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Tonight’s Debate is a social/political event in Shepherdstown, WV…

There is a Presidential Debate Watch Party tonight at the Opera House on German Street beginning at 7:30 tonight. The first hour and a half is a “pay what you canfundraiser for Stephen Skinner, Democratic candidate for State Delegate.

You can get there early and meet Skinner and his associates and sit with your friends in the theater to watch the debate on the big screen.

Hope to see you there.

In case you missed it, here is last night’s debate…

The whole video is below:

Feel free to post your comments.

 

Obama was the clear winner last night…

Without being merely a violent attacker, Obama went after Romney by pointing out the misinformation he passed along in point after point. Obama did it by ultimately being Presidential. Romney screwed up by being non-Presidential (and insulting to America‘s President, a tasteless move.)

I think I agree with Bill Maher in summing up Obama’s performance:

“Obama was decent enough to not piss on the CORPSE”

Obama has completely recovered from the problems with the first debate. He made sure the 47% statement of Romney got into the discussion after Romney tried to tell us that he was supportive of and trying to help the 100%.

“Not true, Governor Romney… not true” was the statement Obama had an ease of coming back with. Did he do an active attack like “liar, liar“? No… he was respectful, something Romney is not capable of.

I’m really looking forward to the third debate.

 

Curious about the public’s opinion of who really won the debate?

It seems that a couple of days of review by NBC using a new tool called ForSight, which is used to gauge public opinion in new media, that there is a sustained backlash against the punditry who had called the debate for Romney. The tool works by evaluating comments in social media.  According to results: if Romney “won”, he did so by lying, whereas Obama had won on substance.

Here’s the report:

The immediate consensus that Mitt Romney won Wednesday’s presidential debate has eroded significantly as fact-checkers have weighed in and supporters of President Barack Obama have fought back, according to NBCPolitics’ computer-assisted analysis of more than 1.3 million post-debate comments on social media.

The analysis suggests that as debate over a news event continues unmediated over time, the impact of the conventional wisdom of journalists and partisan commentators can be mitigated…

By Friday morning, the counterargument that Obama had actually won on substance had taken root, with online sentiment now favoring the president.

 

The stats from the evaluation:

The race isn’t over yet. Romney is not ahead in the public mind. I’m curious to see how the VP debate and the next two presidential debates go down.

Romney’s Debate Performance: Mostly Fiction

If you bought into Romney’s moderate image last night, then you ought to be aware that he was leading you on. Here’s media opinion done right after the debate:

These were only a couple of Romney’s falsehoods… there were plenty more.

This Debate Week… Wednesday is the Event.

 

As we get closer to the first presidential debate the news commentators are filled with comments on the pre-debate rehearsing each candidate is doing and speculation as to who is the better debater. Clips appear from Romney’s primary debates (never a 1 on 1 effort, however, always with three other candidates) and Obama‘s debates from the 2008 campaign. From what I see, they both have their strengths.

Romney says he has “zingers” ready to pull on Obama during the debate. What these are, however, is unclear… apparently written by his support staff and committed to memory by Mittens at his rehearsals. Obama is saying that he’s more interested in the seriousness of the debate as opposed to zingers, and, as far as I’m concerned, zingers are probably the best method for Romney to put his foot in his mouth once again.

Everyone seems to agree that if Romney doesn’t win this debate, he might as well give up the whole campaign effort. He needs to win it to be back as a potential winner.

 

Debate in a week… Is Romney ready?

 

We are a week away from the first debate and folks are wondering if this is where Romney will turn around the devastating performance and low poll numbers he has been experiencing as of late. We’re all watching closely as he campaigns today in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts today – two turn-around states where he is currently lower in the polls than Obama. Will he make a new gaffe..or tell of his support of Romneycare which still operates in Massachusetts and is literally the model for Obamacare,

Mitt the gaffemonger has to face a premiere challenge in the debates. More Americans will be watching him at one time than at any other time during the campaign. He can’t do obvious flip-flops for an hour or  talk in vague sound bite generalities on the issues. He has to be at least marginally specific and lay out the so called “plans” he keeps claiming he has. Wii he do it? Doubtful.

