October 31, 2004

SimianBrain Propaganda

For those who will be hosting or attending election night parties on Tuesday, let me recommend SimianBrain's Guide to House and Senate Races (Word format).

A one-page reference guide, it's designed to catch those people up who haven't been following the developments within the 50 states' races as closely as you and I have. It has the major ones as I see them in a handily-editable format so you can add local races, ballot initiatives, or change the text to make it appear that I back Lisa Murkowski or Alan Keyes. How much fun is that?

Posted by shamanic at 10:17 AM

October 30, 2004

Conservative Hypocrisy on Abortion

Beliefnet has a great article on John Kerry and abortion. It turns out that Kerry opposes third-trimester abortions and in the past supported an amendment put up by Tom Daschle (anti-abortion crusader, assuredly) that says, "It shall be unlawful for a physician to abort a viable fetus unless the physician certifies that the continuation of the pregnancy would threaten the mother's life or risk grievous injury to her physical health."

This strikes me as an eminently reasonable position on abortion--it includes provisions to protect the life and health of the mother, and protects the ruling in Roe v. Wade. In other words, this amendment is almost certainly constitutional, unlike the exception-free laws that the Republicans use as a cudgel in the debate.

The ACLU attacked the 1997 Daschle amendment. NARAL attacked it. And Republicans defeated it, because they really don't care about abortion except as a tool to inflame the base.

If you're like me and believe that banning abortions causes women to be maimed and killed in illegal abortions, but want to see the numbers of abortions in America reduced with sensible policies that diminish the need for abortion, this seems like that kind of legislation. My guess is that a doctor facing a woman who had decided so late that she did not wish to keep the pregnancy would direct her to local adoption services groups to proceed from there.

Is it a perfect solution? Of course not. There is no perfect solution to this continuing moral dilemma, but this would certainly prevent far more abortions in America than the so-called Partial Birth Abortion ban, even had it been allowed by the courts.

Posted by shamanic at 11:28 AM

The Return of bin Laden

Completely useless AP story about the bin Laden tape and the candidates' responses to it.

It doesn't mention that al Qaeda tapes are usually released within a week of al Qaeda attacks.

I've been officially creeped out by this since I heard it. I think it is intended to influence the election, and I would like an explanation as to why, three years and two deposed dictatorships later, this mass murderer is still alive to make tapes.

Miserable failure.

Posted by shamanic at 8:43 AM

October 29, 2004

Sleeping

Hey all, sorry for the sporadic postings but I've been having an odd reaction to Welbutrin and haven't gotten a real night's sleep in nearly two weeks.

The upside is that though I'm sleepwalking through life, I feel stupendous! But, I have no concentration, have been busy at work with my impaired judgement, and frankly have been needing to socialize with more than electrons in anticipation of the election.

I'm feeling a bit like the unnamed narrator in Fight Club, but so far don't have any unaccounted for wounds.

Hopefully my body's overwhelming need for sleep will overtake the dopamine rush this weekend and I'll be cognitively back at it by Sunday.

Halloween ... totally one of the three Big Gay Holidays (Pride and Mardi Gras are the other two). What defines a Big Gay Holiday, you ask? Two things: booze and costumes. We're lushes and we LOVE to play with identity.

I {heart} this time of year. I hope you do, too.

Read Kos. Read My Due Diligence. Read TPM. Read Eschaton.

Real entries soon...

Posted by shamanic at 6:01 PM

October 28, 2004

Al Qaqaa

As always, Josh Marshall is unparalleled in his analysis.

Posted by shamanic at 7:44 AM

October 27, 2004

Florida Anyone?

Good lord...

The US Postal Service appears to have lost some 60,000 absentee ballots that were sent out in Broward County, FL on October 7 and 8.

Salas said the missing absentee ballot forms did not yet represent a major election problem because people had the option of voting early before next Tuesday, when Bush is being challenged by Democratic Sen. John Kerry.

Poll workers will be able to cross-check through lap top computers hooked up to a central database whether voters had already sent in absentee ballots. On election day itself, those who requested absentee ballots will only be able to vote in person if they bring the blank absentee forms with them.


Ahem. Many people request absentee ballots because they will be absent from their district on or around election day.

This represents roughly 5% of the electorate in Broward County, which Al Gore won by 210,000 votes in 2000.

Posted by shamanic at 7:57 PM

Eminem's "Mosh"--Best Art in Politics of 2004

For my money anyway. Oh wait, you don't need any money, because you can watch the video online.

Those of you who know me know that music is very low on my list of priorities in life, but Eminem is an artist who I've always been really taken with. In the late 90s when I first became aware of him, I thought that he was an extremely skilled performance artist, a latter day Andy Kaufman who was playing the ultimate gangsta rapper. The public dramas with his mother, the gun charges, and the general on-camera growing up that he was (in fact) doing, seemed so far over the top to me that it was months before I believed that he really was an incredibly cerebral hip hop artist and not something even more cerebral.

This is likely to be considered one of coolest videos of the year (not that I've seen any other videos this year, so I guess I can't compare it to anything) and in a year that's been filled with excellent art probing callus politics, this may be the best yet (though I haven't seen Fahrenheit 9/11--because I'm just your typical leftist, you know?).

Posted by shamanic at 7:23 PM

GA-12 Campaign Not Going Well

A Dem insider in GA-12 reports that John Barrow has run a terrible campaign against Max Burns, alienated natural allies, and utterly failed at bringing together the Democratic coalition necessary to win the Athens-to-Savannah district. My source states that Barrow's only real hope of winning is on the coattails of Kerry and Denise Majette, and given the turnout expectations, I wouldn't say this is out of the question.

Says my source, of Barrow: "John Barrow is going to blow the best opportunity for a democratic pickup in the country...I hate him, even though I voted for him." Other choice words used in the conversation: "inept", "fucking idiot", "hamstrung, not by a divisive primary, but by his approach to people".

I don't even know what to say.

Posted by shamanic at 10:57 AM

If Albania Could Elect Our President

It'd elect Ralph Nader. Which probably says more about Albania than Nader.

Posted by shamanic at 9:19 AM

October 26, 2004

Andrew Sullivan Does, At Last, For Real, Endorse Kerry

It's been a long time coming, but Andrew Sullivan, author of Virtually Normal, senior editor of The New Republic magazine, immigrant to our great nation, and possibly America's preeminent gay conservative, endorses John Kerry for President of the United States.

This is a tremendously well-balanced article, giving Bush the praise he is due for taking the nation to war in Afghanistan to topple a regime that harbored the terrorists who killed 3,000 of our neighbors, and in my opinion, too much praise for Bush's unwillingness to ask critical questions of those who answer to him prior to turning the nation's attention to Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Sullivan begins by explaining that the contest between George W. Bush and John F. Kerry is not a decision between the "lesser of two evils". He says that we should seek "the lesser of two risks," and almost incredibly, Sullivan deems Kerry to be the lesser of these two risks.

I think back to 1994, when my libertarian leanings were still firm and the Republican Revolution seemed like a giant leap for smaller, smarter government, and I feel sympathy for Sullivan's disaffection in 2004.

And if I had to point to one thing that sets Sullivan and myself apart, aside from the age difference, the incredible intelligence belied by Sullivan's impressive resume (Oxford University, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard, editor of the New Republic at age 27, for him, not me), it would be that I have lived in the South since I was seven years old.

