Mitt Romney

Rick Perry's Salvia Moment


Look, I can testify from personal experience that speaking on live television is hard, especially if there are people watching. Your brain is constantly making a dozen contradictory calculations at once…How much time do I have? Do I answer the question literally? What's the broader point I should be making? Is there some juicy one-liner I absolutely need to stick in there? How do I differentiate myself from the rest of the panel? Am I remembering to smile? Speak in complete sentences and not like a Valley Girl? Relax, Matt, relax! So…very…thirsty….OH GOD WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS?!?!? Sometimes you just can't talk good, or trail off sentences, or even admit to forgetting the question.

All that said, and with the caveat that this YouTube capture is a bit on the uncharitable side, what in the living hell happened to Rick Perry at last night's Republican presidential debate?

Was it tharn? Incautious Robutissun dosage? Or was he having what he's having?

Whatever the cause, if you can't slap Mitt Romney silly for being a flip-flopping used car salesman, you can't win the GOP presidential nomination.

Jacob Sullum wrote about the Salvia ban wagon (including in Rick Perry's Texas) back in December 2009, and rounded out his reporting by a personal description of how the drug feels.

NEXT: Injured In a Chicken Coop While Playing a Brass Instrument and You Have a Bizarre Personal Appearance? There are Federally Mandated Medical Billing Codes For That.

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    1. Tampa International Airport?

      1. Gotta love the TLA collisions. Tampa International was my first thought, too, which is why I usually go with “KTPA”.

        1. Ours was named after Tia Carrere.

          It’s actually TPA in official airport code.

  1. I must say, Salvia Guy’s bit could have been today’s Friday Funny, cause it was JUST THAT FUNNY! Right up there with Bok and Payne.

    Good work, Salvia Guy.

    Now, Perry WAS funny, but in that horrified, watching-a-train-wreck-unfold way. So there is that.

    1. You will want to watch his gardening bit. Much funnier.

  2. Honestly, I didn’t get what everyone was talking about last night during the open thread (AKA Action Force Team Coverge Debate Liveblog) but was too embarrassed to admit it. Isn’t that they way Perry had been conducting himself throughout all the debates?

    1. Can’t see the video here, but if it’s what I’m thinking of from last night, he was much worse than he’d ever been in previous debates. And people give Paul a hard time for rambling. At least Paul is working towards a point. Perry really seemed to be confused about what he was saying and doing.

  3. Wow, Matt, do you really have a hard time keeping the few thoughts you have straight when you’re on TV? I mean, a couple of dogmas and doctrines, one or two simple truths…what could be so hard?


    2. Maxie…! Yo Gabba Gabba’s starting!

  4. Where was their ever any evidence Perry was up to this? He is a Republican governor in one of the big red states. Big deal. Texas’ economy hasn’t imploded. But that is due more to the structure of the Texas government than anything Perry did. He just got out of the way. Granted that is better than Obama. But I don’t see how any of that makes him a politician up to winning the Presidency. I think he is going to implode. The question is after that who becomes the anybody but Romney candidate?

    1. Getting the fuck out of the way IS doing something, and it’s laudable, and rarely done by politicians.

      Now, whether Perry would do that if he seized power is a whole ‘nother question …

  5. The question is after that who becomes the anybody but Romney candidate?

    The polls seem to indicate that would be Ron Paul.

    Michelle Bachmann seems to have immolated herself on the alter of genital warts.

    1. I am not sure Paul can attract anymore support than he has. Can he really attract the mainline conservatives the way Perry has? Maybe. But it seems like Paul is like a solid 20% of the vote at all times and nothing more.

      And yeah, Bachmann threw away a real chance with the HPV issue. It is not even a federal issue. She didn’t even have to take a stand. She is not a governor. She could have dodged it so easily and didn’t.

      1. What did Bachmann do? I don’t have the time or inclination to watch this stuff.

        It looked like Perry was really gaining speed as the candidate of choice; did he really blow it last night?

        1. He’s just a shitty debater. Romney comes off looking smooth and “presidential”. Perry starts off decently but gets fatigued, bored, and confused as the debate progresses.

          1. There is more to life than debates. The problem for Perry is that no one outside of Texas had really seen him in person before the debates. And there is no substitute for a first impression. So they were really important for him.

            1. “There is more to life than debates.”

              Yeah debating skill is a superficial way to judge a candidate. We must focus on the important things, like whether they have nice tits.

              1. Or how well their pants are creased or what race they are or what they did 20 years ago in college. You know, the important stuff Tony.

