Second prize: two dates with Fontana Labs! It's looking increasingly likely that I'm rejoining the ranks of the unattached, which means
I'll be completely miserable I'll have lots of hilarious stories of the single life. I can hardly wait-- and neither can you, if you're honest with yourself.
In the meantime, feel free to set me up or ridicule my plight by posting links to Iranian singles ads.
God, I'm posting too much lately. Last one for the day, maybe. Two geeky items.
Philip Greenspun posts an Excel spreadsheet that lets you type in a word (into the "Word" column; hey, it took me a while), and see a count of how many times each candidate used it in last night's debate.
A friend poked around the Bush/Kerry websites and tracked down the websites that point to the main Bush site. His list is reproduced below, complete with his expression of surprise at one of the sites. (Personally, I'm still scratching my head over middlelinebacker.com.)
www.Saudis.net [<----- !!!!!?]
This fake Fox News story business is just weird. And a great catch by Josh Marshall. Start here and scroll up for the unfolding story.
You know, Tony Blair just had a heart procedure, and everyone's repeating the line that it was "routine":
The procedure performed on Mr Blair is called catheter ablation - a simple technique which thousands of patients in the UK undergo each year.
A wire is inserted through veins into the heart cavity allowing doctors to "map" the rhythm disorder.
It is then manoeuvred next to that point and pulses of energy are sent down it which should correct the heart's rhythm.
That's not so routine, and, depending on where in your heart the errant pulses are coming from, they have to punch the wire through one of your heart walls to get at it. There's no way at all that, if he weren't Prime Minister, Blair would have been allowed to bound out of bed the same day and go home pretending to have had something about as distressing as a filling.
There are precious few experts on North Korea anywhere, let alone in the blogosphere. But Edward Olson, who is a professor of National Security Affairs with a specialization in Japanese/Korean affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, addressed the bilateral/multilateral negotiations issue in a column in April of 2003. Contrary to my initial impression that John Kerry's answer that we should have "both" bi- and multilateral negotiations was a straddle, Olsen argues that "both" is precisely the right answer.
U.S.-North Korea bilateral negotiations can be integral to broader multilateral talks fostering tension reduction and inter-Korean reconciliation ... Instead of running the risks so apparent in the current environment, it would be much more prudent for the United States to innovatively utilize South Korea's approach to coping with North Korea. Rather than impeding our South Korean ally's diplomatic agenda in ways that aggravate anti-Americanism among South Koreans, it would be far better if Washington adopted Seoul's approach to defusing the current round of nuclear crises and treated U.S.-North Korean bilateral negotiations as part of the foundation for multilateralism intended to mitigate North Korea's threat potentials and be a catalyst for it to live in harmony with its neighbors.
It's a long, careful piece, and that's just a short excerpt, but the meaning is plain. Fred Kaplan also notes in today's Slate,
Point for Kerry. But it would have been a more solid point had Kerry noted that all the other participants in those six-power talks want the United States to have bilateral talks with North Korea.
And here's a piece from last year's Weekly Standard, of all places, that's quite critical of the administration's North Korea policy.
Case closed, I'd say.
The spin is just getting started folks. Bush misled, he was angry, he stammered, but what's the coherent critique of his debate performance? What's the one-line slam? I'm not seeing it yet, and if Drudge is right that the RNC is about to release a Kerry vs. Kerry debate video, then we need one.
Misleading statements by Bush in the debate. No doubt I'm a rabid partisan for believing that what's happening in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North Korea is more important than the state of the New York subway. Time will tell.
Gadzooks, I agree with everything Andrew Sullivan has to say about the debate. Read all of it, but this is the heart, I think.
I can see now for the first time why Kerry has a good reputation as a debater. It wasn't, I think, because he debated well. In fact, he debated poorly. He failed time and again to go in for obvious kills, failed to do what he really should have done, which is skewer Bush's conduct of the war, not his decision to launch it in the first place. But his tone was strong, clear, unwavering. And in some ways, this was critical to undermining Bush's constant assertion that Kerry is weak, vague and inconstant.
