Tuesday, October 07, 2008

More Live Blogging

Just to break this thing into a couple posts.

9:59 -- McCain is not winning any hearts and minds with that his obsession with Obama's fines.

10:02 -- Obama's said exactly this stuff about McCain's judgement to go into Iraq in the previous debate. I'm not saying he isn't right, or that entertaining Brian should be the candidates' job #1, but can we get some new things to say?

10:06 -- Obama hedges a lot. He was going to say we should have gone into Rwanda, but thought it might come back on him, so he hedged a few times. He's already won this thing (meaning the election), now he's working hard not to lose it. I think that's why we're not seeing anything particularly interesting or compelling from Obama in this thing so far. I guess smarts and competence aren't too spectacular.

10:08 -- Ugh!! More questions about the Pakistani border. Does Obama support going in to get Osama even if Pakistan says no? Yes. Does McCain? Yes. What's the difference? McCain wouldn't tell anybody. This is some goofy shit.

10:11 -- Now McCain is going after him about the "announce his intention." Obama's smiling at McCain like the doddering idiot he is because he knows this line of attack isn't changing any minds. The question as to whether Obama's a serious guy when it comes to foreign policy, or Commander-in-Chief worthy has essentially been answered according to polling. Running back over the same tired territory isn't getting him new voters.

10:13 -- This Pakistan is going to go down as the most tired and completely unenlightening meme of the campaign. Ah good. Obama's going after McCain again. It's funny to watch McCain's face when Obama throws the "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Iran" in his face.

10:16 -- Obama, you said you'd be brief, you'd better be brief.

10:17 -- Okay, good. He was brief.

10:18 -- I totally agree with McCain that Putin's an asshole, but McCain's bombastic approach to US-Russian relations is probably not the way to go. A cool head seems to get us through crises better than a hot one. Obama beats McCain, aGAIN.

10:23 -- Petro-dollars sounds illicit.

10:25 -- Call me a simp, but I like how McCain shook that Navy Chief's hand and thanked him for his service.

10:26 -- "Without preconditions." The 2nd most tired meme of this campaign. It's like they've gone through the same back and forth on this so many times, they could do it just as well while asleep in their respective beds, each of them dreaming about debating.

10:27 -- What's sort of weird, is that not a one of these audience-member questions have been even slightly original, or intended to get the candidates to speak from a different frame than they've been accustomed to. Each one has allowed both candidates to fall pretty easily into their old stump speeches and debate spiels. NBC didn't do a great job on this one, and another wasted opportunity. We only get three -- I think, to be honest, this poor debate is a direct result of Tim Russert not being alive to moderate it. He would have mixed it up with his goofy gotcha questions. I miss that guy.

10:33 -- "Comrades"?! McCain is an old-style Communist, clearly.

10:34 -- Bob Schieffer's hosting the 3rd debate? It's going to look like a senior center that night. Schieffer's a real sweet guy, but he's so old he needs a younger 2nd host to help him moderate CBS's Sunday Morning show. I guess they were giving him one last moment in the sun before he's too old to ambulate.

10:36 -- Obama won, clearly, but did anyone think McCain made it a close call?

Well, thanks y'all. That was fun. I think McCain gets points for trying to entertain Brian, but in terms of who looks readiest to be Prez, Obama won big time. I'm hoping the 3rd and final one is less of a snoozer, but color me pessimistic.

Live Blogging the Debate

I'll try "live blogging" tonight's debate between Obama and McCain. What the hell. Why not?

9:02 -- I hate how long it takes for the moderators to realize they're live.

9:03 -- What is McCain writing already? "Obama hand shaking went well."

9:03 -- Obama's up right away. Not even waiting for the question. Nice.

9:06 -- Good first answer. AIG execs need to be fired and give money back. People like executives getting fired. Bear with me folks, this is happening live!!

9:07 -- McCain looks like he's trying to invade the questioner's personal space.

