The Sideshow

Archive for September 2004

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Thursday, 30 September 2004

Two things

A lot is said about Kerry's privileged upbringing, but here's something I didn't know: He worked his way through college selling encyclopedias. This is something I want everyone to repeat: John Kerry knows what it's like to have a crappy job; he's had one. I know this because a guy who hung out with him at the time mentioned it while giving interviews to promote his film, Going Upriver. You can see the trailer here.

A while back I observed that British journos covering the campaigns from the US were picking up the groupthink from the Stepford Press and sounding just like them. The same thing seems to be going on in Australia. (Thanks to Helga for the tip.)
19:08 BST

Dangerous lunatic speaks at Harvard

Scalia talks out of his backside.

In response to a question on racial profiling:

The eccentric justice launched into a parody of a police radio dispatch under a scenario in which profiling were prohibited. "The suspect is 5'10, we know what he looks like, but we can't tell you," Scalia quipped - drawing laughter from the audience.
In other words, a Supreme Court justice does not know what racial profiling is.

Scalia is also a big cut-up on other laws he doesn't know anything about:

Earlier in the evening, Scalia ridiculed the European Court of Human Rights' 2000 decision striking down British legislation that bars group gay sex on the grounds that the law intruded upon private life.

He asked - rhetorically - how many individuals would have to be involved in a sex act for it to no longer qualify as "private."

"Presumably it is some number between five and the number of people required to fill the Coliseum," Scalia joked.

Yeah, that's a real knee-slapper. The law in question said a sex act between only two men in a closed room was still not "private" if only one other person was in the same house. That's fewer than the number of people Scalia needed to help him screw the United States.
And while conservative justices have been criticized for effectively deciding the 2000 election themselves, Scalia quipped: "Would you rather have the president of the United States decided by the Supreme Court of Florida?"
No, you crackpot, we'd rather have the voters decide that - which is just what the Supreme Court of Florida said. (via)
17:11 BST

Marge Innovera

Pollkatz's Electoral Landscape has Kerry at 282, Bush at 256. There's also a re-analysis of the Gallup Poll numbers, re-weighting for more realistic numbers, that shows Kerry with a 4-point lead.

I generated random numbers (on Excel) to plug in for Gops for Bush, etc., selecting those trials that gave me a Bush% of 51.5% - 52.5% (52% is the result of rounding) and Kerry% 43.5% - 44.5%, and then averaged same to determine Gops for Bush, etc. Several samples of 20,000 trials gave results similar to one decimal point.
My estimates:

Gops for Bush   87.1%

Dems for Bush    8.5%

Inds for Bush    45.6%

Gops for Kerry   8.9%

Dems for Kerry  89.2%

Inds for Kerry   48.4%

Plugging these estimates into Rasmussen's weights yields Kerry 50.1%, Bush 46.0%. Not statistically significant, but a far cry from the 52/44 spread announced by Gallup.
My question isn't whether Kerry is ahead, it's how much farther he was ahead back when they were actually acknowledging his edge before the GOP convention.

Of course, back when Kerry was leading fairly consistently, that wasn't considered a big news story, although of course it's a very big story when an incumbent is behind a challenger. Yet now that Bush is allegedly leading, that is being treated as a big deal. There's your "liberal bias" right there.

(Thanks to Tom Ball of Political Strategy for the heads-up.)
15:20 BST

Sometime in America

Go on over to Suburban Guerilla and wish Susan a Happy birthday, and then check out the stuff below, like the one about the British soldier who says "we can't work with the Yanks - they just want to bomb everything." And perhaps you'd like to write to the networks and complain about their refusal to take ads for the F9/11 DVD. And - could it be a conspiracy? If I were a suspicious person, I'd wonder why there's a developing pattern of Republican secretaries of state reinterpreting the election rules in a retroactive way.

This is why I keep telling you to write letters. It works if enough people do it. It has worked for more than a decade for the right-wing. And yesterday, it worked when Media Matters put out the call on MSNBC's use of Frank Luntz to do post-debate comment.

Katha Pollitt has the story of how Fox lied to students to make them think they couldn't vote. (via)

And now Minnesota is running short of voter registration forms.

Oh, yeah, have I mentioned lately that George Bush is a wimp?
13:33 BST

A few things

Fight To Survive: This site is the mouthpiece for a group of soldiers who are fighting in a war they oppose for a president they didn't elect while the petrochemical complex turns the blood of their fallen comrades into oil I hear they've been getting hate-mail from people in America telling them to shut up.

Big Path has created a number of pages that can be printed out to use as fliers or posters, available in PDF, JPEG, or text form. (I rather liked Hope.)

Gary Farber asks, "Who wants to vote for more of this?": "We're trying to climb out of a hole," said an official with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, who spoke on condition of anonymity. American missteps during the occupation, the official said, "continue to haunt us."
01:45 BST

Wednesday, 29 September 2004

American angles

From Tina's Shark Tank: For the Bush apologists who claim that comparisons between the war in Iraq and the Vietnam War are ridiculous because the casualties in Iraq "aren't as high", the Funny Farm has an interesting chart comparing the casualties in the first 18 months of both conflicts. The trends are strikingly similar, but the casualties are MUCH higher for the CURRENT conflict!

Things they believe: Thanks to the Swift Boat Veterans we know that the central formative event of Kerry's life, Xmas in Cambodia, described repeatedly in the most vivid terms, never occurred. For our contemporary liberal arts post-modern wordsmiths, reality is "constructed", and constructed out of words. For them Kerry's Cambodia story possesses narrative truth sufficient to make it `real', even if for most of us the fact that it isn't true constitutes an overriding reality. Leaving aside the fact that "liberals" don't regard the Cambodia story as being central to anything in particular, we do know that (a) he was in Cambodia sometime not far from Christmas and (b) the record demonstrates that the SwiftVets have lied far too often to be taken as a source for any kind of truth.

What their children blog: I remembered pieces of some of my (numerous) conversation/arguments with my parents on the subject of homosexuality. My father, in the middle of explaining why queers are all intrinsically awful people, no matter how lovely they may seem. in the end his argument came down to basically, It's inherently selfish to be queer because no matter if we say we're in love it's only for selfish reasons (read: we just want to hump like bunnies and don't really care about anything else but physical pleasure) because we don't have CHILDREN like the beautiful selfless heterosexuals. Ergo, queers live only for self-gratification and no matter what else goes on in their lives, ultimately (consciously or subconsciously) our entire existence is directed towards the purpose of self-seeking pleasure; queers are not capable of anything but selfish actions whether we know it or not.
21:26 BST

Your political world

First, you need to have read Adam Clymer's column about reporting the debates:

Sometime in the 1980's political coverage began to confuse itself with drama criticism. The word "performance" started showing up frequently in debate analyses, and reporters started citing Samuel Beckett in their front-page articles.
Then read yesterday's Paul Krugman column, Swagger vs. Substance:
Interviews with focus groups just after the first 2000 debate showed Al Gore with a slight edge. Post-debate analysis should have widened that edge. After all, during the debate, Mr. Bush told one whopper after another - about his budget plans, about his prescription drug proposal and more. The fact-checking in the next day's papers should have been devastating.

But as Adam Clymer pointed out yesterday on the Op-Ed page of The Times, front-page coverage of the 2000 debates emphasized not what the candidates said but their "body language." After the debate, the lead stories said a lot about Mr. Gore's sighs, but nothing about Mr. Bush's lies. And even the fact-checking pieces "buried inside the newspaper" were, as Mr. Clymer delicately puts it, "constrained by an effort to balance one candidate's big mistakes" - that is, Mr. Bush's lies - "against the other's minor errors."

And then Josh Marshall:
If 2000 was any indication -- and there's every reason to think it is -- the winner of the debate won't be determined during the 90 minute encounter itself but during the spin war that will follow it. And with the advantage the Republicans have on the cable nets, talk radio and chat TV shows, the odds are stacked in their favor.
More than just these built-in advantages, though, Democrats, I think, have seldom really appreciated that there is such a thing as a post-debate debate. I don't mean that they don't know about putting out surrogates or trying to spin the results. Of course, they do. But in 2000 at least (a certainly in analogous situations in this cycle) the effort was very reactive and scattershot. And that inevitably leaves the Democrats trying to parry or deconstruct the ways that Republicans are trying to define what happened. In that way, they're fighting at best for a draw.

Republicans are already leaking hints and taunts about whether Kerry will sweat profusely under the lights, whether he's too tanned and other similar nonsense. But the antic nature of these taunts doesn't mean they won't be effective. They're meant to throw the other side off balance and, in a related manner, to provide grist for a catty and frivolous press corps.

Atrios provides his own pre-debate spin:
As for my pre-debate spin, which has the added benefit of being honest, is that what we're going to get from Bush is the exact same thing we've been getting from him throughout his presidency. We'll get "happy talk" on Iraq which contradicts reality. We'll get "tough talk" on unnamed terrorists, despite the fact that Ashcroft hasn't managed to convict any. We'll get "happy talk" on Afghanistan, with Bush doing things like hilariously claiming that the "Taliban is no longer in existence." We'll probably get some shockingly unpresidential behavior, including the inappropriate humor he so loves.

But, what we probably won't get is anything new. Same shit, different night, as Iraq continues to burn.

So the next step for all of us is to be ready for post-debate spin to bring to the attention of the Democratic leadership. Write to Terry McAuliffe with your ideas. Find out who else the networks will be using and send them material right away. (Right now would be a good time to start making phone calls if you are prepared to do debate-duty. And find out who they will be listening to - that is, who they are willing to take advice from.) Blog it like crazy - make sure every Bush lie is dissected in detail. Make sure every false headline is countered. And be certain to shame any journalist who indulges in RNC spin rather than a real examination of the facts.

And the facts, remember, are these:

  • George Bush blew it by invading Iraq instead of pursuing Al Qaeda, leaving the latter free while destabilizing a secular country and turning it into a terrorist recruitment ground.
  • George Bush has emptied our treasury and refuses to make any moves to replenish it, threatening our entire economy and placing us in further debt to foreign countries from whom we have been forced to borrow, and saddling each American household with a debt of at least $80,000 so far.
  • George Bush has broken our military, over-stretching it, failing to protect our troops, and damaging our military readiness overall.
  • George Bush has made us look weak in front of the world.
  • George Bush has burnt all his bridges with our allies; he can't get the rest of the world to work with us because he has insulted them, threatened them, and tried to blackmail them rather than dealing with them through normal diplomatic means and showing them respect. He has violated his promises and no one trusts him. He can't change course because he has destroyed all other courses.
  • George Bush has done nothing to make us more secure at home; no money designated for Homeland Security has been used to secure our ports or other vital sites; it's being used instead to spy on peace activists and chase pot-smokers.
  • George Bush has completely politicized every aspect of these vital issues and made it impossible for anyone at home or abroad to work with him in good faith. He has acted in bad faith and labored to divide our country and the world rather than try to solve problems.
  • George Bush has made a mess, and he can't fix it because he refuses to acknowledge his mistakes. He has always been the wrong man for the job.
Those are the broad issues, but we'll have to watch both the debates and the spin closely to deal with the details. Don't be caught off-guard. Remember: You already know they will lie.

Meanwhile, it turns out that, in spite of the triumphal ravings of the right-wingers, Dan Rather's ratings are not down at all since the Killian memo flap. In fact, they've gone up. I'm grateful to Roger Ailes (the good one) for passing on that little bit of news.

Scorpio has an update on that woman who received a phone call from the Department of Homeland Security after buying a Cat Stevens CD.

Wild voting machines roam the streets of Maryland.

MBA Profs Against Bush
15:06 BST

The macho candidate

I just knew it!

Fierce warrior race strongly backs Democrat.

Even as John Kerry struggles to establish national-security credentials nationally, an exclusive WW straw poll shows his campaign dominating one skeptical, warlike demographic: Klingons.
Bush scored an abysmal zero percent in the poll.

"A good war is based on honor, not deception," says K'tok (Earth name: Clyde Lewis), a 40-year-old Klingon from Lair Hill. "The first warrior, President Bush, deceived us all with this war."
"On the home world, if there had been a contested election between Gore and Bush, the honorable thing would be for Gore to kill Bush," explained Khraanik (Earth name: Jason Lewis), a 38-year-old from Southeast Portland. "Or the other way around. And then ascend to the head of the High Council."

It's too early for Kerry to chill the ceremonial bloodwine, but Portland Klingons are clearly warming to the cerebral Massachusetts Democrat.

"Kerry has shown his prowess," says 33-year-old Neqha (Earth name: Eric King) of Tigard. "He saved his fellow warrior under the gun, and has been commended and awarded medals."

(Thanks to PNH for the tip.)
05:20 BST

Familar territory

Well, well, it looks like this time they're not waiting for the debates to start attacking the candidate's skin-color - Drudge's headline: KERRY ON ORANGE ALERT: SKIN TRANSITION ON EVE OF DEBATE. The right-wingers, having spent the last couple of weeks talking about Kerry's wind-surfing, are now unwilling to believe that all that sunshine could have given him a real tan, and they're already smirking about how it must be the spray-on variety.
04:38 BST

Tuesday, 28 September 2004

They were ready then, and they still are

Atrios has linked it already, and I linked the Vanity Fair story already, but for those of you who didn't want to download the .pdfs, please do read Digby, who has pulled out some excerpts and discussed the content and said some important things. Oh, and here's one quote he highlighted that you should have handy for whenever anyone asks you that damned question:

Yet the Bush team knew full well that Gore could not have asked for a statewide recount, because there was no provision for it in Florida law. A losing candidate had 72 hours to request a manual recount on a county-by-county basis or wait until the election was certified to pursue a statewide recount. The requests had to be based on perceived errors, not just the candidate's wish to see recounts done. Certainly, Gore chose counties that seemed likely to yield Gore votes. But he chose them because that's where the problems were.
And this is from Digby:
If I had any political idealism left it died on the day that Antonin Scalia stopped judges from counting votes in Florida.
I admit it: For all my hard-won cynicism, it was a shock that went to my core. Like I wrote in the comments, I continue to be shocked, and I am still shocked by my capacity to be shocked. I know they will do anything, but I just don't want to believe it.

They will do anything. They will do it in November, just as they have been doing it for more than four years.

We have to be ready.

Elsewhere, Digby discusses the story that's been making me so inarticulate today, Novak's Is CIA at war with Bush?, which I was hearing about on the radio and just gasping at. In spite of the way the piece is titled, the real story is this: Paul R. Pillar, the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, sat down Tuesday night in a large West Coast city with a select group of private citizens. He was not talking off the cuff. Relying on a multi-paged, single-spaced memorandum, Pillar said he and his colleagues concluded early in the Bush administration that military intervention in Iraq would intensify anti-American hostility throughout Islam. This was not from a CIA retiree but an active senior official. (Pillar, no covert operative, is listed openly in the Federal Staff Directory.) For President Bush to publicly write off a CIA paper as just guessing is without precedent.

And while you're at Digby's page, do check out He's Simple.
18:42 BST

From the Chimp

I'm feeling a bit inarticulate at the moment, so here's stuff from The Smirking Chimp you can read instead:

Ted Kennedy at George Washington University: President Bush's record on Iraq is clearly costing American lives and endangering America in the world. Our President won't change, or even admit how wrong he's been and still is. Despite the long line of mistakes and blunders and outright deception, there has been no accountability. (Full speech.)

Ed Naha: In the foreseeable future, I think all statements, events and appearances arising from this Administration should be exclusively covered by "The Medical Channel" and filed under schizophrenia. Depending on who you paid attention to this past week, Iraq is either under siege by terrorists or not, national elections will be held or not, more troops are needed to insure peace or not and America is safe or not. Bush and his pals were slipping on so many verbal banana peels that the entire week resembled a political Keystone Cops movie.

Carla Binion says Kerry: Don't let Bush get away with this one: The two most likely explanations for the Bush administration's failure to prioritize the search for bin Laden are: (1) The administration is astoundingly incompetent; or (2) The Bush team doesn't actually believe bin Laden is the person responsible for the 9/11 attacks. (Well, I can think of another one.)

Howard Dean on The myth of corporate accountability: But the truth is that there are very few "American" corporations of any size left. An even sadder truth is that many of these large multinationals no longer value employees as people, they see labor as nothing more than a commodity. And in the last ten years, they have seen small investors as a commodity as well. Dean has a prescription for changing the situation.
16:54 BST

Entertainment section

Britons may not be aware that Sacha Baron Cohen has been doing his thing on HBO and that now some Americans are being exposed to Ali G and Borat. I've never really liked the Borat stuff as much, but you know you're successful when you can get officials to contradict a comedy routine. In The New Yorker, The Borat Doctrine:

Roman Vassilenko, the press secretary for the Embassy of Kazakhstan, wants to clear up a few misconceptions about his country. Women are not kept in cages. The national sport is not shooting a dog and then having a party. You cannot earn a living being a Gypsy catcher. Wine is not made from fermented horse urine. It is not customary for a man to grab another man's khrum. "Khrum" is not the word for testicles.
So what is the national sport of Kazakhstan? "The most known ones are wrestling and all kinds of sports that try people in how they master horses," Vassilenko said. "Kazakhs were traditional nomads, so there are various sports like horse races. Another horseback sport is called something like Catch a-what is name?-Catch a Bride. And that is that a group of young guys race to get a bride, and she races away from them and they have to catch her while she fends them off with a whip." This sport does not result in actual matrimony-just a kiss.
You know, that game may not necessarily be an improvement.
15:35 BST

Electoral stuff

On Altercation, Eric thinks someone is cooking up a Recipe for a Presidency: Steal Florida, Rinse, Repeat:

If it all comes down to Florida again, you can be sure that Jeb Bush will find a way to ensure that no fair vote interferes with his family's plans. The media-in a state of collective pre-frontal lobotomy - continue to treat Bush as if he were any other governor of any other state, just as they did Katherine Harris, but you'd have to be stupid to think that elections are something that Jeb or George (or Karl) are willing to leave to the voters.
Eric's article is rich with links, too. (And in Friday's post, a letter from Charles Pierce says what needs to be said for Dan Rather.)

At the Daily Kos, Ohio rejects 1000s of voter registration applications due to paper weight. Chris Bowers at MyDD has more on shenanigans in Ohio.

No Capital worries about elections in both the US and Iraq. Well, Don Rumsfeld said imperfect elections are better than none, eh?

GOTV worries that electronic voting machines will deliver an even worse set of problems - in more states - than we saw in 2000.

Watch Bush Focus Group.
02:42 BST

Monday, 27 September 2004

National insecurity

Jeralyn at TalkLeft says Republicans Try to Sneak in Patriot Act Additions - Now:

Here it comes. Just in time for the looming election. Republicans are attempting to pass significant additions to the Patriot Act via hurried proceedings in the Senate, including provisions from last year's Patriot Act II. The chances are good they will succeed.
Is that the one that lets them take away your citizenship? Jeralyn advises:
Let's not let Congress pass another law without adequate time for relection and open debate. Act in haste, repent at leisure.
She also has info on the movie about Patriot Act abuses, Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties.

Bruce Schneier has two new op-eds on security, City Cops' Plate Scanner is a License to Snoop (in The New Haven Register), about a new scan-gun cops are using that brings us another step closer to total surveillance, and Academics locked out by tight visa controls (in The San Jose Mercury News), which says:

In the three years since 9/11, the U.S. government has instituted a series of security measures at our borders, all designed to keep terrorists out. One of those measures was to tighten up the rules for foreign visas. Certainly this has hurt the tourism industry in the U.S., but the damage done to academic research is more profound and longer-lasting.

According to a survey by the Association of American Universities, many universities reported a drop of more than 10 percent in foreign student applications from last year. During the 2003 academic year, student visas were down 9 percent. Foreign applications to graduate schools were down 32 percent, according to another study by the Council of Graduate Schools.

There is an increasing trend for academic conferences, meetings and seminars to move outside of the United States simply to avoid visa hassles.

This affects all of high-tech, but ironically it particularly affects the very technologies that are critical in our fight against terrorism.

This is only one aspect of the ways in which the policies of this administration have hindered us in terms of keeping up with the sciences on which we depend. With both the academic work and the jobs themselves being exported, we are heading into an America where an impoverished and angry population will be thoroughly policed - by foreigners.
20:14 BST

Uppity Negro

Some heartening news from Elayne Riggs:

Jessie Cunningham, mother of the late Aaron Hawkins, says Uppity Negro will continue: "We are working out the details, but rest assured it will be here." She adds, "If you really want to honor [Aaron] this year, please register and vote on November 2, 2004."
I'm glad they're going to try to continue the site, and definitely do register to vote if you haven't already. If you're registered yourself, find someone who isn't and get them to do it, too.
19:24 BST

For your attention

At Counterspin Central, Hesiod has the ultimate halo picture of Bush, comment on Allawi, the other unelected puppet, a hint on who the antisemite's candidate is, and how to fix the Iraq election.Oh, yeah, you heard about Bush's fear of flying, right? But go ahead and read the whole page, where Hesiod also offers us this stealable quote: "I think President Bush is addicted to his own spin. And on November the 2nd, the American people are going to stage an intervention. Because, how can you fix a problem if you don't even admit that one exists?"

President Lindbergh in 2004 is Frank Rich's review of Philip Roth's new book, The Plot Against America. Roth has said that the book was planned before the invasion, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and is not intended to reflect current reality. Rich thinks it's a bit closer than that, and illuminates the plausibility of something worse.

12th Harmonic has compiled a list of downloads of some of the political music that's available on the web. They also have a weblog, where, among other things, they point to an article by comedian Rory Bremner in The New Statesman on The real Tony Blair that isn't funny at all: True, we were told at the outset that having won as new Labour, he would govern as new Labour; but how have we got to the situation where the election of a socialist government in Spain and the (slim?) possibility of a Democratic victory in America can cause our own Prime Minister such embarrassment? After all, a Labour prime minister traditionally supports the Democratic candidate: but then, a Labour prime minister traditionally supports the Labour Party.

