Friday, September 26, 2008

The Draw For It All - Snap Presidential Debate Analysis

I was becoming a little sea sick and dizzy from all the spinning going on on TV right now so I had to get a breather over here in my little world.

What I'm finding is that, as usual, it seems that who "won" the first presidential debate lies on party lines. For the GOPers, Obama was stumbling, didn't show the qualities to lead and doesn't have the experience to step into the presidential roles. For the Dems, McCain was closed, condescending and was living in the past.

Blah blah blah...

Let's get to the real talk here, and I hope that all of the thinkers out there are actually thinking. Everybody should be calling tonight's debate a complete and utter draw. Both candidates missed a lot of opportunities to gut check their opponent and neither could answer Jim Lehrer's question on where they stand on the current government bailout.

Obama seemed to have superior command of the facts & figures but McCain actually seemed to use his years on this Earth and his experience to his advantage. Maybe it was to a fault because it highlights his age and does make him seem like he was living in the past but I think it was effective for McCain to basically say "I've been there and I have a leg up on how this thing should go." Obama using his savvy is, in my opinion, a definite positive because I do get a feeling that if he gets in there, he'll definitely be ready on day 1.

Overall, if I HAD to pick a winner, I'd have to pick Obama, but only by default. Neither really got off the ground too good in my opinion, which is a negative for McCain because this was suppose to be his debate. Obama held his own in what was suppose to be a bad night and by denying McCain a complete and clear victory, he gained the W.

Next up, Biden Vs Palin and I guarantee that that's not going to be pretty. I'm putting my chips on Biden. If Palin's interviews have been any indication, it's going to be ridiculously one sided.

I'm gone for the weekend.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Notes From The Bed

So I've been laid up on bed rest since Tuesday after having undergone an operation to fix some veins in my lower abdomen. It's made it very difficult to walk and even stand for extended amounts of time. This op along with my doses of roxicet (a.k.a. percocet, and no they are NOT for sell) has given me nothing but time to be tuned into CNN, MSNBC and the web for non-stop election coverage, and holy crap did I pick a week to be out of it.

Our economy seems to be crumbling one brick at a time and the crazy thing is it seemed to be perfectly timed for Pres Bush's exit so he doesn't have to deal with any of it. From my vantage point Sen. McCain seems to be flailing as the topic of discussion is yanked away from the GOP talking points of faux outrage and accusations, which got them the lead in the national polls, to something real and concerning for the average American. While dealing with this quick moving crisis should be a bi-partisan thing, it's an election year so unfortunately it will be politicized no matter how much both campaigns swear it's not.

McCain, in his addresses all week, seem to try his hardest to link this crisis to Obama, saying that it's his fault, along with lobbyist and greedy investors. Here's the problem with that charge, and if you are an average person you should be able to see this for yourself, McCain's campaign is being run by lobbyist (including Phil "Nation of Whiners" Grahm) AND, in McCain's own words, Obama hasn't been in Washington that long to even contribute to it.

As astonishing as it seems, McCain flip-flopped-flipped this week. First he said he's against regulation (calling himself a fundamental deregulator) and blames this crisis on an "alphabet soup" of regulation bureaucracy, then calls for a new committee called the MFI and calls for tougher regulation, then goes back and says he's still for deregulation and less government...even as government has had to take over 3 institutions in a week. If THIS is not BIG government, something that McCain is against, I don't know what is! McCain has even said he'd fire the SEC chairman (something a President can't do) as if that would help quell this hellfire. If this week hasn't convinced people that McCain isn't that strong of a candidate when it comes to being forced to deal with a real issue, then I don't know what else you need to see.

