Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Fixing the electoral system - Part III - Election Process

Today we look at how we elect our officials. No, I'm not talking about the Electoral College. I can't see that getting changed nationally. Even though we are a purple country, the majority in every state is convinced that since they are either red or blue, the whole state is that way. Each may be in favor of gaining ground elsewhere via a rules change, but none want to give up any of their own power to do it. I'm talking about what we use to vote and how we count and how we decide a winner...

We allow people to be elected by plurality instead of majority. We don't take into account people's second and third choices. This can cause a candidate to be elected with 33% of the vote, as recently happened in San Diego. Then of course there is the Nader issue from 2000. People voted for him because they preferred him to the other two choices. However, these voters were probably ideologically closer to Gore than to Bush. If we assume that they would have voted even if Nader was not running, Gore would probably have won the Presidency. There is no way to capture those nuances in our current system.

So, what do I propose? Quite a few things, really. I think there are multiple pieces to this solution. I am just not sure how to get the rest of the country to bite. First, I think we need to standardize our methodology for voting. If we are all voting on the same race, we should have the same candidates to choose from. Nader should have had to get a certain number of signatures nationwide to be put on the ballot in every state. Everyone should vote using the same verifiable means and all races should be decided by the same approach. If we are going to roll out electronic voting, it should be rolled out everywhere. We should have the same number of machines at a polling place per registered voter. None of this crap where the affluent voters get 20 machines while the poor get 3 for similar sized districts. And people should get a receipt of their vote with a mechanism to correct mistakes. There should be the same number of workers per registered voter at each location as well.

Now let's talk about ways to change our rules for casting votes and declaring a winner. There are a few approaches I can think of. I'm sure each has drawbacks, but I don't know whether those drawbacks are worse than those of our current system. The least serious method would be to use a point scoring system the way they do with college sports polls. You rank each candidate available. So, we had five or six choices for President, right? Let's say I ranked them like this:

1. Kerry 5 points
2. Cobb 4 points
3. Peltier 3 points
4. Nader 2 points
5. Badnarik 1 point
6. Bush 0 points

We'd add up the points, and the most points would take the state. This approach allows people to vote for a third party candidate as a first or second choice and still have that reflected in the final tally. You can bet that first choice Bush and Kerry voters would make sure to give the other the 0 point slot. That means that minority parties would have to get votes. This could raise their visibility. Of course, counting might be difficult. Manual recounts would be daunting.

A variant on that would be to rank the candidates in order of preference again. This time, there would be no point scoring. All first choices would be counted. If no candidate had more than 50% of the vote, the votes for the lowest scoring candidate would revert to their second choice and a new calculation would be done. This would be repeated, the lowest remaining total would be dropped and awarded to the next choice down, until one candidate had a majority. So, if we had:

Bush 48.5%
Kerry 47.2%
Nader 3.1%
Badnarik 1.2%

Badnarik gets eliminated first. For arguments sake, everyone who put Badnarik first had Bush second, giving him 49.7%. Still no clear winner. Nader gets dropped. All his voters had Kerry as a second choice. Kerry moves up to 50.3%. He is over 50%, so we stop counting. People actually have more freedom to vote third party here. They can effectively vote for multiple candidates based on the ordering. It still gets captured and noted in the tally for each round. Nobody feels like a third party guy cost their guy the election. And it's more likely that the person in office is at least marginally endorsed by more than 50% of the voters.

Another voting possibility is approval voting. You can go read about it there if you like. The short form of it is that instead of voting for just one candidate, you vote for as many candidates as you approve of. You are voting yes or no on each candidate. An "Anybody But Bush" voter can actually vote that way by saying "Yes" to all the candidates in the President section except W. Whoever gets the most "Yes" votes wins.

I'm not sure of the flaws of any of my alternatives off the top of my head. Heck. I'm not even sure of the names of two of my approaches, although I feel that someone must have thought of them before. On the surface, they seem better than what we have going. They certainly deserve study and analysis. Any of you gamers out there want to try to figure out how you would "game" each of these alternatives? i.e. Find the fatal, exploitable flaw.

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Friday, November 19, 2004

Merchandisers who don't know their product

Ok, this one has been nagging at me since I saw it in the store. As some of you know, I'm kind of into comic book and superhero type stuff. Cartoon Network has a Justice League cartoon that is actually pretty decent. It is well received and so naturally, they have come out with action figures. (Side note: Action figures are dolls for boys.) Unfortunately, it is apparently not enough for a package to contain just an action figure now. Most of them come with accessories...

That, in and of itself is not a big deal, provided the accessory makes sense. Some do. For instance, Batman figures often come with a utility belt or other gadgets. Batman actually has that sort of stuff, so, it's cool. Some of the items are a stretch. Like giving Superman a shield. Maybe someone has something that could hurt Supes, so he needs the special shield to block it. Or maybe the shield is lead and he is using it to protect him from Kryptonite. But THIS? This is just absurd.

That's right. You aren't seeing things. The Flash, "the fastest man alive", is on a motorcycle. This is the superhero that, in the past, was able to vibrate his molecules so fast he could walk through walls. He can run in circles so fast that he can make whirlwinds. He is faster and more maneuverable than a motorcyle all by his lonesome. Why, I ask you? WHY?!?

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

And the winner is...

Remember a couple months back how I had a contest for free sneakers? Well, the celebrity judges have stopped procrastinating and named a winner!

James over at Aces is our winner! His essay was deemed the best by our panel of judges. Here is the winning entry:

I don't deserve the shoes. I have been a bad boy. I mistreated my old shoes by wearing them out in the rain, and then using one of them as a flyswatter. I should be punished, not given new shoes.

It got to the point that I was living dangerously with the shoes. I rented one of my shoes out to an old woman who had so many children she didn't know what to do. I should have been tipped off by the fact that she smelled like cheap whiskey. They trashed the place, and the security deposit didn't come close to covering all the damage. The laces were chewed up. They'd started some fires on the insole. You don't want to know what I found in the uppers. By the time I got them out, the place had a nasty case of athlete's foot. Didn't know what to do, my butt. She was giving them hard liquor every night, trying to get them to sleep. It was like one big frat party. What a mess.

Then the other shoe dropped. Literally. It was so depressed from my negligence that it threw itself off the Braga Bridge. Fortunately (depending on how you look at it) it landed on a fishing boat, in a bucket of chum. I've tried bleaching it, soaking it, and even psychotherapy. No dice--this shoe smells like fish guts.

Regardless, I deserve to go shoeless for my indiscretions. If anything, I deserve to have the shoes thrown at me.

Congratulations to James and thanks to all those who entered. His certificate for free New Balance shoes is winging its way to him as fast as the U.S. Postal service can manage. Due to my procrastination, he has only 1 month to redeem it. :)

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Fixing the electoral system - Part II - The Republicans

In this installment, I'd like to look at a different aspect of our electoral system. The currently dominant half of the two party system also known as the G.O.P. What does G.O.P. stand for, anyway? Goobers on Parade? G-d Offers Power? Generate Outrageous Pundits? Get Off Politically? Who can say? But that's not really important. A better question would be what does THE G.O.P. stand for...

I think that in the answer to that question lies our best hope for changing the political landscape. Currently, the extremists control the reins of power in the party. They are predominantly led by the evangelical neocons. This is not true in all cases, but it is true enough to generalize. The moderates in the party are used as window dressing. Witness the Republican Convention. Most of the people used as the faces of the party are right of center, but still within sight of the center. And they have enough cachet on their own that they don't need to kowtow to the extremists to make their way.

Now, I can't imagine the moderate wing of the party is too happy about the direction they are going. I know many conservatives who don't condone a vast number of the administrations policies, but are being railroaded by the loudmouths of their party. Does anyone think that true conservatives like budget deficits and spending without consequence?

So, here is my latest crazy thought. The Democratic party is a mess. They are no less divided than the Republicans. The problem is, the moderate Democrats try to please everybody and end up looking like they don't stand for anything. And the extreme left Democrats tend to rile up everyone on the right, moderate or not. So, I say we abandon it and team with the moderate Republicans to take over their party! Or, if that is too troubling for you, become an independent and vote in all the Republican primaries. The innmates have run the asylum long enough!

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The "theory" of evolution

Recently, James and I engaged in a discussion about the Biblical literalists down in Georgia have been inappropriately involving themselves in science education. We talked because I was trying to figure out how to diplomatically disagree with a friend on a mailing list about the issue. Her point of view was that the scientific community had not backed up the evolution theory. She doesn't want her children being taught that it is a fact that the world is millions of years old because it goes against her beliefs and because it is not a fact, it's "just" a theory.

James has an interesting entry called Devolution on the issue. I thought I might expand upon his offering by talking a bit about where my brief list discussion led. Here is my response to the points mentioned above:

Discalimer: I realize this is a sensitive topic and am not trying to offend. Also note that I am a religious person and do believe in the Old Testament. I just don't see it as a literal document. That's not meant to sway anyone, just to point out that I am a man of faith and science.

There are a couple of issues here. The first is the use of a disclaimer on a text book. Regardless of the phrasing, singling out evolution as a topic to be questioned does a number of things. It suggests that evolution is somehow less valid than other scientific theories and thus in need of special consideration. And even without the religious language, it is clear that the alternative consideration is meant to be creationism. Thus far, creationism still falls in the realm of religion. This has no place on a science textbook.