Resolute Man!
17:53 BST

The early-morning web crawl

Dwight Meredith disagrees with Matt Yglesias about the seriousness of an issue raised in a George Will column about abuse of the power of eminent domain by local governments to illegally condemn private property. (Dwight also puts arguments that it was inappropriate for Joe Lockhart of John Kerry's campaign to point out that the Bush administration was treating Allawi like a puppet under his microscope.)

Two items at Talk Left - Snitch System Undermines Justice and Jury Trials Becoming a Thing of the Past - with two more reasons why I think you shouldn't be allowed to plead at all - everyone should have to go to trial. They can choose to tell the truth or not, but the whole idea of being punished extra for pleading not guilty, or being rewarded with reduced sentences for falsely testifying against someone else, really warps the whole system.

The bounty for asking George Bush one simple question in a public forum has risen to $6,000 if it's televised and answered.

Xan at Corrente explains how the vast right-wing conspiracy is working to politicize the National Park Service.

Jim Capozzola catches Naomi Wolf being annoying again.

Game lets players command Kerry boat: A video game company hopes to cash in on the publicity surrounding Senator John Kerry's Vietnam service by sending players on a simulation of the Swift Boat mission that won the Democratic presidential candidate the Silver Star.
04:51 BST

Sunday, 26 September 2004

Brave admissions

Belle Waring answers the question, "Why were you so wrong about Iraq, and what do you think now?"

1. This is the most personally embarrassing reason, but it has to be said: in the aftermath of 9/11 I lost my head a bit and wanted to take some decisive action.
I watched a lot of people I respect make this same mistake, to my horror. A few of them have acknowledged their error, but I think Belle's examination of her reasons, and what she has since learned, is about the best I have seen.

A day later, I found Dominique Moisi's I was wrong to support the Iraq war in the IHT, but I thought Belle's was better. And, of course, it generated a lot of comments from others about their own reasons for how they felt about the invasion.
23:50 BST

From the notebook

David Broder on The Media, Losing Their Way: We don't yet know who will win the 2004 election, but we know who has lost it. The American news media have been clobbered. I think he's right in the main, here, although I think it has to be said that Dan Rather still showed more skepticism than most of his colleagues (including Broder) have shown in recent years. I think Rather made an honest mistake, having been led to a mistaken faith in the validity of the Killian memos by the fact that it was consistent with the facts and that the White House itself seemed to think they were real. On the Iraq sale and the SwiftVet Liars, no one has any excuses.

Busy, Busy, Busy has that Shorter Charles Krauthammer, now. Got Brooks, too.

The Liquid List has changed back to their old URL.

William Saletan says Kerry's speech was pretty good, but... he has some suggestions. (Via Dispassionate Lib.)
21:09 BST

So much to read, so little time

At Eccentricity: Because Cat Stevens is back in the news, one of my colleagues at work was reminded that she had not yet replaced one of her old Cat Stevens record albums (which she'd had since she was 10 years old) with the CD version. She went to Hastings here in town last night about 7 p.m. and bought a copy on her credit card. At 9:15 last night, she received a phone call from the "Regional Homeland Security Office" asking why she bought that CD.

Interesting stuff from Ruy Teixeira on the latest polls, with more on why Gallup is wrong and the amusing news that Democracy Corps and the Fox News poll both have Bush & Kerry in a statistical tie.

At Bad Attitudes, Kerry is back in the lead in a poll for The Economist, and things are not better without Saddam. Meanwhile, Jerome points to a rant by Hal Crowther that says: This is a referendum on George W. Bush, arguably the worst thing that has happened to the United States of America since the invention of the cathode ray tube. One problem with this referendum is that the case against George Bush is much too strong.

Shari at An Old soul... looks at a movement to fully fund No Child's Behind Left and says: I support more funding for public education. But my dilemma, and believe you me this really makes me angry, is that I can't support full funding for a law that is rigged to undermine public education.

Aron Trauring at Stand Down recommends the Salon interview with Seymour Hersh: His take: Bush & Co are fanatical, delusional maniacs.
16:11 BST

UK Action alert: Brian Wilson

They finally found a way to get me to want a copy of their crummy newspaper. Painful as it is for me to say this, you need to run out and buy a copy of the Mail right now, and hope that they have some left. It's got a free promo disk for Smile that is absolutely brilliant. Okay, I still don't want the so-called newspaper, but I'm really glad I have this disk. If you live in Britain, go get it.
15:05 BST

Things I learned this morning

Chris Bowers at MyDD says the Kerry campaign should stop using the GOP term "War on Terror". I think he's right.

Mousewords: I never thought I'd say this.... ....but kudos to Montel Williams for stepping out and admitting that he has to use marijuana to control his pain from MS and wants to see it legalized for medical use.

A report to The General on the death of a dirty old man, Bill Ballance.

Norbizness has just a niggling detail about Bush's statement that, "If we stop fighting the terrorists in Iraq, they would be free to plot and plan attacks elsewhere, in America and other free nations."

Taxwisdom with some words on the virtues of the progressive income tax.

Lying Liars And The Lying Lies They Lie About (Or Something Like That) from Truespeak.

Order your Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD here so the DCCC can get a few pennies out of it.
13:02 BST

Concentrated idiocy

Might as well have Adam Nagourney and Jodi Wilgoren writing together so you don't have to throw up twice. Dig this: Kerry as the Boss: Always More Questions.

Mr. Kerry is a meticulous, deliberative decision maker, always demanding more information, calling around for advice, reading another document - acting, in short, as if he were still the Massachusetts prosecutor boning up for a case.
In interviews, associates repeatedly described Mr. Kerry as uncommonly bright, informed and curious.

But the downside to his deliberative executive style, they said, is a campaign that has often moved slowly against a swift opponent, and a candidate who has struggled to synthesize the information he sweeps up into a clear, concise case against Mr. Bush.

Blah blah blah. Kerry actually thinks about stuff and finds out what it's about before shooting his mouth off and taking action. That's the downside. Uh huh. Because:
Unlike Mr. Bush, who was a governor and a business executive before he ran for president, Mr. Kerry - who has spent the past 20 years as a legislator, with a staff of perhaps 60 - has little experience in managing any kind of large operation. Several Democrats suggested that this presidential campaign was in many ways a learning experience for him.
Wow, he was a governor! Oh, wait, weren't we told that Texas being such a mess wasn't Bush's fault (nothing ever is) because the Governor of Texas has no real power?

But he was a business executive! He made lots of decisions! Oh, wait, didn't all those decisions end up as business failures?

Somehow I can't escape the feeling that Kerry has more hands-on experience of management with his staff of 60 people than Bush ever got through his entire career.

And, of course, there's this other problem that Nagourney and Wilgoren keep forgetting: The job of President of the United States is the job of working for some three hundred million people, and George Bush never seems to have worked for anyone else in his life. He's inexperienced. He's still inexperienced, after nearly four years during which he has never shown any sign of realizing that I'm his boss.

Well, I am his boss, and I don't want my employees making lots of stupid decisions and screwing up the job. I don't want employees who can neither ask appropriate questions nor answer them. I want people who think before they act, and then I want them to do what I hired them to do. This guy doesn't, and it's time to fire his ass.
11:54 BST

Saturday, 25 September 2004

Lying liars

One of the more entertaining stories of the week: Republicans Admit Mailing Campaign Literature Saying Liberals Will Ban the Bible. Republicans admit lying outright, in other words. Because no way do liberals want to ban the Bible. No one has ever seriously suggested such a thing.

But then, pretty much the entire Republican line about any aspect of policy is a lie. However, you already know what I think about this, so read Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice, to see what a swing-voter who is still willing to cut the RNC some slack has to say about it.

Steve Gilliard, whose spell-checker has clearly passed away, looks at this mailing as a sign that team Bush is worried about the base and is really getting desperate. He wonders what their internals must look like. (There are a couple of interesting comments to his post, too.)

On the other hand, some people really do have no sense of balance:

However, since the Democrats are in the mood for apologies, here are a few that should come first:

* Terry McAuliffe should apologize for calling President Bush "AWOL" and repeatedly asserting that Bush dishonored the country. McAuliffe has never presented a shred of evidence for those charges, and unless he does, he should apologize.

Gee, I thought the fact that real documents released by the White House verify that Bush failed to show up to fulfill his duty was enough evidence for those charges. Do keep up at the back.
* Madeline Albright and Teresa Heinz Kerry should apologize for insinuating or outright stating that Bush already has Osama bin Laden and are holding him secretly until just before the election.
Nah, every time someone accuses Bush of something that seems far-fetched, it turns out to be true. There's no reason to apologize for this one unless we get to November 3rd and they still haven't produced Osama.
* Howard Dean should apologize for insinuating that George Bush got tipped off to the 9/11 attacks ahead of time by the Saudi royal family and allowed it to happen anyway.
Howard Dean never said or insinuated that George Bush got tipped off to the 9/11 attacks ahead of time by the Saudi royal family and allowed it to happen anyway. What he said was that George Bush should stop stonewalling investigation of 9/11 because it makes people wonder what he's hiding and inspires stories like the one about how he got tipped off by the Saudis and let it happen anyway. (Of course, Bush was actually tipped off by the Presidential Daily Briefing and let it happen anyway.)
* Pat Leahy and a raft of other Democrats should apologize for calling Dick Cheney a "war profiteer" because of his sealed, blind trust that contains his deferred compensation from Halliburton. That money exists regardless of Halliburton's work, and the pay is fixed; any profits Halliburton made since the deferral have no impact on its value, and everyone knows it. Cheney lost a lot of money when he cashed out his options in his former company. It's a baseless and cowardly smear.
Prove it. There's a whole lot of profiteering going on, Cheney still gets money from Halliburton, and since he has ignored every other law there is no reason to think he won't ignore laws that restrict his access to more money from them. Cheney was dealing with Iraq and Iran when it was illegal, after all - and then lied about it later. Besides, what kind of a "blind trust" is it that he already knows everything about?
* The DNC, including its chairman McAuliffe, should apologize for suggesting in the same breath that the Killian memos were authentic when they had no idea if they were, and then stating that Karl Rove planted them if they were fakes.
Karl Rove's history is to do things exactly like this, and it certainly makes more sense than the RNC's suggestion that the Kerry campaign forged the memos.
These people are officials in the Democratic Party, not some special-interest wackos or 527 lunatics. If they want to hear apologies over the Bible-ban smear, they have some catching up to do first.
The RNC has been lying about Kerry and distorting his record from the top - we're talking about Bush and Cheney themselves, not just "special-interest wackos and 527 lunatics." And the RNC's 527 lunatics are coordinated with the RNC leadership. Even if the items above exposed any unfair tactics on the part of the Democrats, they still wouldn't rank with the Swift Boat Liars (coordinated by Team Bush), the phony claims that Kerry and other Democrats are uninterested in fighting terrorism, the lie that Kerry tried to weaken our military, and pretty much everything else Bush and Cheney have said. Especially their suggestion that Osama wants Kerry to win. It's pretty obvious that the terrorists reap far more rewards from the Bush presidency than they could with anyone else in the White House.

Get this straight: The claim that liberals want to ban the Bible isn't mere paranoia or over-the-top speculation, it's an outright lie. Compared to this sort of thing, the Democrats have nothing to apologize for.
21:00 BST

More things to check out

Howard Dean, Hidden Agenda: A National Draft in the Future? A key issue for young Americans and their families to consider as they prepare to cast their votes in the upcoming presidential election is the real likelihood of a military draft being reinstated if President Bush is re-elected. President Bush should tell us now whether he supports a military draft. Dean presents the evidence.

David Neiwert wonders why the triumphal warbloggers aren't curious about other doctoring of the Bush ANG record, and also draws my attention to this excellent David Horsey cartoon.

NYT: '60 Minutes' Delays Report Questioning Reasons for Iraq War: CBS News said yesterday that it had postponed a "60 Minutes" segment that questioned Bush administration rationales for going to war in Iraq. ... The Iraq segment had been ready for broadcast on Sept. 8, CBS said, but was bumped at the last minute for the segment on Mr. Bush's National Guard service. The Guard segment was considered a highly competitive report, one that other journalists were pursuing. CBS said last night that the report on the war would not run before Nov. 2. "We now believe it would be inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election," the spokeswoman, Kelli Edwards, said in a statement. So now one of the most significant issues of the election is off-limits until after the election, eh? (BTW, check this. Yes, I know it's a common problem with NYT stories, but still.... [But CBS is no more full of bull than any other network, don't forget.])

Just a little reminder: Experts criticize companies' recount proposals.
17:20 BST

War zones

The meme of the last day or two has been Two-faced Bush. Aside from Atrios, and Atrios, and Atrios, and Atrios, there is also LiberalOasis, and it looks to me like E.J. Dionne is in the same territory: A very intelligent political reporter I know said the other night that Republicans simply run better campaigns than Democrats. If I were given a free pass to stretch the truth to the breaking point, I could run a pretty good campaign, too. (I'm not sure where that graphic comes from; I stole mine from - well, you know.)

I have learned from Kevin Drum that Publius has gone all shrill: I'll tell you what undermines our troops - getting troops killed undermines troops, Mr. Hatch - not criticizing the failed policies that got them killed in the first place. Bumbling an occupation and having no plan undermines troops.

A while back I mentioned a blog by a soldier in Iraq, My War, which I recommended. When I went back there later to see what was up there, it just said "Over and out." I meant to post about that but it somehow became one of those many things that gets lost whenever I have a browser crash or need to shut down for some other reason. He's back, now, after apparently having come to some sort of agreement with his chain of command that involves not posting in the same way. That's a loss, but I hope he is keeping a record somewhere (maybe even - dare I say it? - on paper) of the kind of thing he was posting before, for future publication. He has posted a number of articles culled from elsewhere about his situation, and his latest is a message he received from Jello Biafra.

Griff Witte in The Washington Post on the vanishing middle-class job: "We don't know what the next big thing will be. When the manufacturing jobs were going away, we could tell people to look for tech jobs. But now the tech jobs are moving away, too," said Lori G. Kletzer, an economics professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz. "What's the comparative advantage that America retains? We don't have the answer to that. It gives us a very insecure feeling."

I can't get to Black Box Voting at the moment, because a lot of other people obviously had the same idea I did and it's reporting bandwidth exceeded. What I wanted to look for was something I heard Bev talking about on the radio, the fact that the guys who were the original programmers for Diebold got sent to the slammer for some sort of fraud and stock manipulation or something. Perhaps you can check that out later and tell me what you found.

Maybe this is a great time to buy CBS stock. Personally, I love the idea of the liberal blogosphere owning a major network. And oh, yeah, Skippy draws our attention to an interesting new tune, Imagine/Walk On The Wild Side, with a vocalist you will recognize.

Via Modulator, a little animation called Lie.
13:11 BST

Things I saw

Bra of the Week
Pretty and sexy and overpriced, by Rigby & Peller

Krauthammer reports from the Bizarro World - you can look here if you want to see what his back-up singers are singin'. Alas, Elton Beard hasn't commented on it yet, but he did start off with a Shorter William Safire and then go to town on the dishonest old fruitbat in high style.

Dana Milbank writes about the vicious rhetoric coming from the Republicans, Tying Kerry to Terror Tests Rhetorical Limits: "Rhetoric this sharp and ugly is not by any means brand-new," said Jeff Shesol, a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and author of a book about Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert F. Kennedy. "What we're seeing now isn't just offhand comments by outliers but clearly a decision by the Republican hierarchy to put this charge out there consistently." Given that it's so obvious that Bush is the best present the terrorists ever had, I guess they had to try to turn it back on Kerry.

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire has posted .pdf files of a must-read article from the October Vanity Fair on Bush v. Gore that includes "never-before-reported details about what happened inside the Supreme Court." Via Unfogged.

Steve Smith has his own analysis of the polls.
01:36 BST

Friday, 24 September 2004

They walk among us

Via Atrios, Blast Off! has transcribed the remarkable phone-in to C-SPAN that you really must read. Here's the teaser:

CALLER (in a very airy voice): Good morning. I'm going to vote for President Bush because, after all, you know, God made us there, you know, in His image, free from any black color and all [Host looks up, surprised]. The only church that Kerry can go to is where they say the Black Mass, and that is in the Merriam-Webster Pocket Book dictionary, where it says that that is the devil worshippers. [Host looks uncomfortably off-camera, at producer?] So, definitely, I would never vote for, you know, Senator Kerry.
Let it inspire you.
22:18 BST


Did you hear the one about the apathetic workers?

UK workers are apathetic and lacking in skills according to a bunch of highly-skilled and very driven management bods. The survey of board-level executives, paid for by HP, reveals "deep seated concern about the competency and motivation of the modern UK workforce". And we thought it was just journalists...

The researchers spoke to 200 executives at companies with more than 500 staff and found the biggest concerns were skills shortages and employee apathy.

Of course, everyone already knows the answer to this problem: Get new management. Everybody knows.

A piece of the sf future I've always liked is on its way: The virtual window. (Both links via Epicycle.)
21:37 BST

In the mix

Before I left I marked Why Should I? by Digby - a reminder of why it's supposed to bother us when presidents lie. You might also want to read his little history lesson on Roger Stone. (And fat chance of Bush ever standing up and being as much of a mensch as Dan Rather is.)

Max B. Sawicky, Ph.D, has written a letter to the House Judiciary Committee. Read it in Night of the Living Dead Constitutional Amendment. And does Bush have Red Baron's Disease?

I'm just gonna quote Mark Kleiman directly:

In his public remarks, Iraqi PM Allawi stuck with the official happy horsesh*t. In private, he told the truth: things aren't going well. Just to rub it in, Rumsfeld publicly speculated on running an election in Iraq excluding twenty or twenty-five percent of the voters: the ones who live in areas so insurgent-controlled that no vote could be held.

John Kerry was rude enough to share that truth -- the truth understood by everyone in the world, with the possible exception of George W. Bush and a few warbloggers -- with the voters.

Glenn Reynolds thinks that makes Kerry look "small." Right. It's crucial to protect the children from bad news they can't handle.

Of course, Glenn also thinks that serious talk about winning in Iraq is the same as chanelling Howard Dean.

(Of course, even channelling Howard Dean isn't channelling Howard Dean.) I'm sure Glen Reynolds isn't really stupid, but, jeez, how can he be so stupid?

And check out Balancing Act: How News Portals Serve Up Political Stories by J.D. Lasica on an apparently inadvertent bias toward the right in the way Google presents the news. (via)
11:41 BST

I just flew in from Dublin, and boy are my arms tired

It's from all that schlepping luggage around. It's so nice to be able to walk around without carrying something. But that's all I'm gonna say about the hardships of travel. I'm just glad to be home. And just like last year, the debate itself - at University College, Dublin - was great fun.

I'm still decompressing, but I did drop by Eschaton, where Atrios has illuminating things up, as always, but I particularly like this post which quotes Gene Lyons' Telling Tales about the performance of the media over the last several years. What's the difference between Dan Rather and most of his remarkably smug colleagues who are now acting like they never got anything wrong? Well, there are two big ones: The first is that some of them very deliberately purveyed falsehoods, doctoring tapes and inventing tales to make it look like innocent actors had done dishonest things. The other difference, obviously, is that Dan Rather, who was at least trying to get it right, is the only one among them who has apologized for getting it wrong.

And I checked out Tapped, where Nick Confessore directs our attention to John F. Harris' article in The Washington Post acknowledging that Despite Bush Flip-Flops, Kerry Gets Label. Well, four years ago the man who lied his way into the White House so he could lie us into war portrayed one of the most honest men in Washington as a liar, and now he's flip-flopping around like a fish on deck while claiming Kerry - whose positions have been pretty consistent - is the one who keeps swinging around on issues. SOP for the SOB.

Also, Matt Yglesias on The CEO President: Apparently, the president not only doesn't read the newspapers, he also doesn't get briefed by his top military commanders. What else to make of this?

At Political Animal, Kevin drum says "the best thousand words I've read yet on the whole affair" of the Killian memos and the media reaction is from Tina Brown in the WaPo. There's probably a lot of truth to what she's saying, but her style makes me crazy. Still, toward the end, I was nodding my head. Kevin also recommends Juan Cole's reminder of why it's hard to feel sorry for Yusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), and an interesting item about the polls, and talks about partisanship and war.

Also: Everyone is gay, and Net Politik seems to like Eric Blair. And I need sleep.
02:23 BST

Wednesday, 22 September 2004

Stuff to read

Matthew Yglesias in The American Prospect on Dirty Tactics: George W. Bush is making Iraq more dangerous for our troops because doing otherwise might hurt his campaign.

The Ad That Beats Bush: The ad starts with Bush and his September 14, 2001, bullhorn. This time, though, it's a Kerry commercial that reminds swing-state Americans of Bush's blood vow-precisely three years ago-that "the people who knocked down these buildings" would "hear all of us soon." The cowboy soundbites that we would "smoke 'em out" track across the screen with any network's footage of the "wanted dead or alive" culprits: Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Mullah Omar. (via)

A strident minority: anti-Bush US troops in Iraq: Inside dusty, barricaded camps around Iraq, groups of American troops in between missions are gathering around screens to view an unlikely choice from the US box office: "Fahrenheit 9-11," Michael Moore's controversial documentary attacking the commander-in-chief.

Andrew Olmsted takes on gerrymandering.

Another freeway poster
09:57 BST

The web crawl

Atrios has all that needs to be said about whether Dan Rather should be "toast", Joe Lockhart's very good handling of the press, and the remarkable news that in today's New York Post, Roger Stone, "who became associated with political 'dirty tricks' while working for Nixon, refused to deny that he was the source the CBS documents." My, my, my.

Campaign 2004's Jedi Mind Tricks by Sam Parry: In Campaign 2004, it's as if George W. Bush's campaign has mastered the same trick, applying it to much of the national news media and to many voters: "John Kerry is not the candidate you're looking for."

Joe Conason remembers another thing Bush has never explained, and provides the question that really should be asked in the debates: The President has never explained why he allowed Mr. bin Laden to escape from Afghanistan. Oh, please, please, someone ask him why.

Chris Bowers says Kerry is not showing up as strongly in the polls as Gore did among black Americans. While all of these polls have extremely small samples of African-American voters, none of them show Kerry anywhere near Gore's 90% national level of support.

