Skit Portaying Executions is Inappropriate

After Reading an article that I found off of Foxnews this morning, I am now insane…

 

I usually only link to articles that spark my interest.  Today, however, I am going to place the whole text of the article on my post because I do not think I can effectively comment upon it without having it here for you to read.  So, to give appropriate credit, I will tell you that this article was published at dailysentinel.com and can be found here.  The Article was written by Tyesha Boudreaux.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A performance during a Nacogdoches High School pep rally last month has created some controversy between students and the administration over the appropriateness of a skit that included the executions of rivals and toy guns.

Some students say the skit was inappropriate and are circulating a petition — which currently has 122 signatures — protesting “gun promotion” at pep rallies.

 However, NHS principal Nathan Chaddick contends that the skit was a “simple, innocent satire” aimed at boosting school spirit, and with the exception of one complaint from a parent, Chaddick said “everybody enjoyed it and had a good time.”

Laughter from the crowd of spectators, which includes several adult voices, is prevalent throughout a video of the skit, which was performed during a Sept. 5 pep rally.

The skit opens with a few cheerleaders dressed to represent that week’s opposing team, the Center High School Roughriders. Wearing cowboy hats and carrying toy pistols, the “rivals” run into the gym to take the NHS mascot hostage as the theme from the movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” plays in the background.

As the Center team scuffles with the mascot, NHS cheerleaders run to the rescue, freeing the mascot. They then force the Center team to kneel as they stand behind them with guns.

The music shifts to a popular song which includes the sound of gunfire. As the NHS cheerleaders hold the guns to the back of the kneeling “prisoners'” heads, gunfire is heard. The “prisoners” fall over, dead.

The victorious NHS cheerleaders then toss what appears to be fake money into the air in celebration, then drag the bodies representing Center into a pile, whereupon the NHS mascot holds up a tombstone over the executed “prisoners,” to the sound of clapping and cheering from the spectators.

But not everyone found the skit enjoyable or appropriate.

Soon after, a petition “against gun promotion at pep rallies” was circulated, and an article and two editorials on the subject appeared in the student newspaper, The Dragon Echo.

The editorial defending the skit, written by an NHS cheerleader, was published in its entirety. An editorial critical of the skit, written by two students, was edited — by Chaddick — to eliminate three paragraphs that questioned the administration’s support for the skit.

In addition, a news article detailing the skit as a whole was moved from the front page to the third page of the Echo, at Chaddick’s direction, because he felt there were more important issues at hand.

“We just had the hurricane going on and people without power in their homes and homeless,” he said. “And there’s just more important things going on than a personal agenda of three little girls. I don’t think three girls and one mother have the right to make this a top story for our school newspaper.”

However, Mollie Garrigan, who wrote the editorial with fellow student Katie Rushing, denied that the motives were personal.

“In no way are we against cheerleaders,” Mollie said. “We are against gun promotion.”

Chaddick said he didn’t believe that using a toy gun in a skit promoted the use of guns.

“In any school district, there’s a zero tolerance regarding illegal weapons, certainly,” he said. “But this was just a simple skit done by our cheerleaders just to promote some school spirit and motivate the football team at a pep rally … they were doing like a little country, cowboy-type skit.”

Although the NISD Student Code of Conduct and Student Handbook says that “using or possessing a pellet gun, air-powered rifle, toy gun, or any other instrument that may be perceived by a third party as a firearm” is a prohibited conduct, Chaddick said it didn’t pertain to a toy gun used in a skit.

He compared it instead, to the use of a prop in a play.

“What do they want us to do with Shakespeare when kids have swords stabbing each other or plays with some shooting?” Chaddick asked. “It’s the same thing. It’s the same little skit. But because these three girls have a personal thing going on against some cheerleaders, they feel they have a right to use this venue for their personal agenda or purpose, and I’m just not going to allow that.”

In addition to the title of the editorial “Fearleaders,” Chaddick also eliminated the following paragraphs:

“We realize it was intended to raise school spirit, but it is inappropriate to allow such a display of excessive violence in a high school. This is not only unacceptable in a school environment, but also from a moral standpoint. This skit did not portray the other team as our opponent in a sports game, but as an enemy.

This skit and all of its implications were approved by an authoritative figure with the power and responsibility to edit the skit.

Such an authority should certainly show more discretion in the future.”

When asked what he found inappropriate about the material edited from the editorial, Chaddick would say only that it was “obvious” that the comments were a personal grudge.

“They were calling the cheerleaders ‘fearleaders’,” he said. “That’s just inappropriate.”

