The second one, however, is about why the debates do matter: as rituals of democracy, for educating partisans, and for representation. So if you're looking for something to read before the debate and you've had it with hype debunking, you might want to click over for that one.
As I did during the nomination season debates, I'll be working the twitter machine during the big event, and then I'll be posting something elsewhere after it's over. If I have more, I'll wind up with something here later, but I don't really know whether that will happen or not. So in the meantime, feel free to use this one as a debate open thread.
Now I just have to figure out how to follow the Red Sox and Yankees games without missing the debate. Fortunately, I think it's pretty safe to ignore the Giants game tonight -- as the broadcast team has been saying, either the game in Los Angeles or the split squad over in Surprise (yes, I love that gag). For what it's worth, my prediction for the debate is that it'll be very tame, with hardly any fireworks. But who knows? After the seasons that the A's and Orioles had this year, I have to believe that anything is possible.