Archive for October, 2008

Stepping on Dreams

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

This is all kinds of awesome. Possibly my favorite political piece of the entire year. I’m not going to quote it, just go read: Joe The Plumber: American with a Capital A

I’ll plan to do a follow-up post later this evening….


Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Reproduced in its (almost) entirety* from Iowahawk:

We’ve all witnessed a lot of insanity in American politics over the last few years. Up until the last few days, none of it has seriously bothered me; hey, just more grist for the satire mill. But after witnessing the media’s blitzkreig on Joe ‘the Plumber’ Wurzelbacher, I can only muster anger, and no small amount of fear.

Politicians — Sarah Palin, Bill Clinton, et al. — obviously have to put up with some rude, nasty shit, but it’s right there in the jobs description. Joe the Plumber is different. He was a guy tossing a football with his kid in the front yard of his $125,000 house when a politician picked him out as a prop for a 30 second newsbite for the cable news cameras. Joe simply had the temerity to speak truth (or, if you prefer, an uninformed opinion) to power, for which the politico-media axis apparently determined that he must be humiliated, harassed, smashed, destroyed. The viciousness and glee with which they set about the task ought to concern anyone who still cares about citizen participation, and freedom of speech, and all that old crap they taught in Civics class before politics turned into Narrative Deathrace 3000, and Web 2.0 turned into Berlin 1932.0.

Godwin’s Law! you say? if the jackboot fits, wear it.

If it’s meta-memes and meta-meta-narratives these media headlice want, so be it. I hope you will join me in expressing a simple bit of solidarity with this guy, Spartacus style. I AM JOE. I am a Wal Mart schlub in flyover country who changes my own oil and unclogs drains without a license. I smoke and drink beer and toss the football in the front yard with my kid, and I figure I can fend my way without handouts from some Magic Messiah’s candy bags. Most everyone in my family and most everyone I grew up with is another Joe, and if you screw with them, you screw with me.

Are you a Joe? Say it proud. Leave it on every goddamn newspaper comment section and online forum. Let these pressroom and online thugs know you won’t stay silent when they try to destroy the life of a private citizen for speaking his mind — because for every one of them, there are a million Joe Wurzelbachers. And for that we should all be thankful.

Say it, Brother!

*: Unrelated intro paragraph was excluded. Otherwise quoting the entire original text of the post.

Get Dropbox!

Friday, October 17th, 2008

It’s unsolicited1 advertisement time her at Striderweb. First up: an amazing free program called Dropbox.

I downloaded Dropbox a few weeks ago, and I absolutely love it. What it does is creates a single folder on multiple computers that is kept synchronized. Working on your laptop? Put a document in the Dropbox folder and when you’re back at your desktop computer, that file will be in the desktop’s Dropbox folder. Update it there, and later when you’re back on the laptop you’ll have the updated file.

You can also share folders between accounts. I set up an account for my Dad, and now any time I want to give him a file, I just drop it into the folder I’ve shared with him, and it shows up in his folder on his computer. Email ain’t that hard, true, but emailing large files can be problematic, and Zip files get him every time. Beyond the syncing, the Dropbox folder is just like any other folder on his (and my) computer — there is nothing at all different about how you work with files.

I’ve also taken to depositing preference files for certain programs in my Dropbox. I use the excellent outstanding 1Password program to track my passwords and online accounts, and I keep the preference file in my Dropbox. Any time I open the program on any of my computers I have the same data. Cool!

Note that this trick doesn’t work for all cases. I tried putting my Firefox (web browser) profile in my Dropbox, and quickly discovered that when I was actually on the web, my computer’s processor and bandwidth were churning like crazy! Turns out Firefox is pretty constantly making changes when you browse — which makes sense, considering it’s writing cache files and such every time you pull up a page. So for every page I viewed, I was uploading that same page (in cache form) at the same time! I changed that back pretty quickly.

Another nice thing is the “Public” folder inside your Dropbox. Put something in there, and you can then get a public URL that will allow anyone to download that file. (Though I am curious how Dropbox will respond if someone put up something hugely popular — the bandwidth does cost them money somewhere along the line.)

The program is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and works across platforms. That is, you can sync a Windows Dropbox with a Mac Dropbox. I personally use it between two Macs, with a shared folder to a separate account on my Windows machine at work.

