Friday, October 31, 2008

Proving that the Republican base is mostly stupid bigots:

Sen. Elizabeth Dole has a 30-second ad, running on television in North Carolina, accusing Sunday school teacher, Kay Hagan, of being a 'godless' atheist by using a fake voice over of Hagan at the end yelling "There is no God!":

More and more, with each passing election cycle, it seems that the Republican strategy depends on lying to stupid and bigoted people. They have no choice, that's all that is left in their base. It is yet more evidence of Christopher Hitchens' latest assertion:

This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

Of course, Hitch was talking about Sarah Palin's remark about fruit fly research, but in many ways Elizabeth Dole's ad exemplifies how the right has become a group of intellectually slothful theocratic bullies better than Palin exemplified it. Dole looks more like a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus than Palin does with that ad. Well, at least she does if you're an atheist.

Why else would we get such a blatantly false and bigoted ad from Dole? It's because the candidates know their base. A Newsmax poll showed that 11 percent of Americans claim to believe that Obama is a Muslim. Now, if 11% think Obama is a Muslim and if we generously say that about half of the American population is Republican, a generous estimate these days, and if we assume all those people who believe Obama is a Muslim are Republicans, then we have about 22 percent of Republicans who think Obama is a Muslim despite incredible evidence to the contrary.

Look closely at some of the people who have been speaking for this party, Ben Stein, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin.

The mistake the Republicans might be making this year is that by appealing to the troglodytes that make up its base of right-wing knuckle-draggers they are offending more people than they appeal to. At least I hope so.

Dole flat out lied. What actually happened was that Hagan attended a fundraiser that was co-hosted by a representative of the Godless America PAC. So, it's not that Hagan is even supporting atheists, they were supporting her. Hagan's counter-ad closes by warning Dole about "baring false witness against a fellow Christian." Ahh, I see, it's okay to bear false witness against other groups but don't lie about a Christian?:

We atheists scare everyone.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Religion's war on science, Part 2

So, you thought you had seen the worst of the Palin horrors?

Well, you haven't. And there are apparently more horrors to come. Strangely, it was the following statement by Palin that is now causing the biggest avalanche of reactions I've seen since those first interviews:

Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? ... You've heard about some of these pet projects they really don't make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.

The first complaint I read was over at PZ's blog, "Sarah Palin: Ignorant and anti-science," and as expected, PZ was appalled, so I'll just borrow his phrasing since I share the sentiment:

... this pretentious clod (Palin), mocks basic research and the international research community. You damn well better believe that there is research going on in animal models — what does she expect, that scientists should mutagenize human mothers and chop up baby brains for this work? — and countries like France and Germany and England and Canada and China and India and others are all respected participants in these efforts.

Yes, scientists work on fruit flies. Some of the most powerful tools in genetics and molecular biology are available in fruit flies, and these are animals that are particularly amenable to experimentation. Molecular genetics has revealed that humans share key molecules, the basic developmental toolkit, with all other animals, thanks to our shared evolutionary heritage (something else the wackaloon from Wasilla denies), and that we can use these other organisms to probe the fundamental mechanisms that underlie core processes in the formation of the nervous system — precisely the phenomena Palin claims are so important.

Then in a second post, "Losing the sense of the argument," PZ Myers notes that the defense the right wing is throwing up to rationalize Sarah Palin's inane remarks about "fruit fly research" is: She wasn't disparaging all research into fruit flies, but only one specific earmark for studying agricultural pests.

As PZ says, it's baloney:

The context of that comment was that she was claiming research had "little or nothing to do with the public good", and she brought up these seemingly trivial little animals and a place the right wing despises as dogwhistles to her hoople-headed fans. Claiming now that she was making an informed criticism of a specific study is a feeble attempt to distract with a lie.

Remember, this is the crank governor of Alaska who denies evolution and global warming, the backup candidate to a man who mocks research into bear DNA and calls a multimillion dollar educational tool an "overhead projector", from a party that ridicules people with Parkinson's because they want more stem cell research, and idiots want to claim that she isn't really anti-science because in this one case she was actually targeting an instance of applied research that directly benefits agricultural interests?