As to Obama in the debates, the general feeling is that this is his event to win and he probably will.

 

Hard to believe: Romney says Obama will lie in debates!

 

Mitt Romney says that he expects President Obama to lie in the Presidential debates. He said this on Good Morning America on national Television:

“…the challenge that I’ll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true. I’ve looked at prior debates, and in that kind of case, it’s difficult to say, ‘Well, am I going to spend my time correcting things that aren’t quite accurate? Or am I going to spend my time talking about the things I want to talk about?’”

Talk about the words of a liar… is it a good strategy to try and lay onto an opponent your own deficiencies.
What in hell does this man think he is pulling off here?

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Without immigration, where will we get more poor laborers?

Bruce Beattie, in the Daytona Beach News-Journal:

… see, if we just take over our own problems, immigration is unnecessary…

– and –

Jeff Danziger of the L.A.Times:

… now Arizona has the right (and I mean RIGHT) idea…

– and –

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

… of course a stand on the immigration issue could equal lots of Hispanic votes…

– and –

Steve Breen in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

… so who are the real problem creators here?

 

Quote for a Sunday (about Last Night’s Debate):

English: A photo of author and political comme...

“But the real lesson of this debate is that this crew is the worst assembled for the nomination of a major party that I can recall.”

 – Andrew Sullivan

So true, so true. And this debate was only topped by this morning’s update Debate – or Romney hunt – where the five other clowns got to continue sniping.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Trump Towers (above the candidates in the news)

Chan Lowe in the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

A wish is a dream your heart makes…

– and –

Stuart Carlson in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

This is going to be fun(ny)…

– and –

John Deering in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

First he has to review the candidates’ qualifications…

– and –

Gary Varvel in the Indianapolis Star:

…but no matter who is left in the debate, it’s really about Trump.

Debate Audience Does It Again…

It was bad enough that the Republican debate audience did the “let them die” chant at the previous gathering of dolts, last night they booed a gay soldier who asked a reasonable question: would these clowns back up the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.:

Take a look if you missed it:

If , as is estimated by some analysts, the gay population is about ten percent of the voting block, these damned fools don’t seem to mind that they’ve cut off another vote source.<img title=”Send Us Mail” src=”https://underthelobsterscope.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ppals1.jpg” alt=”” width=”72″ height=”72″ />

From a Massachusetts Businessman…

Devallon Bolles, PhD

My friend Devallon Bolles, who is a real-estate entrepreneur in Massachusetts, dropped this on Facebook after the Republican debate last night:

Enjoying the aftermath of the Iowa debates. As a MA resident for many years, I suffered under Romney’s governorship. Elected by promising jobs, state ranked 47th in job creation under him; He said he knew how to attract businesses. Businesses fled under him. Incredible that he would “run on his record.”

 

So, when Romney criticizes Obama on job creation, he has his record to stand on…No?

Why do they call these “Debates?”

I spend a lot of my time lately watching the House of Representatives on C-Span and the Senate on C-Span 2. In the last few weeks as the subject of the deficit and the National Debt dominate the programming when the two houses are in session (rarely on Mondays or Fridays while they are “traveling”).

So, on the three days a week that they are working, what do our “representatives” do?

Take away the committee hearings, many of which are not available to us, although C-Span works very hard to show as many as possible, and we are left with something they call “debates.” I don’t know about you, but I was in the Debating Club as a teenager and I have a pretty good idea of how a debate is structured. These alternating speeches by members of either house are really a series of statements conveying the points of view and policies that their parties have frozen into unchangeable position.

This is upsetting, because if one member comes up with a new idea, or an explanation of how history shows one action working and another failing… the great benefit of actual experience… the conclusion of the speech does not bring forth a discussion on those points from the opposition. Instead, we hear another speech ignoring the opposition’s points which, at its conclusion, faces the same ignorance by the other side.

