In what was anticipated to be a debate of gaffes rather than politics, the first and only vice presidential debate was of more depth and quality than then its preceder – the presidential debate. I say this not in my political view, but of the nation’s vibe preceding the event. And this is essentially because of hype. 

There is no disputing from either party that the preparation for tonight was unbalanced. The public, mainstream media, and bloggers alike were seemingly convinced two different ways: the first that Palin would gaffe, and the second that she would be surprisingly intelligent. In a sense, both were right and wrong. 

John McCain had Palin prepared, but from any perspective he knew Palin would be Palin. The Governor, policies aside, has a distinct personality that he could not change no matter how much she was prepared. In a non-partisan sense, Palin has a not only unique personality, but a certain way of bringing out her points, and that is what has made her successful on the political stage. 

However, the McCain campaign could and did save her from a gaffe. Again staying non-partisan, Palin has and is so closely examined that she (as a completely new national politician), could very well send off a misjudged point or flat out gaffe that would explode onto the MSM stage. My case in point would be Palin’s disastrous CBS interview with Katie Couric. 

And because of this, one of the few things that the McCain camp had the ability to do before the debate is give Palin a response to Biden’s likely attacks so that she didn’t gaffe. That was definitely apparent tonight.

 And this leads us to the debate, which I will flat out say that  Joe Biden won. In simple text, Palin was rehearsed, but  Biden knew which points to pursue and picked his fights. 

 Biden came into the debate as an underdog to win.  What I  mean by this is that the press essentially predicted Palin to  decide not the winner or loser, but rather if she would lose  well or collapse. Biden, however, was never perceived to  walk out of the door with a loss. 

And this changed dramatically with the start of the debate. A main point that I would like to get out is the fact that I sensed a feeling of renewal. Despite the fact that the media had called for a one-edged debate with a gaffed ending, both candidates were place on the same level. 

This is what gave Palin a boost out of the gates — no one expected anything, and because of this, Palin showed a surprising degree of fluentness in her points, something that took everyone off-guard. And in a sense, Palin used this to run away with the first topic — the economy. 

Then came foreign policy.

The main turning point in this debate was exactly what Biden needed — a direct soundbite — coming after Palin’s first talking point on foreign policy in which she essentially backed up her ticket but never gave examples.

Biden answered in what I would call the best way possible — reading:

“With all due respect, I didn’t hear a plan”

In this quote, Biden both found his grip on the debate and swept Palin off her feet for the first time. The quote itself was simple, but orchestrated what is essentially the biggest difference with both tickets as far as foreign policy — ending the war and winning it. He took advantage of a bad talking point from Palin, and then turned it into a much needed soundbite.

From then on, Biden rode the wave of confidence, further taking chances with the crowd and the public, in example — quoting that Dick Cheney has been the “worst vice president” the US has had, and later in the debate jumping on a softball question about what would happen if he would replace Obama in president if something were to happen.

In short, the debate showed its ups and downs, but in the end Palin lost not because of a gaffe, but rather through a single quote.

It seems like the press is now convinced on two topics — the economic bailout that has cost us one trillion in a day — and everything about Sarah Palin. Because I am no economics professional and am too young to have a bank account, I have become more or less obsessed with Palin and her press craze. 

Very early this month, I found a small blog offering that John McCain’s campaign should ask Palin to step down as running mate, in what seemed like a drunken tone, which I had very little interest for mostly because the blog’s credibility and links were nothing less than bogus. 

I then started seeing more and more blogs pop up with this topic, along with the occasional webzine posting a opinion piece with similar views to the original blog. But I was extremely surprised to see the story go all the way to CNN’s Jack Cafferty File, a very prestigious, and to me, credible opinion blog. So as I sifted through the hundreds of comments, some (let us say) “interesting” points came up. This is one that I will center my analysis around — written by “erica”:

If he [John McCain] has half a brain he will – but I think we know how much brain he has, based on the fact he chose her in the first place.

