Round 3: Once I Was A Wooden Boy

We’re back. With fancy formatting, no less.

Okay, tonight’s debate is slightly different from the last two. Instead of the usual moderator and candidates, an audience of undecided voters will ask the questions, Now, you might be thinking: “how could anyone possibly be undecided at this point? How do these people manage to dress themselves in the morning?!” You might also entertain the thought of: “Gee, well this means that some real and incisive questions could be asked for once.”

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

There’s nothing like an election campaign to crush all the optimism out of a person.

Tonight’s questions have all been submitted to a moderator for approval (I’m guessing that “how many kids did you kill today?” will probably not make it past this point), and the moderator will choose which members of the audience will deliver the questions.

“But surely,” you ask, “can’t they just say anything when given the microphone? It could still have an element of surprise!”

I refer you to my previous answer. According to the rules, if an audience member deviates from their script, the mike will be cut off, they will be taken outside, and stomped on with big hobnail boots.

So, really; it’s not going to be all that different. But the candidates might get to move around, which means: Bush gets to be folksy!

The new Delgados album is lovely. I still haven’t got around to listening to the Fatboy Slim one, though. I’ll load it up on my CDs and take it on the plane, perhaps.

I imagine the original plan was for the Labor Department (their name, so their spelling) to release favourable job numbers this afternoon, and for the President to talk up the good that his tax cuts have done for the economy. Unfortunately, not only were 98,000 new jobs in September fewer than the 150,000 required per month to keep up with the increasing working population, but August’s figures were also revised downwards by 20,000. So, erm, expect 911 and hurricanes to be brought up tonight to explain that.

Oh, and another thing to watch for tonight: I predict that Bush will state that he is against any idea of a draft. There’s no evidence that the Republicans have even contemplated such a suicidal action, but it appears to be the most successful Democrat smear campaign in years; 51% of 18-29 year olds believe that Bush will reinstate the draft. He mentioned it last time, using the words “all-volunteer army”, but I suspect he’ll want to state it more forcefully tonight.

Off to Missouri then…

Kerry has really got that cheesy grin down well now, hasn’t he?

The Bush opening: “HE’S WISHY-WASHY! BECAUSE HE IS!”

Oooh. “Why invade Iraq when there are other countries that were worse?” And the answer? Obviously, because 911 changed everything. And Oil-For-Food comes out into the fore. I’d still like to know whether the evidence about that comes from someone other than Ahmed Chalabi. Bush seems better tonight. He’s still talking in complete sentences, anyway. Hahahaha, and the “global test” again. As well as having a go at the UN. But I think Kerry fought back well, pointing out the sanctions were imposed to prevent Saddam Hussein from having WMD, and hey, he didn’t!

Bush is starting to sound clipped already. “wrong war, wrong time, wrong place” brought out yet again.

Oh, and Europe knows nothing about Israel. Another mention of The Hague. Is he afraid of ending up there, or something? Ha ha, “certain capitals” HE’S TALKING ABOUT PARIS AND THEIR FROG-EATING WAYS!

Please answer the question, Kerry, instead of talking about Iraq. Okay, I’m with you now. I always like a candidate who wants to eliminate nuclear weapons.

“That answer almost made me wanna scowl” DAMN THAT PEACENIK! oh, and through syntax issues, Bill Clinton was enriching uranium in North Korea.

The draft! “there’s a rumour going around the internets” That Gore and his internets, fighting from the grave.

Wow. Bush just snapped at the moderator. I didn’t actually see his demeanour when delivering his attack on Kerry, but it sounded uncontrolled and rather unhinged, to be honest.

Oooh, Bush is really trying to get into his normal rhythm now. Oh, and the Canadians are apparently going to try and give bad medicines to the Americans. That’s why he’s against cheap imports! Kerry is out swinging, attacking past decisions, past votes, and making a swipe at power, oil, and drug companies. And all Bush can come back with is “Clinton did it too!”

Government-sponsored healthcare is bad. So Tom, you’re a bad bunny.

“You’re batting 0 for 2!” BOO-YAH!

Bush: “I’m going to spend and spend and spend and spend. But Kerry can’t fund his plan” Um, okay…

Bush blaming it on Clinton again. Damn, Bush, he’s just had a heart bypass! That’s cold, man!

OOO! ENRON DISS!

Bush is shrugging his shoulders. But Kerry got the laugh.

Bush is better tonight. Kerry is doing better though.

