Step back and take an accounting of these last few years: The United States of America, a land where slaves were kept 150 years ago and bathrooms were segregated as recently as 50 years ago, elected and reelected our first black president. We passed and ratified a universal health-care system. We saw the first female Speaker of the House, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, and the first openly gay member of the Senate. We stopped a Great Depression, rewrote the nation’s financial regulations, and nearly defaulted on our debt for the first time in our history. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia legalized gay marriage, and the president and the vice president both proclaimed their support. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana. We killed the most dangerous terrorist in the world and managed two wars. We’ve seen inequality and debt skyrocket to some of the highest levels in American history. We passed a stimulus and investment bill that will transform everything from medical records to education and began a drone campaign that will likely be seen as an epochal shift in the way the United States conducts war.
Americans of good faith disagree over the worth of these initiatives and the nature of these milestones. None of us know the verdict that history will render. But we can say with certainty that the pace of change has been breathlessly fast. We have toppled so many barriers, passed so many reforms, completed so many long quests, begun so many experiments, that even those of us who’ve been paying attention have become inured to how much has happened.
There are some good ones floating around for both campaigns, but this one from CBS is a great, succinct rundown of what went wrong for Romney.
I guess I'm naive (or cynical?) but I realy believed the Republicans' confidence in the final days was bluster, that strategically they just didn't want to depress turnout by making it seem like Romney *couldn't* win—and hating on Nate Silver was just misdirection for the hayseeds.
Like I remember reading about Dole's 96-hour last-minute barnstorming tour, which was hopeless but a selfless gesture for down-ticket candidates. Not that Romney was that bad off, but *so much was made* of how he was a comptent, data-driven manager, I couldn't believe... well, I couldn't believe he didn't believe Nate Silver, king of the data nerds.
One of the three big miscalculations listed in the CBS story is re: independents, and contains a nice piece of schadenfreude:
State polls showed Romney winning big among independents. Historically, any candidate polling that well among independents wins. But as it turned out, many of those independents were former Republicans who now self-identify as independents. The state polls weren't oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans - there just weren't as many Republicans this time because they were calling themselves independents.
[T]his president has never been a radical; he has always been a moderate; he has been immensely skilled at foreign policy, ended one war and won another, killed Osama bin Laden and saved the American auto industry, deflected a Second Great Depression and initated universal access to healthcare. He has presided over a civil rights revolution and the beginning of the end of prohibition of marijuana. He has created the new and durable coalition that was once Karl Rove's dream.
Americans saw this. They were not fooled. And they made the right call, as they usually do. What was defeated tonight was not just Romney, a hollow cynic, but a whole mountain of mendacity and delusion. That sound you hear is the cognitive dissonance ringing in the ears of ideologues and cynics. Any true conservative longs for that sound, the sound of reality arriving to pierce through fantasy and fanaticism.
I give you the finale of Silas' "My Spooky Number Book" from school, which he finished after dinner tonight. For 10, he decided to draw 10 zombies. The one on the right is driving a tractor for some reason (farm zombie?) and the lower right four are digging their way out of the ground. Just, you know, FYI.
If you loved Girls and/or Lena Dunham, this is 56 minutes extremely well spent, from a podcast back in June. I'm not a big sports person but still love Bill Simmons—he's just a very funny and interesting writer and thinker. In any case, don't be scared off by this being an "ESPN" podcast, this interview is great.
I missed this, but Cliff Mass blogged about a waterspout (and possibly even a double and triple funnel) near Everett a couple days ago. He also linked to a photographer who got some amazing photos, e.g.:
I saw this on the Daily Show the other night, and then Sullivan reposted it and reminded me. So great—and so maddening/humbling/reassuring to think that the exact same shit continues to go down forever and we still (sort of, somewhat) manage to muddle through it:
I'm not normally a huge Matt Taibbi fan, but I think this was exactly right, that Joe Biden was *right* to be laughing—and that the media should show some spine and react with more outrage on what's a literally laughable plan:
He was absolutely right to be doing it. We all should be doing it. That includes all of us in the media, and not just paid obnoxious-opinion-merchants like me, but so-called "objective" news reporters as well. We should all be rolling our eyes, and scoffing and saying, "Come back when you're serious."