For his part, Obama has decided to kind of play the background and wait for the FED chairman and other economic players to come up with a plan before he puts his own plan out there. This could help and hurt Obama depending on what side of the vote you're on. One way of looking at this is Obama is hesitant to make a mistake and is not taking effective leadership on the issue, which would turn you off. The other way is Obama is showing he has the temperament and the coolness needed to lead in a time of peril; that he can sit back and listen to his advisors and experts and make informed decisions. Which ever side of the argument you're on, I would hope you could agree that either is better than McCain's flying off the handle and foaming at the mouth diatribes about how this is Obama's fault and that's that.

For the week, I'd have to give Obama a B+ and McCain a D.

I think Obama, while being level headed and calculating, could have taken stance that's a bit more forceful. He's certainly projecting a very presidential image, especially this morning as he was flanked by his economic advisors at his Florida press conference.

McCain's blame game and flip-flops can be summed up in two words: economy fail. You cannot rail against the bail-outs, then agree with them, then say they wouldn't have happened if you were president. You cannot say someone hasn't been in Washington long enough to have experience, then blame a crisis on said someone who wasn't there for setting laws that have lead to this crisis. You cannot place blame on lobbyist and the "good ole boys" when lobbyist and good ole boys run and are the primary contributors to your campaign. You cannot call for smaller government then agree with bailouts that are only expanding government to an enormous size. Finally, don't rail against deregulation and offer some regulation when you support deregulation and you're top economic advisor pushed through bills for deregulation.


Secondly, and more mind blowingly, this whole Troopergate scandal really truly should be enough to sink the GOP ticket. Let's examine this shall we?

First, Gov Sarah Palin said "hold me accountable". She said she had nothing to hide and her administration welcomes the investigation. Fast forward to now and that same Gov Sarah Palin is STALLING the investigation, effectively KILLING it until after the election. Last Friday 12 people from Palin's cabinet and her husband Todd Palin were issued subpoenas to testify for the investigation. A week later today, we have all 12 people refusing to comply with those subpoenas citing executive privilege along with private citizen Todd Palin.

Firstly, those 12 administration workers cannot be held in contempt of the Alaska congress until they reconvene, which won't be until January. That means we will not find out if Gov. Sarah Palin is indeed a criminal in illegally having someone fired until after the election and well into sometime next year. IF this country is to doom itself and actually vote these people in office, we will NEVER find out what really happened.

Secondly (and please excuse the caps but they are needed for this point) HOW IN THE HELL IN THIS LIFE CAN A PRIVATE CITIZEN REFUSE TO COMPLY WITH A GOVERNMENT SUBPOENA AND NOT BE ARRESTED!?!?!?!?! No seriously, how is it possible that Todd Palin, who holds no office and has no executive power, get off the hook for testifying in a government investigation? WOW. If that's not a swift kick in the pants with a shit-stained steel toed boot, then tense up for and additional swing. The "First Dude" won't even show up to claim his non-existent executive privilege. If this isn't the first inclination that we'll have Dick Chaney Pt. 2: Electric Boogaloo in the VP office I don't know what is.

This whole troopergate situation is a sign, and if this country doesn't heed it then the US deserves whatever it gets. Only in America can a politician be corrupt in front of your eyes and lie to your face and still get almost 50% of the vote because you'd like to have a beer with them.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life Sciences

I'll be back to the political opinion writing soon, but as my wife can tell you, one of my other top loves is science.

How much do I love science? I subscribe to the Bad Astronomy Blog rss feed (I'm a Phil Plait superfan), the Universe Today rss feed, the Scientific American rss feed and the Softpedia Science News rss feed. I also subscribe to the Skeptic's Guide To The Universe podcast, the Astronomy Cast podcast, the NOVA scienceNow podcast (I am a Neil deGrasse Tyson stan) and the Scientific American podcast as well as Sci-Am's 60 Second Science podcast. My wife also catches me watching the Discovery channel (MythBusters) and the Science channel occasionally when they have something awesome on.

So when I caught this in one of my feeds, I had to bring it to you. This is way too cool:
A team of biologists and chemists is closing in on bringing non-living matter to life.