              2. Palin has declared ?

            2. What’s up with lucid Texas governors turning into stammering gibberish-peddlers once they’re on the national stage?

              1. I think maybe it is the way politics is done in Texas. It is a lot of baby kissing and old time political show down there. I don’t think they really get grilled the way you do at the national level. That is my theory anyway.

              2. Texas is home to numerous exotic flora whose pollen produces a range of pharmacological effects (for example, making everything bigger).

                They enhance cognitive ability (thus facilitating Texas’ economic growth), but also cause dependence like any number of drugs. When removed from Texas for long periods of time, Texans go into withdrawal and have trouble functioning mentally. This is one reason Bush spent so much time at Crawford during his presidency — any fewer vacations, and he risked literally becoming catatonic.

                1. ^^ As a Texan, I can attest to the veracity of this statement.

                2. Actually I can attest to both statements; from John, about how our politics are done, and the one from Cynical, about our unique symbiotic relationship with the local flora.

        2. They asked her about mandatory vaccination for the HPV virus. And apparently, I didn’t see it myself, she went all Jenny McCarthy in the last debate talking about how the vaccine caused retardation or some such nonsense.

          There were about fifteen ways should could have dodged the question. But she went from what I understand full retard and spoke a bunch of nonsense about the evils of the vaccines. It pretty much ended her campaign.

          1. Huh, that’s pretty stupid. OK, next thing: is Romney–who clearly feels it is his turn–going to get the nomination?

            1. I still don’t think he will. Too many people hate him for Romneycare. But honestly, if Perry flames out, I don’t see how anyone in the current field beats him, which really sucks since Romeny is the spawn of Satan.

              1. “Too many people hate him for Romneycare.”

                And yet they shouldn’t, as it demonstrated two things.

                1) States can be used as labratories.

                2) Obamacare won’t work.

              2. But honestly, if Perry flames out, I don’t see how anyone in the current field beats him, which really sucks since Romeny is the spawn of Satan.

                President Palin?

            2. No. He’s an empty suit that everyone recognizes as such. After Obama, I think our collective distaste for such things–not to mention frustration with his business-as-usual attitude–will keep him out.

              1. But Perry is clearly an idiot. It’s becoming clearer ever time he gets on stage. I just don’t see how this plays out. Romney, I think, has a ceiling, but people can’t take Perry seriously the way he is struggling to make complete sentences.

                1. And the debates are really going to matter next fall. A smart good debater who isn’t afraid to go after Obama and make him mad would destroy Obama. But slimey politician like Perry would let Obama slide and not do any damage.

                  1. Someone who calmly, politely takes Obama apart in a debate would bring out Obama’s petulance and arrogance. A public flame out could result. One can hope.

              2. Romney isn’t even in the same empty suit solar system as Obama. Romney has no apparent principles, but he knows how to get stuff done and has succeeded as a governor and a businessman. Obama is a zero in every imaginable field of human endeavor besides giving speeches (and without a TP he’s a disaster at that too).

            3. Many Evangelicals consider the Church of Mormon to be a cult.

              1. Yeah, but a really friendly cult.

          2. There were about fifteen ways should could have dodged the question. But she went from what I understand full retard and spoke a bunch of nonsense about the evils of the vaccines. It pretty much ended her campaign.

            It’s not that she was asked a question. It’s that she thought it was a knock out punch against Perry. She scored a few points, but then overplayed her hand on it and went full retard down the Jenny McCarthy route. And now she just can’t say she was wrong and doubles down on stupid.

            1. And yeah, it pretty much blew up her campaign. I don’t think she ever really had a chance at the nomination but could have parlayed it into something higher up than a congress seat.

              Instead she palinized herself.

    2. If Paul had not run, I think it could have been Johnson. Paul just took the wind out of Johnson’s sails. Give Johnson Paul’s base of support and I think he would have had a higher ceiling than Paul. He has been a governor. When people tried to pain him as a kook, he could have said “hey I was governor of a state and things went pretty well”. That would blunt a lot of that criticism in a way being in the House like Paul doesn’t.

      1. But you can’t just “give” Johnson Paul’s base of support. Paul earned that stuff, and it’s not particularly portable.

        The anyone-but-Romney question is really the big one right now, IMO. I think the odds are much higher today that Palin jumps in. And if Romney gets the nomination, I can’t help suspecting that Paul might run as an independent….

        1. Yeah, but couldn’t have Paul not run and endorsed Johnson? I can’t believe that the vast majority of Paul’s supporters wouldn’t have coalesced around Johnson.