“In a public school setting, you can’t just publish anything you want to,” Chaddick said. “There is going to be some censorship and some editing if there’s something that’s inappropriate.”

“I got one parent who thinks it was so wrong that we had some plastic guns in the skit here at the schoolhouse,” he said. “I let her know, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion and your personal own beliefs. One person’s personal agenda is not going to drive what we do here at Nacogdoches High School.”

Here is a link to the actual video of the skit.

 

It is hard to know where to begin with this one.  I guess I will begin by saying that I do not agree with anyone involved with this story.  I commend the students who saw that the skit was wrong for taking it upon themselves to say so when no one else was doing so.  Good for them.

They make a good point in their editorial that the school has been, at the very least, inconsistent in its interpretation of its own policies regarding guns and images of firearms, and more likely selective in its interpretations.

However, the fact that guns were involved in a skit is not the true and appropriate source of outrage here.  The true offensiveness of this skit is in the imagery of an execution-style murder.  The reaction of the students who were against the skit came across to me like a group of people who, after seeing a noose hung on a tree outside of the home of a black family, are offended at the blatant reference to capital punishment that they saw in the image.  The point that I am making is that the imagery of execution-style murders carries with it a stronger connotation than simply that of gun violence.  There is a stomach-turning feeling associated with this type of activity be it by Al Qaida in Iraq or some thugs robbing a Quick Stop, just as there is a stomach-churning feeling associated with blatantly racist images like the noose in the reference above.  Society has little patience with people who take it upon themselves to execute another human being in cold blood, more often than not giving the perpetrator the death penalty on states where it is allowed. 

I do not care what justification is given, the skit performed by the cheerleaders at this school was incredibly out of bounds.  They could just have well have marched the ‘cheerleaders’ for the opposition into an oven in the skit, and I would have been equally offended. 

There is no defense for this, and someone should have said. “No!”  As is true in most schools, there is almost always a member of the faculty that sponsors the cheerleading squad.  Both that person and the cheerleaders should be held accountable for this.  The students need some sort of reprimand to teach them and the other students at the school that this sort of activity is wrong, and the teacher/sponsor of the squad should be suspended or released depending in her track record.

The person that I have the biggest issue with in all of this is Nathan Chaddick, the Principal of the high school.  First, he is inconsistent and selective in his application of the printed rules of the school, and that is not right.  The students at this school are being sent the message that we see coming from many small town schools that cheerleaders are special and above the level of other students.  It is these same attitudes that have led to several recent incidents in which high school athletes think that they can sexually assault the younger athletes in the school and call it hazing.  These cheerleaders have to be forced to follow the same rules as any other student.

Second, Chaddick seems to be inappropriately making accusations against the students who have questioned the appropriateness of the skit by questioning their motivations.  This, once again, looks like they are putting the cheerleaders on a pedestal, but it goes farther when he accuses the other students of using the skit to promote their own petty “personal grudge.”

I would make the case that he does not reside inside the minds of the students who raised the objection, and therefore cannot and should not comment on their motivations, especially when they are making a good point.  There is nothing in their letter to the editor that is a personal attack on anyone.  He says that it was inappropriate for the students to call the cheerleaders ‘fearleaders,’ but is that so bad?  In fact, there was nothing to be offended by in the redacted material, unless he was simply offended by the fact that their argument was so much better than his.  Look, I am the last guy to say that students have the right to say anything that they want to in a school newspaper, but it is apparent that the only reason he redacted their editorial was because he did not like their argument (which was obviously better that the opinion that he and the cheerleaders held).  Giving the cheerleaders the forum of the school newspaper to print their opinion of the incident, while redacting a cogent, appropriate counterpoint is simply another example of the preferential treatment shown to cheerleaders in this school.

However, the biggest problem with Chaddick is not his treatment of the students in this matter (though it is bad enough), but it is the fact that he shows himself to be so completely out of touch with social mores in this matter.  His statement comparing this skit involving execution-style killings to a Shakespearian play with swords shows him to either be stupid or a liar.  His smug attitude shown throughout the story shows him to be both, and the faster this school district sends him packing and apologizes to these young women the better.

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Come On, Fox News!

I have to throw an offsides flag on Foxnews for using the very unfortunate and unnecessary headline, “Good Spirit, Poor Execution” for their story about a group of Texas cheerleaders who recently performed a skit portraying the execution style killing of rival cheerleaders. 