The second issue is the use of the word "theory". There are different definitions of theory depending on context. There is a colloquial definition and a scientific definition. Colloquially, a theory is a hunch or a guess. As in, "I have a theory about who really shot Kennedy". This type of theory is based on information at hand and instinct and may have minimal factual basis. According to the National Academy of Sciences, a theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses." In science, a colloquial theory is a hypothesis. So, given that context, evolution is being presented as a theory.

There are many things taught as "fact" in science that are theories. The theory of relativity is a good example. Heck, there are entire college courses taught about theories. Take theoretical physics for example. Scientific theories are backed by experimental data and well regarded fact.

Science education should cover critical thinking and generally accepted scientific beliefs. The public school system is not a place for fringe science. It is also not a place for cutting edge science. These sorts of things should be addressed as elective studies in higher education.

Her response dealt more with her beliefs than with the issue of religious groups dictating or modifying scientific education. She has two main issues, which I can understand, even though I disagree with them. Her basic belief is that the Bible is the inerrant word of G-d. Therefore, if the Bible says that the Earth is only 6000 years old, that's how old it is. According to her belief, death is a consequence of sin. According to evolution, death was around long before the first man ever committed the first sin. So, teaching evoltuion causes contradictions that she has to address with her children.

There weren't many other messages in the thread. I think I closed it off by steering back to the original topic, which was "should there be warning stickers on science texts". I explained that we weren't trying to convince her that her beliefs were wrong, but that I still stood by my statements that personal religious views should not be used to influence education. I don't want to force you to change your beliefs. But I do want you to understand that faith cannot dictate science any more than science can dictate faith.

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Can't Help Myself

I know, I know. We are supposed to be letting the healing begin. Stuff like this isn't helpful. But it amused me, and it's my blog, so there! Besides, it's not hurting America nearly as much as Crossfire.

How many members of the Bush Administration are needed to replace a light bulb?

The Answer is TEN:

  1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed.
  2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed.
  3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb.
  4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either: "For changing the light bulb or for darkness"
  5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Haliburton for the new light bulb.
  6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a stepladder under the banner "Light Bulb Change Accomplished".
  7. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally "in the dark".
  8. One to viciously smear #7.
  9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light bulb-changing policy all along.
  10. And finally one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Fixing the electoral system - Part I - Money

Ok. I've had time to reflect and I have some thoughts on how to fix the electoral system. Most of them are thinly veiled rants disguised as calls for change. But perhaps somewhere within the rants are useful ideas that someone else can expand upon...

I don't think anyone can dispute that money now plays a disproportionately large role in the electoral system. The total spent during this election cycle was on the order of $4 billion. That's right. BILLION. In the words of the late, great Carl Sagan, "billions and billions" of dollars. And for what purpose? To try to change people's minds. In most cases, to try to convince people that at worst outright lies and at best misleading half-truths are facts. Note that I am lumping the majority of political advertising in here, not just Bush's advertising. Some instances were worse than others. But, when was the last time that a political ad gave you actual information.

What can you buy with $4 billion dollars? Healthcare for millions of Americans? Better salaries for teachers? Create a living wage? Tax relief for low and middle class America? Those are all good choices. Or maybe we just use it to pay down the deficit.

Before you start screaming, I know it is not the government's money. I'm just pointing out how some people can barely afford to live, while another segment of the population can afford $4 BILLION dollars convincing these people that their guy is the one who cares about them. You want to show them that you care about them? Give them the money directly! That's right! I'm advocating vote buying. If we are going to dump this kind of money into the economy, let's dump it where it will do the most good. Give it to the people who can't afford stuff. If you gave $4000 dollars each to the poorest 1 million voters, they would not sock that money away for a rainy day. They'd buy crazy stuff like food, or pay rent, or get that operation that they couldn't afford.

I'm sorry to say, but the days of "one voice, one vote" are over. The problem is that not all voices are weighted equally. It's more like "$1k, one vote". And since votes have such value, let's make them a tradeable commodity. Voter turnout would go up. Does anyone doubt that a poor person would go to the polls if someone was going to give him a grand to go with their guy? Anyone want to try to put together a series of simulations on the dynamics of "votes for sale"? Might be good for the economy.

Don't like the idea of vote selling? Ok, how about this? Every time a political campaign spends $1 campaigning, it also has to donate a matching dollar to a secular charity? Kind of like the luxury tax in sports. You want to use money to do something sinister, you have to balance it by doing something good.

The problem here is the conflicting issues of free speech versus influence peddling. Or, put another way, is free speech really free? I am free to say what I want with respect to my beliefs. As long as I stay clear of the slander and libel laws, I can put out whatever is on my mind. However, without money, or some other mechanism of widespread dissemination, my free speech isn't going to go very far. Special interest groups have the same freedom of speech. In fact, because of their resources, they have a little more freedom. Because they can afford the penalties, they don't have to worry as much about the slander and libel laws. Plus, if they are sued, it is not likely to resolve until the election is over. And there is no reasonable relief for someone who lost votes to a lie. Great, you were awarded $1 million, but you lost the election. So, someone who has money to spend has a greater freedom of speech. On top of this, because of their resources, their speech can reach further. So, we have an equality issue there. Is another person's opinion more important or valid than mine because they have greater resources? Given that line of reasoning, is restricting a person's use of the airways a restriction on their freedom of speech or an attempt to create equality of speech?

Here's another idea regarding political speech. Let's pass laws requiring content be approved by non-partisan fact checkers before it can be aired. We restrict hate speech, right? You can't just drop the N-word on TV. What is more hateful than deliberately lying to manipulate people? Let's make it a crime. And let's impose something more than fines to the perpetrators. Let's give them jail time in severe cases. Can you imagine Bush or Kerry trying to campaign from jail?

And while we are calling in fact checkers, let's have them AT the debates. There's more incentive to tell the truth if someone is going to call you on it right then and there. There's less of a chance of people misremembering things as well. Picture it.

KERRY: Yes. When the president had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, he took his focus off of them, outsourced the job to Afghan warlords, and Osama bin Laden escaped.

Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, "Where is Osama bin Laden? " He said, "I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned. "

We need a president who stays deadly focused on the real war on terror.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. President?

BUSH: Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations.

** A buzzer sounds **

FACTGUY: I'm sorry Mr. President, but you did say that. In fact, your exact words on March 13, 2002 were "So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him , Kelly, to be honest with you. . . ." and, in response to the follow up question "Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."

And there are fact checks that could go the other way as well. That's just the one that seems most blatant in my memory.

We could even keep score. It could be like boxing. Three judges would score each round. You'd get a point for a good and factually sound point. You'd lose a point for being caught in a lie. There would be no penalty for saying something that was factually accurate but not particularly effective. A candidate could be warned for hitting below the belt. Three warnings and the candidate would be disqualified from the debate. At the end, they could announce a winner. That would also help Americans wade through the spin. You can't spin a result of Bush 15 - Kerry 10.

So, to recap:

* Allow vote buying
* Make misleading or dishonest ads illegal and punishable by jail time
* Require ads to get past a non-partisan fact check bureau before airing
* Have fact checkers buzz in during the debate.
* Develop a scoring system for the debate that declares a clear winner or a draw

Anyone want to try and make an actionable idea out of any of this?

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Buh-bye Mr. A.G.

Ok. I am finally over the election and ready to talk to the world again. Ashcroft stepping down broke me out of my funk. Granted, his proposed replacement is no civil libertarian, but I don't think he is averse to artwork with breasts. Of course, he does have some rather odd opinions about torture. I find it tremendously amusing that Ashcroft feels he can step down because "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." Where have I heard that before? Oh, yes! "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" Let's hope this pronouncement doesn't come back to bite us on our collective backsides.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The REAL reason Kerry and Edwards lost

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Another year, another stolen election

I'm not sure why I am surprised, but I am. I mean, all the signs were there. Republicans posing as Democrats and undecided voters to try to sway opinion. Threats of eligibility challenges to keep voters home. And of course, malfeasance in Florida. Absentee ballots (around 60,000) from a predominantly Democratic county disappeared somewhere along the way. And many more did not get delivered to the requestors until election day, in spite of being due last night. Governor Jeb Bush was understandably concerned about the disenfranchisement possibility. "Canadian geese migrate south in the winter. The ACLU sued the state of Florida on Election Day," the governor said. "No big deal." The ACLU is hoping to extend the deadline for these voters to the same date as the out of the country absentee voters, which is November 12.

Which brings me to another point. There are more ballots outstanding in two states that could swing the outcome than the margin or Bush's lead. In Ohio, a large portion of these uncounted votes are from Democratic strongholds. In Florida, the disenfranchised come from Broward and Miami Dade. I'm pretty sure those are Democratic as well. With that in mind, how can either state be called? And why on Earth is Kerry conceding? Didn't Edwards say they would not rest until every vote has been counted? I can't think of a better way to let someone know to stop counting than to declare a winner.

Equally troubling is what this means for American politics. Misleading ads, outright lies, and manipulating the electorate have all been proven as viable strategies. Young people registered and came out in record numbers, only to find out that it didn't make a difference. What will that do to youth activism next time around? The flow of money into the elections increased to over $4 BILLION this election cycle. Think campaign finance reform worked? Exit polling showed a sleeper issue was on people's minds: moral values. And somehow, the people who lied, cheated, and manipulated through fear are seen as holding the high ground on moral values. A while back, there was a poll about whether or not America was a Christian nation. I think the answer today has to be a resounding YES. We are no longer a representative Democracy, we are now a representative Theocracy. Sure, you are allowed to practice whatever religion you want, but only one religion is sponsored by the government. Faith based spending goes to Christianity. The Christian right dictates policy on anything from interpersonal relationships to history to science.

