No Bailout

The first bailout has epic failed in the House. From the article:

The overriding question for congressional leaders was what to do next. Congress has been trying to adjourn so that its members can go out and campaign. And with only five weeks left until Election Day, there was no clear indication of whether the leadership would keep them in Washington. Leaders were huddling after the vote to figure out their next steps.

You already have the advantage of incumbency. How about you stop looking ahead of the current crisis and stay in session until you get this thing worked out, Congresspeople?

Thoughts on First Presidential Debate

Some initial thoughts on the first presidential debate:

– Jim Lehrer’s “say it to him” shtick at the beginning made him sound awkwardly like a marriage counselor.

– I’m surprised the post-debate polls seem to have scored it so clearly for Obama.  I didn’t think there was a clear winner, though I do think a tie on the foreign policy debate is a great outcome for Obama.

– I was disappointed with both candidates’ answers on the bailout issue.  Clearly it would have been foolish to say “I do” or “I don’t” support the plan, but it was a missed opportunity to demonstrate leadership by laying out a clear framework for what a successful plan ought to look like.

– McCain advocates a federal government “spending freeze” on everything except defense, Veterans’ Affairs, and entitlement programs?  This is a huge policy proposal.  Why isn’t everyone talking about this today? 

– “You’ve sung songs about bombing Iran.” – it’s nice to finally see the Democratic candidate hitting back hard instead of going on defense.  There’s something to be said for Chicago politicians.

– When McCain forces a smile even though he’s kind of annoyed, he looks like Skeletor having dinner with the in-laws.

– Don’t the VP candidates normally appear on all the networks for post-debate commentary?  Interesting that one campaign decided to take a different tack.  That’s so maverick!


The Debate is On!

It was a close-run thing, but John McCain and Barack Obama will debate tonight, just a few scant days after McCain “suspended his campaign” to go fix all the high finance crap going down in the nation’s capital.

I’m sure this is because McCain cat-herded the bailout meetings to a successful conclusion after heading back to DC in such an all-fired hurry, and not because the average voter’s response to McCain’s campaign suspension seems to have been “the fuck’s he going on about? does he want to be President or not?”

Aw, Snap?

Google Chrome, which I’ve been testing out for a couple of weeks as my primary browser, does something very strange when it crashes:

Sad Tab: the Sad Mac of the Internet Generation

“Aw, Snap!”? I thought it was “Oh Snap!” Hell, let’s check Google’s own search engine: nearly two million results for “oh snap” versus about 25,000 results for “aw snap”.

A usage model for the term “Oh Snap!”. “Aw Snap!” is conspicuously absent.

Last time JesusH covered a corporation dicking up a pop culture reference, they started taking it in the shorts just scant months later. Watch yourselves, Google.

Going for Two

Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has already been widely praised in the postgame writeups for his “gutsy decision” to go for the two-point conversion after the Broncos scored a touchdown to pull to 37-38 with only 24 seconds left in Sunday’s game against the Chargers.

This was not a gutsy decision. This was an obvious decision, especially for a coach of Shanahan’s tenure who has plenty of job security and doesn’t need to worry about everyone in the world second-guessing him to the team’s owner the Monday after the move doesn’t work.

You might argue that, especially on their home turf, the Broncos ought to play for overtime, but that argument falls flat when looking at the current state of the game. Just like last week, the Chargers started off with a very limp effort, but this time they turned it on at halftime instead of waiting until midway through the second half–they had scored 21 straight points, capped with a nifty two-point conversion of their own, and the defense had pitched a shutout until the Denver TD. If this game had gone to OT, it wouldn’t have been the 50-50 or close to it affair that most overtime action tends to be.

Sure, you lose the game if you miss the conversion, but according to the stats I can find on the subject with a couple minutes of googling, the two-point try is trending towards a 50% success rate in the NFL. I’ll totally take that over playing for a tie and having to run my team out against a superior team in overtime, and Shanahan made the right call.

Not that it should have gotten to this point… I’ll also take awful work from the broadcast booth over awful work from the referees anyday. Denver was gifted a turnover when an “equipment failure” kept NFL Ref Strongest Man Ed Hochuli from seeing that Chris Chambers was down before being stripped, which everyone with a TV tuned to CBS saw multiple times while he was trying to work that out. In the fourth quarter, the Broncos got another present when Jay Cutler’s fumble was improperly whistled dead by Hochuli before the Chargers recovered. Not a good day at the office for the zebras, unless you’re a Bronco fan.

Rosario Dawson, Actress/Tight End

I generally don’t care about accuracy in football play-by-play, but it was really weird how many people couldn’t keep Panthers tight end Dante Rosario and actress Rosario Dawson straight during the Chargers loss yesterday.

