September 30th, 2004


The debates are here.

The first debate is tonight at 9PM EST, 6 PM Pacific.

Watch it live on television or cable. Listen to it on the radio. Watch it online. Get together with friends and watch it. Tell others to watch it... and tomorrow, talk with others about it.

Just don't make the mistake of not watching any of the debates. They're important. The election is important. Get involved.

And if you're not registered yet, register now. There are only a few days left to do so in most states! (See the State Registration Deadlines for more details.) Do it today.

A mother of a soldier.

This testimonial from a mother of a soldier who died in Iraq will be broadcast on TV and radio by If you like the ad, you can donate and help get their message out to more Americans. If you don't like the ad, then at least you have to admit it is far more real and viceral than most of this political campaign has been thus far. The first debate starts in 90 minutes. Let's hope this changes sometime soon.

US soldiers are dying in Iraq everyday... soldiers like adeptus13, ( aka Adam Estep) whose last post on LJ has become a memorial.

If you think that Iraq is the right war to fight, then you have to justify the death of nearly 1100 US soldiers, with over 7000 wounded in action, and well over 7000 more sent back home with injuries -- physical and mental -- that are often just as serious as those received in battle. You have to be there for their sad, proud dads, their hysterical mothers, their grieving wife or husband... you have to be able to look their children in the eyes, make things alright somehow ...and be there for them.

You also have to be there for the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died, the tens of thousands maimed and wounded, the ones who lost their homes, and the ones who lost their livelihood.

You have to expect this human toll will get two, three, four, or even ten times higher in the future, both from the war and from its longterm effects of the lives of those scarred by it. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers will rotate in and out from Iraq before all this is over, and many will need help and support -- some now, some in the future. You have to be there for them not just this year, but ten, twenty, fifty, eighty years down the road.

You have to be there for them all, and you *should* be there for them all... but you have to realize that you can't. We live in a world of systems that dogmatically apply solutions that are both inadequate and uniformly incorrect, targeted towards a statistical average on a cost-benefit basis. At best, they are insufficient. At worst, they are the meatgrinders of humanity. That said, they are not the best we can do, nor the highest we can aspire to.

Your heart may be in the right place, but the systems you and I live in suck. On an human level, the cost of this war is (and will be...) completely, utterly overwhelming.

You can't be there for all of them no matter how hard you try, and that is the saddest thing of all.

The first debate is history!

And a very good piece of history, actually. Here's the transcript, or click here to watch it over the 'net.

I could tell you what I thought about the debate, (hint: Kerry won) but I'll rely on the "experts". Apparently, they thought Kerry won too.. The CNN/Gallup poll shows Kerry winning by 53% to 37%, the CBS poll shows Kerry won 44% to 26%, and the ABC poll shows Kerry winning by 45%-36%... all substantial margins of victory. The Gallup poll was weighted towards "likely voters" and had a higher percentage of Republicans to Democrats as a result, so that's really saying something. (Before the debate, 52% of voters supported Bush, while 44% supported Kerry.)

Rather than tell you what the "liberal media" had to say though, I'll defer to the conservative pundits...

"In tone and bearing, (Kerry) seemed calm, authoritative, and, yes, presidential. . . . this was critical to undermining Bush's constant assertion that Kerry is unclear, wavering and unreliable . . . it was Bush who was grimacing, furrowing his brow, almost rolling his eyes and at the very beginning, looking snippy and peevish." - Andrew Sullivan

"No matter how you feel about Bush, watching him speak is difficult. It�s like watching a drunk man cross an icy street." - Tucker Carlson

"The Bush campaign miscalculated on having the first night be foreign policy night." - Jonah Goldberg, National Review

"(Kerry) was shockingly succinct and sharp . . . Bush was badly hurt by, yes, the podium height, which made him seem smaller, in comparison to Kerry, than he actually is. (Bush) looked . . . a bit like a gargoyle, or someone who needed the podium for protection. After an hour I'd had enough of Kerry's humorlessness. But I no longer had such a problem with him being humorless in the Oval Office." - Mickey Kaus, Slate

"I think Kerry did pretty well tonight, he was forceful and articulate." - Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard"

"Kerry was tougher than I had expected . . . Bush started off weak" - Glen Reynolds, Instapundit

"(Kerry) does not come across as arrogant and obnoxious as we believe him to be. . . The President is a dismally poor public speaker. - John Derbyshire, National Review

"Despite my partisan inclinations, I have to admit that Kerry has won this debate . . . Kerry comes off as the prosecutor accusing Bush of incompetence. Bush comes off as his Meet-The-Press, press-conference version - dogged, arrogant and unlikable. Kerry will get a significant bounce in the head-to-head poll numbers from this debate." -

"Both of them, I thought they did well." - John McCain

"I thought the President was repetitive and reactive . . . Kerry was smoother and proactive..." - Kate O'Beirne, National Review, The Capital Gang

"Kerry is the more fluid debater . . . I think he might have picked up some undecideds because I thought he looked and sounded plausibly Presidential." - John Hillen, National Review

"Tonight (Kerry) seemed to find his voice for the Democratic view of the world." - Tim Russert, Meet the Press

"This is the President's turf, this is the place that the President is supposed to dominate, terror and the war in Iraq. I don't think he really dominated tonight. I think Kerry looked like a commander-in-chief." - Morton Kondracke

"AND THE WINNER IS . . . Kerry. Five weeks, white knuckles." - Richard Brookhiser, National Review

Wow. Isn't it *nice* when everyone agrees for a change?!

If you'd like your opinion to count, however, you can go to CNN's website and vote on their poll as to who won the debate. (Scroll down to bottom right.). There are also polls at MSNBC, CBS, TIME, AOL News, and CNBC... or just write an editorial to your local paper.

Shaping public opinion matters right now... bigtime. We can't let the rightwing media spin this debate into anything other than what it was -- a clear victory for Kerry on his most difficult topic. We can't allow this race be decided by Supreme Court Justices or by people stealing, surpressing, or not counting votes. Not now. Not again. Not in our America. We need a clear majority on Election Day, and that means people must believe that victory is possible from this point on. Spread the message. Live the message. Hope, pluckiness, and pure American optimism will see us through to victory.

From this point on, things will get hairy. Get energized, and do what you can to energize those around you. Don't bring a spork to a knife fight.