It's not as Frankensteinian as it sounds. Instead, a lab led by Jack Szostak, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, is building simple cell models that can almost be called life.

Szostak's protocells are built from fatty molecules that can trap bits of nucleic acids that contain the source code for replication. Combined with a process that harnesses external energy from the sun or chemical reactions, they could form a self-replicating, evolving system that satisfies the conditions of life, but isn't anything like life on earth now, but might represent life as it began or could exist elsewhere in the universe.

Now I fully expect the extreme Christians to start bashing this as playing God, but I'd argue, why haven't they considered that God gave scientist the tools to do certain experiments such as this? Why is it never considered that Science is part of God's plan? If God knows all, and has a master plan, then the All Knowing knew and knows this is happening. One cannot claim that this disrespects God and spits in the Elohim face when it was Christians themselves who killed and still kill in the name of which should also spit in Elohim face. If it's your belief that God works through everything, then stop boycotting science and start considering that God is working through science to help you live longer and better.

Any who, back onto the article. With these developments, it pits scientist, more specifically biologist and chemist, closer to finding out exactly how life can begin on young planets, especially the planet we are on especially If Mr. Szostak's team is successful in creating a wholly autonomous system in the protocells. This should also be big news in the field of Astronomy as once Mr. Szostak's team can determine the conditions for which the protocells can evolve, this will start a hunt for planets, young & old alike, that house those certain conditions. This could lead to our first true discovery of life on other planets, most likely extra-solar. It will also be a huge leap in discovering exactly how evolution works and possibly how it got jump started here. Like I said, this is really cool.

Read The Rest Of The Story

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Point Out The Bounce

Return of the Maverick? No. Return of the Mac (c) Mark Morrison? Definitely.

Yesterday Rasmussen & Gallup reported new tracking numbers from their polls taken from 9/5 to 9/7 and 9/4 to 9/6 respectively and the GOP convention bounce was looking like it had just started. Rasmussen reported +1% percent lead for McCain with the vote showing McCain at 48% and Obama at 47% with "leaners" included. Gallup shows that McCain is at 48% and Obama is at 45%. While both of these are within the usual %3 +/- margin of error the shocker comes from a new USA Today/Gallup poll. This one puts McCain at 50% and Obama at 46% with registered voters BUT puts McCain at 54% and Obama at 44% with those most likely to vote. That's well outside of the margin of error and, even though it could be an outlier, is very good news for the McCain campaign. This shows that the GOP is finally and definitively accepting McCain as their nominee and with the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as VP, they are also energized.

So what can McCain do to keep this roll going? Simple. Stay on message and continuously hammer Obama on his experience compared to Palin's. Everyone, including me, thought that it was a lost argument, but from what I've seen at their convention, the GOP is going to flip it and bounce it so that they make even more of an experience argument. If they can get Obama on track to start going hard at Palin more than McCain, this will bring McCain's positive rating up because he's out of the fray. Joe Bidden needs to start making national news and quick with his attacks at on Palin AND McCain because it seems like McCain & Palin are double teaming Obama with no regard.

If they want to get the momentum back the Democrats REALLY need to grow some cojones and start going at them harder. While themes of "Hope" and "Change" are wonderful, the other side is going to go way down into the mud, and sometimes through the sewers, and won't bat an eye. They'll toss around the words Muslim and Terrorist and this is how the GOP gets points without saying one positive thing about themselves. McCain will continue to hammer Obama on Obama's negatives, and while Obama can laugh it off in those town meetings, the truth of the matter is, people who only watch local news are not getting to see that. He and his posse has got to grow a pair and start firing back harder and more often. Now that the conventions are over the accusations are going to be flying at a breakneck speed and I expect them to be 70% GOP to 30% Dem. That's how they win elections and that's how their going to try to win this one.

Once the GOP convention bounce dissipates (in about a week or so) we'll see where we stand. Remember at this point after the conventions in 2004 Bush lead ALL polls and did so until his victory against Kerry (source). Although Obama is a much stronger candidate than Kerry, if we see this trend with McCain, Democrats should start biting their nails.

