Sunday, October 26, 2008


The timing isn't perfect, what with the election coming up next week and all, but for various reasons (personal, but nothing too exciting and nothing to worry about) this blog will be on hiatus until, well, sometime around Wednesday November 5. Ah well. Explore the fine blogs on my blog roll for more bloggy goodness.

And vote like your life depends on it. 'Cause it might.

Bli neder, see you on Guy Fawkes day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

All Worldviews Are Weird

In a yet-to-be-finished (and maybe never-to-be) post on the role the Mormon church is playing in support of the anti-gay Proposition 8 in California, I had a sentence about the interest (as a Jewish atheist) I had in the Mormons which noted their bizarre worldview -- by which I mean their cosmology, theology, metaphysics: stuff like that.

But of course all worldviews are weird.

An atheist would of course rush forward to say that the standard Christian view is no less strange than the Mormon one: it's just a different flavor of strangeness. And the same is true, mutatis mutandis, of the comparisons of the various views of Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam -- whatever. I don't think that the world view of, say, Scientology is less strange than that of (say) mainstream Christianity (or any of its less-popular spinoffs); it's just less familiar.

But then, really, the same is true of the overall picture of the universe derived from modern science. I mean, quantum mechanics? It doesn't get any weirder than that. And lots of other areas are -- if you imagine explaining them to a person from a culture who knows about neither Christianity nor Enlightenment-and-thereafter science -- equally strange.

This is particularly true when those depictions of the universe are reduced to the summery summary form in which most of us are exposed to them (particularly those we don't subscribe to, but also those we do) -- but it is not exclusively true of summaries: it's just that more detailed descriptions of any given model of the universe will take enough time that we are apt to get used to the weirdness.

This is not to say, of course, that there aren't good reasons for preferring one picture of the world to another. There are.* It's just to say that prima facie strangeness is not a good reason for preferring any particular worldview, because they're all weird. For some we're just used to that.

This naturally leads to the question of why all worldviews are weird -- why isn't it that the truth makes intuitive sense? And while this is a question that libraries could be (and probably have been) written on, I think the first stab at an answer would be that the sort of issues I am intending to include under the rubric of "worldview" are all things that are decidedly outside our common frame of reference. Metaphysics, cosmology, theology, and so forth, all deal with issues that are broader in time, distant in space, differing in scale, and divergent in nature from the stuff of our everyday lives. Sidestepping the question of to what degree our common sense is instinctual and to what degree it is formed by experience,** that common sense is/was formed by things at a very limited scale: in time, in size, in nature, etc. So naturally any answer to the bigger questions is going to be weird, because the criteria by which we form our notion of what's normal are not calibrated to deal with those sorts of issues.

If this sketch of a reason is right, then not only are all known worldviews weird, but any possible worldview is weird -- indeed, if someone managed to somehow create a worldview that was intuitively plausible, reasonable at first blush, then we should be instantly suspicious of such a view, since it would involve projecting things from a common scale to ones upon which we have no experience.

*Personally, I think that science (and other secular studies as appropriate) is the best guide to questions such as what sort of things exist in the universe, how did they come to be and so forth because it is based on reasons and evidence. Others may use other standards, such as the teachings of their ancestors, a burning in the bosom, or what have you.

** I suppose, really, it's formed by experience either way: the only question is to what degree is that experience individual (having to do with our personal, psychological experiences) and to what degree does it reside in the species (the events that shaped the natural selection that gave rise to our instincts, the way our minds have evolved).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Compare and Contrast

No one voted for me in the 1964 Presidential primary who is anti-Negro. I am not myself, and I ran no such campaign, nor have I ever run a campaign that was anti-Negro.

-- George Wallace, "Hear Me Out" (Anderson, S.C.: Droke House, 1968), p. 120

While there are a few sick individuals who hate gay people, I have neither seen nor heard any hatred of gays expressed by proponents of Proposition 8. Not in my private life, not in my e-mail, not from callers on my radio show.

-- Dennis Prager (via)
...I guess going from total denial ("no one") to a broad-but-not-absolute denial ("a few sick individuals") is progress, of a sort.

(You can donate to the No on Prop 8 campaign here.)

Update: Oh, and while I'm at it:
Marriage has never been regarded as a universal human or civil right.

-- Dennis Prager, op. cit.

Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

-- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 (article 16)

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.

