There is no disputing that the decision to nominate Sarah Palin as the Republican’s vice presidential pick was certainly a surprise, causing the press to have one of the biggest political field days in history. But in the end was she strategically a gain or loss for the McCain campaign? 

I think that this essentially is the problem: what is a gain, what is a loss, and what was Palin meant to do — things certainly debatable but not entirely clear. 

But nevertheless, the centrist point here is that John McCain is (in his own words) “Running to win, and winning to govern.” What this is perceived to mean is that McCain is essentially running for the oval office and frankly doesn’t mind whoever contributes in getting him there. 

So with this mindset the question can be more or less tackled, starting with the concept that Palin’s effect on the press was positive or negative. 

I think the answer to this is yes and no. As explained a countless amount of times, Palin’s immediate burst into the political media was very much a success off the bat, but the (to be theoretical), the chaos that Palin threw at the press has in a sense died down — to the point where Palin is at the point of strategic questioning. And as we have seen lately, this has been proven to be damaging to the McCain campaign in the long run. 

And how has this happened? Palin’s immediate political success can be largely credited to timing. Announced the day after Barack Obama’s final democratic convention speech, the McCain camp essentially used the general political media attention to their advantage, and in doing so not only sweeping away both parties’ attention from the Democrats, but also setting an extremely flammable fictional wildfire in the media. And this I ultimately credit to Palin’s extreme demand in the first few weeks she was in the political spotlight. 

 I, as many other people also pointed out that while the Sarah Palin “wildfire” was burning, Palin wasn’t actually conducting much press herself, shown in the fact that she has yet to break ten television interviews. 

And although this may have been extremely efficient for both Palin and the McCain campaign, it hasn’t politically helped the McCain campaign in the long run — both sides of the press are now politically and strategically questioning Palin, in my opinion one of the factors in McCain’s deficit in the polls.

So I ask the commenters, has Palin helped John McCain strategically and politically — and has Palin truly solitified the base and gained votes not possible by McCain himself?

Overall, has she been worth it?

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.

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.

As search engine powerhouse Google recently released its own web browser, Chrome, marketing strategy crossed with the future of the web, compiling into a tech buzz comparable to the elections this year — change. 

And so sweet it is. Chrome not only offers breakthrough surfing features, but provides light at the end of the tunnel in terms of giving an easy and effective alternate browser to Microsoft’s Slow, Crash-Happy, and Ugly Internet Explorer, which currently occupies 75 percent of the World’s computers.

Also, by creating Chrome, Google finally gets it’s chance to get back at their enemy, Microsoft, which is intent on reducing traffic to Google’s search engine. (shown here when typing in “google chrome” to Microsoft’s own search). 

So what does this really mean for Google? Sadly, not much. Although all tech junkies will most certainly download and use their browser, corralling the millions of technically un-savvy Window’s users will be another task entirely.

After glamorously introduced in Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois, Joe Biden excitedly strolled up to the podium, addressing the thousands of screaming voices directed to him. And at the same time, across the United States, hundreds of thousands of McCain’s loyal supporters banned together, gathering for another swipe at the Democrat’s final campaign. 

Its just another day in the world of politics, where bitter rivalries are settled by a public media death-match, and separate campaigns take whatever they can find and throw it into the fire. And this is precisely what is happening now on the web in both sides of the center, both officially and through amateur sources. JohnMcCain.com recently ran a section with pre-primary debate footage of Biden confirming that Obama was too inexperienced to be the president of the United States. This ad, which is now on a youtube thrill ride, has been both pushed on proudly by conservative bloggers and ripped up by liberal sources. It has been been debated on both sides the by the professionals and used by Obama’s extreme opposition (the ever so questionable McCain-Clinton group) in every possible angle that somehow attacks the senator. 

And with campaign news like this, an explosion of opinions and analyzation all over the world was in a sense expected.

In my opinion, Biden on Obama’s ticket strikes many nerves. Politically, he is the best pick to support the candidate, with his impressive foreign policy insight and credentials, but at the same time he is the perfect person for conservative attack. Even though he is now on team Obama, his long line of gaffes and politically un-correct (whether taken out of context or not) comments will come back to haunt him, whether delivered by the press or by the opposing party.

But then again, that’s just a part of politics, and in the end, it will be America’s decision whether he is the overall best running mate for Obama, not McCain’s.

Genius marketing mixed in with perfect tactics and fan support have made senator Obama’s new ads as effective as ever. After McCain’s celebrity attack ads geared towards Paris Hilton and Britney Spears as well as the Illinois senator, a response ad was imminent — and hyped. 