Heh, the environment. Does anybody even need to hear this? I’m surprised that Bush even bothered. And talking about clean skies was a mistake, given how much the administration has gutted the Clean Air Act.

“I’m going to be a President who believes in science.” HAH.

Those healthcare figures still scare me. 5m people without even basic healthcare.

Oh, Kerry made a dumb mistake there, giving Bush the opportunity to mock him “I own a timber company?”

Now, PATRIOT. Oh for crying out loud! The judges aren’t allowed to turn down the warrants! Okay, after that response, I heart Kerry. Keep the good bits, chuck out the rest.

Stem cell research. Danger for Kerry. But neither is really engaging with the question. Bush is trying to sound all concerned. Kerry is all about the science, Bush keeps mentioning ethics. But that’s it.

Now onto activist judges. It’s really about the Supreme Court, but Bush is using to talk about “under God”, and saying he wants strict constitutionalists; Kerry wants good judges. But you’ll be pleased to know that Bush is against Dred Scott. Frankly, some of us were concerned. Of course, a strict constitutionalist may not have such a problem with Scott, saying as how the document itself makes reference to the differing voting rights of slaves and free persons.

Final two questions. Another abortion question. Kerry says that he can’t impose his beliefs over the Constitution. Hehehe. Bush can’t seem to understand it, or won’t. Kerry explains just why he voted against partial-birth abortion, yet Bush just can’t understand anything other than yes or no.

The final question: Name three of your mistakes Mr. Bush. Did you really think he was going to answer this?

Bush is much better when delivering statements like the one he’s doing now, without the chance for rebuttal. Another 911 reference (oh, and it’s not like you’re actually implementing the Commission’s proposals, so sod off).

A draw? Personally, again I think Kerry was better. But Bush, for the most part, didn’t break down like last time, so he’ll probably come off better this time.

Thanks to Tom for keeping me entertained during the night!

currently playing: 2004 2nd Presidential debate

But no Bittorrent?

Congratulations to the BPI for an increase in single sales!

Oh, well, go and die in a corner.

currently playing: Clinic — IPC Subeditors Dictate Our Youth

Oops

Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.

Smithers, who is that man with the shiny cheeks?

currently playing: The Concretes — Chico

Round 2: The Legion of Substitute Heroes!

You know, if Kerry manages to pull this off, then there’s going to be celebrations all over the world; it’ll be like the end of a sci-fi movie when the world has been saved: flash-cuts to Egyptians staring out over the pyramids, Japanese going nuts in Tokyo, the British having a well-earned cup of tea, and, on the forest moon of Endor, the Ewoks strike up a tribal dance, to the chant of “JUST LIKE YOUR DADDY!”

Or perhaps that’s just me.

Incidentally, watching the Conservative conference today — Michael Howard talking about how his patty is the one of personal responsibility and then in the next breath promising to castrate or repeal the Human Rights Act reminds me once again why they can’t be allowed near Government; Labour might have a bad record on civil liberties, but it was the Tories who brought in the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Criminal Justice Act in the first place. And dear God, I do not want to know about Nicolas Soames’ first kiss. There are some things the human mind is not meant to contemplate.

Tonight, then, John Edwards will be showing his cheeks off to the America public, while Dick Cheney will try and keep the human mask on, lest the people see the horror of the four-dimensional entity of evil that lies beneath.

Meanwhile! Florida continues to use its interesting interpretation of ‘equal protection’! Defending every one of those precious 537 votes…

For many, this will probably be the first time they’ve seen John Edwards since the Democrat Convention. Their strategy so far seems to have been to sent him off to lots of small towns and cities, drawing decent-sized crowds, but keeping him off television for the most part. Dick Cheney hasn’t been so quiet, often popping up to say that if Kerry wins, the terrorists will celebrate and attack America for the next four years whilst he gets his nails clipped. Oh, and of course, banging on about that link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. Not that Mr. Rumsfeld got the message, yesterday stating there was no hard evidence of such a link, and today saying there was a link.. They have a word for that, you know…

Tonight, I’ve decided to switch news networks, plumping for BBC News 24. They’re currently demolishing the Al-Qaeda—Iraq link; apparently a new CIA report casts serious doubt as to whether Saddam Hussein even knew that Zarqawi was in the country, let alone giving him support. Hey! Tony Blair is in the Sudan. I didn’t know he was going.

Yes, I do love gorillas but it’s society’s crime not ours.

Ah, Grant, don’t ever change. Sorry, I got distracted.