1994 marked the ascendance of the Southern Republican party. The Southern Republican party, for those who have not followed US Government policy for the last four years, believes in "social conservatism" (which is code for wanting homosexuals to be denied basic human rights), opposes abortion (but also opposes government support for health care policy that would make prenatal care universally available "because it's socialist", and has therefore watched an alarming increase in abortions during Mr. Bush's presidency), wants subsidies for poor people done away with (but subsidies for multinational corporations expanded), hates unions (but loves outsourcing), wants lower taxes (and doesn't care about deficits), and basically is obsessed with the idea that people who don't keep nice lawns in front of their big houses (they, of course, oppose illegal immigration but employ illegal immigrants) are a menace to our country which must be snuffed out (not unlike radical Islamists, who bear no similarity to radical Christians such as themselves).

No wonder Sullivan has lost faith in George Bush. Bush is a parody of conservatism. The culture that surrounds George Bush, the one that views questioning and challenging ideas as disloyalty, is poisonous to a democracy.

For me, it is disturbing enough that Americans are forced to sign loyalty oaths if they wish to see their President speak. It demonstrates the creeping influence of Bush's Culture of Disinterest. He will preach to the choir; he will answer the questions of those who don't question, but he rolls his eyes and huffs if he has to be in a room with an American who criticizes his views (the Miami debate).

In my workplace, my department is unfortunately dysfunctional, but however bad things become (and they get pretty bad from time to time) I can always approach any number of people with positions above me and say, "This is not working," and they hear me out in full. If they agree with my assessments, they try to change the situation. If they think I've assessed it wrong, they explain it from where they sit, and usually my concerns are mostly addressed.

This is a creative relationship where all parties seek to make the whole the best that it can be. What looks to have happened in the White House over the last four years is that the leadership has steeped in a culture that punishes dissent, and in fact, the leadership is aware that the leader, George Bush, strongly disapproves of dissent. This does not strengthen America, the most creative of national relationships. A lack of information weakens any regime, and Mr. Bush's disapproval of dissonant voices leaves his administration unable to make decisions that strengthen and enrich America. It’s no wonder that Andrew Sullivan can’t find it reasonable to endorse Mr. Bush for four more years. Sullivan seeks a greater America, and while Mr. Kerry may be able to move us towards that, Mr. Bush almost certainly cannot. In the contest between what may be and what can not be, Sullivan has chosen the possible over the impossible.

In doing so, Sullivan doesn't betray his conservatism, he embraces it.

Posted by shamanic at 8:43 PM

3/4s

That's nearly how many Georgia voters are expected to go to the polls for the general election.

72% turnout expected during Advance Voting and on November 2, which is just terrific from a civic perspective. On the other hand, it probably means that Amendment 1 will pass with a huge margin, as will the President.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe hundreds of thousands of extra voters are turning out this year to put this stuff to bed. We'll know Tuesday.

Posted by shamanic at 4:25 PM

October 25, 2004

Cynthia McKinney

I know I once said that if Cynthia McKinney won the primary for GA-4, that she would have my full backing, but standing in front of the touchscreen device, I couldn't bring myself to back her.

She has a Republican challenger who cannot possibly win, and I considered voting for her, but as a lesbian living in a post-Lawrence v. Texas, pre-Federal Marriage Amendment world, I had to stand firm in my decision to vote for no Republicans. I'm sure she's a very nice woman, she may even oppose the extremism so prevalent in her party right now, but it's too late for that sort of thinking.

I wrote in my own name. Well, typed it in. For my friends who read this, if you are in GA-4 and can't support McKinney or her can't-possibly-win challenger (I'd tell you her name, but I honestly have no idea what it is), go ahead and write my name in. I'd appreciate your support.

If you're stuck with this conundrum in GA-4 and would like some guidance, drop me a line. I'd make a freakin' great congressperson.

Posted by shamanic at 11:43 PM

I Voted

So... tag. You're it.

Posted by shamanic at 7:35 PM

October 24, 2004

Advance Voting in Georgia

Ladies and Gentlemen, tomorrow it begins: election 2004. Okay, so Democrats are basically disenfranchised, but here's your Advance Voting Information and Locations.

Vote no on Amendment 1 and let's see if we can't push it back. Or at least make it close.

Posted by shamanic at 11:11 PM

When Winning Proves You've Lost

Here are some electoral margins from Incumbents past.

Truman: 303 in 1948 (Truman was not truly an incumbent, having succeeded Roosevelt following his death in 1945)
Eisenhower: 457 in 1956
Johnson: 486 in 1964 (Johnson was not truly an incumbent, having succeeded JFK.)
Nixon: 520 in 1972
Reagan: 525 in 1984
Clinton: 379 in 1996

As you can see, everytime an incumbent has been elected since 1948 (the first post-WWII election) incumbents have taken a convincing majority of electoral votes. Clinton, who had the smallest margin of those listed, (Truman not being a true incumbent) took 370 in 1992, so in essence he expanded his electoral lead by the time of the 1996 election.

I encourage you to visit Electoral Vote.com, as well as an Electoral College calculator.

It is unlikely that Bush will take more than 300 electoral votes (in fact, he's fighting hard to win roughly 280), and this is during wartime. If I'm not mistaken, this makes George W. Bush the least popular incumbent in the post WWII era.

Posted by shamanic at 1:37 PM

Republicans Hatch Plan to Prevent Voting

It just gets stranger. The New York Times tell us that the GOP is unleashing hordes of volunteers to "challenge voters" in Ohio:

Ohio election officials said that by state law, the parties' challengers would have to show "reasonable" justification for doubting the qualifications of a voter before asking a poll worker to question that person. And, the officials said, challenges could be made on four main grounds: whether the voter is a citizen, is at least 18, is a resident of the county and has lived in Ohio for the previous 30 days.

Elections officials in Ohio said they hoped the criteria would minimize the potential for disruption. But Democrats worry that the challenges will inevitably delay the process and frustrate the voters.

"Our concern is Republicans will be challenging in large numbers for the purpose of slowing down voting, because challenging takes a long time,'' said David Sullivan, the voter protection coordinator for the national Democratic Party in Ohio. "And creating long lines causes our people to leave without voting.''


If I walk into a polling place and some thug starts demanding information from me, I will be on my cell phone with the police in approximately five seconds. I don't live in a swing state, so it isn't going to happen, but I hope others will utilize the method.

Publicizing these methods is intended to drive down turnout, as well, and so we're going to end up with a situation where hundreds or thousands of Republican activists are dispatched to heavily Democratic and minority precincts to harass people while Democratic activists intervene to protect voters' rights.

Nice. America's Republican Party: You're Either With Us or You're Against Us, and if you're against us, we'll obstruct your right to vote.

Posted by shamanic at 1:48 AM

October 23, 2004

Chris Bowers Digs the Details on Polls

Chris Bowers of My Due Diligencetears apart more polling data tonight. He's attempting to build an alternate narrative to prevent the Republican Party from perptrating the kind of fraud they've been working for months now. Here's a quote, but the full post is longer and worth reading:

* Kerry holds a commanding lead in the battleground states, according to post-debate polling.

* Undecideds break heavily for the challenger, especially in Presidential Elections. This will only serve to further increase Kerry's lead in the battleground states.

