I've been collecting shiny things to share with you all - expect another post soon, because this one is a special place for any and all election crap. I want this election over already; we already know who's won, so it's just another couple of weeks of unnecessary ugly.
First, the obvious: do you see the BotherVoting banner in my sidebar? Yeah? You can probably do it already - just google 'early voting [your home state]' and you should find out where and when it's available. Here's all the early voting info for GA. You can go vote right now if you live in Georgia - and next week, from Monday til Friday, the polls are open until 7pm. Whoever you're voting for, early votes benefit your candidate because the more people in your area have voted already, the less resources they'll need to put into it on November 4th.
Is Georgia a safe state for the Republicans? They think so - so much so that they're running their GA campaign out of an office in freaking Tallahassee and local Republican chairmen are accusing the campaign of 'leaving it to chance'. Nate isn't quite so sure. The answer is 'probably'. But that doesn't matter because Saxby Chambliss - the US Senate's gaping asshole - is up for reelection, and your vote against him most assuredly matters. Whoever you're supporting for the presidency - Obama, McCain, a third-party (both the Greens and Libertarians are running native Georgians this year - have they forgotten who the last Georgian president was?) or a write-in candidate - please get rid of Chambliss. His opponent, Jim Martin, even has virtues beyond not being Saxby Chambliss.
Wherever you are in the USA, if you have any trouble at the polls you can contact the Voter Protection Center at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Look at the Incident Tracker at Voter Suppression Wiki to check problem reports in your area, so you know what to look out for. Robert F Kennedy's written an article about voter suppression here.
Now the fun stuff: Obama bought advertising in an Xbox 360 game, Burnout Paradise. A pretty shallow move, but a smart one; it's unlikely that any frat boys are going to abruptly hit pause and run out and early-vote solely on the strength of this one banner in this one game - but the magpies in the news media all go OOH OMGZ SHINY TECH and spend five minutes of our lives expounding on this sentiment. I don't know what an in-game banner ad costs, but I'm betting it's less than five minutes of primetime. (I'm against in-game ads - once you've bought something as expensive as a game console and something to play on it, it's irritating to have people trying to eke more money out of your gaming on top of that - but hey, that's why I don't play Xbox crap). It gets game culture talking too, not that they didn't already love Obama simply for not being Hillary Clinton - here's a collection of fan-made mockups of Obama in-game ads. Portal, oh my! (And the Metal Gear one is totally an unintended and unfortunate Dar Williams injoke. God, I love Metal Gear.)
Onto the Shiny Things: Losers Edition, starting with this: The Front-Runner’s Fall, or, Joshua Green's write-up of a batch of emails, memos and minutes he was given by staffers from the Clinton campaign following that campaign's decease. He's made a good story out of it, and the material itself is online for your perusal. Much of it is unintentionally hilarious in retrospect, not least the March 2007 memo in which Mark Penn wrote, "The right knows Obama is unelectable except perhaps against Attila the Hun," a statement that perhaps McCain should have noted before selecting Ms Hun to be his running mate.
[One quick aside about Ms Hun, while I'm here: all the blithering yak recorded here at the Beeb about her freaking $150000 fashion budget is positioning her in the same frame as Cindy and Michelle rather than John, Joe and Barack. For the love of god, why? She's being interviewed for the same job as Joe, right?]
Also about Clinton; it's months old now, but I only just read Sean Quinn's piece about how he'd flipped during the primaries from admiring and defending Clinton to feeling completely alienated by her - and how she might yet win him back. The apology he hoped for never happened, but personally I don't think it matters - Clinton's presidential ambitions were already over anyway, and I suspect they would've been either way; an apology would've been way too much ammo. Also, Quinn mentions the Jack Thompson pontificating!
Here, if you like that sort of thing, is an incredibly classy and meticulously annotated torrid rant, hosted at FuckJohnMcCain.com:
...Does it worry anyone else that every right-wing debacle in the last fifty years involves the same twelve assholes? Need another example? Remember the fuckwads who put out a push-poll claiming McCain had an illegitimate black child back in 2000? The same guys McCain said had a "special place in hell"? Hell, apparently, is the McCain campaign, cause he fucking hired them.
Which I guess isn't that surprising, since McCain has changed positions more times than Jenna Jameson in a double feature. But not on important issues. Just stuff like privatizing Social Security, the Bush tax cuts, coastal drilling, ethanol, gay adoption, affirmative action, the estate tax, torture and negotiating with Cuba, Hamas, and Syria.
Okay okay, here's some genuine class from John Perry Barlow, hosted here, and yes, it too has naughty words in it. (h/t Daisy). The thrust of the piece is echoing something Sean Quinn said (implicitly) in his piece about Clinton - the internet lets you look at this sodding horserace in a close and on-the-spot way, and if you're looking through that lens you wind up liking Obama more and his opponents much, much less:
However, since God is merciful, McCain probably doesn't know what I'm talking about. He's watching the campaign on television where he's presented with an edit of reality that is far less damning to him and his campaign than the one I've been watching on the Internet. John McCain is blessed indeed to be spared the online version of himself.
If he watched the much more elaborate coverage of the campaign on the Internet, even McCain would have to be in awe of the fact that Senator Obama has shown almost superhuman dignity, humor (as opposed to sarcasm), and that quality that Hemingway defined as courage, "grace under pressure" even while being carpet-bombed, first by the Clintons and now the McCain/Palin Golem, with six months of sucker punches, lies, trivialities, the guilt of distant or even non-existent associations (often involving black people behaving ungracefully), and now, finally, the direct incitement of murderous intent in crowds spiked with many people who are insane with racial hatred, well-armed, and trained by their government in the accurate use of long-range weapons.
He would have seen the look of enlightened acceptance on Obama's face tonight when McCain fiercely declared his pride in the people who attended his rallies, including, presumably, the ones who shout "kill him" and "off with his head."
If you've time, be sure to watch the six-minute video Barlow points out - the original dialogue between Obama and Joe The Plumber. 'You will see a presidential candidate stop and take the time to explain more and in more respectful detail about his tax program to a single plumber from Ohio than McCain has ever explained anything - besides misrepresentations of Obama's resume - to the entire American public during the length of this campaign.' I think that it shows the flipside of the yay-internets line Barlow's pushing here; an intelligent, nuanced policy explanation, given entirely off the (rolled-up) cuff there, got edited into a ridiculous bogeyman about socialism. These powers can be used for both good and evil, and we should not take them for granted.
Any and all McCain rants draw from the original and greatest, that one Rolling Stone knifing. Very long and, if there's one thing the last fucking year has proved it's that you can write a thorough character assassination on anyone. Just read those 2007 Penn memos about Obama. But hey.
(It remains strange that McCain hasn't pressed what is, in pure common-sense terms, Obama's one great policy weakness - the ethanol subsidies. Dear gods, are you trying to cook our seas and starve us all to death? Are Iowa's seven EVs worth that much to you? *le sigh* I guess this is what happens when you keep having to cast votes for politicians but, as Ford Prefect said, 'if they didn’t vote for a lizard, the wrong lizard might get in.')
Finally, here's that one photograph Colin Powell was so touched by. Take a look.