-- Chief Justice Earl Warren, Loving v. Virginia (1967)
Loving v. Virginia, incidentally, for those who don't know, is a case in which activist judges overturned marriage bans which were, at the time, widely popular in the U.S.... bans under which the parents of the current Democratic Presidential nominee could not have married (had they lived in one of the states with such a ban). If that case, decided by activist judges, had been put to a vote, it would almost certainly have been overturned. But I, for one, am glad that it was not put to such a vote.

Oh, and Warren's quoting there, from a still earlier case -- Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Annual Baseball Post, 2008 Edition

I'm not really a baseball fan (although I'm closer to that than I am to any other sort of sports fan); when the Red Sox, my team, were in the playoffs this year, I knew they were (after a while), and I'd check to see if they'd won or lost (if I remembered to), and was (mildly) disappointed when they lost; but I didn't actually watch any of the games. Nor could I name a single contemporary Red Sox player.

Despite this rather considerable handicap, I am a fan of Bill James's writing on baseball. I've read, or at any rate read in, several of his books, here and there over the years. This is not so much because he is such an important figure in the development of Sabermetrics (a term he coined), but simply because I find him a marvelously entertaining writer. His writing is lively, accessible, intelligent, and often funny. His style of argument is intelligent and knowledgeable without being (to my mind) in the least academic, and he has a very engaging pragmatism. (I grant, in all this, that I am a very poor judge of his arguments, since I know so little about the subject.) Some years ago I read his book on the baseball hall of fame, and found the style of thinking and arguing extremely congenial and compelling.

But that's all hard to convey, so I'll switch back to funny, particularly since this entire post was mostly meant as a preamble to the following gem I just stumbled across:
Dan Mossi had two careers as a major league pitcher, one as a reliever and one as a starter, and he as pretty darned good both times. No one who saw him play much remembers that, because Mossi's ears looked as if they had been borrowed from a much larger species, and reattached without proper supervision. His nose was crooked, his eyes were in the wrong place, and though he was skinny he had no neck to speak of, just a series of chins that melted into his chest. An Adam's apple poked out of the third chin, and there was always a stubble of beard because you can't shave a face like that. He looked like Gary Gaetti escaping from Devil's Island.

One of the problems with choosing ugliest and handsomest players is that a player who looks little short of grotesque in one pose or one photograph will look fine in another. Susie showed me a picture of Hoyt Wilhelm in which he looked positively handsome. I assured her it was just a bad shot.

You never have the problem with Don Mossi. Don Mossi was the complete, five-tool ugly player. He could run ugly, hit ugly, throw ugly, field ugly, and ugly for power. He was ugly to all fields. He could ugly behind the runner as well as anybody, and you talk about pressure... man, you never saw a player who was uglier in the clutch.

-- Bill James, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, p. 245
After that, of course, I had to go look for pictures of Dan Mossi. And the results, while not strictly speaking belying James's description, nevertheless can't help but disappoint slightly:

--although I will agree those ears are spectacular. And two more, just to cement the point:

I'm probably not well-versed enough in James's works to recommend any one in particular, but keep your eye out for his writing. He's definitely a good author in the clutch.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Link Round-Up: Can't Wait for the !@#$% Election To Be Over Edition

On the assumption that at least some of my Noble Readers might feel as I do -- namely, that I can't wait for this election to be over -- I present here a list of links, some recent, some not-so-recent, all but three of which have nothing whatsoever to do with once and future American politics. (That was one; it's a point Digby has made frequently, but Billmon, in the above-linked piece, makes it funnier. (And, oh yeah, that was two.))

Most of these links are so old that I've forgotten where I saw them. My apologies for the violation of blogosphere manners in the lack of specific link-backs.

The links this time are divided into three broad categories: comics, movies, and things that from a long way off look like flies.

1. Comics

This hilarious parody is the third and final political link in this post. I think you can enjoy it whatever your politics; a fairly good grasp on Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, on the other hand, is a prerequisite.

The unabridged novelistic writings of Snoopy.

Top ten mental illnesses Batman indisputably has.

• XKCD is probably my favorite webcomic. It has dozens and dozens which are great; this is not the best by any means -- it's simply one that made me laugh. As opposed to this, which is jaw-dropping. (Personally, I recommend the random button, with a warning that the strip didn't get good until circa #50.)

Mike Sterling' Things Not To Say to a Comic Book Shop Employee. Hilarious.

• I am not looking forward to the forthcoming movie of Watchmen. Nevertheless, it's cool how closely the posters for the movie track the old promotional ads for the comic.

The always-interesting Andrew Rilstone on the creation of the comic book character The Silver Surfer. Requires an interest in the topic, but wonderful if you have any at all.

