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    The Pain and Drama of McCain & Obama
    Monday
    Dec012008

    Good Sports

    "People have traditionally underestimated the importance of sports in
    presidential elections," Mary Dain, CEO of Dis-Dain Consulting Concepts,
    recently told Joeydee News, "but the influence of sports in politics
    actually trends all the way back to 1980. Everyone thinks Jimmy Carter
    lost his re-election bid because of the Iran hostage crisis, but his
    career was pretty much in the tank after letting that slow roller go
    through his legs in the White House softball tournament. The Republicans
    took a 3-2 lead heading into the ninth, and the Democrats were never
    able to come back. Everyone kind of lost faith in him after that."

    Joe Durette, chief marketing strategist at DDCC, agreed. "Everyone
    remembers Ronald Reagan as the Great Communicator, but many don't
    realize he was also known as the Great Shuffleboarder. If you had your
    disc on 10 and he had one to play, you might as well give him the score.
    It was a huge advantage with the octogenarian vote. Walter Mondale, on
    the other hand, was more of a pencil-pushing crypto-gram kind of guy,
    and it made him hugely unpopular. Nobody likes those puzzles.
    Personally, that's always the page of the newspaper that I place under
    the kitty-litter box."

    "Bill Clinton might've had chicken-legs, but he could run like a
    gazelle. People like that. In contrast, Bob Dole had a limp libido and
    intermittent incontinence. Let's face it, nobody wants to see their
    commander-in-chief waddling to the men's room with his cheeks squeezed
    together in the midst of a World Peace Summit."

    "We kind of won by default with G.W. in 2000 and Aught-four," Miss Dain
    continued. "I remember when Al Gore showed up at the James Brady 5K Road
    Race in red Pro-Keds, white knee-highs, polyester green shorts, and a
    V-neck T-shirt. You just can't dress like that and gush on about 'your
    Internet' without expecting to be labeled a nerd. We took the
    High-School Bully vote by over 95% that year. Then came John Kerry with
    his pearly whites, his wavy hair, and his polo shirts. He just had Yacht
    Club written all over him. It doesn't matter how many times you win
    America's Cup--sports fans just don't want to see that crap opposite the
    football box scores in the sports pages."

    "Things didn't go as well as planned this year," Durette confessed. "We
    thought we had everything under control after Obama bowled a 47 and
    threw all of those gutter balls. Pennsylvania and Ohio were falling like
    duckpins for us. Then came that footage of him draining an outside jump
    shot on the basketball court and hitting nothing but net. I mean, who
    doesn't want a guy on their team who can hit a clutch three? We tried to
    counter by having Sarah plug a few wolves from the chopper, but people
    just didn't seem to get it. We got some mileage with Todd the First Dude
    on the snow-machines, but that went south after the press disclosed
    reports about all the silk underwear Sarah bought him. There's just no
    way to connect Polaris and Danskin for Men without conjuring up some
    pretty disturbing mental images. The thought was if we could get Sarah
    on an Iditarod sled wearing some lacy Victoria's Secret garments we
    might've been able to turn the election around, but it just wasn't the
    right season for that."

    "Right now we don't know what to do about Bobby Jindal. He has a sort of
    JFK frailty about him. Preliminary tests have him scoring well in
    curling and synchronized swimming, but we're not sure if there's any
    potential there just yet. If we can get him to pull off a couple of
    aerial 360's on a mountain bike, we might have something there."

    Monday
    Dec012008

    Children of the Trinblog Warriors

    I read all 13 pages of the Media Giraffe Project article. Parts of it
    were hard to follow, sometimes the author trends toward Acronym Abuse.
    That being said, I couldn't help but think, wow. It's more than just an
    exciting vision of a possible future for a techno/journalism blend, it's
    a blueprint for creating a creating an op-ed melting pot that drives
    citizen journalism as well as community engagement/activism/education.

    So now I'm thinking, why can't we do that here?

    One of my greatest frustration with taking Colin's "Blogging On" class a
    few years ago was the fact that the majority of student blogs came to an
    abrupt end a day to a week after the semester had ended. I kept my blog
    going, admittedly on life-support at times, and maybe a couple of other
    students who had a use for their blog beyond the structure of the class,
    but that was about it. I believe one reason for this is because it's
    easier--and more engaging--to write with direction and purpose than it
    is to write a daily or weekly diary. And when I say "write", I mean
    "blog". Something that is intended to generate readership, because if no
    one is reading then a sense of futility sets in. Believe me, I know, and
    it's not necessarily due to poor writing, it's that sense of purpose
    thing. And while I've enjoyed this class immensely, the truth is it's
    over in a couple of weeks, we'll all go our separate ways again, and all
    of the fascinating things we've learned and experienced in this class
    will be stored away in some cubby holes in our minds. But it doesn't
    have to be like that.

    Here at Trinity College there is a wonderful and largely untapped
    potential to use the Media Giraffe Project framework to create a campus
    and community news and op/ed website presence from scratch. Being a
    commuting graduate student, I'm not aware of all of the machinations
    that currently exist within the general student body, but I'm thinking
    more of something emanating from the Graduate Studies department. This
    website (or blog) could grow into a vital voice on campus and in the
    surrounding community, providing publishing/ video opportunities for
    graduate and undergraduate students alike, as well as linking to
    faculty, community leaders, and existing MSM as well. I know Trinity
    Graduate Studies doesn't have a journalism program, but it certainly has
    English, American Studies, Public Policy, etc., all of which could
    become contributors. It could also help organize and drive student
    activism, and could also use Twitter-type technology to engage its
    readership on the campus and beyond.