          And Palin is lurking out there with huge money and a huge base of support. If Perry implodes, Palin would immediately sweep aside everyone but Paul and Romney. As long as Perry is strong, Palin doesn’t have a place in the race other than to play spoiler and take part of Perry’s support. But if Perry goes down, she takes a really big chunk of Perry’s support and is a real force, especially after the other candidates start dropping out and people see her as the only choice but Romney.

          1. I would hope that most of Paul’s support would transfer to Johnson, but I wonder how many of Paul’s supporters are attracted to him in large part because of pro-life and anti-immigration stuff. I would hope that most of them would see that these are really not the most important issues for a presidential election (as I do) and support either of them, but I don’t know.

            1. I don’t know either. But I don’t think the number is very high. It seems like Paul’s views on immigration and abortion are almost after thoughts. Maybe it is just me, but when I think of the Paul brand, I think of the gold standard and getting rid of the fed and a much more aggressive interpretation of the 10th Amendment. I just don’t think of the other issues.

              1. I don’t think of those things either when I think of Paul, but in my case it may be because those are the issues I disagree with him on.
                Still the fact that Paul gets the attention and poll results that he gets is a good sign for libertarian-ish politics. I hope it continues after Paul retires and that more like Johnson get involved in future elections.

                1. Paul is doing a lot of good win or lose. The media can dismiss Paul as crazy. But Paul’s success makes it that much harder for them to dismiss the next guy. The liberals were able to paint Goldwater as a nut. But they couldn’t do it to the next guy, Reagan no matter how hard the tried. Paul is laying a lot of good ground work.

                  1. But they couldn’t do it to the next guy, Reagan Nixon

                    1. I took it that John meant “the next [conservative] guy, Reagan.”

                      Nixon might have been a Republican, but no one who knows anything about him would mistake him for a conservative.

                  2. “The liberals were able to paint Goldwater as a nut. ”

                    So true, and so sad. Goldwater would have been a terrific president.

        2. That Paul’s support is not particularly portable seems to indicate that he has a cult-of-personality thing going on, which seems strange, but there it is.
          I think RP is truly trying to build something that will live on after him (politically), and I fervently hope he does, but given many of his rabid supporters, I wonder.

          1. I don’t think the rabidness of paulians is an intentional thing. Ron Paul is 90% of the time the only politician who isn’t spouting complete pandering bullshit in answer to every question. He gets up on national TV and talks about legalizing heroin and Austrian school economics. I would so very much love to have more than one politician who does those things.

            I dig Gary Johnson a lot, but he only came on my radar maybe last year thanks to Reason reporting on him. I hope these two are the tip of a new libertarian trend in politics, but I’m not holding my breath.

          2. I’m with Nothing here.

        3. I could almost see Paul going independent, if he really thought he could pull it off, and it could really be an interesting mishmash, with totally realigned coalitions, in a three way race between Romney, Paul, and Obama. Otherwise, he’s flushing his son’s career down the toilet. Not so sure about Palin; she has to know she’s widely reviled, and even her own party doesn’t want her to run anymore.

          1. Honestly, what does a Paul candidacy do besides re-elect Obama? If he could pull the anti-war left, he might win or at least make it an interesting three way race. But you know as well as I do, the anti-war left is a lot more left than anti-war. They wouldn’t vote for Paul no matter how much Obama has sold them out and made them look like fools.

            1. Romney would not be a far right candidate, and I promise he would have no problem turning around and promoting RomneyCare as the “right way” to do government health care, to pull in leftists. And if Paul could appeal to hardcore single issue voters that are anti-war, anti-prohibition, and pro-civil liberties types, far right small government types, and independents, I just think the traditional voting blocs could be completely jumbled and reorganized. I think if Paul was able to get into a three way debate with Romney and Obama, he could do well pulling from all across the spectrum. And the left might not be as monolithic as all that. Obama could hemorrhage from Paul attacking from the left.

              1. I wish you were right. I with there was a left who cared enough about civil liberties to swallow Paul’s economic ideas and vote for him. But I don’t see it not in any significant number anyway. Paul would just take a decent chunk of disgruntled libertarian Republicans and a few independents and ensure that Obama won re-election with the 45% of the vote who will vote Democrat no matter what.

                1. I don’t think there’s a rock solid 45% who will always vote Democrat no matter way. I’d put that percentage closer to 25% or so, but there are lots of people who maybe strongly favor Dems, but at least have a possibility of considering an independent, if not a Republican.

