Friday, August 24, 2007

Ron Paul's Internet Army of the Undead

You know, loyal reader, that I can't stand the presidential candidates who have no chance and yet insist on clogging the debate stages. To briefly recap why, it's because I think that the process of selecting a good president is fairly important to the country. As poorly as the debates are currently formatted, they are still the best forum to see our potential presidents defend their positions under cross examination. In my opinion, having to suffer equal time for a Chris Dodd or a Ron Paul is no different, literally no different, than mandating that presidential debates have to devote equal time to a clown that comes out and does a unicycle and bowling pin routine.

Saying that Paul or Dodd provide opinions and unique points of view we may not otherwise hear doesn't impress me at all. This isn't some kind of open mike night, shoot the shit, political roundtable, dorm room jam session where we say "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we abolished the IRS?" No. It's a presidential debate. It's a place for actual candidates with an actual chance of being president to spar with other actual candidates with positions that actual people actually take seriously.

If you really feel we should abolish the IRS then good for you, but you have a lot of hurdles to clear before you can justifiably take your case on network TV to waste my time with it in a forum that's supposed to be about weighing the merits of serious candidates. Get your man's polls out of the basement before you bring me these goofy, nutjob ideas.

Now, I have a special dislike for Ron Paul, more so than the rest of this year's crop of no-chancers. I dislike him on a personal level for two reasons. (And by the way, all pro-Paul comments on my site will be immediately deleted. I'm not interested in a dialogue with Paul's undead army, only in demoralizing them. Anti-Paul comments though are welcome.)

The first reason I dislike him is his politics. Anyone who advocates an immediate, total pullout of Iraq without even pausing to consider our responsibility for the genocide that would surely follow, can't be taken seriously. And then there was his specific comment in that one debate, the comment where he said: "They (the 9/11 terrorists) attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years." And: "I'm suggesting we listen to the people who attacked us and the reasons they did it." Here's the whole, fun clip.

Yesssssssss, we should listen to the people who slaughtered 3,000 Americans wholesale. Why did they do it? I'm sure that if we just stopped our cowboy rampage in the middle east just long enough to hear out the radical Islamists, hear *why* they did it, instead of shooting first and asking questions later, then maybe WE would learn something. Of course, I'm guessing we'd hear "You stationed your troops too close to our holy pile of sand." but maybe I'd be wrong. Maybe there's a good, compelling reason for the slaughter of 3,000 innocent people, and we just haven't stopped to listen.

Or, maybe Ron Paul is an ignorant tool? I don't know, I'll just stay agnostic on this one.

The second reason I have a special dislike for Paul is that he commands a tireless, crazy, internet army of the undead. Maybe you've seen them. They're the people who swamp, swarm and overwhelm any internet based poll, discussion, survey, comment space, Q&A, or kaffeeklatsch where Paul is being discussed to offer unreserved praise and unrestrained support for "Dr. Paul".

Nothing wrong with showing support for your candidate, you ask? Why not give your guy a shout out, especially because he's a longshot and could use the boost, you say? Well, because, see, it's a lie. Ron Paul's national polls are in the basement. He consistently, consistently, comes in no higher nationally than 2 or 3 percent among republicans. These polls, the reputable ones, use random sampling. That is, they pick numbers at random out of the phone book, or use some other equalizer so that the sample for their survey is as unbiased as possible. When sampling is done in this responsible fashion, Paul weighs in - consistently, as I said - at 2 percent. (And at, the world's largest betting exchange, he's currently a 17-to-1 dog)

So when some outfit like ABC News or Drudge has an online poll after a debate, and Ron Paul wins it by something like triple the votes of the next highest guy, well.... it's a lie. It ain't so.

Paul didn't win the debate by some absurd triple margin. Indeed, he probably wizzed it down his withered leg. He merely has way more fanatical web-troopers willing to swarm the online-vote-button. And the saddest part about all of this has to be the gameplan of the undead army. They think - seriously - than they can sway people over to Ron Paul by swarming web sites and deluging them with Pro Paul comments. This is their honest to God strategy for winning. Like someone out there is going to be fooled by a rigged debate poll. And these comments they leave on websites. They always start with some neutral sounding paragraph about how much they like the website and have enjoyed reading the contents, and then the second paragraph always begins the same way: "Now personally, I support Dr. Paul." Suuuuure you do buddy. This approach always has the faint aroma of the Mormon missionary who thinks he can loosen me up by asking me if I saw the big game last night before he tells me that he found Jesus.