And did it come, in Obama’s first attack ad: “Embrace”, which turned the tables on the popular political ‘celebrity’ topic and focused on the popular web video of McCain hugging current President George Bush — who has now become public enemy #1 for the Democrats. More notably though, “Embrace” was truly the first full-fledged attack on McCain, and in my opinion it came at the best time. 

Although he has been steadily gaining on Obama’s lead in the polls, McCain’s PR has been on the decline recently, starting with his Iraq-Pakistan border gaffe and continuing with his recent attack commercials that seem to have little thought and research thrown into them. And because of this they have been ripped to pieces publicly by Obama staff and then discussed in numerous liberal blogs and forums.

On the flipside, Obama’s ads have been technically defensive responses with savvy quotes and researched facts, which have strangely been untouched by the right wing so far. His second ad, “Economy” was a simple but genius approach which has not been yet done before, but startled viewers. Starring McCain’s economic gaffs and disagreeing American citizens, on air the ad was very convincing — although it is very, very possible the people in the ad were the ones who agreed with Obama. But what not many people realize is that the Americans in the ad were from some of Obama’s weakest states, including Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky — where the average Joe would probably a McCain guy. This may have gone unnoticed by many, but it was a great idea for the campaign to exploit that weakness in a public way.

But not only is Obama winning in the advertising category, he’s orchestrating McCain attacks every day — most without him knowing. Obama’s fans have played a huge role in his campaign, and they have continued to on the web, where “first door on the left” type of blogs are sending out disses and attacks to the republican side with appeal to everything from McCain’s secret service to remixes of his gaffs and views being ridiculed by “experts”. 

So as Obama continues on with his hyped running mate decision and television ads, he knows one thing for sure — he won’t be alone. Far from it.

 

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What do you really want out of your blog? Most people would say the magic word — hits. But what are really hits? There are hundreds of websites that offer you free hits as long as you sign up, and thousands of people flock to them in hope that they will double and triple their stats. And most people will. But what shows up on your hit counter and what your visitors actually see is much different. You’ve always thought of your visitors being people who somehow found your blog, bookmarked it, and check up on it a couple times a week. Many blogs have only three or four of those people. And the rest?

In truth, the rest are people trying to earn blog hits as well. You may sign up to sites like BlogExplosion, where to get hits, you are forced to look at other people’s blogs for thirty seconds. 99% of people won’t lift an eyelid to any of the sites, all they will be looking at is the button they press to get to the next one. And when you pay off all your credits from surfing, your site goes to those pages, and people most likely won’t read a word you write. It will show up as a hit on your stats, but that hit means virtually nothing. 

My point here? In my quest for blogging, I want hits too. But my definition for a hit is something more different than the dictionary may claim. I want people to actually read my work, like you are doing today. And I have gotten many of those kind of visits. How? By participating in other blogs. Not just commenting with “good post”, and then leaving a link, but actually reading their article, and telling them what I think about it. This is something a lot of bloggers don’t do, and for obvious reasons. They only care about nourishing their own blog, when the truth is that no one will read it. Its a simple give and take, and it is widely misused. 

There are many things that participating in other blogs can do for you, and that’s why I think they are the key for getting a popular blog that many people will enjoy.

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China’s In Trouble

August 6, 2008

I bet a few critics of the IOC are giving their “I told you so” remarks right about now. Why? China’s in big trouble. After insurgent attacks in Western China, China’s is up to their necks in problems – as well as doubters. These attacks (which killed 20 border patrolmen) claimed to be in favor of independence in some of China’s Western providences. But everyone knows that they came at the perfect time – just days before the Beijing Olympics. And why are we so ticked off with this? In 2001, when China was given their Olympic stature, they vowed to do many things for the game, including limiting the violence and taking care of their human rights issues. If you ask a foreign policy hunk, they’ll most likely tell you that after seven years, they haven’t exactly fulfilled their promises. Their popular-with-the-press pollution problem doesn’t help either, as many athletes who arrived to the games wore masks off the plane. 