And Hugh Hewitt, who actually is a wingnut (or plays one for pay...whatever), calls the debate a "big" win for Bush, and argues,
America will never elect a man who believes in (1)"global tests," or (2)that we can't be trusted with 'bunker-busters.'" Kerry trotted out vintage nuclear freeze thinking tonight, arguing that the United States' development of a new generation of nukes is a bad thing. No, it is not, because we are a good and responsible country. End of debate, because Kerry's distrust of our weaponry is really a distrust of our national purpose.
I told you they wouldn't like us disarming. The "global test" bit refers to this part of the debate:
What is your position on the whole concept of preemptive war?
KERRY: The president always has the right, and always has had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War. And it was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control.
No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.
But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.
Here we have our own secretary of state who has had to apologize to the world for the presentation he made to the United Nations.
That's bad in wingnut land because we're Americans so no one fucking tells us what to fucking do. But that's not Kerry's audience; he doesn't have to satisfy the wingnuts, he just has to make the point, but more effectively than he did tonight, that global approval and coalitions translate into greater security.
I think the wingnuts will sieze on two Kerry flubs. Despite the fact that Kerry seems to have done better tonight, how his campaign handles the next couple of days will be decisive.
First, Kerry's line about Osama Bin Laden using the invasion to recruit terrorists and Bush's response that Bin Laden doesn't set US policy will be something you'll hear a lot. Kerry thinks we should let Bin Laden set our foreign policy. Kerry thinks we should put Osama in charge. On and on. Count on it.
Second, Kerry saying that he wants "both" bilateral and multilateral talks with North Korea. It'll be called a straddle, he'll be portrayed as indecisive.
There are good answers to both these charges, but the Kerry folks need to be quick and sharp in making them. I'm not breathing a sigh of relief just yet.
Ok, liveblogging the debate...please jump into the comments with anything you notice, would like to say, etc.
I'm watching on CNN, though the cameras for everyone's broadcast are controlled this time around by Fox (camera control rotates between the networks)...
Kerry seemed late, but he's taller! A wash.
Hey, no funny tan for Kerry...
A good competent first answer from Kerry--he really needs to end before the lights distract everyone--Bush said nothing, but not in a particularly embarrassing way.
Ah, Bush concedes that there's disagreement with his policies. "People know where I stand." Effective, I think. This is where Kerry needs to make the rhetoric/reality point...and not for the last time.
Bringing up Osama and "judgment" is smart, but he's flubbing the "what colossal misjudgments" question. He's talking about the good things Bush said he would do, not the bad things he did do. Not good...horrible in fact--he should have knocked this out of the park, and he's meandering.
A good rebuttal from Bush with "safer without Saddam Hussein." (Nevermind reality.)
Very very good response from Kerry on the debacle in Iraq.
Bush, backed into a corner, goes for the "dissent is treason" argument. Decent rebuttal from Kerry "I don't think this President can."
"Protecting America First"...good..."President Bush and I"...get the tax cut, also good. A good list from Kerry on Bush's homeland security failings.
"No viable exit strategy" from GHWB is a good line from Kerry. Also good on the failures in securing Iraq. Bush goes for "dissent is treason" again.
Excellent, really excellent answer from Kerry with references to Shinseki and Clarke. I'm not convinced that the answer should always be "we'll get the allies to go along." Is that compelling?
Bush's answer on "denigrating the contributions" of the UK and Poland is good. Also good to ask why people would join a war Kerry doesn't seem to believe in. A good retort.
So far, I think it's a wash.
Excellent by Kerry on citing numbers to show up the bogus "coalition" claims. Also good about mixed messages with North Korea.
Decent by Kerry on how Bush misled the country, but it seems like this should have been a homerun, and wasn't really.
Damn, as soon as Kerry said "Osama Bin Laden uses..." I cringed, and Bush, sharp!, nails him on it.
Bush, always good with the emotional "I care" thing. Let's see what Kerry does with it.
"I know what it means to lose people in combat" is good. Bah, he's talking about his plan. It's time, as Dan says in the comments, to bring up how Bush has screwed soldiers.