* According to Real Clear Politics, which regularly fishes for pro-Bush polls, Bush is under 47.5 in states worth 277 electoral votes. It will be very difficult for him to win any of these states, including Ohio where he rarely travels anymore. He is under 49 in states worth 316 electoral votes, and over 50 in states worth only 202 electoral votes.

* According to the most recent polls from the fifteen polling firms that have conducted polls entirely after the third debate, Bush is only at 47.3% simple mean to Kerry's 45.9% simple mean. The median is Bush 47, Kerry 46. In the history of Presidential elections since there was public polling, no incumbent has amassed a large enough percentage of undecideds to hold on to such a small lead.

There's a lot more, and Chris Bowers and Jerome Armstrong have done some amazing work on taking the polls apart in this election cycle. In about a week, we'll see if this has been so much wasted effort or if they're more accurate in their projections than Gallup and the others.

Posted by shamanic at 10:41 PM

'Wolves' Ad Storyboards Now Available

Wolves, the devastating new ad from Bush/Cheney 04 has just had its storyboards posted to the web. I think you'll find it interesting to see how a political ad evolves over the course of the project.

This is also a test post.

Posted by shamanic at 10:00 PM

Travel Day

I'll be on road again this weekend. It is, once again, spectacularly beautiful. Enjoy it.

Posted by shamanic at 10:57 AM

October 22, 2004

Photo Evidence Explaining Bush's View of the World

Posted by shamanic at 9:03 PM

Ad Wars Featuring: Animal Totems!

Wolves. brought to you by Bush/Cheney '04.

Eagle, brought to you by the Democratic Party.

Compare and contrast. Who's running a positive campaign?

Posted by shamanic at 7:59 PM

Bush Signs Corporate Tax Cut

The President has returned to one of his stock answers for anything that ails you: tax cuts.

This tax bill actually was required to end a trade war with Europe over American manufacturing exports, but what caught me in the article was this paragraph of Bushian Math:

To pay for the $136 billion total of new tax relief over the next decade, the legislation would rely on the savings from repealing the export subsidy and would close corporate loopholes and tax shelters - thereby raising an estimated $82 billion over the next decade.
Does that say what I think it says? To pay for the $136 billion they're going to raise $82 billion? Is this the new calculus of Republican fiscal restraint?

Early voting begins on Monday in Georgia.

Posted by shamanic at 12:40 PM

October 21, 2004

Did You Know that Dick Cheney's Daughter is a Lesbian?

A rambling John Kerryism on America in the Bush years. And Dick Cheney's daughter, who apparently is a lesbian. I laughed so hard I cried. Definitely read the full piece. Excerpt:

This really underscores the problem with the American health care system. It’s not working for the American family. And it’s gotten worse under President Bush over the course of the last years. Especially if you’re a lesbian, like Dick Cheney’s daughter. Let’s say you’re a lesbian, like Dick Cheney’s daughter, and you need to see a doctor because your partner—let’s say she’s a bull-dyke—say one of her cats bit you. So you’re a lesbian with a cat bite—I’m sure at some point in her life, Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, was bitten by another lesbian’s cat—maybe they were having a sort of lesbian party, talking about how awful men are, how they want to castrate all men, and one of the bull dyke’s cats got overstimulated and lunged at Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, and so Dick Cheney’s daughter, being a lesbian with a cat bite, needs to see a doctor.

(Thanks to Andrew Sullivan)

Posted by shamanic at 11:19 PM

October 20, 2004

Myriad Reasons to Vote for Bush

I am voting for Bush because I think that the judges he will probably appoint to the Supreme Court have a better view of my economic and physical ability to have a baby than I do.

I am voting for Bush because, ignoring the fact that America was attacked by terrorists while Bush was in office, I don't think that America will be attacked by terrorists with Bush in office.

(More reasons in the extended entry)

I am voting for Bush because I think that a president who had a C-Average in college best reflects the average intelligence of this country; and in fact makes many of us feel better about ourselves because we can proclaim, "Hey, I'm smarter than the President of the United States of America!"

I am voting for Bush because I think the judges he will appoint to the Supreme Court will respect that all Americans should BELIEVE IN GOD and all children should recite that our nation is UNDER GOD or ELSE!!

I am voting for Bush because a man who believes in the "sanctity of life" - despite having overseen the most executions of any governor in American history - is obviously Presidential material.

I think all African-Americans should vote for Bush because he took fifteen WHOLE MINUTES out of his busy four years in office to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus, after they, tired of their requests for a meeting being turned down, had a sit-in. Who cares if he was the first president since the 1930s to never have spoken at or attended an NAACP convention?

I am voting for Bush because any man that successfully convinces Americans their rights need to be limited or taken away, because any one of us (OHMIGOD, EVEN YOUR NEIGHBOR) could be a terrorist, OBVIOUSLY deserves to be President.

I am voting for Bush because his Presidency successfully sorted out which Americans are idiot far-left liberals (who ONLY want to spend MY money) by polarizing the country. They're the ones voting for that liberal Kerry. Phew, I'm safe now!!!

I am voting for Bush because he realizes that expecting employers to pay their employees more than $5.15 an hour ($4.75 after taxes) is outrageous! I mean, come on!

I am voting for Bush because ha, ha! He made me laugh a couple times in the debate!

I am voting for Bush because he supports a tax cut for the rich. And hell, according to the American Dream, we're all going to be part of the richest 1% someday, so I'd better protect my future tax cuts!

I am voting for Bush because he hasn't made a single mistake (besides some appointments, but we don't want to embarass anyone so we won't talk about that) in his entire Presidency. I mean, gosh, he said it himself...it must be true!

I am voting for Bush because he caught Saddam Hussein, a man who was not behind the attacks of 9/11.

I am voting for Bush even though he has failed to capture Osama Bin Laden, the man who was behind the attacks of 9/11.

I am voting for Bush because he believes that children learn more when you underfund or cut programs, raise interest on student loans, and increase tuition at state colleges. At least, his actions suggest he believes this.

I am voting for Bush because he cares about kids! Rather than take immediate action when hearing about the attacks, he stayed put in the classroom at Booker Elementary where he was reading to children, because leaving and actually making decisions would probably have frightened them.

I am voting for Bush because I think a man who successfully got out of going to fight for his country knows more about war than a man who actually went.

And finally, I am voting for Bush because he is protecting all married couples from those homosexuals professing their love and commitment to each other.

(Author unknown)

Posted by shamanic at 11:47 PM

My Southeastern Peeps

Jerome Armstong of MyDD is quite the wonk. He ceaseless teases details out of polling data, as he's done in this entry, dealing with Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.

To summarize, Kerry appears to be competitive in North Carolina and Virginia, and is winning in Florida. Read Armstrong's piece, and then my neighbors, let's get to work.

Also, here in Georgia, I have a coworker who was crunching numbers last week, and she determined that if turnout levels and voting patterns from 2000 are static (unlikely), 100% of the newly registered voters turnout, and 75% of them vote for Kerry, he'd win.

This is not to say that Kerry is competitive in Georgia, but it seems entirely possible that Kerry could pull 46% of the vote here. Everytime I write that down, I want to add that it's possible he'll get 47%. Gore only got 43%.

If Kerry takes 48% of Georgia, it will mean that all the swing states have fallen his way and his mandate will be secure. This is why voting third party seems wrong to me now.