If Foxnews wants their reporting to be taken seriously, then they must treat their stories in a more serious manner.  Placing this headline on this story is, on the one hand, tabloid, and on the other hand, just as irresponsible and insensitive as the skit that was done by the cheerleaders themselves. 

I used to listen to Limbaugh, but eventually I stopped for two reasons.  First, I felt that he was simply preaching to the choir, but later, I realized that I couldnot talk to anyone about things I heard on his show because sometimes he ran with an unsubstantiated rumor, and if I did reference his show in a conversation, it could affect another person’s opinion of me.  I’m beginning to have similar feelings of Foxnews.

Unfortunately, Fox does not work hard enough at appearing to be a legitimate media outlet.  This places their readers and viewers in the position of having to filter the information that they get through Foxnews.  What bothers me the most, is that there is no conservatively leaningmedia alternative to force Foxnews to take itself more seriously.  For people like myself, they hold an ideological monopoly.

Gaffe ’08

I always enjoy getting comments on my posts (well mostly), but I do not often blatantly request people to post their opinions.  However, today I find myself in a quandary.  Recently, we have been graced with two of the greatest faux pas in the history of the English language, and I find myself wondering which one is worse.  Which one is the most painful?  So, here they are, and please let me know which one you think is the worst. 

The first is a nice fluff piece from NBC’s Toady Show in which Matt Lower asks Robert Kennedy Jr. how his father is doing.  It can be seen here.  Enjoy.

The second is the famous Joe Biden gaffe in which he asks wheel chair bound Missouri State Senator Chuck Graham to stand up.  After realizing what he has done, he has the crowd scoreboard the poor guy by standing up ‘in his honor’ and showing him how good all of their legs are working.  See it here, and please cast your vote for the one that is most uncomfortable.

Thanks.

I am the Sherriff of Movie Town

I must confess that I am a movie snob.  I always see the oval dot.  You know the one in the top right corner of the screen that tells the projectionist when to start the next part of the film (this of course is an anachronism, as films are now rolled up on platters if they are still even produced on actual film at all and not a digital image).  If there is a repair in the screen, trash on it or a pin-sized hole, I find it extremely distracting.  There is a cinema called the Rave that I went to once where I could see a slight reflection of some speakers through the screen.  It bothered me throughout the whole movie, and I never went back. 

On another occasion, at the late show, the projector actually broke with about five minutes left in the movie Jackie Brown.  They gave me a free pass to come back and see the end.  I did not.  In fact, I have made it a point to never see the actual ending of that movie.  I just made up my own ending in my mind.  In my version Louis Gara (Robert DeNiro) comes back to life and kills the entire cast of characters and director Quentin Tarantino.  He then kills Nick Nolte and the cast of Cape Fear.  He caps off this award deserving performance by arriving at the theatre where I saw the movie and killing the incompetent and unprepared projectionist.  The point is, if I am going to plop down my $10 to see the newest supposedly great flick, I want it to be the best experience that it can be. 

When I was growing up, I lived in a moderately sized suburban community north of Dallas.  For most of my youth, it had one cinema with two ‘houses’ inside.  The seats were small and crowded, and the sound system was primitive.

Then, someone built a mall with a larger multiplex that had 10 houses featuring actual THX and Dolby sound.  It was great, except of course for the bleed-over sound from the other houses.  I remember seeing one movie there.  I don’t actually remember the movie, but I remember the one next door.  It was Congo.  The whole time, I was sitting there, I was wondering why I was not enjoying getting two movies for the price of one or at least the sound from two movies for the price of one.  It was awful.  However, in the same theatre, I remember watching Jurassic Park.  This time I was in the house with the soundtrack that downed everything else out.  There was one point when the characters on screen were walking around outside, and I actually heard something moving through the forest behind and to the right of me.  A good surround sound track can definitely add a lot to a movie. 

Later, in college, I went to another decent theatre with good sound and saw the greatness of The Hunt for Red October on the big screen.  It was this movie, and later, The Last of the Mohicans that made me realize the greatness of watching a movie on the ‘big screen’, especially when it deserves to be there.  In the case of Red October, I remember the submarines slowly moving across the whole screen, emphasizing their huge size.  In Mohicans, there were moments when a battle was taking place that encompassed the whole screen.  I particularly remember when Chingachgook hurled his axe/sword completely across the scene in one battle.  I saw this movie later on video (regular definition), and the battle scenes seemed very disjointed.