Bush again, "because Kerry has criticized the war, he can't lead the war effort." I wonder if this will be effective...a good response from Kerry with the Pottery Barn bit...a good time to mention that he has a plan.
Good for Kerry on the permanent bases and just guarding the oil ministry.
Now Allawi is above criticism. Oy.
"More of the same" is a good line for Kerry.
"More likely or less likely?" That's a dumb question. Is there a possibly edifying answer to that?
To my ears, Kerry's points on North Korea, Iran and Darfur were good. Not sure anyone cares about those places yet though.
Kerry doing well on credibility; I like the deGaulle story--but again, I'm not sure how much people care about our credibility--they want to be convinced that the president will be a bad ass
The ICC is a winner for Bush, I think. See what a skillful debater he is? The ICC has nothing to do with anything, but he's talking about it, and making Kerry seem like he'll sell US soldiers up the river.
North Korea seems like it should be a big winner for the Dems because it's been so botched, but keep in mind that almost no one is paying attention to North Korea. I just don't think it matters much. (But Kerry's doing a very good job of reading the indictment...that prosecutorial experience, I guess...)
Did Kerry really say that he wants bilateral and multilateral talks with North Korea? "Both." Oy.
Kerry's making all the right points, but don't y'all think they could just be a bit...sharper?
The major question for Kerry, of course, is whether he's convincing people that he'd be a good president. So far, I think he's doing a good job of that. He's controlled and (for him) direct (that's why bilateral/multilateral answer hurts).
Bush calls Kerry a flip-flopper--will Kerry play defense, or answer Lehrer's question and bring up Bush's failings? A very good answer from Bush. Sounds gracious. but slams Kerry.
Good. Kerry doesn't even try to answer the flip-flopper charge, he goes right to "certain, but wrong." Good good good. Bush has a good response about not changing core values. (He's a really fucking good debater!) Kerry also good: "I've never wilted in my life." Kill those Viet Cong, baby!
Kerry plays the fear card with nuclear proliferation (and mentions that he wrote a book about it). No complaints here. (But I'm not sure people will be thrilled that we won't make nukes for ourselves. I'm tellin' ya, they want a bad ass.)
The fact that Bush can seem like he has a strong, principled position on North Korea is purely a function of the public's ignorance. Oh well.
Vladimir, Vladimir...pooty poot, yeah yeah. No one cares.
Kerry realizes he has to address the Korea issue: "just because the president says it can't be done" is excellent.
Kerry says "The issue is what you do about it." Very good. And right near the end. I think that's excellent.
A good closing for Bush. But he's given that speech many times--don't know how much difference it will make. Ach, but it was good.
Ok. No major gaffes or particularly memorable moments. In that sense, a draw. But, as I said a bit ago, Kerry's goal was to show that he could be presidential, and I think he did a very good job of that. Bush's excellent closing mitigated Kerry's edge a bit, but Kerry should be happy with how it went tonight.
Now, let's see what the pundits latch on to.
So far, CNN seems to agree that both did a decent job and Kerry will go away happy.
David Ensor is making really stupid nitpicks. The CIA believes Bin Laden is in Pakiston, not Afghanistan, as Kerry said (last I heard, they think he's in a border region). Kerry said the WMD are crossing the border every day: it seemed clear to me that Kerry meant terrorists pouring into Iraq.
Wes Clark is on CNN right now. Off topic, but god damn, he's so good when he's relaxed, and he was so horrible as a candidate.
Ah, the undecideds on CNN. Let's hear what the Martians have to say. Uh, nothing apparently. This live metering of reactions is very strange though. I'm sure people's reactions seem exaggerated even to themselves--rather, they feel like they must have a reaction, and that skews the results.
Ok, off to talk to my mother, the crazy lefty. Thanks all for commenting.
Hugh Hewitt says, with a straight face: If I and my idiot friends talk about something, and I don't see it written up in the New York Times the next day, the Times is biased.
But, of course, Hewitt doesn't intend or need his claim to be taken seriously qua reasoned argument; he just needs to lay the groundwork for claiming that the media is biased.