For those who think we aren't in a Theocracy, wait until Bush gets his Supreme Court appointments. He'll appoint a few more Thomases and Scalias. The line between church and state will blur further. School prayer cases will make a comeback. Roe v. Wade is gone. People with no medical background will create a legal definition of when life begins. And it will be legal for the government to give tax dollars of all Americans to Christian groups. I give you, George W. Bush's legacy.

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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I Voted for America, but America Voted for Stupidity

Well, I went and voted this evening after work. I made it to the polls at about 5:45 PST. I left about 6:15. In between I cast my vote to elect a good man to be our President and clean up the mess made by the bad man I hoped to fire. And yet, hundreds of thousands of Americans have voted against their interests to, in all likelihood, re-elect a man with sub 50% approval ratings who can't think of any mistakes he has made. I don't need to recount his mistakes to all of you. So, I suppose I'll recount the entertainment that is voting in California.

My voting adventure actually started the night before. Things had been really busy here and I wasn't versed enough on the issues. I knew who I wanted for President, Senate, and House. It looks like I went 1 for 3 there. Good in baseball, bad in elections. At any rate, there were nine other local races and TWENTY ballot questions. You read that right. Thank heavens for smartvoter.org. I was able to spend a few hours researching everything on a smart voter page customized to my address. I marked up my sample ballot so I would be able to vote more easily. No way was I going to be able to remember which way to vote on all these stupid things. And many were important, too.

For example, there is a ballot initiative which will allow for the DNA of anyone arrested to be collected and stored in a database indefinitely if they are arrested. Note that I did not say they had to be charged. False arrest? Too bad. You are part of the criminal DB. I voted against. I lost there, too.

Some of the propositions were tricky. For example, there is a landfill that is planned. There was a ballot question to rescind this. So, if you don't want the dump, you have to vote yes. I voted no.

I was tempted to vote no on all the questions out of sheer annoyance. What is wrong with communicating with your elected official and trying to get something passed that way? If they don't pass things you like, you vote them out. Not in California. Here, just get some signatures and spend a lot of money and you, too, can screw up the state budget.

Anyway, I did my homework and went to the poll. Fortunately, I verified the polling place on line. It changed a few weeks ago. The line was pretty short. But then again, so was the supply of voting booths. They were pretty much just cardboard boxes with shelves. There was a grand total of eight booths. We were supposed to have Diebold eVote machines, but I guess the state is suing them. So, we reverted to paper. They were the fill in the oval kind of ballots.

I was in line with a first time voter. She was 18 or 19 and was nervous. A few of us in line shepherded her through. Several of us had our booklets with us. She asked if she was supposed to have one with her. She became even more nervous when she saw the man at the check-in desk asking for the booklet. We told her not to worry. People just brought them as an aid.

It turns out, the guy was asking for the booklets so he could look up street addresses. It wasn't a requirement. It was just easier for him. And I saw why. The woman ahead of me in line gets her mail at a PO box. So, he had to ask her for her street. The exchange went like this:

Him: What street?
Her: Belfast
Him: Hillcrest?
Her: (louder) BELFAST
Him: Ok...(flips to Hillcrest on the street sheet)
Him: Oh! Not Hillcrest? Hang on.

Sadly, that was the most entertainment I managed to get out of the experience. My vote was counted and I was on my way.

I spent the evening watching the returns and starting to try to figure out what country to move to.

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Monday, November 01, 2004

Unfortunate name for a website

The website is Mr. Happy Crack. Their slogan is "A dry crack is a happy crack". Too. Many. Jokes. Brain overloading. ->Zzzzzzt!<- Can you guess what their product is before you click the link?

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Shake it up Baby!

A few weeks ago, there was an earthquake centered about 20 miles from my house. Some folks back home got worried and wanted to check up on me. I explained to them that it wasn't even a 2.0 on the Richter scale. I didn't even know about it until they told me. For those not familiar with the Richter scale, it measures magnitude of seismic activity. It's a logarithmic scale, which means that each step up is exponentially larger than the previous step. The scale looks something like this...

This table comes right from the wikipedia entry.

DescriptorRichter MagnitudesEarthquake EffectsAverage Annually
MicroLess than 2.0Microearthquakes, not felt.About 8,000 per day
Very minor2.0-2.9Generally not felt, but recorded.About 1,000 per day
Minor3.0-3.9Often felt, but rarely causes damage.49,000 (estimated)
Light4.0-4.9Noticeable shaking of indoor items, rattling noises. Significant damage unlikely.6,200 (estimated)
Moderate5.0-5.9Can cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions. At most slight damage to well-designed buildings.800
Strong6.0-6.9Can be destructive in areas up to about 100 miles across in populated areas.120
Major7.0-7.9Can cause serious damage over larger areas.18
Great8.0 or greaterCan cause serious damage in areas several hundred miles across.1

So, as you can see, a 2.0 is not significant. They happen all the time and are not cause for alarm. Another earthquake measurement scale is the Mercalli scale. This is not a seismic scale. It's a bit more judgement oriented and involves assessment based on the perceived effects of the quake.

(I) - Not felt except by a very few under especially favourable conditions.
(II) - Felt only by a few persons at rest, especially on upper floors of buildings. Delicately suspended objects may swing.
(III) - Felt quite noticeably by persons indoors, especially on the upper floors of buildings. Many do not recognize it as an earthquake. Standing motor cars may rock slightly. Vibration similar to the passing of a truck. Duration estimated.
(IV) - Felt indoors by many, outdoors by few during the day. At night, some awakened. Dishes, windows, doors disturbed; walls make cracking sound. Sensation like heavy truck striking building. Standing motor cars rocked noticeably.
(V) - Felt by nearly everyone; many awakened. Some dishes and windows broken. Unstable objects overturned. Pendulum clocks may stop.
(VI) - Felt by all; many frightened and run outdoors, walk unsteadily. Windows, dishes, glassware broken... books off shelves... some heavy furniture moved or overturned; a few instances of fallen plaster. Damage slight.
(VII) - Difficult to stand... furniture broken..damage negligible in building of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly built or badly designed structures; some chimneys broken. Noticed by persons driving motor cars.
(VIII) - Damage slight in specially designed structures; considerable in ordinary substantial buildings with partial collapse. Damage great in poorly built structures. Fall of chimneys, factory stacks, columns, monuments, walls. Heavy furniture moved.
(IX) - General panic... damage considerable in specially designed structures, well designed frame structures thrown out of plumb. Damage great in substantial buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings shifted off foundations.
(X) - Some well built wooden structures destroyed; most masonry and frame structures destroyed with foundations. Rails bent.
(XI) - Few, if any (masonry) structures remain standing. Bridges destroyed. Rails bent greatly.
(XII) - Damage total. Lines of sight and level distorted. Objects thrown into the air.

Still, it would have to be hard to be back east, hearing about earthquakes and wonder what is going on. For those of you that would like to keep on top of the quake situation in my neck of the woods, I present the following link. Here is a link to the U.S. Geological Survey's earthquake site for Souther California. It contains breaking news as well as historical data. My favorite feature is the interactive map. It shows all quakes in So Cal from the past week. The square representing the quake varies in proportion to its magnitude.

So, if you hear about a San Diego area quake, call up the map and see how close it is to me and how big it is. Anything below a 5 and you can assume we are fine. :)

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How's Your Color Vision?

Hey there! My friend Kerri pointed me to this Color Blindness test that is pretty neat. It's similar to the tests you see in doctor's offices. Even if you know you aren't color blind, it's interesting. Let me know how you do!

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Friday, October 29, 2004

Red Sox 1, Yankees 0

It's finally happened! I didn't blog about it right away, because, let's face it, I don't react that quickly on my blog. :) Still, something this momentous has to be talked about. Especially since I am out in Angels/Dodgers/Padres country. The title of the post comes from something my friend Ed (Hi Ed!) emailed me:

This century's world championships:

Red Sox 1
Yankees 0

That statistic also lends itself well to when Yankee fans try to trot out the number of rings they have. You just say "Oh, the Yankees are SO last century." They will of course point out that they won in 2000, but that was the last year of the last century. Sorry, New York.

Since I'm feeling saucy about all this, I think I'll throw in some other Sox stuff that came around during this amazing run, like this image from my old Boss.

I wish my Bube and Zade were alive to see this. I got my love of the Sox from them. Many's the time I remember going over to their house and Bube would sit at the kitchen table with me. We'd play cribbage or rummy or parcheesi and we'd have the game on in the background. Zade would be in the den watching the same game in his recliner. Yaz, Rice, and Lynn were a big part of the summer. I didn't learn to shout at the TV from them, though. (I learned that from Dad! *grin*) They always watched quietly. I never heard Bube criticize or complain about them. Zade would have comments after the game, but he never yelled. Zade and my Dad went to game 6 in 1975. They got to see Fisk's historic homer. I got to sleep over at Bube and Zade's that night. We stayed up and watched the game. Dad told me they didn't get home until three in the morning!