                  And don’t forget that turnout matters too, and Paul in the general could spur a huge surge in votes from people who normally don’t bother. You’ve got to consider that a massive number of anti-government voters correctly see no point in voting for team red or team blue.

                2. Oh, and what about this possibility? What if Paul were actually ahead of Romney in a three way race? Do you think it’s possible there could be enough anti-Obama sentiment to get people to abandon Romney rather than let Obama win? That’s always the argument against voting third party in the first place, but if Romney were the odd man out, hey…

                  1. That is a possibility. But the problem is that you will have a disgruntled Republican establishment who are as anti-change as Obama. I am not sure they would vote for Paul ever. It is just tough to see a third party candidate winning. Too many deadenders on both sides.

                    1. You know what, there’s something else to consider, if you want to get hardcore political junkie for a moment. A three-way race would greatly increase the chances of no one getting an electoral college majority. Paul could get major support in the south and Rocky Mountains, Obama and Romney could battle it out for the midwest and east coast, and Obama could get the west coast. From Wikipedia:

                      Pursuant to the Twelfth Amendment, the House of Representatives is required to go into session immediately to vote for President if no candidate for President receives a majority of the electoral votes (since 1964, 270 of the 538 electoral votes).

                      In this event, the House of Representatives is limited to choosing from among the three candidates who received the most electoral votes. Each state delegation votes en bloc – its members have a single vote collectively (and the District of Columbia does not receive a vote). A candidate must receive an absolute majority of state delegation votes (currently 26) in order for that candidate to become the President-elect. Additionally, delegations from at least two-thirds of all the states must be present for voting to take place. The House continues balloting until it elects a President.

                      That means Romney could still get picked by the House, even if he didn’t win. It would be a shitstorm scandal, but it could still happen, and if Romney and Paul together totaled more than 50%, it could make sense too.

                    2. That could happen. But it would really be bad for the country. People would be so angry and feel cheated no matter what happened. I would rather see anyone, including Obama, just win than see that happen.

                    3. To take this speculation to the ridiculous extreme, maybe Paul and Romney could cut a deal, make Paul VP or something. Something to say they’d made a coalition and thus, it was really the 65% (or whatever) of the country that was getting what it wanted, not Obama’s 35%.

                    4. That is right out of the 18th Century. If that happened I would half expect Obama to shoot Romney in a duel.

                    5. Heh, I know, it would be awesome. I really just want something to happen to break up this calcified duopoly bullshit we’ve been stuck with for so long.

                    6. Nah. BO might engage in a duel, but there is no way a gun-hating liberal shoots straight enough to beat a mormon in a duel.

          2. I don’t think Paul Sr.’s run as an independent would in damage Paul Jr.’s political career in any serious way.

            1. If Ron Paul ran as an independent and got Obama re-elected, you don’t think people wouldn’t hold a grudge against his son? I do.

              1. What — Kentuckians are gonna vote for the D senate candidate cause the R senator’s dad ran as an L?
                Naw. Don’t think so.
                And, personally, I’d just as soon see Obama re-elected than see Romney or Perry get in.
                Nobody did more to damage the free market “brand” than George W., but those two might give him a run for the money.
                At least with Obama, the blame will be put in the proper place.

                1. Sure he might stay in the Senate. But any national ambitions would be severely hurt. He would never be in the leadership and he would never have any hope of getting the nomination. I think it would damage him. It might not kill him. You never know. But it would definitely hurt him.

                2. No, but the GOP would destroy Rand with all the hateful rage they could muster, and beat him in the primary.

                  1. ? Putting Rand’s relationship with the GOP exactly where it was in 2010.

        4. I’ve heard Paul say that he will not run as an independent because he doesn’t want to be the spoiler.
          He’ll run as a Republican or not at all.

          1. If he took second place, he wouldn’t be the spoiler.

        5. I see Palin jumping in later this year and in fantasy land she could pick Paul has her Veep, take responsibility for being in the ticket with McDouche and possible garner some RP supporters. As of right this very minute though I think RP is looking strong, Romney is reviled by his own base, Perry aint dead yet, and Johnson may be coming up from behind. Everyone else is DOA (Bachmann incluided).

          diclaimer: No Bandit prediction in politics has EVER come true. This is not hyperbole

          1. I’ve found that I can accurately judge the outcome of an election by taking the inverse of my ballot.

          2. The only election I’ve ever predicted correctly was the Clinton/Dole gimme.

            1. I have always corectly predicted the winner since 1976.

            2. I’ve predicted the winner in every election that I participated in.
              It’s always someone other than the guy who got my vote.