So these alternating presentations do nothing to allow one side to convince the other of the value of a position. THEY ARE NOT LISTENING TO EACH OTHER! I have no idea why they go on with this farce… much less why they do it in front of us. the frustrated public that actually does listen, contacts their representatives’ offices, but rarely gets changes that they are looking for… often in large majorities of responders.

To top it off, the Congressmen and Senators of each side take their points of view, often very different, and constantly say “this is what the majority of Americans want.”

I’ll bet the majority of Americans would really like them to listen to each other and to the public and come up with real solutions to real problems.

I rest my case.

Did you see Jon Ronson on the Daily Show last night?

As Jon Stewart interviewed him on his book, The Psychopath Test, I realized this is one I have to get.

Here’s a video of Ronson:

It has started again… and they call this “debate”

The House is now continuing it’s “debate” on repealing the Affordable Health Care act. I say “debate” with a tongue in cheek.

Formal debate would consist of making points from both sides, thinking and responding to those points, and, hopefully, having both sides modify their positions for a bipartisan conclusion.

That is not what is happening here. We are back to alternating speeches with each side asserting the same points as the previous speakers on their side. There is no listening to each side (indeed, there are not enough House members in the hall at any given time to really make a difference… this is part of the reason that television cameras are placed by the House authorities to not show either the emptiness of the desks or the viewers in the balcony.

And this is going to go on for five hours…the true function seems to be to present their “advertising” points to the folks at home over C-Span. These are campaign speeches of the worst order aimed at the 2012 elections.

However, I can’t help but watch these Bozos as they say the same things as many different ways as possible. If only they would really talk about the things WE need in a country that is truly suffering.

Rand Paul has final debate with Conway in Kentucky…

Last night, in the final Rand Paul – Jack Conway debate for the Kentucky Senate seat, Paul decided to act like a real politician and ignore the actual questions that he didn’t want to answer, and changed the subject on some of the most important ones.

This from Salon:

Take, for instance, the subject of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Unless you’ve been in a coma for the past six months, you remember Paul’s notorious interview with Rachel Maddow back in May, when he objected to Title II of the act, which outlawed discrimination in restaurants, hotels, motels and other establishments that engage in interstate commerce. “Had I been around,” Paul told Maddow, “I would have tried to change that.” Only later, after a torrent of criticism rained down upon him, did Paul publicly state that he would have supported the entire ’64 Act.

When he was asked at Monday’s debate to calm any concerns voters might have on the issue, Paul played dumb. “I never said that I believed anything remotely regarding segregated lunch counters,” he said. “I never said I was for a repeal of the Civil Rights Act.” Then, without elaborating any further, he claimed that the entire controversy was manufactured by his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, who “doesn’t want to talk about a balanced budget and term limits and reading the bills.” Before you knew it, Paul was praising the Tea Party movement and bragging that he’d drawn 1,000 supporters at a recent rally in Paducah.

Steve Kornacki in Salon’s War Room

And outside of the debate, Paul’s supporters were acting like stormtroopers… which one woman from MoveOn.com (which is one of the most Ghandi-like non-violence movements I know) found out in a most unpleasant way:

I think what Harry Shearer said about Rand Paul is true:

The political spin on Paul is that he’s worrisome because he’s not within the standard lines of the modern political debate. I’d suggest he’s worrisome because he is.

– Harry Shearer

So now we have the rest of the week to watch this campaign where Paul is still favored in the polls (but Conway has been inching up). This will be quite an indication of the intelligence of the Nation.

Guns and Butter

We are spending $2 Billion a week in Afghanistan. If you want to see zeros, that’s $2,000,000,000.00 a week. It also means $104 Billion a year.

Meanwhile, we can’t afford to keep our education budgets in functional condition. We can’t reduce our National Debt. We can’t bring down our operating deficit. And we are spending a fortune on foreign servicing (read China) of our debt.