Three of DeLay's aides have been indicted, but Delay himself is off the hook - unless the aides decide to give him up, says Kos.
01:38 BST

Tuesday, 21 September 2004

Rove watch

Blimey, I can't believe I missed this:

In earlier conversations with USA TODAY, Burkett had identified the source of the documents as George Conn, a former Texas National Guard colleague who works for the U.S. Army in Europe. Burkett now says he made up the story about Conn's involvement to divert attention from himself and the woman he now says provided him with the documents. He told USA TODAY that he also lied to CBS.

Burkett now maintains that the source of the papers was Lucy Ramirez, who he says phoned him from Houston in March to offer the documents. USA TODAY has been unable to locate Ramirez.

When Burkett gave copies of the documents to USA TODAY, it was on the understanding that his identity would not be disclosed. USA TODAY honored that agreement until Burkett waived his confidentiality Monday.

"I didn't forge anything," Burkett said. "I didn't fake any documents. The only thing I've done here is to transfer documents from people I thought were real to people I thought were real. And that has been the limitation of my role. I may have been a patsy."

Man, that all sounds so Rovian. Whoo! (Via Kevin Drum.)
22:07 BST

Matters of history and character

Nice one from E.J. Dionne in today's Washington Post, asking, What Is Bush Hiding?

But what's good for Dan Rather, who is not running for president, ought to be good for George Bush, who is. "There are a lot of questions and they need to be answered." Surely that presidential sentiment applies as much to Bush's Guard service as to Rather's journalistic methods.
Oh, I can hear the groaning: "But why are we still talking about Vietnam?" A fair question that has several compelling answers.

First, except for John McCain, Republicans were conspicuously happy to have a front group spread untruths about John Kerry's Vietnam service in August and watch as the misleading claims were amplified by the supposedly liberal media. The Vietnam era was relevant as long as it could be used to raise character questions about Kerry. But as soon as the questioning turned to Bush's character, we were supposed to call the whole thing off. Why? Because the media were supposed to question Kerry's character but not Bush's.

And, please, none of this nonsense about how Kerry "opened the door" to the assault on his Vietnam years by highlighting his service at the Democratic National Convention. Nothing any candidate does should ever be seen as "opening the door" to lies about his past. Besides, Vietnam veterans with Republican ties were going after Kerry's war record long before the Democratic convention.

But, most important, there is only one reason the story about Bush's choices during the Vietnam years persists. It's because the president won't give detailed answers to the direct questions posed by the Times story and other responsible media organizations, including the Boston Globe. Their questions never depended on the discredited CBS documents.
Dan Rather has answered his critics. Now it is Bush's turn.

Yeah, let's remember what this whole thing is about. And then we can start looking at those other forged documents....
20:43 BST

Memo watch

Now here's an interesting thing:

CBS arranged for meeting with Lockhart

CBS arranged for a confidential source to talk with Joe Lockhart, a top aide to John Kerry, after the source provided the network with the now-disputed documents about President Bush's service in the Texas National Guard.
Burkett told USA TODAY that he had agreed to turn over the documents to CBS if the network would arrange a conversation with the Kerry campaign.

I don't know about you, but this strikes me as very odd. It sounds like meeting with someone from the Kerry campaign was a condition of handing over the memos. If Burkett's goal was simply to air the information, surely he realized the real advantage was to have it aired on 60 Minutes, where lots of people would hear it, rather than merely with the Kerry campaign, which might not use it as effectively. So why insist on using the memo as currency to arrange a meeting with a campaign he could have contacted independently? (Here's a little more on the same story from Yahoo, and at the WAPO Michael Dobbs says Questions Surround Man Who Provided Documents .)
19:34 BST

Blogger's notepad

Michael Bérubé is doing a series of posts on Thomas Franks' work, starting here (and then you might as well just read upward).

Greg Palast explains what the payoff was for the long silence of Ben Barnes on Bush's frog-jump into the Texas Air National Guard.

Kevin Hayden has put together a list of progressive blogs ordered by state and coded by the political color of the states - and since it's by state, I'm not on it, dammit. Kevin, please, I still regard myself as an American with an American blog, it just happens to be typed in England. I'm from the Maryland side of the Beltway, y'know?

Travis spells out the tin-foil hat analysis of Gallup polling. Maybe it's not so crazy, since we already know that the Republicans are doing their best to steal the election. (And: Ooops!)

TBogg updates us on more sliming of George Soros. He also has Kerry's "Top 10 Bush Tax Proposals" for those who missed him on Letterman.
18:34 BST

Body work

This would be neat if it was just one color, in my size, and half the price.
Bra of the week

Democrats for America's Future has a short list of a few of George Bush's (many) flip-flops that would make a good little flier to print out and distribute to your neighbors and at your mom's church. (You could also send it to columnists at your local paper and ask them why the media doesn't make more of this.) They have a similarly useful piece on health care.

The Public Health Press has a brief reminder of what we're getting with Health Insurance: Four More Years...Of This? There's also a round-up that includes this: The Kaiser Family Foundation has an excellent new web site analyzing and comparing the two candidates' health plans. I've placed it in my blogroll as well. The site is very helpful for tasks like dispelling lies told by the President on the campaign trail.
13:17 BST

The polls

Looking better. At MyDD, Chris looks at the latest Zogby Battleground numbers and sees some good signs. Arkansas is so close as to make no difference (with an infinitesimal .1% edge to Kerry), Florida is edging Kerry by half a point, and Oregon has moved Kerry into double digits. MyDD now gives Kerry 282 electoral votes and 256 to Bush.

And, just to amuse yourself, check out what Jerome calls "a trend" in South Carolina:

July 12  --  53% Bush to 36% Kerry
Aug. 29  --  52% Bush to 43% Kerry
Sept. 17 --  50% Bush to 44% Kerry
(And I am trying to figure out why when I use [pre] it shrinks the characters, although it doesn't on other pages I've seen using it.)

Kos notes that although Kerry's numbers in a Republican stronghold in Ohio aren't great, Bush's numbers there are significantly worse than they were in 2000. And in Texas, Martin Frost still has a good chance to beat Pete Sessions, which would be a nice one in the eye for DeLay for that redistricting that was supposed to get rid of Frost.

The Wall Street Journal has picked up on Ruy Teixeira's (and Steve Soto's) discussion of poll weighting, and Ruy Teixeira has picked up on that article. (Now, this is a case where "old media" is wisely picking up on real expertise in the blogosphere, unlike some others I could mention.)
02:45 BST

News & views

CBS has now said they no longer have confidence in the Killian memos, which they have now acknowledged were provided by Bill Burkett. In the statement, CBS said: "Burkett originally said he obtained the documents from another former Guardsman. Now he says he got them from a different source whose connection to the documents and identity CBS News has been unable to verify to this point." Was it Karl Rove? We still don't know. But South Knox Bubba knows what it's all supposed to mean.

Andrea at Shameless Agitator has posted some passages from Glenn Smith's The Politics of Deceit: Bush's real rhetorical goal is to present himself as the very image of freedom. Oppose Bush and you oppose freedom, albeit a warm and fuzzy definition of freedom.

The hits just keep on comin' at The Left Coaster. Check out The Utter Humiliation of the US Press Corps Begins and Novak Says That Bush Will Cut And Run In 2005.

A visual history of spam, via Anita Rowland.
00:40 BST

Monday, 20 September 2004

On the interwebby thing

Pandagon: It is not enough to say that a war was designed to prevent attacks - it helps if you can show that it prevented attacks. That's the Bush plan for terrorism: designing a plan with a series of objectives, watching the plan summarily fail to meet the objectives, and then saying that anyone who opposes the plan opposes the objectives. It's a continual excuse for failure, and nobody should be afraid any more to point out that Bush's godawful plans will meet none of his supposed objectives. And, I am pleased to say, Kerry is not afraid to say it, or to point out that this isn't just "20/20 hindsight" - and that, still, George W. Bush doesn't even have hindsight.

This story cheered me up immensely: This morning I had the most bizarre subway ride. I board the Number 3 train at Grand Army Plaza after 9 a.m. Find a seat, then settle into reading Henry James for class. I hear a woman's voice gradually rising in volume. She is preaching the "Lord's" word to the train car's sleepy riders. Read this and feel the spirit.

I can't seem to get this permalink to work, but that may only be a local phenomenon - but hey, look, Brick found a mnemonic for the taxonomic hierarchy.

At Crooked Timber, Daniel has his own idea of how to interpret the polls, and gives the short answer to the question, Why are people so keen to ban fox-hunting when (fishing, battery farming, meat eating in general, mousetraps etc) are responsible for much more animal death and suffering?.

Scoobie Davis tells you what you need to know about Pat Caddell.

Here's more buttons.
22:04 BST

Update: Alex Jones

Cheers to Nigel Richardson (of amBLOnGus), who knows I am too inept at Googling to have found it for myself:

Since our apartment manager is Alex Jones' bodyguard, I can point you to his website: [link]

He has a public access cable TV show here in Austin and his radio show is on a few hundred national stations. He's a useful gatherer of uncomfortable information from the mainstream media, but it's what he assembles from it that the trouble begins. He sees conspiracies everywhere and is convinced the New World Order is behind everything, so beware. He did prove that all that weird Bohemia Grove shit was real, however, so he can't be completely ignored.

Well, that's perfect for a Paranoia File item, then, nicely borderline, in an almost Private Eye sort of way.
20:39 BST

Things to read

Whoa, I was just following some more links from Skippy and I found the absolutely most perfect contribution to The Paranoia Files: 9/11 a White House Plot? This is great! It's the transcript of an interview from The Alex Jones Show (which I've never heard of) with Stanley Hilton, Bob Dole's former Chief of Staff, who is now suing the Bush administration for 9/11. He says the administration had rehearsals for 9/11 and that the people who should have been at ready to protect us on the day were told that it was a drill. He also says a lot of other stuff and my goodness it would make a great movie.

David at The Art of Peace says, (referring to this article): I've been wondering about this! Old fashioned reporters are starting to fact check bloggers. ... The Chicago tribune realizes how important this new medium is - bloggers are important enough to scrutinize carefully.

I'm tempted to start referring to it as "File 770", for reasons Eric Boehlert makes clear: What is also already known is that in the spring of 1972, with 770 days left of required duty, Bush unilaterally decided that he was done fulfilling his military obligation.

Atrios: Kerry's plan for Iraq is simple - put competent people in charge. I'm not optimistic about that, either, but it's better than having incompetent ones in charge. (Also, I agree that this ad would look great on TV.)

Jeralyn here and here on CAPPS, the government's data-mining program, which they were trying to expand but fortunately the expansion has been killed. The existing measures, however, are bad enough, and Congress is now looking into some sort of restraint on it. Unsurprisingly, this seems to be thanks to Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI). (Jeralyn also calls our attention to this post from TBogg comparing the two candidates as shown to us in pictures.)
16:54 BST

In Blogtopia
Yes! Skippy etc.!

And Skippy calls my attention to this item on memo-watch by Mary at The Left Coaster: Anatomy of a Rove Dirty Trick, which explains why it seems so obvious to some of us that Rove set Rather up. Look, this is like Lucy with the football - when it happens over and over and over again, you really gotta stop thinking it's "conspiracy theory" to suspect Karl Rove of dirty tricks.

Through the Looking Glass: Let's be plain. Under Saddam, the country was ruled by a bloodthirsty tyrant who tortured his opponents, and allowed dozens of his henchmen to rape and murder at will. But...

The Modulator looks forward to Shining a Light on CBS and Fox. Also says go look at Thongs and 100 Photographs that Changed the World.

Mark discovers that he likes the Al Franken show even though he didn't expect to, and brings us up to date on the wonderful Gary Owens.

Oliver Willis thinks there are some questions Bush should answer that are way more important than any questions about CBS.

Let Drastic Verge introduce you to Amazing Instant Mate!

Digby: Just read everything, but definitely OxyMorons For Truth, Tribal Leadership, and absolutely It's Not Hype and Voting Integrity.
12:15 BST

Catching up on a few headlines

For Many in Missouri, Picking a President Is More a Matter of Values Than Policy. To me, this means we need to remind people that Iraq is a matter of values, too - I mean, how many thousands of people do you have to send to their deaths (and send them to kill) before people start to question your morality?

Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler: The Battlefields of War and Politics: The daily news reporting from Iraq remains solid. But will the big news organizations somehow be able to capture and present to citizens the larger questions that this war raises? He's not optimistic, and I don't blame him.

A major problem, said leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was incompetence by the administration in reconstructing the country's shattered infrastructure. That's from the AP story at The Boston Globe, Senators ask for Bush rethink of Iraq policies as elections loom. Two of them are running Bush's state campaigns: McCain said Bush was not being ''as straight as we would want him to be'' about the situation. The Reuters version of the story is Republicans Criticize Bush 'Mistakes' on Iraq.

Britain to cut troop levels in Iraq in the Guardian.
03:44 BST

Selectric II update

Earlier, I alluded to a comment I saw (don't remember anymore where it was) that there was some extraordinary difficulty involved in typing a memo on a Selectric II without making visible errors. As a fairly sloppy typist who has actually produced quite a number of errorless pages on a Selectric II, I had a good laugh at this.

I did not marshall this as proof that the Killian memos were not forgeries; I merely wanted to point out that people who never used these typewriters have some fairly fantastic ideas about just how superior MS Word is to the Selectric II.

Is word-processing superior? Well, yes, especially for someone like me who absolutely hates having to slow down to 60 wpm in order to avoid errors. I fell in love with word-processing instantly, and the very first time I used a PC I started saving up for one of my own. I'm very glad not to have to write articles and books on a typewriter anymore, even one as nice as a Selectric II.

But trust me, if even I could produce a clean page on a Selectric II, so could Killian. The fact that the memo wasn't a smear of errors isn't evidence of forgery. (That doesn't mean the memos aren't forged, it just means this isn't the evidence for it.)

I would think someone who has been in science fiction fandom for years would be aware that arguments like this are interesting to people who have typed fanzines on real typewriters in their own right. Yes, that's right, we like talking about typewriting! This goes way beyond the political questions involved. And yes, I am talking to you, Joel.
00:54 BST

Sunday, 19 September 2004

While I was out

Maureen Dowd wrote a pretty good article about Bush's invasion, and about the unprecedented contempt this administration shows for the lives of our kids in the service - and their mothers. Astonishingly, however, she still repeats the meme that Kerry's position on the war is "tortuous".

Chris Bowers has produced a "position paper" called Rapid Poll Movement is a General Election Myth, and the consensus at MyDD is still that the race is still a dead heat.

Get this: Bush Says Questions About Guard Memos Used by CBS 'Need to Be Answered'. Not questions about the White House burning a CIA agent, not questions about Bush lying us into war and getting thousands of people killed, not questions about how a lying drunk who still refuses to take responsibility for his own actions ever got into the White House in an election he lost, but by God a bit of sloppiness on the part of one high-profile newsman whose sloppiness didn't automatically turn into smears against a Democrat (and, in fact, whose sloppiness nevertheless was part of a story that was, in the main, true), now that needs investigation! Is this a knee-slapper or what?
22:50 BST

Saturday, 18 September 2004


I'm gonna be busy for a while, so here's a few things I wish I could spend some time with:

Unqualified Offerings on Col. Klink Envy and various items on the influence of neoconservatives.

Steve Clemons saw Kinsey: a new movie by Director Bill Condon, scheduled to be released November 12th. This film is powerful, political, and needs to be out in October.

A whole post full of tempting links at Epicycle.

TNH follows up on Bruce Schneier's article on the Trusted Traveller program.

Amygdala and Iddybud
10:15 BST

More notes from the zone

Alterman's Slacker Friday post is full of links to stuff I want to read as soon as I have time. Read the whole post (another Pierce letter, of course), and then naturally Eric's latest Think Again column at Center for American Progress, Meanwhile, in the Real World... and Bush's Useful Idiot (Nader) in The Nation. There's also a link to an article in The Washington Post, Secret Service Not Coddling Hecklers:

After seven AIDS activists disrupted a Pennsylvania campaign appearance by President Bush, "Secret Service agents ... supervised the arrests and detention of the activists and blocked the news media from access to the hecklers. ... Journalists were told that if they sought to approach the demonstrators, they would not be allowed to return to the event site - even though their colleagues were free to come and go. ... One journalist who was blocked from returning to the speech [was told by an agent] that this was punishment for approaching the demonstrators."
(I think Atrios linked this one earlier, and I referred to it, but I was a bit preoccupied at the time. Didn't want you to forget it, though.)

Drug War Rant picks up the news from Josh Marshall that: George Soros has lodged a formal complaint against Speaker Dennis Hastert before the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. (This is for Hastert's ridiculous innuendo on national television that Soros received funding from drug cartels.) It also sounds like there is movement in Texas on getting rid of special drug task forces.
09:04 BST

The polls

Jimmy Breslin reports that cell phones have not been included in the telephone polls. Young adults are the group that most heavily relies on cell phones, and they support Kerry by a wide majority.

The Left Coaster has confirmed that Gallup is using a polling sample of 40% Republicans, 28% Independents, and only 33% Dems. That doesn't look like the voting population and is unlikely to reflect the voters in this race unless the GOP can really discourage Democrats from voting. That part is up to you. (One thing you can do immediately is write to the media to complain about their coverage of Gallup's polls and their failure to point out that it is an outlier that uses a skewed sample.)

The Republicans have a lot of tricks in their bag to suppress voter turnout, like this campaign aimed at the black community, and this business where requests for ballots are set aside until it's too late.
08:25 BST

Like a poem I meant to write

Neil Colton has some good pictures up for Autumn 2004,
go have a look.

Elton Beard: Mr. Boot is right about one thing - when he notes that democracies "are less prone to armed conflict". For example, if the United States of America were a democracy then it would probably not currently be engaged in crimes against humanity in Iraq.

Anti-Abortion Activists Broaden Efforts: A little-noticed provision cleared the House of Representatives last week that would prohibit local, state or federal authorities from requiring any institution or health care professional to provide abortions, pay for them, or make abortion-related referrals, even in cases of rape or medical emergency. Via No More Mister Nice Blog, via Skimble.

Fred Clark looks at a little bit of spin that seems to be rather common in the news media: So here then is Sanger's proposition: 1. George W. Bush has created a colossal, deadly, terrorist-breeding mess and a no-win situation by neglecting to have a plan for post-invasion Iraq and botching nearly every decision in the last 18 months. 2. John Kerry has not yet presented a detailed, step-by-step plan for quickly and easily cleaning up Bush's mess. 3. These two things are equivalent. Fred also supplies a warning from the Bible and flunks Bush at the job interview.

E.J. Dionne: It may sound contrived, but my affection for conservatives and conservatism has a lot to do with why I'm so frustrated over the political choices these friends of mine are making. It's a shame they're not going to listen.

I am so proud to have helped inspire a MadKane song.
00:30 BST

Friday, 17 September 2004


I just want to say that anyone who thinks you have to be an ace typist to get a perfect page with a Selectric II is an idiot. Even if you make mistakes, those cool little lift-off tabs worked beautifully to remove the carbon from any typos so that you could retype without all the mess from White Out/Liquid Paper. If it was a Correcting Selectric, you didn't even have to use a correction tab because there was correcting tape in the machine that you used by just hitting the correction key. Look, you shouldn't even be "analyzing" this stuff if you're so unfamiliar with these machines. [Update]

Also, don't forget that Sunday is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Y'all be ready now, hear?
21:18 BST

Campaign notes

Al Hunt in The Wall Street Journal:

What If the Polls Are Wrong?
Election Surveys That Screen Out 'Unlikely' Voters Might Be Outdated

Presidential elections are poll-driven. The candidate ahead in the surveys usually gets better coverage, and the results energize supporters. The one behind often comes across as doing little right, and campaigns and constituencies lose confidence.

But what if the polls are wrong, and we aren't surveying the real likely electorate?

This might be more than an academic issue. A number of polls this presidential race show a gap in the preferences of registered voters vs. likely voters. In these models, the president usually does better with likely voters, the figure most news organizations emphasize. To get to likely voters, all polling organizations use what is called a "screen," asking questions to determine who is likely to actually turn out on election day.

These screens differ greatly, as there is no consensus among experts on what works best. "This is an art, not a science," says Peter Hart, the prominent Democratic polltaker who has helped conduct The Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey for 15 years.

This controversy will be fueled by today's just-released Gallup poll that shows George Bush with a 13-point lead over John Kerry. That is at variance with other surveys this week, which suggest a tight race with a much smaller Bush tilt. But the likely voters margin also is considerably larger than the eight-point advantage in Gallup's registered voters in this survey. The likely voters match-up invariably gets more attention.
But there is reason to suspect those criteria are outdated, especially in an election where both sides say the intensity level is much higher than four years ago and get-out-the-vote organizations are considerably better than ever -- few people on Nov. 2 will be in the dark on where the voting polls are.

"A formula that made sense years ago may not recognize all the changes in society," notes Mr. Hart. "It gives more credence to past behavior and too little to current interest."

"For low-turnout elections those old models work well," suggests Bill McInturff, a Republican, and the other WSJ/NBC News pollster. "But in today's presidential election those models tend to [tilt to] a little older, a little more white, a little more affluent and a little more Republican voters. They may miss some of the extraordinary activity going on in African-American and Latino communities."
But most of the time the screen for likely voters tilts Republican. In 2000, Gallup's election eve survey showed George Bush ahead by two points among its likely voters; he trailed Al Gore by a point among registered voters, very close to the final outcome.

In 2000, the next to last WSJ/NBC poll before the election showed Republicans doing three points better among likely voters than registered voters. The election eve survey showed Bush up three points among likely voters, but failed to tally registered voters and didn't predict Al Gore's victory in the popular vote.

So, what does this mean? "Dewey wins," again? I forget whether it was Ruy or Jerome or Chris or Kos who was saying "Likely Voter" polls really only work when you're tight against election day, and not this far in advance. But that's not the only problem - I think it's Chris who's been analyzing the constitution of the subject base for many of these polls and finding they are weighted toward those who identify themselves as Republican, which would naturally skew the numbers.

