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Stewart speaking about the war between Israel and Gaza “This is such a depressing, cyclical status quo. where the untenable underlying conditions are never addressed.  There are no winners here.  Or, to put that a different way…”

Pundit 1.) “Who was the big winner, do you think, here?”

Pundit 2.) “There are two clear winners.”

Pundit 3.) “Who are the losers and who are the winners?”

Stewart “You really miss the election, don’t you?  Is everything about the winners and losers and the horse race?  Even intractable bloodshed is just another chance to see who’s incrementally up or incrementally down.  And, by the way, winners and losers, in what game?  Sandy Land?  Hungry Hungry Hebrews?  Or, maybe it’s the old family favorite, Monotony (A game of momentary respite from implacable historical hatred), where violence is the day to day norm.  It’s a game where angrily flipping over the board is how you start.  And don’t get them started about where you can put up houses.  You can’t put up a house on Baltic Avenue.  I own Baltic Avenue.  Stop calling it Baltic Avenue, it’s called the dark purple territories and it was given to my people before this game was even invented.  Now, get your thimble off my schnauzer.  So, no winners.”

Pundit 4.) “There’s a military side of this, which Israel clearly won.”

Stewart “Oh, yes, Israel clearly won.  Israel’s in great shape now.  There’s no winners!”

Pundit 5.) “Hamas emerges as a big winner from this conflict.”

Pundit 6.) “Hamas is a winner here.”

Stewart “So, Israel won and Hamas won.  Did I say no winners?  I meant two winners.”

Pundit 6.) “President Obama is a winner here.  Netanyahu is a winner here.  Hillary Clinton is a winner here.”

Pundit 7.) “Egypt has definitely emerged as the winner in all this.”

Stewart “Did anyone lose this bleeping thing?  Did anybody lose?  Did anybody actually lose in this bloody conflict that killed over 150 people?

Pundit 8.) “The loser in all this is Mahmoud Abbas.”

Pundit 9.) “Iran is the main loser in this conflict.”

Stewart “So, the only two losers in the war between Israel and Gaza, are people that don’t live in either of those places.  So, the lesson here is that the next time your region descends into a war, you’ve gotta be in it to win it.”

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FAREED ZAKARIA: Did you know that Obama supporters are likely to eat at Red Lobster and listen to smooth jazz? That Romney supporters prefer to dine at Olive Garden and watch college football? Well, big data does. Big data. That is the buzz word for the immense amounts of information being captured about all of us in this interconnected age. It’s a great boon for business, but unbeknownst to many of us, it was also used to great effect in the 2012 presidential race. Here to explain this, “New York Times” reporter Charles Duhigg. Charles, what is big data? Why is it new?

CHARLES DUHIGG, REPORTER, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: Big data is — two things have happened in the last four or five years, the first of which is that everyone is now generating much more data throughout their entire life. When you go online, when you use your credit card, when you do almost anything that allows a company to track your behavior, you are creating data about yourself and your preferences. And in addition, computing power has grown so much so significantly that companies and campaigns can now take that data and can crunch it within seconds to try and figure out who you are, what types of habits you have, what do you like, and what can push your buttons.

ZAKARIA: So explain what the campaigns have been doing with this new data?

DUHIGG: Well, one of the things that the campaigns have done is try to vacuum up everything that they can. It used to be that when someone was running for office, they would get — the voter file, right? They would say, someone’s name, where they live and their party affiliation, whether they ever voted before. Now each campaign has literally thousands of data points on you. They know what magazines you subscribe to, they know if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or gone into foreclosure, they know how many kids you have, they know if you ever bought a boat, what type of insurance you own, where your send your kids go to school. Thousands and thousands of data points, they collect to try and create an image of you, at the center of that is the same question, how can I push your button to vote for my guy or gal?

ZAKARIA: And what do you find that we — you know, what are the kind of surprising things that are predictive of whether or not you are not going to vote — you are likely to be a Republican or a Democrat?

DUHIGG: Well, what’s interesting is a lot of it is as you mentioned it, when you introduced me was the other places you go. :Like, we didn’t know, for instance, that Romney supporters go to Olive Garden and that Obama supporters go to Red Lobster, but knowing that is actually really useful. Because that means that Romney can go buy ads inside Olive Garden since they say, look, if you don’t really — if you don’t often vote, come out to the polls, because I know you’re going to vote for me.

ZAKARIA: Why were Obama’s people better at this?

DUHIGG: Obama’s people were better at it for two reasons. The first of which is they’ve had a lot more time to build it up. Keep in mind that four years ago, Obama started building this database. And so, when Mitt Romney came to this campaign this year he really had to recreate the wheel that the Obama folks had been building for four years and building the database bigger and bigger and bigger. The second reason is that there was a basic fundamental difference in approach to between the campaigns. Romney outsourced its data management. Obama built it inside. And there was a big question going on. The Romney folks would say, look, it’s better to outsource because we can get the most cutting edge science, whereas the Obama folks are stock with something they started building four years ago. But I think what the election showed is when you build it inside, you really own the knowledge, the technical know-how and that seemed to end up making a huge difference. In fact, the Romney campaign folks I’ve talked to — spoken to inside the campaign said on election day they were blown away. They had no idea how much more Obama knew about voters in certain areas and it just blew them out of the water.

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David Letterman “Ever since we’ve been on the air, we’ve had the candidate for election as a guest on the show.  And, sometimes they win, sometimes they don’t win, but they’ve always been here.  In Bob Dole’s case, remember he came on the very day after the election when he lost.  He couldn’t have been more charming, and everybody said wait a minute, let me rethink my vote, but it was too late.  So, a couple weeks ago we had President Obama who was on the show.  He’s running for the office.  33 days ’til the election?  36.  36days ’til election, we have not heard from Mitt Romney and his people.  They have an open invitation to be here.  36 days remaining, he’s going to have to…you know, if you want to be in the White House, you’ve gotta sit right over there and talk to me.  I’m sorry, it’s the way it is.  So, Mitt is on record as saying when he gets to be President the first thing he will do, is he will talk tough to China.  He will put China in their place.  (Letterman points to his guest chair) Really?  What about that?  What about over there, Mitt?  He can handle China, but he can’t handle me.”


Posted October 2, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Ezra Klein “When I talk to legislators from both parties, I tend to hear some variation of the following: “This is a choice election. The American people are getting two very different visions and they’re going to pick one of them.”

That’s fine as far as it goes. But in a political system with three branches of government, a bicameral legislature with a supermajority provision in the upper chamber, and staggered elections, it doesn’t go very far. In a parliamentary system of government, the fact of being chosen implies the power to govern. In our system of government, it doesn’t. President Obama could win reelection and find himself facing Speaker Eric Cantor.

Which is why my standard follow-up question is, “If you think this is a choice election, will you let the other side govern if they win?” No one has ever said yes.”

Posted August 24, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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