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August 29, 2008

sarah palin

So, apparently, Sen. McCain left his original running mate for a younger, more attractive one.

Yeah, the polls will be tight, meow meow, but the McCain campaign has the stank of doom following it around.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:22 PM

you call that breakdancing? watch john mccain breakdance

I need to reserve comment on last night's closing night of the DNC because, well, I'm a little bit beyond words on it.  Not to be precious or anything, but it left me feeling like there may be something to the whole patriotism thing other than reflex and conditioning, and it left me wondering if that is what history felt like.

Those are both good things, and, being me, now I'm waiting for the bad thing to happen that will negate all that.

Which bad thing will not be McCain's veep pick, BTW.  I've got the news on in the background, and the McCain campaign is dancing around their ability to keep his pick secret like a kid riding a bike for the first time.  Some flack actually responded to the question of whether the hoopla is specifically designed to take the luster off the rose of the DNC, and they responded (paraphrase), "Well, everyond got all excited over Obama's veep selection process!"  It all comes off like the cheap uncle trying to compete with the neighbor's expensive Fourth of July display by filing old tires with gasoline and igniting them.

Hopefully once he announces (the Gov. of Alaska?), he'll at least say, "Ta daaaaaa."  And then the crickets.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:56 AM

August 28, 2008

and what a fine night of DNC entertainment

I listened to pretty much the entire slate of speakers from the DNC last night on a car radio -- fortunately for me, as the NPR feed has the awkward habit of cutting back to the stage when a speaker is on it, instead of putting them down so talking heads can gum the last speech to death with inside-baseball pontifications.

(I can list on one hand the number of talking heads I can tolerate, and only one of those is someone ideologically different than I am.  We are experiencing a talking head crisis in this country, with each successive hack cynically predicting the response, and then the response to the response, and so on, until their is no alpha response left -- just a confused electorate wondering which shoehole to curl up in.  So let's riot.)

Anyhow, what a freakin' night.  I forget the number of rhetorical devices available to a speaker, but I suspect that all but the most vile were employed last night.  And I can't pick who came off best: Sen. John Kerry certainly gave the speech of a lifetime by finally putting up his dukes, Sen. Joe Biden demonstrated that his breezy conversational appeal is impeassioned and genuine, and President Clinton, well, President-Clintoned it.  It was not a night for the vegetarians among the Democrats, as it was red-meat soup to nuts.

Still, I bet it won't take me long to find an analysis of why the DNC is failing -- too many facts!  Not enought 9-11, or POW!  Hopefully these strawmen will have a better time next week, at the RNC with its keynote speaker, Hurricane Gustav.

(For a more better play-by-play, try Dan.)

Posted by mrbrent at 10:08 AM

August 27, 2008

i'd clean that ipod out if i were you, citizen

I'm sure that smarter people than I will have something to say on this, but I'm somewhat shocked that the FBI has been tasked with arresting bloggers who leak rock songs on the Web.

I'm as big of a GNFNR fan as the next guy (which is to say, yeah, they were a band, right?), but I'm having a hard time rationalizing cuffing and booking some poor fellow for filesharing.

I'd right that we clearly haven't spent enough time and effort fighting these copyright issues, but I really don't want to go to jail.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:25 PM

i didn't even bother to find out what "puma" stood for until yesterday

I did watch Hillary speak last night, but it was a close one -- Mark Warner's keynote bored me into a light doze, and it was only the sheer charisma of Gov. Schweitzer (who MSNBC decided was not worth airing, instead broadcasting Obermann and Matthews kicking each other under the desk) that brought me back.

I thought it was an awfully nifty little speech, and closing on the Harriet Tubman quote was money money money.  I did worry in passages where she talked... really... slowly... that she was having a stroke or something, but I guess if you keep your eyes open that wide, the blood vessels in your brain will be blockage-proof.