9:08 -- Tom Brokaw's a sport for laughing at that stupid joke. His question is meant to get McCain to say someone who's not Phil Gramm. McCain avoided it. Meg Whitman of eBay? eBay just laid off a truckload of employees today, maybe not Meg Whitman so much.

9:10 -- Obama hit McCain again with his "fundamentals of the economy are strong." I know McCain wishes he has a time machine so he could go back to that morning and slap himself before he uttered those words.

9:11 -- No, McCain!! Don't remind them about your campaign "suspension!" Better they forget it dude, seriously.

9:12 -- Uh oh. McCain's angling to pin the crisis on people who couldn't afford the loans the banks were giving them because the mean ole government was making 'em do it. Not the way to go.

9:14 -- How cool would it be to be one of the people in that town hall? And have Obama and McCain explain their positions to you directly. Good times. This town hall's kinda sparsely populated. More like an Apartment Complex Hall.

9:17 -- Sorry folks, I know I'm biased as hell, but Obama's a natural at this. McCain's not bad, but his whole thing with posing on the chair comes off a bit awkward.

9:18 -- It wasn't both parties, lady. It was one, and the Dems turned a blind eye, but this is a Republican-built crisis.

9:19 -- Jesus, look how McCain looks away when Obama looks at him! It's frickin weird. I read something from a guy who studies ape hierarchies and says it's totally basic ape-like behavior -- the submissive ape can't look the dominant ape in the eye. McCain's a guy's guy, so I wonder if it's some basic inferiority complex, if looking at someone who's talking to you is too intense for McCain, or if he just can't bear the site of Obama. Strange stuff.

9:22 -- Planetariums are awesome dude! Three million dollars is a deal!

9:23 -- The common wisdom in Washington seems to be that the people who are serious about energy policy think nuclear energy is a viable option. And it is. But why then is no one talking about the number one problem with nuclear energy is what to do with the waste. I need to know more about what they're going to do with that nasty stuff that, in real terms, never goes away.

9:25 -- Did he just say some of the 700 billion is going to terrorists?

9:26 -- An Apollo program for alternative fuels. Hillary had a similar idea, and it's a good one.

9:27 -- Obama wants to go through it "line by line"? It's called the Line Item Veto, and the president doesn't have it. With the majorities he's going to have in Congress, though, he might just be able to get it.

9:29 -- I'm not sure Obama's "overhead projector" McCain keeps mentioning is igniting the nationwide rage McCain is hoping for.

9:31 -- Obama's getting into Giuliani territory -- dangerous --- no it worked out all right. Turns out to be a shot at Bush. "Go out and shop," Bush said. Obama's right: what a wasted opportunity that was. Hell, politically, that would have been really good for Bush to get people out to make sacrifices with him as the revered leader. The administration was always myopic and completely without imagination.

9:33 -- Obama's looking more and more like the next President of the United States. I'm sorry to have to say that and risk jinxing it, but there's not much of a comparison between these guys. But if it is Obama and he goes in with the Dem majorities they're projecting, he's going to have a really bad situation to steer the country through.

9:36 -- McCain is trying to hang the Herbert Hoover label on Obama? Up is down folks. It's like Cindy McCain saying that Obama's running "the dirtiest campaign in American history." Up is down.

9:38 -- Brokaw's wrong to conflate Medicare and Social Security. Medicare's not in good shape going forward, but Social Security's is solvent for the next 50 years. Maybe the financial crisis has changed that up somewhat, not sure, but Medicare and Social Security are two very different things.

9:40 -- McCain seems to be relaxing a little bit. Good for him.

9:40 -- McCain's laughter is a bit creepy.

9:41 -- We have Congress vote up or down on a massive Social Security plan sounds pretty dangerous. If we'd had more Republicans in Congress in the '04 election, we might have shifted people's social security funds into the stock market. I wonder where all of that money would be now had they gotten the chance to make that change.

9:44 -- Nuclear power -- okay McCain is saying we can reprocess the waste as Japan does. I wonder if this is viable. I hope Obama says something to this.