        6. As an aside, I have done some live TV (smaller audience of course) and it can be taxing but my personality is such that I didnt even notice the cameras…too busy brow beating my opponent and the host.

        7. After last night, Palin would be an idiot NOT to jump into the race soon. This is her moment. The anti-Romney conservatives are looking for someone credible to support. I see more and more skepticism about Perry from all of the various subspecies of conservatives. Palin may or may not be the right person to assume the anti-Romney mantle, but she won’t know that unless she runs.

          I say this as someone who intends to vote for Gary Johnson, assuming he’s still in the race by the time of the Va. primary.

          1. I suspect you are right. And you know, she is a really good debater. She destroyed Joe Biden in the VP debates in 2008. Frankly, I think she would mop the floor with the current group of candidates sans Ron Paul. But no one seems to listen to Paul no matter how right he is.

            1. Beating Sheriff Joe Biden in a debate is not exactly a banner accomplishment. She’d have to perform better than in that 2008 debate in order to best either Romney or Obama. Romney is completely unprincipled, but he certainly is a slick SOB when it comes to debates. He knows the right ways to dodge and weave things back to his talking points without sounding like a robot.

              1. I guess it is because I see through that, but that is why I think Romney is terrible in debates. Nothing the man says ever sounds sincere. I think Palin would wipe him out more than any other candidate because she would sound real and it would make him sound all the more phony. I think Palin is kryptonite to Romney. Her folksy sincerity would so contrast with his reptilian smoothness that there would be no way he could ever look good on the same stage.

                It is not that Palin is that great. It is that her style is uniquely suited to destroying someone like Romney.

            2. But no one seems to listen to Paul no matter how right he is.

              Nobody listens to Paul because he has been successfully labeled, along with his followers, as crazy.
              What he says is considered crazy not on the merit of what he actually says, but because of who said it.
              He could say the sky is blue and be dismissed as a nutter.

              1. Yup. And you can thank our scumbag, ignorant narrow minded media for that. It is a crying shame too. Because while I am not a Paul supporter, he is a bright guy with a lot of ideas that warrant serious discussion. But we never get that because of the stinking media dismissing anything not warmed over conventional wisdom as “kooky”. Bastards.

                1. The Force Ad hominem attacks can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.

                2. Unfortunately, Paul feeds into that media narrative by being flighty and unfocused during debates. He has lots of interesting ideas about almost everything, but you have to rein in things to just two or three simple points to succeed in that forum.

                  If he’s serious, he needs to back off of the Professor Ron routine and hammer home simple points on the things that are on Republican voters’ minds right now–the debt, job-killing regulations, Obamacare. The evils of fiat currency are a real problem, but the debates are not the place to delve into it for more than a sentence or two to decry inflation. He also needs to seriously tighten up his foreign policy answers. He manages to turn the real problem of our endless Afghan campaign into a weird complaint about providing air-conditioned quarters for our troops there. That type of thing just won’t cut it in presidential politics.

                  He uses a 30-second debate answer to try and explain things that would take an entire speech to adequately convey, and unfortunately it makes him look like a loon. Which he absolutely is not.

                  1. Saying that the border fence will be used to keep Americans from fleeing to Mexico isn’t loony?

                    I like RP on the whole, and agree about his verbosity problem, but he also does say some extremely crazy things once in a while. And of course it wasn’t just a slip of the tongue, now that he’s confirmed his belief in the Berlin-Wall-ish nature of the border fence in last night’s debate too.

                    1. Will or can?

                      It seems weird to me that people who talk about gun control as though it’s the first step in implementing tyrannical measures that would otherwise provoke an armed revolt, that see the U.S. as sliding towards some sort of socialist republic, would not recognize that a fence doesn’t go away just because the wrong people are running the country. Historically, many socialist republics had a well-guarded, fenced border; they didn’t have it in order to keep people out.

                      There might be a lot of well-intentioned reasons to want a border fence, just like a lot of people want gun control for the straightforward and well-intentioned reasons. But if you’re going to be the party that’s skeptical of handing the government powers that could prove dangerous in the hands of a tyrant, then you ought to be a little concerned about the fact that fences go both ways.

        8. Palin running still doesn’t solve our anyone but Romney problem.

        9. As one of the newer H&R postings speculate, I think Christie jumping in late has higher odds than Palin.

      2. No way. Gary Johnson is pro-gay-marriage and pro-choice on abortion.

  6. Matt, I sometimes have that same thought process when trying to post just the right comment to the H&R wijorw wkj wnwonon peolkjhlkje ekjlkqj qjkqlk kqjhwlkjhqrh……………..

