Friday, October 31, 2008

Republican Party of Wisconsin Mailings

Although the latest Wisconsin poll shows McCain down 11 points here to Obama, the Republican Party of Wisconsin is blanketing Milwaukee with mailings. I received five of them yesterday.

Mailing 1 asks, “Who is Barack Obama?” When you open it up it is laid out like a newspaper. “Obama and His Friends” is featured at the top with pictures of Tony Rezko and Obama and Rezko’s house in the Hyde Park neighborhood. There are other questions posed on the mailing like “What has Obama done for Rezko?” This mailing tries to put Obama in a bad light by letting us know that one person he is loosely affiliated with got in trouble with the law. Couldn’t we all be attacked like this if we were running? I know someone in jail. We used to be friends. I think this person would have given me money back in the day if I were campaigning for office. Does this make me a bad person? And enough with this who is Barack Obama? bullshit. We know Obama as well as anybody else in the race. He has been appearing in public for 21 months, held countless interviews and press conferences and has had his whole life raked over with a fine toothed comb.

Mailing 2 features a quote from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “The fall of the satanic power of the United States has come…” Below that, “Barack Obama thinks he can appease this guy?” Let’s go to the dictionary. Appease – to pacify or placate (someone) by acceding to their demands. I wouldn’t be voting for Obama if this were his reason for talking to this nutter. However, some people, including the Republican Party of Wisconsin, confuse appease with pacify. Let’s go to the dictionary again. Pacify – to quell the anger, agitation, or excitement of. Well, I think that is exactly the reason Obama might be willing to meat with such nasty folks. At first I believe he would try to pacify the situation with words and face-to-face contact. If this fails, I believe Obama has the guts to pacify the situation with the use or threatened use of military force (the second definition of pacify).

Mailing 3 is too easy to rip apart. Featuring a quote from the esteemed Las Vegas Review-Journal, the mailing accuses Obama as being a “Recipe for Economic Disaster.” I am pretty sure we are in one now thanks to the Republican deregulation addicts. This isn’t Obama’s fault, and it won’t be his fault if he gets in the White House. It will be his responsibility to try to fix it. Fix it he might. I am much more willing to give him a shot at fixing it than I am about to give that shot to McCain.

Mailing 4 uses a quote from Ezra Klein: “Obama is that oddest of all creatures: a leader who’s never led.” You should Google Ezra Klein and find his blog. I haven’t seen the whole article that this quote was taken from, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Klein was somehow referring to the natural ability of some people’s leadership even though they technically haven’t been put in charge of anything yet. This describes Barack Obama and it doesn’t give me any doubts about putting him in the White House.

Mailing 5 unsuccessfully tries to tie Barack Obama to lobbyists. I don’t know, some people might be fooled by this if they haven’t been watching the news or reading the newspaper in the last couple of months. For a while there a new McCain staffer/advisor was having his/her lobbying history uncovered in headlines once a week. It says at the bottom, “Barack Obama. Not Who You Think He Is.” Might I add, this mailing and mailing four both feature unflattering pictures of Obama like he is constipated on the toilet. Push, man. Push. Only four days left.

The PO - Political Orgasm

When was the last time the evening news started off its broadcast with a story about Iraq? I have heard this question posed many different times, but I’ve been thinking about the answer a lot more lately because the news is completely saturated with the last four days of the campaign.

The answer for me is several weeks ago and months ago if you exclude any story about the economy. What will the pundits and journalists have to talk about and report on, respectively, after November 4th? I am sure they will find something. Hopefully, we have a clear winner on the 4th so that this doesn’t become 2000 all over again.

The pundits have been talking politics for a good year now and some of them hit it 24 hours a day. Actually, the news networks have just evolved into political news teams all day, every day. If you really want news you might have to read the paper. Of course you will have to turn a few pages in to get non-political news, but it is there.

I think some of the talking heads are going to spontaneously combust on Tuesday night. They have been building and building for this moment, some for months and others for years, and now it is time for them and the whole country to climax Tuesday night.

What an unfortunately accurate choice of words. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I am not Joe the Plumber

There is a McCain commercial out right now featuring a bunch of middle-aged women and a few men saying, “I’m Joe the Plumber.” One guy agrees with Joe, in that he doesn’t want those working harder than him and those making more money than him (presumed to be the same groups of people) to be taxed because of their success.

If you have an issue with the rich being taxed at a much higher rate than the middle and lower classes, fine. That’s a reasonable concern of yours, but do you, and does the McCain camp, really think that people making more than you are automatically working harder than you?

I hope not. I concede that there are a lot of people making $250,000 a year that work harder than me, but I am not convinced the majority of them are necessarily working harder than the people I know that don’t make $250,000 a year (a.k.a. almost every single person I know).