2. Movies

• People are always rediscovering Bechdel's Movie Test (a.k.a. Mo's Movie Measure, a.k.a. the Bechdel/Williams Test, etc.); for instance, Charlie Stross discovered it recently, which led to some interesting comments (considering, for example, whether it's fair to apply the test to prose fiction, particularly first-person prose fiction). Well, it turns out there's a web site which analyses movies and opines to whether or not they past the test. One blogger proposes a somewhat parallel test which she names the Frank Miller test.

Monty Python's "Camelot" number from the Holy Grail done in Lego. (Also: the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.)

The always-interesting Andrew Rilstone (op. cit.) on the "Revenge of the Sith". Same remarks apply.

The Strange Obsessiveness of Stanly Kubrick.

Roger Ebert on why he gives out too many stars (if he does).

3. Things That From a Long Way Off Look Like Flies

Hamlet in the style of facebook feeds.

• I am very bad at learning foreign languages. If I nevertheless managed to pass the French test (atypically demanding as far as grad school language requirements go) for my Ph.D., a decent amount of credit should go to the Pimsleur Language Tapes, which, while expensive, are just extraordinary -- the best language tapes I've ever heard or heard of, bar none. But don't take my word for it: it turns out that the first lesson in each set is available for free as an online mp3. Each takes half an hour; you need to give it full concentration, and really respond to each prompt outloud, or you won't get what's great about it. The full sets are 30 lessons each, in many languages coming in Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced (for a total of 90 lessons). As I said, they're pricey; but try your local library -- ours, at least, has a lot.

• I expect that many of my readers heard about the tragic suicide of writer David Foster Wallace. In case you didn't see them, many of his essays (which a lot of people say are his best work) are online: all of his work published in Harpers, his essay "Host" from the Atlantic, and his essay about the morality of eating lobsters from Gourmet magazine.

Why did teachers start lecturing, and why do they (we) still do it?

• Other interesting recent posts from Charlie Stross's blog (op. cit.): an interesting discussion on whether one can write near-future SF today (with a follow-up here); and the story of a man who saved your (yes, your) life -- or, well, links to the story. Quite dramatic though. Worth clicking through.

Can flying survive high oil prices? (It turns out it's far more vulnerable than driving -- there already exist electric cars, after all.) If not, what then?

Elephants march right through the lobby of a hotel built on their customary migration trail. Good for them.

• Finally, via Ezra, an Adam Gopnik profile of John Stuart Mill, from the New Yorker.

Monday, October 13, 2008

All Hail the Shrill One!

The best mainstream media columnist in the US, Paul Krugman, won the Nobel Prize in Economics this morning.

I am utterly unqualified to comment on his academic work, but it's always nice to see great people get big prizes -- and it's quite clear that if there were a Nobel Prize for punditry, he'd deserve that, too.

His latest column -- required reading for the Bush years, but particularly the past few weeks -- is in today's paper, and is on the economic crisis.

So congratulations, and three cheers for the Shrill One!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Connecticut Court in Equality's Corner

Connecticut has become the third state in the US to make marriage laws available equally to its straight and gay citizens. Hooray for them!

That's the good news. The bad news is that equal marriage rights are in trouble in California. The proponents of a constitutional amendment to strip marriage rights from gay and lesbian Californians are outspending the measure's opponents, and the polls have now shifted in their direction. As Kos says, "if this amendment passes, the cause of marriage equality will be set back decades." So if you can, help out the no on 8 cause.

It's great we're at 3. It'd be truly terrible to slip back to 2.

(Oh, and my fellow New Yorkers? Can we try for four? I mean, we've already been beaten by Massachusetts, California & now Connecticut. Waiting any longer could get embarrassing -- we have a reputation as a liberal coastal enclave to maintain, here. Plus, bonus: it's the right thing to do.)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The People Crowded Around You Are So Disturbing That I Can't Hear What You're Saying

George Packer, after discussing the verbal (and intellectual) pollution that is cluttering the heads of news-followers in this election season, says that "On November 5th, you’ll need to clear your head of a great deal of accumulated nonsense. I would suggest a long, deep, surprising drink of Orwell."

Now, I love Orwell's essays -- and think that all the wonderful things Packer says about them are true. I'm also interested in checking out the two-volume edited edition of Orwell's essay that Packer is plugging in his blog post, even though I already have several collections of Orwell's essays on my shelf.

But somehow reading Packer plugging Orwell makes me cringe.

