Clinton deftly managed Trump into collapse

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Ezra Klein has a wonderful piece on Vox, "Hillary Clinton’s 3 debate performances left the Trump campaign in ruins," that well describes the master class in managing a bully into hanging himself these general election debates have been. Klein points out how Clinton pushed all Trump's buttons and practically had him performing tricks on command.

Via Vox:

Trump’s meltdown wasn’t an accident. The Clinton campaign coolly analyzed his weaknesses and then sprung trap after trap to take advantage of them.

Clinton’s successful execution of this strategy has been, fittingly, the product of traits that she’s often criticized for: her caution, her overpreparation, her blandness. And her particular ability to goad Trump and blunt the effectiveness of his political style has been inextricable from her gender. The result has been a political achievement of awesome dimensions, but one that Clinton gets scarce credit for because it looks like something Trump is doing, rather than something she is doing — which is, of course, the point.

It began in the first debate. "Donald," she kept saying. No one quite knows why Trump so loathes the sound of his first name, but he does. He quickly tried to shame Clinton into showing him more respect. "Secretary Clinton -- yes, is that okay?" he said, after she once again called him Donald. "Good. I want you to be very happy. It's very important to me."

Clinton’s next answer: "In fact, Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis..."

Each debate has followed the same pattern.

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Will Clinton "Finish Him" at third debate?

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Millionaire Republican Donald Trump isn't just on the ropes: he's practically upside-down and tangled up in them, trailing his opponent by huge margins and seemingly finished in the race to become the next president of the United States of America. But Hillary Clinton is an infamously weak closer, leading to amusements like this New Yorker cartoon... ... which reminds us that the older Millennials are nearing 40 and have New Yorker subscriptions.

All the "what to expect from the third debate" articles--which I had intended to aggregate here--are surprisingly bland, given the sheer insanity of the campaign and its increasingly deranged closing weeks. I guess this is because everyone acknowledges that there is such a huge difference in expectations between the two candidates that it's not really a "debate" at all. If Trump manages to get through it without sniffing or frotting his chair, he's done OK. If Hillary umms and ahhs too much, she's missed an opportunity to crush the bug. No-one--not pundits, not journalists, not viewers--expects anything of substance to be said. It is all about the performance, about the hope that one of them will lose it and do something entertaining.

Trump's invited president Barack Obama's half-brother as his guest, a choice so inexplicable it suggests a return to Birtherism amid rumors Trump's been ditched by advisor Roger Ailes and simply has no idea what to do. Hillary's invited the least awful billionaire she can think of, just to remind Trump that he isn't one.

All that said, it's going to be the most-watched third debate ever. Read the rest

Lawrence O'Donnell perfectly explains the first presidential debate

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This segment from The Last Word explains the most painful things Donald Trump said, and why we can not elect him our President. Read the rest

The Hillary Shimmy Song, by Jonathan "Song a Day Man" Mann

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From our prolific internet songwriter friend Jonathan "Song a Day Man" Mann, a wonderfully catchy little ditty for this shitshow of an election season. The Hillary Shimmy Song.

This dude is coming at me I just smile and let him be The dude brought your own rope He put the bullet in the gun so I’m just gonna shimmy

Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy HRC Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy Hillary

He just keeps on shouting, “Wrong!” So I’ll get my Jim Halpert on He is a flightless bird I think I’ll never say another word I’ll just be singing this song

Jonathan Mann writes a song every single day, and he has been doing that for the last 7+ years.

Through sick days, tired days, days with no inspiration, the death of my grandma, the breakup of a 5 year long relationship, the marriage to my wife and the birth of our son - I've never missed a day. This is my life's work. You can see my most current song, as well as songs from year's past over at songaday.org. If you want to support me in my Song A Day quest, there are several ways!. I have many albums for sale on Bandcamp.

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Sassy Trump Has Himself a Hissy Fit at the Debate

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As with each and every episode of his genius 'Sassy Trump' voicedub series, actor-director-comedienne Peter Serafinowicz is using 100% actual Donald Trump's own words here. He's just voicing them differently. More authentically, perhaps.

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Trump's just gonna wing the debates

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Republican millionaire Donald Trump is pretty much just going to wing it in his first debate with rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, reports the New York Times. Just four weeks away, the event will pit her meticulous preparation against his extemporaneous ramblings.