Best part? Dropbox is free, up to 2GB1. You can also pay for a Dropbox that will sync up to 50GB if you find you’re a heavy user. Personally, I’ve made pretty good use of it so far, and have only used up about 15% of my 2GB limit.

I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, as I said, and there are only a couple things I would like to see added. First off, I think they would be wise to offer a smaller account somewhere between the free 2GB and the 50GB options. The 50GB account is $10 a month — but how about a 10GB version for, say, $2.50 or $3? I think they would get a lot of paying customers in that range.

Secondly, they should strongly consider some sort of self-hosted variation of this. It would be great in a corporate environment, but I bet a lot of companies would not be comfortable storing sensitive files on a shared semi-public server. License the program to companies so they can run their own private systems on company servers.

Thirdly, the program could stand to allow a bit more control over certain things. The problem I had with Firefox could be handled if I could tell Dropbox “don’t sync this one folder”, for example. Turning off syncing my cache files, but syncing the rest of the profile folder, would be very cool. As an alternate, they could allow you to set certain folders so they sync, say, every ten minutes, instead of continuously.

These are just quibbles though. This is a great program, and I hope they’re successful with it. I look forward to whatever improvements they come up with down the road. Check it out. Here’s that link again. ๐Ÿ™‚

[Update: I’ve noticed something in the program that could stand improvement. I had a large folder in my Dropbox that I moved into another folder, also in the Dropbox. Rather than figuring out that it was all the same files, it re-uploaded the entire folder — hundreds of megabytes; which means that a sync that should have taken seconds took over an hour. I would guess that a fix for this is in the works, as again, bandwidth costs them money, and fixing this would thus directly affect their profits.] It was a bug, and is fixed.

[Update: Found the following “complaint” in the Dropbox forums:

I’m sorry to have to say this, but considering Dropbox’s current feature set, I don’t think it can really be considered a real product until there’s a way to give it a hug. I mean… all this fancy stuff you’ve made so far is great ‘n all, but I feel this overwhelming urge to hug Dropbox for being so awesome.

Heh. If they figure out that feature, they should sell it.]

1: Though this article was originally written without them, the links to Dropbox in this article are now “affiliate” links. I receive no money, but if you start an account though this link, both you and I get a bit of extra space for free. Win/Win! ๐Ÿ™‚

Just One Law

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

We’ve all played the game where you sit back and answer the question — “If you found a genie in a bottle, and were granted one wish — what would it be?” Well, here’s my variation on the game. Would you like to play?

The Question:

If you could be President for five minutes, and had the power and authority to pass a single law — any law — what law would you pass?

The Rules:

  1. The law can only do one thing. It can perhaps be a far-reaching thing, but no “I would pass a law that bans/affirms abortion and ends/increases welfare and ends/wins the Iraq War and….” — that’s cheating. You can take one idea and make it the law of the land.
  2. Be specific. Don’t say “I would end poverty”. What one law would you pass to try to end poverty? A $100/hr. minimum wage? Government-provided jobs? What?
  3. Be realistic. No laws saying “Nobody will get sick ever again.” You’re President, not God. No magic.
  4. Assume your law will last. Unless you explicitly put in and end date or sunset provisions of some sort, assume your law will not be negated or overturned for.. say… ten years at least.

Got all that? Okay, with the rules being laid out, here is my law:

The Charity Identification Act of 2008

Henceforth all federal government handouts — that is, any federal program that transfers money, service, or assets in any form to people or organizations that have not explicitly earned said transfer, or any such transfers by extra-governmental organizations (e.g. private companies) if such transfers are required by law or mandate — shall have the word “Charity” appended to the beginning of the name of the program, and to the name of all such transfers. E.g. — “Charity Welfare”, “Charity Emergency Room Care”, “Charity housing subsidies”.

Reductions in fees or taxes actually paid are not counted as “transfers” under this law* — e.g. reduction in the amount of taxes due by individuals or organizations is not a “transfer” for the purposes of this law. However, “refund” payments greater than the receiver’s actual tax burden shall be included — e.g. “Charity Tax Rebates” to those who pay no taxes but receive a rebate.

Such transfers that are given in exchange for, or in consideration of, military service are exempted, e.g. the “G.I. Bill” or veterans’ health care.

Okay, that’s mine. What’s yours?

(You can play along in comments below or post at your own blog. If the latter, please link back to this original post. Thanks.)