It's like hearing someone you know to be a rabid German nationalist and antisemite talk about the brilliance of Nietzsche prose and metaphysics. Nietzsche's prose and metaphysics are, indeed, fine and fascinating things, and Nietzsche is well worth taking long, deep, surprising drinks of. But when you hear someone you know to be a German nationalist and antisemite praise him, what you instantly think of are the misappropriations of Nietzsche by the proponents of those causes -- misappropriations because Nietzsche detested both German nationalism and antisemitism; but, still, powerful misappropriations because his writings were used by opponents of both of those causes.

Orwell has been held up in recent years as the patron saint of neocons -- particularly self-identified liberal (or formerly liberal) neocons. Former Nation columnist Christopher Hitchens, for example, wrote a whole book on Orwell. Now, I don't happen to think that promoting neo-imperialist American policies, aggressive wars and the rabid madness of the Bush administration are causes which Orwell would be glad to see his name raised in support of -- any more than Nietzsche would have been glad to have been cited as a foundational thinker for German nationalists and antisemites. But until Orwell's Walter Kaufman comes along and frees Orwell from his kidnappers,* there is a stink on his writings that bear no relation to the texts themselves, but are so strong that they make the texts themselves hard to stomach.

Now, I've liked Paker's writing since before he began promoting stupid, aggressive and criminal wars. His book Blood of the Liberals is a fascinating meditation on the shifting nature of liberal (and conservative) politics over the Twentieth century. -- And I've not read Packer's book on Iraq, The Assassin's Gate, which reportedly describes the occupation in scathing terms (without ever saying that maybe the opponents of the war were right to oppose it).

But George Packer supported the Iraq war -- a war that, it has been forgotten amongst all the raptures about the supposed success of the Surge (™ McCain campaign), resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings, most of them Iraqi. He wrote disparagingly of those who opposed the war before it started.

So I find that his recommendation that I read Orwell makes me rather want to avoid doing so. Not because Orwell would have been an American neo-imperialist, nor because I disagree with Packer about Orwell, but because the conjunction of an unapologetic Iraq war proponent, known for his disparagement of anti-war voices, with Orwell simply makes me queasy.

Perhaps Packer's two-volume selection is a good one. But I think he was a poor choice to edit it regardless. And perhaps it would be a good idea for us all to read some Orwell after November 4. But I think Packer is a poor spokesman for that notion, associating as he does with Orwell's appropriators, appropriators who have enlisted Orwell in a posthumous cause that has led to horrific results.

I'm probably being unfair to Packer here. Packer was a reluctant supporter of the war, and has been a fine journalist in Iraq (as well as elsewhere). He's a far cry from dead-enders like Hitchens.** Still --

Perhaps for a while Orwell should be promoted by different people.

* Cue reference to the famous first line of Orwell's essay on Dickens, that Dickens is a man "well worth stealing".

** On the other hand, he was one of those promoting a US invasion of Burma a short while ago, so who knows.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The "Biographical Sketch" Draft I Was Too Cowardly To Actually Use In My Finished Dissertation

Born in Cuba in 1899, son of a Cuban woman raped by an American soldier during the Spanish-American war, Stephen Saperstein Frug passed the first ninety-nine years of his misspent life struggling for the liberation of Spanish America from its Imperialist American overlords. In 1998, however, he accidentally wandered into a lecture by Newt Gingrich, during which he finally saw the error of his communist ways. Weeping for his lost years, he decided to pursue sheer selfish monetary advancement as the best means to further the moral interests of humankind. As the first step in pursuit of this goal, he enrolled in a Ph.D. program in the humanities at Cornell University -- perhaps a sign that after ninety-nine years as a communist guerrilla, his understanding of market forces left something to be desired.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Recent Quotes on Politics

Some comments that caught my attention. All of the quotes are from articles/blog posts that are worth reading, particularly if you find the sample to your taste.

I’ve been reading the GOP campaign as being not merely an assault on liberal elites—like I say, that’s old news—but a frontal attack on the very idea of standards of plausibility in argument.