The Clinton camp believes that Mr. Trump is most insecure about his intelligence, his net worth and his image as a successful businessman

Just imagine the full list.

“Trump has severe attention problems and simply cannot take in complex information — he will be unable to practice for these debates,” said Mr. Schwartz, who was the subject of a New Yorker profile last month that portrayed Mr. Trump as a charlatan. “Trump will bring nothing but his bluster to the debates. He’ll use sixth-grade language, he will repeat himself many times, he won’t complete sentences, and he won’t say anything of substance.”

Clinton must remember the wise words of Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, compiling a dictionary of common situations and things for which there are no words, and wedding them to place names.

Aboyne (v.) To beat an expert at a game of skill by playing so appallingly that none of his clever strategies are of any use to him.
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Republican debate with all the dialog removed

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The Woodcreek Faction removed the worst bits from the last on-stage smackdown, leaving the candidates at their most charming. Read the rest

Microbes and health: The debate continues

Last week, I linked you to a piece pointing out that three New York Times op-ed pieces linking bacterial exposure (or lack thereof) to autism, celiac disease, and allergies were all written by the same guy, Moises Velasquez-Manoff. His ideas are interesting, but there's also good reason to be skeptical. If you want to get a better idea of the arguments for and against Velasquez-Manoff's thesis, I'd recommend checking out this post at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, which links to several critical stories and to Velasquez-Manoff's response to them. Read the rest

Do GMOs yield more food? The answer is in the semantics

Today, on Twitter, I learned something new and interesting from environmental reporter Paul Voosen. Over the years, I've run into reports (like this one from the Union of Concerned Scientists) showing that genetically modified crops — i.e. Roundup Ready corn and soybeans, which is really the stuff we're talking about most of the time in these situations — don't increase intrinsic yields of those crops. But I've also seen decent-looking data that seemed to suggest exactly the opposite. So what gives?

Turns out, this is largely an issue of terminology.

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Tesla vs. Edison vs. The Myth of the Lone Inventor

We're going about this feud all wrong says Matt Novak, who blogs about techno-history at Paleofuture. "The question is not: Who was a better inventor, Edison or Tesla? The question is: Why do we still frame the debate in this way?" Novak asked in a talk yesterday at SXSW. He's got a damn fine point. The myth of one guy who has one great idea and changes the world drastically distorts the process of innovation. Neither Tesla nor Edison invented the light bulb. Instead, the light bulb was the result of 80 years of tinkering and failure by many different people. Novak's point (and one I tend to agree with): When we buy into the myth, it gets in the way of innovation today. I've only been able to find a couple of small bits from this talk — a write-up by Matthew Van Dusen at Txchnologist and a short video from the Q&A portion where Novak talks about Tesla, Edison, and the Great Man Myth with The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman. But, rest assured, this is something you'll see more of at BoingBoing soon. Read the rest

The science of debate strategy

In preparation for tonight's American presidential debate, please enjoy this Science Friday piece on the social psychology involved in successfully dodging a question. How do politicians slip into answering the questions they want to answer, instead of the ones you asked? What can you do to be more aware when this is happening? Read the rest

The science questions Obama and Romney need to answer

During the 2008 election, writer Shawn Otto lead a charge to get the presidential candidates to unambiguously and publicly explain their positions on key questions concerning science and public policy. The questions were chosen through a process that involved the general public, as well as scientists and engineers. Science Debate 2008 was intended to be a televised debate on PBS—but neither Barak Obama nor John McCain would agree to participate. Eventually, after a lot of pressure, the candidates finally answered the 14 questions ... but only in print, online. No follow-ups.

Now Science Debate is trying again, hoping to engage President Obama and Mitt Romney and get them to treat science with at least the kind of seriousness politicians give their religious beliefs. (The Republican primary, for instance, featured debates that were themed solely around the candidates' faiths.)

With the help of concerned citizens, scientists, engineers, and the nation's leading science and engineering organizations, Science Debate has put together a list of 14 questions for the 2012 presidential race.

2. Climate Change. The Earth’s climate is changing and there is concern about the potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What is your position on cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, and other policies proposed to address global climate change—and what steps can we take to improve our ability to tackle challenges like climate change that cross national boundaries?

9. The Internet. The Internet plays a central role in both our economy and our society. What role, if any, should the federal government play in managing the Internet to ensure its robust social, scientific, and economic role?

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