10/23/2012 08:09 am ET

Debates Leave Much Unsaid: Seven And A Half Things To Know

Thing One: The Silence Of The Candidates: Well, this cycle's presidential debates are sadly over. We've had a lot of fun, haven't we? But more importantly, we learned stuff, too. Here's some stuff we learned:

1. Sometimes presidents get sleepy.

2. Big Bird must die, while Jim Lehrer watches.

3. Women come in binders.

4. The 35th Horse And Bayonet Battalion is going to be very angry.

5. There are these things called aircraft carriers. Planes land on them.

6. You can fairly handily win two out of three debates (three out of four if you count Joe Biden), as President Obama has, and still possibly lose the election. And yet for some reason we continue to have debates.

But you could fill volumes with the things that were not discussed in last night's debate -- even with just the things that affect both foreign policy and economics/business (because this is a business newsletter). For example:

Climate Change: The Huffington Post's Tom Zeller and Joanna Zelman point out that climate change did not get mentioned in any of the debates this cycle, the first time that's happened in a generation. Not a thing, not a peep about what will be the most critical foreign-policy issue of the decades to come. Melting Arctic ice, natural disasters and resource scarcity are all going to create endless problems (and opportunities, but mostly problems) for our foreign and economic policies in the years to come. But we'll deal with that in 2016, I guess?

Europe: If you were a visitor from Alpha Centauri whose only exposure to American foreign policy was last last night's debate, then you must assume that the rest of the world is made up mainly of Israel and several angry Arab countries that want to destroy Israel. "China," which is apparently some sort of frenemy (and don't say I didn't warn you they'd both say stupid things about China). And a country called "Russia," which the 1980s want back. The word "Greece" did get mentioned, but that only served as a reminder that the entire freaking continent of Europe, which is in the middle of a never-ending debt crisis that has already brought the global economy to its knees, did not get a single mention. President Obama even missed an opportunity to point out that the sort of austerity endorsed by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would lead us to European-style recession, notes Rex Nutting of MarketWatch.

The Drug War: And nobody mentioned the failing drug war, which affects both our foreign policy and our economy. Legalizing drugs could help close the deficit and improve our relationships with our neighbors. Freeing a generation of young men from prison means we'd have to find them jobs, which would not be easy right away. But it is far, far worse to keep them in prison needlessly. Like slavery, it's a moral failing that affects our standing in the world.

Thing Two: Look, Shiny Object: But anyway, who cares about all that, because Apple has a new product coming out today! It has been, like, weeks since we've had a new gadget to blow our cash on, but Apple always comes through just in time. Apple has another one of its press-baiting events today, and everybody thinks it's going to introduce a new "mini" iPad, which will compete with the Kindle and the Nook and other teensy tablets. It'll be introducing some other stuff, too, and the Huffington Post's Jason Gilbert has all the deets.

Thing Three: Future Fed: The Federal Reserve has a decidedly less-interesting get-together planned for today, the first of a two-day policy meeting, at which almost nothing is going to happen. Binyamin Appelbaum of the New York Times fills the idle time constructively, at least, thinking about what a Mitt Romney Fed might look like.

Thing Four: BofA's Bounceback: Just a year ago, there was some question about whether Bank of America was going to make it. Its share price had tumbled into the single digits, it needed a bailout from Warren Buffett, and the Fed smacked down its hopes of raising its dividend. Now, CEO Brian Moynihan says the bank has a "fortress balance sheet," like he's Jamie Dimon or something, with the best capital cushion among its peers, Bloomberg writes. It still has a lot of problems, too, mainly in the form of bad mortgages on its books. But it is in better shape than it seemed a year ago. The rebounding mortgage market has helped BofA, like JPMorgan and other banks, keep growing profits despite low interest income.

Thing Five: Boon To Medicare Patients: Thousands of Medicare patients with chronic illnesses are going to have an easier time getting treatment, thanks to the settlement of a national class-action lawsuit, the New York Times writes: "Under the agreement, which amounts to a significant change in Medicare coverage rules, Medicare will pay for such services if they are needed to 'maintain the patient’s current condition or prevent or slow further deterioration,' regardless of whether the patient’s condition is expected to improve."

Thing Six: Yahoo's Mobile Problem: Yahoo's new CEO, Marissa Mayer, yesterday reported quarterly results that beat Wall Street expectations. But the results suggest the company is struggling to figure out how to handle this whole "mobile" thing -- a conundrum that is deviling a bunch of the old-growth tech giants, including Google and Microsoft, the New York Times writes.

Thing Seven: Monster Problem: The Food and Drug Administration said five deaths have been linked to Monster Energy drinks, which are high in caffeine. Monster, whose shares tumbled 14 percent on the news, told the New York Times it wasn't aware of any deaths related to its drinks. It has been sued by the mother of one teenager who died.

Thing Seven And A Half: Tweet The Press: Because nothing is decided in our nation any more unless Twitter approves, here are the 23 best Twitter reactions to last night's debate, as compiled by BuzzFeed.

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