And I thought that she truly put a stake through the heart of the vampire that is the story of Internal Strife in the Democratic Party! that is so sexy that there is no journalist in DC that has not been bedded by it.  But, then again, maybe it wasn't a vampire and instead a zombie, for whom stakes through the heart are not very efficacious indeed, as it still walks and breathes.

I hope the four or five "pumas" left remain visible in that batty way they do, because Clintonistas-for-McCain are going to be at a very high premium soon, as desperate reporters scramble to find some way to keep the story alive.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:52 AM

August 26, 2008

don't hate me because i like david carr

I'm going to take the bold bold step and say out loud that I like the work of this guy -- this guy who has been working in the industry for decades, has a memoir out and a paying regular gig at the New York Times and therefore needs my endorsement like he needs a new flavor of Pepsi -- very very much.  His name is David Carr.  I guess he might be a microcelebrity, but for doing something instead of nothing.

He is especially well-suited to the "blog", which is short for "weblog" and is the punishment meted out to NYT writers who curse in the bullpen.  Right now Carr is in Denver and covering the Democratic National Convention:

And the age-old process of reporting no longer attains.  For decades, the Bagger and his colleagues have stepped up to people with notebooks and pens, asked grave or silly questions and written down the grave or silly answers we got in return.  But reporting has become a performance art. Each time there was a reporting stop — at a small McCain counterdemonstration, a Hillary counterdemonstration, or in the bloggers’ tent — the people formerly known as the audience refused to behave like one.  They brandished video cams, iPhones and recorders, doing their own documentation of what was under way.

There, nothing flashy.  Some solid writing with an identifiable voice, also "reported", which is what I guess they teach in J-School.  This is the first I've heard of the swarms of citizen-archivists, and I'm glad to have read it from Carr.

And yes, I am reading his memoir "Night Of The Gun", which is not for the squeamish (the tag line is pretty much, "What if I told you I was a fat thug who beat up women and sold bad coke?"), but filled with a newspaperman's voice, which is a nice antidote to we young'uns who spin out a couple hundred breezy, low-fibre words like it's fun or something.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:38 PM

dnc day one

No, did not watch the DNC in real-time last night -- I decided that day one is usually touchy-feely as the potential first lady is blandicized into something more palatable than the successful professional that the candidate's wife usually is.  Too much saccharine, and I got bad teeth.

But I did watch the four hours of coverage that followed the Convention, so it's like I watched it from eight angles, repeatedly.  I've always liked Michelle Obama when I've heard her speak.  She seems smart and tough, and her deliberate national-TV heart-opening was not so cloying as to send me into an epileptic fit.  I'm shocked that Ted Kennedy looked/sounded so well, but it was a nice rousing moment for stalwarts.  Also, the closing ceremony was really cool, with the people-pagoda and the double-decker bus that grew a Jimmy Page.

But for me the most interesting thing (my mind is actually kind of made up over who I'm going to vote for) was -- and I was starting to doze off -- that Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews were stepping on each others interviews and generally sniping at each other like an old married couple.  No, I didn't imagine it.

They're gonna be making out in the back seat of someone's car by Thursday night.

Tonight, the PUMAs will continue their rampage no matter what Hillary Clinton says.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:00 AM

August 25, 2008

look, a ranty office post

With regards to email, specifically as they sit there like day-old fish in your inbox, I've realized that the "high importance" of any specific email is a quality determined by the recipient of such email and not by its author.

Accordingly, I've hacked the Outlook that my office requires that I use such that it will take any email arriving with a little red flag attached to it into the stairwell where the email will be pushed down four flights of stairs.

And then me and my man Dilbert will laaaaaugh.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:29 PM

john mccain's american dream: marrying up

Further to last night's exaltation of Sen. John McCain's bootstrapping of himself into obscene wealth, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman discusses if the shots on McCain for being wealthy while pretending to be a regular guy are fair:
And in that world [that is, the actual world created by Republican policies], stripping away the regular-guy facade —- pointing out that everything Rush Limbaugh said about [2004 candidate Sen. John] Kerry applies equally to Mr. McCain, that Mr. McCain lives in a material world few Americans can imagine —- is only fair.  Yes, Mr. Obama vacations in Hawaii —- and Cindy McCain says that “In Arizona, the only way to get around the state is by small private plane.”