  7. Matt, I run into those same issues when trying to come up with jsut teh ritgh psot on i lpdt contrl ny fnigres.

  8. Thinking too hard about Romney kinda fogs my mind too.

  9. Sometimes D students do grow up to be morons.

    1. Tony made me laugh. Intentionally. A first, I think (if it’s really him)

    2. Let me be clear. I received two C’s as well.

    3. I read that as, “grow up to be mormons”. To much Romneyon for lunch.

  10. Here, let me help.

    How much time do I have?
    It’s not your show, not enough.

    Do I answer the question literally?

    What’s the broader point I should be making?
    Nobody is really interested in the broader point.

    Is there some juicy one-liner I absolutely need to stick in there?
    If it isn’t immediately obvious, probably not.

    How do I differentiate myself from the rest of the panel?
    A brightly colored tie works. Also, since most TV show guests look smug try not to.

    Am I remembering to smile?
    Smiling too much makes people not trust you. Try out the flat, humorless stare now and then and see what kind of reaction you get.

    Speak in complete sentences and not like a Valley Girl?
    Most people watching these days probably wouldn’t know the difference.

    Relax, Matt, relax! So…very…thirsty….OH GOD WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS?!?!?
    Any female guests nearby?


    1. BZZZT! You really do need to calibrate for time-windows, make your broader point, and not get bogged down into fruitless side-questions (such as last night’s question to Gary Johnson about why people should vote for him instead of Ron Paul). But I agree with you about smiling.

      1. The problem with broad points is you’re trying to sell them to a sound bite driven viewer base. Ten seconds of talking is too much for the average viewer to handle. Plus, if you start to deviate from the host’s agenda you’re probably just going to be talked over anyway.

        The problem with going on the high-minded shows where you will actually have the chance to say what you need to say is that you’re talking to people who, mostly, already agree with you. Get down into the lowbrow trenches now and again and try to spread the good word to the people who need to hear it.

        That give me an idea, reason staffers on the next Jerry Springer.

    2. “Smiling too much makes people not trust you. Try out the flat, humorless stare now and then and see what kind of reaction you get.”

      I think an aggressive snarl would work pretty well. You should always look about two seconds away from dismembering the other speakers or hosts in a berserker frenzy.

      But you still need to be stylish crazy (think American psycho), not just low-class trashy punk crazy. I’d recommend a tuxedo with a few suspicious dark red spatters.

  11. Leaving the topic for a moment, this hubbub over the small possibility that someone measured neutrinos going faster than light shows that, once again, the media knows jack when it comes to science reporting. Why even bother?

    The decent science news sites, of course, are noting that this is more likely not anything dramatic and make sure everyone knows that even the scientists reporting it are saying this all needs to be verified.

    It would be very cool, if true, because we do better science when anomalies like this pop up, but I’m not rushing out to buy warp engine stock just yet.

    1. Yeah. Lets wait and see if they reproduce the experiment first. And it is at the quantum level. We already know that all sorts of weird things, like teleportation happen at the quantum level. So I am not sure how a single massless particle exceeding the speed of light is necessarily earth shattering.

      1. Neutrinos aren’t massless.

        1. You are right. I lose track of my sub atomic particles sometimes. It is a really small mass but it does have some mass.

          1. And the mass is what would make this paradigm-shifting. Personally, though, I think they flubbed their math somewhere, and I’m pretty sure they suspect the same.

            1. Time will tell. If they didn’t, there will be lots of other places confirming it. Exciting prospect if it is true.

            2. Yes, I kind of disagree with Pro Lib in that, even though it hasnt been replicated yet (This is crucial), it is still big news. A demonstrable massful particle traveling faster than light is the same as walking by the world’s largest dyke and saying “hey, it looks like a little leak here……WHOOOSH!!!!”

              Now, granted I am one of those crazy Van Flandern type believers. I have never accepted the universal speed limit concept and think it has little basis in reality (the observational evidence is a result of frame of reference. Try traveling faster than sound with a prop engine plane…same problem). The fact this experiment can be easily duplicated is what makes this so exciteing.

              1. You need more jading.

                1. agreed, some douche intern probably added insteead of subtracted or something, BUT if not then awesomeness ensues.

              2. the world’s largest dyke


                1. There’s Chastity, I guess.

              3. At some point science is going to hit a roadblock because of the way our brains perceive and process reality (as we know it). As we discover things more and more strange it puts greater stress on the brain just to hold the concepts. And then, one day, *snap*… like looking into the eyes of Cthulu. But hey, maybe that’s what needs to happen to perceive reality properly.

