Brief random musing: People always seem to see Republicans/Conservatives as macho, gunslinging, no-holds-barred, get-the-job-done-whatever-it-takes and see Democrats/Liberals as lovey-dovey, unwilling-to-hurt-anyone-or-take-a-stand... regardless of whether they're actually that way or not.
Try this on for size: take Arnold Schwartzneger, George W. Bush and John Kerry. When it comes to having macho cred, what seperates the Democrat from the two Republicans?
Answer: Kerry is the only one to have personally killed a man with his own two hands. That's an easy image to have of Schwartzneger of course — just rent it from Blockbuster. But picture it in your head for a second: Kerry's hands soaked in blood, the gunshots still ringing in his ears. To me the image feels oddly out of context given his more professorial style now. But for some reason it's easy to imagine buzz-boy-Bush with that macho image... even though I can't quite bring myself to imagine it as it happens. Every time I try the image in my head always jumps to a vision of Bush and I having had too many drinks at the bar and he's telling the same old story of how he got his scar... the one we never get tired of hearing 'cause it gets better with every telling.
A few days ago I heard a talk by Paul Saffo (Institute for the Future) on the boom/bust cycle of Silicon Valley and how it all relates to innovation. Here's a quick (and rough) summary, mostly taken from the notes I jotted into my Treo:
"We've never understood how The Valley works." The conventional wisdom is that success comes from good management, right mix of capital and technology, etc. But that's not it.
Silicon Valley is not built on success, it's built on failures. Our best innovations come rising out of the ashes of our previous disasters. We need failures and large-scale wipe-outs like a forest needs fires to get rid of the undergrowth. In brief, Silicon Valley's success is built on bad management.
Example: Why did the Web take off here, and not in Switzerland where it was invented? Because we'd just had a wipe-out in interactive TV. We had just trained an entire generation of C++ programmers in the subtleties of interactive graphics, and then laid them off so they had nothing to do.
"Our core competence in Silicon Valley is managerial incompetence." &mdash bad management is the key to our vital boom-bust cycle. Furthermore, the whole point of good management is to kill stuff that isn't relevant, and that kills innovation. "Well-run companies kill ideas. Poor management allows weeds to grow. Around here, weeds grow to become very valuable."
So how do we survive in spite of our generally bad management? "we substitute velocity for management... that is a very rational act" given the uncertainty in the new technology sectors. Microsoft is the exception that proves the rule: "they aren't a technology company at all, they are a company that happens to sell technology... they've never had an original idea in their life." Microsoft would never have survived in the Valley, because the culture wouldn't have allowed it. In their first down-cycle, all their engineers would have left for a different company. Up in Seattle the culture is different — there's a lot more company loyalty. Silicon Valley is a place that eats its old. We've no respect for our elders... that's how we work.
In all this is the question of innovation. Innovation isn't rational — most companies and most ideas fail. "Innovation is extra-logical... economists can't put their finger on it." The culture can't let failure be lethal (as it is in France) or no one will dare attempt anything. But it also can't have no consequence, as is the case with what's called "interpraneurism" within large companies. Innovation is very hard in large companies — it can be done, but it takes large amounts of stress to make it happen. Successful entrepreneurs have a balance between an altruistic "change the world for the better" angel on one shoulder and a "get rich" devil on the other. The culture in Silicon Valley lucked into having the right mix.
So why do we still innovate out here and not just rest on our laurels? Why do millionaires out here keep feeding their gains back into the system? For some reason, we seem to be a strange attractor for would-be world-changers. Saffo's fear: will we start to fear change now? Will we finally decide we like what we have and refuse to tear down the old empires, like the Venetians did after their peak in the 1500s?
Final advice: disrespect your elders, remember that innovations extra-logical, and be willing to tear down the old empires.
DocBug Exclusive — with just a day before polls open, Fox News has declared George W. Bush the winner of what has proven to be the most contentious presidential election since four years ago. CNN, CBS and NBC took only minutes to jump on the breaking story with their own announcements of the Bush victory, but it was over an hour after the victory that ABC's Peter Jennings finally called the election for Bush. "We hadn't finished designing our title-bar logos," explained Jennings. Among broadcasters, NPR remains the sole hold-out to insist on waiting till the polls at least open before declaring a winner. Most major newspapers have also reported the Bush victory, except for the Chicago Daily Tribune, which has declared a victory for Thomas E. Dewey.