My nephew, Ian, sent us a Build-a-Bear with a Sox cap and an ALCS champs shirt. I may have to order the World Series shirt for him, when it comes in. For those who don't know, I have two sisters who manage at Build-a-Bear stores. It's one of those stuff your own animal places. Well, you also get to do stuff like give it a name and print a birth certificate. There's even a locator inside the bear. If he gets turned in, they know who the bear belongs to. Ian named our bear "Yankees Yuck!". Strange name, eh? It's even funnier when you realize that he thinks that's what Sox fans chant at the games. He chants it along with them. :)

It's funny how an event like this makes you miss your grandparents. I expected a lot of other emotions. And I've had them, too. A part of me is still in shock. A part of me is elated. And a part of me is sad that my grandparents missed it. For those who believe in heaven, and even for those who don't, I'll leave you with this Sox joke stolen from my friend Kerri.

Roger Clemens, after living a full life, died. When he got to heaven, God was showing him around.

They came to a modest little house with a faded Yankee flag in the window. "This house is yours for all eternity," God said. "Treasure it, as few are given a house up here." Roger felt special indeed, and strode towards his new house.

On his way up to the porch, however, he noticed something strange. There was another house just around the corner: a three-story mansion with a bright red and blue sidewalk, a 50 foot flagpole with a Red Sox flag flying on it, and a Red Sox logo in every window. And in the front yard there was a marble arch on which the following words were inscribed: "Welcome to Boston."

Clemens looked at God and said, "I don't mean to be ungrateful, but I have a question. I won three World Series rings, more awards than I can remember, and more than 300 games. Why does Pedro Martinez get a better house than me?"

And God said, "Roger, that's not Pedro's house...it's mine."

If there is a heaven, my grandparents watched the game at God's house and shared the triumph with me.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Tools I use

I thought this would be a good time to point out some web tools that I make use of whilst playing amongst the ether. Some of these are good for non-bloggers. The bloggers out there probably know most of this. So, this is targeted more at the uninitiated...

Bloglines is a service that allows you to keep tabs on your favorite blogs. Bloglines monitors many different types of feeds. All you need to do is sign up, which is free, and select the blogs you want to monitor. Once you have subscribed to a feed, all you do is log in to bloglines and look at the tab called "My Feeds". Anything you have subscribed to that has new content will be in bold. Click on the feed and the new articles are displayed on the right. Subscribing is easy, too. Let's say you wanted to subscribe to this blog (*HINT HINT*). All you do is set the drop down box to "Search All Blogs" enter "briwise" in the adjacent text field and press the blue and white arrow button. Then select the subscribe link next to the feeds you want to keep up on. This way, you only have to visit one place each day to see which places have new content.

Furl is another good free service. At its most basic, Furl is a place to keep and organize your internet bookmarks. It's kind of like Netscape's "Bookmark" or IE's "Add to favorites". The main difference is that this list is on the net, so you can access it from anywhere. It has additional features such as being able to allow others to subscribe to your links, or having your links posted on a web page. You can also subscribe to other people's links there. It's a great way to find things you didn't realize you were looking for. :)

BugMeNot is a nice find from my friend James. Have you ever gone to a site to look at something and been denied access because you don't have a login? The login may be free, but they want to collect your personal information. So, you either swallow the bitter pill, or you skip the thing you wanted to see. Not anymore! BugMeNot keeps a list of valid logins to a wide array of sites. Need a login, just click the "bookmarklet" button that you can get from them. A window pops up with a login and a password. If it doesn't work, there's a button to let them know it is defunct. You can also add logins to help perpetuate the product.

TextPad is a full featured text editor. It's great for creating text based files of an assortment of types. It has syntax higlighting for a variety of languages including Perl, HTML, Java. It allows you to record and replay macros and has a number of edit modes and features. It's one of the best text editors I've ever used for Windows. It's the only thing on this list that is not free. It's "nagware", which means you can use it legally for free for a set amount of time. After that, you need a license. If you don't have a license, it won't stop you from using it, but it will remind you via delay and message that what you are doing is not ok. I bought a license.

Blogger is what I use to create and maintain this site. It is not the most full featured blog software out there, but it does a decent job. It's easy to use, has pretty good help, and above all, is free! It also accepts code from some popular plugins like HaloScan and StatCounter. I'm sure there are others. Blogger is a fairly widely used blog system, so you can expect to have many options for add-ons.

HaloScan is a comment service add-in for blogs. Blogger has a built in comment system, but it doesn't offer trackbacks. I haven't delved too far into haloscan yet, but trackbacks are pretty easy to do. I'm hoping it will support a "recent comments" query. Customizing this tool in non-standard ways appears a little script heavy, but so far, I like it.

StatCounter is one of many free web site statistics services out there. They keep track of the number of hits that your site gets as well as a number of detailed statistics about how people came to your site. One of my favorites is the keyword statistics. If someone got to your site via a search engine, the keyword stats will tell you what keywords they used and what article it landed them in. You can also exclude IPs from the stat gathering (such as your own) so you aren't inadvertenly inflating your hit count. I have only just begun to scratch the surface of this data, but it is incredibly easy to use and highly detailed.

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Final Debate - My thoughts

Now that I've posted the summary, it's time to be a pundit. Read on if you want me to tell you what to think. Or if you want to see what I want you to think. Or if you don't want me to tell you what to think so you need to know what I think so you can think something else. I think.

I think that if you watched the debate, it would look like a draw. However, if you look at the facts afterward, Bush's lies and distortions were clearly more significant than Kerry's misleading statements. So, it was a draw on style, but Kerry won where the facts are concerned. Part of the problem was that neither candidate offered anything new. They both stuck to their messages even when those messages did not answer the questions. Kerry and Bush both scored some good hits, but Kerry's hits stand up better to the facts.

Another area where Kerry was better was in talking about the details. I just worry that he threw too many details out there. Kerry tried to outline solutions to the problem facing the nation. Bush usually responded that we hadn't given his programs enough time and that they were starting to work. Therefore, if we do more of the same, we'll be all right.

In the commentary, Chuck and I both said there were no major flubs. I think we were referring to overt flubs that were obvious to the watcher. James correctly points out that lying is a pretty big flub. And Bush lied on a few issues, one of which was pretty big. On the question of Osama bin Laden, Bush claimed he never said that he just doesn't think much about him. However Fact Check shows that he did say it and that the quote is as damning in context as it sounds out of context.

Kerry needs to hammer Bush on his lies over the next few days because many undecideds are not going to check the facts. They are going to go on how they "feel" about their guy. And if they watched the debate and didn't check the facts, they have to feel good about Dubya. He came across as "folksy". Heck, he met his wife at a down home Texas barbeque. So, the only way to get the truth out is for it to get picked up on the dailies.

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Debate III - The final chapter

Last night was the third and final debate. On the one hand, I wish they were going to debate some more. On the other, I've really had enough. For this debate, I did a running commentary with my friend Chuck. Chuck was nice enough to edit the commentary and intersperse quotes from the participants where appropriate. Here it is:

Chuck8:58:59 PM I've switched over to C-SPAN... looks like CSPAN2 is running something else
Brian8:59:08 PMI've got NBC here.
Chuck8:59:32 PM OK lets get on the same feed
Brian8:59:42 PMHang on.
Chuck9:00:14 PM OK I'm on NBC
Brian9:00:15 PMNow I have C-SPAN
Brian9:00:17 PMLOL
Chuck9:00:20 PM STAY THERE
Brian9:00:24 PMCourtesy of my dumb dog.
Brian9:00:31 PMShe sat on the remote.
Brian9:00:41 PMI'm staying.
Brian9:00:45 PM1 minute warning
Brian9:01:08 PMI think the debate is biased. More blue than red on the stage.
Brian9:01:14 PMIt's subliminal.
Chuck9:01:20 PM back on C-SPAN
Brian9:01:24 PMOK
Chuck9:01:28 PM Don't let your dog touch the remote
Chuck9:01:30 PM :-)
SCHIEFFER: ...Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I'm Bob Schieffer....
Chuck9:01:40 PM Good evening Bob.
Brian9:01:40 PMI've moved it out of her reach.
Brian9:01:58 PMDon't think I like the moderator already.
Brian9:02:02 PMDunno why.
Brian9:02:17 PMYeah, right.
Chuck9:02:34 PM This is all very standard from the other debates... same speech
Brian9:02:39 PMYup.
Brian9:03:13 PMWhat if one of them farts.
Chuck9:03:16 PM Bush switched to red tie
Chuck9:03:22 PM instead of blue
Brian9:03:22 PMYeah. Noticed that.
Brian9:03:34 PMThey look like they have the same tie.
Chuck9:03:36 PM practically identical suits
Brian9:03:46 PMHow will we tell them apart?
Chuck9:04:05 PM Bush is trying hard to look personable.
Q: Senator... will our children and grandchildren ever live in a world as safe and secure as the world in which we grew up?
Chuck9:04:24 PM Kerry tips hat
Brian9:04:31 PMYeah.
KERRY: I believe that this president, regrettably, rushed us into a war, made decisions about foreign policy, pushed alliances away. And, as a result, America is now bearing this extraordinary burden where we are not as safe as we ought to be.