The man featured in the McCain spot also seems to express the anger he might feel if one of his harder working friends, making over $250,000 a year, is taxed at a higher rate than he is.

A warning to all of you: Call me crazy, but if you start making over $250,000 a year and put yourself into that higher tax bracket, I am just not going to feel frustrated for you. I know, freaking mean. You can call me a wealth-spreader like Palin does, you can call me a socialist like McCain does, you can call me a terrorist like some of McCain’s supporters do, but it won’t change a thing. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Check the cable news. There is a sweet car chase going on in Miami right now. This guy is a decent driver and he is in a minivan. That is pretty impressive.

The Shack

I am going to start The Shack today. It will be like reading Blue Like Jazz for the first time in that many, many people have read it so far and the book seems to be on display in any bookstore. On top of that, Costco has about 250 copies on hand every time I go in there. So, it has to be good, right? 

Honestly, I am expecting to enjoy the book. I want to enjoy it. I've been warned about the writing style/quality, but that hasn't kept me from enjoying a story before. 

I'll write when I am finished.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pulling the Lever

I tried to write this post on Saturday and it came out like total crap. So, this is a warning. This is not Saturday's draft, but still not a pretty draft. These are only thoughts.

I spent the summer working for Obama. I ran into all sorts of people during my work this summer. Some of the people I had encounters with definitely made me doubt the work I was doing. No, these people weren't McCain supporters who gave me doubts about voting for Obama. These people were Obama supporters and even some staffers who, at times, would get a bit carried away with their praise for Obama. 

For these people, Obama is the answer. Literally. They have so much faith in him that they believe he is going to magically solve all the problems that plague this nation. He will wave his magic wand and send gas down to $1.50 a gallon and with his upward wave he will launch the market back up to 13,000 points. On top of that, Obama will have this magical solution to the quagmire in Iraq. Not only will we pull the troops out, but Iraq and the Middle East won't slide into a massive war. All terrorist attacks will cease. The nations of the world will see our valiant comeback and fall in behind us in lockstep with a new American foreign policy. 

I started to feel that by working for the Obama campaign I was supporting this deranged following and felt very uncomfortable with it. I would equate some of the faith people have put in this man to faith put in a god. No, that doesn't make him the anti-Christ, but it was enough to make me stop and realize, once again, that the change many people want is only going to come from knowing and loving Jesus. 

I don't necessarily think that a lot of problems in this world can't be helped/solved by an Obama administration, but to exhibit the kind of faith I saw this summer was foolish. It made me sick of politics. It made me sick of our groveling nature as human beings looking for importance, power and fame. It just wasn't pretty.

With that said, I don't at all regret the work I did this summer. I loved it and I would do it again. Seeing how much people believed in Obama didn't make me doubt my own reasons for voting for him. And those reasons have only grown in the last few weeks of this 21-month campaign season.

In one week I will pull the metaphorical lever for Obama. In reality, I will finish the giant arrow pointing to Obama, my ballot will be scanned, I'll head off to work, get home, have dinner and watch the returns. 


"The power of hypnosis is being used by Barack Obama."

This was said at a church meeting in Colorado Springs. Also among my favorites, " England the Muslims are taking over." This is all from a video produced by the Guardian. I can't embed it, but you can watch it here

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sweet Map

This map shows endorsements each candidate has received. Awesome. I love maps.

Endorsing Alterra

Every once in a while the Burnside Writers will endorse something on their blog. You can check out their blog here. I always liked the idea. Endorsing something is to say you like something, but it sounds so formal and gives a false sense of influence to the blogger. I need that. So, I'll be endorsing something today. 

Six Hours on Sunday endorses Alterra Coffee Roasters. Alterra is a local coffee shop with several locations throughout Milwaukee and the suburbs. It started in 1993 and is native to the Milwaukee area. Their focus: strong coffee. But strong takes on several meanings at Alterra. Of course their product is strong, all beans roasted in Milwaukee (on site, depending on what cafe you go to), but the coffee is also strong environmentally and within the Milwaukee community. 

Alterra, just like a favorite brewer back home, is wind-powered. They also use corn-based plastics for utensils and cups that can dissolve in as little as 45 days in a landfill. I haven't been to all Alterra locations, but as far as I know they have not built their own, stand alone building like a Starbucks or McDonalds. They move into existing locations, some of them old, and renovate with an intention of using recycled materials from the original use of the building. 

Kate and I were sitting at an Alterra yesterday when I thought of New Belgium Brewing. If Alterra was in Fort Collins, if New Belgium was in Milwaukee, the companies would complement each other perfectly. Beer drinkers need coffee in the morning. Coffee drinkers like a good beer in the evening. It would be quite a match, but for now, one that only exists in an imaginary city that has within it all my favorite companies, ideas and people. 