I mailed my ballot earlier today, but for all you folks doing meat-to-meat voting on November 2nd, People for the American Way has a website to find your polling place: MyPollingPlace.com. Nice, simple. (Props to Political Animal for the link.)
Just in case you were tempted to believe the spin that the HMX, RDX and PETN explosives at Al-Qaqaa had already disappeared when our troops arrived:
It is not at all clear that those explosives were even at the weapons facility when our troops arrived in the area of Baghdad.
The weapons were not there when the military arrived, making John Kerry's latest ripped-from-the-headlines attack baseless and false.
Last night on this broadcast we reported that the 101st Airborne never found the nearly 380 tons of HMX and RDX explosives. We did not conclude the explosives were missing or had vanished, nor did we say they missed the explosives. We simply reported that the 101st did not find them.
For its part, the Bush campaign immediately pointed to our report as conclusive proof that the weapons had been removed before the Americans arrived. That is possible, but that is not what we reported.
Associated Press, 5 April 2003 (emphasis mine):
Closer to Baghdad, troops at Iraq's largest military industrial complex found nerve agent antidotes, documents describing chemical warfare and a white powder that appeared to be used for explosives.
UN weapons inspectors went repeatedly to the vast al Qa Qaa complex, most recently on March 8. But they found nothing during spot visits to some of the 1,100 buildings at the site 40 kilometres south of Baghdad.
Col. John Peabody, engineer brigade commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said troops found thousands of five-centimetre by 12-centimetre boxes, each containing three vials of white powder, together with documents written in Arabic that dealt with how to engage in chemical warfare.
A senior U.S. official familiar with initial testing said the powder was believed to be explosives. The finding would be consistent with the plant's stated production capabilities in the field of basic raw materials for explosives and propellants.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (emphasis mine):
RDX stands for Royal Demolition eXplosive. It is also known as cyclonite or hexogen. The chemical name for RDX is 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine. It is a white powder and is very explosive.
I'm not sure what to make of this. It's apparently old-news, though new to me, but after the Madrid attack the terrorists who claimed credit for the Madrid bombing actually endorsed Bush:
A week after the Madrid attack, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which claims to act on behalf of al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the bombing and declared a truce in Spain to see if the new government would withdraw its troops from Iraq, but warned that it was gearing up for new attacks.
This part of the declaration was widely reported. However, very few mentioned the more ominous part of that declaration, short of excerpts which were reported by the BBC and Reuters.
The declaration turned its attention to President Bush, saying:
"A word for the foolish Bush. We are very keen that you do not lose in the forthcoming elections as we know very well that any big attack can bring down your government and this is what we do not want.
"We cannot get anyone who is more foolish than you, who deals with matters with force instead of wisdom and diplomacy.
"Your stupidity and religious extremism is what we want as our people will not awaken from their deep sleep except when there is an enemy.
"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilisation.
"Because of this we desire you [Bush] to be elected."
The logic makes sense to me, though I'm skeptical about their assessment of Democrat cunning. Bush supporters will no doubt claim it's a double-bluff, and that "The Terrorists" really fear Bush. I think the scarier question is whether "The Terrorists" realize that a terrorist attack would mean a landslide for Bush? Could that be why there's no evidence of an attack being planned before Nov. 2nd? [edit: what I mean is, if they do want Bush, will they lie low thinking an attack will have a Madrid-style effect, or try something thinking that will shore up Bush's support? Ditto for if they'd like Bush out. This is why I was never good at poker...]
The explosives — considered powerful enough to demolish buildings or detonate nuclear warheads — were under IAEA control until the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. IAEA workers left the country before the fighting began.
So we went in ostensibly looking for weapons of mass distruction, then didn't even secure the sites we knew about? Why do people feel safe under this administration? For all the bickering about what mistakes they've made so far, what scares me is what mistake they'll make next...
My new favorite PAC — Wolfpacks For Truth
They told us we were shooting a Greenpeace commercial! ... We are a peaceful pack of wolves.
There's been a lot of talk about how touchscreen voting is a better interface than paper ballots, but that we should not (and should not have to) sacrifice the security, understandability and reliability of having a paper audit trail as well. Now it seems we're seeing interface problems with touchscreen voting.