The measurement is not: Are we safer? The measurement is: Are we as safe as we ought to be?...
Chuck9:04:51 PM Kerry comes out swinging... no surprise there.
Brian9:05:03 PMYup. But not saying anything new.
Chuck9:05:20 PM there goes George... blinkblinkblink
Brian9:05:33 PMCheck his ears. Any receiver?
Chuck9:06:03 PM Kerry is repeating himself from earlier debates. No surprise there. Trying to stay on message. Invoking Reagan
Brian9:06:29 PMThere's the trademark smirk.
BUSH: ...I have got a comprehensive strategy to not only chase down the Al Qaida, wherever it exists -- and we're making progress; three-quarters of Al Qaida leaders have been brought to justice...
Brian9:06:42 PMThere's the 75% leadership lie again.
Chuck9:06:54 PM Bush is trying very hard to behave.
Brian9:06:59 PMFact checker disproved that one last time.
BUSH: ...My opponent just this weekend talked about how terrorism could be reduced to a nuisance...
Chuck9:07:14 PM There's the nuisance line, we saw that coming
Brian9:07:34 PMInvokes Afghan elections. Neglects the fact that there are election fraud irregularities in Afghan.
Brian9:08:18 PMLying again.
Brian9:08:34 PMTrouble is, most people won't check the facts.
Brian9:08:35 PMGrrrrr.
Chuck9:08:38 PM true enough
KERRY: ...Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, Where is Osama bin Laden? He said, I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned...
Chuck9:08:35 PM Kerry calls Bush on his "I don't think about Osama much" line. Uses it against him
Q: We are talking about protecting ourselves from the unexpected, but the flu season is suddenly upon us. Flu kills thousands of people every year.

Suddenly we find ourselves with a severe shortage of flu vaccine. How did that happen?
Chuck9:08:47 PM here comes the flu vaccine questions
Brian9:09:01 PMOh, here we go.
BUSH: ...Bob, we relied upon a company out of England to provide about half of the flu vaccines for the United States citizen, and it turned out that the vaccine they were producing was contaminated. And so we took the right action and didn't allow contaminated medicine into our country. We're working with Canada to hopefully -- that they'll produce a -- help us realize the vaccine necessary to make sure our citizens have got flu vaccinations during this upcoming season...
Brian9:09:08 PMForeign drugs *bad*
Brian9:09:36 PMStrangely, Canada good.
Brian9:09:47 PMKind of a flip-flop there.
Chuck9:09:48 PM He's reaching out to the swing voters there
Chuck9:10:02 PM No indication on whether or not he'll follow through on that if elected
Chuck9:10:05 PM This is always true
BUSH: ...We have a problem with litigation in the United States of America. Vaccine manufacturers are worried about getting sued, and therefore they have backed off from providing this kind of vaccine...
Chuck9:10:16 PM Pulling in the litigation caps
Chuck9:10:20 PM Which is ridiculous
Chuck9:10:27 PM Has nothing to do with flu vaccine
Brian9:10:47 PMHope Kerry mentions that England had plenty of warning about this but we somehow missed out.
Brian9:11:06 PMKerry's answer is wandering to health care.
Chuck9:11:20 PM Bush trying not to smirk.
KERRY: ...Five million Americans have lost their health insurance in this country. You've got about a million right here in Arizona, just shy, 950,000, who have no health insurance at all. 82,000 Arizonians lost their health insurance under President Bush's watch. 223,000 kids in Arizona have no health insurance at all...
Brian9:11:22 PMA bit of pandering to the elderly in AZ.
Chuck9:11:34 PM Yes, Kerry has appealed to the locals in each debate
Chuck9:11:40 PM It's good strategy
Brian9:11:49 PMBut he isn't answering the question.
Chuck9:11:58 PM This is true
Chuck9:12:00 PM He isn't
Chuck9:12:17 PM Kerry is focussing on Health Care but not saying why we don't have flu vaccine.
Brian9:12:23 PMEvery time he says "I have a plan" or "this President", take a drink.
BUSH: ...He just said he wants everybody to be able to buy in to the same plan that senators and congressmen get. That costs the government $7,700 per family. If every family in America signed up, like the senator suggested, if would cost us $5 trillion over 10 years.

It's an empty promise. It's called bait and switch.
KERRY: ...It's really interesting, because the president used that very plan as a reason for seniors to accept his prescription drug plan. He said, if it's good enough for the congressmen and senators to have choice, seniors ought to have choice...
Chuck9:13:07 PM Ooooh
Chuck9:13:08 PM Nice
Brian9:13:13 PMGot hit there.
Chuck9:13:13 PM Nice smack back at Bush
Chuck9:13:33 PM What is Bush doing with his mouth?
Chuck9:13:50 PM It's sort of part open and his tongue is doing something... weird
Brian9:13:51 PMBush looks like Ruprecht wetting himself in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Chuck9:14:05 PM He's trying HARD not to make the same mistakes from the other debates
Brian9:14:16 PMHopefully he can make all new ones.
Q: Senator Kerry, a new question ... you pledged during the last debate that you would not raise taxes on those making less than $200,000 a year ... how can you or any president, whoever is elected next time, keep that pledge without running this country deeper into debt and passing on more of the bills that we're running up to our children?
Brian9:14:38 PMKerry is staying on message but not answering questions.
KERRY: ...we start -- we don't do it exclusively -- but we start by rolling back George Bush's unaffordable tax cut for the wealthiest people, people earning more than $200,000 a year, and we pass, hopefully, the McCain-Kerry Commission which identified some $60 billion that we can get.

We shut the loophole which has American workers actually subsidizing the loss of their own job. They just passed an expansion of that loophole in the last few days: $43 billion of giveaways, including favors to the oil and gas industry and the people importing ceiling fans from China...
Chuck9:15:09 PM He's starting to cover the answer now.
Brian9:15:13 PMYup.
Brian9:15:23 PMGood invocation of McCain in AZ
Chuck9:15:41 PM He's hitting Bush on the pork in the latest spending bill
Brian9:15:48 PMGood.
BUSH: ...He been a senator for 20 years. He voted to increase taxes 98 times. When they tried to reduce taxes, he voted against that 127 times. He talks about being a fiscal conservative, or fiscally sound, but he voted over -- he voted 277 times to waive the budget caps, which would have cost the taxpayers $4.2 trillion...
Brian9:16:08 PMHere goes the raising taxes bit again.
Brian9:16:23 PMKerry better smack him on the distortions.
Chuck9:16:25 PM Bush coming back against Kerry's record. Again with the 98 votes to raise taxes. This is specious... FactCheck covers this
Brian9:16:32 PMYup.
Brian9:17:35 PMBit of spittle in the right corner of his mouth.
Chuck9:17:39 PM Kerry seems unfazed
Brian9:17:51 PMI think he wanted a shot to rebut, though.
Chuck9:17:55 PM Yeah
Brian9:18:08 PMOK Jobs of the 21st century.
Brian9:18:10 PMcentury.
Brian9:18:15 PMWhat are those?
Chuck9:18:24 PM Yeah he does have a glob of spit on the corner of his mouth
Chuck9:18:28 PM yech
BUSH: ...We've expanded trade adjustment assistance. We want to help pay for you to gain the skills necessary to fill the jobs of the 21st century...

...education is how to help the person who's lost a job. Education is how to make sure we've got a workforce that's productive and competitive...
Brian9:18:41 PMAnd what is the likelihood that a 50-something factory worker can train for one of them.
Brian9:18:57 PMAh. No child left behind.
Chuck9:19:04 PM Bush says education is the solution to the job issue
Chuck9:19:21 PM Kerry will no doubt raise unfunded no child left behind mandate.
Brian9:19:23 PMBush says he needs four more years "to continue to raise standards"
Brian9:19:30 PMUndoubtedly.
Chuck9:19:40 PM trade-adjustment money is what Bush says he offers
KERRY: ...Being lectured by the president on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country...
Brian9:20:04 PMGood Sopranos jab.
Chuck9:20:30 PM Good hit on fiscal responsibility.
Brian9:20:40 PMCosts are up. Jobs are down. Good point.
Chuck9:21:11 PM Bush wanted to rebut there.
Brian9:21:12 PMStill?
Brian9:21:23 PMYeah, well, Kerry wanted to rebut the last one.
Brian9:21:33 PMGuess that makes the moderation fair.
Brian9:22:09 PMQ: Is administration responsible for job losses.
KERRY: ...I don't blame [the administration] entirely for it. I blame the president for the things the president could do that has an impact on it.

Outsourcing is going to happen. I've acknowledged that in union halls across the country. I've had shop stewards stand up and say, Will you promise me you're going to stop all this outsourcing? And I've looked them in the eye and I've said, No, I can't do that.

What I can promise you is that I will make the playing field as fair as possible...
Chuck9:22:01 PM Kerry taking an earnest line here
Chuck9:22:06 PM I can't stop all outsourcing
Chuck9:22:16 PM But I can make the playing field as level as possible
Brian9:22:59 PMTalking about incentives for job creation at home.
Chuck9:23:01 PM Kerry's answer: no they aren't ENTIRELY responsible, but they do little to help people who've lost their jobs, and I will.
Brian9:23:31 PMBush's smirking and giggling looks to be a strategy.
Brian9:24:01 PMHe's also reacting as though Kerry is ridiculous in everything he says.
BUSH: ...You know, he talks to the workers. Let me talk to the workers.

You've got more money in your pocket as a result of the tax relief we passed and he opposed.

