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LIVE-BLOGGING THE GRANVILLE HIGH DEBATE

5:01 PM – Bennett Avery of CNN introduces the candidates. There’s the usual smiling and small talk; there’s usually no opportunity to score a point at this stage of the proceedings, but Lovett manages one when she turns and heads to her podium; she takes the opportunity to whip out her phone and send a shout-out to the school over Panjea—complete with a hashtag (#webdeb). As usual her campaign team is killing it with social media.

5:10 PM – First question of the night is on climate change. You can almost see Tooms groan. He basically bunts—spewing out a carefully constructed party-line word salad that hits all the talking points but basically refuses to make any admission that climate change even exists. Lovett, by comparison, grabs the ball and runs with it. A big early lead for the Governor here.

5:26 PM – A series of questions on foreign policy. Neither candidate has a huge amount of experience in foreign affairs, so they’re free to spout all the idealistic blather they want without having to answer much for it. Not that they don’t take some hits: Lovett denounces Tooms as being one of the Senators who voted for various wars and military operations; and he returns the favor, pointing out that she was for years the head of the secret service. But I think most people understand that her tenure was focused primarily on homeland security. On balance, I’d give this one to Lovett.

5:44 PM – A brisk exchange on Internet regulation. Lovett lost serious ground here, as Tooms questioned her commitment to rolling back the surveillance state, while still backing more government regulation of the Internet. Lovett tried to dance her way out of that one, but she’s not nimble enough for the job, and it tripped her up big time. The only bad news for Tooms is that he puffs out his chest and beams a big grin at the audience; gloating over a defeated adversary isn’t exactly presidential. Still, this round’s clearly his.

6:09 PM – A very revealing exchange on nuclear power. You could see that neither Tooms nor Lovett was entirely prepared for this question to come up, which is a pretty alarming indication of how far we’ve degenerated since the 1980s. Since both candidates are basically in bed with the major power companies, both of them spun wildly without either managing to say anything substantial. A draw…and a very pathetic one.

6:17 PM – A question on the national debt. Lovett manages to regain lost ground by hammering home Tooms’ role in the financial crisis, which was basically, letting all the big banks off scot free for their economy-cratering chicanery. The guy’s face is beet red and he even let out a nervous laugh at one point. Advantage Lovett.

6:25 PM – Next question is from Samir Gupta, a kid from Bakersfield…that means Courtney Garcia’s next. Looking forward to seeing whether she takes any of my (admittedly rather pushy) suggestions.

6:27 PM – Wait a minute—thought there was some kind of technical error. But now a new video just came up…Is that someone in a Dramatis Personai mask? Did they just hack in? Is that even possible? I have no idea what’s happening here…

6:29 PM – Whoa. Double-whoa. The debate has been hacked—actually hacked—and by the looks of it, by Dramatis Personai. Same spokesman…same mask. The video of Granville High, and of Tooms and Lovett is just…gone. Trying to listen…

6:31 PM – The masked hacker—who introduced himself STOP—managed to get one line out before his feed was cut, presumably by the network. Still no Granville High; no idea what’s going on there. Lots of scrambling at our local affiliate to fill the blank screen. I’m still scrambling myself, mentally. Did STOP just directly piss off one of the two candidates for most powerful person in the world? I’m kind of excited by this, but also a little wary. Is it too much, too soon?…Or is this kind of sheer nerve the reason some people are hacktivists, while other of us just blog anonymously from our apartments?

6:42 PM – In all the confusion I managed to forget I was DVRing all this. I rewound and transcribed what STOP said: “Will you end the silence of six?”—a phrase that already surfaced in a previous Dramatis Personai video…and whose meaning is still a complete mystery.

Then…black. Is there anyone out there who can tell me exactly what just happened in Granville High? The cable news channels—worthless, as usual—are only reporting what everybody already saw. I’ve checked Google, Panjea…nothing. Granville students—are you there? Courtney Garcia, this is your moment—Full Cort Press’s moment. Talk to us…!

 

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Clue 5 : Part 2

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GRANVILLE HIGH: THE SHOCK TROOPS HAVE LANDED

High-school blogger Full Cort Press (a.k.a Courtney Garcia) is having her first encounter with real power, as the advance teams for the two presidential hopefuls infiltrate Granville High in preparation for the debate Courtney won for the school (via an essay to CNN). Courtney tries to make light of the disruption, but you can sense the strain behind the smile. And just wait till the candidates themselves arrive, and the whole operation steamrollers over students and faculty alike. Hey, Courtney, keep your eyes and ears open…and try to keep from becoming collateral damage.