I expect the voting officials are right that this is a case of "user error" — that's what we call it in our industry when the interface designer didn't do enough of a good job and now wants to blame someone else. Having watched technologically-minded researchers get confused when they accidentally trigger our giant presentation touchscreen at work, it doesn't surprise me much either. Unfortunately, with all the cases of actual voter-registration fraud, invalid and highly-suspicious selctive purging of voters from the rolls, back doors secretly coded into official vote-counting software, and laughable "security" protocols in voting machines these voters (Democrat and Republican) are right to be skeptical. We need to do better.
Picture taken last night at the gas station near my work in Menlo Park. That's a little high for the area, by the way — gasbuddy.com (great site!) shows as low as $2.36 if you're willing to drive a bit.
I remember watching news reports back in 1979, late in Carter's term, when the big story was how gas prices were so high that stations had to upgrade their pumps and signs to include a dollars column. For months you could see makeshift cardboard past-overs adding the $1 to the listed price.
Adjusted for inflation, that $1 price comes out to around $2.47 in today's dollars.
via Adam Engst at tidbits:
Kids, we don't like your kind, and we're going to send your cease-and-desist letter off to the Web Archive. And friends, somewhere in the Internet, enshrined in some database, is a study in black and white of that cease-and-desist letter.
Take the Votergasm Pledge:
And would you believe, I heard about it on BBC radio?
One of the best news features I've heard for cutting through all the political rhetoric and BS is Marketplace's five-minute Ballot Buck$ segments. Each one talks about where Bush & Kerry stand on a particular issue, but rather than leave it as a he-says, she-says thing they then actually talk to economists and other experts to evaluate each proposal, explain what neither side is mentioning and really but through the fog, all in a non-partisan way.
I think I've found a new toy I want to play with...
Kerry Will Restore American Dignity: 2004 Iconoclast Presidential Endorsement by the publishers of The Lone Star Iconoclast (The Lone Star Iconoclast, 29 September 2004)
A Questionable Kind Of Conservatism George F. Will (Washington Post, 24 July 2003)
Yow. Sinclair Broadcasting Group's stock just tumbled by 7.81% today over concerns about lost advertising revenue due to the Stolen Honor flap. To put it into perspective, SPGI's stock price is now the lowest it's been in a decade except for a couple weeks in April of 2001. As Lessig points out, that's a good $60 million they've lost in market cap over this.
DocBug Exclusive — For months now, Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis and other conservative Catholics have been emphasizing to their flocks that when it comes to politics, you can't vote for a pro-choice candidate and still be a good Catholic. While not mentioning either presidential candidate by name (which might put the church's tax-exempt status into question), Burke's message is clear: vote Bush in this election, or your soul is at risk. He might be surprised to know a similar message is being preached across town, from a very different source.
Reverend Bob "The Impailer" Simmons is pastor and High Lieutenant Destroyer at the First Temple of Ultimate Evil, which formed in 1983 after a merger between Anton Levey Satanists, the Campus Crusade for Cthulu and the Church of Universal Damnation. The church is dedicated to the promotion of death, destruction, and "all that is evil, corrupt, and immoral in the hearts of men," according to their website and flyers. Rev. Simmons says he was somewhat embarrassed when he discovered he and Archbishop Burke were supporting the same candidate in their sermons. "At first I thought it was a joke," he said in a recent interview for Evil Monthly. "I mean, [Archbishop] Ray [Burke] and I rarely see eye-to-eye on religious matters."
Rev. Simmons, who claims he can't set foot on holy ground due to "the vibrations," had to wait several days before a transcript of Archbishop Burke's statement was faxed to his office. "Our first mass after the news broke was tense, to say the least. The Leveyists were especially up in arms," he recalls. "It just sticks in their craw to have anything in common with the Catholic Church." There were also reports that some of the Old Ones threatened to eat Simmons' head, though he claims this is normal.
After going over the transcript, most in the congregation were mollified if not comforted. "It was just a big misunderstanding," explains Simmons. "We were looking at completely different issues. Ray is something of a one-issue do-gooder; if it's not about abortion, he doesn't care. We UEs look more at the big picture — you need a broad brush to paint the world black. For example, our congregation is very excited about the Federal death penalty and the message it sends about the sanctity of death, and this administration's stance on the use of torture and ignoring the Geneva conventions are right in line with our core doctrine." Simmons admits he shares Burke's support for Bush's anti-gay-marriage amendment, but is quick to point out his position is a natural outgrowth from his broader opposition to equal rights for all Americans. "That and gays give me the willies," he told reporters. As for abortion, he says the UE favors neither candidate's position, as UE church teachings say that life begins at 40.
