Various and Sundry, 9/7/12

Many things to do today (well, one big thing, several small things), but before I wander off to do them:

* It looks like you will finally be able to see the entire Hugo ceremony after all: It will stream in its entirety next Sunday starting at 8pm Eastern (i.e., an hour before it actually started last Sunday) and will be available on demand subsequently. Here’s the link to the channel. I’m excited about this because I will finally be able to watch the thing. I heard it was okay, as long as you overlook the emcee, who I understand was a bit of a dork.

* My pal of old, James Lileks, has written a new novel and decided to publish it himself — one of three new novels he says he will publish in relatively rapid order. This makes me happy because I enjoy his writing and was wondering when/if he’d ever get around to publishing a new novel. I’ve already downloaded it and plan to read it, uh, when I am done cramming through all the writing I am supposed to be doing myself. It’s a carrot I’m holding over my own head to get the damn thing done, basically.

* People have been pinging me about my thoughts on the Democratic National Convention. Folks, I didn’t watch it. I didn’t watch the Republican National Convention, either. In both cases I had other things to do — prepping/traveling to/being at Chicon 7 for the RNC, Writing and catching up on work and family time for the DNC. My understanding from others is that the RNC was a bit of a mess, the DNC was a bit better organized, neither Romney nor Obama gave truly memorable speeches but also didn’t step into a bear trap either, and that in the end what both Republicans and Democrats can agree on is that they’re nostalgic for Bill Clinton, albeit probably for different reasons. All of this seems perfectly reasonable to me.

* Going back to Chicon 7, I find myself running in about second gear in the days afterward — I thought I had avoided the dreaded con crud, but in fact I appear to have developed a late-onset version which only revealed itself after we got home, which is making me sleepy and mildly cranky. This is no good because I have a lot of work. The makes me even more cranky, which makes me even more predisposed to nap. It is a vicious cycle, it is.

And now I’m done. Off to work like a working thing.

69 thoughts on “Various and Sundry, 9/7/12

  1. 3rd pip, on conventions: party conventions are so last-century, so you didn’t miss anything. I’m judging this by the whole half hour I devoted to each one.

  2. “Better organized”? Three voice votes by acclamation to see if putting God back into the platform could get a 2/3 majority? “Let’s do it again”. And then after the third try simply ignoring the equal volume and deciding that it passed because it would be embarrassing to fail? Both conventions would be better if they had some clogging and banjo acts to at least add some entertainment.

  3. I’ll throw my two cents in here. The two best speeches by professional politicians were from Rubio on the Republican side and Clinton for the Democrats. I would give the edge to Clinton. The best speech by a regular person came from a woman whose terminally ill young son was befriended by Romney. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I cried like a baby.

    As far as the organization of the two conventions, I’m going to have to agree with Old Leatherneck. The whole God controversy at the DNC was ridiculous. A Republican congressional candidate is already running an ad showing them denying God three times, with a subtle allusion to the biblical relevance.

    Also, the DNC couldn’t fill the outdoor arena for Obama’s speech so they moved it to a much smaller arena and blamed it on the weather, which looked pretty bad. Oh, and the Democrat delegate threatening to kill Romney was a bit over the top as well.

  4. The Conventions were so relevant that I did not even watch The Daily Show coverage of them.

    From what I hear the RNC was more organized than the DNC, but in the way a horsepill is more organized than a zesty gumbo.

  5. What is the point to watching the conventions? They are just show pieces. Your better off checking the newspaper the next day, so they can give you a summary and then a list of the lies and half truths. I remember when I was a kid and the conventions were on for 3 hours/night on all 3 networks. There were alot less cable channels back then too. It sucked.

  6. RE: the DNC “God” vote.

    That angry athiest we all saw in the crowd is going to become a symbol of the election. He was FURIOUS and we saw that and that’s going to be a damper on not only Obama’s reelection but in their chances at retaking the house or holding the senate.