*: This one could be abused, I know. I’m trying to figure out how it could be rephrased. “not counted as transfers if applied across the board?” It somehow needs to distinguish between regular tax cuts and targeted tax subsidies….

Socialism in Sheep’s Clothing

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Or “How to give tax cuts to people who already don’t pay taxes”

That has been the big question of the Presidential campaign, and one puzzlingly unasked by McCain — How can Barack Obama, as he claims, give a tax cut to 95% of Americans when roughly 40% of Americans already don’t pay a penny in taxes?

The answer: You massively expand welfare to include tens of millions of new recipients, and call it a “tax cut”.

The Wall Street Journal explains it nicely:

For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase “tax credit.”

…Here’s the political catch. All but [one of his tax credits] would be “refundable,” which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer — a federal check — from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this “welfare,” or in George McGovern’s 1972 campaign a “Demogrant.” Mr. Obama’s genius is to call it a tax cut.

The clincher? As with all things government, it would start out huge, and grow…

The total annual expenditures on refundable “tax credits” would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare.

Who would pay for this? Ostensibly the evil rich, of course. Obama’s proposed tax hike on those making over $250,000 would be the largest tax hike in American history. The primary government program it would fund would be to simply turn around and divvy that cash out among everyone else.

This is not freedom — it is socialism, plain and simple.

The real problem is that while theoretically the rich would pay for it, it would actually hurt practically everyone. For those under the $250,000 line, it would hurt in the form of an income-based dropoff in handouts that would act as a massive disincentive to work harder for that 3% raise…

Because Mr. Obama’s tax credits are phased out as incomes rise, they impose a huge “marginal” tax rate increase on low-income workers. The marginal tax rate refers to the rate on the next dollar of income earned. …[T]he marginal rate for millions of low- and middle-income workers would spike as they earn more income.

Some families with an income of $40,000 could lose up to 40 cents in vanishing credits for every additional dollar earned from working overtime or taking a new job…. The tax credits are sold in the name of “making work pay,” but in practice they can be a disincentive to working harder, especially if you’re a lower-income couple getting raises of $1,000 or $2,000 a year.

Translation: That $1.50 an hour raise blue-collar Joe just got? Under Obama’s tax plan, it would become $1.10. Why? Because Obama is all about “fairness”, and his idea of fairness is that you should be punished for making more money.

Hat tip: Brian Dunbar

“Joe the Plumber” Speaks Out

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Straight from the plumber’s mouth:

PM: You?re a plumber, and you?re looking to buy your own plumbing business?

Joe Wurzelbacher: Correct.

PM: Would that plumbing business employ other people or would it just employ you?

JW: Eventually it would employ other people. Right now it?s a two man shop and it?s got a very good footprint and a very good reputation, so eventually I would want to put other people out there. I don?t want to get huge because if you get too big your quality goes, but I definitely wouldn?t mind having two good plumbers out there with me working.

PM: So a potential tax increase ? how do you see that affecting your ability to hire more people to work with you at your company? […]

JW: Essentially what that would do is, I?d have to see how much money is available after everything else is paid, to see if I can one, afford a new vehicle, two, outfit it, and then three, pay a good salary. And if I?m being taxed too much, one of those three things is going to get shorted. One, I won?t be able to buy as good a good vehicle or I won?t stock it as well, or the guy I hire ? if I?m able to hire somebody ? is not going to make as much as he should.

JW: […]I believe in working for what I get. I don?t want to say it?s a handout, but essentially that?s what it comes down to. You?re going to tax someone else more that?s been working hard to fulfill the American Dream and you?re gonna give it to other people who ? I?m not saying they don?t work as hard, but I?m sure some of them don?t ? and I don?t think it?s right just to give it to them or reduce taxes on their part and hike it up on my part like a teeter totter to bring it back even. So no, that wouldn?t ? well, let me rephrase that. It would appeal to me because back then I was struggling. That kind of thing appeals to me ? anybody wants to cut my taxes, I look at it very seriously, it?s like, it sounds great. But you gotta see what the other hand is doing too.

I love this guy. It’s funny, but this guy might just be the game changer. McCain should put this guy on the stage, bigtime.

Go read the whole thing.

Hat tip: Cold Fury

Live blogging the third McCain/ Obama debate

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Live blogging the debate. I won’t be making new posts — I’ll update the content of this post; so just keep refreshing if you want to see it as I go.

I’ll be using C-Span Debate Hub for video clips and such. I’ll be learning their system on the fly, so we’ll see what happens there….