9:47 -- Obama said we need to give China energy? Is he talking about giving them coal?

9:48 -- Brokaw's coming off kinda schoolmarmish about the lights.

9:49 -- I'd say that if McCain were capable of laying a glove on Obama, I'd say he got the better of Obama on the nuclear question, but I don't think it's what people are really concerned about right now.

9:52 -- His spiel on health care seems very effective to me. (and by "his" I, of course, mean Obama. This must be a laughably one-sided live blog to anyone who's not a Democrat.)

9:53 -- A $5,000 tax credit. It's just like money you save at tax time. Tax credits don't really seem to work the way McCain is thinking, which is as something that augments a family budget.

9:55 -- McCain does not think health care is a right. I don't think that's going to resonate with people-- on the plus side he doesn't seem like he's desperately pandering, but on the other hand, I think he's wrong on this issue.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Bill O'Reilly: Still Effing Crazy After All These Years

For any of you folks who've seen "Outfoxed", or for those of you poor devils who've actually sat through an entire show, you already know Bill O'Reilly's a guy who believes his emotions tell him more about the world than his intellect. Stephen Colbert, his professional doppelganger/satirizer (who has happily long since outgrown his impression of "Papa Bear"), cuts to the core of O'Reilly when he tells America how his "gut" makes pretty much all of his judgment calls.

I'd kind of forgotten about Bill O'Reilly in recent years. When compared to Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington and Donald Rumsfeld, Bill O'Reilly is really more of a 3rd-tier villain. I think guys like Keith Olbermann and Al Franken have done a good job defanging O'Reilly in recent years, repeatedly exposing his lies (as well as the more unappealing aspects of the personality disorder). I think his impact on the zeitgeist is softer than it once was. Most of his audience, which skews elderly and conservative, are already inclined towards the right-wing point of view. I like to think that, these days, the blustery vacuity of Bill O'Reilly is traveling in a closed circuit, and not having much interaction with the larger national discussion.

But just because we all know O'Reilly's a punchline doesn't mean he does. He still believes he's "fighting the good fight," "talking truth to power" and "keeping 'em honest" and all sorts of megalomaniacal delusions like that. In his defense, I assume it's difficult to see yourself how everyone else sees you when everyone from President Bush to Barack Obama is willing to appear on your comedy show unironically and keep a straight face.

But, as I recently saw from a YouTube clip, O'Reilly's still dishing out the crazy self-righteousness that made him enemy #1 to people who've entertained thoughts.

This video from an "O'Reilly Factor" show last week, shocked me. Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank went on the "Factor" last week to talk about the financial meltdown. To some extent, it's Frank's own fault for encouraging O'Reilly and going on his show. But I have never seen television like this. I have never seen a pundit scream at and so casually disrespect a government representative like this. Not ever. Click here to see the bizarrity.

Clearly I believe our media needs to hold our elected officials more accountable for the things they do in our name. But when I think of "hold them accountable," I'm thinking more along the lines of asking politicians and policy makers tough questions and then actually making them answer those tough questions. Not this kind of childish, chest-thumping tantrum that lowers the level of discourse and makes everyone look diminished for participating. Hasn't Bill O'Reilly just become Morton Downey Jr, at this point? Albeit with better-quality guests? What a complete embarrasment.

To me, this is more like what "holding them accountable" looks like.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Brits with Ukuleles do the "Shaft" Theme; Moriarty Sees some "Watchmen" And Likes What he Sees

This made me grin foolishly for a few minutes. The lyrics don't start till a little ways through, so stay tuned for those.

Oh there's more space to fill. Hmm.

Click here to read what Aintitcool stalwart Moriarty thought of the three scenes from "Watchmen" Zach Snyder and Warner Bros. showed to selected press last week. If you haven't read the graphic novel or have read it but want to go into the movie relatively fresh, avoid the paragraphs of dense description. Everything else is pretty interesting. But his take on how confident and excited the Warner Bros execs are about this film is more than encouraging.

The buzz is building and it is all very good.