In spite of these differences, some of the faithless are still concerned. "I was a big Bush supporter in 2000," says Monica "Queen of the Night" Townsend, a long-time Republican and UE member, who still sports a Bush-Cheney 2004 button painted black and red to go with her eye shadow and long razor-like fingernails. "I'll probably still vote for them, 'cause of their hate-based initiatives and the war in Iraq and Kerry being Catholic and all, but this Burke thing really took all the fun out of being a Bush supporter, y'know?" John Templeton, her companion with matching black eye shadow and long red fingernails, flashes a toothy grimace as he nods in agreement. "I think it's great great the way he antagonizes the rest of the world with his Us vs. Them attitude, and I love the opaqueness he's put back in the way our government runs. But now... I donno, come November 2nd I might just vote for Nader."
Doonesbury has been running what it calls the Honest Voices Reading List®, described as "roundup of indispensable writing from conservative sources" (translation: the conservative case against George Bush, as written by conservatives). Since URLs aren't well-suited for typing from the funny papers to the browser (oh where, oh where has my Que-Cat gone?) I figured as a public service I'd link them here:
John Eisenhower: Why I will vote for John Kerry for President by John Eisenhower, son of Dwight D. Eisenhower and life-long Republican (The Union Leader / New Hampshire Sunday News, 9 September 2004)
WSJ reporter Fassihi's e-mail to friends Farnaz Fassihi, Wall-Street Journal reporter (Poynter Online, 29 September 2004)
Why conservatives must not vote for Bush by Doug Bandow, senior fellow at the Cato Institute (Salon, 10 September 2004)
Local View: Going to war in Iraq was a mistake by Rep. Doug Bereuter (R-NB, retiring), outgoing Vice Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (Lincoln Journal Star, 18 August 2004)
Kevin Drum at Political Animal has written a great little scorecard for who fudged, obfuscated and out-right lied the most in the second presidential debate based on post-debate fact-checking articles. The overall numbers look pretty bad for Bush (surprise, surprise), but the real value is his handy compilation of all the misstatements and links to the fact-checkers that found them. Take a look for yourself and see if you agree with Drum about which lies are important and which ones are trivial exageration.
The blogsphere is awash with the news that Sinclair Broadcasting Group is telling its 62 TV stations to broadcast an anti-Kerry documentary, released by the newly-merged and renamed Swift Vets and POWs for Truth. Sinclair will show pre-empt regular night programming, including prime-time, and show the program commercial free.
Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo reports that former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt has expressed his "objection and concern" in the matter. Adam Thierer over at The Technology Liberation Front is taking the free-speech line, asking:
Where are the defenders of free speech and the First Amendment? This Sinclair episode should be about the easiest First Amendment case study in the world. Sinclair should be free to air whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want, regardless of what their intentions may be.
He ends with something of a platitude: Free speech for all. No exceptions.
If Sinclair was a website, movie producer, newspaper or even a cable channel I could accept his whole Free speech for all argument. But Sinclair is an over-the-air broadcaster, and thus has been granted a license for exclusive use of a public resource, namely a slice of spectrum, in exchange for providing a public interest, convenience or necessity.
Thierer can argue that it is not appropriate for a government to make such a bargain, and I'm sympathetic to that viewpoint myself. But since Sinclair has long benefited from this agreement and the resulting high barriers to entry for new competition, it's hard to see the sense in his call for universal free speech — unless by "no exceptions" he means I can now set up my own unlicensed TV-broadcast tower without the FCC coming to shut me down. I find it hard to feel sorry for the lap-dog and all her restrictions, while the rest of us farm animals sit out in the rain.
As the candidates prepare for tomorrow's debate, you can be sure they're sharpening their jabs and rehearsing every trick their trainers can think of. That's the way the game is played these days, and you can't really fault them for it... there's no real point in joining the game if you aren't willing to do what it takes to win. For the rest of us though, all us bloggers and armchair pundits who keep raising the volume as we echo our favorite side's attacks, I can't help but remember the story of The Devil and Daniel Webster. It's a great read and not too long — if you don't have time to read the whole thing here's the part I've been thinking about. I figure if Dan'l Webster can put his anger and hate aside when arguing against the Devil himself, how much easier it should be for us arguing with our fellow countrymen.