I am in the process of defining that city with this new series. More endorsements to come.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

MacBook Pro Pics

The machine's profile. Very thin screen.

Ports on left side of laptop.
CD/DVD loading slot.
Backlit keyboard.
Mac software and well, everything else.
Inside the box.
The box. Very small. At most 4 inches thick. 
The MacBook next to Kate's laptop.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My New Toy

I am typing this on my new MacBook Pro. Immediately after practice I drove to the nearest Apple store and went right up to the first guy I could find, pointed at one of these babies (MacBook Pros) and said "I'll take one of those."

I was out of there in short order with a Pro, Microsoft Office and a new HP printer, scanner and copier. The HP was free with the purchase of a new laptop. I didn't know this deal was going on, but it was a nice surprise.

Also, I got an educator discount. Although I don't have a valid .edu email address at UWM, I will soon, and I do carry around a piece of paper in my wallet that says I am a new hire. One of the ADs signed it. So, I took that out, showed it to the guy, and he said that worked for him and he took $100 off the total.

I took many pictures while I was unwrapping this beauty. I'll put those up tomorrow. Eventually, I want to do a first impressions blog about making the switch to Mac. Although I am sort of familiar with using a Mac, this is the first time I have actually owned one so I have a lot to learn.

This keyboard is so quiet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Powell Endorsement

I missed it. The only shows I watch on Sunday, if any at all, are Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes. On top of that, Kate was off this weekend and we stayed very busy on Saturday and Sunday.

Luckily, there is TPM, which cuts through all the crap and gives you great summaries of the days news. No, they did not pay me for that plug. Unfortunately.

Anyway, if you missed Powell's endorsement, it is below. I found it very eloquent. I like listening to Powell's voice. C'mon, read the phone book for me. It isn't quite near James Earl Jones, but still smooth.

Yesterday on Lake Michigan

Kitesurfing on a very windy day.

Occasional elevation.

Windy days help bring waves to the shore. Waves bring surfers to Lake Michigan.

Pretty cool to see on a cold fall day in the heart of the Midwest.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Talk Them Down

Friends, it is time to have the talk.

I was surprised to see this is from Move On because it actually is clever and funny.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Palin's Rise

My mom sent me an article from the Guardian that she received in a forward. However dated (it covers the VP debate), it is still relevant. Here:
Asked what her [Palin] achilles heel is - a question she either didn't understand or chose to ignore - she started in on how McCain chose her because of her "connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom, one very concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs child, about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills?"

None of Palin's children, it should be noted, is heading off to college. Her son is on the way to Iraq, and her pregnant 17-year-old daughter is engaged to be married to a high-school dropout and self-described "fuckin' redneck". Palin is a woman who can't even tell the truth about the most quotidian and public details of her own life, never mind about matters of major public import. In her only vice-presidential debate, she was shallow, mendacious and phoney. What kind of maverick, after all, keeps harping on what a maverick she is? That her performance was considered anything but a farce doesn't show how high Palin has risen, but how low we all have sunk.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Last Debate - Live Blogging

7:58pm - Okay, looks like things are about under way. The cable news countdown clocks are at 1:11. I don't know if I'll have as much to say during this debate as I did for the only VP debate because Palin isn't on the stage, but stay tuned.

8:00pm - Their countdown clock seems to be a little off. It is almost 8:01.

8:01pm - A sit down debate...this will be even more boring. No wandering from McCain. Dang it. Alright, here are the candidates. "Let's get to it," Bob Schieffer. Now, how long before Ayers rears his head?

8:05pm - That was a close one, Obama barely getting "Hofstra" out. That would have been a bad start, mispronouncing the host university's name.

8:08pm - "He's been watching some ads of Senator McCain's." - Obama gets the first laugh from the crowd for this one, but McCain's story about Joe "Plumber" was good I thought. Whether you like his proposal or not, I thought he was a little more convincing than in previous debates.

8:12pm - Obama talking about the core of the economy, the middle class, is where he is going to win over the people that, according to the polls, he doesn't necessarily need to win over. Sullivan says Obama is boring and McCain looks cranky. Agreed.

8:17pm - "Across the board spending freeze." McCain needs to elaborate more on this. He threw this out there in the last debate and it just sounds bad. Get rid of it and explain. A lot of "I know"s from McCain in this bit. "I know" how, why, etc. Oh, and that overhead projector is a high tech projector for Chicago's planetarium. This isn't some $3 million dollar projector from Office Max. Let's clear that up.

8:20pm - Damn. McCain getting a little cranky. "I am not President Bush." Right, you're only 95% of him.