I originally noticed this comment because it was so overly partisan that it triggered dozens of follow up arguments, but after staring at it for quite a long time, I saw something different in it — it was completely true…without the “brain” comments. 

 In truth, McCain made a smart decision, but a very  important one in his acquisition of Palin. And many can  agree that it has not paid off. 

 In my perspective, Palin was chosen in the most part for a  nation-wide press boost and to collect outer right  conservatives who otherwise wouldn’t support McCain. It is  widely disputed if they intended to also herd in former  Hillary Clinton supporters, but that is completely off topic. 

 In short, for whatever reason John McCain choose Sarah  Palin, he cannot avoid the fact that he has chosen her. He  also cannot avoid the fact that he has backed her up and  called her “the best running mate I could have chosen”  multiple times. So this now brings me to a revised version  of the comment I saw. 

John McCain is now feeling his Sarah Palin press fire burn out in the midst of the economic crisis, and although he and his staff know that Palin does not have a good chance of coming out of the debate (or really any public appearance) with an increase in the polls, he has chosen her. He cannot replace her. 

He simply can’t. Sending Palin into a debate that now seems impossible to win and hard to stay alive would prompt any political writer, commentator, strategist, blogger — anyone to think that it would be a good campaign move to replace her. But he can’t.

Palin, in her VP beginnings, was a literal press flame although she barely ever choose to enter the media. And I, as well as many liberal and conservatives alike thought it she could carry that media flame all the way to the White House. As a Democrat and teenage citizen of the US, I was terrified by her, but as a political strategist I strongly thought that she could eventually carry her stardom all the way. But I forgot one thing — she had to debate. I stand corrected. 

The McCain campaign has found themselves in a trap. Their favorite baseball was hit as a home run, but instead of clearing their fence to their friendly neighbor’s yard, it was hit too hard, landing in the haunted house that Joe Biden lives in. 

In more simple words, Palin was a genius idea that worked, perhaps too well. The conservatives just didn’t look far ahead enough politically and tested all available traps to see that this could happen. Palin started off brilliantly, but then she made some mistakes and the press as well as many others have exploited them. Hence her “Bridge To Nowhere” claim that everyone from Bono to Keith Olberman have capitalized on. Her two failed interviews that are now legendary on youtube, being smashed to pieces by comedian Tina Fey. But most of all, it is the few information that has been given out, most of it called lies. 

So as Palin limps into the debates, there is a very low chance she will make it out. And there is literately nothing John McCain can do about it.

Analysis: Sarah Palin is a force, from whichever prospective you may enter from. But the underlying question is how she has become one in the form of something completely different than what the political world has ever seen. 

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 Shortly after her “homecoming” speech in Fairbanks, Alaska, Sarah Palin opened up, making her first fresh address since her repetitive “stump” speeches after her GOP acceptance, provoking the first thought from me that explains her marvel. How has Sarah Palin accumulated this much press in such a short amount of time?

What me must first understand is the fact that this has been done before, by the person who has been hit most by Palin — Barack Obama. Long ago in political time, Hillary Clinton was once the king of the hill, and a sure-shot to at least make to the general election. And then Obama came, literately out of thin air, and getting more press and hype than Clinton has ever had — eventually overtaking her. 

And although on a bigger stage, this process has essentially repeated itself with Sarah Palin. And because of this, the Obama camp must understand how they took down Clinton could end up being the end of them — defensive rage. Clinton, down in the polls, switched from talking about her policies to using brute force, taking swipes at Obama from a defensive standpoint, something the public recognized as weak.

So what Obama must do is exploit Palin’s weaknesses without letting go of his strengths — discussing himself and what his plans are if elected. 

As I have explained in a different post, Sarah Palin has two big weaknesses — the press, and hand to hand combat. 