    As an agnostic, who really has doubt in the existence God, I think it’s good to have a political party make reference to a “God” even if it is poorly defined. Most humans need a higher power to look to and believe that he (or it) is guiding their representatives towards justice. Take away “God” and that higher power instinct goes looking for something, anything, to replace it. And, history has shown, that in many cases, that becomes “The State”. Which Dems have already begun worshipping. I mean, can any political ad be as creepy as the DNC one explicitly saying “government is the only thing we all belong to”.

  7. @Bearpaw,

    Seriously? Where in the 1st amendment is God, denied?

    Here, let me paste it for you

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  8. I love how the wingers are all a-flutter about the Dems supposedly “anti-God” voice votes, after Repubs mostly averted their eyes from the shenanigans regarding the Ron Paul delegates. Which unsurprisingly echo their voter-suppression efforts in various places, thinly-disguised as bad responses to non-existent problems.

  9. Seriously? Where, in those voice votes, was God denied?

    If you want to wet your pants about Christianists being (unsuccessfully) denied, you might have a point … a whiny one.

  10. Ah, and “Christianists” the hobgoblin of small, Leftie minds.

    What, are you afraid they might actually preach at you? Or maybe wash your feet? Sing you a Christmas Carol? Give you an Easter egg?

    Those EVIL “Christianists” will stop at NOTHING! Nothing I tell you! Until they control our precious bodlily fluids!

  11. John, the Hugo rebroadcast is at 7 Central, which is 8 Eastern, according to the press release.

    the DNC couldn’t fill the outdoor arena for Obama’s speech so they moved it to a much smaller arena and blamed it on the weather

    Well, that’s a lie, but you knew that. For anyone else: in fact there was a waiting list of 17,000 people to get into the stadium. And they couldn’t allow umbrellas for security reasons…so it would have been a MESS.

  12. Xopher, It’s not a lie. You are falling for a spin job, and should know better. It’s not a big deal to me. If you want to swallow a load of bs go ahead, but the last thing they wanted was a sea of empty chairs, a la Clint Eastwood’s bit. That is the truth.

  13. The comments here are far more entertaining than watching the DNC or the RNC. Or maybe it’s the anticipation of the glorious hammer coming down that is entertaining.

  14. Fell for a spin job? Well, so did CBS then: Moving Obama speech indoors a disappointment for volunteers

    The Democrats aren’t like the GOP. They at least don’t lie if they’ll be caught at it easily! You don’t think the existence or lack of same of the waiting list will come out during the campaign?

    You’re just going to keep on repeating the lie, just like you did with the other lie in the other thread (well, to be fair you stopped repeating it but you never admitted being wrong). Because that’s how your side plays (like Lyin’ Ryan, who is not going to stop his bullshitting just because everyone in the press has pointed out he was lying).

  15. Just putting it out there that I can run a sub-three-hour marathon. I just never bothered running the full marathon to prove it.

  16. Xopher, Hahaha. Yeah, CBS is totally unbiased in their political coverage. Get a grip, my friend. How about I use Breitbart News for a source and see how you like it. The days when everyone just sits back and accepts the major networks to filter their news are over.

  17. Did anybody else catch the ‘crying redshirt’ on Google’s doodle today? Looks like he’s not looking forward to the away mission.

  18. So, Democrats had the sense to come in out of the rain, but Republicans complained about it? Are the Republicans seriously wanting to send out a message that says they don’t have the sense to get out of the rain? That’s not a good message to stand on. Politics, it would be funny if it weren’t also so depressing.

  19. Again, CBS gives a damn if they’re caught lying (so they attributed the information to the DNC, which, if they’re lying, will pay the price). Breitbart doesn’t. They just care if they get enough of the people to believe them enough of the time. Fox “News” is the same way.

  20. Cindy Lou, If you pull the lever on the transporter you can go to the planet where Kirk fights the lizard guy. If you make Kirk pick up the rock and throw it, it bounces off the lizard and whacks the redshirt. Good stuff.