Even so, it does look all of a sudden like the Kerry campaign has lost a bit of steam, and many people are saying it's because they've made a lot of bad decisions. I think it may be more that Karl Rove has made a lot of good (but evil) decisions. But Democrats - and I don't mean the Kerry campaign itself - still need to remember that no good can come of spending a lot of time attacking the Kerry campaign strategy in public. If you have suggestions for them, send them to them rather than out into the world where the Republicans can have fun with them. The more you talk about how bad the campaign is, the more you do the RNC's work for them. Bill Scher has some wise words on this subject, and also offers a briefing document on tough questions about Kerry that would make a lovely series of fliers (with some proofreading) to pop through your neighbors' doors.
19:13 BST

Pet peeve corner

Averse: Having a feeling of opposition, distaste, or aversion; strongly disinclined

Adverse: Acting or serving to oppose; antagonistic: adverse criticism.
Contrary to one's interests or welfare; harmful or unfavorable: adverse circumstances.
Moving in an opposite or opposing direction: adverse currents. Archaic. Placed opposite.

17:57 BST

One nation, Inshallah

I don't know what to make of it. Is it even? Is it not? Donkey Rising looks at a bunch of polls released in the last couple-few days showing that Kerry and Bush are tied, or Kerry is leading Bush, or Kerry is trailing Bush. The percentage difference seems to be all over the map, too, ranging from very slight edges to wide margins. Also, Kerry either has a strong lead in Minnesota or Bush has a slight lead there. I am now officially confused. I also find it scary that the polls are so divergent. It's almost as if someone is trying to make us think...something that isn't true.

In Editor and Publisher, Blessing or Curse? Top Newspaper Editors Examine Blogs' Role in the '60 Minutes' Uproar. And top blogger Bill Scher looks at the memos and says, The Truth Can Be Odd.

Judge Orders U.S. to Find Bush Records. This is in response to an AP FoI lawsuit. This is getting tedious. There's lots of documentation that Bush was AWOL, and no evidence that he wasn't. It doesn't matter about the damned memos; Michael Moore was right, no matter how the right-wing wants to whine about him.

Mithras amuses me by finding a letter of comment in the NYT responding to that stupid David Brooks article that divided us into "spreadsheet people" and "paragraph people".

Weekly World News gives us permission to discuss war in Iraq.

Digby compares reality with what Bush says and concludes that Kerry is right. Bob Herbert says This Is Bush's Vietnam. Sidney Blumenthal hears that the military pros aren't thrilled by the situation, either. Let's be honest: The best-case scenario now on offer is that things will continue to be worse in Iraq than they were before the invasion - but then, that was obvious before the invasion, too. Like I said.

An NYT editorial on Taxes for an Ownership Society says, "When President Bush talks about an "ownership society," hold on to your wallet." Honey, when Bush says he's gonna do anything, it's a scam.

Jay Leno, closet lefty? I believe the media is in the pocket of the government, and they don't do their job. They have people like Michael Moore who do it for them.

Maryland governor joins the effort to steal the vote: In a brazen bid to take control of Maryland's election process--a move that has sinister overtones to say the least--Publican Gov Bob Erlich wants Maryland's feisty, independent Elections Administrator fired and replaced by an appointee of his own. The grounds for her dismissal? She's 'crabby' to him.

Another Republican scandal gives us a brighter outlook for a possible Senate pick-up, according to Chris at MyDD.

Brad DeLong discovers that Francis Fukuyama is shrill! "Just what part of 'Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Fukuyama R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn!' don't you understand?" (via)

See the new DNC Ad: Guard.
17:13 BST

What's out there

There are all sorts of rumors floating around. One I've got third-hand by whisper, supposedly coming from someone in Pakistani intel, is that Osama's body was actually recovered at Tora Bora and they've been holding on to it to produce as the October Surprise. This sounds way too sick to do, but there's a shock a week at the very least, so that wouldn't be new.

The announcement by "the Jersey Girls" of their endorsement of John Kerry and John Edwards is something the right wants to dismiss as "partisanship" and loss of moral authority. At Corrente, Leah looks at that issue and why it means something that so many of the 9/11 families have lost faith in this administration.

Tales from The War on (Some) Drugs: Last One Speaks has another story of police terrorizing people in their homes despite the fact that they were obviously not the people described in their warrant.

Amanda at Mouse Words has a Texas round-up post. I like the titles she's given stories, such as Good Christian student attempts to ruin pastor's life for insufficient bigotry and Dangerous subversives don't understand that Tom Delay is god. She's also wants to honor The Ramones.

What She Said!: The next time some guy asks you where all the female bloggers are, tell them What She Said!

Atrios has a pointer to this story about the unusually highly-paid Chief of Staff to Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), recently outed by BlogActive. What interested me, though, was a paragraph toward the bottom about a former challenger who knew, but had chosen not to say, that the two men appeared to be lovers, but: She came forward only after reading an article on RAW STORY which alleged that local newspapers had told reporters that they would be fired if they asked Dreier about his sexuality and/or public policy issues relating to sexuality. Dreier has voted against nearly all gay rights measures that have passed through Congress, including a measure to strip the courts of jurisdiction on gay marriage.

Atrios also points us to two new songs by Roger Waters you can listen to.
14:52 BST

Land of the free

Gina Doggett in the IHT says, When I was a child, I believed in America.

In my pre-teen mind, we Doggetts, and other overseas Americans like us, were the antidote to the "ugly american." People like us embraced foreign cultures and languages, and made local friends while helping in development, trade or exchange projects.

Today I find myself an expatriate once again. I have lived in Paris since 1992, working as a journalist. I have had few illusions about the enduring ravages of the "ugly american," but when the horrors of the abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib came to light, I knew a dangerous corner had been turned, and irrevocably.

I could not stop crying over the betrayal I felt at the sight of those pictures of American soldiers - who had ostensibly been sent to liberate Iraq - torturing and humiliating its people. How did this come to pass? What kind of monster has my country become? Is the "ugly american" the only face left of the American citizen abroad?

Then came New York. I went to the Big Apple to celebrate my 50th birthday in style. Instead of taking a champagne cruise or performing a sky dive, I wanted to do something meaningful: take part in the demonstrations against President George W. Bush during the Republican National Convention.

I marched joyfully with half a million others on Aug. 29, my birthday. I took part in related events the next day.

It was on Aug. 31 that things turned nasty. More than 1,500 protesters were arrested in a preplanned, highly organized police operation, and I found myself in the slammer for 28 hours.

The vast majority of the arrests were unlawful - we were herded into police snares and not allowed to disperse, though my charge sheet stated that we refused to disperse. We were held in crowded, unsanitary conditions at Pier 57 and the Central Booking Office, many for well beyond the statutory 24 hours.

My French friends here in Paris were alternately amused and amazed by my story. My affectionate nickname, "L'Americaine," has changed to "La Prisonniŕre." But my personal shift has been from "little ambassador" to "political exile."

Conditions at Pier 57, by the way, were reported to be pretty unpleasant, and a CBS story contained this: Jay Bermudez, a former shop steward at the bus depot, said, "We've always had a problem here with safety issues." He claimed a fire in 1994 released asbestos into the air. Detainees also reported being forced to sleep on motor oil.

Last weekend, Jeralyn referred us to a letter from the mother of a detainee who said:

"My 21-year old daughter disappeared from NYC last Tuesday afternoon when walking with friends through a park where no protest was being held -- and was held prisoner -- without being charged -- by the NYPD for three days. The first day and night she spent in an unsafe and inhumane facility at Pier 57 ("Little Guantanamo") provided by the Republican Party.

Yes, it was managed by the Republican National Committee. It was leased by the RNC to hold political dissenters who disagreed with the Bush administration. The second two days, my daughter was in a city jail in Manhattan, where her treatment improved. She practices Buddhist precepts of compassion (she told the NYPD officers that she knew they must be tired and overworked also, and she did not resist arrest). She is a graduate student in Poli Sci at the University of Hawaii and is a MortarBoard honor society/service club member.

The notorious Pier 57 (owned by the Hudson River Trust--a city/state consortium) was dubbed "Little Guantanamo" by reporters who also got caught up in police sweeps and who said it looked like the Guantanamo Bay prison built by the USA to hold the Al Qaeda terrorist political prisoners in Cuba. Pier 57 was leased by the RNC before their convention. They arranged for the NYPD to put up the chain link holding pens with razor wire on top in the old Pier 57 warehouse that had oil, gas and asbestos dust on the floor from a previous fire.

My heart was in my throat when I got a call from one of my daughter's friends on Oahu who told me she had been arrested and taken to Little Guantanamo. I looked it up on the internet and fear crept into me. I called my daughter's cell phone over and over ("it's mom, where ARE you, call me"). She didn't answer. Only hours before, she had been calling us with joy, telling us of the peaceful protests and beautiful march. But now, nothing. I had nightmarish visions of a fire sweeping over the combustible floor with hundreds -- nearly a thousand -- trapped in the chainlink pens, razor wire on the top of the pens making escape impossible. My husband called the NYPD to ask who had issued a Certificate of Occupancy or Fire Safety Inspection Certificate and who was managing Pier 57. He was given the number for the Republican National Committee. Yes. My husband and I looked at each other in silent, cold horror.

In America? The Republicans have set up a private detention camp for their political prisoners that can hold 1000 under inhumane and unsafe conditions!? My husband slowly dialed that number, got the RNC, and the Republican rep who answered the phone said, in answer to my husbands' inquiries about safety: "those protesters don't deserve a Holiday Inn, and they're all criminals anyway!" ....Say what?!

Follow-up on their release is here.
00:36 BST

Thursday, 16 September 2004


In pictures: Canada wildfires, at BBC News

High Masculine Tones looks at the effects of global warming.
17:34 BST

American Landscape

In The Dallas Observer, The Right's Stuff by Robert Wilonsky about a new bunch of protesters: Welcome to another Friday afternoon in the ongoing Operation Halliburton Defense Force being carried out by members of the Dallas chapter of a group of right-wingers called Protest Warrior. Their mission is to protest the protesters from the Dallas Peace Center who have been here since April to demonstrate against Halliburton. The Warriors' ideology is a bit more labyrinthine, a smorgasbord of conservative and libertarian ideas sprinkled with activism more commonly associated with lefties. Their motto is crystal-clear: "Fighting the left...doing it right."

From The Missoula Independent, Pot and prosecution: Patients like Prosser may also be relieved from prosecution for possession of marijuana if the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, Initiative-148, passes in November. Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and, most recently, Vermont have passed similar measures. If the initiative is approved, I-148 would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to issue ID cards to qualifying patients and caregivers and absolve qualifying patients and physicians from prosecution for using or prescribing medical marijuana. Physicians would be able to prescribe marijuana to qualifying patients without being subjected to arrest, prosecution or disciplinary action by the board of medical examiners. Patients like Prosser would be able to treat pain and nausea with marijuana without fear of prosecution.

Links via AltWeeklies.
16:41 BST

Nothing new under the sun

A letter to The Washington Post:

The following applies just as well to the Bush administration as it did to Greece when Thucydides wrote it 2,500 years ago. The passage was quoted by Thomas Cahill in his book published last year, "Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter":

"Practically the whole of the Hellenic world was convulsed . . . To fit in with the change of events, words too had to change their usual meaning. What used to be described as a thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect to find in a party member; to think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one's unmanly character; ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one was totally unfitted for action. Fanatical enthusiasm was the mark of a real man. . . . Anyone who held violent opinions could always be trusted, and anyone who objected to them became a suspect. . . . Society was divided into camps in which no man trusted his fellow." [Patricia H. Vanderslice, Cobb Island, MD]

Via Omnium, via an otherwise far less somber post at StoutDemBlog that has a neat round-up of some entertaining posts at Opinions you should have, Daily Kos, and of course the increasingly sexy Michael Bérubé.
14:00 BST

Is it boring, yet?

It's not boring yet for the right-blogosphere, which is still on the same subject. Isn't it interesting that they suddenly think getting fooled by forgeries is such a bad thing? I wonder when that happened. Forsyth remembers something:

Hang on, hang on, hang on a second here.

So, when a Major News Service "pushes forged documents as real news" (which I don't even have ANY competence to speculate on the actual charges as of yet,) it's a "travesty"...

Yet when the President of the United States, CIA, FBI, and most of the government of the United States push documents proved to be forgeries [ here, here, here, and many more here ] as part of a push to drive the US into a war (a push mostly based on lies), it's not?

Most of the "Big Media" was complicit in that too, of course, in their utter lack of questioning or investigation.

But somehow, I take the one that got over a thousand soldiers and nobody knows how many Iraqis killed just a BIT more seriously. That and the utter incompetence of the waging of the war, too. But I guess I'm weird like that.

Yes, it would be interesting to see these folks attack Fox for its unblinking acceptance of all that pro-war rubbish. They've had a good deal more than a week to figure out whether that stuff was false.

[Update: Digby adds to the list.]

In The New York Observer, Joe Hagan quotes Dan Rather: Answer the Questions:

Mr. Rather asserted that the lack of denial was itself evidence of the essential truth of his findings. The questions raised by his reporting, he said, have remained unanswered by the Bush administration: Did Mr. Bush get preferential treatment for the Texas Air National Guard? Was then-Lieutenant Bush suspended for failing to perform up to Texas and Air Guard standards? Did then-Lieutenant Bush refuse a direct order from his military superior to take a required examination?

"It's never been fully, completely denied by the Bush-Cheney campaign or even the White House that he was suspended for meeting the standards of the Air Force or that he didn't show up for a physical," he said. "The longer we go without a denial of such things - this story is true."

The White House eventually denied it, saying they didn't deny the story because they had no reason to doubt the validity of the memos. Which they don't seem to realize is an admission that the content of the memos is true. Or maybe the news media doesn't realize it. Or maybe just the right-blogosphere. Whatever. But it's a tacit admission that it's all true, regardless of the provenance of the memos.

(Note: No one has asked Killian's secretary yet if there was ever anyone else who typed for Killian, such as when she was on vacation. Were there temps? Did someone cover for her when she was away?)

Meanwhile, here's Kristof:

Does any of this matter? What troubles me is less Mr. Bush's advantage three decades ago and more his denial today. Mr. Bush's own route to avoid the draft underscores the disparities in America, yet his policies seem based on a kind of social Darwinism in which the successful make their own opportunities. His tax cuts and entire outlook seem rooted in ideas not of noblesse oblige, but of noblesse entitlement.

One fall day in 1973, when Mr. Bush was a new student at Harvard Business School, he was wearing a Guard jacket when he ran into one of his professors. The professor, Yoshi Tsurumi, says he asked Mr. Bush how he wangled a spot in the Guard.

"He said his daddy had good friends who got him in despite the long waiting list," recalls Professor Tsurumi, who is now at Baruch College, part of the City University of New York. Professor Tsurumi says he next asked Mr. Bush how he could have already finished his National Guard commitment. "He said he'd gotten an early honorable discharge," Professor Tsurumi recalls. "I said, 'How did you manage that?' "

"He said, oh, his daddy had a good friend," Mr. Tsurumi said. "Then we started talking about the Vietnam War. He was all for fighting it."

Professor Tsurumi says he remembers Mr. Bush so vividly because he was always making outrageous statements: denouncing the New Deal as socialist, calling the S.E.C. an impediment to business, referring to the civil rights movement as "socialist/communist" and declaring that "people are poor because they're lazy." (Dan Bartlett, an aide to Mr. Bush, denies that the president ever made these statements.)

More than three decades later, that shouldn't be a big deal. What worries me more is the lack of honesty today about that past - and the way Mr. Bush is hurling stones without the self-awareness to realize that he's living in a glass house.

Bush thinks other people should take responsibility, but he should never have to. He also supports other people going to war while he sits back having a good time.

Some people have another idea.

Hold Them Accountable.
04:16 BST

News from around

Ethics committee postpones DeLay investigation: No they didn't! The House ethics committee has just voted to postpone the DeLay ethics complaint filed by Rep. Chris Bell.

New Scientist: Flawed software code used by numerous Microsoft applications to render images mean that a specially constructed image file could hijack a computer or spread a virus.

Democrat Kerry Slams Bush's 'Excuse Presidency', and Kerry Asserts Bush Has Misled Voters. "They do not want you to know the facts," Kerry said. He is finally doing it, thank goodness. There's certainly no point in staying off the subject of Bush's dishonesty and lack of responsibility.

Ad from the DNC: Fortunate Son
02:00 BST

Wednesday, 15 September 2004


Pinning the Blame by Elizabeth Drew in The New York Review of Books is a review of The 9/11 Commission Report. I haven't read the whole thing yet but it looks like it will be worth the time.

In honor of Labor Day, Nathan Newman introduced a new Labor Blog. Meanwhile, back at his regular spot, he explains how Your mutual fund helped loot the economy.

Lucia at Alas, A Blog is cheered to learn that Alan Keyes has announced his game plan is controversy, just in case you, like Lucia, were missing his spewing. Meanwhile, Ampersand argues for choice.

Craig Unger has an article in the Guardian saying that Bush has always been soft on terror.

William Saletan has more on the great flip-flopper: Big Government in Charge: Bush was against paternalism before he was for it.

Paul Krugman Taking On the Myth: If Senator John Kerry really has advisers telling him not to attack Mr. Bush on national security, he should dump them. When Dick Cheney is saying vote Bush or die, responding with speeches about jobs and health care doesn't cut it.

In The Washington Post, Robert Kagan finally wonders whether Bush is really interested in democracy in Russia - or anywhere else. A bit late for that, isn't it?

The NYT has a longer piece on the memo secretary, and Richard Reich is smart. Sure enough, the Republicans are using the apparent falsehood of the memo as an excuse to say that the entire story is fake - which it isn't. I hate the smell of Karl Rove in the morning. Or whenever.

Televangelist Tries to Gag Gay Lover.
17:27 BST

Things to watch out for

"Who represents African-Americans better, George W. Bush or John Kerry? It's turning into a hot debate," according to Paula Zahn. Did you know that? I didn't either, and neither did Damfacrats. Seems to me that question is well settled - for everyone, apparently, except George Bush and his cadre of eager little shills.

The memos: Also at Damfacrats, Keith Olbermann appears to have joined up with us tin-foil hat types, while Mark Kleiman says the CBS documents were framing a guilty man. Note: The only people who are served by these documents are the Bush campaign, since we already had plenty of documentation supporting the case. Bush, on the other hand, needed some way to discredit that case, and this seems to be working very well. (Note also that the right-wing has long been trying to discredit Dan Rather as well, which makes it even more interesting that he is the guy these memos were given to. They actually hate him more than they hate Paul Krugman for failing to turn into a Bush-bot.) Jeff Cooper notes that the whole episode "has played directly into their hands." (Jeff didn't believe the theory, but this always happens and it's hard not to notice.)

Jim Capozzola has been posting up a storm lately at Rittenhouse Review, on sort of meeting Al Gore and the Hoeffel campaign and a bunch of other things.

Latest MoveOn ad on Bush's tax shift.

Free Online Palm Reading (via)
15:34 BST

The plot thickens

Josh Marshall finds a good one:

Former secretary says she didn't type memos

The former secretary for the Texas Air National Guard colonel who supposedly authored memos critical of President Bush's Guard service said Tuesday that the documents are fake, but that they reflect real documents that once existed. Marian Carr Knox, who worked from 1956 to 1979 at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, said she prided herself on meticulous typing, and the memos first disclosed by CBS News last week were not her work.

Now, think about that. She says, "they reflect real documents that once existed."

So, who would have had that information? How did the apparently forged memos come into existence? And, more importantly, why?
03:38 BST

What people say

Penn Jillette: Where is the god**** "freedom of speech" candidate? Isn't it about time someone running for president said, "I'll work to get the government out of the censorship business. My fellow Americans, I just read the Bill of Rights again, and I'm going to remind Congress of the 'Congress shall make no law' thang"? He or she would have my vote. I'm sure John Ashcroft will let you say anything you want, sugar.

Hesiod: Now, how in the world can someone miraculously come up with forged Memos that reflect Jerry Killian's exact, not publicly expressed or known, sentiments, 20 years after he died? It's even more miraculous because George W. Bush wasn't even a well-known public figure in 1984!

Daily Kos: Diarists covered the Gobbel story thoroughly. You know the one -- in which Lynne Gobbell was fired from her Decauter, Alabama job for showing up to work with a Kerry/Edwards bumpersticker on her car. Well, there's a happy ending.

Oh, wait, here's another post at Kos that you should read. Don't assume that you can't make a difference just because you live in a "red" district, folks. Help get out the vote and just maybe you can.

The Invisible Library: "Oh, well, Kerry may not have deserved one of his three purple hearts, or that Bronze Star because some guy who also went to Vietnam was paid money by Rove's buddy, Mr. Regnary to publish a book saying that John Kerry is a poopy head. It's all over the internet, and in Times New Roman, so it must be true." Arg!!! I need a drink... I hear England has some good beer.

Movie of the week: As Deputy Attorney General James Comey is appointed to serve as a special prosecutor in the Plame case and investigators ask White House staffers to waive confidentiality of their discussions with reporters, plans are announced for the film version of the scandal.

Do what John says here (then scroll up for part 2).
03:12 BST

Stuff I saw

All those lefty notables who supported that other guy last time have concluded that beating Bush is more important - they've all signed a statement: Nader 2000 Leaders Organize To Defeat Bush.

Jeralyn has a new piece of spin on Bush's military service, this time a document from Drudge showing that Bush agreed to serve on active duty if he failed to fulfill his ANG requirements. This is supposed to suggest that he did serve on active duty, apparently. Don't ask me how - we already know that Bush doesn't keep his promises. Perhaps a more important piece of news, though: GOP Senators Blocking DNA Reform Bill.

Headline at LiberalOasis: Newsflash: Media Outlet Does Job - Terry Moran of ABC World News Tonight actually pointed out that something in a Bush campaign ad was not true.

Gary Farber discovers that Tom Cruise really is a moonbat, and has some great quotes from the amazing Alan Keyes. I'd also missed the news about George Flynn, and I'm really sorry to hear it. I really liked him, funny voice and all.

Roger Ailes says Alan Keyes is making a pact with Satan.