    My opinion is that our current class could serve as an excellent
    launching pad for such a project, with a core group of interested
    students forming an "editorial board" seeking ways to implement the
    concepts presented by the Media Giraffe Project, including reaching out
    to the Computer Sciences department for collaboration. The endeavor
    could likely qualify as an independent research project for Spring '09,
    in which we hypothesize and then document the implementation process and
    its perceived impact at the end of the semester. I'm willing to bet we
    could even talk Colin into being an advisor for the project, although I
    don't want to put words into his mouth. I just think that a hands-on
    project like this would be an excellent instructional experience that
    can would not only benefit Trinity, it would give us invaluable
    experience on the cutting-edge of media studies, something that I for
    one would be eager to participate in.

    Sunday
    Nov302008

    A Twitter or Just a Twit?

    I've been trying to figure out Twitter but to no avail. My username is Joeydee, and so far I've been able to post a couple of meaningless entries, but I haven't been able to figure out how to follow anyone yet. The first article Colin posted talked about how Clive Thompson was following a 32-year-old recruiting consultant in Florida named Shannon Seery. Thompson says it's as easy as the click of a mouse, but I've been clicking away and haven't figured it out yet.

    Then I read the article about the New York Times invading Facebook, and developing a marketing strategy based upon the social networking site, and I couldn't help but think, "Leave it to the marketing slugs to figure out how to suck the blood out of a phenomenom like Facebook." But I shouldn't be surprised because Facebook seems to be getting more and more commercialized every day. I think that will eventually be a turnoff for some users. (Incidentally, you can find me on Facebook by doing a Friends search using name = Joe and school = Trinity.)

    Now I am trying to swallow all of this information coming at me in the class blog over the past week. It seems like more than I can handle at this time. I've been going at it since I got home today (about four hours ago) and haven't made much of a dent in it yet. I need to take a break for a while but hopefully I can get through the rest of this tomorrow before class.

    Monday
    Nov242008

    Confessions of a Registered Republican

    I don't know if this is a good time to admit this to the class, but I am and have been a registered Republican ever since the heyday of Ronald Reagan in the mid-80's. That being said, I have always voted with my heart and head in the presidential elections, rather than along party lines. I first became eligible to vote in 1980 (God, I'm getting old) and like many of my high school friends I voted for Jimmy Carter because I thought Reagan would launch the nuclear bombs as soon as he got settled into the Oval Office leather chair. Four years later, when I saw that Armageddon hadn't arrived yet, I voted for Reagan to return for a second term. I was involved in small business ventures at the time, and the natural inclination of the small business community is, and probably always has been, to vote Republican. I registered for the party around that time, and voted for George Bush Sr. in 1988 and again in 1992, when he lost to Bill Clinton. I despised the Clintons, especially Hilla
    ry, and voted for Bob Dole in 1996, even though I knew it was a throwaway vote.

    Things changed for me in the 2000 election campaign. Voting with my brain, I saw that George W. Bush didn't have a very impressive one. At this time I had migrated away from the business ventures and more toward activism and environmentalism, so I was more attracted to a Gore presidency than a Bush one. I also began to sense a change in the Republican party that seemed to emphasize sensationalism, deception, distortion, and propaganda, which I didn't like. When the election results came in and all of the shenanigans went down in Florida with Jeb Bush as Governor, I was convinced the election had been manipulated, and that the Republicans had become highly skilled in the intangible art of mind manipulation. This was evidenced again four years later when John Kerry ran against Bush and left with his head spinning by the calculated efforts of the Republican Propaganda Machine.

    This year the charismatic Barack Obama was able to rise above the throes of the Machine, partly because of an inspired campaign and voter registration strategy and partly because, I believe, the American public was sick of being lied to and sold a bag of goods. Had John McCain won the RNC nomination in 2000, I probably would have voted for him, and had he campaigned with a positive strategy and selected an intelligent running mate based on accomplishment rather than fluff, I would have given him more serious consideration this time around. His greatest mistake, I believe, was trying to buy into the support of the Machine rather than distancing himself from it, and I think many people like myself had just had enough of it. The conservative radio jocks--Limbaugh, Hannity, Cunningham, Savage, etc.--will say anything and smear anyone, because to them the end justifies the means. Their syndication numbers reveal the power of their corporate support which, in turn, signifies the ex
    tent to which corporate America has a stake in controlling the thoughts of the people who pull the levers and fill in the dots. Something needs to be done about the intentional spread of misinformation and untruths, but I'm not sure that a new Fairness Doctrine is the answer, or that we can legislate anything without impinging first amendment rights. Maybe class action libel or slander lawsuits are the answer, allowing the American public or specifically targeted individuals or groups to hit the liars at Corporate Radio where it hurts them the most: in their wallet.

    I sooo have to get to the Town Hall to change my affiliation...

    Sunday
    Nov232008

    Pardon Me, Mrs. Palin...

    I'm pretty intrigued by the Palin Turkey story. First, I wonder if she knows what continent Turkey is in. Second, are we supposed to believe that Sarah "Wolf Sniper" Palin has any kind of compassion for lesser animals? It's kind of ironic that a Governor from Alaska lends such an impression of indifference to nature in one of the world's greatest nature settings. It's not just the turkeys or wolves (some species of which are endangered), it's her ignorance about global warming theories and her embracing of the "Drill Baby Drill" RNC mantra while presiding over a region whose industry, economy, and community fabric were so completely destroyed by the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. President Bush's contempt of the environment is legendary, and--oh by the way-- the environment includes the living creatures it sustains.  God foribd if Governor Palin actually does get elected president in 2012, our country's natural environment might again be subject for further exploitation for the benefit of its business environment.

    It's just amazing that this dingbat is currently outpolling Romney and Huckabee as the most likely RNC presidential candidate for 2012. Talk about a party that has lost its way!