Shmooze News: The Veep Debate, A Pakistani Girl, & Attack of the Plaguey Squirrel

Wha’ happened This Week?  So You’re Never LATE TO THE PARTY.

1. Another week, another debate… but this one was spiiicy!  The dems all kinda hated that Obama didn’t engage last week & let Romney get away with his truthiness.  But Biden didn’t turn it up because of that — or not only because of that.  This heat is just his style.  He aggressively pushed back VP contender Paul Ryan at every (talking) point, interrupted each time Ryan slathered on some truthily-challenged stats, and laughed at the absurdity of Ryan’s assertions frequently.  Some say too frequently.  But his substance matched his passion in a way that satisfied the base (meaning Democrats still pissy from last week).

That said, in style Ryan didn’t suck.  He said things that sounded good.  He enlarged his shiny blue eyes beyond human scale.  For anyone who missed the awesomely cheesy P90X shots of him released earlier in the day, it was still probably pretty clear he was a frat boy not too long ago (so facts come via memorizing & points are earned via douchiness thinly veiled as politeness) (sorry, frat boys).  But for the Republicans, he didn’t do anything embarrassing and, impressively, he didn’t let Biden’s forceful debate style fluster him (or, as Joe Klein of Time Magazine said, Ryan had “nice moments, arguing uphill against Biden’s onslaught.  I’m sure he passed muster on foreign policy knowledge — he’s been to the Arghandab River Valley in Kandahar province, for God’s sake!”).  But when the moderator pressed Paul Ryan for specifics about the Romney-Ryan plan domestically & abroad he couldn’t provide them.  And was actually wildly out of his depths regarding foreign policy, Kandahar province aside.

Of course the question is, did either dude’s performance (or to be less cynical, their proposals) affect swing voters?  Apparently nothing much happens from veep debates historically and last night looks to be no different.  But talking about these swingers… who ARE these peeps who were swayed enough by last week’s debate that Romney was able to trample so riotously on Obama’s lead in the polls?  Did SNL get it right about ’em?  One thing’s for sure: that moderator lady, Martha Raddatz, won the night and everyone’s kind of obsessed with her now thanks to her toughness & class & good sense to ask questions that elicited both substantive answers and feelings from these two suits.  (Well, everyone on the left… apparently the right thinks she’s a biased liberal who treated Paul Ryan unfairly.  If it’s not one conspiracy, it’s another.)

2. Brace yourself for this one.  So, you might have heard something about a 14 year old girl who was shot in the head in Pakistan this week.  The reason this is getting attention is that she wasn’t just an innocent victim caught in the crossfire (although loosely defined, of course, she was).  No, she was actually targeted by the Taliban — because she’s been a very public activist for women’s education since the age of 11 when she began keeping an “online diary” (what the kids are calling blogs these days) for the BBC.  She even received Pakistan’s highest civilian award  (in case anyone wants to give Lena Dunham a break with all the overachievement resentment).  On Wednesday, to clear up any confusion about their purposes, the Taliban released a statement (in English) justifying their murder attempt.  In it they assured us that although it’s generally not their stance to gun down women or children in cold blood, there’s precedent in the Quran for both if the woman/child deserves it.  In this case, the schoolgirl — Malala Yousafzai — ‘deserves it’ because she became the face of a movement questioning the human-rights-denying Shariah law (moral codes among Islam’s fundamentalists)… you know, the very law that the militia dudes are pointing to to justify killing her.  It’d be ironic if it weren’t just sort of terrifying.  For now, Malala is in critical condition but alive.  Anyone else who’s inspired by her should take heed, though, the Taliban warns:

“If anyone thinks that Malala is targeted because of education, that’s absolutely wrong and is propaganda by media. Malala is targeted because of her pioneer role in preaching secularism and so-called enlightened moderation. And whom so ever will commit so in the future too will be targeted again by the TTP [Pakistani Taliban].”

No Ryan Gosling meme can soften this one, y’all.  Sorry.

3. Ah, yes.  So apparently a squirrel in southern California tested positive to THE BUBONIC PLAGUE.  Apparently also this is no cause for alarm.  But for anyone who’s read about The Black Death (or read The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks — some light summer reading I got through a few months back despite nausea — heh) this is cray-cray.  And an awesome party convo topic.  Bonus points if you help people not, you know, get bubonic plague.  You’ll definitely be invited back.

The Black Death was basically
the Middle Ages’ Vanity Fair Oscar party.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK from Shirley MacLaine:

It’s useless to hold a person to anything he says while he’s in love, drunk, or running for office.

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