8:03 PM — Here we go…

8:04 PM — McCain — “Americans are victims of greed on Wall Street and Washington DC.” Blames Fannie and Freddie. “we need to put the home owners first — acknowledges people who _were_ responsible with their mortgages….

8:06 PM — Obama — tax cut for people making less than $200k. I thought it was $250k…?
Need to fix energy policy, fix education

8:08 PM — McCain — Joe Wurtzelbach confronted Obama — why is Obama going to tax his small business? McCain says Obama will increase taxes on small business.

8:09 PM — There’s the tax cut for 95% of “working families”. McCain, please address that that many already don’t pay taxes.

8:11 PM — McCain — Obama to Joe the plumber: “we need to spread the wealth around”. The basis of Obama’s policy is class warfare — again “We need to spread the wealth around.” McCain making great hay of “Joe the Plumber”

8:13 PM — Obama: “Nobody likes taxes” McCain: “If nobody likes taxes, let’s not raise them on anyone.”

8:14 PM — Moderator– “_both_ of you will increase the deficit”

8:17 PM — McCain “We have to have nuclear power”
What would I cut? “I would have an across-the-board spending freeze.”

8:18 PM — McCain would cut ethanol subsidies. He would fight for line-item veto.

8:20 PM — McCain “Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.” Yeah!

8:22 PM — McCain — Obama, name one time you stood up against your own party.
Obama: I supported tort reform. “I have a history of reaching across the aisle.”

8:24 PM — Obama: “On economic policy you propose eight more years of the same thing”
McCain: “Your argument of standing up to your party isn’t very convincing.”

8:25 PM — Moderator: Both your campaigns have gotten nasty. Are you willing to sit here and look each other in the face and say those things?
McCain: Obama refused my requests to sit down and to town hall meetings. That has affected the tone of the campaigns.
I have repudiated out-of bounds remarks by Republicans. Obama has Not repudiated out-of-bounds from his supporters. Obama supporter Senator John Lewis compared McCain to racist George Wallace.

8:27 PM — McCain — “Obama has spent more money on negative advertising than any candidate in history”

8:28 PM — Obama: “We expect presidential campaigns to be tough.” “100% of your ads, John, have been negative.”
Tonight’s discussion — “that’s the stuff that a campaign should be made of.”

8:29 PM — Obama is beating the drum “four more years of failed economic policy.” He is latching on to the economy and trying to lay it at McCain’s feet.

8:30 PM — McCain — your ads attacking my health care policy are lies. Ditto immigration. Heh — “Joe the plumber and “spreading the wealth around” again.

8:32 PM — Obama: All Americans see is a tit-for-tat.

8:34 PM — McCain brought up the tee-shirts….

8:35 PM — Obama –We have to talk about the issues and not try to paint each other as bad people.

8:36 PM — McCain — Ayers, ACORN “perpetrating perhaps the greatest voter fraud in the country’s history”

8:37 PM — Obama: Ayers is a professor of education in Chicago. he is not involved in my campaign, and will not advise me in the White House. ACORN: “apparently” they were paying people to register people, and they were just filling out forms.

8:39 PM — Obama: “the fact that [Ayers] is the center of your campaign says more about your campaign than it says about me”

8:39 PM — McCain: “My campaign is about getting the economy back on track.” “I’m not going to raise taxes the way Senator Obama wants to raise taxes in a tough economy.”

8:41 PM — Why is your running mate better than the other guy’s?

Obama: Biden will fight for the little guy. Has good foreign policy record. 1994 Crime Bill. Violence Agains Women Act. “After eight years of failed policies…” On key issue Biden “has always been on the right side”

8:42 PM — McCain: Palin is role model to women. She is a reformer. She has fought her own party. Faced down oil companies. $40 billion pipeline supplying lower 48. “Breath of fresh air, sweep[ing] out the old boys’ network”. She understands autism and such, and will reach out to those families.

8:44 PM — “Do you think she’s qualified?”
Obama: “That’s up to the American people.” Nice dodge. If we have an “across the board spending freeze” we can’t address things like autistic children.

8:45 PM — McCain: Biden has been wrong much of the time. He wanted to split Iraq into three countries. McCain: Obama “says ‘we have to spend more; we have to spend more’. Why do we always have to spend more?”

8:46 PM — Q: Give a specific number: by how much can we reduce our dependence on foreign oil?