  21. Xopher, you are so right, CBS gives a damn if they GET CAUGHT LYING. They are perfectly happy to pass along a lie, or do it themselves as long as they aren’t caught. That’s their idea of journalism. If you want to believe that is ethical and unbiased it’s your prerogative, but I think it’s naive.

    Here is a fact for you from a quick google search (wiki): The Democratic Party received a total donation of $1,020,816, given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks (NBC, CBS, ABC), while the Republican Party received only $142,863 via 193 donations. Both of these figures represent donations made in 2008.

  22. @Guess – What is the point to watching the conventions? They are just show pieces. Your better off checking the newspaper the next day, so they can give you a summary and then a list of the lies and half truths.

    One point is to try to figure out who is going to be running next election cycle. Who are the up-and-coming Democrats (or Republicans, but I think I already know those names)? The nation just got a better look at Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker (both of whom I knew about), and Julián Castro (who I’d never heard of). It worked for Obama.

  23. The Google doodle (is that a Goodle?) is great; with non-traditional abuse of a RedShirt.

    Speaking of which, Scalzi, I’ve now finished RedShirts, and it is hilariously and lovingly excellent; the codas move it to superb. I hope one of your secret projects is that it becomes a movie.

  24. John: got it.

    Kevin: that sort of thing makes me cringe. I remember what happened with Sarah Palin’s “quote” about being able to see Russia from her house. I didn’t find out until after the election that that was an SNL parody of what she actually said. It was wrong to use that against her (much as I hate her, don’t get me wrong) as if she actually said it.

  25. @AlanM – also up-and-coming for the Democrats: Tammy Duckworth. I’ve been a fan of hers even pre-politics, from this piece on C-SPAN: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/186070-3

    It’s almost three hours long, so nobody will watch it, but I thought it was well worth the time. Tammy Duckworth show up around minute 48.

  26. Of course, we all know why they dropped “God” from the platform: the stage wasn’t big enough for TWO Messiahs. Seriously, looking at how His supporters act when talking about him you would have guessed he was the second coming.

    Well, he is to THEM.

    Dropping the recognition of Jerusalem is just part and parcel of the growing anti-semitic fringe in the DNC and the left. The GOP at least had the decency to ostracize their anti-Semitic fr ge.

  27. Speaking as a non-Christian (yet also not an atheist) I wish politicians etc would leave their God at home. I don’t bring my gods to the polls.

    Speaking as someone with cancer, I really wish these events would quit using the terminally ill to get the pity votes. It’s exploitative.

    That’s my take on these conventions.

  28. To quote Mr Krugman:
    “What we remember from the RNC is Chris Christie revealing himself as an egomaniac blowhard, Paul Ryan blowing up his undeserved reputation for honesty in a matter of days, and Clint Eastwood losing a debate with an empty chair.”

    The RNC was nothing but s procession of bad speeches, poor logic, economic illiteracy and bigotry. The morons even forgot to thank the troops!

  29. On the subject of the Hugo streaming, I find it interesting the amount of general media coverage it got (albeit one assuming the viewers were all fanboys in their parent’s basement and another assuming it was legions of Neil Gaiman fans). It is also interesting that Vobile has thrown blame back at ustream for the outage. In any case, when the Nebula Awards were streamed by the service, nothing like that happened (or is SFWA an ad-free customer?) I think clips were shown there for the Bradbury Award nominees as well, but I don’t really remember. What I do remember is John and Neil having a battle with the two statues afterwards and telling Neil he should plan to pick up a Hugo award for the episode as well.

  30. Well, I enjoyed watching both conventions. I wouldn’t call the two conventions a wash.

    The Democrats made a clearer case of what their platform is, despite the embarrassment of the voice vote. Any person who listened to most of Clinton’s speech will know exactly where the Democrats want to go. (Unfortunately, only 3% (my snarky estimate) of the people listened to all of Clinton’s speech.)