Posted by shamanic at 6:53 PM

Draft Humor

Which is only really possible because we don't have one...





And other sacrifices our leaders should be making for the greater good.

Posted by shamanic at 6:22 PM

Get Out The Vote with Georgia for Democracy

From the e-mail lists. A 51% increase in voter registration over 2000. It's just incredible, and it's happening nationwide. Can you help Georgia for Democracy get out the vote on November 2?

The tide is turning in Georgia.

Some of you have already heard the good news. There has been an unprecedented surge in voter registration this year in our state. Between January 1, 2004 and September 23, 2004, a record 332,869 new voters were added to the Georgia rolls, 34 percent of them African-American. To put this in perspective, the 2000 Presidential race in Georgia was decided by 303,490 votes. Across our state, voter registration is up 51 percent from this time four years ago. And the final count is not in.

Pledge now to help Georgia for Democracy Get-Out-The-Vote.
http://www.georgiafordemocracyinc.org/contribute.html

This outpouring of new voters, combined with a heightened awareness, could result in a record turnout on Election Day. But only if we can get these new and newly engaged voters to the polls.

The volunteers of Georgia for Democracy have launched an aggressive 5 point GOTV (Get Out The Vote) plan, but we can't do it alone. We need your help to cover the costs of: 40,000 door hangers including important information about Advance Voting and voting rights, 500 VOTE TODAY signs, rental vans for rides to the polls and a rolling billboard to encourage participation in this important election.

Pledge now to help Georgia for Democracy Get-Out-The-Vote.
http://www.georgiafordemocracyinc.org/contribute.html

Your contribution to Georgia for Democracy will go directly toward voter empowerment in Georgia. Unlike other organizations, we work exclusively within our state and are powered by dedicated volunteers. We have no paid staff and employ no fundraising firm.

Throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall of 2004, our volunteers have logged countless hours and traveled hundreds of foot miles in the service of democracy. We have pushed into minority communities where others seldom venture and in the process, touched thousands of our fellow Georgians.

But our work is not finished. Please stand with us now during this most important phase of the election. Help us to help the people of Georgia make their voices heard.

Pledge now to help Georgia for Democracy Get-Out-The-Vote.
http://www.georgiafordemocracyinc.org/contribute.html

Sincerely,

David Haslam
Georgia for Democracy

Posted by shamanic at 9:15 AM

October 19, 2004

Sinclair Top 10 Advertiser List

The Sinclair Boycott website (link) has issued this listof their Top 10 Advertiser targets.

For those taking part in the boycott, consider this your short list and get to work.

For those who consider Sinclair heroes, its stock hit three and a half year lows today, shedding another 3+ percent after yesterday's nearly 8% decline.

I'm a little surprised at this new Republican position of supporting corporate executives' rights to hang shareholders out to dry. I guess with the Draft coming back, at least we'll have a way to take care of all those middle class folks left destitute when the David Smiths of the world bet the media empire on partisanship and lose. And with Social Security privatized, it isn't as though the people of America will be footing the bill for the retirement of anybody dumb enough to invest in American corporations.

Posted by shamanic at 9:48 PM

Sinclair Broadcast Group: Free Speech Warriors

Same link as in the next entry:

Meanwhile, Jonathan Lieberman, the Washington bureau chief for Sinclair's news division, told CNN last night that he had been fired for publicly objecting to the decision to present the film as news, not commentary, and to run it so close to the election.

Let's discuss Sinclair's principled adherence to the first amendment, shall we?

Posted by shamanic at 7:44 AM

Swift Boat Vets Keep Lying

Oops. Let's talk about what "deceptive editing" is, okay?

Hey Sinclair, you still wanna call it "news"? Don't worry, you'll get to join other notable news organizations like CBS and the New York Times in recanting false stories. What a pantheon!

Posted by shamanic at 12:23 AM

October 18, 2004

Sacrifice an Iraqi, Save an American

I'm watching New York's former mayor Ed Koch on the Daily Show right now.

Koch, of course, is supporting Bush for President this year, and he's talking about the reasons why: "I disagree with every single domestic policy item that I can think of, but I think that international terrorism is the single greatest threat to America and I think Bush is better on this than Kerry." It's a paraphrase, but I think that's an honest representation of what the Mayor said.

He went on to talk about the offensive posture, taking the fight to the terrorists, invading Iraq as a grand diversion for terrorists who would otherwise be invading America, and so forth.

I'm not arguing Mayor Koch's endorsement; I respect his judgement. I do wonder about the morality of this position though.

It appears that the argument has become, "We're drawing the terrorists to Iraq," where radical Islamists have managed to murder more Americans in the last 18 months than at any time in American history except the single day of September 11, 2001.

On a moral level, the equation seems to be "Sacrifice an Iraqi, Save an American." We've decided that it should (somewhat arbitrarily) be the Iraqi people who live in the crossfire of the clash between civilizations. There, between the car bomber and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, some 25 million people are told that freedom is just around the corner, if only they can survive that long.

I don't recall this being the reason we went to war in 2003. I remember Saddam Hussein condemned for using women and civilians as human shields, but now in some sense we've turned the entire country into one.

Are we truly in Iraq in order to draw out the most extreme Islamist elements? Did we intentionally create a security vacuum so that terrorists would feel enabled to come to the country? Have we invited them, and with them, the havok and carnage that is the definition of the word "terrorism"?

Is this our moral stand in the war against terrorism: in order to save our own skins, we'll sacrifice a faraway civilian population?

Is this defensible?

Posted by shamanic at 11:59 PM

Sinclair Stock Tumbling

Ouch, Sinclair Broadcast Group lost more than 7% today, closing at $6.49.

Meanwhile, the Kerry Campaign has asked the network for equal time to respond to the anti-Kerry documentary Stolen Honor.

Can a company that's already losing advertising revenue and has become the subject of a boycott that threatens ad revenue even more absorb a second hour of commercial-free prime time airtime?

Posted by shamanic at 6:01 PM

October 17, 2004

Sinclair and the FCC

I have received some e-mails from friends and correspondents who are extremely upset that the FCC won't preemptively stop Sinclair Broadcast Group from airing an anti-Kerry documentary on its 62 stations, commercial-free, next week.

I spent some time last week in a discussion with Christian Grantham, who started with the assumption that I was attempting to censor Sinclair by taking part in and encouraging others to boycott Sinclair advertisers and to lodge complaints with the FCC.

I think it's very important that we on the left step back from a bit and realize what we're saying when we ask the FCC to void an entity's first amendment rights before they've committed any violation of election law and without any kind of due process.

I believe that what Sinclair is proposing very likely breaks FEC electioneering laws. Grantham, for one, disagrees with my assessment. One of us is right, but I can tell you that at the moment, Sinclair hasn't broken any laws. They have to actually engage in the behavior that pushes legal boundaries before they can be accused of engaging in that behavior.

Sinclair has the same first amendment protections that the rest of us cherish. If airing this material amounts to an illegal "in-kind contribution" to Bush/Cheney 04, that can, and should, only be investigated after it is aired.

But the first amendment works for all of us, and contacting Sinclair's sponsors and lodging complaints with the FCC are entirely legal. Enjoy.

Posted by shamanic at 10:54 PM

A Pro-Lifer Discloses How To Stop Abortion

In an article in the Houston Chronicle, a self-described "consistently pro-life" writer teams with an investigative journalist to share some interesting information on abortion in America.