The first weakness is due to Palin instant celebrity status. She has fallen victim to what many politicians have feared — a press craze. One of the prices Palin has paid since entering the political stage out of nowhere is that every political or celebrity magazine must have her on the front cover. And because of this, most magazines or press outlets has attempted to discover dirt, hidden, or unexploited information about Palin so their article could be different. And this is what really brought out Palin’s family, greatly including her now infamous daughters, one with down syndrome and the other 17 and pregnant. This has exploded, and later sparking so-called attacks from the opposing party.

The first weakness is due to Palin instant celebrity status. She has fallen victim to what many politicians have feared — a press craze. One of the prices Palin has paid since entering the political stage out of nowhere is that every political or celebrity magazine must have her on the front cover. And because of this, most magazines or press outlets has attempted to discover dirt, hidden, or unexploited information about Palin so their article could be different. And this is what really brought out Palin’s family, greatly including her now infamous daughters, one with down syndrome and the other 17 and pregnant. This has exploded, and later sparking so-called attacks from the opposing party.

The second weakness of Sarah Palin, which could potentially make or break her, is hand to hand political combat. Palin has (and will have) success in what I would call mortar fire, attacking the opposition by way of press statements and campaign ads, which continue to play huge roles in the public, each one accumulating tons of traffic on the viral web and ending up as stories on news outlets such as CNN. 

But If you ask any political commentator of any party the main reason why Sarah Palin has become such a dartboard, they would say her politics. And this is mostly true — Palin is short on the offensive-defensive game of a sit down debate, and because of this, she will most likely not fare well in any sort of think-on-your-toes situation, which has resulted in this very visible tactic: stay away from any interviews or debates unless they are mandatory. 

This tactic, recognized by the McCain camp, has let Palin literately control American press in her direction without making it. More simply put, because she has already created an amazing amount of press and PR from bursting on the political scene and accepting her nomination, Palin doesn’t need to create any press in the form of an un-necessary interview or debate. And instead, she has created the occasional new story far back in her campaign headquarters with statements and ads reacting or criticizing to Obama and Biden. But this stay-back-and-shoot strategy hasn’t been publicly reported or written on, however, mostly due to the overwhelming news on her family, which has now been proved to act as a media shield.  

If Obama plans to take a vital advantage in the media, he must not only focus on his strengths, but exploit Palin’s tactical  weaknesses, which provides a gaping hole in her public image.

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As political talking points near to its grimmest stage in this election, and as breaking news of oil corruption surface along with internet and media rumors about Both Obama and Sarah Palin’s faith and position, one might assume from 4 years ago that the citizens of the US are defensive. Far from it.

Record numbers have tuned into media outlets, millions more have voted for the first time in the primaries than ever before, and everyone fifteen year old to eighty is online to tell us about it. And in this time of political backlash and attack ads, the US is alive with opinions and commentary from everyone including the average citizen to Matt Yglesias

There are comments everywhere on blogs providing opinions on the biggest rumors the web can offer, and writers are accepting and answering them. For once people now have a credible voice, whether its Russell Brand or me, Politico or CNN. It’s true that political swiftboats, sexism, racism, and blatant lies still exist, but there are people talking about them.

So what would we call this? It’s change. Republican or Democrat, left or right wing, Green or Libertarian, this is change, and there is no denying it. 

I think Barack Obama should be elected president, and there are people who think John McCain should be elected as well. And with fifty-five days to choose that, America’s got a heck of a lot more negotiating and arguing to do. But at least we are. At least someone pointed out the youtube videos of Sarah Palin speaking at her church and Jerimiah Wright blasting the US in his, and at least Bob Salsbury made his joke. 

So if there’s one thing we can all agree on, its that disagreeing with each other is what will get a better president in the oval office, it is what will fix our economy and debt — it is change, no matter how you look at it.

Some of you may remember one of my first posts: Why The 64 Is the Best Ever, detailing how gaming was back in the good old days of horrible graphics, fidgety joysticks, and great, long hours of playing games with good plots. This post sparked me two write two more in the future, the first highlighting on the decline of gaming all together, and the second on why movies based on games have turned out well. 