Personally, I regard asking questions as a way to start interesting conversations with people, but there really are times when the proper response is right here. (More friendly advice from Hal Davis.)
01:29 BST

Tuesday, 14 September 2004

America notes

The Infinite Stitch on how the "Christian" Right is working to eliminate birth control. (We did warn you.)

Chris Bowers at MyDD says Kerry isn't losing and looks set to win. Also, Chris has an interesting post on the effectiveness of the right-wing blogs. And Jerome says you can't be sure from closeness of the polls, but we do have a chance to retake the Senate.

Kos explains once again that Kerry did not vote for the invasion.

At Altercation, Barry Ritholtz has a letter updating us on the decline of broadcast radio in the wake of their pathetic response to digital media.

Oh, thank goodness, Elton is back.
21:13 BST

Some history

In The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Garrison Keillor with Here's what happened to the Republican Party:

The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned -- and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today's. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.

In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated southward down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the idea of public service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Great Crusade Against the Sixties, the Death Star of Government, a gang of pirates that diverted and fascinated the media by their sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in World War II, took a pass and made training films in Long Beach.
The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brown shirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, N.M., little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we're deaf, dumb and dangerous.

I'm not really one of those people who raves about Keillor, but I couldn't help but admire the beauty of that description.
19:37 BST

The unpardonable turncoat and his warfare queens

Perhaps Zell Miller's memory is not as good or as long as mine regarding some of the doings of the Congress over the last couple of decades. That would be pretty frightening, since he is about 20 years my senior and has actually spent some of that time in government and even in the Senate itself. More frightening still if you consider that we're talking about my memory, which is not actually a matter of pride with me. And yet, I remember enough to know that his recollections are, let us say, spotty:

Now, about those facts. I charged that John Kerry is weak on national security, and I listed some of the many weapons systems he has opposed over the years. My critics tripped over themselves to point out that Dick Cheney opposed some of the same weapons systems when he was defense secretary.

But, like with so many things in life, timing is everything. Mr. Kerry was proposing the cancellation of many of these weapons systems at the height of the Cold War--the worst possible time to weaken our military strength. It would be comparable to a senator in 1943 proposing to scrap the B-29 Bomber or Sherman tank or Higgins landing craft. By contrast, Mr. Cheney waited until after we had won the Cold War to propose modernizing our forces and replacing older weapons systems. There's a huge difference. Whether it's the Cold War of yesterday or the war on terror today, Mr. Kerry has sought time and time again to weaken our military at the exact moment we need to show our strength.

At the height of the cold war, Congress was full of Republicans who were voting vast sums of money to pay for pork-barrel projects involving hugely expensive vehicles and weapons that did not fulfill the needs of the military, and the military itself was frequently objecting to these appropriations. There is a long list of projects, in fact, that were passed instead of those things that had been requested by the military and that would have cost us considerably less. In the early 1980s, Ronald Reagan was demanding a new military budget so large that the Pentagon itself complained that it was too much and would actually create higher costs for them to no good effect. Of course John Kerry voted against these things.
I also charged that John Kerry and his fellow Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator, and that nothing makes this old Marine madder. My critics pounced on that one, too. Aren't you aware, they sneered, that President Bush has used the term "occupiers"?

Do they mean when the president said this in April?--"As a proud and independent people, Iraqis do not support an indefinite occupation--and neither does America. We're not an imperial power, as nations such as Japan and Germany can attest. We are a liberating power." Are the people of Iraq not liberated from a terrible dictator?

When I was a small child, the only Bad Man I had heard of was named Hitler. As time went by, I learned the names of some more Bad Men and came to understand that getting rid of one Bad Man did not clean the world of all Bad Men. In fact, often one Bad Man would be routed out only to be replaced by one who was even worse. The most evil men of all usually come to power because a considerable number of people think they are getting rid of the moment's Bad Man. That's where people like Stalin come from.

This is the first mistake Zell Miller and quite a number of the current generation of anti-Saddam hawks continue to make: the belief that the excision of Saddam from Iraq's government cannot possibly lead to something worse. They do not seem to remember that as repressive dictators go, Saddam is hardly the worst we've had.

Did we not transfer sovereignty over to the Iraqi people exactly when we said we would?
I guess that depends on how you define "the Iraqi people" - some folks might think it odd that the people put in place to run their new government were not in fact chosen by the Iraqi people, but were hand-picked by ours.
John Kerry and his crowd derisively call American troops "occupiers" because it fits with their warped belief that America is the problem, not the solution. While more than 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq are enjoying freedom, Mr. Kerry is still fretting over whether the U.N. crowd likes us or not. The American people will not abide a commander in chief who gets squeamish over America's role as a liberating force in the world.
The people of Afghanistan are enjoying a bumper poppy crop, warlords, and the return of the Taliban. In Iraq, women who had far more rights than most women in neighboring nations are now afraid to go out alone because religious loonies want to suppress their rights. Saddam's oppression largely affected only his political enemies, but now people who were apolitical are being harmed in their everyday lives - and that's without the problems with water, electricity, and the violence caused by the invasion.
And my critics love to point out that I had nice things to say about John Kerry when I introduced him to a Georgia Democratic dinner in 2001. That's true and I meant it. But, again, timing is everything. I made that introduction in March 2001--six months before terrorists attacked this country on Sept. 11. As I have said time and again, 9/11 changed everything. Everything, that is, except the national Democrats' shameful, manic obsession with bringing down a commander in chief. John Kerry has been wrong many times, but he's never been more wrong than in his failure to support our troops and our commander in chief in this war on terror.
This is the height of dishonesty. He just attacked John Kerry's pre-9/11 record - a record he felt free to praise in 2001. Whatever 9/11 may or may not have changed, it didn't change the context of that record. Why is it so bad now if it wasn't then?

As to supporting our troops, it wasn't John Kerry who sent them into combat without appropriate planning or protection. It also wasn't John Kerry who took the money that Congress voted for Iraq and promptly...didn't use much of it to protect our troops or help to rebuild Iraq.

Facts are facts, Senator, and the fact is that the United States of America is supposed to be a nation of laws, not a nation of Bush. 9/11 doesn't change that, and criticizing Bush is not some kind of pathology; for most of us, it is patriotism.
15:22 BST

Monday, 13 September 2004

The distraction

This should be the last word, but then there's Safire:

Alert bloggers who knew the difference between the product of old typewriters and new word processors immediately suspected a hoax: the "documents" presented by CBS News suggesting preferential treatment in Lt. George W. Bush's National Guard service have all the earmarks of forgeries.
Well, actually, it was guys who didn't know what typewriters were capable of, but, oh, my, the right-blogosphere is crowing about how cool they are. But Dave Johnson recognizes the signs:
This also has all the earmarks of typical right-wing smear tactics. It starts with a small, unproven accusation. The Right's Wurlitzer picks up the accusation and amplifies it until pretty much everything else is deflected out of the news. Soon every story on the subject assumes the truth of the original accusation. As soon as each new accusation is refuted - a refutation never even mentioned in the Right's stories - new accusations emerge, leaving the original accusation and refutations behind. Within days the accusations are escalating so fast that no one can keep up - by the time one accusation is addressed two or three more appear, which creates a fog that is impossible to cut through. The cumulative accusations -- all assumed to be true in the stories put out by the Right media -- become a general attack on "Liberals" or "Democrats" in general. The entire episode "proves" that the public should dismiss ANY story from the "mainstream" press or any authority figure that previously might be thought of as "responsible."
(And, just for the record, didn't I say it was curiously fast?)

This should be taken to heart:

At some point the Democrats are going to have to get it through their thick heads that Bush's shoddy military record is not a winning issue for them.
If someone raises the subject again, just give them those links, and start talking about the economy.
23:31 BST

Right now

Batman has "entered the grounds and scaled a wall" at Buckingham Palace, where he is now standing on a ledge. On TV they just said that there is to be "a major statement" on Batman in the House of Commons.

Update: Here's the video.

Update 19:30 Batman brought down.
18:00 BST

Things to read

Steve Clemons: THE PENTAGON HAS JUST UNLOADED A CLIP AT SEYMOUR HERSH for what it thinks may be in his book. I have never seen a government bureaucracy issue a pre-reaction for something it was expecting but which had not occurred. Hersh must be cutting close to the bone in his soon-to-be-released book Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib. Steve also supplies the full text of the DOD press release, and asks once again, "Why does Rumsfeld still have his job, Mr. President?"

SF rumination for the day: The Films of PKD.

The San Francisco Chronicle on the fiscal gap and impending financial disaster: "Chilling" is the word U.S. Comptroller General David Walker uses to describe the budget outlook.

From The New Yorker, Bushspeak: "I'm here to ask for the vote," he told the audience. "I believe it's important to get out and ask for the vote. I believe it's important to travel this great state and the country, talkin' about where I intend to lead the country." He made this sound like an original idea, and perhaps a controversial one, and the way he repeated the words "I believe" carried an air of defiant conviction. Via Mark Evanier. (Also from Mark, The Seat Guru, just in case you have to fly somewhere.)

Jim Henley looks at anti-semites and other Gentiles who really got us into Iraq.
16:42 BST

If you can believe your eyes and ears

From Winning Argument, Pat Roberts says Kim Jong Il supports John Kerry for President. And Pat Roberts knows everything.

Porn now officially good for you: The survey - nicely entitled "Understanding Pornography in Australia" and carried out by a team led by Dr Alan McKee - quizzed 1000 porn users and concluded that "pornography is actually good for you in many ways", as McKee put it.

From the paranoia files, I guess this thing is called Pentagon. More "where's the plane?" stuff.

Martina's tee-shirt

She's Lost Control is your kinky pornographic music video for the day, from Agent Provocateur. Thanks to Lightning (of Small Flashes) for the tip. Thanks also for reminding me that it was, of course, Times Roman, not Times New Roman.
14:16 BST

Sunday, 12 September 2004

Recommended reading

Dumbest. Election. Ever. by William Rivers Pitt: Marvin Minsky once said, "Imagine what it would be like if TV actually were good. It would be the end of everything we know." Let's spool that thought out a bit. If TV was good, three of the major news networks (NBC, CNBC, MSNBC) wouldn't be owned by a defense contractor that profits from war. If TV was good, another major news network (CNN) wouldn't be wedded to the outsourcing of technological workers to cheap-labor nations because its parent company lives and dies by paying pennies on the dollar for geeks. If TV was good, another major news network (Fox) would require its anchors to say, "We are an auxiliary wing of the Republican Party, deal with it" every fifteen minutes.

From The Village Voice, The Resurrection and the Light by Greg Tate: About Brother Ray's swansong album, Genius Loves Company, know that an album of duets with Ray Charles must be a moment of self-revelation for the other singers involved. Via Negrophile.

A Hidden Swing Vote: Evangelicals by Michael Hout and Andrew M. Greely: The press has made a big issue of how President Bush and Senator John Kerry are both trying to woo voters from groups that usually support the other side, be they military veterans, Hispanics or Jews. Yet one group that receives almost no attention is Christian evangelicals. We are repeatedly told they form the president's unshakeable electoral base. But in truth, this claim is vastly simplistic: the fashionable image of masses of white evangelical voters, stirred up by the tricks of Karl Rove and led by Bible-thumping clergymen, marching in lock step to deny rights to women and to gays, is hardly born out by the data. Rather, the real Republican base is the same as it was before Richard Nixon's "Southern strategy" appealed to religious Protestants in 1968: the wealthy and the powerful.

Richard Reeves: 'What if we had not gone into Iraq?'
20:32 BST

Alas, poor Simon

Hoggart is dismayed:

The new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations thumps on to my desk, and with feverish fingers I flick through the H's. Once again, my cup brims with disappointment. There is nothing by me. Some people yearn to win a gong in the honours, or appear on Desert Island Discs. I want to be in the ODQ. Other people think I'm worth including. My line "Peter Mandelson is the only man I know who can skulk in broad daylight" appears in quite a few compilations. So does "Reagan is the only man to take the presidency as a part-time job, a means of filling up the otherwise empty hours". Fine, but that's not the ODQ.

My colleague Matthew Parris appears with, admittedly, a very good line: "Being an MP feeds your vanity and starves your self-respect." But not a word by me. Not even my favourite line, which was ignored at the time and since: "Seeing John Major govern the country is like watching Edward Scissorhands try to make balloon animals."

He should have updated it for Bush; everyone would be quoting him.

Earlier in the column, though, he reveals an interesting item:

To King's Cross for the launch of James Naughtie's new book, The Accidental American, about Tony Blair's relationship with George Bush. The gossip was about the fact that John Humphrys is, for the first time in years, going to be the Today man at the Labour party conference. Traditionally Blair has done a long interview on the last day of the conference, but he loathes being interviewed by Humphrys. Either way, "Blair and Humphrys punch-up" or "Blair bottles out", it'll be a great story.
Perhaps this says something about Tony Blair's relationship to the Beeb, too.


Jim told us that there is a website for Americans to pay tribute to our prime minister, You can add your own thanks, and according to the site, these will be transmitted straight to Downing Street. Some readers might wish to abuse this. I would heartily disapprove of this, but realise I am powerless to stop you.
Am I wicked to think he's hoping he can get another column out of it?
16:42 BST

The Bush morality-cut

Catching up with the week's International Herald Tribune, I came across Brooks' piece from the NYT last weekend about Bush's speech, Bush's Second Term, and suddenly realized that he was pretending to be Clinton:

He's already gone a long way to transform the Republican Party. This was a party united by the idea that government is the problem, that it should be radically cut back. On Thursday night, Bush talked about government as a positive tool. "Government must take your side," he exclaimed.
Okay, now government is supposed to be my friend (which I guess is why it wants to be able to go to my library and find out what I'm reading). This same concept was supposed to be evil when Clinton was in the White House, but all that's changed now! And why is that? Well, because the Republicans are your real friends. Look what they want to do!
Bush proposes to build community health centers, expand AmeriCorps, increase the funds for Pell Grants, create job retraining accounts, offer tax credits for hybrid cars, help lower-income families get health savings accounts, dedicate $40 billion to wetlands preservation, and on and on and on.

This is an activist posture. As Karen Hughes said on PBS on Thursday evening, "This is not the grinchy old 'Let's abolish the Department of Education or shut down the government' conservatism of the past."

No, this is the grinchy new conservatism that never openly says it wants to abolish the Department of Education, although it's still trying to do just that. Bush is forever claiming he's going to give lots of money to some "liberal" program and then simply not delivering, or worse, creating a new program that funnels that money not to the target but to, oh, pharmaceutical companies, say, or some other private-sector special interest. Remember all that money he said he was going to provide for AIDS? And how 'bout that prescription drug benefit? Not to mention No Teacher Left Behind....
The biggest proposals, which could really make history, were only hinted at. But Bush understands the crucial reform challenge: "Many of our most fundamental systems - the tax code, health coverage, pension plans, worker training - were created for a world of yesterday, not tomorrow. We will transform these systems."
That would be the world of yesterday in which when we said we were going to try to solve a problem, we actually tried to do it. In the world of yesterday, if we said we were going to get Osama, we did not corner him in his cave and just walk away and leave him there so we could hare off to Baghdad. In the world of yesterday, if we said we were going to make "the Homeland" more secure, we actually tried to improve security in the United States rather than going out and stirring up a hornets' nest somewhere so we could be even less secure. In the world of today, we just lie about it and then do things that will make everything worse than it was before. In the world of tomorrow, what few remaining structures you had for redress of such grievances will be completely dismantled so they can be entirely unaccountable. In the world of tomorrow, no one will say, "It's a free country," in conversation anymore. (Or - is that already the world of today?)
In his speech, he redefined compassionate conservatism. The faith-based initiatives are now only a part of a much bolder whole. Bush declared that government should move energetically to help people get skills and to open opportunities. "Government should help people improve their lives, not run their lives," he said. That is the essence of the party's new governing philosophy.
We have earlier looked at the fact that Bush's idea of "opportunity" is what the rest of us usually regard as unreasonable risk. Remarkably, the same people who laugh at folks who blow a buck or a quid on the lottery each week actually believe they can become filthy rich if only they can blow their entire pension on the stock market instead.
The Bush agenda has been greeted with a wave of skepticism from my buddies in the press corps. How's he going to pay for all this? Why didn't he do more of this in his first term? Why was he so vague about the big things? Won't he sacrifice it all on the altar of tax cuts?
"Even in the press corps, there are still a few people with some brains left."
But, of course, he's not going to tell us at the peak of the campaign season about painful spending decisions. He's not going to specify who is going to get gored by tax simplification. No competent candidate has ever done that, and none ever will. That doesn't make the policy ideas bogus.
Well, it does if you're implying that ordinary working people will reap the benefits of such policy ideas when in fact they will only be paying for benefits to someone else who doesn't even need them - and, really, doesn't even work. The "painful spending decisions" aren't painful to those who make them, they're painful to the people who will support them in good faith believing that they will ultimately benefit from them. Most of us, in fact, will be feeling that pain. No, Bush certainly isn't going to tell the public, "We're ripping you off."

What's even more offensive about this is Brooks' casual assumption that it's okay to profoundly mislead people. When Clinton said government was going to do things for us, he was pretty much trying to do them. I don't agree with everything he did, but I do believe he was acting in good faith. The Bush administration knows its policies will do us ill, but they don't care. Honestly, they give every appearance of taking a certain delight in knowing they are pulling off a successful scam - they're smug as all get-out. This is certainly not "politics as usual" - it is something profoundly worse. But conservatives persistently tell us that it's all okay because politicians "always" lie. Well, no, they don't, not like this.

Obviously, the administration will have to make some tough decisions. First, it will figure out which of the many proposals it wants to do first. The obvious thing is to do tax simplification first because fixing up the tax code lets you eliminate distortions in health competition, saving patterns and a bunch of other areas.
Well, of course it's going to be "tax simplification", because that's what Bush always prioritizes - finding ways to simplify tax-evasion for the rich.

But that business about how, "fixing up the tax code lets you eliminate distortions in health competition, saving patterns and a bunch of other areas," is enough to leave you breathless. Has there ever been a larger "distortion in health competition" than the one the Republicans just passed that denied the largest purchaser of medical care any ability to negotiate with the seller? Well, possibly one: the introduction of commercial medical insurance.

Second, the White House will probably have to choose between reforming entitlements and making the tax cuts permanent because there isn't enough money to do both. This is an easy call. Sacrifice the tax cuts. If entitlement programs aren't reformed, we'll be looking at a lifetime of tax increases. Modernizing the welfare state is a much bigger deal than some three- or four-point cut in the top marginal tax rate.
Yes, "modernizing" - which is another word for "wrecking" - our rudimentary excuse for a "welfare state" is indeed an expensive (that is, inefficient) proposition, even if you don't count the start-up costs. However, the start-up costs alone are stunningly huge, and only someone who is either viscously cruel or an idiot (or both) would contemplate actually doing it. It is not cost-effective. We put all that stuff together in the first place because we were crippled by the costs of not having it, and now they want to get rid of it.

But we already can't afford the tax "cuts", even without wasting money on this appalling "reform". It's interesting that Brooks actually prescribes not making the tax shift permanent, and perhaps even believes Bush will yield on this. What is more likely is that Bush will do what Reagan did and raise taxes on working people.

But they won't tell you that. As with Reagan, they will brag about their generosity toward the rich and pretend they did it for the rest of us, and then quietly make us pay extra for it and eliminate the programs we think our taxes are paying for. Just like they told us they were asking for $87bn for Iraq and spent it instead doing things like violating the civil liberties of demonstrators in Florida.

Now, this morning, I wander on over to Slacktivist and find a number of good posts, including one where Fred talks about a shocking example of how Bush's fellow travellers back home think:

Reuters reports that TXU Energy, the biggest utility in Texas, intends to increase its rates -- but only for those least able to pay[.]
Of course. I'm sure George would approve.

In another post on Cheney's appalling statement that voting for Kerry will cause another 9/11, Fred says:

The Kerry campaign finds itself in the unenviable position of Cordelia, Lear's youngest -- and only loyal -- daughter. Hoping that the electorate is not so vain, senile and gullible as to prefer lying flattery over honest duty.
And, finally, getting back to where we started, another fine post directly addressing that whole business about the complicated tax code:
The Daily Mislead notes that President Bush, in his acceptance speech Thursday night, complained of the complexity of the American tax code:
President Bush said a "drag on our economy is the current tax code, which is a complicated mess, filled with special interest loopholes." Bush noted that the American people were saddled with "6 billion hours of paperwork and headache every year," and said that he was the candidate to create "a simpler, fairer" system.
That line jumped out at me when I watched the speech. Here is a man who has spent three years rewriting the tax code in his own image. The "current tax code" is a creature of his own making. It is the Bush tax code. He crafted that "complicated mess." He signed into law many of those "special interest loopholes" -- Hooters & Polluters anyone? George W. Bush is the first president to run for a second term by blaming all his problems on the previous administration.

See, they pretend to be Clinton, and then pretend Clinton was Bush.

(And, as long as you're at Slacktivist, read his post on trying to teach some kids to see the transcendent.)
14:17 BST

Atrios just called it "wingnuttery"

There used to be a time when you could read about people like these and say to yourself, "Thank god these are just fringe nutters who self-publish in wretched little mags and papers like White Power that eschew even the veneer of professionalism."

Those days are gone. World O'Crap zeros in and what is now a widely-prescribed remedy for the "infection" that is terrorism: And to do that, we stop acting like white blood cells and start acting like medieval surgeons -- we bleed our country with leeches, under the theory that our problem is too much freedom. (via)
11:42 BST

Uppity Negro, RIP

I've just learned that Aaron of Uppity Negro has died. His sister has posted an announcement on his site. There don't seem to be any details as yet, but she has also posted her e-mail address for those who want to send condolences.

I'm going to miss that blogger.
03:09 BST

Saturday, 11 September 2004

Laughing on the bus, playing games with the faces

Pravda on the Potomac at The Crisis Papers.

Just for the record, I was right and Steve Clemons wasn't.

Tomorrow, Mark Styne will still be claiming that those of us who used IBM Selectrics and Executives were from the future.

David Brooks finds a whole new way to divide people up! This man needs a real job.

Charles Dobson tracks down some anti-semites.