8:47 PM — McCain: Nukes Baby! We can stop buying from China and Middle East, and buy from Canada. In 8-10 years we can eliminate our dependence on the parts of the world that threaten our country.

8:48 PM — Obama: In 10 years we can eliminate our importing from parts of the world that are our enemies.

Both of them are goofy — in world market, oil is oil is oil — doesn’t matter where you buy it, it’s a commodity and is a wash in the grand scheme of things….

8:50 PM — Obama: “I believe in free trade, but…”
President needs to advocate American businesses.

8:51 PM — McCain: Look at Obama’s words — “we will ‘look at’ offshore drilling.” We can drill right now! NICE.

8:53 PM — McCain — O has never traveled south of our borders. “Free trade with Columbia is a no-brainer”

8:54 PM — Obama: We need to stand up to other countries (on trade)
Auto industry — car dealerships are closing because of the financial crisis. Detroit was slow to make efficient vehicles. Gov’t should “make them” make the right cars.

8:55 PM — McCain — Obama doesn’t want free trade with our best ally in Latin America, but wants to sit down and negotiate with Hugo Chavez.

“Obama wants to restrict trade and raise taxes — the last president to do that was Herbert Hoover, and that took use from a recession to a deep depression.”

8:57 PM — Health insurance: Obama’s plan — you can keep the insurance you have if you want. If not, you can buy into the same plan that senators have. “We’re going to make sure to manage preventive diseases such as diabetes.”

8:59 PM — McCain — $5,000 tax credit for health care. Joe the Plumber again. Joe — if you don’t get Obama’s health plan, Obama will fine you.

9:00 PM — Obama: Joe — here’s your fine: Zero. McCain: “Zero???” Obama: I exempt small businesses. Only fine big businesses “that can afford it”. McCain’s $5,000 credit, but average health insurance plan costs $12,000

9:03 PM — McCain — “Hey Joe, you’re rich — congratulations” Joe the Plumber wants to buy the business he works for, and would qualify for Obama’s fine.
People would get their employer’s health plan, PLUS the $5,000 credit. “A change to choose their own futures”

9:05 PM — McCain: “Senator Government… er… Senator Obama” wants government to choose your health plan

9:06 PM — Roe v. Wade — could you nominate someone to the court who disagrees with you?

McCain — I have never imposed a litmus test. I would nominate based on qualifications. McCain was part of the “gang” that broke gridlock on nominations. Sen Obama voted against Justice Roberts based on that they didn’t meet his ideology.

9:08 PM — Obama: “It’s true we shouldn’t impose a litmus test.” One of use will be probably making an appointment, and “Roe vs. Wade hangs in the balance” “I believe the Constitution has a right to privacy in it, and should not be subject to state [decisions]”.

Senator Obama, would you please tell me WHERE in the Constitution it says “right to privacy”???

Obama talking about equal pay for women — the courts need to stand up for these kinds of things and he would appoint judges that would do so.

McCain “You would waive the statue of limitation, and that would be a trial lawyer’s dream”

9:12 PM — McCain — How do you vote “present” on a law to protect the life of a baby that is born during a failed abortion?

Obama: “It’s not true” There was such legislation — it “would have undermined Roe v. Wade”

“I’m willing to support a ban on late-term abortion” if it has exception for health of mother.

“We need to prevent pregnancies.” “Nobody is pro-abortion.”

McCain: Again look at Obama’s wording: The “health of the mother” is commonly stretched to mean just about anything. McCain has a few times pointed out Obama’s carefully chosen “eloquence” — i.e he parses words to conceal what he’s really saying.

9:17 PM — Education
Obama — a balance between “more money and reform — we need both”.

“We need to make college affordable.”
Hey Obama – as with housing, if government gives the money away PRICES WILL GO UP!

McCain: it’s “the civil rights issue of the 21st century” Free choice is the key issue. Reward and promote good teachers. “Give parents the same choice that Sen. Obama and Cindy & I had” “Throwing money at the problem is not the answer.” Support Teach for America. Adjust student loan eligibility to inflation.

9:21 PM — Suddenly Obama likes Bush — “No Child Left Behind” was good, but not funded.

Obama likes charter schools & needs to get rid of bad teachers — agrees with McCain on these. Disagrees on vouchers.