But although I feel that gaming back in the old days was better and more memorable, as a thirteen year old kid immersed in pop culture and its gaming, my mind has swayed back and forth whether new school games — even though they significantly lack plot — were more fun.

Then I ran into David Wornica, a blogger who tributes gaming to the 1980′s. His blog: Eight Bit Memoirs, was more of a punch to my face in the form of “why would you ever think that today’s gaming would be better?” 

It also brought out those great moments of playing 8-bit, 1D Zelda and NFL games, and although not playing them with 1080p full-def (in fact those screens were the size of my palm), they were the most fun I have ever had with electronics. So thanks, David, for reminding me, and frankly all of us that gaming will always stay in the 80′s.

Sarah Palin’s stage presence is not just (frankly) full of it, but rather a powerful force that transcends her image right before your eyes.

And as the second chapter in the saga of the Republican convention comes to a close, all anyone can talk about was what everyone originally thought was a mire introduction to the grand closing — John McCain’s speech. 

But it was instead the main figure of the entire convention, and the talking point on both the web and television, creating many side stories as well. Why? Palin’s speech was powerful. So powerful, in fact, that not only did it spark very heated initial reactions, but later provided so much aftershock that it seemed apparent to me to write about it.

Putting my strong political opinions aside, I must give Palin credit — that no matter how completely false and utter lies she used, it was hard (even for me) to shake of her speaking passion, mostly credited to how zoned in she was. And because of this, I know for a fact that many gullible Americans have fallen “victim” to her transcending speech, ignoring her factual mistakes and instead focusing intently on her valiant, confident speaking power.

And right now, no matter how many people (including me) stress the comparison between the top of each party’s ticket, because of her star power, Palin has gained the public centerpiece of not only the Republican party, but the image of politics in general. And, strangely, this is not because of the higher possibility of her being commander and chief in the near future, because — as my sister would say — John McCain is like a “dinosaur”, but rather because of her instant celebrity status and overall image that is so different. 

By different, I don’t mean because of her gender, but rather her breed. She is a new breed of politician, far away from your raging and shouting, sweaty middle aged point maker, but rather someone who we have not seen yet — a setting of mind that many teachers know to loathe. She uses her stature and newly-found political ego to her advantage, acting like she knows for a fact that each and every single thing she says is true, in the most convincing way I have ever seen this done among politicians. 

Simply put, she’s a giant black whole for your brain, in the form of a person who would most likely be the farthest away from that status — a small town governor of the second-least populated state in the US. 

So — as a word of caution, not a political recommendation –please vote on what you believe, not what you have been convinced to know.

After releasing his latest ad: “No Change“, many are questioning candidate Barack Obama’s lack of criticism toward opposing vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, who (let’s not forget) has posed as a giant target for almost every American democrat lately. 

But is this really true? I disagree.

In dissent, Sarah Palin is truly a tough target to hit in many ways, no matter how large of a dart-board she looks right to your average political commentator. This problem, in a primitive sense, is similar to ‘telling on’ a teacher’s pet, no matter how guilty they may be. The liberal press (or the press at all) can report all they want on Palin’s troopergate scandal, but if Obama takes a shot at it, it will most likely backfire as a sign of weakness or rage, similar to Hillary Clinton’s “Change You Can Xerox” remarks, ending in harsh boos. 

And who is the teacher — blocking all of these would be Obama talking points, you may ask. 

Its actually a hybrid of John McCain, the army of conservative bloggers and youtuber’s, and to stir it all up, Hurricane Gustav and its effect on the GOP convention. This three headed press monster strikes in more places than one, and is designed specifically to rebound any Democratic attacks.

First, John McCain, who chose Palin as his running mate, has chosen a move thought to be defensive to many liberals but in truth very effective, in his act of “taking off his party hat” and undressing the festivities of the GOP convention in the wake of hurricane Gustav. But by doing this, McCain has also created an Obama trap. 