The Teacher/Jobs bill that was passed by the Senate goes to the House tomorrow. It MUST be passed there if we want teachers to keep their jobs, if we want to see class sizes remain small enough, if we want to have all the extra programs beyond basic ABC’s working in our children’s favor.

And what about the money we are still spending in IRAQ? Here is the remains of a military action that we get just about zero benefit from (we shouldn’t have been there in the first place… and now it turns out that the Bush Administration has been documented as planning the invasion of Iraq BEFORE 9/11!)

The debate that is going to come up right away…if not as I write this…is a Guns and Butter debate. Do we keep supplying useless wars or do we keep our own middle-class culture from dying out entirely? Watch the activities of Congress and listen to the coming election speeches if you don’t believe me.

Keeping up with the Senate… The Dems won, but no one seems to know why.

Here’s the review of the situation from Salon. I’ll give you a clip here, but go in and read the whole thing:
clipped from www.salon.com

Media: We don’t know what happened — but Dems won

The lack of details regarding the deal Senate Democrats cut with Senate Republicans to allow debate to proceed on the financial reform bill is a bit worrying. But that has not stopped and will not stop the press from pronouncing this a “big win” for Democrats. They just might’ve won the privilege of making the bill less effective!

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., right, and the committee’s ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
But we don’t know what happened yet. Maybe when Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate would pull an all-nighter, that actually broke the Republican will to delay. Or maybe Chris Dodd, D-Conn., offered Richard Shelby some sort of minor, face-saving concession. Or maybe Richard Shelby won an actual concession.
According to “Roll Call,” “one Democratic source said Republicans had been promised votes on an unspecified number amendments.”
blog it

Was Shakespeare a Woman?

This is of interest to me  and has been over the years… who actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays? At Northwestern in the sixties, we would sit around in the  school snack bar and argue bits and pieces from the things we were reading in Theatre History classes and Shakespearian Play classes and these discussions were mostly fun and rarely convincing.

Like most of the Theatre Community, we always got back to the majority belief that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare and, anyway, what does it really matter? We have the plays and for around 420 years they have been studied, performed, debated and loved like the works of no other playwright before or since.

This morning, however, as I did my morning shuffle through blogs and websites, I checked into seeing what was in Toronto’s Globe and Mail (actually I was looking for a Canadian comment on the election in Massachusetts) and found the article on whether Shakespeare might have actually been Amelia Bassano Lanier, a converso (clandestine Jew) and the illegitimate daughter of an Italian-born, Elizabethan court musician.

Michael Posner, who wrote the article, cites John Hudson’s 5000 word essay in The Oxfordian, from Oxford University Press (the 18 page document may be downloaded from Scribd …which in itself is worth a visit if you are interested in sharing interesting manuscripts… in pdf format for your computer) which makes a well-documented case for the highly educated, world-traveled Amelia, who might also have been “The Dark Lady Of The Sonnets” – and may even have written those sonnets under Shakespeare’s name.

This clip from Posner’s article lays out a big chunk of Hudson’s proof:

Similarly, it makes no obvious sense that there should be spoken Hebrew in Shakespeare’s plays. No Jews lived openly in Elizabethan England – even clandestinely, the community did not number more than 200. Only a small fraction of those could read the language. The likelihood that Shakespeare himself knew it is nil. Yet Mr. Hudson says that scholars have identified dozens of transliterations of Hebrew words in the Shakespearean canon, as well as quotations from the Talmud and allusions to the Mishnah.

Finally, he asks, why would a man whose works portray well-educated, proto-feminist women raise his own daughters as illiterates, as Shakespeare did? Bassano, on the other hand, made feminist history when she became the first English woman to publish a book of original poetry – the 3,000-line Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (Hail God, King of the Jews), a satire sometimes known as “Eve’s Apology,” published in 1611.