8:22pm - McCain's eyes when Obama says "Fox News". Those were hilarious. We are going to see a freeze frame of that later on.

8:24pm - Oh boy. Here come the campaign tactics questions. Snap, good question, Bob. McCain "town hall meetings", blah, blah, blah. Let's go McCain, accuse Obama of palling around with terrorists. I am waiting....I think everyone is. Oh, it's Obama's supporters that are hurting McCain's feelings. "Very unfair and truly inappropriate," McCain have to be kidding, man? "You didn't tell the American people the truth because you didn't." Nice one, McCain. Well, he didn't bring Ayers up. If Ayers was going to come up, I thought it would have been then.

Obama's response to the tactics question is very good. People don't want to hear about hurt feelings, they want the issues. Obama will put up with it, but is it healthy for the American public to see the next three weeks devoted to nasty attacks? No.

8:30pm - An attack ad on a health care plan is completely different than an attack ad on someone's supposedly "dangerous" and mysterious background.

8:34pm - McCain really wants to keep going on about unruly crowds and whatnot. Put it to rest, gramps. He just seems so irritated. I don't understand why. Up...there it is, Ayers. We need to know the full extent of Obama's relationship with him and ACORN. WOW! He really did bring it up.

8:36pm - Obama's far, so good. He gave it to us straight. Now, clear up this ACORN business. Oh, well, that took about 20 seconds. That was easy.

8:38pm - Again, ACORN, why is this such a bad organization? McCain, trying valiantly to tell us what his campaign is really about.

8:43pm - Did McCain almost say "breast of fresh air" when speaking about Palin coming to Washington? That would have been the best slip ever.

8:46pm - McCain correcting Bob, "Climate change." Just sort of funny. I am wondering, how many gray hairs on Obama's head wouldn't be there if he hadn't been campaigning for 20 months? A lot, probably.

8:54pm - A pretty boring debate so far. Obama wins a boring debate, but there is still 36 minutes left. If The Daily Show was coming on at 9 around here I would probably change the channel, but I'll stick with this.

From Sullivan, a great point:
9.53 pm. "Maybe you ought to travel down there." C'mon, McCain, this is weeeaaak. And petty. And incoherent. McCain's veep only got a passport last year and McCain is attacking Obama for not visiting Colombia. He needs to look like a big man to become an independent president. Instead this campaign has made him look very, very small. Even against a freshman senator.
8:59pm - Joe the Plumber returns. Where is Joe Sixpack? I bet he feels left out. "You would love England." No, McCain, I do. I would move there tomorrow.

9:05 - Okay, McCain. 10 minutes...time is up. Brokaw would have blown a gasket there. Bob just gently mumbles.

9:13pm - Finishing the debate with ... zzz. Geez. So boring from both. That is McCain's heavy breathing you are hearing.

9:15pm - Last question. Yeah! I think Bob has done a very good job so far. McCain and Obama have actually been able to go back and forth during the last 80 minutes. Just let them fight.

9:18pm - "Put away the video games." I never liked this line from Obama. I love video games. Obviously, there can be unhealthy obsessions, but my obsession during my formative childhood years and even into college somewhat was completely beneficial to my health.

9:24pm - Palin is qualified for the VP slot and potentially the presidency because she knows about autism. Is this McCain's answer for the last question? What is with McCain constantly interrupting Obama? I know it's a debate, but seriously. Some of his interjections are off. And that last punch line didn't work. I love when McCain laughs at his own jokes.

9:28pm - Closing statements ... McCain, a couple stumbles, but for the most part fine. Not much to say there. Obama's last few lines were studly, I must say. Reminding voters that he has been out there for 20 months was good. Anyone who has been paying attention knows who Obama is.

And the debate ends with a very firm handshake and what sounded like ten "Good job"s from McCain.

Master Debater

Some of you may have already voted, but for the millions of undecided voters (including myself), the last presidential debate is tonight. I am not going to pass it up.

I hope that it goes smoothly for Obama. I don't think either one of them will have some knockout performance, so, tonight should be similar to the last debate. However, if McCain brings up Ayers, which he says he will, I think he (McCain) becomes the loser. The country need not focus on that extremely loose affiliation between Ayers and Obama. That tactic is not going to win new votes for McCain, it is only going to strengthen his frantic base and as we have seen lately, those people don't need encouraging. See "Terrorist" "Treason" "Kill Him" "Obama Bin Laden".

Supposedly, there is this new McCain that is focusing on the issues, but that just doesn't seem to be the case most of the time when McCain is being interviewed. Watch this clip at TPM, McCain essentially is blaming ACORN for his possible defeat in Florida. Really.