After I came home from college, the greatness of Grapevine Mills was built.  It was the first of the modern ‘stadium seating’ theatres that was close enough to go to on a regular basis.  That place was and is great.  It has great sound, huge screens, tall backed chairs, raise-able armrests, and aisles between the rows of seats that are wide enough walk down without touching the sitting folks or having to have them stand up as you are making your way to your seat.  It is movie heaven, and even though I live much further away now, I will still drive there to see a movie.

Unfortunately, as the years have moved forward, movie decorum has not, in fact, it has digressed.  Sometime during all of this, I appointed myself the Sherriff of Movie Town, and I began to codify a set of laws that in my opinion should actually eventually be ratified as a constitutional amendment.

Section 1: Food and Drink

I do not care what you have to eat or drink in a theatre.  The price that they charge for their food and drinks is outrageous.  If you can squeeze a side of beef into the chair next to you and gnaw on it for the entire movie, I don’t care as long as you do not bother me.  That being said, there are ways to abuse food or drink in a movie theatre.

1. Do not bring candy or food with wrappers that audibly crinkle or rattle.  Unfortunately in some cases the theatre will sell actually sell candy that makes noise.  If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having food in which the wrapper makes noise, the onus is on you, the purchaser.  You need to find a way to silence it or put it away until later.

2. Do not bring food that has an audible crunch such as Doritos.  Other issues covered by this include, smacking while you chew your food, smacking or popping your gum, and crunching the ice at the bottom of your cup.

3. Do not move your straw up and down in your cup so as to makes the sound of a wounded baby harp seal.  Why are you the only person who does not notice this?  Thanks to a friend for this submission.

Section 2: Respecting and Occupying your seat and repect the seat of others.

1. Arriving Late:  Did you see that line of people outside?  Yeah, the one with the people behind the rope waiting for the movies in the next house when you came in late?  All of those people who are sitting up there in the good seats in the theatre that you just walked into late did that too.  That’s why they have the good seats.  Don’t stand at the bottom of the stadium seating looking up at the crowd and talking with your friends in the expectation that there are five seats together up there that no one else saw.  And please, do not violate the sanctity of someone’s coveted empty-side-seat (the coveted empty seat next to you that you have strategically arranged to be there by the way you sat so that there would not be a stranger next to you) by asking them to move down.  Go and sit down at the front of the theatre where the people who walk in late are supposed to sit.

2. Staying in your seat:  This rarely applies to anyone over the age of 18.  It’s funny that when you actually pay that $10 of your own good money to see a movie, you actually want to see it.  On the contrary, unaccompanied groups of minors as many as ten strong inevitably enter a theatre and spend the next two hours repeatedly entering and leaving the theatre en masse.  The best way to combat this is for parents to explain to their children the importance of staying in their seats, or better yet, these parents could actually make sure their children ages 10 to 14, actually have a chaperone when going to the movies with friends.

3. Kicking the seat in front of you:  It’s amazing, but this problem occurs more than a person would think.  A person who is oblivious to the world around him will absentmindedly kick the back of the chair in front of him.  The poor person in the chair being kicked had no idea that there would be Morse Code subtitles associated with this particular movie.  I know you want to really get into the movie, and sometimes you actually feel nervous for the characters on the screen, but you must remember that you are not the only person in the theatre.  Police yourself.  Sit on your foot if you have to.

Section 3: Strong Scents:

1. Perfume or cologne.  Few things are worse than trying to escape into the fantasy world of a good movie while being continually dragged back to musk-land by the 14 year old Axe saturated kid four rows behind you or the woman, sitting alone, who smells like a candle factory at the end of the aisle.  Look, no one is going to stand up during the middle of a movie and approach you with the line, “What a wonderful aroma you have.  Is that a flower shop or just your armpits?  Can I get your number?”

2. Body odor:  This is worse.  Be on the lookout for this at Star Wars premiers or movies based on comic books.  These guys are usually alone, unshaven and are playing with a portable video game or reading a book while waiting near the front of the line for these movies.  Be strategic and make sure you are not sitting anywhere near them.  Social mores are lost on these guys, so don’t waste your time.  They just do not understand.

Section 4: Smoking

Really.  Does this really need to be said?  Unfortunately, the answer is, “Yes.”  I was actually in a theatre where a guy lit-up once.  Luckily for everyone else the Sherriff was in town.  I moved as fast as I ever have to get the ushers, and surprisingly, they actually kicked the guy out of the theatre.  Good.

Section 4: Sex and PDA

1. Public Displays of Affection:  When you go to see a movie, the point is to watch it.  Though they are legendary as places to first hold hands or put your arm around the girl on your first date (which is fine), they are not places to express you chosen sexual preference or reaffirm the physical bond between to people who already have an intimate relationship.