A reasonable person reads his column and laughs, thinking no one will take it seriously.
But lots of people are idiots, and they might take it seriously.
Then they'll get the government they deserve.
But it's not the government I deserve.
Clint Eastwood stands over Gene Hackman, pointing his gun at Hackman's head, and Hackman says, "I don't deserve this."
Eastwood, in the best movie line ever, says, before shooting Hackman, "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."
So hell: "news" isn't necessarily what people are talking about; reporters have nothing to add to people's discussions of Kerry's tan (or Bush's hair dye); newspapers perform a service by telling us something we didn't already know, and, even better, by changing our minds with facts. If Hewitt wants to gossip and chatter, he's got his blog; leave the newspapers out of it.
I asked a 28-year-old engineer if he and his family would participate in the Iraqi elections since it was the first time Iraqis could to some degree elect a leadership. His response summed it all: "Go and vote and risk being blown into pieces or followed by the insurgents and murdered for cooperating with the Americans? For what? To practice democracy? Are you joking?"But here's the question: why aren't news stories written this way? It's evocative and informative, and actually gives you a clue as to how things feel on the ground. I don't care if the news is double-sourced or if I'm hearing from an expert or some dude on the street. I want to hear from the reporter, and hear about hunches and feelings, and after a bit of time, I'll know who I trust, and who I want to read.
Now, Matt Yglesias is a smart guy, but this seems so very wrong to me.
I was just telling a colleague I thought that John Kerry should break the silly rules the Bush campaign has successfully pressured the debate commission into imposing. What's going to happen to him -- will Jim Lehrer award George W. Bush two free throws? Half the distance to the goal line? As long as Kerry avoids doing anything that would be obviously inappropriate for any sort of debate, Bush is only going to look like a coward and a weakling who's unable to stand on his own two feet if he finds himself pleading to the moderator for help.
The Republicans would cry cheap shot and dirty trick and desperate Kerry, and that would be fine, except that I think most people would agree: his campaign agreed to the rules, and that would make breaking them unbecoming.
Who the hell knows though, does the Cuban Jew or the Iranian Shiite have his finger more firmly on the pulse of the American electorate? Any readers who are dumb and Iowan are invited to comment.
I'm tempted to liveblog the debate tonight, if only to record my own impressions before I get kenobied by the pundits. But it just seems so...narcissistic, and, as a blogger, I can't stand for that.
You can take a look at the Memorandum of Understanding (PDF) that sets the rules for the debates. A more boring document one can scarcely imagine, but two things seem significant:
* The candidates will stand and can't use anything to equalize their heights
* The candidates may not question one another (rhetorical questions ok)
I was really worried about the first one. Kerry's height is a big advantage, and I'm glad it won't be neutralized. The second provision is what keeps it from being a debate, and what Kerry supporters think is probably a gift to Bush, but I'm not so sure. I have no idea what the nasty little Republican minds would come up with for Bush to ask Kerry, and alternatively, if Kerry reduced Bush to silence or sputtering, Bush would probably get sympathy points (people like him, people).
You don't have to care at all about Robert Mapplethorpe to find this amazing.
Mapplethorpe's parents, who lived 13 miles from the epicenter of their son's infamous celebrity (a celebrity that became increasingly national all the while), had no idea until shortly before his death that he was gay. And his mom still didn't believe it.
Yikes. And the deathbed scene is a kicker.
Tim Noah finally gets to the bottom of just what Grover Norquist said about "the greatest generation."
Before that generation, whenever you put a draft in, there were draft riots. After that generation, there were draft riots. This generation? No problem. Why not? Of course the government moves people around like pawns on a chessboard. One side spits off labor law, one side spits off Social Security. We will all work until we're 65 and have the same pension. You know, some Bismark, German thing, okay? Very un-American.
It's not quite as punchy as the translated paraphrase, but it should go nicely with the "these people will say anything" meme that, uh, just started.
