8.28.2004

Swift-Vet Impact



At this point I think most open minded people believe that neither Kerry nor the Swift Vets recollections of Kerry’s brief period in Vietnam are entirely accurate. Time may reveal one or the other as having more veracity, but it seems unlikely either side will be able to completely discredit the other within the timeframe of this election. While this means it’s unlikely the Swift Vets will be able to turn Kerry’s military service into a negative, it does effectively neutralize the “crown jewel” issue for the Kerry Campaign. Without his Vietnam achievements, Kerry is little more than a uniquely unaccomplished 4 term Democratic Senator from a particularly Democrat friendly state who knows how to speak French and windsurf. This will force him to run on the issues and his legislative record which for a Senator who doesn’t seem to believe in anything other than John Forbes Kerry will make it difficult to counter a Bush campaign that seems to have regained its momentum. The completely foreseeable, preventable Dukakis-Snoopy/Dean-Scream moment for this campaign may have been during the Democratic convention when “Lieutenant Kerry report[ed] for Duty”. It was Kerry’s compulsion for self-aggrandizement that made it inevitable.

8.27.2004

Eggers in Beantown

If you can go, you should.

Dave Eggers Tourdates.
Sunday, August 29
CAMBRIDGE, MA
Wordsworth Books
30 Brattle St. Harvard Square
With Christopher Monks and Kurt Luchs.
7:00 p.m. and Kurt Luchs.7:00 p.m.

Weird ends

Neal Stephenson, author of several science fiction-ish opus's as quoted in Locus Magazine: “The analogy (which I've used a lot before) is to the electric guitar. Thomas Edison made electricity into a consumer product and developed the light bulb, probably anticipated washing machines and stuff, but he sure didn't anticipate the electric guitar! That was far too weird of an idea. No one could have predicted that the descendants of slaves could have adopted this and come up with what would become the dominant form of popular music in the whole world. That's the kind of thing real societies do with real technology. One of the things [William] Gibson has achieved is that he put some of that into his world. We've got information technology. How is it going to be used, not just by engineers who design products but by regular people who pick this stuff up and turn it to their own weird ends? Spam is another thing kind of like the electric guitar, though it's much darker, less palatable. Clearly the people who originated the technology never in their wildest dreams could have imagined that everyone on Earth who has e-mail would get 30 penis enlargement advertisements a day!”

Similarly we have the blogosphere (I find that term kinda goofy, but 'in the parlance of our times'...) as part of the internet, morphing from your average weblog/online diary sort of thing to a tool that seems to be taking on that somewhat antiquated/monolithic form of information distribution, in the "media". The Belmont Club makes an apt comparison: "Yet for good or ill, the genie is out of the bottle. Before the Gutenberg printing press men knew the contents of the Bible solely through the prism of the professional clergy, who could alone afford the expensively hand copied books and who exclusively interpreted it. But when technology made books widely available, men could read the sacred texts for themselves and form their own opinions. And the world was never the same again."

For most of us Bloggin' is pretty much a really fast and convient way to get ideas out of our heads so they can play with others. Now I'm talking to the contributers mostly, but this should go for everyone. If you've got a story, tell it. If you have a thought or point of view you want to vet, get it up here and see what happens. In the words of the immortal Lucas of "Lucas with the Lid off" fame: "Whatever bubbles, bubbles up". One way or another this blog should meet it's weird (bubbly) end.

8.25.2004

Aging

So I am being presented with continual signs that I am in fact Old. Or getting Old.
Most of these changes seem to be physical. Like how Ben has been able to (gleefully) pull out gray hairs from my head that I was completely oblivious to. I was temporarily relieved when he hadn't found one in a while, but he just said that he had stopped because it seemed to freak me out. Right. Then I found my first cluster of spiderveins swirling and scattering bluely right by my knee. A small patch, but evidence of my deterioration nonetheless. Perhaps the most troubling sign is the regularity of my bowels. I remember when I gave little thought to them--they expelled themselves freely and whimsically, with not a pattern to be seen. (This was a positive, I assure you). Now, I have a Pattern. Every morning, approxiomately 10 minutes after starting on my coffee, I start to feel the familiar rumblings. I'm reminded of my dad, who makes his regular trip to the bathroom just after dinner, newspaper or tv guide in hand, to spend a good 20 minutes letting his colon do it's dirty business. Right now I am pretty speedy at my task, but I am sure it is only a matter of time before I need Assistance in the form of a trusted friend--a book, today's paper, etc...
And what's more, my actions and activities have taken on a particularly Old Person tone to them. This whole drinking coffee thing--that's Old. I have my schedule--I get my medium coffee (cream and one sugar) from the Dunkin Donuts down the street from work. Maybe I'll toss in a sesame bagel (toasted with plain cream cheese). A few years ago I wouldn't have imagined myself being a coffee slave. Now I find myself crashing in the afternoon without it, and engaging in the cliched coffee work banter. ("Oh, don't talk to me, I haven't had my coffee!" or "Looks like someone hasn't had their coffee yet!" HA!) Add to that that the most exciting event in my life has been joining a local knitting group (We even have a clever knitting related club name!), and I have pretty much set myself up for middle-agedness. So anyone that wants to talk about back pain and different types of insurance plans--Look me up.

8.24.2004

FactChecking the Swiftvets

I would really like Kerry's people to come out with something as persuasive as this or this (relates to most recent SwiftVet ad), instead of layering on equally annoying counter-offensives that advocate the numbing of first amendment rights.

But then there are quibbles with the factchecking so who knows? In the end it seems that this bit should be a campaign aside, yes Kerry is staking his relevancy as candidate on his war record, but so is Bush. Which of these wars should be more important now?

8.23.2004

Yglesias breakdown of swiftvet ad

Here is a take on the whole Swiftboatvet's ad campaign. It seems reasonable to say that not all of the groups out there creating partisan ads are going about them the same way and the only spots that should carry weight are those that actually make it to TV, their intended destination. If that is the standard (I'm open to argument), Moveon.org doesn't share that much in common with the swifties aside from creating partisan ads. However a good portion of this mess could be solved by Kerry actually releasing his full records