9:23 PM — McCain — No Child was a great beginning — we should re-authorize. Spending more money is not always the answer. “Head Start program is not doing what it should be doing.”
“It’s a system that cries out for accountability.” “Vouchers… are a good and workable system.”

Obama on vouchers: “The data doesn’t show that it solves the problem” In Washington DC, there were only 2,000 vouchers — leaving the rest of the parents without.

9:26 PM — McCain mocks Obama: “Because there are not enough vouchers, we shouldn’t do it, even though it’s working… Got it.”

(McCain has been smiling a lot tonight. Heh.)

9:30 PM — Obama: “Washington’s unwillingness to tackle the hard issues over decades” has lead to the financial problems. Huh??? Again with the “failed policies of [Bush].”

9:32 PM — ABC Announcer: “A little over an hour tonight was devoted to Joe the Plumber” LOL
Joe “the plumber” Wurtzelbacher (sp?) is a real person.

The ACORNs have come home to roost

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Gay Patriot has a post linking story after story (all from far-flung local newspapers — no national coverage here!) of massive voter fraud by ACORN. This is the taxpayer-funded, “non-partisan” organization to which the Obama campaign gave $800,000 this year.

Among the links:

From Indiana: First 2,100 of 5,000 voter registration forms turned in by ACORN found to be fraudulent

…and in Florida: Two-thirds of voter registration applications delivered by ACORN are ?of people who were already registered?

To those who thing this isn’t a big deal, submitting a falsified voter registration is a felony. Naturally, if the person benefitting is elected, there goes any chance of the crime being investigated.

Most surprisingly, I’ve heard rumors that ACORN accidentally registered a Republican.

Go read.

Still Life

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

This is very neat: Frozen in Grand Central

That is all.

Live Blogging the VP Debate

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

(missed the first couple minutes….)

8:10 PM: Notable that Palin is looking at the camera while Biden is looking off camera — reverse of the McCain/Obama match.

8:12 PM: Hey Biden — it wasn’t deregulation

8:13 PM: Excellent response from Palin RE taxes & who raises them.

8:15 PM: Palin never did directly address the deregulation charge — a mistake. Hopefully she’ll get it in later.

8:17 PM: Biden says 95% will get a tax cut — presumably that includes the 40% who already don’t pay any….

8:19 PM: Biden: “We don’t call that ‘redistribution’, we call that ‘fairness'”.

8:21 PM: Hey Biden – the question wasn’t which of your opponent’s promises you weren’t going to implement — it was which of YOUR promises you wouldn’t implement

8:22 PM: Biden finally found the camera. Oops, nevermind.

8:23 PM: Palin has a bad tendency to answer questions that weren’t asked. Respond to the question posed.

8:24 PM: Palin just pointed out that she hasn’t said promised much in five weeks…??? Then named some specifics.

8:25 PM: Biden — No, Palin did NOT impose a “windfall profits” tax in Alaska. The people have oil rights that were being withheld through corruption in government. She fixed the corruption and put the taxes back up to a normal rate.

8:28 PM: Biden — When Obama and I voted opposite sides of a bill, it was glass half empty/glass half full.

8:31 PM: Palin — climate change is real, not necessarily man-made. Encourages “clean[ing] up this planet”. First gov to form an environmental cabinet. Need an “all of the above approach”.

8:32 PM: Biden — global warming man made or not is “THE fundamental difference” between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin. Global warming is “absolutely” caused by man. If we drill, it’ll take ten years before we see one drop of that. [Yes, but you’ve been saying that since the 80s….]

8:35 PM: Palin: “…Barack Obama and Senator O’Biden…” Heh.

8:35 PM: Palin supports capping carbon emissions

8:36 PM: Biden: The Constitution says that gay partners should have visitation rights in hospitals…. Huh?

8:38 PM: Palin: “Straight up, I do not support defining marriage as anything but between one man and one woman.”
Biden: Neither he nor Obama support gay marriage.
Does Palin agree with them? Yes.

[Update: Biden was playing semantic games here — I’ll try to find the exact quote again, but in essence, he does support it, but would use a word other than “marriage”.]

8:40 PM: Palin cites Biden calling out Obama on the war — good.
Palin nailed it on the war. “It would be a travesty if we were to quit now in Iraq.”

8:41 PM: Biden: On Iraq, Obama will do exactly what Bush is doing. Heh.

8:42 PM: Biden: “A fundamental difference… with John McCain there is no end to this war.”