That's insane. You have to be a purblind slavering zombie of the Rethuglican party to swallow that.

It goes deeper than just trying to belittle science, too — we are a technological society that is entirely dependent on the advancements science has brought to us, that is facing a new series of challenges that will require new science to overcome....

A day later and PZ has yet another post, Palineurism, and Christopher Hitchens is piling on with "Sarah Palin's War on Science." And there was also this:

Looking at PZ's posts and how this story has gotten legs I think it is far past time for me to do Part 2 of my old blog post, "Religion's War on Science," because, as I pointed out in part 1, Chris Mooney wrote a book, "The Republican War on Science" several years ago that puts such statements in context. That's why the legs this story has now surprises me, it's old news for Republicans to talk like that. Mooney wrote of worse going on under everybody's radar during the Bush years.

As Hitchens says, Palin's views are a part of, and a result of, her religious beliefs and her religion's war on science. She is a creationist and creationists aren't likely to be familiar with all the extraordinary evidence for evolution that has come from fruit fly research.

I also quoted Vox Day's "The case against science":
"... there is real cause to doubt the continued benefit of science to modern society, or even its right to a respectable place within it."

Palin is already there, blind to the benefits of modern science and lacking respect for it because all she can see is these silly sounding, "wasteful earmarks." She decided to mock funding for medical/genetic research and if there was any vetting of her sources it was just to create an excuse. Her scientific ignorance is not a new phenomena in either the Republican party or in Washington. Already a large chunk of the Republican party, including many in the Bush administration (and Bush himself), don't even know what science is in our modern world. Palin is not a more ignorant exception.

It was no surprise to me when Sarah Palin said it, but still, hearing it sent a chill down my spine. The statement was made as part of the mavericky maverick's first policy speech which urged the federal government to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), “a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation.” She seems to be suggesting that the government somehow ensure that children with disabilities have access to education, even in private schools. Sounds like some kind of welfare state socialism to me. Palin said that the amount that Congress spends on earmarks was enough to fund IDEA. She then ridiculed some fruit fly research that had been earmarked, implying that it had little or no value.

This was not politically stupid. Palin played to her audience, and the audience loved it. To an uneducated right-winger fruit fly research just sounds silly, why should we care? People who are as disgusted as me, PZ and Hitchens are in the minority. Palin did not specify which fruit fly research earmark she meant, just that it was in France, but she and her audience were apparently unaware that scientific research with fruit flies has led to valuable discoveries that have important implications for autism research. More than likely she is entirely ignorant of the importance of fruit flies in science generally. Seeing as fruit fly research has provided strong evidence for evolution, something Palin doesn't believe in, it's no surprise that this kind of research would seem like a silly waste of tax-payer money to her. Alas, it's not just her, according to Gallup polls the creationist view, that God created humans in their present form, is held by quite a few American voters.

Palin is simply dead wrong about fruit fly research having little or nothing to do with the public good whether it's via earmark or not. As I understand it, all the earmarks only come out to $16.9 billion (an overestimation) while the federal budget is $2880.5 billion, so earmarks make up only half a percent of the total budget. And if those earmarks include funding for basic science we may not want to get rid of them.

Whenever Palin or McCain choose an earmark to criticize, it's usually one related to science, like the "overhead" projector for the planetarium or the fruit fly research. Palin herself, if not corrected by her handlers, would probably try to dismiss fruit fly research as "junk science" if pushed on her statement. I say that because that's how these fundy Republicans tried to sweep embryonic stem cell research under the rug. Except for the insane Vox Day, most Republicans never say that they oppose "science." They know that the American public has positive attitudes about what they think of as science. Instead they exploit misconceptions about science common among the general public, such as a belief that uncertainty in findings indicates fatally flawed research. But most cutting-edge science is uncertain, science is built on theory, not proof.

As Hitchens noted, the fruit fly is the most researched organism in genetic research and much of what we have learned about how genes and evolution work come from the study of fruit flies. That includes the discovery, in Drosophila fruit flies, of a protein called neurexin that is required for nerve cell connections to form and function correctly and that may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders. Human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism. Fruit fly research has also revolutionized the study of birth defects.