2. Sex: Again, does this really need to be said?  Well, I have failed to mention that I actually worked at a theatre many years ago, and had a patron come out of one of the houses to tell me that a teenage couple was actually having sex on the back row.  Being the responsible guy I am, I referred the gentleman to my female manager and beat a hasty retreat.

There have to be a million better places to have sex than a theatre with other people, including children in attendance.  Find one of them.

Section 5: Foreign Objects

1. Throwing things at the screen.  This one is generally abused by teenagers who seem to get a kick out of throwing popcorn and other things at the screen so they can see how it catches the light and casts annoying shadows on the screen.  Stop it!

2. Laser Pointers.  I generally do not subscribe to any form of Sharia Law, but in this case I would not be opposed to cutting the hands off of those responsible for this.  I actually saw this happen in a crowded theatre during the first week of Saving Private Ryan, and I thought the crowd was going to attack the kids who were responsible.  It is difficult to find a better example of full blown egocentrism than using a laser pointer at a movie theatre.

Section 6:  Small Children:

1. Inappropriate Movies:  That rating that they put next to the title of the movie is to assist parents in making wholesome choices for their children.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had a guy tell me with a horrified expression on his face, “I went to Saw [for example] last night and there was a guy on my row with his seven year old son!”  I have a friend who saw five year old at 300.  Are you kidding me?  This is yet another unfortunate example of a parent feeling that life is all about them.  They have kids for their own enjoyment, and they see movies for the same reason.  So, why can’t the two go together?  It’s just a shame, and I really don’t have a good answer for it other than this rant.

2. Day Care:  I think some parents mistake movie theatres for day care centers.  Some mothers drop their kids off at the theatre in the evening so they can go and get laid by Hairplugguy0001 that they met online today.  These women will encourage their children by saying, “If I’m not there when the movie is over, just go into another movie.”  Later, they are still on the date as their ten year old kids sneak into the late show of Basic Instinct II for a little sex education.

3. Chaperones:  If your kids below the age of 14 ever go to the movies with a group of kids or you take a group of their friends to the movies, you need to make sure that they have a chaperone or chaperone them yourself.  This means that you or the accompanying adult needs to buy a ticket to Cars and watch it with them.  This does not mean that they go to see Cars while you go see The Notebook.

4. The Crying Child:  No, this is not a movie with a very unfortunate and inappropriate plot line (sorry).  If you are in a movie, a church service or a wedding and you child starts crying, the best thing to do is to politely excuse yourself to the foyer until they are able to regain their composure.  It is not going to kill you to miss a minute or two of the movie while expressing your love to your children and being polite to the other people in the theatre at the same time.

Section 7: Keeping Quiet

1. Talking:  In general, movies are not good places to have a business meeting, catch up on things with an old college buddy, gossip, or get to know someone.  And, if you are the person who cannot follow the plot and needs a constant update, maybe DVR would be better for you.  In that case, you can stop the movie, and ask for an update or rewind and try to catch what you missed without bothering a whole theatre full of people.

2. Coughing:  We all do it, and for the most part it is just something that you have to understand is going to happen when you attend a movie.  However, once you have lost control of the situation or if it is incessant, you owe it to the rest of the crowd excuse yourself for a drink or a cough drop, or in the worst case to actually surrender to the sickness and go home.  Besides, it is not very thoughtful to sit in a room with re-circulated air and infect everyone with your tuberculosis.

3. Crowd Reaction: This is a touchy situation.  I have seen two or three movie on opening night where the infectious reaction of the crowd added to the experience.  However, if you find yourself being the only person who is laughing out loud repeatedly, or if you feel compelled to warn a character by saying, “Don’t go in there!,” it may be time to reevaluate your active participation in the movie experience.  Remember, the movie is not about you.

Section 8: Cell Phones

1. Ringers off:  Turn your ringers off!  ‘Moto’ is not in the theatre, and no one needs to be calling out for him.  Turn them off, or leave them at home or in the car.  If you have to know when you are getting a call, put it on vibrate, and put it in the pocket of your shirt.

2. Looking to see who called:  This is a favorite of the unaccompanied minor who sits with his friend in the front of the theatre.  They might as well light a fire down there.  It would be just as distracting.  All you have to do is to politely excuse yourself to the foyer and see if it is an emergency.