I just don't see McCain wooing undecided voters this way. What I don't understand about McCain campaign tactics is that months ago there was this high road to take. I imagine (and that is what I have to do) this road would involve an issues-based dialogue and discussion between McCain and voters. There would never be a need for McCain attack dogs because McCain could have sold his whole candidacy on decades of experience, theoretically articulate plans for reversing poor economic trends and improving America's standing in the world, specifically the Middle East.

But McCain didn't take that road. The path McCain has taken is riddled with fear and saber rattling, much of which is done by an Arctic politician completely unqualified for office who represents the right's lame grab at Hillary supporters.

McCain's numbers are plummeting and tonight I think he might be left to wandering the floor, literally, much like the last debate.

*And as for the title of this post, how could I resist?

The new MacBook

Finally. It has arrived. And I am getting one this time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

ACORN and Fox

If you have spent five minutes during the last week watching Fox News you have heard about ACORN or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

Now that a McCain win is looking less and less feasible in November, Fox News is proud to bring you the neighborhoods responsible for beating McCain, low and moderate income neighborhoods that, my God, have black people in them.

Sorry, just a little rant before I continue.

No, really, Fox News is going crazy with this story. Nope, they wouldn't be touching it if McCain had a 7 to 10 point lead in most national polls. I'm just trying to be fair and balanced by saying that.

Here is the story. ACORN organizers pay people to register voters. The people that are registering voters for ACORN are sometimes jobless or they are working for ACORN to make a little money on the side because they are struggling financially. Side note: When working this summer for the Obama campaign I ran into people working for ACORN. They were always friendly to me and were often canvassing streets and neighborhoods before we even got there. The ACORN employees, just like us in the Obama camp, cannot refuse to register a voter because that voter might vote for McCain. Although ACORN endorsed Obama, that doesn't mean they are only targeting potential Obama voters.

Moving on, ACORN employees aren't paid if they continually fail to register voters. So, some of these employees have devised a scheme. They can fill out the voter reg forms with fake names and addresses and turn them in. Their supervisors don't know the difference. They count up the forms and see that the employee has matched their quota for the day and they pay the person doing the voter reg. A simple, easy scam, but to be clear, there is absolutely no solid number of how many people have been doing this for ACORN. Fox would like you to believe that everyone registering voters for ACORN is committing election fraud, but that's not the case. There are a few of them and ACORN has been 100% cooperative with the agencies doing the investigation. ACORN actually encourages investigations of their employees if any election fraud charges are brought against them.

Fox would also like you to believe that all sorts of people are going to be showing up at the polls twice on November 4th, first as themselves and then as this mysterious person that they made up on a voter registration card. This is impossible. First of all, here in Wisconsin and every other state I have lived in, the election commission is responsible for confirming the address and name of the voter with a driver's license number and a mailing that usually lists the polling place so the voter knows where to go on election day. In Wisconsin you can't vote without a valid DL number or a state ID number.

I could go on about the impossibility of successfully casting thousands of fradulent ballots or a number much, much larger in order to actually influence the outcome of an election, but I won't. I just wanted to let you know that no matter how much spin Fox puts on this story in the coming weeks, the problem is not as big as they say and it isn't going to change the outcome of this election.

I think the outcome of this election is going to be fair and balanced. Don't let Fox spin it any other way.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Polls and Reality

While in Starbucks this morning I saw an old co-worker who is virulently pro-McCain and we have gotten into it on more than one occasion, but this morning we were just making predictions about who will win in just over three weeks.

He said, "Do you think he [Obama] will win?"

"I think he can."

"But do you think he will? That's different," he said.

I was hesitant to say he will because I don't want to get into that mindset and feel like an Obama landslide is imminent. First, because I don't think that's going to happen. Second, because I am going to be seriously pissed off and depressed if McCain wins and if he wins when I am confidently feeling an Obama landslide, my mood will be that much worse.

The co-worker noted my hesitation and he sat down to explain why he thinks McCain can still pull it off. His explanation was hard to follow, but he said it is the "lazy people" that are going to influence the outcome of this election. I think he was addressing the "lazy people" that the Obama camp is expecting to go out and vote. I think he feels these people won't do that. I assume he was addressing the concern about young voters actually following through with their stated intention for voting for Obama. But he also believes "lazy people" haven't been polled yet, stating that these people aren't taking part in the polls because they are lazy, but not too lazy not to vote. So as he described them, these people are going to be sitting around an hour before polls close and say to themselves, "Holy crap, I don't want that guy to be president" and they are going to rush out and vote for the other guy. He was suggesting that they would vote for McCain, that Obama has cast a spell over 50% of the nation that he is a worthy candidate for the presidency.

That is what I took from the conversation at least. I didn't mention that he kept on calling the race very close, which, defined by all national polls, it isn't, but I didn't bother correcting him on that.