In related news, I've just come across this video. Here's an African American kid claiming to be the real father of Bristol Palin's baby. Of course this is YouTube so the kid has not been vetted. He's also a musician so he might just be trying to get his career jump started so take this with a grain of salt. One thing to remember, even if this kid is telling the truth (and he does sound extra sincere about it), I don't think Bristol is due to give birth before the election so this will probably have little to no effect. Nevertheless, I'd have to say this is somewhat believable.

And I'm out...

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Missed Opportunity

If you missed me today, it's because I was busy with some important paperwork (I'm buying a house with my beautiful wife) and I haven't had the time to really write something substantial, plus I've been lazy. I promise to be back on my game next week. For now, please enjoy the writings of my affiliate and close friend, Young Scrapp aka The Son of Rick aka The Onion over at All That's Fresh. While you're at it, PLEASE bookmark it as my brothers Diggs McCoy, Young Chris, Phil Riley & my cousin Rano bring insightful and hilarious commentary everyday like it's going out of style. Read the word and get educated. Get'em...

I don't even know where to begin. Yes I do, but please forgive me for backtracking to the end of last week. John McCain's VP pick, Sarah Palin, has been causing a rawkus (remember when they made great music?) in the mass media. Aside from everything else that has been said throughout the week, on paper, the Sarah Palin pick is a smart move by the McCain camp. It instantly attracts the female voters who are choosing to jump the Democratic ship because their candidate didn't make it. But in reality, its political pandering to a specific voter block...

Read the rest by clicking here.

Have a good weekend.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Barracuda Tears Through The Truth

Last night you would have thought Obama got a sex change, melanin removal, put some amber hair extensions in, put on a dress and glasses and changed his party affiliation. Sarah "Barracuda" Palin ran through the Democrats on some Wesley from "Wanted" thread factory/butcher shop shit and the GOP officials, activist and supporters in the crowd went nuts. She literally had them eating out the palm of her hand as some pundits pronounced that the GOP has found their Obama. All my wife & I heard last night was continuous praise of how she knocked it out the park and that the Democrats have found a fight, and I'd say their half right.

About the style:
It was nice I admit. She had lots of energy, she had some personality and she presented effortlessly. There were more than a few times she sounded condescending and snarky but overall, with the bar set at about a half an inch off the ground, she cleared it easily. Her mission was to energize a dying party, and with the help of Guiliani (who my cohort Scrapp will tackle tommorrow, along with Romney and others over at All That's Fresh), it was mission accomplished.

About the substance:
I think we all can pretty much agree that the substance was non-existent, but I'm not sure that's by accident. Since it was largely an anti-Obama speech (which the GOP has pretty much been doing this whole time) I think they are saving the substance until Gov. Palin can get caught up on all the issues.

So what exactly did she address:
  • She will fight for families with special needs. - I can't front, that's a line that should grab some votes.

  • I will fight against pork and wasteful spending. "I told Congress thanks but no thanks for the bridge to nowhere." - BZZT! Wrong. This has been completely debunked by the Associated Press. Quote, "As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation."

    It should also be noted that the GOP is claiming she's taken on corruption, and while that may be true, she held an important position in a 527 group that supported Sen. Ted Stevens.

  • Obama will raise ALL of your taxes. - Incorrect. The pesky fact checking by the AP again: "The Tax Policy Center [...] concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded. [...] He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise."

    Both men will raise your taxes, but Obama is promising an immediate $1000 tax break to the middle class AND he wants to end the war which will save us BILLIONS of dollars over the next years. Now I know that raising taxes is automatically demonizing and typically applied to the Democrats, but let's be honest. When a politician needs to pay for something, he/she WILL raise taxes on something. This Iraq war is being paid for with borrowed money from China, how do you think we're going to pay them back? With hearts & rainbows? McCain KNOWS that people are not going to look into his plans to raise taxes on the middle class because that's not what GOP politicians are known for. Therefore, he's hoping, you the American people, will turn a blind eye while he raises taxes to pay for the war and attempt to balance the budget.