If the liberals try to take any kind of shot at the Republicans, the Right Wing will be able to not only defend themselves in a political way, but then question their relentless attacks in a time of crisis (referring to hurricane Gustav). 

So while nothing official can happen between both parties for now, the McCain camp will have this week’s victory, both letting the press flood away any news stories about Obama’s speech with news of the hurricane and sending some sort of political point out of his convention.

Meanwhile, the third and last head of the press monster (behind McCain and hurricane Gustav) is the conservative “www” army, flooding blogs everywhere and taking up mostly all youtube comment sections under Obama videos. Although this kind of attack, below, is not official to the McCain camp, it poses a huge scary reminder to the democratic senator of how many devout McCain supports are willing to relentlessly attack everywhere on the public web, no matter how badly they would fair in a debate with each other. Although Obama may know more about the web than his opponent, with campaign accounts everywhere filled with conservative spam messages and attacks, he just may have to admit loss in this category.

So as Sarah Palin keeps letting out attack points, from her Troopergate scandal to her 17 year old daughter’s pregnancy, she is merely bait for McCain’s press monster to trap Obama in a whirlwind of backfiring remarks.

My advice for Obama? Stay out of the spotlight for a week, and then, when the storm comes to a close, make up for lost time with more than one attack ad.

Mixed feelings surround tomorrow’s (August 28, 2008) change in the MLB’s rule policy toward instant replay, which is noticeably only geared towards disputes on home runs. Most proclaim that its too little of a change, that baseball should suck it up and admit to the new age of technology, and forget all the old stuff. And very few, including me, argue the other way, claiming that baseball should stick to the original rules. 

Why? Baseball is all about the old stuff — the crack of the bat, the outdoors, the spitting on the ground like no one is looking, the game of gentlemen, the slow pace, the rain delays, and yes — the pile of chewed gum at the side of the dugout. But most of all, my favorite part about Baseball is letting the umpires call the shots. This game isn’t just like any other sport; its America’s pastime, and it deserves to be recreated every time the ball-players step onto the field. 

Personally, I am a huge fan of the JumboTron and its counterparts including Cricket and Tennis’s Hawkeye. Trust me as a die-hard Lakers fan, I’d die without correct calls, instant replay or not. But although Baseball isn’t exactly my forte, I can go this far — as a sports fan, and an American — the one sport that is ours entirely should stay entirely as it was meant to be, and if that answer is “old” — then so be it.

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The business of startup companies is really all about ideas. Who can come up with the most innovative, breakthrough product that the worldwide market will flock over, and who will come up with a brilliant idea, but find out it is too bleeding edge or non-understandable for the world’s eyes. And now — one startup of their own claims to predict that — YouNoodle. 

These guys are all over the web advertising their top secret algorithm, which they claim can predict not only if a startup is successful or not — but their overall fate over a short or long scale. Their sample predictor is getting worldwide buzz, but I’m not so convinced it is a good thing. 

Oxford dropout Bob Goodson, left, claims that his idea can help out our economy crisis by in advance predicting successful companies — but it seems like marketed quicksand to me. First of all, I don’t believe that its possible for a math equation to predict the fate of a company — that’s purely in the mind of the general public itself to decide if it will be useful in their lives.

Second, if proven to work (or somehow convincing to everyone) this idea will be like pulling fruit out of an ecosystem — it will not only be imbalanced, but everyone else will eat each other. If YouNoddle becomes the standard for all startups — then they essentially will decided if they fail or not. The public will believe that whatever they say will come true and that will stop many ideas from coming through. 

They will, in a sense, form a blockade between the office and the world, beta and public, and most importantly, a dud and a bloom. And looking far ahead, if YouNoodle is a proven winner and the public trusts them, they will be able to decide the fate of any new company. YouNoodle would act as a tollbooth that decides whether the company can go on or not. The public, in the end, will not invest if the idea seems good or the CEO is promising — but solely on what YouNoodle says about it. And by then, YouNoodle can just drop their mystery math algorithm and basically hire teams to hand pick companies they like and dump the ones they don’t. They are really dangling the fate of anyone who crosses their path — and I think that’s wrong. Thank goodness the general public has its doubts too.