    The Republicans had a very hard sell to make, because they can’t focus on social issues without condemning themselves to three months of Romney flip-flop ads. They can’t mention specific fiscal policies because they would be compared to G. W. Bush for three months. They were just left with smiling and vaguely mentioning how bad Obama is. I miss the 2008 convention with “Momma Grizzlies” and “Drill, baby, drill.” That’s when Republicans told you what they stood for.

    As for Clint Eastwood, I’m pretty sure he was trolling the Republicans pretty hard. Eastwood criticized Obama for keeping Guantanamo open and for starting the Afghanistan War. Republicans want Guantanamo open, and want to keep the Afghanistan War going until the end (what ever that is.) Further, the war started when Bush was in Office. Eastwood also criticized Obama for being a lawyer, but Romney also went to Harvard Law School. It sounds to me like Eastwood just took a page out of Stephen Colbert’s playbook.

  31. MPAVictoria,

    Quoting Paul Krugman and then calling his enemies “economically illiterate” has to be the biggest irony ever. I mean, do you actually believe massively increasing spending, borrowing and taxing will produce more jobs and a prosperous economy?

    If you do you must have failed math and logic.

    Paul “the magical-thinking” Krugman approves, I guess.

  32. I’d like to watch the ceremony, if only to see Our Host acting goofy. There’s also the happiness of the winners to enjoy vicariously, of course.

  33. Con crud?

    You should try using that alcohol-based hand gel.

    If that don’t work, rub it all over thyself.

    Heck the worst that’ll happen is someone will think you’re a dork…. Which they already do.

  34. Oh silly Scorpius, you ignore the staggering economic growth and full employment thanks to massive deficit spending during World War 2. That solved the Great Depression, in which unregulated banks and stock markets failed.
    The economic polices of the Bush Administration caused the economic collapse. Mostly the part of allowing banks and mortgages providers to regulate themselves. Take out the movie Inside Job, for a full description.
    How is Romney economic plan different from Bush’s economic polices? Policies that lead to economic failure.

  35. @John B,

    It’s hard to argue with a person spouting canned partisan talking points that have no merit. WWII spending didn’t end the Great Depression, it was a temporary reprieve from the horribly bad Keynesian policies started under Hoover and continued (with much more enthusiasm) under Roosevelt. It was the policies after the war that killed the depression (you know, cutting taxes and regulation) combined with the fact that we had pretty much the only industrial and agricultural centers left in the world.

    Oh, and it wasn’t “deregulation” that caused the Depression; it was Keynesian borrowing and spending. Anyone who investigates on his own the history would know that. Put down the NYTs and stop listening to Paul Krugman; they’re propagandists.

    And it wasn’t “deregulation” that killed the economy recently; it was the CRA (the Community Reinvestment Act). Which started in 1977 encouraging banks to give loans to people who couldn’t pay them back. Pushed forward by the likes of Obama when he was a community organizer (he sued in the 90s because certain banks had an unacceptably low percentage of black people with home loans). Pushed with enthusiasm by Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid when they swept into Congress in 2007 (hint: around about a year before the collapse happened).

    Let’s just face it: you got nothing but spin. But spin if Obama is reelected will probably finally destroy us as a major economic power. It’s been downhill ever since O took the Oath.

  36. I disagree with convention observations. RNC had to deal with hurricane so any issues with it running smoothly would be related to that. DNC on the other hand started off rocky with big issue over God and Jereusalem and the wailing and crying over that, which was funny to watch. Romney speech was ok, but its easy to talk when the current guy is such a failure. Obama, would be ok except for the it’s not my fault and I need more time whine which make anything he says not important. Eastwood said it best, when someone does not do the job, you have to let them go.
    Scorpius hit it clearly on the head with the CRA debacle and it the further craziness that democrats pushed for it to include. Clearly the major blame for housing market and financial markets fiasco that has been the cause of much turmoil. And here were are 3 and half years later, things are not any better. TIme for the bum to go.