But aside from that, one must wonder if another attack is in the making for Beijing. The Chinese government boasts they have foiled past plans, but many of us know that with China’s decreasing credibility, they are looking for anything to gain the press’s trust – and with China that sometimes leads to a habit of exaggerations. Aside from that, it looks like China isn’t very keen on getting very much outside press into their business – they weren’t so accommodating to Japanese reporters covering the insurgency attacks. They also don’t like the rest of the world reporting on the games, as they issued a countrywide internet blackout for websites that planned to cover the Olympics. They also sent out a list of websites that they did not want to publish a word about their games, most international. China has also cut off internet access entirely in parts of their country, and one can only wonder why…

So here we have a country in which many people are speculating. It has in a sense failed its own promises. They have issued a media and internet blackout throughout their entire country and have set limits on all the worldwide media they can get their hands on. They aren’t exactly best of friends with America, and our athletes have showed their concern by wearing masks inside the air-conditioned Beijing airport. So with all this, one might conclude the US president should not be one of the spectators at the Olympics. This was something I was for until my brother brought me to my senses and gave me a great, but simple reason why this would be a horrible idea. He correctly stated that Bush would stir an already sticky situation by boycotting the Olympics.

Now this is a correct answer, but there is something he may not have thought of, and rightfully so. In this whirlwind of politics, one might forget what the Olympics really boil down to – sports. A gathering of world-class athletes couldn’t come in a more grand stage, and sometimes big time newspapers and writers can forget that. We’ve all had those moments sitting in front of the TV with a Coke in one hand and chips in the other with your buddies, and whether you are watching tennis or basketball, ski racing or baseball — pegging your friends with chips or chucking them at the players on TV – we’ve all felt at home. I remember watching the finals with a bunch of guys I spent a week with in some remote tennis camp (that’s another story), and they were all Boston Celtics fans. Crammed in a smelly breakfast room with a bunch of sweaty top US junior tennis players in a room with only two small rotating air-fans, I felt like some monk dude who found the connection with god. I had found the real essence of sports – rooting on a team with a bunch of other people who you knew nothing about other than the point that they liked another team. You hated them, but that just makes your connection with them more powerful. So this is why we should forget that maybe we made a bad decision by picking China to host the Olympics, but besides that, in the end it’s the game that matters. I’m sure if Bin Laden was a Red Sox fan and Bush was a Yankees fan they would get in a brawl, but in the end they are just sports fans. My point here? Sports isn’t just a game, it’s an escape from politics and the outside world. That’s why every country should be part of this celebration, and that’s why we should all forget the politics, cram ourselves in small bar with our buddies and stare at the TV screen, and be sports fans. Not politicians, presidents, citizens and terrorists, but just sports fans. And that’s all that we have in common these days.

The Art Of Chain Mail

July 29, 2008

As the web, the greatest communication portal ever constructed, continues to flourish, email made its mark in hundreds of millions of people’s lives wordwide. And what has started as a simple one line text message relayer, email has now become so flexible you can send almost whatever the heck you want to anyone’s address you want. And because of this, email has been one of hackers and identity stealer’s greatest assets. But almost as bad, however, is the ever-growing art of — yes — chain mail. You’ve seen it. You’ve deleted it. But, if your gullible enough, you’ve probably been fooled by it. As a 13 year old, I get about two chain mails a day or more in my spam, and (since I like to think I’m not very gullible) I delete them. But interestingly enough, they come back. This is because other people who fell for the chain letter and put down their email address. The sender is getting more success, so he sends more chain mail. And according to my study (which you will here about later in the post) he will then send out the money bags. 

I have encountered many different kids of chain mail, two in particular. The first, which you probably have seen if you are a emailer, is the most common of chain mails — the multiplier. When it reaches you, it will probably have over 1,000 followers of about the same age as you. If you are a young teen…the mail will probably start out with the name and email of the person who forwarded the email to you. He or she will have to be someone with your email address, so it will probably be someone you know. Then, below that, there will probably be a message on on a topic that is supposed to be either tempting, gut wrenching, or anything else that will make you interested. For me, the message almost 90% of the time is something relationship centered. It will start on with a really cheesy story of a couple where one cheated on one, or one didn’t pass on a chain mail, or one did something like move to Greenland. Then they break up, who ever cheated or didn’t pass it on gets stung by killer bees or someone gets fired or the girl turns out to be Mr. T, or Kimbo Slice and beats the heck out of the guy. Then, you have to scroll down for suspense, and another message appears. This is guaranteed to be some sort of threat about how if you don’t forward this to 10 more people, you will get bad luck, you will have some sort of relationship problems, or you’ll get beat up. Sadly, as retarded as this sounds, people actually find themselves to believe that if they don’t forward, all those things will happen. And because of this, the ten people that they send to will most likely be you. 