                1. We really already did hit that point with Quantum mechanics. There is no way to understand it in any conventional way. It just doesn’t make any sense. It only makes sense mathematically not in any conventional reality. You can’t imagine what an electron looks like or actually behaves. You just know it exists and can describe its properties.

                  1. We haven’t hit that point yet. If people couldn’t understand quantum mechanics nobody would be working with it. You CAN imagine what an electron looks like and how it behaves because you can mathematically describe its properties. A person could possibly conceptualize a picture of an electron even if that conception is nothing what an electron actually looks like. It’s like a really small dot that is made up of even smaller dots.

                    The problem we’ll run into is when reality exceeds our capability to even imagine what it’s like.

              4. “is the same as walking by the world’s largest dyke and saying “hey, it looks like a little leak here……WHOOOSH!!!!””

                And that WHOOOSH you hear is her fist just prior to smaking you for pointing out her tampon needs changing.

        2. Maybe it temporarily got negative mass, just for shits and giggles.

      2. It’s a potential flaw in relativity, which would mean that our current understanding of physics is incomplete.

        1. Our current understanding clearly is flawed. The standard model works great but there are a lot of things it just can’t explain. We have really hit a dead end. Hopefully we will figure it out in my lifetime because clearly a new model is needed.

          1. We don’t run into anomalies like this so much as we can’t completely conform relativity and quantum mechanics. It was anomalies like this in Newtonian physics (which, of course, is still largely valid) that led to relativity and to the quantum revolution.

            1. That’s the thing. We know that both theories can’t be completely correct. But they both work so incredibly well for every application they have been used for that it is really hard to know where to look for a theory which includes quantum gravity. If this turns out to be anything, physicists will have a much better idea of where to look for a more complete theory, it seems to me.

              1. I have a quantum theory of gravity that explains everything, but it’s on a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk that I can’t read. Sorry about that!

            2. Exactly. We still use the models from classical physics because, even though they are technically wrong, they are “good enough” for most practical applications.

        2. Which would be the most awesome discovery to date.

      3. john – string theory holds neutrinos only APPEAR to exceed light speed by traveling thru other intervening dimensions which shortens the distance traveled in our dimension

        1. That’s funny–I just read an article saying just that. It only helps string theory if the difference between light speed and the measured speed is explainable under one of the theories. Actually, with the metaphysical nature of string theory, better make that predicted by.

    2. This image should make it all clear.

    3. Given the implications, I think a bit of hubbub is justified. Sure, it’s probably just some artifact of the measuring system, but, hey, if it’s not, it’s big.

      1. My reaction is still meh, because it’s a finding that will need quite a bit more evidence before it means anything.

    4. The tachyons are just sitting there, waiting for the neutrinos to fall off their FTL high, and it won’t be pretty. They know all too well the consequences of the temptation to fuck with Big Al.

      1. A neutrino walks into a bar. bartender says “We don’t serve neutrinos here.” Neutrino says “Thats ok, im just passing throuhg”

  12. I seriously thought Perry was in the midst of having a stroke onstage during that part of the debate. I’m still not convinced he didn’t.

    1. It really did look like that, didn’t it?

      What this shows me is that Perry hasn’t seriously been challenged in a long time. By the accounts I’ve read, he got whupped in the debate by the libertarian-ish candidate during the last Texas gubernatorial race, but neither that candidate nor Kay Bailey Hutchison were real threats to him as an incumbent.

      Obama is seriously overrated by the media as a speaker and debater, but he’s good enough that Perry would have to do much, much better than this in the general election. Dubya was lucky enough to run in 2000 against someone just as inarticulate as himself, and in 2004 against an airheaded gigolo.

      1. The Republicans need someone smart and fearless. If you go after Obama and challenge him he gets petulant and makes an ass of himself.

        1. I seriously do suspect Perry might have a tumor or something. He was practically slurring his speech up there. It was pretty disturbing to watch, I half expected him to keel over and the paramedics to show up. I’m serious when I said that I think he could have a health problem. Healthy people don’t talk like that…it was very bizarre.

          1. I wouldn’t go that far. I think what happened is that Perry had some kind of prepared statement about Romney’s flip-flopping, but he was frazzled by that point and got it all turned around.

            The only conclusion I see is that Texans don’t value public speaking very much, based on their last two governors.

            John, I agree, but I think that Romney tries too hard to be Mr. Congeniality to really take it to Obama in the debates.

