Thursday’s reads here.
The presidential debates won’t matter much: “[E]ven though presidential debates are often viewed as the most important part of a campaign (aside from the national conventions), they actually affect the final election results a lot less than you might think. If Mitt Romney is hoping that the debates turn the tide in what is an ever-widening polling gap between him and Barack Obama, he might want to think again. […] Debate gaffes, like your garden-variety campaign gaffes, rarely, if ever, move public opinion polls or affect the final outcome of elections. Even if Dukakis had given a more emotional response to the death penalty question, or if George Bush hadn’t been caught checking his watch during the 1992 debate, both candidates were still likely to lose.” From the Guardian.
George W. Bush Beats Mitt Romney in Latest Poll: “For all the talk about whether Mitt Romney should distance himself from George W. Bush –and the policies of the last GOP White House — a new survey shows that the former president actually has better favorability ratings than the Republican nominee. A Bloomberg News National Poll released Wednesday has Bush receiving a favorable rating from 46 percent of those surveyed and an unfavorable rating from 49 percent. That’s compared to Romney’s 43 percent favorable and 50 percent unfavorable. Bush also fared better than Vice President Joe Biden (42 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable) and the Republican Party as a whole (41 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable). The survey shows first and foremost that Romney is struggling in his effort to unseat President Barack Obama — a fact highlighted by several other polls conducted ahead of the first presidential debate next Wednesday.” From the Dallas Morning News.
George Zimmerman’s Stand Your Ground attorney is off to a gun-rights rally: “In a session billed as “Protecting the Right to Protect,” George Zimmerman’s lawyer will speak to hundreds of gun-rights activists about self-protection at their national convention in Orlando this weekend. Orlando attorney Mark O’Mara will address the crowd about his client’s use of deadly force and the international attention that followed the Feb. 26 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford. The three-day Gun Rights Policy Conference features more than 70 panelists and speakers on topics ranging from “The Most Dangerous Election of Our Lifetime” to stand-your-ground laws across the U.S. and “Growing the Gun-Owner Base in the Popular Culture War.”” From the Orlando Sentinel.
Not Wanting Kids Is Entirely Normal: “If there were no consequences, how many of us would give up our kids? After all, child abandonment is nothing new and it’s certainly not rare in the United States. Over 400,000 children are in the foster care system waiting to be placed in homes, thousands of parents relinquish their children every year. One woman even sent her adopted child back to his home country with an apology letter pinned like a grocery list to his chest. Whether it’s because of hardship or not, many Americans are giving up on parenthood. […] American culture can’t accept the reality of a woman who does not want to be a mother. It goes against everything we’ve been taught to think about women and how desperately they want babies. If we’re to believe the media and pop culture, women — even teen girls — are forever desperate for a baby. It’s our greatest desire. The truth is, most women spend the majority of their lives trying not to get pregnant.” From The Atlantic.
Alice Walker on the 30th Anniversary of The Color Purple: Democracy Now “speaks with author, poet and activist Alice Walker about her groundbreaking novel and its enduring legacy. Set mainly in rural Georgia in the 1930s, the book tells the story of a young, poor African-American woman named Celie and her struggle for empowerment in a world marked by sexism, racism, and patriarchy. The novel earned Walker a Pulitzer Price in 1983, making her the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer for fiction. Walker explains the origin of the book’s title and explores some of its central characters and their connection to her own family history.” Watch:
Tightening web privacy for children and adolescents: “Federal regulators are about to take the biggest steps in more than a decade to protect children online. The moves come at a time when major corporations, app developers and data miners appear to be collecting information about the online activities of millions of young Internet users without their parents’ awareness, children’s advocates say. Some sites and apps have also collected details like children’s photographs or locations of mobile devices; the concern is that the information could be used to identify or locate individual children. […] The proposed changes could greatly increase the need for children’s sites to obtain parental permission for some practices that are now popular — like using cookies to track users’ activities around the Web over time. Marketers argue that the rule should not be changed so extensively, lest it cause companies to reduce their offerings for children.” From The Times.
Samuel L. Jackson wakes up voters: “Samuel L. Jackson will film a provocative spot supporting President Obama’s re-election bid as early as tomorrow — telling voters to “Wake the f–k up, Vote for Obama.” The ad is a riff on Jackson’s viral video “Go the F–k to Sleep,” where he narrates a children’s book written by Adam Mansbach. It’s paid for by the Jewish Council for Education and Research Super PAC — which earlier this summer aired an ad of comedian Sarah Silverman offering “free lesbian sex” to billionaire Sheldon Adelson if he stopped supporting GOP nominee Mitt Romney.” From the New York Post. Watch: