As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Tuesday, September 26

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Fuel

leah / July 31, 2007 12:26 PM

Watching debates is really fun to me. I'd glady watch even more.

I found the YouTube format refreshing & encouraging seeing regular folks getting involved. It was mostly the same question set, but for some reason it resonated more with me to see a regular cat ask the softball questions rather than a moderator.


skafiend / July 31, 2007 12:34 PM

I've only seen bits and pieces of several of the debates. Semi-informative. Learn more by reading the papers, magazines, etc. But I thought the YouTube thing was a disaster. Too many of the people posing questions seemed to be auditioning for "Last Comic" Standing" or "Project Greenlight". It moved the entire electoral process one step closer to an "American Idol" style vote.

Jill / July 31, 2007 12:43 PM

People are running for president already? The election's way over a year away!

I could care less about the presidential race right now. It's way too early for candidates to have any real position because who knows what'll happen in the world before it's time to vote. Because they don't say anything concrete, I don't feel there's a reason to waste my time listening to all of this. I'd really rather know what Obama's doing in the job I elected him to do.

Pedro / July 31, 2007 12:52 PM

nicely said Jill

mike / July 31, 2007 1:24 PM

Some of them have said concrete things, Jill. While I don't think it's all that important to watch them just yet, it would be smart to at least follow the debates in the news so that candidates can't run from their statements later in the race. For example, Mitt Romney said plainly that he wanted to double the number of prisoners at Guantanamo and make sure they can't get lawyers. Zingers like that might be easily forgotten later if we don't pay attention now.

js / July 31, 2007 1:24 PM

politicians saying what they think the people who aren't really listening anyhow want to hear.

stop voting, you'll only encourage them.

Mateus / July 31, 2007 2:15 PM

I liked the youtube format. I thought most of the questions were pretty good and they screened them well.

On the down side, I don't like how the moderators seem to already be deciding for us who we should hear the most from. They pretty much just ask questions of Obama, Hillary and Edwards. I want to hear from Bill Richardson, who is by far the best resume among the bunch, but they hardly call on him.

I must admit I don't think anyone says much though. The most forthcoming people are probably Ron Paul and Joe Biden.

bran / July 31, 2007 2:39 PM

I have mixed feelings about these debates. On the one hand, I'm pleased that both parties are starting early - it's a vote of no confidence in the Bush Administration from both sides of the aisle. I also think that the Democratic youtube debate has been especially interesting as it gave the candidates an opportunity to think on their feet and address questions that were outside of the normal political channels. I loved the South Carolina preacher asking John Edwards why it's okay for religion to be used as a basis for denying homosexuals the right to marry whereas it's not okay to use religion to justify racism and sexism. I'm hopeful that the Republicans take on a similar democratic challenge.

That said, I do have a problem with this early presidential race, and that is that it distracts the lawmakers' focuses from the work they were elected to do: Namely, get us out of Iraq, investigate this corrupt and potentially criminal investigation, and restore balance to our government.

bran / July 31, 2007 2:41 PM

Typo: "investigate this corrupt and potentially criminal investigation" - meant to type administration.

Chef / July 31, 2007 3:38 PM

I would have to disagree with you, Bran. Both parties are starting early because nobody from the White House is running. Completely open ticket. Most elections start this early anyways.

Also, what is this "restore balance to our government"? To "restore" means at one time the government was balanced. The gov't has never had balance. The rich and powerful has run the gov't from the very beginning (do you think George Washington was a regular guy? He was the richest plantation owner in Virginia who owned the most slaves in the state).

The best part of the debate is when someone asked if the candidates send their children to a public or private school. A couple people on stage gave their scripted answers, while Obama said, "Look, everyone standing up here is a millionaire. We send our kids to private schools."

Great answer to a stupid question.

I love it when Obama starts his comments with, "Okay, let's look at this...".

Spook / July 31, 2007 4:53 PM

To those not paying attention, Id like to know what you are paying attention too, given the sorry state in this country? I’m being genuine here.
Personally, You Tube, I think provides a small ray of hope as does bloggers and yes forums like this, to critically engage “common” folks when the majority have allowed themselves to be mentally saturated with titillating market consumser flashing images, and brainwashing from corporate media cartels.

I'm just wondering if there will be a call to action or the continued study decline?

Leelah / July 31, 2007 11:18 PM

I like Lincoln.
Seriously, I'm comparing everyone to Lincoln right now, and nobody is coming close.
Read his 2nd Inaugural Address....


Spook / August 1, 2007 9:24 AM

Leelah:

I join join with you in that sentiment.