I think the final outcome on November 4th will be very close, closer than the polls right now. There is a lot of talk about a Bradley effect, even Sunday Morning addressed that anomally, but I don't see it happening (and neither did Sunday Morning, saying the country has come such a long way since the origin of the Bradley effect in 1982), at least not a ten-point swing from polls to reality.

Let's hope not.

As Expected

We lost to Wisconsin, but we had some good swims. Wisconsin has the ninth best freshmen class in the country, so a lot of the races were won by freshmen. They had a seriously fast girl win the 100 breaststroke in 1:03 on Friday. I know that means nothing to most of you, but that is moving, not to mention it is the second week in October and the season goes until March.

Anyway, our serious competition starts on October 31 when we dual Wright State at home.

I hadn't seen a live swim meet since the 2005 fall semester at Wyoming. Watching the guys and girls race strengthened my desire even more to get back in the pool, which I will probably end up doing pretty soon because I get access to the pool now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

First Meet

Our first swim meet is today in Madison against Wisconsin. We aren't expecting to win, but I am excited to see the team get up and race.

I have to go catch the bus, but I'm also pretty excited about this...

That's right. This is an invitation Apple has sent to the media for an event next Tuesday. New notebooks are coming.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Two Things

A poem by John Cleese for Hannity:
Ode to Sean Hannity

Aping urbanity
Oozing with vanity
Plump as a manatee
Faking humanity
Journalistic calamity
Intellectual inanity
Fox Noise insanity
You’re a profanity

And an excerpt from a prayer at a McCain/Palin rally yesterday. They were both in attendance.

"O God, we are in a battle that is raging for the soul of this nation. You, O God, have raised up Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin for such a time as this ... Help them, O God, to strengthen our economy, to keep our taxes and spending low ... and grant them the privilege of being elected the next president and vice president."
Hat tip: TPM and Sullivan

Town Hall Debate

Live-blogging the VP debate was a first for me. It is something the pros do quite often and I thought I would try to emulate them and possibly disguise myself as a pro blogger. Anyway, as you can see below, there was no live-blogging for the presidential debate the other night. I was busy that night, but I did record the debate on my sleek VCR and finished watching it last night.

I quickly get bored when the debaters dive into Washingtonian and their round about way of speaking far beyond the time limit, but not really answering the questions. There was a lot of that Tuesday night from both candidates. This seemed to be the pattern of the debate. The question is asked. McCain speaks first, offering one to three sentences throughout his speech that sort of answer the question. Obama gets a chance to respond, also offering one to three sentences, and then getting interrupted by Brokaw because he is talking too long. Might I add, Brokaw's persistent mentioning of the answer time limits did get a little annoying. I say, let the candidates answer the question and hack it out for a healthy amount of time. What is two minutes?

Anyway, in a debate like this, where questions aren't really being answered, the candidates use the question as a catalyst to launch them into some aspect of their platform. There is a lot to judge, but I am not necessarily judging a candidate's answer, but what they spend their time talking about. With that said, I thought Obama spoke eloquently about where he wants to lead America and how he will lead America. McCain did this as well, but since McCain maintains that he and his running mate are the ticket for the average American, then he needs to be able to relate to them in a debate like this and he didn't. This is somewhat ironic because all afternoon the news networks touted his skills in town-hall style debates, but McCain seemed uneasy in this format with Obama. He was nervously wandering around the stage, barely making eye contact with Obama and referring to Obama as "that one" during one point in the debate (I don't believe McCain's use of "that one" was at all a racially charged comment, as some have suggested, but it was definitely a poor choice of words).

One thing that I love about the way the Obama campaign operates is their relatively clean campaign strategy. I was disappointed earlier this week when the campaign rolled out a criticism against McCain for his role in the Keating Five. Although that is an important part of McCain's political career, discussion of that old scandal is not going to move the country forward. Anyway, since McCain has been going with spectacularly dirty attacks for about a week now I think those attacks reserved Obama the right to bring up McCain's "Bomb, bomb, Iran" and "Next up, Baghdad" quotes in the middle of the debate. Admittedly, I was laughing out loud when Obama did this because that is a funny attack, but also because it is entertaining to hear attacks like that from Obama because truly, it seems to go against his character.

Many questions posed to the candidates dealt with the country's biggest struggles: the economic crisis, the war in Iraq, successfully capturing/killing Osama Bin Laden, Social Security and health care reform. And throughout the whole debate, McCain was saying he had the solutions to all these crises. He wouldn't necessarily explain how he would solve them, but would just offer something up like this on finding Bin Laden:
"I'll get Osama bin Laden, my friends. I'll get him. I know how to get him. I'll get him no matter what and I know how to do it."
I know McCain cares about solving these issues, but since he has all these magical solutions to the country's biggest problems he should share them with the current president. What the hell are you waiting for McCain?