It was back in the dawn of the 20th century when scientists were creating an entirely new way of looking at evolution. Instead of thinking about populations of plants and animals as collections of individuals, biologists began thinking in terms of genes and gene pools. Around about 1910, people like Charles W. Woodworth, Thomas Hunt Morgan and others began using fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) for genetic research. The research provided direct experimental evidence of evolution. By combining the fledgling science of genetics with Darwinian evolution, scientists gave Darwin's ideas the empirical verification they'd been looking for.

Fruit flies were used because they breed rapidly, require little food, have scores of easily observed characteristics. They could be bred by the thousands in milk bottles and it cost little to feed all of them. Their entire life cycle lasts 10 days, so the generations multiply rapidly. What it takes mammals many thousands of years to accomplish, fruit flies can do, and have done, in less than a decade.

Ignorant creationists and ID proponents like to say that "a new species is never produced, the fruit flies always remain fruit flies." They simply sum up evolutionary experiments on fruit flies by saying "Once a fruit fly, always a fruit fly." However, that is as ignorant as saying ancient primates never became humans because once a primate, always a primate. Both apes and humans are primates still and one species of fruit fly can be more different from another species of fruit fly than a man is different from a monkey or even a dog. The first mistake is that the term "fruit fly" is not really a label for a species. The term "fruit fly" used this way doesn't mean anything technical or scientific in this case, it's just a common phrase. Technically they're Drosophila and there's more than one Drosophila species because Drosophila is a Genus, not a species. There are thousands of species of fly we might call "fruit flies," that's just a fly you find around fruit, and most of them are not even Drosophila. The standard Drosophila melanogaster, the fly used in most research, is just one species, there are other Drosophila, Drosophila Pseudoobscura, Drosophila simulans, Drosophila virilis and Drosophila birchii to name just a few.

Scientists have published the "complete" genomic sequences of many species of Drosophila and they have been observed to speciate both in the wild and in the lab, several times.

For those who understand, this research is incredible evidence for the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, and so, of course, creationists don't get fruit fly research any more than they would get research on molds, yeast and white mice.


It seems that the "fruit fly" research Palin mentioned has little to do with Drosophila according to RPM's post, "They are NOT fruit flies." The olive fruit flies Palin was referring are real fruit flies (Tephritids), an agricultural pest. She was actually criticizing applied research (as opposed to basic), which makes her comments even more absurd.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Joe Biden's gaffes?

Supposedly Joe the senator has been making lots of gaffes. Jon Stewart on the Daily show did a bit on the election gaffes and they had Biden's last "gaffe" (as of this writing) which is supposedly this:

"Mark my words," Biden said. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he's going to need help ... to stand with him. Because it's not going to be apparent initially; it's not going to be apparent that we're right."

And yet, in spite of all the gaffes Joe the senator supposedly makes, Obama's poll numbers keep going up and John the candidates keep going down. Maybe Joe the senator is even smarter than he often looks and sounds and his gaffes aren't all that gaffy.

Now what exactly makes that statement a gaffe? Biden isn't wrong for it's quite probable Al Qaida, Iran or North Korea might test the next president to see what kind of response they'd get. If they don't, well, it might be because what Biden said was a self-negating prophesy that warned them that we were expecting it. And why wouldn't they be just as likely to test McCain to gauge his response?

Joe the senator was indeed talking only about Obama and not about both candidates. However, there's no good reason to assume that McCain wouldn't also be tested. The difference is that it's Obama who is most probably going to be elected, not McCain. If Biden made any mistake there it was in singling out Obama as the one to be tested and not including McCain. That was the slip that invited the right-wing pundits, as well as John the candidate and Caribou Barbie, to pounce on Joe's statement to make a claim that Obama wasn't ready to be commander-in-chief.

They even made this ad:

When you're as far behind as McCain is, you've got nothing left but Biden's crumbs and the attempt to make this mole hill into a mountain. Alas, these crumbs might have a bit of rat poison in them.