  37. John, I hate to be rude, but you’re going to have to issue a stronger statement on diverting conversations in comments into the election in non-election-topiced posts pretty f’ing soon…

  38. @ Scorpius:
    I’d say that “cutting taxes” is not a good description of American economic policy in the aftermath of WWII. Yes, the top bracket went down from 94% in 1945 to 82.13% in 1948, but once Eisenhower got into office it went up again to 91% and didn’t get any lower until Johnson was in office. The current top rate people talk about raising is of course 35%. My source for the numbers is the
    Tax Policy Center
    at Brookings.

    As for the CRA and the financial crises, here’s the conclusion of an article from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis:
    “Two basic points emerge from our analysis of the available data. First, only a small portion of subprime mortgage originations is related to the CRA. Second, CRA-related loans appear to perform comparably to other types of subprime loans. Taken together, the available evidence seems to run counter to the contention that the CRA contributed in any substantive way to the current mortgage crisis.”

  39. We got a mild bit of Con Crud, though I think ours was mostly cross-country airplane flight crud.

    I too am very sleepy but luckily have nothing that needs to be done except catch up on my intarwebs. And all the books I bought at the con.

    People, I have seen The Mallet (Chicago-style) in person and it is truly amazing.

  40. “Jim” Lileks he isn’t. I’ve been familiar with his work since his columns in the alt-weekly City Pages (Minneapolis) 30 years ago when he was “James r Lileks”. I’m glad he’s able to make a living – I like his sense of humor / sense of pop culture (although not his association with persons such as Hugh Hewitt). For those who don’t know: Lileks’ career, like our host’s, involves daily or near-daily updates to a personal blog in existence since before the turn of the century; in both cases, published books eventually resulted from material first posted online.

    Regarding the conventions, the biggest surprise among all the speeches I caught (mostly on radio, NPR, while doing other things) was how good, even funny, John Kerry’s foreign policy speech was. He might be president today if he’d been this engaging in 2004.

  41. “It’s hard to argue with a person spouting canned partisan talking points that have no merit.”

    I like how you typed that all the way out, and still hit “post”.

  42. @ George Herbert: I wouldn’t think a post titled “various and sundry” that explicitly mentions the conventions as one-quarter of the varied sundries would be definitionally a non-election topic.

    @ East Coast Girl: Said entertaining political comments and the occasional well-merited Malleting are what prompted me to start reading this blog regularly just about exactly four years ago. It’s a shame that John expects to be so busy in September; I hope October will allow him to set loose a few insightful political posts and monitor the results with his usual care.

  43. Well, I couldn’t stomach much of the RNC, which just seemed to be the usual rubbish recycled. Even the fact checkers who normally go out of their way to pretend “both sides do it” have had to rip Ryan’s claims to shreds. I did catch more of the DNC. The amendment was just bizarre and undemocratic, but Biden was quite good, and what I caught of Obama was very good. I would say both of those speeches were far better than they’ve been portrayed in the media – it’s worth looking at the transcripts if you’ve got time. Now, rather unexpectedly, even John Kerry, who was fighting in Vietnam while Romney was hiding in France, had some great lines. For example:
    It isn’t fair to say Mitt Romney doesn’t have a position on Afghanistan. He has every position. He was against setting a date for withdrawal – then he said it was right – and then he left the impression that maybe it was wrong to leave this soon. He said it was ‘‘tragic’’ to leave Iraq, and then he said it was fine. He said we should’ve intervened in Libya sooner. Then he ran down a hallway to duck reporters’ questions. Then he said the intervention was too aggressive. Then he said the world was a ‘‘better place’’ because the intervention succeeded. Talk about being for it before you were against it! Mr. Romney – here’s a little advice: Before you debate Barack Obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself!
    On reading the comments here, it’s actually pretty amusing to see how little resemblance to reality Scorpius’ little fantasy world seems to bear.

  44. What I thought was really funny was Sarah Palin’s rebuttal to Kerry’s speech, where she defends the “I can see Russia from here” remark, apparently forgetting that she never said that. I knew it was a Tina Fey line to begin with, and kind of boggled.

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