for you.

Obama is doomed!

Mark Penn says Obama is winning. Mark Penn has been wrong about everything, including the words "and", "is", and "but". When Penn tells you that water is wet, demand a second opinion. Penn's assertions about the sky's blueness need to be triple-checked. [Biden]Let me repeat, Mark Penn is wrong about everything.[/Biden] Ergo, I conclude that McCain will be inaugurated.

Oh, and by the way Mark: I gotcher "unelectable" right here, pal.


Google fail

Dammit, it took me a whole five minutes of looking through my archives to find an old post. That's unacceptable, Internet. I expect better of you.

With that out of the way, these polls make me smile:
If he were elected President, do you think (candidate) would raise taxes on people like yourself, or wouldn't he do that?

Obama: Would 46%, Would Not 41%
McCain: Would 51%, Would Not 38%

Okay, now the reason I mentioned an old post was this, which I wrote in February, in a post whose main point was to bash a man who is now a Nobel Laureate.[1]
Attracting independents and soft GOP in to the Democratic Party has it's own perils, I will readily admit. But seriously, could the Democrats be any more useless? Besides, rather than worry about reddening the Democrats with yokels, I prefer to believe the opportunity here is to get them voting for the right Party, show them that the government can work with them and for them, and cobble together a new coalition. But you need the votes first, then build the tribe.
It would be nice to believe that the average American voter was now so comfortable with the facts that they had come to that conclusion based on empirical reasoning. But I think there's a bit more to it than that, which I alluded to in the above quote: people have switched tribes, and more people see themselves as comfortable Democrats, in a community with them. They've already decided to vote for Obama, so they think he's better on taxes. Certainly, the numbers on McCain's side there resemble nothing as much as the current national poll, according to CBS.

[1] Has Krugman's fake Nobel made me reconsider my harsh feelings for him? No.

Gee, that was worthwhile

I've voted only so many times in my life thus far, but I really can't imagine an occasion where I've voted with more apathy or less concern about the results.

Canadian politics trends towards the most predictable income, always, so I predict relatively little change -- Dion loses, Harper might lose some extra seats, the NDP might go up slightly, but nothing that makes this little charade worth the cost of printing the ballots, much less paying the staff.

One thing that would make it worthwhile would be if the Liberal-NDP vote was large enough to outvote the Conservatives and thus (hypothetically) make a governing coalition, but a) it's almost certainly mathematically impossible, and b) even if possible I'm not sure it would be a good idea or one I would support.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Well deserved

Congratulations to Paul Krugman for winning the fake Nobel.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hosea 8:7

John McCain sowed the wind, and is trying to outrun the whirlwind...

I wonder if it's simply too late. I wonder if John McCain ever realized what kind of people make up the party he leads. I wonder how long it will be until some psycho with a rifle decides to make himself famous.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What Digby said

As I'm watching the Dow tank once again, with footage of George W. Bush blathering incomprehensibly in the background, it occurs to me that I may have been wrong in seeing the Bush administration as the book-end to the Nixon years. All the corruption and arrogance and imperial design made me think this was a phenomenon of the baby boom era.

Now I'm beginning to think it's the bizarroworld version of Roosevelt. It started with a pearl harbor style attack and ended with an economic crisis. And at each turn, instead of meeting the challenge with creativity and intelligence, Bush exacerbated the problems and made them worse.

Funny stuff

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Poll Porn

According to today, if Obama loses all the toss-up states he still wins by 50 electoral votes.

Oh, and I love love love to see Obama and Biden call McCain a tiny little coward. (Restraining myself from using more misogynistic words to describe him...)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Debate II

Well that was underwhelming to me. But then, I've been watching Obama and McCain in debates since what feels like 1963. (Yes, I watched Obama debate when he was 2 and I was minus 18.) There's just nothing left to say about them: if you haven't been paying attention, maybe you didn't know that John McCain sang about bombing Iran, or maybe you didn't know that the Democratic candidate's name sounds awfully Muslimy.

The cliché is that the status quo goes to Obama, and all the snap polls again show Obama winning a huge chunk of the independents. (Oddly, CNN's snap poll showed 5% of Democrats saying McCain won. Weirdo.)

