— From the mailbag:
Some people are pretty ticked off about that debate, huh?
Thought you'd like this, just featured on YouTube, 50 seconds of funny.
Wow, you said that right Denise. I actually bothered to round up some links about it before I realized they were everywhere and all over the TV too. Just a few links of note: The item on ABCNews.com has cleared 20,000 comments, which probably makes them the biggest hub for reaction to the debate.
I also thought the moderators did a poor job so I was looking for a contrasting perspective. David Brooks at the NYTimes gave them high marks, though his readers are mostly critical. One comment in the vast scroll of reaction there made me pause. Would a debate full of substantial questions have been a lot of boring "plan" recitation? Is there a way to talk about real issues that isn't too wonky but also doesn't become a caricature?
I didn't watch all the way through the end so I missed the audience booing.
Attytood did an interesting tracing of where the Nash McCabe lapel pin question came from.
George Stephanopoulos did respond to the criticism in interviews with both Talking Points Memo and The Politico.
The one I liked was the Crooks & Liars resurrection of my favorite non-partisan meme, stop hurting America. I don't think many people in the media really understand what Jon Stewart was talking about on Crossfire but it's the one political slogan that has the most resonance for me as an American. I like America and I like liking America. And as an American I like liking Americans. My biggest political pet peeve is people who make it their business to encourage Americans to hate each other. Maybe I'm naive but I think we're more alike than our media (including the Web) leads us to believe.
Speaking of stop hurting America, the story of the Yale art student is a hoax. No doubt it will live on in the rhetoric of people who like to encourage Americans to hate each other but in fact the girl didn't get pregnant just to have miscarriages as an art project.
Speaking to the question I asked above about talking about issues, here's the unexpected linger link of the day: Rachel Lucas did her taxes and came up with a number she's not happy with. As is the prerogative of a blogger, she vented a bit online (Note: F bombs). Obviously her rant wouldn't be appropriate as a debate question exactly but she does a good job picking a scab that her commenters are able to work through and weigh in on. (I realize this seems like a violation of my Americans-hating-Americans rule but my bias is the -admittedly possibly naive- expectation that the dialogue ends up reducing the hate through greater understanding.)
"A dog whistle to the kids" - Obama makes a subtle rap reference in a speech about dirty campaign distractions. Especially interesting to call it a dog whistle because I've mostly only heard that "dog whistle" expression used to describe coded racism from politicians. I think I first heard it in connection to Trent Lott's remarks about Strom Thurmond's presidential candidacy - that making nice remarks about a segregationist campaign was a "secret message" to racists. SECOND THOUGHT: I just remembered when else I've heard the dog whistle expression. It was when people recognized Biblical references as being a coded message to pious Christian Americans who recognized them.
We Need a Science White House - Can you imagine the crazy Twilight Zone parallel universe in which the U.S. government and its citizens prioritized science somewhere higher than "would like to have a beer with him/her" as a criterion for electing a president?
The "two's a trend" of the day: silent dancing. Apparently some libertarians had a silent dance celebrations to honor Thomas Jefferson's birthday the other day and it didn't go very well. Meanwhile, there's a silent rave scheduled for New York City later today. In case you're not familiar, what we're talking about here is people showing up with music on their iPods and dancing to the beat of their own audio. Actually, I can bolster my "it's a trend" argument with a third example the Improv Everywhere folks whose work we admire so much have long incorporated mp3 synching to give simultaneous (and silent) instructions to large groups of people. That seals it, it's a thing.
The latest South Park is about the Internet disappearing overnight. Watch it online for free. LATER: Oops, NOTE: I was blogging while watching and made this note before reaching a pretty objectionable scene. Contains one extremely adult theme that makes this not safe for work or kids. Yes, I know I just said that about a cartoon.
Sony has another cool reality-transforming commercial in this Foam City clip.
The World's Hardest Game is genuinely wicked hard. I made it through the first level just to establish some sense of dignity but gave up after that.
YoungMe/NowMe - The latest game from Color Wars. Participants take a picture of themselves as a kid and then try to re-take the picture as an adult. The sibling shots are the best.
Tests show BMW's hydrogen car cleans the air - I've read this about other, less fancy, commercial low emission vehicles - that when you drive somewhere really smoggy like L.A. on a bad day, the car's emissions are actually higher quality than the air going into the intake. That might just be urban legend, I've not researched it very deeply. ADDING: Ok, I just did a little and I think it was the natural gas Honda Civic GX that I read that about.
Speaking of not researching urban legends, Mystery creature of the day! Don't think too hard, just go with it. It's a dragon or a surviving dinosaur. The world is more fun that way. NOTE: When I loaded the page today a Best Western ad started playing audio automatically. I don't know what's up with that but be aware, mute button alert.
How to make a Sawed-off USB Key - Wicked cheap, pretty easy, quite amazing to see just how small the guts of a flash drive can be, and generally cool.
'Cancer cured' headline of the day: "If all of a tumour's stem cells could be killed then it would torpedo the old wisdom that no patient is ever cured of cancer, but merely goes into remission. True cures for cancer would be possible."
'Cancer cured' headline of the other day: "The Kanzius Machine: A Cancer Cure?" (We haven't had a CCHotD item in a while so for new readers, I highlight these for two reasons. One is that I think it's cruel the way the media recklessly declares -on a surprisingly regular basis- some new breakthrough that will cure cancer (or not). The second reason is that while there's nothing funny about cancer, the frequency of these stories [with their careful use of "could result in" and "if trials are successful" and "researchers hope that"] approaches satire.)
Treehugger rounds up vertical farm ideas.
U.C. Berkeley student's Twitter messages alerted world to his arrest in Egypt - This is a cool story even though I think it's a little weird that they put him in jail with his cell phone. Couldn't he have just called someone?
The ultimate irony about the UK surveillance system is that actual citizens taking pictures is seen as a threatening act.
Light-emitting wallpaper set to wow - I like the idea of this but there's something about electrifying the walls in a room that seem unhealthy - like if you sat on a metal tray you'd get cooked like a Hot Pocket. Then again, I'm writing this from an office building so stuffed with wired it could probably function as a giant electromagnet, so who am I to judge?
You have to give the UK's Daily Mail credit for knowing exactly what's going through your mind when you see the headline and answering your response before you realize you've made it. Today's example: "Vladimir Putin rumoured to be leaving wife to marry rhythmic gymnast half his age." And yes, the answer to whatever you just through will be revealed in the scroll of the page.