  • Why can't [Obama] bring himself to say the word "Victory"? - Guess who else won't bring himself to say the word victory? General Petraeus. Surprise! Guess who ALREADY declared victory, but now says that we haven't obtained it and it's in sight? Sen. McCain AND Pres. Bush. So let's see, we have a General on the ground who the GOP look to who has never and won't bring himself to say victory, but he's the oracle of the war, yet Sen Obama won't say it, so Obama must not be a full patriot. What kind of twisted, construed...oh yea, this is the GOP. Nevermind.

    By the way, I'd absolutely love it if Sen. McCain, Gov. Palin, Sen. Liberman, Mitt Romney, or anybody else on the right side to exactly explain to me how we can achieve that victory. Once it was "if the Iraqi government tells us to leave, we will", they have and we won't. I just don't know what the conditions for victory are because if it's to totally annihilate the "terrorist" that won't happen unless we nuke all of the Persian gulf and THAT definitely will not happen.

  • "I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly forty billion dollar natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence..." - Ummm, NOPE! This time the truth comes from her own backyard: " building has begun and actual construction is years away, if it ever happens. This summer the Alaska Legislature, at Palin's request, passed a bill under which the state will issue a "license" to a Canadian energy company, TransCanada Corp., and pay it up to $500 million as an incentive to someday build this enormous project, which Alaska politicians have long sought with little success.

    So lets see, energy independence from a pipline that hasn't even been started, that a Canadian company is suppose to build. Anyone see the oxymoron there?

And finally we get to the doozie. "Being mayor is sorta like being a community organizer," she quipped, "except that you have actual responsibilities." The crowd lit up and laughed just as they did when Rudy made a joke about a couple minutes earlier. Let's set something straight, the former head of the PTA of her children's school is dissing community organizers. PTA, Neighborhood Watch, the NAACP, the Civil Rights Movement, the Labor movement and the Women Rights ALL started out as small community organization. For pete's sake you could argue that the political party system we have now have roots in community organization.

The main point is if we're going to talk about how Gov. Palin has more exec experience than Biden and Obama, then we HAVE to talk about her having more experience than Sen. McCain as well. Therefore I would have proposed that the McCain-Palin ticket become the Palin-McCain ticket, but it's too late for that.

I invite all my criticism to be labeled as sexist. Seems that's exactly what their plan is anyway...

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Pet Your Chicken Over the Internet (Seriously)

As reported on by Alex over at Neatorama, the National University of Singapore’s Mixed Reality Lab has actually developed a way for an owner to physically pet his chicken through the series of tubes. Here's an excerpt from the web page:
The idea was inspired by acts of pets and animal abuse through lack of welfare. This system enables humans to provide care for pets even though they are physically not together. The system enables a human to remotely touch her pet which is kept at home while she is away(in her office), and at the same time monitor the movement of the pet. This is realized by using a doll, which resembles the real pet located remotely, sitting on a mechanical positioning table. The pet owner interacts with the real pet by touching the doll.

I think we ALL know where this is going...go go gadget "interactive" adult websites.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

R.I.P. Don LaFontaine

Credit to Damiain Dovarganes


View article...

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Palin's Pummeling

First things first, I have to thank my man Johnny Jones for being my first ever commenter. If I had a prize to give out, you'd get it, but I must say, at this point your campaign is going better than VP hopeful Sarah Palin's.

So over the long beautiful weekend, we've all been hit over the head by story after story about Gov Palin's politics, record and family, oh and apparently she supported some party that has the "call to vote on the succession of Alaska from the union" as a central issue. All of this and she's only been the official VP candidate for ONE weekend!