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Is Windows….Cool?

August 17, 2008

Let’s face it. Microsoft just isn’t as cool as Apple. And after a heck of a sales slump with their beloved Vista and Bill Gate’s departure, things are looking pretty grim for them. And rightfully so — their advertising sucks. Lee Clow’s genius “Get A Mac” campaign has hit internet stardom, and turned into a phenomenon that successfully depicts Microsoft as “uncool” for anyone who doesn’t work in a cubicle. The Economist put it well, quoting: “All this puts Microsoft in the awkward position of having its brand image defined by a rival—despite its own vast advertising budget, which towers above Apple’s.” And they made a very interesting point with that as well. 

Similar to Google now, about fifteen years ago (which is ages in computer technology) Microsoft was the ‘it’ company, literately and technically. Although there was no main competition, Windows users enjoyed using their R2 operating system and Bill Gate’s mastermind domino effect was in full force. Everyone bought a Windows because everyone else had a Windows. And that was the story of Microsoft’s life — until Mac got out of their previous slump with their OS 9. Until then, people never thought of computers as….cool. And that was really what fed Apple’s beast and let them unleash their OS 10, with a level of user service, compatibility and customization that shocked the world. No one had ever seen or heard about it before, and that is what kept Windows alive — people were simply afraid to switch to a previously unstable company. My family was one of the people who did, and I vividly remember the color and brightness the OS 9 and 10 boasted. I loved my iBook clamshell, and never cared that it crashed about three times a day (mostly because I was about six). 

After the OS 10, Apple really separated themselves with Windows as the cooler brand and used it to their advantage. When the iPod came out, Apple thrived on its sleek, easy to use music player that swamped everything from the Creative to the Walkman. And what did Windows do? They fought fire with fire and created their own, hopefully for them “cool”, new music player — the Zune. 

And it was horrible. It was ugly, bulky, and huge. But what windows really failed to do was the feature that made the Ipod thrive – accessibility. Anyone can own an iPod from any computer (including Windows) and buy songs from anywhere (the iTunes Store just makes it easier) and put it on your iPod. The Zune simply made that impossible, not letting you take any songs from your previous iTunes store purchases, basically making sure that you start a new collection of music in Microsoft’s Zune store, which is more limited. 

Windows diehards valiantly defended their sole portable device with biased charts and Apple Parodies striving themselves on the fact that the Zune uses WiFi. And although that’s great, the only WiFi that Microsoft offers on their Zune is music sharing, where you can only play your buddy’s (he has to have a Zune) songs three times and then you must buy them off of the Zune store. And now with the iPod touchand iPhone, you can use WiFi (yes…you can’t change songs) to surf the web, update your wordpress, and do basically anything on the web you can with a computer. 

So after soon after the Zune’s release, Apple released it’s iPhone, which needs no introduction. Originally laughed off by Steve Balmer, the iPhone tromped all of Window’s brand name phones, and Balmer again looked like an idiot. So after all this, Windows really was in deep trouble. They looked like  old, dark, cubicle hackers, and that really wasn’t what many users strived to be. They lost tons of business from mac and their “get a mac” campaigns. So what did they do? Fight fire with fire….again. This time it was with an ad of their own — the Mojave Experiment, where they brought people into their dark San Francisco lair only to have them completely rip up Vista, calling it slow and “crash happy.” Then they showed them a “new” windows interface with a codename Mojave, and they said it was nice and fast. All of this is ‘conveniently’ on tape and is documented on this website.  

Windows again has made themselves look boring and dumb, and overall — uncool. And until Microsoft can make something better than Apple without copying them, then I (and many other people) will eat our hats. 

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