McCain said we don't want a "president who invites testing" and then went on to claim that he had already been tested because he was on board the USS Enterprise off of Cuba when America came close to nuclear war. Then he said a noun, a verb, and "Joe the plumber." I fail to see how McCain was tested by sitting on an aircraft carrier off of Cuba. The test of being ready to drop bombs when ordered has zero to do with what Al Qaida or Iran might have in mind for a president. And just bringing up images of Kennedy and the cold war also brings up the images young people think about the cold war with, one of the big ones being Kubrick's movie, Dr. Strangelove and then I'm seeing that scene where Slim Pickens, as Major Kong, is riding a nuclear bomb down onto oblivion:

Only in my mind I'm seeing John the candidate waving his cowboy hat, singing "bomb bomb bomb... bomb bomb bomb Iran-hahan..." while riding that bomb down on top of Tehran. John the candidate should be careful of talking about carriers, Kennedy and the cold war when he himself sounds like a character from Dr. Strangelove:

McCain's example of being tested is nothing but meaningless bluster. Is it going to make Iran think twice before threatening us if McCain is president? Is it going to make our enemies too scared to mess with America? "I have been tested, my friends," McCain keeps telling us in stump speeches and interviews. Please, explain exactly how you were tested, John, because if that was it you're failing the intelligence test. You're being tested now by how you run your campaign and you're failing that test badly.

Some right-wing pundits, like Ed Whelan, jumped in with "Re: Biden: Obama's Inexperience Will Prompt International Crisis":

The Biden quote ... is really remarkable.

No, it's not remarkable. It's part of one of the few things right-wing pundits have been saying for awhile that is partly on target: If Obama is elected, “we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Biden even doubts that Obama will respond to the crisis in a way that inspires confidence. He tells Obama’s supporters that Obama is “gonna need you - not financially to help him - we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.”

Oh no! It sounds like one of our foes is going to push Obama to the brink of war to see if he backs down! Hey, wait... Bush already went over that brink, in one case with good reason, in another case with bad reasons, so how much worse could anyone do? Our foes these days are pissant little countries compared to the old Soviet empire and they are no match for us. The problem isn't that we're not able to bomb them back to the stone age without taking too bad a hit, the problem is we can't make them feel good about America after we've bombed them back to the stone age.

Does anyone really need any additional reasons not to vote for Obama? (If so, there are lots of them.)

It wasn't reason enough the first time it was brought up, why would it be a reason now? Biden was just repeating a criticism already made by right-wing pundits.

In Ed Morrissey's "Biden: Obama’s inexperience will prompt nations to test us" we have this:

In a stunning statement, Biden acknowledged that Obama’s lack of foreign-policy experience will provoke America’s enemies into creating an international crisis. Biden apparently thinks this is just terrific.

A stunning statement? What is stunning about it? Does he assume that voters should only be lied too and pandered too? He asks:

Isn’t this an argument for electing someone with more experience?

No, it's not. Though it would depend on the experience, of course. The word "experience" is too general. The word "experience" is at best shorthand for "appropriate experience." I have experience with blogging and sitting around watching television. Does that qualify me for anything besides blogging and TV watching? Now, what experience does John the candidate have that would make it easier for him to deal with such a test?

Then there's a pathetic and transparently phony attempt at mind reading:

Biden seems convinced that electing John McCain will make our enemies abroad much less sanguine about provoking us — which is one of the best arguments yet heard for electing McCain.

No, Joe the senator never said anything about John the candidate not being tested if he won. And right now it doesn't look like McCain will win, so it will be Obama and not McCain who is tested.

Even worse, Biden admits that an Obama administration will likely fumble the ball. “It’s not going to be apparent that we’re right.” Really? Why not?

No, that doesn't mean that Biden thinks he'll fumble, it just means Obama and Biden will do something that people will question, like they questioned Kennedy when he told Nikita Khrushchev to take his missiles home "or else" because Kennedy wasn't going to let the Russians set 'em up in Cuba. We went to the brink of war and that scared people.