If you have a child, you got a $1,000 child credit. That's money in your pocket...
Chuck9:24:20 PM Bush citing the tax cuts as help to the workers who lost their jobs.
Brian9:24:20 PMTalking taxes. Not even related to job losses.
Brian9:24:29 PMAh. Is that the tie in?
Chuck9:24:32 PM yes
Chuck9:24:52 PM Back to the 98 times
Brian9:24:53 PM"Not tell citizens how to live their lives"
Brian9:25:11 PMDoes that include gay marriage and abortion?
KERRY: ...Bob, anybody can play with these votes. Everybody knows that.

I have supported or voted for tax cuts over 600 times. I broke with my party in order to balance the budget, and Ronald Reagan signed into law the tax cut that we voted for. I voted for IRA tax cuts. I voted for small-business tax cuts...
Brian9:25:41 PMKerry isn't going far enough on the vote thing.
Chuck9:25:59 PM Bush sticking to the vote thing, and tying in liberal thing
Brian9:26:10 PMI so want to smack him.
Brian9:26:20 PMOoooh. Gay marriage question.
Chuck9:26:24 PM Gay marriage... do you believe homosexuality is a choice?
Chuck9:26:40 PM GB: don't know. But people should be treated with tolerance and dignity.
Brian9:27:06 PMSanctity of marriage. Protect it as an institution.
Brian9:27:15 PMActivist judges.
Chuck9:27:17 PM constitutional amendment, activist judges
KERRY: We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.

I think if you talk to anybody, it's not choice. I've met people who struggled with this for years, people who were in a marriage because they were living a sort of convention, and they struggled with it...
Brian9:28:21 PMBringing in Cheney's daughter as gay.
Chuck9:28:35 PM Kerry saying -- it is NOT a choice.
Brian9:28:41 PMBush appealed to his base. Kerry is appealing to his.
Brian9:29:13 PMKerry says marriage is between man and woman.
Chuck9:29:58 PM Catholic archbishops say it is a sin to vote for Kerry, Kerry's reaction.
Brian9:30:15 PMRespects views, but disagrees with them.
Brian9:30:26 PMCan't legislate his religion.
Chuck9:30:49 PM Very good response.
Brian9:30:53 PMYes.
Brian9:31:13 PMOooooh. Good Bush quote.
Brian9:31:32 PMNot a Catholic President, but a President who happens to be Catholic."
Chuck9:31:42 PM Invoking Kennedy
Chuck9:31:49 PM Respecting the rights of others.
Brian9:31:51 PMBush can't hit back on it either.
Brian9:32:05 PM"Culture of life"
Chuck9:32:29 PM He's going to call for abortion reduction.
Brian9:32:30 PMReduce abortions.
Chuck9:32:39 PM My opponent voted against partial birth abortion
Chuck9:32:47 PM saw that coming
Brian9:32:50 PMHe is going to ding Kerry for voting against partial birth abortions.
Brian9:32:52 PMYup.
Brian9:33:37 PMShould have allowed a rebuttal for the factual distortion.
Chuck9:33:40 PM new question to Bush, Health Insurance is out of control?
Chuck9:33:46 PM Bush is about to blame lawyers
Brian9:33:54 PMWho is responsible.
BUSH: ...I'm a strong believer in what they call health savings accounts. These are accounts that allow somebody to buy a low-premium, high-deductible catastrophic plan and couple it with tax-free savings. Businesses can contribute, employees can contribute on a contractual basis. But this is a way to make sure people are actually involved with the decision-making process on health care.

Secondly, I do believe the lawsuits -- I don't believe, I know -- that the lawsuits are causing health care costs to rise in America. That's why I'm such a strong believer in medical liability reform...
Chuck9:34:30 PM Promoting health savings account, the "ownership society"
Chuck9:34:39 PM Here come the lawsuits
Brian9:34:42 PMYup.
Chuck9:34:44 PM I knew that was coming
Brian9:34:46 PMSaw that coming.
Chuck9:35:02 PM Always thinking of the lawsuits and never the victims
Chuck9:35:06 PM Big business stooge
Brian9:35:09 PMYup.
Chuck9:35:29 PM Health care is technologically behind
Brian9:35:44 PMAnd how do we fix this?
Brian9:35:56 PMSo, is he in favor of generic drugs coming to market.
Brian9:36:08 PMThat's anti-pharmaceutical corps.
Chuck9:36:12 PM Kerry --> it's Bush's fault.
Brian9:36:20 PMCanada issue.
Chuck9:36:24 PM Bush against medications from Canada
Chuck9:36:43 PM Bush against bulk purchasing of medications via Medicare.
Brian9:36:44 PMBulk purchasing issue as well.
Chuck9:37:12 PM Bush gave a $139 B of your money to drug companies
Brian9:37:38 PMWhy does he get to choose a rebuttal?
Chuck9:37:53 PM Bob gets to choose
Chuck9:38:06 PM Kerry defends his record.
Brian9:38:09 PMRight, but Bush interjected over him and he acquiesced.
Chuck9:38:16 PM Bush trying not to smirk
Chuck9:38:37 PM I gotta hand it to Kerry, he is VERY cool and collected.
Brian9:38:49 PMRight, but maybe too cool.
Chuck9:39:00 PM Q Kerry: how are you going to pay for all these health care promises.
Brian9:39:16 PMI can see Bush's smirking and giggling and "folksiness" resonating very well with undecided voters.
Brian9:39:22 PMWe hate him, so it grates
Brian9:39:52 PMBut he is projecting an aura of knowledgeability even in the face of his ignorance.
KERRY: ...Here's what I do: We take over Medicaid children from the states so that every child in America is covered. And in exchange, if the states want to -- they're not forced to, they can choose to -- they cover individuals up to 300 percent of poverty. It's their choice.

I think they'll choose it, because it's a net plus of $5 billion to them...

...In addition to that, we're going to allow people 55 to 64 to buy into Medicare early. And most importantly, we give small business a 50 percent tax credit so that after we lower the costs of health care, they also get, whether they're self-employed or a small business, a lower cost to be able to cover their employees. Now, what happens is when you begin to get people covered like that -- for instance in diabetes, if you diagnose diabetes early, you could save $50 billion in the health care system of America by avoiding surgery and dialysis. It works. And I'm going to offer it to America.
Chuck9:40:18 PM Kerry giving a lot of details here. Will this confuse voters?
Brian9:40:26 PMI think so.
Brian9:40:48 PMBush is going for simple and then making it appear as if Kerry is out of his mind.
Chuck9:41:11 PM Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Brian9:41:17 PMWhat was that?
Chuck9:41:32 PM Bush calls into question major news organizations analysis of his statements on Kerry's plan
Brian9:41:32 PMHe started to make a dig and then said "never mind"
Chuck9:41:48 PM Yeah, that was deliberate
Brian9:42:02 PMRight, but it didn't seem intelligible.
BUSH: ...I think government-run health will lead to poor-quality health, will lead to rationing, will lead to less choice.

Once a health-care program ends up in a line item in the federal government budget, it leads to more controls.

And just look at other countries that have tried to have federally controlled health care. They have poor-quality health care...
Chuck9:42:31 PM Here comes the fear line vis-a-vis government health care.
KERRY: The president just said that government-run health care results in poor quality.

Now, maybe that explains why he hasn't fully funded the VA, and the VA hospital is having trouble, and veterans are complaining. Maybe that explains why Medicare patients are complaining about being pushed off of Medicare. He doesn't adequately fund it...
Chuck9:42:47 PM LOL!
Brian9:43:03 PMGood response.
Chuck9:43:11 PM Kerry THIS must be why Bush won't fund government health programs. Because the quality will go down!
Brian9:43:34 PMBush - we are meeting commitments.
Brian9:43:43 PMVeterans health care is very good
Chuck9:44:06 PM Q Bush : social security -- savings accounts will cost 1$ trillion, what happens? how?
Brian9:44:41 PMSeniors today will get their checks.
Brian9:44:50 PMPeople of the future will not.
Brian9:44:56 PMUnless we do something.
Chuck9:44:56 PM Basically
Chuck9:45:00 PM yeas
Chuck9:45:24 PM He hasn't answered the question
Brian9:45:35 PMYup.
Brian9:45:52 PMWell, it's going to come from "coming together"
Brian9:46:11 PMKerry -
Brian9:46:21 PMBush plan is an invitation to disaster.
Brian9:46:40 PMBenefits would have to cut benefits by 25 to 40 percent
Chuck9:46:52 PM Kerry invokes bipartisan Congressional Budet Office assessment of the Social Security savings accounts plan
Brian9:47:03 PMKerry points out that Bush didn't answer the question
Chuck9:47:05 PM Kerry President is not saying where is the money coming from??
Q: ...Senator Kerry, you have just said you will not cut benefits.

Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, says there's no way that Social Security can pay retirees what we have promised them unless we recalibrate.