-- Michael Bérubé

Both the [Israeli] settlements problem and the [$7 Billion] bailout problem remind me of something I wrote a while ago in reference to the Roman Republic. Simply because something must happen does not mean that it will happen. The Roman Republic faced a series of internal crises that were evident to all and that desperately required political solution; moreover, the contours of such solution were evident to most of the relevant political players, and in the abstract were achievable. The Republic had been designed to manage the political affairs of a small city-state. The achievement of Empire made those institutions quaint; provincial governors would make war on their own authority, and return to Rome at the head of Legions bound by personal loyalty and with more money than the whole of the Roman state. The institutions of the Roman Republic, solid enough for five hundred years, were insufficient to actually achieving the necessary solutions. In the face of crises that demanded solution, the Roman Republic crumbled, because the institutional structure created vested interests and veto points that prevented the achievement of any solution. The Republic could not save itself because its very structure prevented it from doing the things that were necessary to reform. Almost no one wanted this outcome, but no one could stop it from happening. It's not that people are stupid (although many are) or dishonest (although many are); its that the institutions make certain outcomes difficult to achieve.

-- Robert Farley

Present-day Wasilla is Palin’s lasting monument. It sits in a broad alluvial valley, puddled with lakes, boxed in on three sides by sawtoothed Jurassic mountains, and fringed with woods of spruce and birch. Visitors usually aim their cameras at the town’s natural surroundings, for Wasilla itself – quite unlike its rival and contemporary in the valley, Palmer, 11 miles to the east – is a centreless, sprawling ribbon of deregulated development along a four-lane highway, backed on both sides by subdivisions occupied by trailer-homes, cabins, tract-housing and ranch-style bungalows, most built since 1990. It’s a generic Western settlement, and one sees Wasillas in every state this side of the 100th meridian: the same competing gas stations, fast-food outlets, strip malls and ‘big box’ stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Fred Meyer and Home Depot, each with a vast parking lot out front, on which human figures scuttle with their shopping trolleys like coloured ants, robbed of their proper scale.... Wasilla is what inevitably happens when there are no codes, no civic oversight, no planning, when the only governing principle in a community is a naive and superstitious trust in the benevolent authority of the free market. Palin’s view of aesthetics was nicely highlighted in 1996, a few months before she ran for mayor, when a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News happened to light on her in an excited crowd of five hundred women queuing up in the Anchorage J.C. Penney’s, waiting to snag the autograph of Ivana Trump, who was in town to hawk her eponymous line of scent. "‘We want to see Ivana,’ Palin said, who admittedly smells like a salmon for a large part of the summer, ‘because we are so desperate in Alaska for any semblance of glamour and culture.’" The blot on the Alaskan landscape that is Wasilla is the natural consequence of a mindset that mistakes Ivana Trump for culture.

-- Jonathan Raban

Friday, October 03, 2008

Imperator Paulson

The bailout passed the house, and Bush signed it.

All your economy is now belong to Paulson, first among equals.

Couldn't resist.

(NB: Making fun of Paulson's power doesn't mean that passing the bailout wasn't the right thing to do -- if it was that or nothing. (Lots of smart people endorsed doing this.) But nearly everyone -- including those who were for the bill -- thinks that, however the vote should have gone today, this bill sucks. And we here in the US used to be against monarchical rule. Particularly by those responsible for the crisis they're brought in to fix. Hence lolPaulsons.)

Short Takes

A few quick thoughts, mostly on things approaching but not quite reaching the political.

• I bet Tina Fey has had a very weird couple of months.

Liveblogging was fun to try, but I'm not sure I'll do it again. If blogging runs the spectrum from fully-composed essays to a twittery stream of consciousness, liveblogging is obviously huddling close to the latter. On the other hand, the blogosphere is also a cultural artifact, with its own customs and traditions and folkways: and I was glad to try liveblogging out. (I wasn't the only newbie to do so.)

• If Lex Luther were real, he'd be Dick Cheney.

• The basic story on the debate is captured in James Fallows's post here. The optimistic take is here.

• How long will it be until the word "maverick" is once again usable in an ordinary context? I fear it may be a generation.

• I honestly don't have the slightest idea what to think about the $700,000,000,000 bailout being voted on in the house today -- opinions from those who know about the topic seem too divided to get a handle on, although even its proponents seem to agree it's lousy bill.

Bérubé's back. And there was much rejoicing.

• I blogged more in September than any month since I've been blogging. I doubt I'll keep up the pace. Meanwhile, a few posts I liked were buried quickly, so if you missed them, I'll draw your attention to:
- Our Politics Today (my basic reply to the Naderite claim that the Democrats are as bankrupt as the Republicans).
- Some Religious Ideas Are Subject to Scientific Investigation

Those are the two I'd pick out, but, secondarily: if you like a good rant, here's one on flying; this insta-reaction holds up fairly well I think; and while my post on it isn't all that much, Stephen Frug really does like the word "illeism".