After maybe three weeks of the chain mail going on, the original sender will look over an updated copy of the email with maybe, 3,000 or 4,000 emails on it. Now, this is where the sender makes his pay. He could, using the IP, name, and email one of his gullible senders, hack their computers, take everything on it, and then plant a virus. As one of the people who have witnessed something like this live, you can put the above sentences in consideration before you plant you name and address on a random email. But the second, non lethal thing that he will try after the original chain mail is something called the pyramid, which was mentioned as the money bag method earlier. 

This method is primarily used on adults, but I have seen it pulled off with kids, too. The sender, now with about 10,000 addresses, will (for example) send an email to 5,000 of them saying that the DOW will go down the next day. Then, to the other 5,000 how will send a similar email reading the DOW will go up the next day. He will make all his emails look like they are only written to each and everyone of his recipients, so the recipients will not suspect this is a massive chain letter. Then, the next day, the sender will look at the Wall Street, see how the DOW did, and then to the 5,000 letters that were correct, he will split them in half and repeat the same method, for instance claiming that Apple stock will go down. He will repeat until he has about 100 email addresses who have gotten correct information maybe, 10 or 11 times (I’m not in algebra yet, so spare me). Then he will send emails to all of them claiming either he is magic or more likely, he is an inside man who knows how the stock will favor every single day. Then he will entice the 100 people, and then offer to give them a detailed description of how stock will go every morning for an entire year — but for the price of $50,000 dollars. In an ideal world, he will probably get about 70 of those people to give him the money, then he will disappear to Brazil and live off of his cash there. 

Although this seems, far fetched, this has happened numerous times. My point? The next time a chain mail comes you way, think twice about where your information will be going.

With the media attention now accelerating because of Barack’s Obama’s trip overseas, again — the common perception now is that the media is biased towards Obama. But I think that the media is so vast that it is hard to correctly identify that it is biased…

Now as the election narrows down, and with only two fighters left in this presidential melee, news today is merely two subjects — Obama’s trip and the so called “fact” the the press lean towards him. What is the truth? Well, to clarify this to myself, I wouldn’t call the press one. In fact, it is divided into five totally different sections: Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, TV, and Internet. Calling a one of these organizations liberal or conservative is hard to do, for example: although CNN may have 4 Obama articles to one McCain story, its staff’s blogging section may be overwhelmingly conservative. After the New Yorker controversy, a magazine that was thought to be liberal is now questioned, while in my mind they were just poking fun. On TV, reporters may belong to the conservative party, and have pro-McCain views, but report on stories about Obama’s trip to the middle east. On the web, (what I think is the most opinionated source) where the candidates control their own ground, nothing is held back. Both Obama and McCain have set up camp with they own websites, and grown outward, each trying to conquer Youtube, Myspace, and Facebook. Although some of this has lured in otherwise non-voters, this task is almost impossible — there are so many users on these web powerhouses, that having an Obama or McCain section of the site is not going to effect anything — people are still going to post whatever the heck they want. So although I do think there are some West Wing news sources and some conservative news sources, it is virtually impossible to enter that realm and come out with a credible point. 

Now with that said, I will get into what I think. This election has been like no other in terms of its candidates — with the first woman and first black president. Barriers have been broken, and the press has no doubt soaked it up. Hillary Clinton put this point very well many months ago when the Democrat side consisted of Obama, Clinton, and John Edwards. She pointed out that there are  new candidates for America to ponder, herself as the first woman, Obama as the first african-american, and then — there’s John Edwards. Her point was that the dominant figures in America have been rich, white men and now that this is starting to change, the bold new political figure won’t exactly be bold and new anymore if it is a while male. And now with Obama against a white male, the public would love to know all about this different breed of politician that Obama is and the press has had a field day telling them all about it. Do I think this is right? No, I believe the person who deserves to lead the polls should have the right beliefs about America and not have the public be biased or have hatred against them by their race, gender or appearance. So the press might claim that they only write more about Obama because more people would like to know about him, but that isn’t exactly true. America is in a dead heat in this race, leading into the convention. The percentages have been almost been equal, currently CNN says (not that I fully believe them) that Obama is winning the national polls 47% to 41% for McCain. Looking at the US map, McCain has secured many states and has many states leaning on him compared to Obama, who (like the average Democratic powerhouse) secures less states, but has control of the more populated ones. 

So, since this is a perspective blog in many sorts, I will put my point across. What I believe is that some of the press is overwhelmingly left wing and some of the press is overwhelmingly conservative, but with so many news sources and perspectives to take in, it’s very hard to accuse anyone of being partisan and be correct. I do believe Obama can get more press than McCain because he has broken many boundaries, and that is part of the reason for this post to be written. But another part of that is the press being a little more left wing than conservative.

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