The General's tribute to Our Leader on September 11th; also, eligible bachelors and a cool new Jesus mug.

Democratic Elites Eye Profits, Not Wins at The New York Observer, which says it is by Hank Sheinkopf although it is on Conasan's dynamic page.

True love for Bobby.
21:28 BST

The Lefty Directory

Brian Linse has put up a post at The Lefty Directory suggesting that people post to the comments to add new links until he gets around to updating the blogroll again. Let's look at a few of them:

Dispassionate Liberalism from Mark Adams reminds me, in this post, that the administration that brags about saying what they mean doesn't say what they mean, and also that I really hope someone is archiving everything they do so that someday the record at can be corrected. The entire .gov site is now rife with deletions and corruptions and, frankly, I find that pretty scary. (Remember, it's a kind of official record, and it belongs to you, it's not supposed to be just another Bush campaign site.)

I've been to Scrutiny Hooligans before, but today they have a fine piece of evidence that George W. Bush was exactly where he belonged - in grade school - on that fateful day three years ago. He should still be there. Because, you see, highschool teachers, who had not read the PDB and were probably unaware of previous intelligence about Al Qaeda plans to make kamikaze flights, nevertheless knew instinctively what was going on when only one plane had as yet hit the WTC: Thick black smoke poured from one of the towers. A colleague of mine and I stood dumbfounded for a time. What was there to say? Then he shook his head. "Someone is gonna get bombed for this."

Your Right Hand Thief proposes making people aware of Turing's contribution to winning WWII might remind them of why we don't want to be mean to homosexuals. And also has a suggestion for John Edwards.

We have also visited DED Space before, but check out this post on religion.

Cat M. explains how to read at My Left Brain.

It's In There considers Rumsfeld as a stealthy political operative.

Nice cartoon at, um, I think it's called Bibb's Revenge. (Ya need to use that spell-checker, honey.)

On Donkey's Mind is newish but so far looks like a good place to catch up on recent policy matters.

Alex at The American Errorist is cruising for trouble by doing a blog concentrating mainly on issues of Middle East policy and especially (*gasp!*) the Israeli-Palistinian conflict.

Uh oh: The author of The Peace Garden thinks LaRouche is right about something. I dunno, it could be true.

I can't seem to find a permalink for it, but Truthseeker offers "My take on Bush" from what appears to be the perspective of a liberal Christian evangelical.

Scott Rose of Miscellanea is "a junior at middlebury college in vermont, studying russian, politics and literature" blogging his junior year in Russia.

Chepooka, who is disturbed to learn that someone in Palm Beach is not voting for Kerry, wants her blog to be a forum and hopes for discussion - so drop by and leave a comment.

At Tina's Shark Tank, a look at some of Bush's fuzzy math and Clinton-blaming.

There's more, but I wanna go watch TV now.
18:20 BST

Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together

From two years ago, American Stranger and Marvin Gaye and "What's goin' on?"

See the video of Dan Rather responding to the forgery claims about the National Guard memos. Well, done, Dan. (Really, there just doesn't seem to be anything to base this whole "forgery" business on. These are just little twerps who've never used a real typewriter.) The evidence is put to the scope at Daily Kos, and The Poor Man has it nailed.

Jerome Armstrong at MyDD says the polls aren't nearly as bad as people are making it sound, although Kerry has lost some ground. But then, "I did this same combined-polling in 2000, and the final polls of all the outfits combined to a net 2% advantage toward Bush, yet Gore won the vote." And: "Granted, this is meaningless without consideration of the EV, but as the graph to the left shows, the current polling status (as of 10/10) at the state-by-state level has Kerry adding FL, NV, CO, and NH to Gore's 2000 showing, for a 305-233 projection."

Lis Riba (who posted a link to this really cool Astronomy Picture of the Day over at her weblog), asked me if I knew yet about Votergasm and Act for Love, giving new meaning, I guess, to the old slogan, "Girls say yes to boys who say no."

Merriam-Webster's Audio pronunciation, via Grow A Brain.

Right Wing Lie Response Form (Thanks to Daniel Holzman for the tip.)
13:27 BST

Things I've seen

Bra of the Week

Magpie at Pacific Views has found a neat picture - the first photo of a planet outside of our solar system. And Mary is recommending tonight's NOW with Bill Moyers on the 9/11 Commission Report.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden has a few words on the real wedge issue.

Dwight Meredith concludes that George Bush is no Boy Scout.

On Tuesday, Michael explained why you can't reason with these wingnut warfloggers - you can't make this stuff up.

Digby expands on Atrios' suggestion that if Kerry wins he's going to have to replace "everyone in government that he's legally entitled to replace, including, if he's able, the secret service, whose mission now includes keeping the press from doing its job."

Molly Ivins explains why you should not vote for a guy who hangs out with a bad crowd.

Atrios has the flier you need to print out and post through the mailslots of all your neighbors, co-workers, fellow parishioners, complete strangers, etc.

The Bush Nightmare Project
01:55 BST

Friday, 10 September 2004

Rove's glory

So now the CBS documents about Bush's bad behavior in the Texas ANG are being declared a hoax, apparently because "experts" instantly assumed that only a modern word-processor could right-justify. It now turns out that it's a bit more sophisticated than that, so it might even be true. [Update: After further research, no, it's still based on the assumption that Bill Gates invented kerning and the Times New Roman font.]

But, you know, the speed with which these incredibly lame questions were raised - well, it almost seems like someone had them ready and waiting. "Hey, we'll do this on a word-processor and then later we'll point out that you couldn't do that on your old Remington." Let's see, you know there's something dirty that sooner or later will be exposed, so you do something to poison the source when it gets out. Gosh, I wonder whose MO that is?

I'm dying to know if CBS's internal investigation will turn anything up. I don't believe for a minute that the Kerry campaign had anything to do with it, but the purpose of one of these operations is obviously to make the Democrats look just as dirty as the Republicans really are. And it will work with a lot of people.

And, of course, it will work beautifully to distract from the real issue, which, as Krugman points out, is not whether he tried to get out of Vietnam so much as the fact that he has lied and lied and lied about it and then tried to pretend he is some sort of courageous hero, even though, as we all know, he is really a coward. And a wimp.
22:22 BST

Blogger's notepad

John McCrory finds the White House flip-flopping again: White House spokesman denounced 'gutter politics' when his boss was target - But refuses to condemn it now: Remember this? Back in February, White House spokesman Scott McClellan lashed out at 'critics' who questioned George W. Bush's service record.

And, by the way, a letter in The Washington Post Wednesday provided an interesting footnote to the claim that Bob Dole "refused to capitalize on his war wounds when he ran for president." Well, he did, and no one seemed to be arguing at the time that Bob Dole had opened himself up to "scrutiny" of his war record.

One simple question (via)
19:50 BST

The truth is out there

Al Kamen in The Washington Post, The Electric Slide, OPM Style:

The passage of the Pendleton Act some 120 years ago heralded a shining moment for government workers. No more political hacks and ne'er-do-wells in federal jobs. No, there would now be a nonpartisan, merit-based civil service, a trained corps of workers who would do their duty no matter which party occupied the White House.

Cut to 2004. The Office of Personnel Management, the keeper of that noble flame, is holding a big conference this week in Baltimore for its staff and other interested folks to talk about civil service reform, homeland security and other major issues.

Go read it and get sick to your stomach. This administration exists to corrupt every aspect of government.


Kieran Healey finds a tiff: That untruth, Mr. Samuelson asserts in an article for the Journal of Economic Perspectives, is the assumption that the laws of economics dictate that the American economy will benefit in the long run from all forms of international trade, including the outsourcing abroad of call-center and software programming jobs. Samuelson is clearly a man with a firm grasp of the obvious - and, believe me, that is not an insult, these days, given that so many of his colleagues clearly do not share this facility.

Salman Rushdie says pornography is vital for freedom and civilization. I can only agree.

When you talk about Israeli policies, you're bound to take hits. Juan Cole did, and now he's doing it some more.

I missed these earlier - Jon Stewart was well impressed: Zell on Earth. And of course, George Bush's acceptance speech. (For some reason these didn't play the first time I clicked on them, but when I closed the windows and hit the links again, they were fine.) Via Mark Evanier
18:05 BST

Everybody's talkin'

Lizz Winstead just said this is "the eve of the third anniversary of the exploitation of 9/11." Rachel Madow recommended a movie, Hijacking Catastrophe (narrated by my hero, Julian Bond), which is opening in New York today.

Gary Farber has more on those fabulous IBM typewriters, points to an NYT article on scum-sucking insurers "who eat off our soldiers", and invites you to do the John Kerry Work-out.

Maureen Dowd still seems to be using her powers for Good in Cheney Spits Toads: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have always used the president's father as a reverse lodestar. In 1992, the senior Mr. Bush wooed the voters with "Message: I care.'' So this week, Mr. Cheney wooed the voters with, Message: You die.

The Brady bund: Charles Pierce's Daddy Darkest in The American Prospect has been linked just about everywhere. This is the one where he calls Andy Card's remark about how Bush sees us all as 10-year-olds "the single most terrifying thing I've ever heard from a representative of an elected government -- even a dubiously elected government like the current one."

Michael Froomkin pointed out that no one has claimed the ten grand offered to anyone who can vouch for George W. Bush's service in the Alabama National Guard, and then asked why no one has ever asked Bush himself if he can remember anyone he served with. BeatBushBlog says: This is a devastating point, particularly in Bush's case. George W. Bush is in many respects not a smart man. But everyone agrees that he has one great skill: an extraordinary memory for names and faces. ... It is inconceivable, had Bush actually served in Alabama, that he would be unable to come up with the name of a single fellow guardsman who served with him.
15:26 BST

"Just politics"

The Purple Heartless Project

It's that time again: September 10th. Yes, I know it's a great photo, but read the whole page this time.

It shouldn't have happened. But we all know why it did. Reporting on this article in Perspectives on Politics, Henry at Crooked Timber:

On behalf of the New York Times, Imai and King applied their methodology to the disputed election results in Florida. The results are eye-opening.

(1) If overseas absentee ballots had not been counted illegally, there is a very small chance that Gore would have won the election outright. In Imai and King's account (where they admit that there is some room for alternative interpretation), the chance that Gore actually should have won the election on this alone is around 0.2%.

(2) More to the point: if the recounted votes in Miami Dade and Palm Beach had not been rejected by Katherine Harris, Gore would have won with 82% probability. In Imai and King's words

To put it one way, the massive differences in probabilities from 0.002 to 0.82 for a Gore victory were due to the decisions made by Katherine Harris.
Finally, and most damningly, Imai and King find "strong and independent support" (albeit indirect) for the proposition that:
the propensity of local election officials to violate the law and accept bad ballots was substantially greater in counties where Bush strategists believed there was more absentee ballot support for their candidate and tried to convince election officials to accept bad ballots.
George W. Bush took office and promptly told our intelligence people not to investigate Al Qaeda at all. Eyes off the Saudis. People who warned of impending attack were ignored; people who warned of suspicious behavior were frozen out of the process. The folks who froze them out were ultimately promoted after 9/11, while those who were on the receiving end felt forced to leave their agencies. Obviously, the process of enforced ignorance was being policed from the top. It's no surprise that in the aftermath, George W. Bush's administration did everything it could to prevent any investigation of the failures that allowed the attack to take place unhindered.

In Afghanistan, it's all fallen apart. In Iraq, we have another disaster that shouldn't have happened. In Washington, every level of government has been corrupted. And there's no evidence that any Republican in Congress is prepared to act on behalf of any accountability. Please don't tell me that some of them are honorable people. Jim Jeffords already showed us what honorable Republicans do.
12:19 BST

Somebody tell them, already!

Last month, John Emerson at Seeing the Forest wrote these words:

Doesn't it strike you as strange that no one has hired Bob Somerby of The Daily Howler yet? He's a loyal mainstream Democrat who understands the corrupt workings of the contemporary media as well as anyone does. He's one of the heavyweights, but as far as I can tell, he still has to work for a living doing other stuff.
Please, yes, make them hire this man! Look at Somerby's latest post, Democrats say the darnedest things:
How does our political discourse now work? For a brilliant glimpse of a fallen culture, consider Dee Dee Myers' appearance on Tuesday evening's Hardball. Myers, of course, is former press secretary to President Clinton, a Democrat. She was on Tuesday evening's show as a Democrat, balanced by Republican stalwart Jack Kemp. But in today's culture, Democrat pundits mouth GOP points. Early on, Matthews asked Myers about the attacks that have been killing her champion:
MATTHEWS (9/7/04): Well, let me ask Dee Dee about these three charges against Kerry which have been consistently made for months now, not just in August. That he's indecisive-he voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it, he was for the war and the resolution, against supplying the troops. That he's unreliable, because there are so many questions raised about his war service, questions-attacks about his anti-war testimony in the Senate in 1971. And the fact that he just seems so damn aloof.
There was nothing really wrong with that question, except for the fact that it had several parts. Matthews listed familiar attacks against Kerry-attacks that have helped define this White House campaign. But a Democrat could have gone to town with these charges. For example, here's what Myers-a Democrat, we're told-could have said:
WHAT MYERS COULD HAVE SAID: Chris, let's take that $87 billion, which is just a completely phony issue. Kerry voted for a version of this bill he approved of-in which the $87 billion would have been paid for by a partial roll-back of Bush's tax cuts. He voted against a form of the bill in which the money is simply borrowed-in which your grand-kids, not you, are going to pay for this spending. Make you feel good? And that's what senators are paid to do-they're paid to vote against bad bills and in favor of bills that are better. Meanwhile, how phony is Bush in the way he presents this? Bush also worked to defeat a form of the bill he opposed-he aggressively said he would veto this bill if it included any loans to Iraq. So Bush supported certain forms of the bill and worked against others, just exactly the way Kerry did. When Bush says "there was nothing complicated" about the bill, he's simply deceiving the voters again, it's just as simple as that. And by the way, Kerry was right about that $87 billion. Kerry kept insisting that Bush should provide a better plan for the $20 billion that was going to reconstruction projects. Well guess what? It's ten months later, and that money still hasn't been spent! But this is just a typical scam in which voters are fooled by a president they trust. Play that tape of Bush again-he's flatly deceiving those voters.
That's what a Democrat might have said if a Democrat had been on that program. And a Democrat might have shown annoyance at the president's garbage-can campaigning-at a president who says there was"nothing complicated" when this bill was, in fact, quite complex. But let's face it-Dee Dee Myers isn't a Democrat; she just plays on TV. Instead, she's a Storebought Conventional Pundit. And SCPs say weird things like this. No, we aren't making this up:
MYERS (continuing directly): Yes, I think you're right. Those have all been effective attacks against Senator Kerry. He hasn't done as good a job as he should have or needed to in rebutting them. I don't think it helps to see pictures of him wind-surfing. I mean, why not a game of pick-up basketball someplace?


Somerby is absolutely right, and the great thing about him is that he calls these things "howlers" because they make him howl as soon as he sees them - that is, he already knows what's wrong with them. He's right there in front of God and everyone and yet the Democrats send Dee Dee Myers out to represent them. What the hell are they thinking?

Look, I don't care what sort of credentials this woman has and who her friends are, she has been crap for years and there is no excuse for letting her keep doing this at a time like this. The Democrats can't afford to let this keep going on, not now. Kerry should be sending out surrogates who can deliver a proper response to this rubbish, and Somerby - who does stand-up and knows how to talk in public - is perfect for the job.
02:03 BST

Oh, for godssakes!

Josh Marshall reports:

The conservative blog Powerline has a roiling debate or series of charges that the documents published by CBS last night are forgeries.

The basis of the claim is that the sort of proportional font spacing evidenced in the memoranda wasn't available at the time in question. It only came later with word processors and computers and laser printers. Basically, they say, all people had back then were old fashioned block-type typewriters.

On the face of it, that sounds logical to me. But the editor of the site has now posted the comments of at least one reader who says such machines were actually widely available at the time.

I suppose it does sound logical if you're a lot younger than I am and a man. I'm pretty sure that various types of typers and fonts that allowed proportional spacing existed before even I was born (and, as you know, I am a doddering old crone).

Personally, I prefer ragged-right, so I stuck to the more traditional stuff, but I adored my Selectric II, and it still works. It has lots of nifty features, like the fact that you can turn the roller up a half-line to superscript and subscript, and the little lever that allows you to squeeze letters a little bit to one side if you need to. And changing fonts is a cinch.
01:01 BST

Thursday, 09 September 2004

A few things

Good post at Kos on strategy for talking to Bush supporters. I highly recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in such discussions. Via Alice at GOTV, who needs to straighten out her blogroll formatting.

From Skimble: Are we creating a new pharmacological underclass of soldiers driven to murder or suicide?

Goldstein has returned with a new post. He's pissed, and he recommends another ad for the Kerry campaign.
23:57 BST

He is so busted

Atrios directs our attention to this page at AmericaBlog, full of stuff about Bush's sudden exposure as, well, a lying coke-head deserter. I assume he is referring specifically to this post, which prints an e-mail from RNC head-honcho Ed Gillespie warning the troops that the evil Democrats are waging a campaign of Saying Mean Things:

Of course, the President was called a "cheap thug," a "killer" and a "liar" at a Kerry-Edwards campaign event in New York, Mrs. Kerry has called the President's policies "unpatriotic" and "immoral" and DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe falsely accused the President of being AWOL.
Note that this is the head of the Republican National Committee calling the head of the DNC a liar for saying something that is documented fact. Please think about that. (Note also that anyone who has read the Constitution knows that it is explicitly written to prevent the executive from gaining precisely the kind of power Bush and his supporters are insisting we should give Bush, so Theresa Heinz Kerry's statement makes considerably more sense than the right wing's insistence that those who question Bush's policies are themselves "unpatriotic". I should also note at this juncture that the Constitution is actually a pretty short document and doesn't require all that much time to read, so everyone should have done it by now. It's not hard to understand.)

The RNC's MO, as usual, is to lie about the opposition and then accuse Democrats of lying about them as if telling the truth about Bush is exactly the same as lying about Kerry (or Clinton, or whoever).

But there are numerous posts on the page that cover the issues raised (even in the press!) over the last few days, such as this one:

Now ABCNews' reports that the Air Force is saying Bush didn't have to join a unit in Massachusetts, like he promised to do in writing, because HE WAS REGISTERED WITH A UNIT IN DENVER.

Denver? Woah. Wait a minute. Dan Bartlett, Bush's very pretty spokesman with the very pretty hair-do - I'd say the prettiest hair-do of any of the candidate's press spokesman - said in 1999 that Bush finished his duty in Boston, not Denver. Where did Denver come from? When was Bush even IN Denver? He went from Texas to Alabama to Harvard in Boston, and knowing he was going to Harvard he chose to somehow register in Denver?

I recommend starting there and reading upward to the top of the page, and do check out the WashPost story - which appears above the fold on the front page - Records Say Bush Balked at Order, explaining, basically, that none of Bush's excuses hold water.

Oh, just for the record, so we remember that this is not the liberal media we are talking about:

Release of the documents came as Democrats and some veterans stepped up their criticism of Bush for allegedly failing to meet his sworn obligations to the Texas Air National Guard. A new advocacy group called Texans for Truth, which has links to anti-Bush groups such as, yesterday unveiled a TV ad to be screened in swing states asserting that Bush failed to show up for Guard duty in Alabama.
I find it interesting that we're being told Texans for Truth "has links to anti-Bush groups such as" How often have we been told that groups attacking Democrats or Democratic policies are, for example, linked to "anti-[Democrat] Scaife-funded groups"?
16:54 BST


Drug War Rant has an action alert up from Students for a Sensible Drug Policy: Since its inception, our organization has campaigned against a 1998 amendment to the Higher Education Act that denies federal financial aid to anyone convicted of a drug-related offense, no matter how minor. ... I'm sorry I didn't see this yesterday, because the vote on reconsidering this is today. Please check the details and see if there's still time to make your feelings known.
15:35 BST

Check this out

Excellent point from Atrios: As the Karen Hughes approved story goes, Bush found Jesus in 1986, was born again, and thus everything before that is irrelevant. It's rather similar to 9/11. You know, "being born again changed everything." "9/11 changed everything." Both provide a way for Bush to not actually take responsibility for anything he did before those moments.

In The Sacramento Bee, Balancing rights and security is bigger challenge than ever, by Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It's a take-down of Malkin's defense of internment of the Japanese, but I really wish everyone would distinguish more carefully between "security" and "The Patriot Act". It astonishes me that people still fail to understand how little the administration has done to keep an eye on real terrorist money and, for that matter, real terrorists. (When will people understand that harassing peaceniks and funny-colored people consumes resources without adding a thing to effective investigation?) (Via Obsidian Wings, where Malkin is also examined at length.)

The IHT says if the whole world could vote, it would be Kerry in a landslide: "It is absolutely clear that John Kerry would win handily if the people of the world could vote," said Steve Kull, director of The Program on International Policy Attitudes of the University of Maryland, a co-sponsor of the survey. "It is rather striking that just one in five people surveyed around the world support the re-election of President Bush."

Kevin Drum looks at new details on Bush's military non-service and says: This story is a perfect demonstration of the difference between the Swift Boat controversy and the National Guard controversy. Both are tales from long ago and both are related to Vietnam, but the documentary evidence in the two cases is like night and day. In the Swift Boat case, practically every new piece of documentary evidence indicates that Kerry's accusers are lying. Conversely, in the National Guard case, practically every new piece of documentary evidence provides additional confirmation that the charges against Bush are true. That's a quote that deserves to be repeated everywhere.

And just to drive the point home, Texans for Truth! (via)
13:52 BST

See? Al Gore thinks so, too!

The New Yorker interviews my President:

"I wasn't surprised by Bush's economic policies, but I was surprised by the foreign policy, and I think he was, too," Gore told me. "The real distinction of this Presidency is that, at its core, he is a very weak man. He projects himself as incredibly strong, but behind closed doors he is incapable of saying no to his biggest financial supporters and his coalition in the Oval Office. He's been shockingly malleable to Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and the whole New American Century bunch. He was rolled in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. He was too weak to resist it.