When Biden says "It’s not going to be apparent that we’re right." It assumes they will be right but that people won't see why until later. Kennedy certainly made mistakes in getting us to the point where he had to do that, but it turned out that he was right to go to the brink at that one point because the Russians did back down.

I’d rather avoid the problem altogether and elect a man who puts enough fear into the minds of our enemies to keep them from testing us at all.

A man who puts fear into our enemies? That's not really a good idea. Fear is what makes our enemies dangerous, it's what makes us dangerous. Saying that electing McCain would avoid the problem because McCain is such a blood-thrirsty hawk that he'll just nuke whoever gets in his way is rather crazy, and that's what scares me more.

It's strange, all these gaffes that Joe the senator is supposedly making only make me respect and admire the man more than I did before. Every time the right-wing pundits call attention to one my first thought is usually "that's it, that's all you've got against this guy?" And then I think of all the gaffes I'd probably be making if I were in his shoes, for example, when I wrote "Our foes these days are pissant little countries compared to the old Soviet empire and they are no match for us. The problem isn't that we're not able to bomb them back to the stone age without taking too bad a hit, the problem is we can't make them feel good about America after we've bombed them back to the stone age" that would have been a potentially career ending gaffe if I were running for high office.

Joe the senator sometimes gets his facts wrong, but he doesn't get important and relevant facts wrong, like when McCain mixed up Sunni and Shiite. I don't think he gets policy too wrong, not like McCain advocating deregulation days before the Wallstreet meltdown and about a month before Greenspan admits that the philosophy behind deregulation is flawed. And political gaffes, that's when you offend some interest group perceived to be important to your success, well nothing Biden has said was as bad as Obama's "they're bitter and clinging to their guns and religion" line.

None of these guys are gaffe free, but Biden's gaffe's have been the mildest of all of them. The worst they do is make him sound too honest for his own good. I like that kind of mental transparency in government.


Well, it seems that my comment: "When you're as far behind as McCain is, you've got nothing left but Biden's crumbs and the attempt to make this mole hill into a mountain. Alas, these crumbs might have a bit of rat poison in them," is looking more and more on target. Watch this:

Then check out how the right-wing blogs are dealing with it. Or, just read Anonymous Liberal's post:

They seem to think Biden somehow embarrassed himself or got rattled during the interview. The fact that they think that is further evidence of the rapidly widening gulf between the reality most of us inhabit and the alternate universe where most right wing bloggers now reside.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Sarah Palin Amendment

I don't think that James Fallows was entirely serious when he proposed this 28th Amendment to the Constitution:

"No Person shall be elected President or Vice President without accepting a session of questioning by the press, such session to last no less than one hour and to be open to normally accredited members of the press in the same fashion as at Presidential news conferences. The questioning shall occur and the results shall be made freely available to the public at least one week before an Election is held."

Three weeks to get it enacted.

I think a Sarah Palin Amendment would be a good idea. However, instead of just "accredited members of the press" why not members of the Congress and the Senate representing both parties and then a town hall with questioning members of the public selected based on a raffle? Make the campaigns a more formal process where candidates must be questioned by the opposition. The problem with the "accredited members of the press" qualification is that Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh might be enough to get Palin over that hurdle.

Palin shouldn't be allowed to get away with just doing one debate and canned rally speeches with a folksy pronunciation of phrases like "you betcha" and "doggone it" that makes her sound like a clone of Frances McDormand in the movie "Fargo" to get elected.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The VP debate

Caribou Barbie did better in the VP debate than she did with her interviews with Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson. Most of the time she managed to put words together in a reasonably coherent manner, but it was still cringe-worthy. It was the follow-up questions from Couric that tripped her up before, and the debate format either didn't allow for that kind of follow-up question, or the moderator didn't want to go there. As a result, there were Republican spin doctors out there calling the debate a win for Palin.

