Thursday, September 25, 2008

In a few years, this woman could be president

Sarah Palin enlightens us about the financial crisis.

Ow. Ow. My ears are bleeding. Make it stop. I'm sure John Stewart is going to do a much better job with this than I am, but let me take a few stabs at it right now.

Sarah Palin: "(Some completely nonsensical platitudes about how everything's fine.)"
Katie Couric: "(Factual information that entirely contradicts the above statement.)"
Sarah: Long pause... "Again, my understanding is that, uh, uh, (Repeats platitude with no indication that she just heard what was said)"
Sarah: "Americans are waiting to see what John McCain will do about this. They are not waiting to see what Barack Obama will do. Because everybody knows John McCain has the track record and the leadership."
Katie (dumbfounded): "Yeah, but polls show that Obama has gotten a boost from this news, because more Americans trust him to handle this correctly."
Sarah: "Ya know, I'm not lookin' at poll numbers. I just think Americans think like me."
Yeah! We mavericks don't think about silly things like "polls!" We just SAY what the American people think, and we're always right!

Christ. It's one thing to pretend that you don't care what popular opinion says. Quite another thing to actually say that popular opinion is lying about what they really think.

Katie: "You've said John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business, but in 20 years he's almost always sided with people who want LESS regulation, not more."
Sarah: (gears grinding) "He's also known as 'THE maverick,' though, takin' shots from his own party. "
Katie: "I'm sorry, answer the damn question, can you give me one example of him pushing for more regulation EVER?"
Sarah: "I'll try ta find some and I'll bring 'em to ya!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

That is one tasty electoral map

This makes me happy.

In particular, Obama is winning the electoral vote handily while losing both Ohio AND Florida. (Ohio is currently neutral, but Obama wins even if it turns red.)

In 2004 I looked over the early electoral maps and concluded that Kerry could win if and only if he could carry either Ohio OR Florida. Kerry lost both, and sure enough, he lost the race. Either state flipping would have won it.

It's too early to say that things won't change, but right now, unless McCain has another ace up his sleeve, he looks pretty screwed to me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

John McCain makes Adam go "sproing"

As far as I know, not very many people are readers of Adam Cadre's regular articles.  His site is not really a proper blog, and I only know of him originally through his great work writing offbeat interactive fiction.  I am a big fan of Adam's writing.  He's blunt, atheist, liberal, and has great taste in entertainment styles, ranging from comics to games to movies to food.

So I want to wave a hand in the general direction of Adam's latest article about the presidential race.  I'll qualify this endorsement with apologies to my friends who live in red states and love them.  Hell, I love Austin, but only because it's not part of the "real" Texas, and I've long ago learned to abandon all hope when it comes to my vote personally influencing a national race.  However, quite a few things Adam says ring true for me.

Every election in my adult lifetime has played out the same way: Republicans argue that Red America is better than Blue America, and Democrats cry that, no, we're not so different! Republican political ads spew insults — or at least epithets thatRepublicans think are insults — while Democrats hold out their hands and coo that"There is no them — there is only us." I am so sick of this. There's a reason the guy who said that moved to New York after his presidency instead of back to Arkansas: New York is better than Arkansas. Massachusetts is better than Texas. Chicago is better than Wasilla, Alaska. Saying so might mean losing votes in Arkansas and Texas and Alaska, but those states are lost causes (in more ways than one); Republicans certainly show no compunction about slamming San Francisco and Boston and Vermont, and they're the ones winning elections.

Democrats can avoid saying that the red states are inferior to the blue ones as much as they like. But the red staters will continue to hear it. They'll hear it because the voices inside their heads are saying it. And those voices are correct. This makes them angry, and they lash out. Ten years ago, I was floored when a direly unfunny SNL alum named Adam Sandler suddenly scored a massive hit with a movie called The Waterboy, in which he played a mouth-breathing loser who becomes a star linebacker, fueled by uncontrollable rage at the thought of people making fun of him. At the time I couldn't understand why anyone would watch that, but now I get it. It spoke to people. After all, it's what vast numbers of American voters do at the ballot box.

What kind of people do places like Wasilla grow? Well, for one thing, it's hard to get off to a good start in life when your drunken stepfather is tasing you, bro. Child abuse happens everywhere, but some cultures foster it more than others. When parents exert total hegemony over the household without any kind of societal check, it opens up the potential for a real horror show — as the Palin family has demonstrated. Barack Obama tried to provide that societal check in Illinois with a program to teach schoolchildren how to avoid sexual abuse — and a McCain/Palin ad this week actually slams him for it. But given that an Anchorage judge ruled in 2005 that Sarah Palin herself was guilty of child abuse, I suppose it's not so surprising that she and her ilk are so afraid of daylight: it makes it that much harder for "our small towns" to keep their ugly little secrets.

Much more... please read.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google makes yet another bid to run your life

So Google is now competing with Explorer and Firefox with their newest application, Chrome.  And I said, "Sure, just go ahead and take control of more of my online information and habits."  I mean, besides being my search engine, they already own this blog, my email, and a lot of my documents; keep track of my feed reading habits and my addresses, and maintain some of the code I've written; as well as being providing a desktop search application and a fun geographical visualization toy.  Did I leave anything out?

I can't say I'm not worried about them either turning evil or just disappearing someday.  But damn it, I can't help myself... I really LIKE having all the stuff I need online where I can access it from home, work, and any other computer in the world.  I suppose if Google does become an evil power, this is probably what it will look like.  It wouldn't be the first time that "The Onion" printed something that turned out to predict reality.

In the meantime... yes, I'm typing this from Google Chrome.  I am weak.  It doesn't even support any plugins, and yet for the moment I'm willing to use it even without themes, mouse gestures, ad blockers, or even getting my bookmarks updated automatically by

A few points in Chrome's favor so far:

  1. It starts up VERY FAST compared to the other browsers... although this might have something to do with the lack of plugins.
  2. It has a very compact interface, and does a lot of creative things to keep the screen space clean, like sticking the "search page" bar in one place.
  3. As you're typing an address, it automatically searches for likely completions and shows you the name of the page where you'd wind up.  (To be fair, Firefox 3 also appears to do something like this.)
  4. Searches and URLs are entered in the same box.  Usually it makes the correct choice, but you can pick from a menu to clarify what you want.
  5. When you open a tab, it shows you your favorite web destinations, along with thumbnail images of what they look like right now.
  6. You can drag tabs outside the window to create a new window, or drag a tab from one window to another.
All pretty cool.  Firefox (my primary browser) might imitate some of the new hotness, but for now I'm keeping Chrome Beta as my default browser, and I'll look forward to seeing what they release in the next few patches.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

More on Sarah Palin

I got a bewildering comment from a Republican, on the last post about Sarah Palin. First thing he said was: "Well layed out. Even more Hillary supporters will go for McCain now."

The reason it's bewildering is because, while he's entitled to his opinion, it has no apparent bearing to what I actually said in the post. So the question is, was Sarah Palin a good pick to woo former Clintonites?

Probably not...

Among Democratic women — including those who may be disappointed that New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton did not win the Democratic nomination — 9% say Palin makes them more likely to support McCain, 15% less likely.

Republicans pray for rain... and get it

Mmmm... I love the smell of irony in the morning.

Two weeks ago, some smug, smirking representative of Focus on the Family smarmily asked in a YouTube video, "Would it be wrong to ask people to pray for rain? Not just rain, abundant rain, torrential rain" -- in order to ruin Barack Obama's speech at Mile High Stadium last Friday. Just to give the world a demonstration about how mad God is about gay marriage, you see.

Careful what you wish for.

It ALMOST makes me wish I believed in their God. :P