3. Texting: Please see the description above regarding “looking to see who called” and stop it!

4. Answering the phone and talking on it in the theatre:  I swear I saw this happened once, and it was the guy sitting next to me.  After my head exploded, I turned to the guy and said, “Take that outside.”  He actually cursed me, and I actually did not kill him.  I did walk past him, found an usher and had him removed.  Obliviot.

As you can see, I am a little passionate about this, but isn’t it time for all of us to pull together so that we can help each other have a more enjoyable movie-going experience. Or, maybe I’ll just by that 62 inch LCD screen, and eliminate these problems all together.

Fears Going into Thursday Night’s Vice Presidential Debate

I want to preface this by saying that I am a Republican, I will vote for McCain (though he would not have been my first choice), and I was thrilled with the Sarah Palin pick. 

This morning I read a story on foxnews.com.  It seems that choice of Gwen Ifill, who by the way is black, to fill the role of moderator in Thursday night’s Vice Presidential debate is being questioned.  She has written a book (The Breakthrough), and its premise is that ‘the civil rights movement has cleared the way for post-racial politicians to ascend to new heights.’  In layman’s terms, it is a book that chronicles the rise of African Americans in American politics since the civil right’s movement began.  Obama’s success, among that of others, is discussed in the book.

The point made by Foxnews and the National Review is that her appropriateness as an unbiased debate moderator is now being called into question because of this.  While I can understand why a person would be given pause when presented with the basic facts of the issue, I do not believe that it is fair to assume that because she is black, and wants to write a book that spotlights the recent political successes of African American, then she must be pro-Obama, and as a consequence is not professional enough to moderate a VP candidate debate.  Considering the subject of the book, it has to include Obama, just as it has to include Clarence Thomas (I am just assuming that it does).  At this point, I do not think it is realistic to think a person could find an intelligent person in the media who is not already leaning one way or another (Personally, I am convinced that 95% of media personalities wear ankle weights on their right legs to keep them from toppling over).

When Sarah was chosen as the VP candidate, some were questioning the vetting process in the McCain camp.  I think they would vet the moderator of the VP debate with almost the same scrutiny as they did the actual VP, considering the weight that the VP choice has been given in this campaign.  As a result, I am now beginning to question the McCain camp’s vetting process also.  I am less concerned with the book than I am that Ifill is an anchor for PBS, the home of Bill Moyers.  If they did not vet Ifill well enough to determine that she is ‘pro-Obama,’ then that is their problem.  I’m sure that it would have been easy enough to discover that she was publishing a book!  In the end, I still do not think that there is enough evidence of her perceived ‘bias’ to recuse her from consideration as a moderator, and I will even give her credit for not pushing her book to press before the election.  She could obviously make more money, and hedge her bets in the case of an Obama loss, if she were to release the book during the election.

In truth, I believe that this, unfortunately, is an example of the newest strategy regarding Palin to come out of the McCain camp.  They have observed the fact that the public has risen to her defense in the wake of the flood of unwarranted attacks on her coming from the left.  This has been good for her, up to this point, but as it begins to look like a strategy, it will quickly wear thin.

The current cry coming from the National Review and other conservative publications that Ifill cannot be objective, begins to ring hollow in the light of all of this.  It looks like a preemptive strike to make Ifill look bad if she asks Palin any tough questions, calls het to the carpet on an answer, or lets Biden savage her.  I believe this is being floated to force Ifill to water-down her approach to Palin in the hope that she will not want to even give the appearance of any bias.  Mark my words, the McCain campaign will not ask her to recuse herself from the debate.  They want her there, and they want her (Ifill) on the defensive.

I believe the McCain strategy of making Palin look like a victim is a mistake.  I do not have a lot of faith in the American public to be able to understand what is going on in general, but at this point they have been conditioned by recent events to be aware of unfair attacks on Palin.  If Ifill is an unfair moderator, and if Biden attempts to savage Palin, it will be readily apparent.  The McCain camp and the National Review do not need to do the attempt to set the stage for it.

I have a friend (www.exploded.wordpress.net) who has called on the McCain camp to let Sarah be herself, and take her off the leash.  He is absolutely right.  She needs to be allowed to go back to the Sarah we saw bowing-up to Charlie Gibson. 

Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling about this debate.  I am afraid that she is going to be given a list of talking points and a script by her McCain handlers in the hope that she will be able to stay on message while Biden makes an ass of himself.  If this is the case, she will look off-balance, and she will indeed be savaged by Biden.  You cannot be a ‘pit bull’ and a victim at the same time, and remember by definition victims are losers.  My greatest fear is that she breaks down and we will have a Ferarro incident.  If that happens we all might as well vote Obama because it will be over.