The Daily Show also picked up on this last night in their debate analysis. I post the whole video because it is all great, but they touch upon the all-knowing McCain at the very end.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Cracks in the Glass Ceiling

I started to use StatCounter to track visitors to this blog on April 15, 2005, three days after I started this blog. So, I can safely say, that the number StatCounter is giving me today for total unique visitors is nearly exact for the life of this blog so far. That number: 15,833. Page loads are at 19,900, but unique visitors is the key number because this number trims a lot of page loads that are being done by the same visitor. That's it, I'm afraid. The most popular blogs on the net get that many hits in a matter of minutes and upwards of 1 million hits a day.

Of those 15,833 unique visitors, only 1,074 of them visited between April 15, 2005 and December 31, 2005. 2006 had 1,431 visitors and for four months I wasn't blogging here because I was in London. For 2007, the blog took quite a leap to 5,700 visitors, but this is expected because I was blogging much more frequently. And for 2008, this blog has had 7,628 visitors so far, already putting to shame 2007.

The busiest month was April of this year with 1,245 unique visitors. The slowest month of this year was July with 402 unique visitors. I was in the middle of the Obama fellowship then and not doing much blogging. But the lowest number of visitors in a single month was in March of 2006. There were 27 visitors that month I was in London, barely edging out August 2005 with 28 visitors.

I would say one of the most unexpected pleasures of having a blog is seeing where readers are coming from to read my blog. StatCounter gives me plenty of information about my visitors. I can see your IP address, your network name, the location you are connecting from (or at least the location of your ISP), the number of returning visits and what time of the day you visit the blog. I guess, in a way, looking up stats on StatCounter is a way of stalking my readers...if I have any.

For example, I know Jarrod has already visited this blog today. The location of his ISP is in Denver and the network name is Mesa. He went to the blog about three times yesterday.

Just because someone works in Colorado doesn't mean their network is in Colorado. I know I have a reader in Colorado, but their network/ISP is in Chicago somewhere.

Some of you have this page bookmarked, but others don't because every time you go to this blog you Google "Bryce Perica" or "six hours on sunday" in order to find it. This seems like a lot of work. If you are in Firefox, just press Ctrl + D and you'll have the page bookmarked.

Every once in a while I'll have someone get here via the link on my Facebook profile page.

I show up at the top of the list, or near the top of the list, for quite a few Google searches. Try "airplane exit row rules". I'll be in the top 5 results because of this blog. One of my favorites, "starbucks italian soda". I'm third on the list because of this blog. Or, "mcdonalds soda size". That search will take you here.

My readers are few and far between, but I'm glad you visit this blog for whatever reason. That is to say, this would be a much quieter place if I didn't know you would be checking it tomorrow hoping for an update.


Here is the clip of someone in McCain's audience yelling "Terrorist" after McCain asks, "Who is Barack Obama?"

As you can see, McCain doesn't wink and nod, at least not that I can see. However, he does clearly hear the response which comes somewhere from the audience off to McCain's left. He sort of pouts for a second. McCain isn't responsible for the crazy, whacked-out ideas that some of his supporters have, but he knows the fear is out there and I think it is pretty obvious he is playing to it here and in other quotations from Palin.

Monday, October 06, 2008

A wink and a nod

Here is a post from Talking Points Memo. Marshall gets pretty pissed here, but seriously, how can you blame him? Because what he writes about probably did happen. I say 'probably' because I am sure TPM, like many other major news blogs, gets tons of tips from readers. TPM uses great discretion in posting and if they ever manage to post something that proves false they often do an update post to let their readers know that they have acquired further information that disproves or conflicts with the initial post.

To make a long story short, TPM is very reliable and that is why this post is so disturbing:
So we have McCain today getting his crowd riled up asking who Barack Obama is and then apparently giving a wink and a nod when one member of the crowd screams out "terrorist."

And later we have Sarah Palin with the same mob racket, getting members of the crowd to yell out "kill him", though it's not clear whether the call for murder was for Bill Ayers or Barack Obama. It didn't seem to matter.

These are dangerous and sick people, McCain and Palin. Whatever it takes. Stop at nothing.

True Story

My parents are going through security at DIA when my dad recognizes a face. The face turns out to be that of Anne Lamott.

My mom walks over and starts a brief conversation with, "Excuse me, Anne." My mom then goes on to quickly tell Anne how much her writing has encouraged and helped my mom over the years.

After talking for a few seconds it was time to move about one's business and my mom said bye.

Later, on one of the DIA trains, my parents arrived at their concourse before one of the other passengers. My parents had to walk by this passenger in order to step off the train and when my mom did so, this passenger, Anne Lamott, put her hand on my mom's shoulder and said, "Traveling mercies."