The weddings are over, but the wedding questions remain...one in particular: why is there always dancing? You need a ceremony, and it's good to feed the guests, but then, why dancing? Why not a big game of volleyball? Or bowling? Why not split into teams and have a trivia contest? Or have the old folks tell stories? Why not have the guests try to figure out the meaning of, say, justice, or evil? There are other possiblities. But it's always dancing.
So, two questions. Have you been to a wedding where there was something other than dancing? And, any recommendations?
I do wish this article were online. This is exactly right about Karl Rove's M.O.
One of Rove's signature tactics is to attack an opponent on the very front that seems unassailable.
So how did he take on someone with a reputation for dedication to children's causes? By starting rumors that he was a child molestor, of course.
People generally make two mistakes when confronted with tactics like this. They're either incredulous that something so low and untrue could possibly work, or they think that it requires a response in kind to be overcome. That they work ought to be beyond question by now; but playing hardball in response doesn't require selling your soul and calling your opponent a child molester; it just means being smart about responding.
The effectiveness of scurrilous attacks depends on the fact that people's working assumption is that there's some bit of truth in every charge. But Rove now has a history and it's enough for a smart candidate to change that assumption where Rove in concerned. The rubrick of response should be, "These are people who will say anything in order to win." Then we can talk about the McCain miscegenation stories, and the Kennedy pedophilia stories. The material is there, work it Kerry folks.
I think it would be fun and effective for folks to share how they're getting involved during the final month of the campaign, and I'll try to set up a post/thread for that in the next few days. In the meantime, can y'all recommend good ways for people in non-swing states to help with GOTV in swing states?
Please read this post about Republican efforts to legalize "extraordinary rendition"--sending suspected terrorists to countries that will torture them--and what you can do about it. Leave a comment if you get an interesting response from your representative.
No, I'm not dating Sherry (which you probably could have inferred from the "looking for someone fun" part).
And everybody should read Persepolis. You'll thank me if you do. Go on.
dsquared makes a great point.
I have long believed that this difference between the American and British education systems is one of the most important and underanalysed features of the transatlantic relationship.
In Britain, you see, we have a tradition of deference and servility. How this shows up in the educational system is that British idiots tend to be mocked and ignored by the teachers, forced to sit at the back of the class in silence, and their parents don't do anything about it other than sullenly acquiesce.
In America, this is not a viable strategy due to greater parental involvement and less respect for nominal authority, so teachers have to educate the idiots along with the rest of the class. Because of this, the teachers attempt to gain some respite from the task by organising "Show and Tell" and similar lessons, which give the children experience of talking in front of a class. They also don't ever humiliate the children and damage their self-esteem.
This means that, while you can tell a British idiot at a glance by his stumbling and inarticulate speech and hangdog manner, an American idiot will often be shockingly self-confident and articulate. For a British audience, it can take as long as twenty minutes to realise that the person they are talking to is a halfwit.
Daniel doesn't mention that the halfwit spends his whole life not realizing the same thing. When I signed up at the health club recently, my signer-upper was an amazingly confident, stupefyingly stupid young man. He told me that the club required the use of workout towels for "sanity." And his explanation for why they required first and last month's fees despite the "month to month" contract was truly incoherent (this is not an exhausitve list).
One of the great wonders of America is its egalitarianism, but this is the dark side: the idiots don't realize they're idiots. It's enough to make a guy miss the old country.
Alright, back from Italia, and I can report that serving a twelve course meal in a beautiful villa followed by a massive fireworks display can make for an impressive wedding. Still, I wonder why people don't just make down payments on houses...and I once bought a girlfriend a thesaurus for her birthday, ok.
Just got back from the dentist with the usual warnings about tartar. I currently plan to floss daily, even when camping.
1. Why can't I see my own tartar? I look but see nothing, but the hygenist seems to be able to see it without any trouble, and seems to be able to chip out relatively gigantic chunks. Is it just about my hardly ever looking at the backs of my teeth?
2. Why is it that when I look for photos of tartar online, almost all I get are awful, stomach-churning photos of the most advanced cases? This is true of any medical condition I search for on Image Google -- it's easy to get pictures, but they're almost always of terribly advanced cases. Is that useful, given that most people's cold sores or ingrown nails don't look like that?