How did you guys get together anyway? Were you all Lyndon LaRouche supporters, who had nowhere to go after he retired? So you wandered the earth like masterless samurai, waiting for the next hopeless candidate where you could practice your crazy arts? I don't suppose it would mean anything to you if I said that Ron, sorry, "Dr. Paul" doesn't have the remotest chance of winning anything? Does that give you pause for even a second? Does the fact that he came in behind the amateurish Tom Tancredo in the straw poll get you even the tiniest bit depressed? The straw poll! The one event where you can actually bus in your supporters and essentially buy your votes! He couldn't beat Tancredo, the guy who's been casually threatening to nuke our enemies. Couldn't beat him! When you can press a "Vote Here" button online, you guys are all over it like stink on a monkey. But getting a few thousand people into Ames, Iowa - that's a little complex for your armchair generalship, isn't it?

What's the day after Ron Paul's candidacy is over going to be like? Will there be one of those muted, reflective get togethers - one of those somber parties with wine, easy listening music and balloons - where you reminisce and talk about getting back together in 2012? Somehow I don't think so. I think you're all going to move on without a flinch to your next crazy project. What will it be? Rigging the online polls for People Magazine's Worlds Sexiest Man? Stocking more canned food in your fortified, underground bunker? Joining Woody Harrelson's hemp crusade? How about endorsing Tony Cox, the longshot's longshot?

Maybe Ron Paul will run as an independent after he loses the nomination? Won't that be fun. Then we get an additional half-year of you people.

There's really nothing else to say. Except, perhaps: "Go away. Your elderly, confused candidate has no chance. Every word you say is wasted breath, and every line you type is someone else's wasted time. Go bang your head against a door with gradually increasing force until you stop liking Ron Paul. Then apply a cold compress and just cry it out."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

How Can Elmer's Glue Keep Calling Itself a Back-To-School Supply?

Nearly every August, when I'm hit with all the back-to-school ads, I see an enormous amount of Elmer's Glue placed front and center.

Can you believe this racket? What kind of a coup is this for Elmer's Glue? It's frickin' glue! You don't need glue in school! I mean what, for a crafts project? For sticking pipe cleaners on construction paper? Something you do in kindergarten and then never do again? For this you need four bottles of glue?

I remember we had white out in school. We may have even had a jar of rubber cement. But outside of shop class, where was the glue? My family owned, I think, a single container of glue, which more than amply met our glue needs for the entirety of my primary education.

Normally, I'd be pointing my finger at Elmer's, crying shame, and demanding that they stop pushing glue as a back-to-school necessity. But the thing is, I don't believe Elmer's is the real culprit here. Oh sure, they're riding this free publicity for all it's worth. But it seems like Office Depot type stores and stationers are pushing the glue all on their own. Like they perennially find themselves long on glue as autumn approaches and are forced to push their inventory like a waiter would push an overstocked Bordeaux.

And the parents are partially culpable as well, for buying into the glue scam. "I can't let Jayden be the only one without Glue!"

But then again, maybe the stationers advertise glue in their back-to-school sales to provide some kind of visual ballast in the ad. I mean, you've got erasers, rulers, mechanical pencils, notebooks. It's all so dry. So boring. It actually reminds you of, well, being in school. Not good. But the glue says fun. It says active. It says you're doing something.

So I checked out the Elmer's website, and yeah, they're milking this for all it's worth. If you don't have a tube of glue in your bag on the first day of school, then you're one sorry motherfucker. I mean, can you believe this site? Teacher's corner? Lesson plan tips? This is a company whose sole purpose is to manufacture polyvinly acetate polymer adhesive. But they want to tell me how to make sure children don't hog space at the water fountain. So yes, they're milking the whole back-to-school ambassador status.

Do you think maybe that in the ye-olden days of American school that glue really was a vital school supply? And that as glue has gradually been phased out as an academic tool, the back-to-school retail industry just hasn't caught up yet? That would probably be the most charitable way to look at it, so maybe I'll just leave it at that and give everyone the benefit of the doubt.