Abortion was decreasing. When President Bush took office, the nation's abortion rates were at a 24-year low, after a 17.4 percent decline during the 1990s.
I believe in pro-choice laws and policies, but am pro-life in the real world of human relationships. I think that every single abortion is a tragedy, and I await a government that will work to create a nation where conditions favor fewer and fewer abortions.

George Bush, it appears, has not done a good job at that:

Under Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates appears to have reversed. Given the trends of the 1990s, 52,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been expected before this change of direction.
That's really amazing given that the party which opposes abortion controls all branches of government. The president is vocal in his opposition to abortion and endlessly touts his ban on the made-up procedure "partial birth abortion" (previously known as "Dilation and Extraction", which apparently was not graphic enough for our elected leaders.) How is it that George Bush has presided over the most significant increase in abortion rates in more than a decade?
Two-thirds of women who have abortions cite "inability to afford a child" as their primary reason (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life). In the Bush presidency, unemployment rates increased half again. Not since Herbert Hoover had there been a net loss of jobs during a presidency until the current administration. Average real incomes decreased, and for seven years the minimum wage has not been raised to match inflation. With less income, many prospective mothers fear another mouth to feed.
That's right. On this and so many more issues, it really is the economy, stupid.

Please, tell me again what metric supports the idea that George Bush has been a successful president?

Posted by shamanic at 10:28 PM

Vote Pairing

Here's an interesting idea, resurrected from 2000. Kerry voters in "safe states", states where the electoral outcome is already decided, pair up with third-party voters from swing states in order to create what may be a win-win situation.

I've been pondering the fate of my vote for several weeks now; I will vote for Kerry in Georgia, where Bush will win unless the rapture happens between now and election day. God, it seems, is not particularly swayed by my prayerful arguments about the reduction in smog and traffic congestion. If God would just answer the billions of prayers on this topic, my commute would be a freakin' breeze.

So we'll see what happens. I still feel strongly about boosting Kerry's popular vote numbers, even if my vote doesn't count towards electing him President, but perhaps VotePairing.org will put me in touch with a Libertarian who can convince me that the satisfaction I would take in casting that ballot is outweighed by the strategic benefit of vote swapping.

Posted by shamanic at 9:45 PM

The Faith Based Presidency

This is long, but worth reading twice. Ron Suskind explores the Bush Presidency from the 2000 campaign to the present, highlighting the advantages and challenges posed by Bush's reliance on his faith in God to guide our nation.

This is especially important because there's still a 50% chance that Bush will win. Suskind examines the ways in which Bush has isolated himself further and further from inconvenient facts, debate on policy, or direct questioning of his decisions.

This is a terrific read, and gives a lot of insight into what we can expect from a second Bush term, when he will almost certainly have the chance to remake the State Department and appoint at least one new justice to the Supreme Court.

This is why we have to ask ourselves what kind of America we want to live in--one guided by one man's faith, or one based on enduring laws and a common understanding of the principles that brought forth our democracy?

Posted by shamanic at 1:47 PM

Discussing the Draft

The topic of a military draft has been discussed on the margins at least since 9/11. The President and his proxies have frequently talked about the War on Terror as a generational war, correctly in my view, but the United States appears dangerously bogged down in Iraq. The light, fierce, and mobile military that Donald Rumsfeld has been trying to create seems stuck in a dangerous country with no clear mission ("sit tight until they can take care of themselves" doesn't strike me as an appropriate use of 130,000 US troops) and no exit strategy.

What concerns me is the very real threat of attacks from other quarters, or attacks on our allies from other quarters.

What if multiple events requiring military action on several fronts occured simultaneously? Do we have the military capacity to deal with that situation? If we don't, shouldn't our leaders explain to us exactly how they plan to remedy it and how long it will take?

Kerry has stated his intention to increase the size of the (volunteer) military by 40,000 troops. It's a step in the right direction. There are issues that need to be addressed, such as lackluster recruiting numbers for some parts of the services this year, but at least Kerry seems to grasp the fundamental issues impacting military readiness in the War on Terror.

Bush has presented a plan to restructure the deployments of our armed forces, and while this is arguably a necessary step in the post-Cold War era, it seems grounded in the idea that all we'll ever need is a small, fast force.

This, incidentally, is why humvees have become the backbone of ground assault in Iraq instead of tanks. And the need for speed may also be why the humvees are reportedly poorly armored.

The consensus on Iraq now seems to be that Gen. Eric Shenseki was quite correct when he estimated that invading and occupying that country would require several hundred thousand troops.

The administration, fixated on a light, fast, high tech, in and out, ass kicking dream of the military, appears to have learned nothing from our current predicament. This is what the President's website says he plans for the armed forces in a second administration:

President Bush will continue leading the transformation of our Nation's Armed Forces. America will develop a lighter, faster, more lethal force, with the best training for the new challenges of the new century.
That's all fine and good, but who's going to stick around to do the hard work of nation building?

Which brings us to the draft.

Bush says that electing him is the best protection against a draft. The fact is that many observers and experts believe the military is overextended and George Bush has presented a plan that will, at best, allow us to get bogged down in other countries needing regime change that we will be unable to pacify during the initial assault because we've sent too few troops.

How can we accept that a second Bush administration could categorically rule out a military draft? He has no plan for facing threats that may arise while we are babysitting Ayad Allawi. It doesn't even appear that Bush has an understanding that as America wages the generational war thrust upon us by 9/11, we may need to unseat other dictators and fill the political and security vacuum that results. We've done it twice in four years. This is not an especially encouraging average in a generational war.

Every country in the world is watching America in Iraq. Every potential threat to the United States sees the viscious effectiveness of not standing to be killed until the Americans are entrenched. Our enemies are learning from our mistakes. Are we?

Posted by shamanic at 1:07 AM

October 16, 2004

Bush Earpiece Theory Boosted

According to New York Times Editorial Board, an alarmingly high number of New Yorkers have been outfitted with Republican receiving devices in their clothing. Check out their disturbing graphic.

It suggests that New Yorkers were unwittingly wired with devices during the RNC, most likely by covert Republican operatives who went door to door while the unsuspecting city slept. Even now, Republican HQ in Arlington, VA, is likely beaming propaganda messages directly into the jackets and sweaters of the eastern capital of Blue America.

We won't be able to guage the success of this nefarious plot until November 2, but for my readers in New York, if you start thinking positive things about the Bush administration it is imperative that you rid yourselves of your clothes immediately.

And now, I'm taking my unwired girl up to Helen, GA for the day. What a splended October day in the south.

Posted by shamanic at 11:33 AM

October 15, 2004

Public Prefers Private Cheney Lesbianism

According to the Washington Post, nearly 2/3 of voters in their daily tracking poll believe that Kerry was out of line to bring up Mary Cheney in the third and final presidential debate.

What I get out of this, since I doubt that 2/3 of voters dislike homosexuals on principle, is that most Americans are fine with hypothetical homosexuals. We all understand that it is wrong to be prejudiced, and the majority of Americans have come to accept that prejudice against homosexuals is as wrong as any other kind, but I think there is a lot more comfort with the idea of homosexuals than with actual homosexuals themselves.

