Chris Jefferies

Occasional ongoing jive…

Monthly Archives: September 2004

Debates with no teeth – Memorandum of Understanding

The term “milk toast“ comes to mind.

The debate rules have been collected into a “Memorandum of Understanding“ by the lawyers for both parties.  It basically means that the debates will be very tightly scripted with coached responses.  I will still watch the debates, but I won’t expect too many zingers being fired back and forth.

It was hard to find an actual copy of this online, but here’s a reference to a PDF version 

Some notes from Rhetorica:

  • Section 5b: No opening statements. This means no candidate gets the advantage of framing a debate. This ensures that neither candidate can open with a statement such as: “What you will hear from my opponent is…”

  • Section 5e: A candidate may not ask his opponent a direct question, but he may ask rhetorical questions. In short, a rhetorical question is one that suggests its own answer or one for which an answer is apparent in the context of the question. This means candidates may ask questions of the ether. The point here is to direct the presentation of the interrogative away from the object. Or, to eliminate the academic mumbo-jumbo, this means they can’t look at each other as they ask obvious questions. The arrow then misses the heart, but the (spin) point is made.

  • Section 6a controls how the moderator will handle asking questions and subsequent “discussion,” i.e. follow-up questions. The candidate who received the original question gets to speak first in any subsequent discussion. Both are limited to 30 seconds of discussion. This ensures that both candidates will be able to end each question with a spin point and comes close to ensuring that spins points are all that passes their lips. (Test this for yourself. Write a short statement and time your reading of it. You may be surprised how few words it takes to fill 30 seconds.)

  • Section 7f dictates that the audience for the town-hall debate will be made up of equal numbers of “soft” supporters of the two candidates. If we understand “soft” to mean “not vociferous,” this comes close to ensuring that no audience member “goes off,” –thus forcing the moderator into the uncomfortable duty of cutting the person off (and thus making the two candidates look like whimps who can’t handle a tough question from a citizen).

More rules:

  • Each debate will take place before a live audience, have a single moderator and last for 90 minutes.
  • In the first and third presidential debates and the vice presidential debate, the candidates shall be seated with the moderator at a table.
  • No opening statements; two-minute closing statements.
  • A coin toss will determine the order of questioning and closing statements.
  • Each candidate can use his own makeup artist.



Presidential Markets – not looking good for Democrats

I’ve been reading about the idea of “emergence” where ideas or events emerge out of unrelated and unexpected events.  One of books describing emergence comes from the book (which I haven’t read):

The Wisdom Of Crowds: Why The Many Are Smarter Than The Few And How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations by James Surowiecki

An extension of this line of thought is that we can apply market trading on the presidential election.  Here are a couple of sites that show how the presidetial election is shaping up based on the “greed” of self interested investors (in other words, individuals who probably do not care about the outcome of the election but who are interested in making money no matter the outcome). 

Presidential Markets 2004 – Presidential Market 2004 is an online game — a simulated futures market, but not using real money — in which players buy and sell “shares” of the major 2004 presidential candidates. Finish on Election Day with the highest valued portfolio and win a trip to the inauguration in Washington, D.C.

The Iowa Electronic Markets – are real-money futures markets in which contract payoffs depend on economic and political events such as elections. These markets are operated by faculty at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business as part of our research and teaching mission.

Network-Centric Advocacy – Wisdom of Crowds

Wisdom of the Crowd – interview with Surowiecki 


Texans for Truth – New Ad: AWOL

Choose Honor

Texans for Truth, established by Glenn W. Smith, executive director of the 20,000-member Texas online activist group,, has produced two television advertisements, “AWOL” and “Choose Honor.”

Check it out…


One year of blogging…

Almost missed my one year anniversary of bloggong.  My first blog on this site was posted on September 8, 2003.

Happy blogging to me,
happy blogging to me,
happy blogging to meeee,
happy blogging to me.

sphpd… (me blowing out the candle…)


New Genealogy site

Over the last week I put up a new Genealogy site.  It is written in PHP (with MySQL as the data store) and I got it from TNG.  It cost me $27.  I’m not much good at PHP but here it is, an entire web application for tracking genealogy and it includes the ability for users to edit the data and upload images.  I’d like to try to rewrite it in ASP.NET, but lets see how much time I have to work on that.

Here’s the new site:

Live in Fear!!!

Here is the persistant threat level image from the Homeland security site at:

Yellow Advisory

Here’s an image that’s supposed to reflect the same threat level.  The banana should change to reflect the current threat level color with green being good and red being bad.  Let’s see if they match.

     terror alert banana    


You do the math…

Skype Out


Skype is a computer to computer telephone service (a.k.a., voice over IP service – VoIP).  I’ve used it for a few months now and it works great.  When connecting between 2 computers, the service is free, and they claim, it will always be free.

Skype now has a service called SkypeOut where you can pre-pay for minutes to connect from your computer to a private phone line that does not have a computer.  Within the US the calls cost 1.7c a minute and it varies and is relatively cheap for land lines internationally.  It does cost a lot more for international calls to mobile phones. 

Check out the rates.

Read about skype here.

Here’s an earlier post. 

Once you get a Skype account, call me here: