Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Brian Blessed, 76. I'm not sure he's my all-time favorite actor, but he'll do 'til someone else comes along. His Augustus is certainly among my very favorite TV characters/performances; he's wonderful in a weirdly neglected As You Like It; and terrific fun in small roles in Branagh's Henry and Much Ado. I haven't made a point of seeing everything he's in, but I haven't been disappointed yet (okay, yes, there's the Star Wars thing, but hard to blame him for that). I've never seen his Lear; I really should. Anyway: I know I've touted it before, but any of you who haven't watched I Claudius...absolutely must-see.

Meanwhile, plenty of good stuff:

1. Catherine Rampell on why the September - and August - employment numbers might have been what they appear to have been.

2. Good Matthew Dickinson post-debate item.

3. John Sides: "the constant attention to individual polls is hurting America." And a good Nate Silver summary of what the polls, and the election, look like to him.

4. For Mitt Romney's foreign policy speech, you want Fred Kaplan, who is brutal.

5.What's going on with Super PACs and House races? An important question; Nicholas Confessore and Jo Craven McGinty have quite a bit of information. From what they can tell, there's a lot of outside money, and there seems to be at least some partisan balance.

6. Perhaps vaguely relevant to my post yesterday; a Ta-Nehisi Coates "Limited and Self-Serving Defense of Political Punditry." Also makes strong points about Obama and the debate.

7. And Aaron Blake and Sean Sullivan over at the Fix bring us their picks for the greatest political dynasties in every state. Fun!


  1. Good morning! Great links as always. I have a favor to ask... can you please tell Andrew Sullivan to get a f*cking grip? It was shocking during the debate when he said that Obama threw the election. Now it's just getting annoying, and he's making my Obama-loving mom upset. Can you, John Sides and Nate Silver have a little intervention and explain to him how elections actually work?

    1. Hans Noel is already trying to:

  2. Regarding the polls, I'm not sure why some Dems are treating this as the end of the world. Obama's (probably) not going to win the election by as much as in 2008, but Romney (probably) won't win by 4 either. I guess it's just the nature of blogs and pundits to blow individual polls out of proportion. Romney's getting a nice bounce because he had a very good debate, but it will likely subside, the numbers will regress and we'll get a narrow Obama lead heading into the final weeks.

    It seems like everyone who was saying before the debate that "debates can move the polls a bit but not the fundamentals" seems to have forgotten that lesson and have become prisoners of the moment. Maybe I'm just a Dem trying to make myself feel better, but there's a reason it's called a "bounce." I do have to commend Romney though for changing a losing strategy (or at least changing his rhetorical emphases); too often in championship fights, the challenger enters the final round clearly losing, and continues to fight the same fight.

  3. The debate mattered -- much like the 47% mattered - because it played into what most people fear about Obama: he's out of his depth, tired, and doesn't' have a clue on what to do.

    He is going to have to ask people to support him because they are democrats, not because he is Obama. And that is a very different ask, and frankly he isn't very good at it.

    He needs to close. Where is Howard Dean when you need him? OH wait, sidelined.

    1. Maybe that's what happened. Or maybe the race was going to revert to a neck-and-neck race no matter what, as seen in the fundamental models. Remember when everyone was saying R was DOA because of 47 percent? It didn't matter in the end, did it? Neither, I think, will the debates. Obama is going to win because his approval rating is high enough, because economic growth is strong enough, his campaign is competitive enough and because he is an incumbent from a party that was out of power four years ago. The media can make up whatever narrative around his reelection that it wants.

  4. Brian Blessed is also fantastic as King Richard IV in the first season of Black Adder. Season one is probably the worst season in the series, but I still rewatch it for Blessed's performance.

    1. I was just going to note that he is not a small part of why season one is the worst by so much. Hm. Maybe I'm remembering spottily. And I suppose a Blackadder season with neither Fry nor Laurie is always going to look weird in retrospect.


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