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Res Ipsa Loquitur: Campaign Ads and Facts

McCain’s gonna be something for Halloween, alright. Wrong is what. Ho ho ho.

Today some links.

McCain-Palin Distorts Our Finding: FactCheck.org was used in a recent campaign advertisement for John S. McCain and Sarah L. H. Palin.  Problem is, according to FactCheck.org, the use of their quote and their name is a distortion of reality.

… we’ve also asked that “the editorial integrity of the article be preserved” and told those who use our items that “you should not edit the original in such a way as to alter the message.”

Hell.  That’s something that you can learn in just about any school in America.  What’s wrong with these people?  Good, old-fashioned, down-home, American editorial prowess is too much for them?  And they want to lead our country?  God help us, God dammit, if they manage to pull this one off.

What’s John McCain gonna be for Halloween?  Wrong.

PCL: Campaign 2008: This is one I probably should have known about by now, but I’m glad to have found.  The Stanford Political Communication Lab publishes the official ads of the presidential campaigns.  A good resource if you don’t watch a lot of ads on tv.

Well, two is a nice, round number.  So that’s what you get for today.  Enjoy.

More Oil is Dumb

We need to change, dammit. Offshore drilling will not do us any good. Choose change and progress, not more of the same.

More oil is bad business for the USA.  Offshore drilling is a dumb idea.

I believe limited investment in biofuels makes sense purely because of the volume of combustion engines that exist and may continue to be used for a long time yet, but even these are pure dinosaurs.

The future lies in electricity generated from clean technologies including fuel cells, solar, geothermal, wind, hydro, and more solar.  Electric motors are far simpler beasts than combustion engines.  They are quieter, more efficient, more robust.  While there are some technological hurdles, they have a lot going for them.

We need to stop focusing so much on oil.  The current oil prices are down, but the respit from pain is not a good reason to hug the barrels.  We need to reduce our oil use by 50% by the year 2015 or we risk continuing the current economic cycle that has been going on for more than 60 years.

The new cycle if we get serious about shifting our economy to better technology that requires greater R&D but greater payoffs would be a boon for the next 100 years at the least.  Our old way of doing things has a much slower and choppier growth pattern which perpetuates a lot of industries that do more harm than good.

The bottom line is that if you want your children to live in a world with the same old problems (and the over 9000 lb. mutant zoo animal in the room, the melting of the poles) you can choose oil.  If you want a better world, there are better choices.  I’ve made my decision, personally.

The Issues of the Campaign (Websites)

McCain and Obama both list issues on their site in the form of a drop-down listing and an issues index page. I compare the two sites.

I was looking today at the two candidates’ websites, at their issues and noticed something odd. John McCain’s website puts education dead last on the issues page. So, I decided to compare it to Barack Obama’s website.

McCain

McCain Issue List
McCain Issue List

McCain’s site lists 12 items on its menu one of which links to the index of the issues (16 on the index page itself).  The disconnect between the menu and the index:

The page calls it Immigration, the list calls it Border Security

Judicial Philosophy, National Heritage, and Agricultural Policies don’t appear on the list but do appear on the index

Education is 6th on the list, but 16th on the index, way at the bottom.

The ordering of the issues can only reasonably be assumed to have something to do with his or his campaign’s priorities or the issues’ perceived impacts with the voters.  Putting education damned last with no rhyme or reason sends a clear message, which is oddly exactly what Obama has proclaimed of late: It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.

McCain’s site has far fewer issues listed than Obama’s in the first place and I doubt he even knows what kinds of things would fall under a Women Issues heading.  He’s got a Human Dignity & Life or Sanctity of Life issues section (depending whether you consult the list or index; he’s got consistency issues as well).  But that doesn’t include things like equal pay or glass ceiling or day care in the workplace, for example.

Obama

Obama Issue List
Obama Issue List

His site mirrors the list on the index.  The issues are alphabetically listed.  The minor difference comes with the index page linking to a PDF on his policy at the top while the list places it at the bottom.  Also the list contains a link to Additional Issues that the index page does not.  Oh, and another minor difference: the index page leaves off Women.  Maybe that’s because the alphabetical listing would have put women at the bottom, but I’m not sure.

Obama’s only real flaw is, ahem, LEAVING OFF WOMEN.  Other than that the two are identical.  And alphabetical which justifies the order.  Women should be on the index page even if you have to rename them to Females to give them higher billing, dammit.

The Obama campaign is obviously more tactful and sensitive to making good choices about even minor details like the order of a list.  They understand that arbitrary ordering can only lead to people judging that order and the motives behind it.  They also understand that these issues aren’t one-off shots each standing on their own and that they effect each other and need addressing.  They’re taking a wider look at the world that the McCain camp probably dismisses quite readily, being from the truly elitest party.

Conclusions

Anyway, this has been a brief look at the issues list and issues index page for both the campaign websites.  Boiled down to a single-digit integer between 0 and 9 (from a pure design standpoint discounting the content of the issue items themselves) I’d give McCain’s list and index a 4 and Barack Obama’s a 7.