Jan 22

Presidental Debate Notes

Tuned in… thought about blogging it 15 minutes in… If you have thoughts about it… put it in the comments. I’ll update this entry every ten minutes or so with my thoughts.

O.k. — click the link for specific thoughts, but here are the overall thoughts on who won and lost:

Edwards — generally sounds smart and thoughtful and on-point… helping himself a lot. I think he could surprise and take a top three spot.

Dean — Warmed up as it went on. Really hit his stride and impressed me several times as the debate went on. He was calm, rational and really hit his points well. He really impressed me on what this presidential election is about. And "Social Justice and Fiscal Conservative" is a smart play that he should repeat over and over again.

Kerry — can someone ask him a question? Why didn’t he get more questions? Good answers but I think his charisma problem is that he doesn’t end his statements well compared to Dean. Perhaps overplaying the "I was a vet" card. Did well, didn’t hurt himself. Is that all he needed to do?

Lieberman — Needs to drop out, but he is right on when he says that Democrats need to remind people that they, not the GOP, are the party of values. And he resisted the bait on going negative. He hammered home his pro-war politician. I think he played strong to the folks who are inclined to vote for him, but I am not sure that he expanded his base. I do see where he would be someone who would play to swing voters on some issues, but overall, Dean is right. It’s not about changing a president, it’s about changing the way we are looking at our country. Lieberman isn’t doing that. Still, overall, played smart to his base. Let’s see how big that base is.

Sharpton — someone make this guy Secretary of Something… Glad he’s there just to say what he’s saying.

Kucinich — some good ideas but sounds irresponsible on his spending. Not helping himself. I do hope a few of his ideas get on the platform.

Clark — getting more comfortable as he goes on, sounds strong, but not a detail guy on domestic issues yet… too many "I don’t know"s for my tastes. I’m back where I was with him. He’d be a great VP. I think he was the big loser tonight because he had the most to gain and the most to lose. A really strong debate could have insured a top three for him. I think he looked uncomfortable too often, did not have answers on too many questions and generally showed that his inexperience is a bad thing. My prediction is that he falls out of the top three next week.

(Oh… and Fox News… having Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes analyze the debate? Why not just have Karl Rove comment?)

Jan 22

Presidental Candidate Checker

http://www.presidentmatch.com/ — a nifty little Presidental Candidate issue checker. All you do is answer some questions and presto you find out which candidates match your views.

Here’s my results… predictably… on views alone:

Kucinich – 100%
Sharpton – 95%
Kerry – 91%
Dean – 86%
Clark – 83%
Edwards – 79%
Lieberman – 71%
Bush – 3%

There are a few things I think the poll does strangely, but still… not really a shocker that my results come out the way they do.

Jan 20

Spaulding Gray Update

According to John Perry Barlow writes that Spaulding Gray’s last call was from the terminal of the Staten Island Ferry. Given that Gray’s last two suicide attempts were attempts to jump from bridges, it seems all too likely that he has committed suicide.

Barlow also wrote a rather personal and touching eulogy for Gray. It seems that the car accident he was in a few years ago really was the flash-point for many of the demons he had struggled with for years.

It just reminds us all… never take for granted a day of happiness… and always appreciate the people in our lives who touch our hearts. They are to be cherished.

Jan 20

Iowa Results

(a perfect grading break…)

I’m happy for several reasons:

1) I’ve liked Kerry’s stance on the issues from the beginning. He’s a smart, passionate man who has lived a life of principle.

2) Voter turnout was way up. Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian — I don’t care. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. This is America. Vote.

3) This is now a fascinating race. It’s my hope that if this stays interesting, we’ll have a real battle tested nominee… and hopefully, America tunes in… and gets involved.

Oh… and all those folks who say that Dean is done with are wrong. Dean can finish as low as third — maybe fourth — in New Hampshire and he’ll still be very much a factor. He’s still got the most money and the best organization. Clark is still finding his feet, and Kerry is broke.

He does need to find his message again, though. The last month has been about his supporters, not his ideas. And his speech tonight hurt him… and it gave huge ammunition to those folks who say he’s "too angry."

So… General Clark skipped Iowa when it looked like Dean had it wrapped up. That’s looking like bad strategy now. I think he needs a top three finish to prove he can win. Kerry needs a top three finish to get people to start giving him money. If Edwards goes to NH, he only has to finish above Leiberman to exceed expectations there, and anything above that is gravy.

Most importantly… Americans need to keep reading, keep voting… heck, keep blogging… and stay involved. I still think that, even if Dean doesn’t win, his gift to this country might be that he was the first candidate in a while to make everyday people feel like they could take part in the process and make a difference. I think that the high voter turnout in Iowa this year is at least in part because he made people listen.

Oh… and one other thing… I hope the President is watching… people are talking, arguing… and voting. It’s a long race, yes, but this is a race the Democrats can win.

Jan 16

Geek Teacher!!!

Setting new levels of teacher geek-dom, I’m sitting here IM-ing with a student while we go over revisions of her paper, each of us with a paper next to us, going through it paragraph by paragraph.

The next level is some sort of mark-up program, so that she can see my comments on an internet smart-board style thing, so I can stylus changes and a student sees them as it’s happening.

That’d be cool!

Jan 12

Philly ‘Tude

Atrios writes about Philadelphia as a 1st Class City with a Third Class Attitude. His definitions:

Places with 1st class attitudes – they know they’re the best, they don’t bother even worrying about the issue, and know everywhere else sucks.

2nd class attitudes – they desperately cling to the notion that they’re the best, and continually prove this wrong by desperately trying to convince everyone of that non-fact.

3rd class attitude – we suck, and we know it.

And that’s Philly. Stuck between NYC and DC, Philly has always had a bit of an inferiority complex about itself. But that’s a huge part of its charm. It’s got a gritty "Whaddayagonnado" kind of attitude that serves it pretty well.

I’ve lived in New York City for almost nine years now (yee gods), but Philly will always feel like home, too. It’s a great town.

GOOOOOO EAGLES!!!