First off, I'd like to condemn any one who's attacking young Briston Palin herself or the Palin family personally (read: Bossip). Just as you wouldn't want Larry and'em down the street going hard at your family for whatever reason, there's no need to personally go at them.

Now on to the politics of it. Gov. Palin is pro-life, I mean REALLY pro-life, to the point where she's against birth control pills because she believes it's a form of abortion. She's against abortion even in the extreme cases of incest and rape (hello Mr. Dukakis). She's also an advocate of teaching abstinence in the home (which isn't bad) but she's against sex ed in school and is against condoms. The problem with this stance is it's been proven that teaching abstinence alone does not help in the prevention of teen pregnancy. I have news for people, and it may be surprising but, teenagers have sex, a lot of it. It's a natural thing and humans have been doing it for a long time. I'd love for my future children to wait until they were old enough to understand the consequences (read: wanting more and more often) but if they're going to do it, I'd much rather then know the ends in and outs AND to do it safely. I don't need to be a grandfather at 42 (I'm 25 now if you cared) so I want my kids to get the best sex education a school can give them and even give them condoms for free so they don't feel embarrassed to buy them at the local CVS. All of these factor into the decline of teen pregnancy we've seen over the years. Now I'm not saying Gov. Palin would be able to implement her abstinence polices as VP, especially if the Democrats keep control of congress, but it's something to think about.

There's also the hypocrisy of the GOP who always look down there noses at unwed teenage mothers, especially in the urban communities, but celebrate the fact that Gov. Palin is sticking up for her own and even use it to show how strong her conservative values are. I thought the Christian right damned those mothers, but will now champion one because she's on your side of line and her mother is the VP candidate?

Secondly, it's being reported now that Gov. Palin was a supporter of the corruption maestro himself Sen. Ted Stevens who's famous for two things: 1. the Bridge to Nowhere and 2. "...the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes.". Sen. Stevens is also under investigation for receiving services from certain companies in return for getting them money from earmarks. Apparently Gov. Palin was for the bridge to nowhere (to get elected) before she was against it (to get elected). Now politicians change their mind like the wind blows and the sun sets, the problem here is, she denies ever being a support of Sen. Stevens, EVER. The second problem with all this is that she's being touted as someone who is against earmarks, but in fact had earmarks funneled to the small town she was mayor of and has requested plenty of earmark money for Alaska as Gov. She was also using bridge funding for other projects. Is this a deal killer? No, once again plenty of politicians do this and it's no shocker, but as this and other stories culminate, it's starting to turn the narrative on Gov. Palin that she is a say/do anything to win politician.

Lastly, there's a new movement out saying and trying to prove that Gov. Palin was actually a part of, or at least supported a party that advocates the voting on the right for Alaska to succeed from the US. If THIS comes true, I think it could be WAY more damaging than anything else. Sen. McCain's current McCampaign motto is "Country First" and, where this claim to be true, this would seriously throw doubt on Gov. Palin's stock in whether she puts country first on Alaska first. The blogosphere is already (maybe unfairly) questioning whether Palin is putting country first over family, does the McCain campaign really need the narrative to be does Palin put Alaska before country before family? Because if that's the order, I don't think that'll fly.

Couple all of these weekend mini-controversies or "miniversies" (C) Cannon with the McCain campaign manager Rick Davis now stating that "This election is not about issues" and you've got yourself a bonified quagmire for a convention that's only half started because of Hurricane Gustav's unfortunate actions. Saying that this election is not about issues is like tossing a giant rubber band ball at a kid swinging with a metal bat. The Obama campaign is likely going to blast this all over the wire and claim that the McCain campaign does not care about the issues and what government needs to do, only that you, the people, like them enough.

I don't know who's driving the McCain McCampaign or what message they're trying to push but I will be waiting and watching to see how the GOP turns all of this around. I'm really wondering what kind of convention bounce McCain can have realisitically.

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