• Given that Charles Krauthammer has been described by one of the sharpest observers in the blogosphere as not "just wrong... [but] transcendentally wrong about practically everything he writes," the fact that he just called the race for Obama makes me nervous.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Debate Live-Blogging

I wasn't planning to do this, but two things have struck me so far, and I can't resist.

9:16: (1) Sarah Palin sure knows how to stay on the talking points... even the lies, like the $42,000 one. Biden did a good job on parrying it though.

(2) Gwen Ifill's question on "class warfare" was terrible. Shame on her.

May do more later, I don't know...

9:21: The "what promises not keep" is not necessarily a bad question, but Ifill asked it in a terrible way. So far she's not doing nearly as well as Jim Lehrer.

Biden is doing a good job so far, though -- including in answering that question.

9:23: She's folksy, which I fear will play well. I think this particular answer is a bit incoherent, but I bet no one notices under the folksiness.

...And she can undo federal tax breaks? Huh?

9:26: Pitting Palin against McCain is a clever move on Biden's part.

...More rearing heads.

9:28: The bankruptcy bill was one of the things I hated about Biden. He did a good job of parrying it, I guess.

9:29: (1) It sounds to me like she's returning to the one or two things because that's all she knows, but I wonder if it will sound that way to undecided voters. Probably not.

(2) This live-blogging thing is weird.

9:31: She just said, again, that she wouldn't ascribe activities of humans to climate, not vice-versa. It's a simple glitch to make once, but twice is weird.

9:34: I fear the cute correction on "drill, baby, drill" undermined the solid point about percent of oil we have versus percent we use.

...And Biden's thing about "if free market takes care of it" [alternate energy] was badly mangled -- makes it sound like it could, and so people will say why not.

9:39: Neither Biden nor Obama support gay marriage... cowardly, bigoted schmucks.

9:40: My guess so far is that, as expected, she's exceeding expectations, and therefore winning, even though it's a tie. Or something. God our political system is !@#$%ed up.

9:42: "End this war": good for him.

...Long pause as Palin finds the right talking point: then she goes ahead on it full-steam.

9:45: Biden, "love" McCain, if you do, on your own !@#$%ing time. While running for Barack Obama's VP you're supposed to OPPOSE him.

9:47: Uh, Biden, isn't "Madrasah" just the Arabic word for school?

9:52: A good question by Ifill on the mid-east peace process.

9:55: A typical Republican talking point: "Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who..."

9:58: God she sounds like an idiot. -- To me. But I bet she's doing well with the undecideds.

10:01: I wonder if Biden's repeating himself too much.

10:02: Biden's vote for the war: the other reason I hated him. Good we hit both.

10:07: And here I thought that the biggest cliche on the Vice Presidency was that it wasn't worth a bucket of warm spit.

(Incidentally, this is one of those questions that ought to be good, but which is pretty predictably going to be silly.)

10:15: Is "principal" the standard word for the VP's P? I've never heard it before, but it's being used constantly tonight.

10:17: ...Isn't the VP's chief role to wait around for the President to die?

10:18: Another terrible question by Ifill. Not nearly as good as Lehrer. She has a much stronger tendency to go for the silly media-froth questions.

10:20: I guess Palin doesn't know that Reagan was quoting...

10:21: If I were drinking at "maverick" I'd be dead from alcohol poisoning.

10:29: Say no to energy independence? Is there any basis for that?

...And of course she doesn't like the media telling people what they just heard when she speaks, because what she does is tell lies. And if the media does that, she's sunk.

10:31: I didn't hear any major gaffs; I'd say it was a tie... which in practice probably means a win for Palin. I mean, again, she sounds like an idiot to me: but then, so did/does Bush. And he won twice. So what do I know.

10:32: Now we get to the "when I was a boy I wanted to be a baseball" portion of the evening....

10:33: Is she being overly friendly afterwards to counter the whole McCain-wouldn't-look-Obama-in-the-eye thing?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Snow on Mars

Really, really cool. Via Gary, who has more links.

Sneak Peak of McCain's Reaction To Journalists' Questioning His Honor

A lot of journalists have been saying that McCain has permanently damaged his reputation in this campaign -- torn the veil away from his pretense of honor. I suspect that, busy as he is with the pressures of the campaign, McCain hasn't really gotten a sense of how badly his reputation has collapsed. Some might wonder what his reaction will be when he finds out.

Well, we here at Attempts have gotten a sneak peak of McCain's reaction to these rumblings from his once-vaunted media "base", once the campaign is over and he finally hears about them. (Warning: as is fitting for McCain's famous temper, the language here is NSF.)