            Sadly, of the current GOP crop, only Gingrich looks like he could do the requisite amount of damage to Obama in a one-on-one debate. He would have Obama stammering incoherently within a matter of minutes. It’s just all the other 99% of Newt’s candidacy that’s the problem.

            1. Gingrich is a jerk and kind of a nut. But he is a hell of a smart guy. I wouldn’t want to get in a debate with him. He would humiliate Obama so badly, it might backfire and cause people to feel sorry for Obama. Because Gingrich is such an asshole he wouldn’t let up. He would just keep piling on until Obama had some kind of a breakdown.

      2. That’s the perfect description of Kerry.

  13. To be fair, Romney’s flip flops can get confusing.

    1. Especially when he wears argyle socks with them.

      1. You can’ twear socks with flipflops. Unless you get those weird socks with toes.

        1. Romney seems like the kind of guy who would do that.

  14. Sometimes you just can’t talk good

    And at other times you just can’t talk well.

    1. thatsthejoke.jpg

      1. Some people have a way with words, others, — uh — no have way.

          1., insightful commentary AND movie reference corrections.

            1. Some people remember movie quotes correctly, others…

  15. there’s an old saw that communication (and how the viewer interprets it ) is over 70% nonverbal. iow, not the actual words that are said, but the facial expressions,voice inflections, etc.etc. any good interviewer or interviewee knows this.

    recall the nixon/kennedy debates where people who heard it on radio thought nixon had won, but those who saw it on tv credited kennedy.

    the prime difference: the tv viewers were turned off by nixon’s sweatiness, it made him look dishonest (how ironic), nervous, and just plain slimy vs. the picture perfect camelot boy(tm)

    so, while debates are better than nothing, a televised debate IS at least as much, if not more, about how the person looks and sounds vs. the actual text of what they say

  16. The Republicans need someone smart and fearless.

    But I don’t WANT to be President; and certainly not if I have to join the Republican Party. Sorry, that’s just how it is.

    1. Having done public speaking, I know it is harder than it looks. But God, the answers these guys give are just awful. I can’t help but think that any reasonably intelligent well spoken adult could destroy these people.

      1. My personal belief is that they are just absolutely exhausted. Mentally and physically. A large national campaign is not a sprint and these guys are constantly on the clock. Mind you i hold no sympathy but I do know how tough it can be. Yes, a reasonably intelligent adult who has prepped for 3 days and had a good night’s sleep and isn’t worried about the after affects and microscopic scrutiny is going to easily destroy most of those guys. But that isn’t how it works.

        1. That is a good point. But it makes me wonder perhaps in this day and age there isn’t a better way to run a campaign.

          1. Yes. From the comfort of your own home. Blog the whole campaign, making snide remarks about the waste and fluffiness of the other means of campaigning.

            1. Isn’t that pretty much what Palin is doing with her Facebook account?

  17. He looks drunk. Got a bit too friendly with the Shiner Bock beforehand, perhaps?

  18. Someone joked last night about Fox disappearing it’s “who won the debate?” poll b/c Paul and Johnson were 1-2. Looks like they were right.

    1. They’re incapable of perceiving Paul or Johnson. It’s not bias; they simply lack fully functional sensory equipment.

      1. They have several. This one is still active.

  19. “These are not the candidates you we are looking for.”

    1. It’s like observing quanta. When the media attempts to perceive a libertarian candidate, that very attempt makes the name of the candidate unknowable. They can either observe the name or the popularity of a candidate, but not both.

  20. I think it’s more that they fear an anti-matter candidate who might cause their universe to implode. The remora need the shark, no matter what they might say about it behind its back.

    1. For them, I think Paul and Johnson both are made out of antimatter.

  21. From the comfort of your own home.

    see, also: Harding, Warren Gamaliel.

    1. In this day and age, I don’t see why you have to go out and kiss babies and give stump speeches to win. Look at Palin. She may not win but it won’t be because she is not relevant or gets enough exposure. You can through social media and TV do everything you used to do by whistle stop campaigning. I think politicians do it because they think that is the way it has to be done. But I don’t think that is true anymore.

  22. Whatever the cause, if you can’t slap Mitt Romney silly for being a flip-flopping used car salesman, you can’t win the GOP presidential nomination.

    This sentence is full of win, Matt. Strong work!

  23. I would like to compliment the commentariat for successfully melding a physics thread with a debate thread and sprinkling it with movie quotes. This is why I love HnR.

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  25. I love the wordplay the Matt uses to describe Mitt

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