Anyway, onto the debate itself. It’s a sit-down affair, because apparently Cheney likes to sit down and refused to do the debate otherwise. And here they go!

They’re…they’re writing on pads in silence. Perhaps the BBC went to the feed early.

Same rules as the last debate. Bah. First question to Cheney. Funnily enough, about the recent slips by Rumsfeld and Bremner. Edwards comes back with “you still aren’t telling the truth”. Not very exciting yet, although Edwards did use the time shift to his advantage. It’s a bit like playing Chaos; if you get the order right, you can make a good final point.

Cheney now says that he never linked 911 and Iraq. It is to laugh. Cheney is now banging on about Kerry’s “global test” slip last week. Afghanistan! It’s safe! Honest!

Heh. Edwards brings up Kerry’s Vietnam service. Got to stay on message.

Banging on the “global test”. Oh, and apparently, the Iraqi security forces make up for 50% of the casualty totals so far, so it’s not 90% American casualties. Go Dick!

HAHAHAHAHA. I’m not questioning his patriotism. But honestly guys, be afraid…

Hmm, Edwards doesn’t seem to be getting his point across. He should have tied the no-bid directly to the Bill that they didn’t vote for.

Cheney, sadly to say, is winning so far. Getting Edwards on the ropes by suggesting he’s demeaning the Iraqi effort.

“We’re dealing with Iran differently than Iraq” — because they have an army. Oh, and nuclear weapons. OOPS.

OOOH. Haliburton! Sweet! Cheney tries to weasel out of it. Accusing Edwards of not turning up to the Senate. Wait, so, if the reason why there’s fewer suicide attacks because Saddam Hussein is gone, does that mean that the Wall isn’t necessary.

Edwards hits back on Cheney’s record.

Now onto domestic issues. Edwards is hitting hard on the job issue. Cheney talks around the subject, talking about education and tax rather than actual employment. OH AND THE CHENEY SMIRK!

John, you’re going to run over. But you didn’t, and sounded pretty good actually. Cheney claims that small businesses will be hurt by the upper tax rises. And Edwards doesn’t respond to that point. That’s a mistake.

Oh joy. Gay marriage. Well, I suppose the Kerry/Edwards position is sufficiently draconian enough not to offend Middle America (one of my problems with the Kerry ticket, but I know it’d be suicide to go all the way. makes me sad, but I understand). Ah, ACTIVIST JUDGES! This bit is actually quite depressing. “We don’t support a Constitutional Amendment, but we still think gay marriage is icky”.

Trial lawyers now. This should be interesting, as Edwards has a history with medical lawsuits. Edwards does well, but Cheney responds by suggesting that Edwards avoided paying Medicare taxes. Heh. More Haliburton tax-dodging claims.

I apologise that this entry isn’t all that interesting. There was a comedy moment earlier on, when Cheney brought up El Salvador as a shining beacon of human rights. Yeah, I don’t get out much, I know. There’s no spark to this debate at all. Which is a shame, as everybody thought it was going to be a highly-charged evening. Instead, Edwards is blustering, nervous, and making mistakes all over the place. Cheney still comes across as Evil Incarnate, but Evil That Knows What He’s Talking About As Opposed To The Young Guy Across The Table.

I do love how Iraqi lives are being traded for American ones, and that’s supposed to be a good thing. Oh, and how the PATRIOT Act is brought up as an instance of bi-partisanality, when the act was printed during the middle of the night and passed without giving anybody any time to READ the whole thing…

Also, the moderator has been awful tonight. She keeps on getting the order mixed up, thus giving both men more response time than they should have.

Closing time. you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.I know who I want to take me home. Oh, right. The debate. Well, Edwards is talking about being the son of a miller and voting against “more of the same”; Cheney going for the fear factor, aha — if you vote for Kerry, you deserve to die!

I’m all depressed now. Going to bed and hoping Friday’s debate is a little better for the Kerry team.

currently playing:VP Debate 2004

Turn The Links Up Over Every Boy And Girl

Faith In The White House.

Is that the best you can do? Really, is that it?

Aww.

S’Mores Wars!

Retro Pong!

More Michel Gondry goodness.

Oh, and Tom? Got everything now. Thanks!

currently playing: Semisonic — Closing Time

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

As I’m still being hammered by comment spam, I’ve taken some measures to try and stem the flow. I’m not quite ready to move to MovableType 3.0 yet, and I don’t know enough PHP to switch to Wordpress, so I’ve come up with a solution that doesn’t involve a lot of hassle: mt-close2.cgi.