Then the trial began, and, as you might expect, it didn't look anyways good for the defense. And Jabez Stone didn't make much of a witness in his own behalf. He took one look at Simon Girty and screeched, and they had to put him back in his corner in a kind of swoon.
It didn't halt the trial, though; the trial went on, as trials do. Dan'l Webster had faced some hard juries and hanging judges in his time, but this was the hardest he'd ever faced, and he knew it. They sat there with a kind of glitter in their eyes, and the stranger's smooth voice went on and on. Every time he'd raise an objection, it'd be Objection sustained, but whenever Dan'l objected, it'd be Objection denied. Well, you couldn't expect fair play from a fellow like this Mr. Scratch.
It got to Dan'l in the end, and he began to heat, like iron in the forge. When he got up to speak he was going to flay that stranger with every trick known to the law, and the judge and jury too. He didn't care if it was contempt of court or what would happen to him for it. He didn't care any more what happened to Jabez Stone. He just got madder and madder, thinking of what he'd say. And yet, curiously enough, the more he thought about it, the less he was able to arrange his speech in his mind.
Till, finally, it was time for him to get up on his feet, and he did so, all ready to bust out with lightnings and denunciations. But before he started he looked over the judge and jury for a moment, such being his custom. And he noticed the glitter in their eyes was twice as strong as before, and they all leaned forward. Like hounds just before they get the fox, they looked, and the blue mist of evil in the room thickened as he watched them. Then he saw what he'd been about to do, and he wiped his forehead, as a man might who's just escaped falling into a pit in the dark.
For it was him they'd come for, not only Jabez Stone. He read it in the glitter of their eyes and in the way the stranger hid his mouth with one hand. And if he fought them with their own weapons, he'd fall into their power; he knew that, though he couldn't have told you how. It was his own anger and horror that burned in their eyes; and he'd have to wipe that out or the case was lost. He stood there for a moment, his black eyes burning like anthracite. And then he began to speak.
He started off in a low voice, though you could hear every word. They say he could call on the harps of the blessed when he chose. And this was just as simple and easy as a man could talk. But he didn't start out by condemning or reviling. He was talking about the things that make a country a country, and a man a man.
And he began with the simple things that everybody's known and felt — the freshness of a fine morning when you're young, and the taste of food when you're hungry, and the new day that's every day when you're a child. He took them up and he turned them in his hands. They were good.things for any man. But without freedom, they sickened. And when he talked of those enslaved, and the sorrows of slavery, his voice got like a big bell. He talked of the early days of America and the men who had made those days. It wasn't a spread-eagle speech, but he made you see it. He admitted all the wrong that had ever been done. But he showed how, out of the wrong and the right, the suffering and the starvations, something new had come. And everybody had played a part in it, even the traitors.
Then he turned to Jabez Stone and showed him as he was — an ordinary man who'd had hard luck and wanted to change it. And, because he'd wanted to change it, now he was going to be punished for all eternity. And yet there was good in Jabez Stone, and he showed that good. He was hard and mean, in some ways, but he was a man. There was sadness in being a man, but it was a proud thing too. And he showed what the pride of it was till you couldn't help feeling it. Yes, even in hell, if a man was a man, you'd know it. And he wasn't pleading for any one person any more, though his voice rang like an organ. He was telling the story and the failures and the endless journey of mankind. They got tricked and trapped and bamboozled, but it was a great journey. And no demon that was ever foaled could know the inwardness of it — it took a man to do that.
THE FIRE BEGAN TO DIE ON THE HEARTH AND THE wind before morning to blow. The light was getting gray in the room when Dan'l Webster finished. And his words came back at the end to New Hampshire ground, and the one spot of land that each man loves and clings to. He painted a picture of that, and to each one of that jury he spoke of things long forgotten. For his voice could search the heart, and that was his gift and his strength. And to one, his voice was like the forest and its secrecy, and to another like the sea and the storms of the sea; and one heard the cry of his lost nation in it, and another saw a little harmless scene he hadn't remem bered for years. But each saw something. And when Dan'l Webster finished he didn't know whether or not he'd saved Jabez Stone. But he knew he'd done a miracle. For the glitter was gone from the eyes of judge and jury, and, for the moment, they were men again, and knew they were men.
The defense rests, said Dan'l Webster, and stood there like a mountain. His ears were still ringing with his speech, and he didn't hear any thing else till he heard judge Hathorne say, The jury will retire to consider its verdict.