The squealing from the usual suspects demonstrates how much the Obama counterattack has the G.O.P. worried.  Back in 2004 Fox News described John Kerry as “one of the haves” with a “billionaire wife”; now it asks whether raising the issue of Mr. McCain’s houses is “bashing the American dream.”

Mr Krugman is a little more concerned about the legitimacy of attacks on McCain than I am.  (For me, illegitimacy is not only an appropriate and equal response, it is "fun".)  But, Krugman did forebear from mentioning that the "American dream" Fox News is worried might be bashed consists of abandoning one's wife for the younger, prettier, more heiress-y version.  Krugman is too much the gentleman to remind you that, while John Kerry may have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, John McCain sold his wife to get one.

And I am too much a gentleman to do so as well, because that would be wrong.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:00 AM

August 24, 2008


It is the election season, and as much as I'd like to keep this a general-interest destination for misspoken words and odd enthusiasms, there's a pretty excellent chance that for the next two months and change, most everything posted here will be political in nature.  Which some of you prefer, and others may not.  So, I'm going to try to remember to wedge in the odd random, just to leaven the shrill with whatever that thing that is not shrill is called.

So, hey there!  I'm in Pennsylvania, visiting the in-law, and there's this Italian resto just up the road -- apparently, quite good -- which has a readerboard that hangs out over the road, so motorists can be informed of what's up! in the restaurant.  For the past two months, the information is this:


No, I don't have a damn camera.  Take my word for it.

And yes, this item might better fit on that late night show with that impostor Jay Leno, but at least I saw it with my own eyes and didn't have some grandma mail me a clipping.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:47 PM

mccain's blessedness

The interesting thing about this countermeasure from the McCain campaign is that it's the gift that keeps on giving, but it's a gift that we have to quietly share amongst ourselves, as no non-Republican candidate would ever go so so negative as this.

McCain surrogates are trying to bury Democratic claims that the fact that McCain has very many houses, so many that he can't count them, is salient, under very much chaff, up to and including the fact that McCain was some kind of failed military pilot.  The GOP candidate tries to undersell his profligacy:

And sure enough, McCain goes there on CBS: "I spent some years without a kitchen table, without a chair, and I know what it's like to be blessed by the opportunities of this great nation," he says in response to a question about his houses.

Um, that might work, I guess.  But it does raise the question whether McCain is saying that cheating on one's disfigured wife to marry into extraordinary wealth is one of the opportunities this great nation has to offer, and if, in fact, that would be a central plank in his platform.  Or maybe being a POW grants you a get-out-of-pre-POW-ordinary-marriage-free card?

Like I said, the Democratic campaign can't go there.  It's a bit of a low blow (mostly because it's true).

So let's only repeat this when we feel we must.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:32 PM

stupid text messaging

So, no, I did not receive the "bdn v33p" text message that Senator Obama personally promised me, and I'm cheesed off.  In fact, we were visiting Pennsylvania that night, and got back to where we were staying around 1:30 in the morning, and the cable news was already over the story.  I was dubious; I had not received a text from Obama and therefor nothing was confirmed.  Because he promised, damn it.

Now I know how all those supporters of Sen. Clinton (like noted Democrat Bill Kristol) feel.  Why, unless Obama personally apologizes to me, and tells me that he actually does not cross his fingers while saying the Pledge like many here in the Lehigh Valley have told me, then I am going to vote for that feckless geezer running against him, who apparently was a prisoner-of-war, though I can't be sure because no one ever really talks about it.  Yep, it'll be me and those crazy old ladies with the spittle flying from their mouths -- a bunch of votes the GOP won't have to erase from the voting machines.

As far as Sen. Biden goes: thanks for blowing my chances in the August Madness Running Mate Pool, jerk.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:17 PM