From now on, comments will only be a month before an entry is closed. That should be long enough for everybody to say what they want, and short enough so the spammers don’t find their way back here.

Hopefully, when I come back from America, I’ll look into upgrading / switching, but this will do for now.

Oh, and Tom — I have p2.zip, but never got the signal for p1.zip, so if could repost, that would be great…

currently playing: Propaganda — P-Machinery

Sales Up? Let's Sue!

In celebration of the rumour that the BPI is about to go the way of the RIAA and start suing its own customers for fun and profit, here’s an old mash-up of a great Saint Etienne track and a speech given at the 2002 Grammy Awards.

YozRipping Kids of Death

currently playing: Epic 45: I’m Getting Too Young For This

It's Debating Time, and Joby's Here As Well!

But first…

Somebody challenged me earlier today to come up with a case for voting for John Kerry that didn’t mention George W. Bush. I’m just an interested observer, but here’s why I would vote for Kerry:

I would vote for John Kerry because he would repeal the tax cuts for the top 2% earners of the country, eliminate many corporate tax loopholes, use the money to help combat the deficit and fund enhanced college tax credits, and raise the minimum wage from $5.15/hour to $7.00/hour.

I would vote for John Kerry because he has plans to reduce the prices of prescription drugs, by reforming patent law so companies cannot prevent generic brands from entering the market, and bringing the benefits of bulk purchasing pricing to all. He would fund a medical insurance policy for every child in the US enrolled in school, as well as expanding coverage for working parents and single adults living below the poverty line.

I would vote for John Kerry because he would call for a law that would make education funding mandatory, and increase that funding by $10bn per year. He will remove the parts of the No Child Left Behind Act that cut off funding for failing schools, instead giving extra help and funding to see that they catch up. He will also allocate $25bn for the rebuilding and modernisation of schools, and increase support for after-school clubs. He will simplify the application form for college aid, which will hopefully result in more students taking the opportunity of a $5,000 loan from the Government, as well as the tax credits mentioned earlier.

I would vote for John Kerry because he wishes to find energy sources beyond OPEC, and he will set a target of having 20% of America’s energy needs supplied by renewable energy by 2020. He will also strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency, giving them new powers to research and take action against toxic waste. He will ban logging in important forests, reinstate the Clean Air Act, close loopholes in that Act, and enforce it.

I would vote for John Kerry because he would encourage other nations of the world to help in the reconstruction of Iraq by offering contracts to all countries (including Iraq itself) and ending the no-bid ones. He would engage in negotiations with the rest of the world to create a fully-fledged multinational force to keep the peace in the country. He will ask NATO to take expand its force outside of Kabul, and stop the Taliban from regrouping and stop the rebuilding of the poppy fields. He will help the Russians secure their nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons stockpile, and will work with other nations to cut off funding for terrorist organisations.

I could go on, but that’s some of the reasons why I would vote for John Kerry. Come back next May when I do the same thing, setting out the reasons why I will be voting to ensure a third Labour term. (and Mr. Blair, I feel for you. That’s going to HURT tomorrow, speaking from some experience)

(oh, and while I’m here, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA to the Conservative Party, who are being blasted back to the 19th century even as I type)

So, the debate, then. Actually, less of a debate, and more of two people giving speeches. The two camps agreed to a 32-page memorandum listing what can and can’t be done tonight. So, no follow-up questions from moderators, the two candidates cannot address each other, and most bizarrely of all, an order that cameras should not show the other candidate when the other is speaking (perhaps they were worried that funny faces and/or mooning would be involved otherwise). Really, it’s a wonder why they’re even bothering to be in the same building. But who knows, something interesting could happen.

And the biggest part of the build-up hype? Fox News is making a big deal about Kerry having a manicure. I’m switching to CNN; it’s the only way my TV will survive the night. Oh, and Dan Quayle is a talking head. hahahaha.

My God, Novak really does look like the Douchebag of Liberty, doesn’t he?

And so we begin. 90MinutesSpeechifyingGO!

(by the way, this debate is Foreign Policy, in case you were wondering)

First question to Kerry: do you believe that you could do a better job of preventing another 911? Kerry answers by thanking everybody for inviting him. Then after thirty seconds of that, getting into the question proper (see above for what he said ;-)). Bush responds by recounting all the successes he’s made so far. In his eyes.

Second question to Bush and he’s stopped making sense…and naturally not answering the question (“do you believe that a Kerry presidency would allow another 911” or something”)

“We also have to be smart.” — BOOYAH!