And I think there is still a widely held perception (as Andrew Sullivan has been discussing) that being gay is something to be ashamed of. In a strangely comforting way, this means that 2/3 of respondents felt that Kerry was bringing shame on Mary Cheney by calling her what she is, a lesbian, and they didn't like seeing that. Of course, she's also a homeowner, the director of her father's campaign, a former corporate executive, and a companion on her father's hunting expeditions in Wyoming.

It's funny, had Kerry mentioned any of these traits no one would have thought a thing about it. What's the difference? They're all true. They're all morally charged only at the subjective level.

Josh Marshall says it is Kerry's use of the word lesbian that has the elder Cheneys all in a froth. I found the phrase "gay daughter," used by both Dick Cheney and John Edwards, to be awkward, as though it was some unfortunate condition that the Cheney family had grappled with, but none more than Mary. Which is probaby pretty accurate, but which is also why I liked that Kerry elevated Mary Cheney to the independent and adult status of lesbian. They're all grown ups. Their grappling should be over. They love their daughter, they love their daughter's partner, and theirs is a wonderful example of the modern American family: not at all what you expected, and more than you could have hoped for.

As a lesbian myself, I've been very pleased to watch the expansion of political tolerance towards gays and lesbians in America. In the 90s, Clinton was really good about the hypothetical homosexuals. The only one I can think of him naming is Matthew Sheppard, homosexual and murder victim. That's another key to the hypothetical homosexual: the status of victim. Matthew Sheppard, of course, was already dead when Bill Clinton talked about him.

Bush himself made a point of reaching out to homosexuals early in his administration, albeit more discreetly.

John Kerry had the audacity to name a real live person, putting a face, and a humanity, on the hypothetical. 2/3 of America squirmed a bit, but facing uncomfortable realities and our own false assumptions always causes a reaction. Maybe 2/3 of America is right, and it's nasty politics to extend the American virtue of toleration to your opponents' families, but I can't help thinking that I'd rather live in an America where people are rewarded for saying things that are as kind as they are true.

Posted by shamanic at 7:02 PM

October 14, 2004

Thin Skinned



Both of 'em.
Posted by shamanic at 11:31 PM

The Cheneys Go Ballistic

First Lynn, and now Dick Cheney have gone ballistic over Kerry's answer to the question 'Is homosexuality a choice' in Wednesday night's debate. Kerry said:

"We're all God's children, Bob, and I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice."

Let's examine some of elder Cheneys' remarks today, shall we?
"You saw a man who will do and say anything to get elected," Cheney told a rally in Fort Myers, Fla. "And I am not just speaking as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father."

What is he possibly angry about? His daughter is openly gay and he has spoken about this at campaign events. She's an adult who attended the Republican National Convention with her partner, Heather Poe. Alan Simpson, a Republican, a friend of the Cheneys, and a former Wyoming Senator was handicapping the vice presidential debate for CNN and spoke warmly of Mary Cheney and her partner Heather Poe. Was Simpson out of line?

"This is not a good man," she [Lynn Cheney] said. "Of course, I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick."
Indignant about what again? Was Kerry mischaracterizing Mary Cheney at all? If she in fact chose to be homosexual rather than being born that way, perhaps the Cheneys could explain that. Otherwise, it appears that they are extremely upset because their daughter is gay.
The communications director for Bush-Cheney, Nicolle Devenish, said Kerry miscalculated the impact of his remarks and now is "backpedaling from what is a crass, below-the-belt political strategy to attack the vice president's daughter."
Attacked the vice president's daughter? Is it untrue that she is a lesbian? My girlfriend played rugby in the same league as Mary Cheney in DC in the early 90s, and she was certainly queer then. If that's changed, then perhaps there was no reason for her not to join the rest of her family on stage at the Republican National Convention after her father accepted his nomination.

And finally, from the article:

The vice president spoke this summer about his daughter's sexuality and his view of gay relationships. He also publicly disagreed with Bush about the need for a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages, saying he preferred that the states settle the issue.

"Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue our family is very familiar with," Cheney told a Davenport, Iowa, audience that included his daughter. "With respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone."


Who brought this up?

Andrew Sullivan has more (and better) on the subject.

Posted by shamanic at 10:52 PM

John Kerry: Screw International Opinion

According to George Bush, "In 1990 there was a vast coalition put together to run Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. The international community, the international world said this is the right thing to do. But when it came time to authorize the use of force on the Senate floor, my opponent voted against the use of force." (link)

The more Bush talks about Kerry's record, the more clear it is that the caricature Bush has painted of Kerry is completely false. John Kerry, the foreign alliance obsessed French licker, according to George Bush, said, "Screw you," to an international coalition and went his own way.

Posted by shamanic at 12:27 AM

October 13, 2004

Fact Checking Bush (It Takes Time)

Atrios has the movie clip of Bush explaining that he's not concerned about Osama bin Laden.

Posted by shamanic at 10:47 PM

Online Polls

Kos has the online poll list. Go click.

Posted by shamanic at 10:35 PM

Undecideds

I sure as hell hope that the future of America is not in the hands of voters who can't make a decision yet.

Lots of chatting between Bush and Kerry there at the end, after they left their podiums.

Bush didn't lose this one, because he didn't lose his temper and he was mostly able to complete his sentences. What a low bar.

Kerry outlined detailed plans, even at one point saying to the camera, "You be the judge." Indeed. Four more years of more of the same, or a fresh start with a credible president who can work with our allies and build international support for America's security policies.

Sort of like we had before George W.

Posted by shamanic at 10:33 PM

Closing statements time. Thank christ.

Posted by shamanic at 10:26 PM

Atrios, at Eschaton, has a "Gonna party like it's 1992" thread.

Posted by shamanic at 10:20 PM

"We've unleashed the armies of compassion to help heal the people who hurt." George Bush on Faith Based Initiatives.

Posted by shamanic at 10:18 PM

Wait. I did not just hear George Bush say that he thinks businesses will be helped by unbundling government contracts so that small business can bid on government contracts.

I guess Halliburton qualifies as... oh, screw it, there's no making sense of that.

Posted by shamanic at 10:16 PM

George Bush smirks at the mention of "the Civil Rights leaders of America."

Posted by shamanic at 10:13 PM

Bush does not believe that troops feel unhappy about this Kerry invention, "the back door draft."

Resolute, strong, comprehensive. I'm George Bush. I also know the word "steadfast."

Posted by shamanic at 10:08 PM

Terrific: "Mr. President, you measure it by whether you're getting the job done."

60 minutes in, I'm hoping that some strong jabs get thrown in the next thirty minutes. So far, I haven't seen any serious problems from either. Bush is strong, Kerry isn't putting him on the defense. If it continues like this, Bush will probably be declared the winner, but Kerry is laying out detailed plans for those of us who've bothered to watch the last debate.

Posted by shamanic at 10:06 PM

Kerry: "I'm tired of politicians who talk about family values but don't value families."

Bush: "Mitch McConnoll had a minimum wage plan that I supported." Yep, a cheap one.

Posted by shamanic at 10:01 PM

Bush: "He just doesn't understand how the borders work, evidently."

Posted by shamanic at 9:57 PM

Bush's immigration plan is incoherent. So is his explanation of it. And he took too long in trying.

Posted by shamanic at 9:54 PM

Yeah, George, consumption and investment are working wonders on this economy of ours. Thanks for the unaffordable tax cuts that keep more money in your pocket.