What he's suggesting, we're going to cut benefits or we're going to have to raise the retirement age. We may have to take some other reform. But if you've just said, you've promised no changes, does that mean you're just going to leave this as a problem, another problem for our children to solve?
Chuck9:47:55 PM Q KERRY: Greenspan said Social Security cant pay , cut benefits, raise retirement age. How can you promise no changes?
Chuck9:48:26 PM Kerry says that was what the surplus was supposed to be for.
Brian9:48:29 PMUh-oh. I think he could get dinged on that.
Brian9:48:55 PMHe is now saying that the surplus went to funding the tax cuts.
Chuck9:49:11 PM Yes that and the war
Brian9:49:12 PMNow Kerry is not answering the question.
Chuck9:49:39 PM He's bringing up jobs again.
Brian9:49:47 PMBut he also said rolling back the tax cut is how he is going to pay for the new programs
Brian9:49:52 PMDouble dip.
Chuck9:50:04 PM Unless he thinks there's enough to pay for it all.
Brian9:50:22 PMBush is not answering either.
Chuck9:50:31 PM Bush: Kerry giving more of the same. He's voted to tax Social Security Bush defending tax cuts.
Brian9:50:37 PMBush claims that most of the tax cut went to the middle class.
Brian9:50:39 PMNot true.
Chuck9:50:44 PM Right
Brian9:50:44 PMCalls tax system more fair.
Chuck9:50:50 PM FactCheck .org
Brian9:51:22 PM1.9 mil jobs over 13 months.
Chuck9:51:32 PM Kerry wanted to rebut
Brian9:51:52 PMPlease ding him on the fact that the new jobs are not even keeping pace with the people entering the work force.
Chuck9:51:56 PM Q BUSH: immigration. 8000 people cross borders every day illegally. How do you see this, what do we do about it?
Brian9:52:06 PMIncrease border patrol.
Chuck9:52:11 PM new equipment
Chuck9:52:15 PM unmanned vehicles
Chuck9:52:18 PM continue to do so
BUSH: ...And so in order to take pressure off the borders, in order to make the borders more secure, I believe there ought to be a temporary worker card that allows a willing worker and a willing employer to mate up, so long as there's not an American willing to do that job, to join up in order to be able to fulfill the employers' needs. ...
Brian9:52:55 PMOh boy. Here comes the temp worker card.
Chuck9:53:08 PM not familiar with this issue
Brian9:53:20 PMLet's create a subjugated working class. Serfs essentially.
Brian9:53:48 PMLet immigrants come in and do the lowest wage jobs.
Chuck9:54:29 PM tax cuts disappeared into the rising costs of everything else.
Brian9:54:34 PMYup.
Brian9:54:51 PMMiddle class tax burden up. Wealthy down.
Brian9:55:05 PMCant be done.
Brian9:55:23 PMSecuring the border, that is.
Chuck9:55:32 PM Earned legalization program.
Brian9:55:56 PMMore discrediting of Kerry.
Chuck9:56:33 PM Kerry sticking by his claim borders not secure
Brian9:56:40 PMKerry's response - No. Bush is wrong.
Chuck9:56:48 PM Q Kerry: gap growing between rich and poor
Brian9:56:56 PMRaise min wage?
Chuck9:56:56 PM raise minimum wage?
Brian9:57:07 PMKerry says yes.
Chuck9:57:10 PM Kerry: YES. Republicans won't let us vote on it.
Brian9:57:16 PMRepublican leadership is blocking it.
Brian9:57:31 PMRaise it to $7 per hour over time.
Chuck9:57:46 PM Back to the tax cuts
Brian9:57:49 PMYup.
KERRY: ...If we raise the minimum wage, which I will do over several years to $7 an hour, 9.2 million women who are trying to raise their families would earn another $3,800 a year.

The president has denied 9.2 million women $3,800 a year, but he doesn't hesitate to fight for $136,000 to a millionaire.

One percent of America got $89 billion last year in a tax cut, but people working hard, playing by the rules, trying to take care of their kids, family values, that we're supposed to value so much in America -- I'm tired of politicians who talk about family values and don't value families...
Chuck9:57:59 PM Nice one there
Brian9:58:04 PMBit of a jab there.
Chuck9:58:12 PM Tired of politicians who talk family values but don't value families.
Brian9:58:19 PMHe's pandering for the women vote though.
Chuck9:59:04 PM Bush brings it back to education.
Chuck9:59:14 PM Go out and get educated and get a better job, dumbass.
Brian9:59:17 PMAh. The key to minimum wage is to work on education.
Chuck9:59:21 PM Right
Brian9:59:40 PMCannot solve a problem unless you diagnose the problem.
Chuck9:59:55 PM Don't raise minimum wage. Educate the people.
Brian10:00:12 PMThat's right. Keep the wages low for those guest workers.
Chuck10:00:23 PM Strong to tie education to jobs
Chuck10:00:48 PM Q BUSH: do you want to overturn roe v wade?
Chuck10:01:04 PM GB: no litmus test for judges. Period.
Chuck10:01:38 PM JK: Right of choice is constitutional. President wants to undo it.
Chuck10:01:47 PM Long way to go in terms of fairness.
Chuck10:01:57 PM Appealing to minorities.
Chuck10:02:11 PM JK: No Child left Behind UNDERFUNDED
Brian10:02:16 PMright
Chuck10:02:17 PM Tie it to people on the ground in AZ
BUSH: ...only a liberal senator from Massachusetts would say that a 49 percent increase in funding for education was not enough...
Brian10:03:02 PMMore with the liberal labels from W
Chuck10:03:12 PM Bush: he is misleading you. Lots of money going in. Tossing liberal label around
KERRY: You don't measure it by a percentage increase. Mr. President, you measure it by whether you're getting the job done.

Five hundred thousand kids lost after-school programs because of your budget.

Now, that's not in my gut. That's not in my value system, and certainly not so that the wealthiest people in America can walk away with another tax cut.

$89 billion last year to the top 1 percent of Americans, but kids lost their after-school programs. You be the judge.
Chuck10:03:31 PM JK: percentage increase has nothing to do with it, ARE YOU GETTING THE JOB DONE?
Chuck10:03:57 PM Inadequate funding to No Child Left Behind but big cut to the wealthy. You judge.
Brian10:04:16 PMAny relief to the guard people and stop loss?
Chuck10:04:18 PM Q KERRY: Is there a relief that can be offered to soldiers in field (backdoor draft)?
Chuck10:04:36 PM JK: repeated callups & stopless indication of the bad judgment of GB
Chuck10:04:45 PM JK: we are overextended
Brian10:05:07 PMKerry wants to add troops to active duty,
Chuck10:05:08 PM JK: 90% of our military wrapped up in Iraq, add two active duty divisions, double special forces
Brian10:05:19 PMNot saying how we will get people to enlist.
Chuck10:05:29 PM Bring national guard home, use them HERE for homeland security
Brian10:05:39 PMReal alliances.
Chuck10:05:47 PM Run a foreign policy such that we are strongest when working in real alliances.
Brian10:05:49 PMDenigrate rebuttal upcoming?
Chuck10:05:59 PM Most likely
Chuck10:06:23 PM President didn't pull in allies, didn't choose war as a last resort, didn't plan adequately
BUSH: The best way to take the pressure off our troops is to succeed in Iraq, is to train Iraqis so they can do the hard work of democracy, is to give them a chance to defend their country, which is precisely what we're doing. We'll have 125,000 troops trained by the end of this year...
Chuck10:06:29 PM HEH
Brian10:06:32 PMAh!
Brian10:06:43 PMBest way to succeed is to win.
Chuck10:06:49 PM Succeed in Iraq, and that will relieve our forces.
Chuck10:07:03 PM Essentially, it is up to the troops to relieve themselves.
Brian10:07:08 PMMorale is apparently high.
Chuck10:07:09 PM Somehow that sounds wrong.
BUSH: ...In our first debate he proposed America pass a global test. In order to defend ourselves, we'd have to get international approval. That's one of the major differences we have about defending our country...
Chuck10:07:20 PM here comes global test BS
Chuck10:07:31 PM misinterpreting it yet again.
Brian10:07:46 PMIn spite of clarifications subsequent.
Chuck10:08:00 PM and here they come again
KERRY: I have never suggested a test where we turn over our security to any nation. In fact, I've said the opposite: I will never turn the security of the United States over to any nation. No nation will ever have a veto over us.

But I think it makes sense, I think most Americans in their guts know, that we ought to pass a sort of truth standard. That's how you gain legitimacy with your own countrypeople, and that's how you gain legitimacy in the world...
Chuck10:08:23 PM We must pass a truth standard... don't we want legitimacy?
Chuck10:08:36 PM GB : Kerry voted against the gulf war.
Brian10:08:56 PMKerry needs to attack Bush in more plain language.
Chuck10:09:09 PM Q BUSH: why wont you encourage congress to vote to for assault weapon ban
Brian10:09:16 PMClaims he did.
Brian10:09:18 PMLie.
Chuck10:09:24 PM GB: I tried to, but I was told bill wouldn't move.
Brian10:09:33 PMAnother lie.
Brian10:09:56 PMCrack down on crimes with guns.
Chuck10:10:13 PM Kerry identifies with hunters and gun owners
Brian10:10:14 PMI brought my gun to church with me.,
Brian10:10:23 PMWhen I was an altar boy...
Brian10:10:27 PM :-)
KERRY: ...If Tom DeLay or someone in the House said to me, "Sorry, we don't have the votes", I'd have said, "Then we're going to have a fight".