And our first two-camera shot! Take that, rules!

Well, in my opinion, Kerry is making a decent case why Iraq was a mistake. Bush blows it apart by pointing out that Kerry supported the war.

George Bush mixes up bin Laden and Saddam. I’m telling you, they believe it themselves…

Kerry is treading on dangerous ground with the underfunding line — as Bush will hit back by pointing out that he didn’t back the funding bill. But he didn’t, and Kerry came out reasonably well.

Onto national security. And Kerry is kicking ass. Personally speaking. But Bush says that he can’t afford it. Kerry makes a point about the untranslated tapes, and claims that’s another symptom of Bush’s failure.

Ouch! Kerry is hitting on the Oil Ministry thing (where the US soldiers protected the ministry and nothing else).

And Bush breaks the rules. To get in a flip-flop reference. And Kerry comes out swinging. The first time he’s ever really spoken clearly about voting against the funding bill, to be honest. And a standard Bush tactic of saying that Kerry is denigrating the other nations’ contributions. Definitely trying to harp on at the “wrong war at the wrong time” meme. Saying that Kerry cannot bring in other nations.

WE FORGOT POLAND!

DAMN KERRY! You should have said: “yes, and nobody is being executed now, are they?”

Bush is a little rattled. Oh! Schoooled! “I’ve worked with these leaders for longer than this President. I came bring them back to the table.”

Kerry gets in his website! “President Bush’s plan is four words: ‘more of the same’”

Bush keeps on saying the same thing over and over. It’s actually becoming annoying, actually. Kerry talks about something, then Bush just rambles: “wrong war at the wrong time - he can’t lead us!”

Admittedly, I’ve lost all impartiality here, but Kerry is doing quite well.

“We use diplomacy every time we can” — HAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Kerry’s has seized on ‘the enemy that attacked us’ to blast the war on Iraq. Ooh! OWNED!

‘bin laden attacked us. i know that!’ — said in the tone of a five year old child.

ACTIVIST JUDGES IN THE HAGUE! Those damn Dutch. Oh, and is he denigrating us, because WE signed up to that court? Hmmm?

Bush is having trouble stringing sentences together.

Now onto other countries Kerry is still banging on about the current state of the US Army, and making a few mistakes along the way (North Korea and uranium, Iran and sanctions).

Bush is now saying nice things about Kerry. Before wailing on him. Because “I know how the world works!”

Coming to the last ten minutes now. Kerry is decrying the new nuclear weapons that the US is building, promising that he’ll shut the programme down, Missile defence systems don’t protect against suitcase bombs, nutcase!

Closing statements now. Kerry first. “a fresh start, a new credibility.”

Bush stumbles and mutters, and finishes eventually.

Result? Bush got slammed. Now we’ll see what the media says about it…

currently playing: Kerry v. Bush

Polls, Polls, Polls (Can you take my polls?)

The campaign has moved on from Swift boats and National Guard records; now it’s an all-out assault on the most heinous of all evils: the polling companies (death to Joey Lucas!).

Specifically, Democrats are fuming about Gallup’s polling for the past three months, which has been consistently showing a large lead for Bush over Kerry, contradicting the results from almost all of the other polling companies. Some are questioning Gallup’s reliance on what it calls The Likely Voter Model; this method involves asking seven questions of the pollee (no, I know it’s not a real word), and throws out answers by people who score below a certain threshold (supposedly, you need either six or seven correct answers to be included in Gallup’s sample). And this model creates a split in the sample, indicating that Republican voters will outnumber Democrat voters by six to eight percentage points (the rest of Bush’s lead comes from independent voters). But, historically, voters who identify themselves as Democrats outnumber the Republicans at the actual polls. In fact, if the Gallup data is true, then the change in vote would be almost equal to the shift towards FDR in the 1930s. It could happen, but none of the other polls are predicting such a huge shift. If Gallup’s LV data is re-weighted to 2000’s turnout, then the race narrows to Bush 48-47 Kerry. (Also, the high lead masks that Kerry is leading smong independent voters)

Here’s MoveOn.org’s advert from yesterday’s New York Times.

currently playing: Annie — Anniemal

69 Links (okay, six)

Hmm, space sugar…

A sad day for sport.

The greatest shoot ‘em up in the history of mankind…so far.

Mobile Barbie!

Ooooh.

Sigh. I remember when Everything Is Nice (Matador At 10) was released.

currently playing: Shonen Knife — Daydream Beliver