8:43 PM: Palin: “We’ll know when we’re finished in Iraq when the Iraqi govt. can govern its people and when the Iraqi security forces can [protect their people].”

8:44 PM: Biden: McCain voted against funding the troops because it included a timeline. [Well… yeah.]

8:47 PM: Biden knows where Bin Laden is.

8:47 PM: Palin: Ahmadinejad “is not sane or stable”

8:49 PM: Palin: Sitting down with Ahmadinejad “beyond bad judgement”

8:50 PM: Biden: Obama did not say he would sit down with Ahmadinejad.

8:51 PM: Biden, Dude, diplomats meeting is waaaay different than presidents meeting. If the president meets with you, he gives you legitimacy.

8:53 PM: Biden: “Noone in the United States Senate has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden” (referring to himself in the third person)

8:53 PM: Apparently Obama and Biden predicted pretty much every single power shift in the entire Middle East.

8:54 PM: Palin is happy that she and Biden both love Israel

8:55 PM: Palin: “There have been huge blunders in this administration… as there are in every administration.”

8:56 PM: Biden is trying to paint McCain with a Bush-colored brush. “We will make a significant change…” (but no specifics)

8:57 PM: Palin can pronounce Ahmadinejad, but is having trouble with “Kim Jong Il”???

8:58 PM: Hey, Biden found the camera again.

8:59 PM: As Biden talks about all we did wrong in Afghanistan, this blogger’s wife points out we _did_ in Afghanistan what Democrats say we _should_ have done in Iraq. We pulled a lot of troops out of Afghanistan, while surging in Iraq. Now Biden presses that our commanding general says we should have had more troops in Afghanistan. Heh.

9:01 PM: Biden: “The American people have a stomach for success.” Yeah but Democrats don’t….

9:03 PM: Biden: “I don’t have a stomach for Genocide when it comes to Darfur.” …but apparently it’s okay in other places?

9:03 PM: Palin invokes John Kerry, saying Biden was “for [the war] before [he] was against it”

9:07 PM: Palin: McCain “will know how to win a war”

9:08 PM: Question regarding the VP being “a heartbeat away” from the Presidency. Hmmm… at whom was that targeted?

9:09 PM: Palin responds — mentioning ANWR: “[McCain] has never asked me to check my opinions at the door.” (She and McCain disagree on drilling in ANWR.)

9:10 PM: Biden plugs Home Depot. Also, Biden likes to run down lists of talking points. He’s done it on several questions.

9:11 PM: Palin: “Joe, there you go again…” She saw it too. Heh.

9:12 PM: Palin has winked twice recently — once at the camera and once at her dad in the audience.

9:14 PM: Palin is BIG on pushing energy independence.

9:14 PM: Biden: “On education I don’t know any program that John [McCain] is supporting.” Cool. I like the idea of fewer federal programs….

9:17 PM: Biden: “Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president … in America’s history”

9:18 PM: In hindsight, you could’ve made a good drinking game out of all the times Palin mentions “energy independence”

9:20 PM: Now it’s Biden answering questions that haven’t been asked. Here’s yet another talking point list, and a schpiel about his wife & family… responding to a question regarding charges that he’s undisciplined…?

9:22 PM: Palin is knocking her own party in (eventually) getting to McCain as “Maverick”

9:23 PM: Hey, Biden — Yes, McCain was a “maverick” on the war — he called for the surge before anyone else supported it. He was dead on.

9:25 PM: Biden crows of leading the charge against nominating Bork for the Supreme Court

9:27 PM: Biden says he never questions the motives of those he disagrees with — he questions their judgment.

9:28 PM: Palin has several times said (in various ways) that she respects Biden.

9:29 PM: Palin: I like to be able to answer questions without the filter of the mainstream media. Nice! / Palin has invoked Reagan more than once. / Palin has invoked the “middle class” several times.

9:30 PM: Palin and Biden either like each other, or are trying to out-polite each other. Smiles all around.

9:32 PM: Despite preemptive charges of bias, I believe the moderator did a good job. (She has written a book praising Obama — to be released on inauguration day)

9:34 PM: Here comes Palin’s entire family

Summary: Overall I think they both did pretty well. Palin had a bit of a slow start — she was visibly nervous, but reined it in fairly well. Biden was consistent overall, which bested Palin at the beginning, but fell behind as she found her stride. Overall I would have to say she won — especially as she was stronger at the end, which is more of what people will take away with them.