"I'm not of the school that questions his intelligence," Gore went on. "There are different kinds of intelligence, and it's arrogant for a person with one kind of intelligence to question someone with another kind. He certainly is a master at some things, and he has a following. He seeks strength in simplicity. But, in today's world, that's often a problem. I don't think that he's weak intellectually. I think that he is incurious. It's astonishing to me that he'd spend an hour with his incoming Secretary of the Treasury and not ask him a single question. But I think his weakness is a moral weakness. I think he is a bully, and, like all bullies, he's a coward when confronted with a force that he's fearful of. His reaction to the extravagant and unbelievably selfish wish list of the wealthy interest groups that put him in the White House is obsequious. The degree of obsequiousness that is involved in saying `yes, yes, yes, yes, yes' to whatever these people want, no matter the damage and harm done to the nation as a whole - that can come only from genuine moral cowardice. I don't see any other explanation for it, because it's not a question of principle. The only common denominator is each of the groups has a lot of money that they're willing to put in service to his political fortunes and their ferocious and unyielding pursuit of public policies that benefit them at the expense of the nation."

Yep, Al Gore says that Bush is a wimp.

Via Bush & Co must go!
03:24 BST

Various reads

Curmudgeon at Mapleberry Blog took issue with me earlier on the W-word, but has since come around. And also offers us a Shorter Dick Cheney: Vote for us, or you will be killed. Yeah, it felt like a threat to me, too.

And speaking of that, at The American Street, Kevin Hayden wonders why anyone is surprised that Cheney would campaign with fear and threats, and Oliver Willis really shouldn't hold back so much. (Well, no, he actually says, "Count me among the shrill." I'd been meaning to mention The Shrill Blog, anyway.)

Michael Totten spells it out: If Dick Cheney is prepared to lay the blame of a future terrorist attack on both a Kerry Administration and even the voters (!) then his administration needs to accept the blame for terrorist attacks that occur on its watch. And that includes the attack on September 11.

In other news....

Bill Scher thinks that maybe Kerry's quick response blunted Bush's "bounce": By being active, aggressive and confident, he prevented Bush from getting victory lap press that would have furthered his messages from the convention. However, the Dems have been doing their whimpering to the press again, and Bill says: For the last time (this year) Establishment people: this is all-out combat, and we have one leader. You have a problem with the campaign, then tell it to the campaign. Telling the media is for your ego. Not for the cause. Not for the country. There are 56 days left. Get your damn game faces on, and get behind the big guy.

Kathryn Cramer: I've spent the dreary morning trying to make sense of press descriptions of the Beslan attackers. (She also has a brief response to Cheney: "He Means Another Oklahoma City, Right?")
02:14 BST

Wednesday, 08 September 2004

Just what do they think they're voting for?

I was just at Memeorandum and found this post rounding up comment on Michael Novak's paean to Zell Miller at NRO and related articles from elsewhere commenting on it. I nearly missed one lovely bit until I checked out Andrew Sullivan's take on it, in which he quoted this:

Let me close by mentioning one other perception I took away from my exciting four days of stirring speeches from truly distinguished leaders: Among all of them, the greatest of all and the most reliable, focused, disciplined, plain-speaking, and trustworthy was our president. He stood with some great ones, but his moral stature rose at least a shoulder's height above all the others. He stood the steadiest of all.
Sullivan identifies that as "suck-uppery" but frankly it sounds a lot creepier than that.
23:16 BST

Follow your leader

Jerome had some fun with chickenhawks over the holiday. Here's a taste:

Labor Day. The midway at a fair in Connecticut. Two young men dressed country casual are approached by a senior citizen wearing civilian khaki pants and shirt, with an olive green T-shirt showing at the neck. It could be, but isn't, a Marine Corps T-shirt. One young man, tanned from tennis, golf or sailing, carries a banner saying "Four More Years." The other is untanned and somewhat younger. His banner reads, "Bush/Cheney '04. The old guy stands in their path.

OG: You guys in the service?

YM1 & 2: (Puzzled silence)

OG: You guys are in the service, right?

YM1: No.

YM2: (Shakes head)

OG: How come?

Jerome, you are a mean old guy.
20:03 BST

Opportunity knocks you out

In the WashPost, Harold Meyerson works it out:

Bush's Game of Risk

I've been confused for some time about the president's economic vision, as, I suspect, have many of you. After months of close textual analysis, though, I think I've narrowed down the source of that confusion. It's the word "opportunity," or, more precisely, what the president means when he says it.

"This changed world can be a time of great opportunity for all Americans to earn a better living, support your family and have a rewarding career," Bush said in his acceptance speech last week in New York. Perhaps it can, but on initial inspection, it sure isn't yet.

Since 2000, the Census Bureau tells us, median family income has declined by $1,535, to $43,318. The poverty rolls have swelled by 4.3 million newly poor people. The number of Americans with no health insurance has risen to 45 million.

If those mournful numbers may not seem like opportunity run amok, though, that's because our definition of "opportunity" is too constricted.

Think of the word, as the president must, as meaning the chance to do well, or poorly, or to crash and burn altogether. Think of it as a synonym for "risk," and the president's entire program falls into place.

Once you comprehend that the president is peddling increased risk rather than opportunity as the term is commonly understood, Bushonomics becomes crystal clear. It explains the administration's assault on governmental programs offering security. Viewed in this light, the administration's decision to raise seniors' monthly Medicare premiums by 17.5 percent the day after the president's acceptance speech isn't hypocritical in the slightest. It's just a way to prod seniors to stop lolling around and to take more responsibility for their care and feeding.

Exactly right, and perfectly infuriating. These are programs that affect older people, the ones who already took responsibility for their care and feeding during their working lives.

So Bush's cronies are already defaulting on pensions that employees worked for - earned - and Bush wants the whole government to do that.

Some people actually believe the talk about "privatizing" Social Security, but it's not simply a matter of allowing individuals to "invest" directly in a high-stakes game that is also very high-risk, and where few people actually win. The "privatization" plan that's been put forward doesn't actually pay out even if you do "win", so you don't get anything back from it. Meanwhile, because new earners' money is being removed from the Social Security program, those who have already paid into it reap nothing from it since there really isn't going to be anything left to pay out.

But here's the kicker: None of these clever plans include an elimination of payroll taxes. In other words, you continue to pay in, and all you get for it is the knowledge that your money is going straight to the big contractors who are pals of The Powers That Be. And not only that, but you're paying for their ability to send your kids off to get killed in some war that these maniacs started for no good reason.

It's actually pretty chilling when you think about the sheer glee with which they rip off people who've played by the rules and worked hard, many of whom are already retired (and too ill to work), and in no position to do anything about it.

And they're doing it all with loads of slogans that spell out the idea that working people are in fact paying their hard-earned money to support freeloaders. "It's your money." In Dick Cheney's pocket.
18:54 BST

Talking headlines

So, Howard Kurtz suggests that the Kitty Kelly book has the media in a tizzy:

ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said the book "obviously would be subjected to serious scrutiny" before the network reported the allegations, "and if we had the author on we would ask her very probing questions." CBS has not booked Kelley. She is tentatively scheduled to appear on CNN's "American Morning" and "NewsNight With Aaron Brown."
Scrutiny, eh? Steve Soto at The Left Coaster has the right response:
Why is the media more concerned about Kitty Kelley's facts than they ever were about the Swift Boat Veterans' claims? If the media had shown the same scrutiny over the Swifties ads before they plastered their papers with free coverage of the since-discredited allegations, the Swifties would have been stopped dead in their tracks.

Now along comes Kitty Kelley, who has the nerve to write something negative against the Bushes, and all of a sudden the media decides not to cover her book over concerns about her facts. Why shouldn't Democrats think there is a double-standard at work here? It's OK to smear the Democratic presidential candidate, but not OK to report what family members said about Mr. Bush?

Steve recommends that readers write to Howard Kurtz and tell him what you think.

From The New York Times: Inquiry Proposes Penalties for Hiding Medicare Data. The Bush administration illegally withheld data from Congress on the cost of the new Medicare law, and as a penalty, the former head of the Medicare agency, Thomas A. Scully, should repay seven months of his salary to the government, federal investigators said Tuesday. The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said Mr. Scully had threatened to fire the chief Medicare actuary, in violation of an explicit provision of federal appropriations law. And I guess we're supposed to pretend this guy acted entirely on his own and without even a word from, oh, Tom DeLay or someone....

From The Boston Globe, Bush fell short on duty at Guard:

But Bush fell well short of meeting his military obligation, a Globe reexamination of the records shows: Twice during his Guard service -- first when he joined in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School -- Bush signed documents pledging to meet training commitments or face a punitive call-up to active duty. He didn't meet the commitments, or face the punishment, the records show. The 1973 document has been overlooked in news media accounts. The 1968 document has received scant notice.
We've gone over this ground before, of course, but every new piece of documentation only confirms what we already knew: Bush was AWOL, and he was AWOL long enough to be technically termed a deserter, and as usual he faced none of the consequences that anyone else would have had to swallow. George Wimp Bush, unable, unaccountable, and unfit to lead.

Jeralyn has a further round-up on this at TalkLeft, where she notes that even Kristof is picking it up, although rather than calling his column "Deserter" or even "AWOL", he calls it Missing in Action: Does this disqualify Mr. Bush from being commander in chief? No. But it should disqualify the Bush campaign from sliming the military service of a rival who still carries shrapnel from Vietnam in his thigh. Oliver Willis doesn't mince words: AWOL When America Needed Him.

The Washington Post editorializes: Don't Duck the Debates: THIS IS, or so we are constantly told by partisans on both sides, the most important election of our lives -- at least. At the Republican convention last week, Vice President Cheney called it "one of the most important, not just in our lives, but in our history." You'd think, then, that both campaigns would be eager to see that voters get as much of a chance as possible to see the two candidates debate. Gawd, that's the last thing the administration wants!
17:28 BST

The bounce thing

Now that the skewed polls from Time and Newsweek have been eclipsed by more recent (and less dubious) polls, it appears, that Bush got only a slight bounce (2 points, according to Gallup) and that it may already be fading. Ruy Teixeira says:

Note also that Bush's 2 point bounce from his convention (which, remember, is defined as the change in a candidate's level of support, not in margin) is the worst ever received by an incumbent president, regardless of party, and the worst ever received by a Republican candidate, whether incumbent or not.
But neither the press nor the Democrats seem to be making the most of this result, instead allowing the RNC to tout this as a really great bounce:
But this is a persistent problem: Dowd and the people behind him relentlessly spin every poll and feed journalists various mini-analyses (can we call them "analysisoids"?) that purport to show how great Bush is doing relative to expectations, historical patterns, etc. and how bogus any poll is that shows Kerry doing well. Where are the Democrats on this one? The occasional lame quote from Mellman is not enough to outgun Dowd in this particular part of the political debate.
There was also some other post-convention news that's good for Democrats, as Donkey Rising reported a day later:
Kerry Widens Lead in Battleground States!

Now that's a headline you're not likely to see in the mainstream media, consumed as they are with the storyline du jour about Bush's Big Mo' from the convention.

But that's what the internals of the latest Gallup poll tell us. Prior to the Republican convention, Kerry had a one point lead among RVs (47-46) in the battleground states. After the Republican convention, now that battleground voters have had a chance to take a closer look at what Bush and his party really stand for, Kerry leads by 5 in these same states (50-45)! Note that Kerry gained three points among battleground voters, while Bush actually got a negative one point bounce.

And wait--there's more! The Gallup poll's internals also show that Kerry continues to lead among independents (49-46) and that both parties' partisans are equally polarized for their respective candidates (90-7). Note that these findings directly contradict the results of the recent Newsweek poll, which showed Bush doing much better among Republican partisans than Kerry was doing among Democratic partisans. Note also that, given the equal polarization of partisans and Kerry's lead among independents, the only possible reason Bush has any lead at all among Gallup's RVs must be because their sample has a GOP advantage on party ID (my guess is 5 points) that is inconsistent with almost all other polling data from this campaign season (see my recent post on the Newsweek poll for more discussion of this issue).

The Rasmussen Reports Presidential Tracking Poll is showing Kerry and Bush dead-even. The MyDD Electoral Vote map is showing Kerry with 307 and Bush with 231. And via Kos, we find the more conventional-looking WSJ state map, based on the new Zogby poll, showing Kerry leading in 12 of the 16 battleground states, including Florida and Pennsylvania, though Bush has apparently doubled his lead in Ohio and retaken Tennessee and Arkansas. I haven't read the Zogby poll itself, yet, so I'm not sure why The Electoral Vote Predictor is still showing Florida tied while MyDD and WSJ are showing it in the blue column. (In any case, the Log Cabin Republicans have finally abandoned Bush. The NYT says pro-Bush gay votes accounted for 45,000 ballots in Florida in 2000.)

So, it's on to the debates, and we'll see how that affects things. And on that subject: Bush is such a wimp!
15:56 BST

Read this stuff

A revealing article in Rolling Stone, The Curse of Dick Cheney:

Should George W. Bush win this election, it will give him the distinction of being the first occupant of the White House to have survived naming Dick Cheney to a post in his administration. The Cheney jinx first manifested itself at the presidential level back in 1969, when Richard Nixon appointed him to his first job in the executive branch. It surfaced again in 1975, when Gerald Ford made Cheney his chief of staff and then -- with Cheney's help -- lost the 1976 election. George H.W. Bush, having named Cheney secretary of defense, was defeated for re-election in 1992. The ever-canny Ronald Reagan was the only Republican president since Eisenhower who managed to serve two full terms. He is also the only one not to have appointed Dick Cheney to office.

This pattern of misplaced confidence in Cheney, followed by disastrous results, runs throughout his life -- from his days as a dropout at Yale to the geopolitical chaos he has helped create in Baghdad. Once you get to know his history, the cycle becomes clear: First, Cheney impresses someone rich or powerful, who causes unearned wealth and power to be conferred on him. Then, when things go wrong, he blames others and moves on to a new situation even more advantageous to himself.

Rorschach knew the numbers: For decades, at least, and likely for generations.

Gypsy Rose Bush
04:29 BST

On message

I'm sorry, I have to laugh:

Cheney Warns Against Vote for Kerry:

DES MOINES, Iowa - Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) on Tuesday warned Americans about voting for Democratic Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites), saying that if the nation makes the wrong choice on Election Day it faces the threat of another terrorist attack.

Are we sure he was warning against Kerry? After all, it's not as if the Bush administration has done a thing to prevent further attacks.

Fafnir gets it: oh no! i am a terrorist!
02:02 BST

Tuesday, 07 September 2004

Useful reads

I was going to write something long and intelligent-sounding about Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, but I didn't. This is Matt Bai's piece about creating a liberal counterpart to the info-structure the right has built over the last 30 years. Please do read it. (But do yourself a favor and hit the single-page link first.)

Happy birthday to the proprietor of Epicycle, who says: Music industry swine post record profits- performing rights giant BMI has returned a profit of $673 million for the last fiscal year, an increase of nearly $43 million or 6.8% over the previous year. This is truly miraculous, considering the music industry's constant ranting and raving about piracy and file sharing - and it's a sure bet that none of the artists they represent are seeing anything like that kind of pay rise... This is not a one-off, though - BMI has seen a 9% average growth every year for the last 10 years, which surely must cast real doubt on the claims that are being used to justify the legal destruction of the consumers' fair use rights. It's a damn shame.

And from the same Epicycle post, And talking of the destruction of fair use... The US Copyright Office have presented a new draft of the villainous Induce Act, which was intended to serve as a compromise between the excessive demands from the law's architects, Senators Hatch and Hollings, and the rights of hardware manufacturers to actually manufacture hardware. However, there seem to be a number of problems with the new proposal, too, and most consumer associations agree that the basic idea is just too flawed to be considered. I do have a bad feeling about all this, though...

Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings: As a minarchist/constitutionalist, I'll cop to inconsistency of principle. But while I agree with the anarcho-capitalists that All governments are gangs, I don't think governments are the only gangs.
22:43 BST


From Eschaton:
First of all, you have to hear what must be the best Bushism ever on the subject of why we need tort reform to protect OB/GYNs.

And, secondly, read Who Cares What Andrew Sullivan Thinks? by Atrios himself:

One annoying habit of my liberal brethren in the blogosphere is to seize on any harsh denunciation of the Bush administration by Andrew Sullivan as a breath of fresh air, or something. Look, there are moderates and open minded Republicans whose opinions we can respect and whose opposition to the Bush administration is more than welcome, but Andrew Sullivan is not one of those people. Andrew Sullivan is one of those people who, as Charles Pierce has suggested, should simply be shunned by all decent people.
Natasha at Pacific Views is back on the subject of Bush's actual true statement, in The Big Rich. Remember when Bush said, "That's not the way it works in the tax code. The big rich dodge taxes, anyway"?

Tarek at The Liquid List discusses the intolerance and bigotry that is fundamental to the views David Brooks brings to The New York Times, as shown again in a recent piece.

Remember I keep saying that it's usually conservatives who insist that anything other than heterosexual intercourse is not sex? Well, Alan Keyes thinks so, too, as Max reports. Meanwhile, Sandwichman plays whack-a-mole with the "lump of labor" straw man. (Also from Max: It's Health Care, Stupid.)

Two articles being discussed today on Al Franken's show and recommended at his blog are Elizabeth Drew's Pinning the Blame (The commission gives a devastating picture of the chaos within the Bush administration on the morning of the attacks...) and Iraq: the Bungled Transition, by Peter Galbraith (The Bush administration's recruitment of staff for the CPA is one of the great scandals of the American occupation, although it has so far received little attention from the press.).
19:54 BST

Getting the word

It's bad enough his name is "Bush", but I'm really getting tired of hearing him equated with other references to female genitalia. Anyone who is anti-pussy is, you know, an excretory orifice, as far as I'm concerned.

Besides, there's something weird and backwards about using "pussy" as a euphemism for the word that really grinds his butt. C'mon, you know the one I mean. It drove him bananas when it was used on his old man, and it is well known that he quails at the prospect of having it applied to him. I've been idly thinking about this for a while but then I read this:

"The W stands for wrong," Mr. Kerry said in a riff on the president's middle initial at a labor picnic in Racine, W.Va.
That's nice, and all, but let's get down to the cheese. This is the guy who choked in that school in Florida, then cowered on Airforce One while Rudy Giuliani, of all people, grabbed the spotlight. Then to show us how tough he is he spends the next three years blustering at everyone ("Bring it on!") from a safe distance. He's terrified of hecklers, he goes into a tailspin if a reporter asks him an obvious question. It seems like 90% of the domestic "security" he has built up in our country is meant to protect him from having to notice that some people have concerns about his leadership.

You know what he is, dammit, so go ahead and say it.

"W" stands for "wimp".
16:13 BST

What's goin' on

Two new pieces at ConsortiumNews this week, both by Robert Parry:

Reality on the Ballot: This election has become a test of whether reality still means anything to the American people, whether this country has moved to essentially a new form of government in which one side is free to lie about everything while a paid "amen corner" of ideological media drowns out any serious public debate.

Mysterious Republican Money: If House Speaker Dennis Hastert is really concerned about drug profits being laundered into the U.S. political process, he would not be sliming billionaire financier George Soros with that suspicion. Hastert would be looking at a principal conservative funder: South Korean theocrat Sun Myung Moon.

Slacktivist on The Foreclosure Society: Or, if you prefer, "The Owe-nership Society."

Kerry Slams 'Wrong War in the Wrong Place'.
15:29 BST

In one eye

How my friends spent Labor Day Weekend.

This page on Fractals has a pretty little applet I liked. (via)

Naked Lunchbox. (And: heh heh heh.)

Republican profile in courage
04:40 BST

Monday, 06 September 2004

I saw this

Via Memeorandum (a very useful site, by the way), a really lame analysis in The New York Times called Who Among Us Does Not Love Windsurfing? (which for some reason I couldn't get a blog-friendly link to), tries and fails to understand why it's Kerry rather than Bush who keeps being painted as the privileged rich boy who hangs out on yachts.

Just found The Art of Peace in my referrers. Stop by and say hello.

Try everything.
23:20 BST

News and views

The Washington Post, in an editorial, lambasts the Justice Department's Dangerous Errors in a terrorism case that they screwed up mightily: Why were red flags not raised when officials of different agencies -- as the department now reports -- became concerned that Mr. Convertino was interested only in analysis that supported his case? Mr. Ashcroft needs to answer these questions and make sure that future terrorism cases are not plagued by such dangerous errors again.

Via Jeralyn at TalkLeft, Medicare premiums to jump 17% and Kerry Rips Bush Over Record Medicare Hike. Also, Judicial Watch is at it again and still on the Scaife payroll.

James Wolcott's The Torturer's Apprentice is probably the most entertaining film review I'll read this week: With his sadistic piety and touchy rectitude, Mel Gibson really is the perfect auteur for the Bush era. (And here is a pretty funny non-review of a book. I rather liked this, as well.)

George Bush said America and the world are now safer. Josh Marshall appears to suspect this is not true. Oh, and let's not forget this.

And I knew I'd seen this linked somewhere and I think I forgot to take note of it earlier: GOP Prism Distorts Some Kerry Positions by Glenn Kessler and Dan Morgan in The Washington Post fact-checks some smears.


Finding the path
Missing the forest
19:13 BST

Blogger's notebook

From The Farmer at Corrente: What if John Kerry's "official" military records were AWOL... Read and enjoy, and then mail it to the relevant parties. And Intelligence Matters.

Just because I regard her as one of the best female TV characters ever: Inara.

Jeanne at Body and Soul has a good suggestion for where you can send your dollars for the campaign.

Echidne analyzes the Republican campaign, more in sorrow than in anger, I guess.

Sadly, No! has the right take on Richard Perle's claim that he was duped by Conrad Black.

Republican wave
16:53 BST

This is America

Bring back complete sentences.
Get this Kerry/Edwards button here.

Scorpio has a good post up explaining what "ownership society" means, in terms so simple that even a conservative should be able to understand it.

Just a Bump in the Beltway has your Labor Day post.

Don't stop saying that Bush is a miserable failure - Trapper John counting the ways at Daily Kos.

Swift Boat Liars - Atrios learns that Roy F. "Latch" Hoffman is a twofer.