The load of balls that both Romney and Ryan have been pushing out there for this whole election season is simply not intellectually serious. Most of their platform isn't even a real platform, it's a fourth-rate parlor trick designed to paper over the real agenda – cutting taxes even more for super-rich dickheads like Mitt Romney, and getting everyone else to pay the bill.
Think about what that means. Mitt Romney is running for president – for president! – promising an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut without offering any details about how that's going to be paid for. Forget being battered by the press, he and his little sidekick Ryan should both be tossed off the playing field for even trying something like that. This race for the White House, this isn't some frat prank. This is serious. This is for grownups, for God's sake.
If you're going to offer an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut without explaining how it's getting paid for, hell, why stop there? Why not just offer everyone over 18 a 1965 Mustang? Why not promise every child a Zagnut and an Xbox, or compatible mates for every lonely single person?
My three favorite moments of the debate last night:
1) when Joe pointed out how Ryan *wrote two letters* to the gov't begging for stimulus money for his district and now trashes the stimulus
2) when Ryan was squealing about the inadequate embassy defenses in Benghazi, Biden pointed out that Ryan and the Rs voted to *cut embassy defense spending* ("Budgets matter"), and
3) when Joe said basically, paraphrasing, "These guys always talk about the economy and the deficit as if it came out of the blue, like 'How did this happen?!' But this guy voted to increase the deficit again and again. He voted to put two wars on a credit card, and to put a huge Medicare drug benefit on a credit card.' And *now* he claims to care about the deficit. Isn't that convenient."
Well, that was fun. And this is one of the most important bits of fisking to keep homing in on (which hopefully the media will do over the next few days): "I can’t believe we have to keep saying this, but no, six studies did not say that.... In short, the Romney plan is mathematically impossible. Biden is right. Ryan is wrong." It pisses me off when the word "studies" just effectively becomes chaff.
And Josh Marshall: "After the debate ended, Republicans were calling it a draw and Democrats were calling it a strong win for Biden. That tells you all you need to know."
These photos are amazing—huge, like the size of two school buses, but 10,000x more detailed than a conventional photograph. Maybe even more amazing, the process:
Rauzier takes an hour or two photographing his subject from every angle “like a scanner.” Then the real work begins: days and nights with Photoshop, stretching, bending and multiplying hundreds, even thousands, of images and blending them seamlessly. Since the light changes as he shoots, matching colors presents another challenge. He takes additional liberties with the images, duplicating sections in symmetrical ways to create elegantly surrealist landscapes.
Okay, now I want to actually see one in the world! I can't even get the real ones to load on his site.
HALPERIN: So, are you any less confident of winning than you were two weeks ago?
OBAMA ADVISER 2: I think we are where we thought we would be. This election was always going to tighten up. To the point made earlier, we knew this was going to be a very close election.
HALPERIN: But are you more or less confident than you were two weeks ago or exactly the same?
OBAMA ADVISER 2: Look, I think we are going to do what we have to do to get to 270. That’s exactly what I think, two weeks ago.
OBAMA ADVISER 1: We’re as confident as we were.
OBAMA ADVISER 3: I don’t think anybody here was ever overconfident. We thought this would be very hard. It’s been very close for a year-and-a-half, you know?
OBAMA ADVISER 1: We’re confident. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be tight. But, I think with that, we have more routes to win than he does.
HALPERIN: What is your message to, as David Plouffe would say, the bedwetters in the Democratic Party, who are all concerned about the debate and what it’s done to the public polling? What would you say to them?
OBAMA ADVISER 1: We weren’t geniuses last week and we’re not stupid this week. It’s going to be a tight race. We’ve always said that.
OBAMA ADVISER 2: And in the battleground states we continue to have more pathways than they do to 270 electoral votes. And we just got to close.
Almost perfectly square, thin, homogeneously chewy slices of enriched white bread, extruded from a place called "Butter Farm." This was a purchase from Uwajimaya that I couldn't resist—I think mostly because this bread makes me feel like I'm saying, "Computer... two slices of bread, toasted."
Deer Hunting with Jesus. It's a little dated (2007) and written a little too much to "entertain," but I learned a lot, especially in the section on guns. Thanks for the recommendation, CBell. Definitely worthwhile.