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The VP Debate - Live Blogging

Holy Crap! This is good television.


Palin just winked at me.

I love how Palin injects slang into her answers. "Darn right." What the? She just said Joe Sixpack. I've heard that one before, maybe even from Obama, but it just sounds so dorky.

TPM already mentioned this, but Biden does look scared to look at anybody but Ifill.

Biden's response to the tax accusation was level-headed.

Again, Palin emphasizes her "straight talk" so she can speak to the American people.

Palin just referred to herself as middle class. I read a report today that estimated the Palin family assets. Wait for it...wait for it...$1.2 million. Damn, I want to be in that middle class.

Characterized, Joe. Characterized. Get it out.

Err, McCain does say one thing to one group and say another thing to another group. Palin should know this. She reads all newspapers and magazines.

That bankruptcy bill that was passed seems like a bad idea. Watch Maxed Out.

Oh, yes. Palin is going to talk about energy. Go on. I mean, after all, McCain says you are the foremost energy expert in the country! Is she really lecturing us about energy independence? Unbelievable.

Palin acknowledges the global warming trend, but she still refuses to say it was caused by man and refers to cyclical global temperature change.

Hah, Palin just corrected Biden on the Republicans chant "Drill, Baby, Drill." Biden said, "Drill. Drill. Drill."

So, to the support granting benefits to same-sex couples question, her answer was "No." Right?

We have a plan for withdrawal, Palin says. Do tell. I don't know of this. "Your plan is a white flag of surrender." - Palin to Biden. Hm, it didn't sound like a white flag of surrender to me.

Palin talking about Iran is scary. Very, very scary.

Sullivan thinks Biden is throwing this debate away. He thinks Palin's chirpy, stylistic approach is beating Biden. He may be true.

Her smiles are outrageously distracting. It is so comical. "Maverick." Blah, blah, blah. "Ruffling feathers."

Palin is lecturing on truth. Funny.

I agree with Palin. It is very obvious she is a Washington outsider.

10:06pm...The longest pause from Palin. She made it over an hour without an overly awkward silence.

A Palin Administration? I saw that last night on The Daily Show. She would put it on eBay. I'll post the video later.

Can we please stop using "Maverick"? That reminds me, at the RNC I saw someone holding a sign that read "Mavrick". That was amazing.

"Say it ain't so, Joe." And "doggone it." Classy.

Check the video. I don't think Palin's comment about not knowing what the VP does was a lame attempt at a joke.

Sullivan seems to be changing his opinion on the debate. This great bit from the Dish:

"Doggone it." "Say it ain't so, Joe." "God bless her." A shout out to her home town school. A total ramble of nothing on education. Total ramble.
Biden's criticism of Cheney was sweet.

10:19pm - I was hoping Palin would wink at me again. She just did.

Damn, Biden's getting choked up about his son was powerful. Staged? Doubt it. But either way, it worked. But then he goes a little long with his "Maverick he is not" speech. That was a little painful at the end.

10:30pm - Palin's closing statement...Ah, here comes the attack on the media. Palin loves answering questions, but she doesn't like interviews and press conferences. That was classic.

Biden's closing statement...Hitting the economy. That's smart. That's the weak spot right now and Biden seems to be doing a good job by hitting the reestablishment of the American dream as a core tenet to an Obama-Biden Administration.

Joe wins! But hey, I'm in the tank.

The Veeps

The VP debate starts in ten minutes and here are three scenarios.

Scenario #1

Palin carries over her performance from interviews into the debate. This is going to include many awkward silences, slaughtered English and perhaps muffled laughs from the audience.

Scenario #2

Palin's performance is the same as the first scenario, but this time Biden does something that is interpreted as sexist. This could be any sort of normal facial expression. This is also where Biden would get a little windy and bore everyone to death with his expansive knowledge of government and foreign policy.

Scenario #3

Palin's performance isn't awful, it is just sort of bad. No matter how Biden performs, if Palin makes it through without providing the media a handful of gaffes, then she has won. Sad, but true.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Supreme Court Question

Much is being made of Palin's awesomely bad interview performance with Katie Couric. Specifically, Palin is receiving a lot of criticism for not being able to name one other Supreme Court decision besides Roe v. Wade. One other! Now, to be clear, I don't think the general public should be criticized for not knowing another Supreme Court decision. However, I do believe a candidate for VP should be able to name more than one Supreme Court decision whether they disagree with it or not.

Here is the clip which also includes Biden's defense of Roe v. Wade. Here goes:

It is difficult for me to disagree with her sometimes because she isn't even knowledgable enough to have an opinion. She is shockingly stupid and I think McCain is paying for it now.