Drunk Again? Susan at An Age Like This wonders, but I seem to recall an official acknowledgement somewhere that Bush was taking some kind of anti-depressants, and for a lot of drunks that's much the same thing.

Michael Kinsley on The Case Against Him: What do we know about George W. Bush that we didn't know four years ago, when most of us voted for someone else? We ought to know a lot more. Never has anyone become President of the United States less pretested by life. And never has any President been tested so dramatically so soon after taking office. (via)

Bob Graham says Michael Moore was right.

TomDispatch has posted the introduction to James Carroll's Crusade: Chronicles of an Unjust War: Here is the deeper significance of Bush's inadvertent reference to the Crusades: Instead of being a last recourse or a necessary evil, violence was established then as the perfectly appropriate, even chivalrous, first response to what is wrong in the world. Via Gail Online.

Great moments in American medicine
13:31 BST

Total Recall

Maureen Dowd had one of her days of fighting on the side of Good, in Amnesia in the Garden, where she goes back to a post-WWII column by the first woman ever to win a Pulitzer in journalism and demonstrates that Bush misused her words.

Yes, in the early days after the defeat of Germany, that country really was a mess. But we were blessed with a leader who was prepared to change course when things weren't working. Atrios, having first quoted MoDo, says this:

Kudos to her for picking up on this. The truth is, in 1946 Germany was in crisis. And, there was a discussion about what to be done. And a proposal. What was the proposal called? Oh, yes, the Marshall Plan, which Marshall proposed in June of 1947 and which began being implemented in 1948. Now, it would be wonderful to say that this is an example of how things could be turned around in Iraq, but the Marshall Plan "only" cost us about $100 billion dollars, in current terms. How much have we already spent in Iraq? How much of those reconstruction dollars are being siphoned off into contractors pockets and diverted to "security" costs?

Iraq is a disaster now, as Germany was then, with the added bonus that fighting is still going on and people are still being blown up. And, clapping louder isn't going to fix it, and nor will disparaging those who rightly point that out.

And follows up with this:
The thing about the Marshall Plan was that it wasn't just about throwing money into reconstruction. Though it was that, too (little known fact: Britain was the recipient of the most Marshall Plan dollars). But, its success involved serious people thinking hard about how to take the existing European societies, taking into account the various stakeholders and the conflicts between them, and figuring out how to fashion a transition to the modern mixed economies they still possess today. It didn't involve a bunch of Heritage/AEI flunkies cruising in and trying to declare by fiat some sort of flat tax privatized parody of a libertarian paradise.
That's a vital thing to remember - the neocons have done everything wrong, here. The Marshall Plan worked because it allowed the people of devastated nations to work together to rebuild their own countries - it didn't leave those people unemployed while foreigners came in and overcharged for a shoddy job. Unions, national healthcare, and a variety of other programs were part of a larger vision to make the best use of thin resources and cement ties between diverse communities. The neocons have done the opposite.

You should think about this now, because it may contain lessons we'll need at home, soon.
01:12 BST

Sunday, 05 September 2004

Sunday evening reading

In The Independent, Bush by numbers: Four years of double standards by Graydon Carter: 0 Number of times Bush mentioned Osama bin Laden in his three State of the Union addresses. Via Blog for Democracy.

Chris Bowers at MyDD points out that Newsweek is using polling samples weighted toward Republicans.

Locus has the Hugo winners. Well, most of 'em.

Kevin Drum: In other words, anyone who thinks they won't find excuses for further military action in a second term just isn't paying attention. A vote for Bush is a vote for more wars, and with this crew in charge it's unlikely they'll turn out any better than Iraq has. They have more "intelligence". Oh, no.

Gary Farber noticed some words not spoken in Bush's speech. But read the posts above, too, he's been doing a lot of reading and thinking.

Jerome Doolittle checks out a Black Commentator article on the Republicans' Big Tent and how they are trying to tempt blacks into it.
22:06 BST

Feed your head

Digby has a long, interesting post up about the politics of smearing that I think you should read. One point he makes is that no matter what the Kerry campaign had done, the Swift Boat Liars' smears still would have gotten out there and still have been effective in hurting the campaign. And that fighting back effectively will probably mean doing a lot of fighting on the same ground. The difference is this: Bush fights with lies, because the truth is on our side. Bush really did go AWOL long enough to be technically a deserter, and Bush really does lie about reading the Bible, and Bush really has screwed everything up in Afghanistan and in Iraq and in our economy, and he's lying about all that, too. And: Why did he go into that classroom after the first plane hit the tower? And why, when they had Osama at Tora Bora, did Bush decide to let him go because invading Iraq was more important? He reacted to 9/11 by hiding all day. This is a man who wets his pants over being asked obvious questions by reporters. He can't lead; he can't even explain himself. And how does he react? By trying to get everyone killed. Bush is crazy with fear. It's that simple.

Just in case you've forgotten, go read Joe Conason's old Harper's article on George W. Bush's Success Story.

John Emerson notes that Matt has closed his comments and Kevin Drum is thinking about it, because right-wing trolls are making discussion impossible. (I have to admit, this is the sort of thing that makes me reluctant to institute comments, although I don't get anywhere near their hit levels. Yes, I would be merciless to trolls, but it sounds like it could become a full-time job.) But Emerson has more to say about it than the mere practicality of maintaining comment threads; it's about how right-wingers insert themselves in order to shut-down debate, and how liberals let them.

Ruy Teixeira explains how Gallup determines its samples.

Will Saletan on Bush's speech: What Bush would do if he were president: Recession. Unemployment. Corporate fraud. A war based on false premises that has cost us $200 billion and nearly a thousand American lives. They're all hills we've "been given to climb." It's as though Bush wasn't president. As though he didn't get the tax cuts he wanted. As though he didn't bring about postwar Iraq and authorize the planning for it. All this was "given," and now Bush can show up, three and a half years into his term, and start solving the problems some other president left behind. Atrios is threatening to examine the history to discover when Saletan figured this stuff out.

Marvel Swimsuit Special (via)
14:20 BST

Saturday, 04 September 2004

The swine parade

Okay, Here's the MSNBC video of the Chris Matthews interview with Godzella, and here's Matthews' Hardblog entry about it afterwards.

Now, we all know that Tweety is a jerk, that he spent years on MSGOP blasting out RNC talking points and pretending to liberal integrity while making sure no one ever talked about anything of substance. But, honestly, Miller is being the perfect Republican shill in this interview, which means he was as dishonest and nasty to Matthews as he was to all of us in his speech. Matthews was really being pretty polite to Miller and gave him every opportunity to explain himself, but instead Ol' Zell deliberately misconstrued what Matthews said and changed the subject to attack Matthews rather than answer the questions.

And let me be clear, sometimes it's absolutely fair to respond to a question by pointing out that it's the wrong question, but this wasn't one of them. Tweety was asking questions that went directly to Miller's speech, and Miller was acting like there was something outrageous about it.

A lot of people are quoting Ken Layne's recent piece going after Miller, which begins by quoting Andrew Sullivan's own horrified reaction. Sullivan seems shocked to discover this vein in American politics; Layne has always known it was there, but hadn't seen it paraded so blatantly of late.

I'd stopped reading Layne a while back when he seemed to have lost the plot, but he seems to have pulled himself together, if this post from Arthur Silber is anything to go by. Arthur quotes another Layne post:

If you feel like it, please explain this weirdness. I'll ask that you not use the "But it will be so much worse under Kerry," because you know that isn't true. There is no way in hell a Republican-controlled Congress (or a split Congress) and a Democrat in the White House will spend a fraction of what the one-party government of 2000-2004 has spent. A gridlocked federal government will not engage in wild misadventures, or the creation of giant new bureaucracies and cabinet-level departments as it has under Bush and the GOP-controlled Congress.

With the Crystal Methamphetamine Ball I keep for such occasions, I can predict those of you who continue to invent apologies for this government will tell me that logic, responsibility, coherence and competence don't matter a damned bit & never will again, because 3,000 of the 300,000,000 people living in this country were killed by an elusive enemy three years ago, and that for some mysterious reason the current inept administration should be further rewarded for failing to catch the culprits, failing to make this country safer from either similar or new-fangled attacks, failing to remove the Taliban and Al Qaeda from Afghanistan or Pakistan, failing to win an elective war that had nothing to do with those who launched a war on our shores, and not only failing to make a dent in the Islamic Terrorism movement but in fact creating millions upon millions of ready new converts who now have a massive wrecked state in the center of the Middle East as a home and training base for decades to come, along with a very new and real reason to attack us on every flank that makes Bin Laden's flowery historical rhetoric seem quaint by comparison.

I just can't figure out how anyone can look at our post Sept. 11 leadership and see anything but a smoking heap of tragic failure, and yet that seems to be the only thing the Bush loyalists have to offer as a concrete reason to re-elect this administration. Why? Is Losing the new Winning?

In more familiar territory, Digby joins Pierce in wondering why there has been no tribute to the true heroes of the Republican Party. You remember them - they fought valiantly against the Tubesteak Messiah.
15:02 BST

Watching the defectives

Soros Blasts Hastert over Drug Allegation: In a tartly worded demand faxed to Hastert, Soros wrote: "Your recent comments implying that I am receiving funds from drug cartels are not only untrue, but also deeply offensive. You do a discredit to yourself and to the dignity of your office by engaging in these dishonest smear tactics. You should be ashamed.

In Salon, the real reason George Bush transferred to Alabama: "The impression I had was that Georgie was raising a lot of hell in Houston, getting in trouble and embarrassing the family, and they just really wanted to get him out of Houston and under Jimmy's wing," Allison's widow, Linda, told me. "And Jimmy said, 'Sure.' He was so loyal."

Jon Stewart does it right on his reaction to Arnie's speech. (Although he failed to point out that Nixon never debated Humphrey, but you can't have everything.)

Disturbing food (via)
13:40 BST

What the papers say

From the Baltimore City Paper, Under Protest: That the state's anti-terrorism forces are monitoring Catholic lay workers and Quakers perturbs the peace activists, who hope to learn more about the spying. "There has been at least one instance, and probably ongoing instances, of treating the American Friends Service Committee in Baltimore as a terrorist group," Farquhar says referring to the Quaker organization that the Pledge of Resistance group is loosely organized within. "I am still enough of a Quaker that that makes my blood boil."

From The Los Angeles Times, Guantanamo Farce: The Bush administration is ignoring, if not defying outright, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that all terror suspects must be able to challenge their imprisonment.
03:46 BST

Tweety & Zell

I notice I'm getting a lot of hits off Google from people who appear to be looking for Zell Miller's astonishing performance on Hardball, so here's the transcript of his post-speech interview with Christ Matthews. (Scroll down.)
00:40 BST

Friday, 03 September 2004

Stuff from around

Neal Pollack: The war in Iraq isn't going as poorly as its critics imply. After all, not everyone is dead yet. Also, there's no doubt that the mullahs of Iran are doing everything they can to invite devastating airstrikes on their capital. Bang, bang. You're dead. But good lord, people. It isn't a crime to oppose the President, even one who climbs a pile of rubble to hug an old fireman, even one who "becomes who he is" after throwing out the first pitch of a World Series game.

Important, must-read contribution from Ginger Stampley concerning an important campaign of high concern to The Sideshow. (I mean it, you dopes!)

Peter Richardson, who won my heart with Strike and GLC, is doing Churchill: The Hollywood Years. I'm so excited!

Good post by Josh Marshall analyzing the content of the convention speeches as a whole: If one weren't so level-headed one might think someone was trying to whip up mass-hysteria.

23:31 BST


This is from the BBC "weblog" of the RNC (Really Not Compassionate) convention:

File this one in "stereotypes people have about their political opponents" category.

On the Wednesday evening of the convention, a colleague overheard one Republican delegate say to another after the benedictory prayer for the evening, "I bet the Democrats didn't pray at their convention."

Democrat being some code word for godless heathen.

My colleague interjected saying that he was in Boston, and yes, indeed the Democrats did pray at their convention.

The delegate quickly said, "Yes, but to which god?"

(No permalinks on the page, alas; you need to scroll down. So I've quoted that post in full.)
21:11 BST

Notes from the war zone

"Four Years In," says Atrios, "And all they've got is Bush standing on a mass grave with a bullhorn." Too right. And we're supposed to think Bush is some kind of hero because he went to New York four days after 9/11. Well, guess what? A lot of other people got there first. Bill Clinton got there all the way from Australia. Like Atrios says, this is how the Republicans honor real heroes.

Preview of Coming Attractions: Final tally: 1700 people arrested in NYC during the Republican National Convention, three times as many as in Chicago in 1968 -- hundreds of them illegally detained, hundreds of them arrested although they were not protesting. Gitmo North? Let's just call it a trial run by the Bush administration to see what they can get away with.

Looks like Hesiod can't resist - great post on the source of Denny Hastert's conspiracy theory about Soros.

At Body and Soul, Jeanne finds some real moral clarity from Juan Cole. And check out her post on the Monday protests.

Jon Stewart: Bush: Because He Says So. Show it to everyone you know.

Entertainment section: 2004 Crop Circles.
18:15 BST


If you include dead American service personnel who have not yet been identified, we've already broken 1,000. Juan Cole looks at the numbers. (Thanks to Simbaud of King of Zembla for the tip.)
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Thursday, 02 September 2004


There's just one headline for Dick Cheney's performance, nasty as it was: Where's Mary?

I cannot imagine a time in my life, no matter how angry my parents were with any one of us, that they would have deliberately excluded one of us from a family presentation.

It would have been different if neither daughter had been invited to the stage, but one was, and the other wasn't. And everyone who knows he has two daughters noticed it.

Where the hell is Mary?
17:22 BST

Ordinary people

Tom Terez is Another Republican for Kerry:

As a registered Republican, I never thought I'd eagerly campaign for a Democrat seeking the highest office in the land. But here I am investing my time, talent, and money in a small effort to help put John Kerry in the White House.
I just heard him on Air America's Morning Sedition saying something like, "This president has turned out to be a high-risk gambler and every roll of the dice is a loser." I thought I'd check out his website.

Last month Tom saw his candidate speak in-person for the first time:

My neighbor wanted to know what many want to know: Is John Kerry really the real deal?

I've heard plenty of speakers during my 41 years, and many have inspired me. But only twice have I been so moved and motivated that I resolved to take major action. The first time was in 1999, when I heard Colin Powell speak at a conference. He delivered a powerful message about the American Dream and human potential -- so powerful that I resolved to start my own business. A month later I did just that, and I've never looked back.

The second time was on July 25, when I heard John Kerry during his one-hour gathering with a group of 100 people in Columbus.

Before you dismiss this as a likely rah-rah comment from an ardent Kerry supporter, let me confess that I was expecting an okay speech that would touch on most of the key issues and make Kerry supporters feel, well, pretty good. I've seen plenty of politicians, and most of them hit singles or doubles on their campaign stops.

But on this day in Columbus, John Kerry hit a home run. He came across as a leader, not as a politician.

Kerry's intelligence came through on every answer. There were no scripted questions; everything was fair game. By my careful count, he received only two softball pitches from the ten people who asked questions. No matter how difficult the question, Kerry gave a solid answer. He's a smart guy who knows the issues inside-out.
As he was leaving, he walked past a long hedge. On the other side were people holding up Bush-Cheney signs. I watched as Kerry stopped, greeted them, called them over, and reached over the hedge to shake their hands. After both sides exchanged kind words, he continued toward his waiting vehicle -- and I watched as the Bush-Cheney supporters gave grudging nods of respect.

So what do I think of John Kerry now that I've seen him in person? I think he would be a tremendous Commander in Chief and a great leader to get us back on track. He's a serious person for serious times, and his empathy and understanding will make all the difference as he brings unity back to our country.

Wow, what a contrast. He went over and shook hands with people who had actually come out to protest against him. George Bush has layers and layers of security to make sure no one who isn't firmly on his side ever gets near him. I wish someone had made ads showing that.

John Prather wrote to him about seeing an even sharper contrast when he attended rallies by both candidates on the same day. And Tom profiles two other people, a Republican Marine Mom and a Republican Veteran, who explain why they, too are supporting Kerry.
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Mental floss

Anyone who goes to Heaven comes through me - Roz Kaveney's latest theology report: Meanwhile, on a linked matter, the Archbishop of Canterbury has actually confronted fundamentalists and the Pope on another issue - whether good non-Christians go to Heaven. 'Neither I nor any other Christian controls access to Heaven...I say this as someone who is quite happy to say that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through him. But how God leads people through Jesus to heaven - that can be quite varied I think.'

Wendy McElroy has a useful warning up about pension plans: More and more companies are defaulting on or fudging the terms of pension plans, especially through bankruptcy. In a column entitled "Baby boomers: Wake up!", Ellen Ratner writes, "An acquaintance of mine put in 29 years of his life -- over half of his life -- only to find out there was no gold at the end of the rainbow. The bankruptcy judge and union agreed that the cutoff for pensions was 30 years. Twenty-nine years and 11 months seniority means you get zippo. Thirty years, you get some retirement." And many North Americans have no Plan B for financial security in their old age. Also, Swift Yacht Vets for Bush.

Political Strategy posted a bunch of demo pics from Monday. And Stu Finkel already knew to expect the hatefest - inside the convention, rather than in the streets.
13:26 BST

Body work

At last! The fall catalog!

Matthew Holt (of The Health Care Blog) sent a heads-up for Graham Walker's animation explaining Single-Payer.

Ross Silverman, formerly of The Bloviator, has packed up his old site and started a new one, The Public Health Press (And I see he's also got Graham's animation linked.) He notes that there's no doublespeak name for this administration atrocity. He also takes a look at the partisan politics around the Frist-Clinton article on health care that appeared in The Washington Post the other day.
03:17 BST

Convention notes

Matt Stoller, blogging the DNC, said, "I hate these reporters. I just hate them. They make me sick."

Ok, so the reason I am angry is because the Democrats are getting up and talking about statistics and what the consequences are of Republican policies. Then every single question is about whether whichever ad or speech is helping John Kerry in the polls or hurting him. I talked to a guy from CNN and he basically said that the best news is from the Daily Show.
Meanwhile, Ezra reports that Zell Gets Smacked.

LiberalOasis says I Got Yer Compassion Right Here.

And Arianna says: These are the moderate endorsements of the most immoderate president and his tragically immoderate policies. Can we stop, please, calling them moderates?
01:45 BST

Wednesday, 01 September 2004

Political Notes

I just watched Ralph Nader explain that "we" are just showing John Kerry what he can do to win. Then Jean Kirkpatrick said that Bush has learned the hard lesson that combat can be unpredictable and will carry that lesson into a second term. I don't know what drugs they're on.

Ms. Musings agrees with Howard Kurtz that Bush's daughters should stay off the stage. Matt Yglesias watched the Bush twins and asked the ultimate character question: Who raised these two?

The Talking Dog proves that the bravest man at the Republican convention is Michael Moore. (Okay, he says some other stuff, too.)

Ruy Teixeira says the public is still giving Bush more negative ratings than can be good for him. He also says the Time poll shows Bush and Kerry tied, and NPR's survey puts Kerry ahead. Me, I'm waiting to see if he gets a convention bump, and what comes next.
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A heads-up

The Smirking Chimp has:

Helen Thomas: 'Hand Rumsfeld his walking papers'

M. J. Parrish: 'The new road to serfdom'

David Corn: 'The McCain fizzle'

Jimmy Breslin: 'From the heights of hypocrisy'

Jonathan Greenberg: 'Five reasons Giuliani's no hero'

Michael Moore: 'The GOP doesn't reflect America'

And I've even read some of them.
21:32 BST

I'm not watching

That's right, I'm not watching the RepubliCon. Other people are, though. As everyone knows by now, the GOP has done its best to hide most of it's high-profile nuts (with the obvious exception), and spotlighted its moderates and the closest thing it has to heroes. Those would be McCain, who really did do some heroic things, and also a guy who didn't:

Kevin Drum notices something odd about MSNBC's question for the day on Rudy's speech, which gives you the choice of two positive answers and no negative or even neutral answers. Jeralyn at TalkLeft has a reminder of why New Yorkers didn't love having Giuliani as their mayor, and at Sisyphus Shrugged, Julia explains why Rudy is no hero of 9/11.

And McCain? Sheesh. You sure can see why Jerry Lee Friendly can't wait to vote.
17:55 BST

Media action alert

Atrios has a post up called Trained Seelye that points us to this one at Septic Tank:

Democrat girly men are always whining about inclusiveness, but in fact, the big meanies won't let pro-lifers speak at their conventions. I know this because The Times' Kit Seelye says it's true, twice in one special convention section! Here:
Stephen Moore, who runs the Club for Growth, an anti-tax group, and is also a contributor, tried hard to be equally sanguine. "Do you think the Democrats would ever let someone who is pro-life speak at their convention?" he asked before dashing into the book party.

Except, of course, that it isn't true at all.

Atrios says:
Once more, with feeling...

This year, an ANTI-CHOICE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN SPOKE AT THE DNC IN PRIME TIME. Yes, for some reason, I was the only one who noticed, but IT STILL HAPPENED.

The claims that Democrats refuse speaking slots to all anti-choice members has been refuted repeatedly, but Kit Seelye picks up those RNC talking points and never questions them.

As MWO would be telling you: Write to The New York Times and tell them why Seelye should be replaced with a real political reporter.
15:44 BST


I just heard John Nichols on Air America point out that Dick Cheney got popped a couple of times for drunk driving, too, and he never sobered up. And he's the one everyone thinks is the real president. Hm. Nichols also says that Cheney has been "using heart attacks" for years in campaigns. And that while he is long on ambition, Cheney isn't really big in the brains department - what people are seeing is ambition, not intellect. For example, this is the guy who convinced Gerald Ford to drop Nelson Rockefeller from the ticket because they had to win the south, which is how they lost New York.

I'm not sure why it's happening, but a lot of blogs seem to be closing down at the moment. Our farewell for the day is from Enemy of the people.

Man, I can't believe my brother didn't even tell me his band has a website.
14:08 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, September 2004

August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
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November 2001
Is the media in denial?
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And, no, it's not named after the book or the movie. It's just another sideshow.