And it bothers me when candadites attempt to invoke his "greatness" and courage

I love reading about him including the lastest book "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin, I highly recommend it.

Interesting, to read to day that while others primarily focus on the dollar chase,
Edwards is revamping his grass roots internet/cyber operation. I really hope his candadicy grows if not to win at least so the debate on poverty continues and perhaps actually catches

jj / August 1, 2007 10:23 AM

As a political geek, I love the debates no matter what. However, for those not quite as nerdy as me, I think the YouTube debates are a good thing - they are certainly sparking participation from the demographic that is least likely to vote, young people between 18 and 30, and I think that's a good thing. I don't know if the debates are necessarily narrowing the field, but then again I'm not sure that is what they are supposed to do. We all know that Kucinich and Ron Paul don't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning, but I think it's valuable for them to be there and pushing the rest of their party on some of the issues by constantly bringing them up.

skafiend / August 1, 2007 11:55 AM

jj...

I supposed there is something good about YouTube getting younger people to participate. But the segment I saw seemed to favor style over substance.

Did I mention I am generally a skeptic?...

Jill / August 1, 2007 2:15 PM

Mike, I see your point, but a bunch of these candidates will just wash out in the early primaries (though apparently they're all early now because every state wants to be relevant). Right now it seems to be a lot of the same old non-commital garble and how much money can these people raise.

Spook, what am I paying attention to instead of a political race that won't have any affect on this country for 1 1/2 years? I'm looking at what Congress and the White House are doing right now. If I don't agree, then I reach out to my elected officials. Why wait for a new President to try to change things?

Chef / August 1, 2007 2:34 PM

Spook, when you talk about Lincoln's "greatness", are you referring to his platform to ship all of the African slaves back to Africa? Or is his greatness in that he married into a family that owned the most slaves in her area? Or maybe his "greatness" lies in that most of the cases he tried, he was defending the rights of slave owners?

Lincoln was a great President, yes. But let's take the rose colored glasses off and get your face out from in front of the Daily Show and take a good long hard look at our past Presidents...they resemble the likes of G.Bush a lot more than John Stewart and Co. would like you to think.

p / August 1, 2007 4:14 PM

just watched a clip on youtube titled "Ron Paul OWNZ Federal Reserve".

late breaking story today on tmz.com that the mary todd/ lincoln marriage is a sham. Scandelous.

Doyle / August 1, 2007 4:31 PM

Until we have federally-funded campaigns preceded by debates run by non-political 3rd parties (as they used to be), we are forced to vote for the least despicable millionaire candidate.

Elections are decided by coffers and ad time. Is it really a democracy when only the truly priveleged (or those supported by them) can run for president?

Look around us, here in Chicago, at all the incredible minds we are surrounded by. Are these candidates really the best we have to offer? That said, I just finished reading Obama's Health Care Policy as well as Dreams of My Father, and I am intrigued. It's a start.

Sorry for the soap-box guys, I just love my country and want to see it ascend above the current political situation...

skafiend / August 1, 2007 4:40 PM

Did you know Lincoln also used steroids and raised pit bulls for fighting?

I'm kidding... I think.

Spook / August 1, 2007 5:37 PM

Damn Chef, I’m offended, how dare you try to out progressive ME! Just kidding, sorta ;-)
But if memory serves, Lincoln only comptenplated compensating those African-American (soon to be citizens) to relocate to Africa, if they choose too.

And instead of proposing it to an all white Congress, he out of fairness, tried to sale the concept to Black folk, by having that historic meeting with Fredrick Douglas( who considered Lincoln a friend after he got to know him and returned invited for the second inaugural ) and other Black leaders of the day. This was the first time Black folk, got, to come into the White House as guests, and through the front doors!
This only increased Southerne hatred of Lincoln ever more,they called him not only a N#gger lover, but some continued speculation that he was half black.

Even before he was elected President, people called him an ape, and half black. Lincoln also had Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe in the white house as guest as well.

The next time Black folks would be invited back would be during the tenure of FDR, still with national controversy!

Any way, the Black leaders balked at this voluntary relocation plan, forcing Lincoln to realize that this boat should not “sail”.

But Lincoln did believe that “white men” would never be able to live side/ equally with Black folk and even today, this is still debatable. ;-)

But I have not seen any scholarship, where Lincoln ever defended a slave holders "right to own other people as slaves", but he did appoint the first progressive radical anti slavery activist to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, (after having him serve in his war time cabinet) Salmon P. Chase, who allowed the first man to try a case in front of the supreme court

I think Lincoln was far far far ahead of his time and should be judged as such, not be mentioned in the same breath at the moron who has driven the presidency to the gutter

course I’m always keeping at least one critical eye open

mike-ts / August 1, 2007 8:26 PM

This is all so premature, and I'm surprised that the candidates are stupid enough to go along with this. You can state your platform in a couple of website pages. Your voting record is not going to suddenly change. All you can do is shoot yourself in the foot. What the heck is there to debate this early? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Chef / August 1, 2007 10:21 PM

Spook, very spirited! If I could add a couple points to the discussion. First off, Abe Lincoln was a great President.