And I'd have taken it out to the country and I'd have had every law enforcement officer in the country visit those congressmen. We'd have won what Bill Clinton won.
Chuck10:11:11 PM Wow
Chuck10:11:14 PM Nice punch there
Chuck10:11:23 PM I would have fought
Brian10:11:31 PMInvoking Clinton.
Brian10:11:39 PMNeed for affirmative action?
Chuck10:11:42 PM Q KERRY: do we still need affirmative action?
Chuck10:12:08 PM JK: no regrettably, not far enough along to get rid of affirmative act. Oh and BTW, it's Bush's fault.
Chuck10:12:15 PM He's certainly sticking to message
Chuck10:13:24 PM JK racism still a problem. We fought to reform Affirmative Action back in 90's
Chuck10:13:53 PM GB hasn't met with NAACP, black congressional caucus, hasn't met with civil rights folks. How can you reach out if you don't do that?
Brian10:14:14 PMI tell you, if I wasn't commenting on this, I'd have turned it off.
Brian10:14:29 PMNeither man is interesting.
Chuck10:14:38 PM GB: that's not true, I met with black congressional caucus at the white house. Quotas are bad, back to education. Affirmative Action is improving education for the poor.
Brian10:14:39 PMAgain with education.
Chuck10:15:05 PM yes
Chuck10:15:09 PM ownership society
Brian10:15:43 PMOooooh. Faith questions.
Chuck10:15:45 PM Q BUSH: how does faith play in your decisions?
Brian10:16:00 PMFaith is personal. Bull!
Chuck10:16:05 PM GB: I pray a lot. My faith is very personal. I pray for strength, wisdom, family, for the troops.
Chuck10:16:18 PM But people should worship as they want to or not.
Chuck10:16:30 PM Freedom of religion.
Chuck10:16:37 PM Pray and religion sustain me.
Chuck10:17:14 PM armies of compassion?
Chuck10:17:22 PM AH. Faith based initiatives.
Chuck10:17:38 PM Freedom on the march again.
Brian10:17:40 PMGod wants people to be free.
Brian10:18:12 PMLOL
Brian10:18:21 PMNative American blessings.
Chuck10:18:32 PM JK: Love the lord, and love your neighbor
Chuck10:18:43 PM JK: We have a lot more loving of our neighbor to do
Brian10:18:51 PMHaves vs. have nots.
Chuck10:19:00 PM Unequal school system. One for people who have and one who have not.
Chuck10:19:22 PM Kerry clearer on respect to atheists.
Brian10:20:03 PMAnd clearer in showing how faith can work for the good of the country.
Chuck10:19:46 PM Q KERRY: our unity after 9/11 has melted away. Will you set a priority on bringing us back together?
Chuck10:20:26 PM JK --> President did a terrific job right after 9/11 did a great job uniting then
Chuck10:20:29 PM but not anymore
Brian10:21:09 PMKerry tries to find the common ground.
KERRY: ...And if Americans trust me with the presidency, I can pledge to you, we will have the most significant effort, openly -- not secret meetings in the White House with special interests, not ideologically driven efforts to push people aside -- but a genuine effort to try to restore America's hope and possibilities by bringing people together...
Chuck10:21:29 PM JK: I have tried to find the common ground. Most significant effort (openly, not secret, not ideologically driven)
Chuck10:21:45 PM Campaign finance reform with John McCaine.
Brian10:21:45 PMMentioned his friend McCain three times.
Chuck10:22:14 PM Yes
Chuck10:22:22 PM Bush, No Child Left Behind reached out to Democrats.
Brian10:22:22 PMinteresting. Now Bush is invoking Ted Kennedy.
Chuck10:22:53 PM Yeah, 10 minutes ago it was the lib from MA, and now it's I wanted to work with Kennedy.
Brian10:23:24 PMKerry should have gotten to rebut that one.
Chuck10:23:46 PM Last Question: what is most important thing u have learned from strong women in your life?
Brian10:23:40 PMFluff question.
Brian10:23:45 PMWhat a waste to end the debate.
BUSH: To listen to them. (LAUGHTER) To stand up straight and not scowl. (LAUGHTER)

...when I asked Laura to marry me, she said, "Fine, just so long as I never have to give a speech." I said, "OK, you've got a deal." Fortunately, she didn't hold me to that deal. And she's out campaigning along with our girls. And she speaks English a lot better than I do. I think people understand what she's saying.

But they see a compassionate, strong, great first lady in Laura Bush. I can't tell you how lucky I am. When I met her in the backyard at Joe and Jan O'Neill's in Midland, Texas, it was the classic backyard barbecue. O'Neill said, Come on over. I think you'll find somebody who might interest you. So I said all right. I walked over there. There was only four of us there. And not only did she interest me, I guess you would say it was love at first sight.
Chuck10:23:58 PM GB: stand up straight, don't scowl, listen to them
Chuck10:24:09 PM love my wife and daughters.
Brian10:24:24 PMSo, he broke his word to his wife.
Chuck10:24:37 PM wife campaigns for me, she speaks English better than I do.
Chuck10:24:47 PM This makes him look humble.
Brian10:24:50 PMMet my wife at a barbecue.
Brian10:24:57 PM*Hurk!*
Chuck10:25:08 PM Recounting how he met his wife.
KERRY: Well, I guess the president and you and I are three examples of lucky people who married up. (LAUGHTER) And some would say maybe me moreso than others. (LAUGHTER) But I can take it. (LAUGHTER)

...if I could just say a word about a woman that you didn't ask about, but my mom passed away a couple years ago, just before I was deciding to run. And she was in the hospital, and I went in to talk to her and tell her what I was thinking of doing.

And she looked at me from her hospital bed and she just looked at me and she said, "Remember: integrity, integrity, integrity." Those are the three words that she left me with.

And my daughters and my wife are people who just are filled with that sense of what's right, what's wrong.

They also kick me around. They keep me honest. They don't let me get away with anything. I can sometimes take myself too seriously. They surely don't let me do that.

And I'm blessed, as I think the president is blessed, as I said last time. I've watched him with the first lady, who I admire a great deal, and his daughters. He's a great father. And I think we're both very lucky.
Chuck10:25:25 PM JK joking about Theresa's wealth
Brian10:25:32 PMKerry being surprisingly human
Chuck10:25:44 PM Well it is a personal question
Brian10:25:45 PMAlso mentioned his Mom
Chuck10:26:35 PM closing compliment to bush'
Chuck10:26:37 PM interesting
Chuck10:26:44 PM Closing statements.
Brian10:26:47 PMWhy does Kerry have to close first every time?
Chuck10:26:53 PM probably the deal
Brian10:27:02 PMHe ought to get the last word once.
Chuck10:27:28 PM JK --> we are divided. We need to work together. We CAN do better.
Chuck10:27:46 PM JK --> I will not allow a country to have a veto over our security
Chuck10:27:53 PM JK is invoking EVERYTHING
Chuck10:28:01 PM veterans, Vietnam, fait
Chuck10:28:04 PM faith
Brian10:28:06 PMMajor pandering response.
Chuck10:28:25 PM I think he looks almost noble. Now Bush's turn.
Chuck10:29:10 PM GB --> invoking optimism
Chuck10:29:50 PM armies of compassion again
Brian10:29:53 PMYup.
Brian10:29:57 PMFirm resolve.
Chuck10:30:00 PM never waver
Brian10:30:02 PMNever waver.
Chuck10:30:03 PM interesting
Brian10:30:04 PMLOL
Chuck10:30:15 PM We haven't heard him mention mixed messages and wavering this time
Brian10:30:16 PMSpread freedom and liberty.
Brian10:30:19 PMNope.
Chuck10:30:21 PM Public is tired of hearing it.
Brian10:30:26 PMPlayed that card out.
Chuck10:30:32 PM Interesting debate
Brian10:30:38 PMBoring debate.
Brian10:30:59 PMKerry didn't counterpunch where he needed to
Chuck10:31:06 PM a mostly positive closing for both candidates...
Brian10:31:11 PMYup.
Chuck10:31:13 PM less fireworks at the end
Brian10:31:47 PMNot sure why the timber company didn't come up again.
Chuck10:32:00 PM too obscure for the average viewer?
Brian10:32:18 PMBut it would have been an opportunity to point out how Bush had lied.
Chuck10:33:10 PM Okay, I'm not watching the spin room. Shutting off TV.
Brian10:33:16 PMRighto.
Chuck10:33:24 PM Callin commentary usually pisses me off anyway.
Brian10:33:31 PMYup.
Chuck10:33:32 PM So, first impression. Clear winner?
Brian10:33:36 PMNo.
Chuck10:33:39 PM I agree
Chuck10:33:45 PM The debate was pretty even.
Brian10:33:51 PMThis is the first one I really felt was a draw.
Chuck10:34:09 PM I felt that Bush did a much better job of controlling his emotions and not allowing himself to look like a moron.
Brian10:34:13 PMYup.
Chuck10:34:27 PM it was unusual to see him look presidential, that can only help him
Chuck10:34:38 PM Kerry's performance was very smooth
Brian10:34:42 PMI think he went back to being more folksy.
Brian10:34:48 PMBush did.
Chuck10:34:45 PM I didn't notice any flubs. Did you?
Brian10:34:50 PMNope.
Chuck10:34:51 PM Right
Chuck10:34:57 PM At times he did
Chuck10:35:06 PM That personal question I think helped Kerry
Brian10:35:12 PMYes.
Chuck10:35:13 PM It made him seem more personable.
Brian10:35:18 PMAbsolutely.
Chuck10:36:42 PM However all the answers are in conflict (no surprise) and nothing new was said (no surprise there either). The candidates should have by now communicated their positions.
Brian10:36:52 PMYup.
Chuck10:38:52 PM No clear winner, I agree. And the opinion of the wingnuts will be that Bush won because he didn't act like an ass.
Brian10:39:33 PMit's sad that we have such lowered expectations of our commander
Chuck10:39:37 PM Right

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