Posted by shamanic at 9:52 PM

40 minutes in: Low energy, high detail. Bush, as usual, is strung out on broad themes and struggling a bit with details. He is able to attack.

Kerry is explaining his plans in greater detail and greater clarity than he has to date.

It's funny, Bush chuckles a bit every time Kerry mentions a media source that has reviewed the candidates' plans. Bush's goal: Convince America to trust no one, so you'll have to take his word for it. Has Bush read his own plans? Doubtful. Did he write them? Certainly not.

Posted by shamanic at 9:50 PM

Bush looks so impatient listening to Kerry discuss health care in a detailed way.

Yes, let's look at other countries with their socialized medicine. Let's look at the throngs of Germans, British, Dutch, and Japanese immigrants flooding into America to benefit from our health care system. Bush calls it the envy of the world. I would suggest that there are better places in the world to, for instance, be elderly.

Posted by shamanic at 9:44 PM

Market forces involved in health care?

Isn't it unprofitable to treat the uninsured? If market forces govern, many more people will die needlessly. I'm George Bush, and I approve of denying health care to the poor.

Bush says "thirdly" a lot. It's a numbered list George. The third item on the list is simply "third". Read a book.


Posted by shamanic at 9:37 PM

Kerry Quotes the Bible

"Faith without deeds is dead". Excellent quote.

Posted by shamanic at 9:32 PM

Education

Bush sounds pretty good on the jobs question that he's turned into the education question.

Best not to talk about jobs, if you're George Bush. Of course, in a decade when the school systems are bankrupt, let's talk about it then.

You get him on fiscal responsibility, John.

New jobs in Arizona pay $13,700 less than the jobs they're losing? I hope to god that's not right.

Is it fair to blame the administration for job loss? A good question. Kerry's answering well. I can't stop outsourcing, but I can make the playing field level. Ooh, "nanosecond". It'll take John Kerry nanoseconds to close tax loopholes. I like it.

Bush: "Senator, no one's playing with your votes." Could be the quote of the night. Need some wood? Better not forget Poland...

Posted by shamanic at 9:29 PM

Flu Season Approaches...

and the leader of the free world has not been vaccinated?

Right, George, it's all those devious lawyers wanting flu pandemics who've caused the shortage.

Good use of numbers from Kerry on people without health insurance. Just a big wall of numbers really--oodles of Americans lost insurance under Bush.

Why can't the next president pay for stuff? Gee George, I don't know.

Pay as you go sounds totally rational; that damn liberal Kerry with his fiscal responsibility. Keep saying "fiscally sound" and I'll hire you.

Ooh, Bush never vetoed anything!

Ah, the latest RNC number of times that Kerry has voted to raise taxes. I've heard 300+, 80+, now 90+.

Paygo? That's not a word, George.

My budget man? Where did this guy come from?

Posted by shamanic at 9:17 PM

Confidence

Wow, Kerry sounds extremely confident in his first answer. This format really works for him.

Bush is trying to sound positive, but he's got this weird exasperation thing. Good inclusion of Afghan elections.

Wow, it's about to be a real debate. The moderator is pushing them to counter each other. Bush is looking very strong. Kerry better swat him early to get him riled up.

Posted by shamanic at 9:09 PM

Handicapping

As I've mentioned, Bush has been badly damaged by lackluster debate performances, but the underlying weakness is the caricature he himself has painted of Kerry.

Kerry has been pretty impressive in the debates. The President who prepared us for the possibility of mushroom clouds in our cities had not prepared us for that.

Posted by shamanic at 9:04 PM

Ah, Debates

I'm all giddy now. What's that about?

Posted by shamanic at 9:02 PM

It Ain't the Starr Report

But Fox chatterbox Bill O'Reilly got nailed with a sexual harrassment claim today. Eternal thanks to the Smoking Gun.

Third presidential debate in 30 minutes. I'll be posting intermittently throughout, though I detest the notion of "live-blogging".

Also be sure to check in with Wonkette, whose cynicism and jaded musings are just about unbeatable. But she does call it "live-blogging".

Posted by shamanic at 8:29 PM

Sinclair Just Can't Catch a Break

Not to engage in random demonization, but Sinclair is just such a juicy target for it. I was living in a Sinclair market when Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher was suddenly pulled from the air in the days following 9/11--a time when laughter was sorely needed.

Well, I'm laughing now, Sinclair.

Sinclair is owned by the Smith brothers, four of them. Two of them are true Conservative heroes.

Today: Franklin Smith violates the 1968 Fair Housing Act presumably to promote the separation of the races. This sort of liberal activist prosecution is typical of the left wing nutjobs running America's courts. All racists know that by keeping the races separate, a special form of racial harmony is created and preserved. Duh!

1996: David Smith is arrested in a company Mercedes after the blow job he received from a Baltimore hooker was observed by police. He is persecuted for his adherence to free market ideals. Baltimore should be ashamed of itself.

Posted by shamanic at 7:16 PM

Sinclair Stock Dropping

Sinclair opened at $7.30 today.


Market Close Update: Ouch. Sinclair Broadcasting closes the trading day at $7.14, down $.15 from its previous close of $7.29, continuing a disappointing trend for the nation's largest independent television conglomerate.

The 52-week low stands at $6.87. Will loss of advertising revenue and public pressure against what the company calls journalism result in a giant sucking sound at Sinclair?

Posted by shamanic at 2:02 PM

More on the Weapons Buyback

Having had a chance to do a small bit of reading on the issue of the Sadr City weapons buyback, there's basically good news and bad news. First, the bad news.

There's a good article on Turkish Press.com describing what's going on in Sadr City. Col. Abe Abrams, identified as US commander for the Badghdad slum, warns of Sadr splinter groups who do not support the peace deal. He repeatedly notes that with proper funding, the fighting will continue:

The Iraqi government weapons buyback has the benchmark of thousands upon thousands of arms turned in as the ultimate test of the Mehdi Army's intention, Abrams said.

The Iraqi police and national guard, backed by US forces, will conduct searches in Sadr City following the five-day buyback period which ends Friday.

"If they've turned in thousands of thousands of weapons, arms, ammunitions and explosives, the searches will not be as lengthy. But if we only get in 1,000 RPGs for instance... we've got a lot of work to do," he said.

[...]

"As long as they have a steady influx of money those guys can hire guys everyday (to fight). So they are a clear and present danger to the security situation in Iraq and right here in Baghdad."

[...]

"The faceless guy who put in the improvised explosive device he'll be hard to finger and get evidence on. But the guys issuing the orders, getting the resources, funneling the money... it will be a lot easier to get the evidence on those guys for their arrests."


Meanwhile, The Washington Post gives us this cost breakdown:
Payments for weapons handed over in Sadr City on Monday reportedly ranged from $5 for a hand grenade to $150 for an AK-47 to $2,000 for a highly specialized mortar. It appeared that both noncombatants and Mahdi Army insurgents were taking part in the buyback.

Abdulla Abu Ghassan, a bakery owner, received $1,200 after turning in a grenade launcher, an assault rifle and ammunition, all of which he said he had kept after serving in the now-disbanded Iraqi army.

[...]

At the Habibiya police station, the largest of the three designated sites, just three handovers were observed during a period of three hours, Reuters reported. They included a stash delivered by a Mahdi Army fighter who identified himself as Kamel Hussein. He received $14,500 for several rocket-propelled grenade launchers and mortars.