For example, Pat Buchanan said:
"Sarah Palin was sensational tonight. She not only met the expectations, I think she wiped up the floor with Joe Biden, quite frankly. She is personable, she is young. She has got a sense of humor. She looked straight into the camera while Joe is talking to Gwen all evening long. I thought she didn't make a mistake, not a foot fault in the whole thing. ... I was astonished at how well she did. ... There are conservatives and Republicans across America who are ... breathing a sigh of relief. ... She has recaptured that magic she had out there at the convention. ... I think that McCain campaign, given the economic problems, I don't know if they can turn this around, but if it can be turned around, I think she has done it in the sense that of the four debaters we've seen, she was the most interesting, attractive of them all"

Notice how its all superficial stuff that Pat praises, not the substance of the debate. Also, note the reference to the convention because I'll get back to that.

Another example, David Brooks', "The Palin Rebound":

She held up her end of an energetic debate that gave voters a direct look at two competing philosophies. She established debating parity with Joe Biden. And in a country that is furious with Washington, she presented herself as a radical alternative.

By the end of the debate, most Republicans were not crouching behind the couch, but standing on it. The race has not been transformed, but few could have expected as vibrant and tactically clever a performance as the one Sarah Palin turned in Thursday night.

A radical alternative? No, I don't think so. In order to be a radical alternative Palin and McCain are going to first have to prove that they actually understand what was wrong with the way the Bush administration governed during these last 8 years.

Remember when Couric asked her what is the "best and worst thing that Dick Cheney has done as Vice President?" Biden talked about shredding the constitution, condoning torture, the idea of a unitary executive where the Congress and the people have no power in a time of war and the President controls everything. However, Palin said the worst thing was the duck hunting accident. Then she praised Cheney for supporting the troops.

You can't be an alternative to Bush and Cheney until you can describe what they've done wrong.

Michelle Malkin wrote:

She was warm, fresh, funny, confident, energetic, personable, relentless, and on message. She roasted Obama’s flip-flops on the surge and tea-with-dictators declarations, dinged Biden’s bash-Bush rhetoric, challenged the blame-America defeatism of the Left, and exuded the sunny optimism that energized the base in the first place.

Jay Reding wrote:

Palin is not at all as polished as Biden, but she’s coming off as authentic. She doesn’t have full command of the debate, but she’s not just making things up like Biden has been all night.

Authentic? Really? Let us recall the previous authentic horrors:

I was hoping to see Caribou Barbie deliver another display of inept bullshit as she pretended to answer a question she really didn't have an answer for, which she did, but this time she did it much better. She was still one dimensional and still not really answering the questions. She even said something like, "I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also." Thus she dodged, picking and choosing her topics. She had studied her talking points and doggedly stuck to them. Toward the end she recycled and repeated a few.

Palin didn't even need to comprehend the questions, she ignored them and went down her checklist of speechifying rhetoric. Of course, this always happens in debates, but usually the politician can do a smoother segue into the point and then customize their stock bit enough to make it seem like an answer. In the end, what she did was work another convention speech into her answers and thus the problem with her answers was the same problem I had with her convention speech. One guy who explained that problem was Matt Taibbi, in his Rolling Stone article, Mad Dog Palin:

The truly disgusting thing about Sarah Palin isn't that she's totally unqualified, or a religious zealot, or married to a secessionist, or unable to educate her own daughter about sex, or a fake conservative who raised taxes and horked up earmark millions every chance she got. No, the most disgusting thing about her is what she says about us: that you can ram us in the ass for eight solid years, and we'll not only thank you for your trouble, we'll sign you up for eight more years, if only you promise to stroke us in the right spot for a few hours around election time.
-- Matt Taibbi, Mad Dog Palin

Matt Taibbi pointed out, in the above article, that we're being asked to judge character, not substance, which is what Jay Reding, Michelle Malkin, and Pat Buchanan were doing, but the character we are given is the product of a script that is designed to massage Republican partisan egos.

I'm not saying Biden was great, both of our master debaters ejaculated their gooey platitudes and sticky talking points all over the audience, but there was more substance to his answers.

How did I miss Rich Lowry's orgasmic "Little Starbursts"?

I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.

If you saw any utterly syrupy, iky, Republican spin on Palin that I missed, please share and leave a quote in my comments section.