It just reminds me that I am not a representative sample of the American audience. I saw a pretty strong performance by Obama and a pretty awkward one from McCain, but nothing terribly different from what I saw last time. Apparently, I'm way out of touch with the heartland.

But we knew that.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Weimar on the Potomac watch

John McCain, yesterday, was speaking at a rally when one of his supporters yelled that Barack Obama was a terrorist. And we know how Republicans want to treat perceived terrorists.

Sarah Palin, also yesterday, was speaking to supporters when someone yelled "kill him!", referring to either Barack Obama or William Ayers. Neither Palin nor McCain in his case objected to the exclamations.

I don't know what kind of country Obama is going to be leading in 2009, but it won't be a pretty one.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sad, but not really

So John McCain's hail-mary attempt #6 (I think, I lost count) is to try and smear Obama by association with Revko, Wright, and Ayers.

Because apparently, in the primaries that John McCain watched, Hillary Clinton smeared Obama as everything from elitist to Hezbollah, and then proceeded to win. Except, oops, that didn't happen.

Why, you could ask, does McCain think that these accusations -- which, being re-treads, won't be as effective this time as they were six months ago -- will help him get to the White House?

Well, he probably doesn't. People have pointed out that John McCain looks nastier and angrier lately than he did even during the summer. Some see this as a mystery, or that he personally dislikes Obama in a visceral kind of way. I don't think that's correct.

We watched as McCain got really dark and angry shortly after his hail mary #5 (that would be him "suspending" his campaign) failed to inflate his numbers. That, in turn, followed the precipitous fall in his numbers after the post-convention bounce fizzled. So McCain started to get angry very close to when his numbers started to slump seriously behind Obama.

I think the reason he has been angry, and stayed angry, is very simply because two weeks ago he concluded he was going to lose to Barack Obama. Some candidates might have been able to accept this with dignity and run out the clock with some respect. (Late in the game, Clinton was able to summon that spirit.) But John McCain, for whatever reason, can't find it in him.

What really struck me was watching the clips of both McCain and Palin together with Couric, where McCain seemed pissy there as well. The vibe I got -- and I concede this is totally unscientific -- is that McCain is pissed at Palin, too. In McCain's world, she should have been a much better candidate, or refused the offer if she thought she was unprepared. His hail mary #4 would have worked, if only she'd been a better candidate.

To which we can only say, a-doy. That's why you vet, Johnny boy.

Anyway, I've actually put money on Barack Obama's victory in November ($25 with a coworker) and I almost never bet anything on anything. McCain's attacks not only won't work, they'll probably end up losing him support among independents. Meanwhile, Obama's counterattacks are also risky, but a) can keep the focus on the economy, and b) haven't been given the light of day they deserve this cycle.

Lookin' forward to Nov. 4. Gonna spend my $25 on booze.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

My nomination

...for the unintentionally apt/hillarious slip-up of the night: Gov. Palin calls the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, not by his actual family name of McKiernan, but "McClellan".

I mean, Palin probably didn't mean to invoke one of the less, ahem, competent Generals of the Civil War (and one who ran against Lincoln as a Democrat, oddly) but there's something delicious there.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Modern Bourbons

For the 'learned nothing, forgotten nothing' files:
The music industry years ago lost much control of its CD, which is not encrypted, to peer-to-peer file-sharing services and technology allowing CDs to be burned easily -- even by the technologically unsophisticated. Now Hollywood worries that RealDVD and other fledgling DVD copying services will ruin the market for DVDs.

Hollywood is already reeling from open-source DVD decryption software that is free on the internet. It also says it's losing billions in sales because of BitTorrent tracking services like The Pirate Bay that allow users to upload and download decrypted movies and other content for free.
First of all, marvel that Big Content still hasn't grasped the lessons of the Internet age, importantly in this context that all you need is One Smart Cow -- it doesn't matter how easy it is to rip CDs or DVDs, if they're uploaded to the Internet everyone has access.

DVD Decrypter and Handbrake make all of the MPAAs protestations about controlling their content via encryption worthless and silly. DVD sales are doing fine, once you consider that America is in kind of rocky economic straits right now.

This is still basically the Napster gambit: if we sue enough people, we can keep precious control of our content. I think it's ridiculous, but when you've got more money then brains there's a bunch of things that look appealing I guess.