Walter Butler rose in his place and his face had a dark, gay pride on it.
The jury has considered its verdict, he said, and looked the stranger full in the eye. We find for the defendant, Jabez Stone.
With that, the smile left the stranger's face, but Walter Butler did not flinch.
Perhaps 'tis not strictly in accordance with the evidence, he said, but even the damned may salute the eloquence of Mr. Webster.
FujiFilm recently showed off the F-next Image Viewer, a cute prototype hand-held digital photo album that includes a search-by-face function. Select a face in any picture, the device will show you all the other pictures where that face shows up.
I've fixed and re-enabled comments on the blog, after breaking them some time ago in a sleep-depped attempt to stem the flow of comment spam. I don't get a lot of (non-spam) comments, but I value the ones I do get enough that it's worth the PITA of filtering.
On a related note, I've been thinking about shifting the whole thing over to Bloxom or possibly WordPress. Even with their muchly-improved license (read: it'd still be free for me) MT just isn't that much of an improvement over the OpenSource stuff that's out there. As long as I have to upgrade anyway, I may as well get out from under the threat of license-shift...
The New York Times' in-depth look at how the White House (and others) screwed up with the intelligence leading up to the Iraq war is a great read in its entirety, but one paragraph especially stood out for me given my feelings about the first debate:
Also that January, White House officials who were helping to draft what would become Secretary Powell's speech to the Security Council sent word to the intelligence community that they believed "the nuclear case was weak," the Senate report said. In an interview, a senior administration official said it was widely understood all along at the White House that the evidence of a nuclear threat was piecemeal and weaker than that for other unconventional arms.
But rather than withdraw the nuclear card - a step that could have undermined United States credibility just as tens of thousands of troops were being airlifted to the region — the White House cast about for new arguments and evidence to support it.
In other words, the White House had already staked its reputation (and, at least in their minds, the reputation of the US as a whole) on a claim that wasn't nearly as strong as they had implied and was starting to unravel, but they couldn't admit it. Why do we keep electing presidents who have a pathological inability to admit when they've made a mistake?
So now we're in the embarrassing situation where not only is the Emperor walking around nekid, not only are the children pointing and laughing at him for being nekid, but he continues to strut down the square talking about his cool new threads while muttering about how unpatriotic children are for not backing him up in his story.
Some brief thoughts on the first presidential debate, before the talking heads try to destroy my memory of what I heard and replace it with meaningless fluff about who had better nose hair and who made more points with the key Floridian over-65-black-helicopter-mom vote.
First off, I was very impressed with Kerry. He was decisive, plain-spoken, and specific in his plans and priorities. I was especially impressed by his pragmatic position on Iraq — I figure anyone who still claims Kerry has a shifting or incoherent position on Iraq must either be completely shilling for the other side or be especially dense. Our foreign policy is something of a mess right now, and before this debate I was still thinking of Kerry as a "he can't mess it up more than the current guy" candidate. I've changed my tune now, and at least on foreign-policy issues I'm confident he knows what he's doing and can put things to right.
I also left the debate with a better opinion about who Bush as a person. The thing that has always confused me about Bush is his tenacious loyalty to an idea, policy or statement even after it's clear to everyone else in the world that it's wrong. The venomous theory that it all comes out of Rove-induced "Big Lie" manipulation tactics has never seemed right. Certainly there are party-faithful on both sides capable of such evil, but Bush isn't an evil man. He's also not blind or stupid, so the idea that he can't see any of his administration's mistakes due to a thick "What, me worry?" fog seems far-fetched as well.
Now I think I get it. As he said in many ways in this debate, Bush believes the most important thing a president or country must do is present to the world a strong, confident stance and an unwavering message. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the experience or skill to avoid backing himself (and us) into a corner. A noble man sticks to his principles, but a skillful noble man knows not to draw a line in the sand until he's good and ready for whatever may step across.
This may be my own bias, and I listened to the event rather than watch it, but several times during the debate Bush sounded... trapped. Not by Kerry, but by the events of these past three-and-a-half years. I heard in his voice tonight something I heard in the secret audio recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson — the sound of a man who knows he's out of his depth, but also firmly believes that he needs to keep up a strong face for the good of his country. I sympathize with the man. He's absolutely right, being President is a hard job, and I know for a fact that I would not be up to the task. But as much as I'm coming to like George W. Bush as a man, I'm all the more convinced we need someone else as President.