I am interested as to why you quoted “right to own other people as slaves”. That was not what I wrote, but a bit of cyber-space-slander never hurt anyone. The quote was “defending the rights of slave owners”. Namely…commerce. He protected the rights of slave holders sending their slaves across state lines for work.. That was early in his life.

I can respect someone regurgitating a biography, but how far does that “critical eye” go? In 30 years you can read a G.Bush biography telling you about all of the great things he did…or read a history book showing you his place in history. With all due respect, quoting facts from a biography does not show much critical thinking IMO.

It's almost as bad as copying and pasting from the internet. Say...
16th President ABRAHAM LINCOLN
His 4 Years, 42 Days as President

The proposed Crittenden Compromise would have at least postponed--and might have altogether avoided--the Civil War, and its failure was due primarily to Lincoln's stubborn inflexibility. His refusal to retreat was motivated as much by personal pride and concern for the survival of his party as by moral imperatives, and this refusal led to a war that cost 600,000 American lives. Despite his self-serving attempts to place all blame for the war on Southern shoulders, Lincoln himself must share the responsibility for bringing on the cataclysmic conflict.

No President, either before or after, has shown so callous a disregard for civil liberties as Abraham Lincoln. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus and ordered the arbitrary arrest of more than 15,000 Northern civilians, often with little or no cause. In ordering the arrest of Congressman Clement Vallandigham, an antiwar Democrat, Lincoln perpetrated one of the most infamous acts of political repression in American history. Lincoln himself admitted that he would "follow forms of law as far as convenient."

Lincoln's 1st actions relating to slavery were his moves to countermand the orders of 2 abolitionist generals who had freed slaves in some Union-occupied territory; Lincoln considered public opinion in the wavering border States to be more important than the continued enslavement of several hundred thousand human beings! Never a believer in true racial equality, Lincoln moved to free the slaves only after the overwhelming majority of his party had demanded it. Unlike the so-called "Radical" Republicans, Lincoln never considered the possibility that the free Negroes might some day function as full-fledged American citizens; Lincoln favored colonization in Central America as the "final solution" to the Negro problem.

Though it is easy to recognize qualities of greatness in Lincoln the man, this says nothing for Lincoln the politician who time and again chose expediency over principle. Nor does it atone for his record as a sloppy administrator, who was often unable to manage either Congress or his own Cabinet. It was only Lincoln's timely assassination that assured his place in history; he has been deified because of the tragic nature of his death, rather than for the accomplishments of his life. If he had lived to carry out his plans for Reconstruction, his name would be obscured today by the same cloud of partisan bickering that has blighted the memory of his successor, Andrew Johnson.

Jason / August 2, 2007 8:56 AM

That little bit of revisionist history was just the calyst I needed for my morning dump.

Spook / August 2, 2007 11:15 AM

Jason,

like Lincoln your post now "belongs to the ages"

Chef,

I know its hard to believe, especially during these Red Eye reading times, but my yesterdays post was not regurgitated nor quoted/borrow from any source. It was all synthesize from some very credible and well thumbed books
that now reside on bookshelves at the Chateau d' Spook .

And on that note, please consider not using highly specious internet sources when making an argument, because, when you randomly cut and paste from the internet, people might think that you are not serious about sharing knowledge and the discussion.

JJ:
as a x political Geek, and current prophetic pragmatist in training and transition,

may I pose a question to you as a political Geek?

Why is it that at best Kucinich "don't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning" and at worst he is openly mocked and ridiculed by even the liberal elements of the democratic Party?

Meanwhile the most extreme right wing republican elements are embraced by a large segment of the republican party and even the "liberal" wing of the GOP caters to them?

And what does it mean when some one like Bush can get elected, while Kucinich ""don't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning"

This is why although I often vote democratic, I cannot call myself a democrat any more.


GB store

Recently on Fuel

Urban Ethos [26]
What is Chicago's "urban ethos"?

Cool Glass of... [16]
What're you drinking?

Supreme Decision [22]
What's your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act?

Taking it to the Streets [20]
Chicago Street Fairs: Revolting or Awesome?

I Can Be Cruel [9]
Be real: what is the meanest thing you've ever done?

View the complete archive

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15