Mr. Hudson has found connections between that book and the plays, in their biblical allusions and, he argues, their common references to the late medieval writings of French lawyer Christine de Pisan. He also contends that both the poem and the plays contain vengeful parodies of Christian thought.

Hudson’s article, which I won’t reproduce here, is dense and loaded with much more information. Hudson has also sent comment mailings which are posted at the end of Posner’s article.

If you are interested in having a great read and something to debate with your Theatre or English Lit friends, then take a look at these two pieces and have a ball.

Me… I’m going back to my reading….

UPDATE: If you check the Comments you will find that John Hudson has posted a video of a portion of a lecture he gave at Eastern Connecticut State University on the published study on Amelia Bassano Lanier,

Saturday House of Reps’ Session… great TV!

I’m watching the House being chaired by Representative John Dingell (D – Michigan) as the House Health Care Bill is debated which has been scheduled for 4 hours. As the Democrats take their first half hour of bringing up their issues , the Republicans are injecting objection after objection laced with Parliamentary Inquiries to interrupt the Democrats. This is both to break up and perhaps expand the time allotted without getting anywhere.

Dingell is keeping his frustration level down, but I can see the blood bubbling up here. Initially, this is working in the Repub’s favor… but as it goes on it makes them look very silly. I’m very impressed with Dingell and this is not doing anything to make me think more of the Repiglicans… but I don’t think they care what people think of them.

If you are near C-Span this morning, get yourself some popcorn and settle in for the show.

…and to start off our morning with 2 quotes:

Here is an interchange betweenKarl Rove and Howard Dean from a live debate yesterday that I wish I had seen. Rove had said that Medicare rejects claims twice as often as the overall health insurance industry, and he promised to put the proof in his Wall Street Journal column next week:

“That’s a made up statistic, Karl Rove. . . . For the first time tonight, I’m calling you on it. You made that up.”

– Howard Dean

“And I would appreciate it if you didn’t question my integrity. . . . Mr. Dean, you just called me a liar and I don’t appreciate it.”

– Karl Rove

If only Rove was called on it more often.

Watch the Advertising… The Health Care fight is getting heavier on both sides.

As I wait for Obama to give his speech to the joint houses of Congress tonight,  I am seeing ads all over the place pushing every possible view on reforming health care. I’ve seen late-night ads by independent (although obviously right-wingnut) organizations pushing every lie that has been raised on Health Care Reform, from Death Panels to to a statement that the majority of Americans are happy with what they’ve got. I’ve seen the AARP come out pushing reform in Health Care and not to shy away from changes that have to be made.

Here is a page from today’s NY Times (as a matter of clarification and integrity, I was one of the petition signers mentioned):

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When I turned the TV on this morning I saw this ad by Michael Steele and the Republican National Committee:

Mark Silva in the Chicago Tribune blog, The Swamp, says about this ad:

In political circles, there is a term for the tactic that the Republican National Committee is deploying with a new run of national cable ads and TV ads airing in Florida:

“Medi-scare.”

With its ad touting a “Seniors’ Bill of Rights,” the RNC is capitalizing on fears that Medicare will be undermined in the health-care initiatives that Democratic leaders in Congress are debating, and that the government will force “end-of-life” decisions. … The suggestion for a seniors’ bill of rights, something that everyone can agree on, overlooks the fact that what everyone is having trouble agreeing on is a national plan that offers health insurance for people who lack it. Senior citizens are insured.

And no where, of course, does Steele mention Insurance Companies and the obscene profits they make denying claims.

So we wait tonight for Barack Obama to take control of the situation. The talking heads on television are debating “public option” and “triggered” public option (which I like to think of as the Roy Rogers’ Horse Plan) or whether the Democrats will sign on if there is no public option at all.

Meanwhile, the Insurance company lobbyists are getting their jollies on by keeping both sides at each others’ throats.

Under The LobsterScope

Quote of the Day

“I know there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness.”

– Barack Obama commenting to a multidenominational

group of pastors, rabbis and other religious leaders in a telephone meeting.