Often mistaken for one another on Sunday.

* broadcast team Dick Stockton and Brian Baldinger, who did horrible jobs in general, made the mistake more than once.
* the postgame UPS Leaderboard graphic gave props to Rosario Dawson’s 7 catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.
* hours later, after the Sunday night game, NBC’s local “Football Night in San Diego” commentator Akbar Gbaja-Biamila referred to Rosario as Dawson at least once on camera.

I know Dante Rosario’s not a big name football-wise, but who knew Rosario Dawson had such a high Q score in NFL circles?

Google Chrome

You might have heard Google has a browser out. I’ve been a Firefox user for years now but as I’ve followed the recommended upgrade path the browser has gotten slower and less stable in exchange for a bunch of features I don’t really care about. After Firefox 3 crashing twice yesterday, I downloaded Chrome and have been using it for the last 24 hours. So far, here’s what I’m seeing:

* it seems faster and more responsive than both Firefox and IE. Fast page loads, fast scrolling.

* I’ve read about incompatibilities with some webpages but haven’t been bitten by any myself yet. The only feature I miss is right-clicking to get to dictionary when I misspell something in an edit window like the one I’m typing this in. I’m sure that’s coming soon.

* The tabs got moved up top of the browser window. I’m not at all sure that’s a win–further to go with the mouse to get to them now. Otherwise they’re easily re-orderable and popping them out to make their own windows is a neat touch.

* The address bar is smart: if it can’t resolve what you type as a URL it’ll function as a search engine, so no need to have a separate search engine text entry box. Duh. This seems like such obvious behaviour I don’t know why every browser doesn’t do this, so kudos to Google for implementing it.

* Things I’m having trouble getting used to:

+ no stop button–weird! It’s actually there, but it’s all the way to the right of the address bar and that’s not intuitive for me when compared to the standard browser. I use ‘stop’ a lot more than ‘bookmark’ (at the left of the address bar) so I would switch the location of the two if I could.
+ no ‘home’ button–I use this all the time in my other browsers. I could turn it on, but my homepage is also the first link in the bookmarks link bar so I’m going to try to get used to clicking that.
+ no menu bar across the top of the app. I’m not sure I like this.

* Some of Chrome’s most vaunted features are useless to me. The New Tab behaviour is that when you create a new tab, Chrome loads a ‘you usually do these things with a new tab–click to do one of them now’ page. If you have a personal web page you use as your homepage I’d hope that you’d already have set it up to fill that need.

* The Safe Browsing features, which raise alarms when you visit sites that Google thinks might be phishing or pushing malware, are probably useful if you like to visit dodgy sites and click every link that asks you to install weird software. Those of us who aren’t browsing like ten-year-olds have probably never had a problem with this stuff. I don’t need the additional security, and when it identified as suspect a site I visit every day with no problems, I turned it off.

* Running each tab as its own process actually does work the way Google claimed–one tab would slow down while doing something and I’d flip to another and it’d be running full-speed. Nice!

* That said, Chrome’s already gotten balled-up enough I had to restart the entire thing once. Sad face.

* I miss the “did you mean to close all 20 tabs you had open” dialog box Firefox gives me when I click the close app button. I usually didn’t mean to do that.

I’ll keep playing with it. It’s definitely promising.

Abstinence-based Sex Ed: Epic Fail

There are a lot of amusing angles to discuss about John McCain’s recent choice of Gov. Sarah Palin as his ticket mate, but here’s the one that just kills me: she’s apparently a good choice for McCain to appease social conservatives due to her stances on, among other things, sex education. Palin supports ‘abstinence-based sex ed’ in schools, which as near as I can tell is someone getting up in front of a classroom and saying “premarital sex is wrong, you might get pregnant, no birth control is 100% effective, sexually-transmitted diseases can be bad news, any questions?”

Here’s the problem: not only is there no evidence that this actually accomplishes anything as far as keeping teens from having sex, it didn’t even work in Palin’s own family, as her oldest daughter, Bristol Palin, is pregnant at 17. If you can’t keep your own nuclear family in line with the unmarried-young-sex-is-bad party line, how is this message possibly going to resonate anywhere else?

And if you acknowledge that people generally like to have sex and won’t all listen when you wag your finger (or other appendage) at them and tell them not to, wouldn’t you want them to be educated about how to protect themselves and their partners from STDs and unintended pregnancy? No, I guess you’d want them to get married young and that makes everything all right.

I tell you what, some people are so stupid it’s lucky for them breathing is an unconscious reflex.