They handed nearly $15,000 in cash over to a Mahdi Army fighter, even though the US commander in the area cites continued funding as the primary vehicle for continued violence?

Ok, so thus ends the bad news, at least as far as this report goes.

The good news is that a) this is the most promising step towards a peaceful resolution to the Moqtada al Sadr situation and b) I can find no reports indicating that there is a flourishing foreign weapons trade into Iraq right now, though there are literally millions and millions of weapons flowing freely in the country following the collapse and disbanding of the Iraqi army.

My gut tells me that arms dealers are doing business in Iraq, as they are doing business in every conflict zone in the world, but I can't find any reference to such in the media. If there are foreign gun runners doing business in Iraq, that doesn't mean that al Sadr or his proxies are involved with them.

The problem with Iraq is that every few months, things seem to be improving, and then they completely fall apart. This is an optimistic moment in the occupation, but one that must be met with caution. On Friday, US and Iraqi troops will again be involved in street fighting in Sadr City. It doesn't end here, but I hope that some sort of positive outcome begins here.

Posted by shamanic at 7:28 AM

Mehdi Army Weapons Buyback

You've heard about Moqtada al Sadr's Mehdi Army in Iraq handing in weapons for large sums of cash?

Does anyone really believe that Sadr won't keep a military option open at this point? There is a murder indictment pending against him.

What controls are there to prevent that money from being exchanged for better weapons? Hasn't everyone acknowledged that foreign terrorists are streaming across the Iraqi border? Does this strike anyone else as probably not the best thought out plan of the war?

Are we really paying a radical cleric who has already incited at least a hundred US deaths top dollar for anything? And we (and by "we", I mean the Iraqi security forces) are paying dollars, not Iraqi dinars.

This is a brilliant plan, guys. Good job.

Posted by shamanic at 12:12 AM

October 12, 2004

Targeting Janus

Daily Kos has a list of the top investors in the Sinclair Broadcast Group. The last on the list, holding about 1.5 million shares of SBGI stock, is Janus Capital Corp.

Let's begin with the smallest large investor (which Janus may or may not be--I don't know how definitive Kos' list is) and hit them with letters encouraging them to rethink ownership of a company which is likely to face FEC investigations, civil lawsuits, and a seriously damaged reputation brought on by their plan to engage in illegal electioneering.

Here's my letter. Click the Janus link and write your own.

I understand that Janus controls nearly 1.5 million shares of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has announced a plan to engage in illegal electioneering in coming weeks.

Sinclair's stock price has already begun to sink, and web-organized activism is likely to hurt it more. Later, FEC investigations and possible prosecution will damage Sinclair's reputation, and the fight to protect broadcast licenses for Sinclair stations in North and South Carolina (renewal date: December 2004) and Florida (renewal date: January 2005) will mire the company in expensive legal proceedings.

I have long thought of Janus as a responsible corporate citizen. I'm not aware of Janus being implicated in any of the fiscal shenanigans of the late 90s, and it would be a shame for Janus to become a target of the activism that is about to break against Sinclair.

I know that I would not choose to invest with Janus right now unless the SBGI stock was gotten rid of. I will be certain to notify my friends, family, coworkers, and employer of the potential for Janus to come to grief because of this unwise holding.

Posted by shamanic at 1:46 PM

October 11, 2004

Sinclair Broadcasting

As many of you are probably aware by now, Sinclair Broadcast Group is planning to air a Kerry-bashing movie on all of it's 60+ stations (many of which are in swing states) a few days before the November election. They plan to categorize it as "news", which would exempt the activity from the electioneering laws.

Josh Marshall has a letter from a former FCC chairman, and he links to an excellent post at The Left Coaster which offers a number of suggestions for dealing with this.

The truth is, I don't know if there is anything that can be done about this. It seems to me that Sinclair has made the decision that they are willing to accept whatever legal challenges or punitive fines may arise out of this so long as they can keep the president who offers a tax cut for anything that ails you.

I think it's safe to say that this administration's support of media consolidation is also driving Sinclair's decision making process.

Steve Soto at the Left Coaster suggests going after Sinclair where it will hurt them most: by targeting the broadcast licences of the stations they own. If you click the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of this post, you'll find the FCC's "Public Participation in the License Renewal Process" handout. It has addresses of where to send petitions and objections.

Bear in mind that you must be a "party of interest" to file a complaint. While in a national election, it may be that we are all parties of interest, it is best if people from the locations served by Sinclair are writing to the FCC.

These are the Sinclair markets that have stations approaching their license renewals:

North Carolina:
Asheville
Greensboro
Raleigh

South Carolina:
Charleston

Florida:
Pensacola
Tallahassee
Tampa

If you are a lawyer or have a friend who is, you may be interested in filing a formal petition. If not, read through to the "Procedure for Filing Informal Objections". And then do it. Write a letter and mail it to them. It will go into a file. It will be read. Enough of these letters will impact the decision making process in Washington.

9:45 Update: The Democratic Party and 18 Democratic Senators have filed complaints with the FEC alleging that this is an illegal "in kind contribution" to BC04.

Last Revised: 10/03

Public Participation in the License Renewal Process


All broadcast station licenses are granted by the Commission for eight years. Currently, all radio station licenses are scheduled to expire between 2003 and 2006. All television station licenses are scheduled to expire between 2004 and 2007. Each station must file an application for license renewal four months prior to the expiration date of the station's license, in accordance with a schedule set forth in the Commission’s Rules. Instructions on obtaining Internet access to that schedule are set forth below. A paper copy of the renewal schedule is included in the public handout for this hearing. Stations also must file a Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report (FCC Form 396) at the same time. During the license renewal process, viewers and listeners of the stations whose licenses are up for renewal may participate in the process either by filing a petition to deny or informal objections against a renewal or by filing positive comments about a broadcaster’s service. The petition to deny is more formal and must meet certain requirements discussed below.

License Renewal Filing Dates; License Expiration Dates

Radio and television station license renewal dates are based on the location
(state, territory, etc.) of the station's community of license, not the station's transmitter site location. All radio, or all television, station licenses in a particular state expire on the same date. States are then placed into geographical groups and all of the radio, or television, station licenses in a particular geographical grouping of states expire on the same date. For example, all radio station licenses in North and South Carolina will expire on December 1, 2003. All television station licenses in North and South Carolina will expire on December 1, 2004. Links to information on the license renewal application filing dates and license expiration dates for radio and television stations can be found at: http://www.fcc.gov/localism/renewals.html

Petitions to Deny / Informal Objections

A petition to deny or an informal objection to a radio license renewal application may be filed AFTER the filing of the license renewal application. Notices of the filing
of license renewal applications will be posted in the public notices listed at, for radio station applications: http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/audio/cur_Broadcast_Applications.html. It is expected that the Commission’s website will also post notices of the filing of television station license renewal applications prior to the commencement of the next television station license renewal cycle in 2004. The Commission’s Consolidated Database System (CDBS) will also contain records pertaining to the license renewal applications.

The last day for filing petitions to deny is ONE MONTH PRIOR to the license
expiration date. The petition to deny deadline date for radio stations licensed to communities in North and South Carolina is November 1, 2003.

Example. The expiration date for a radio station in Colorado is December 1, 2004. The LAST DAY that a petition to deny against a timely renewal application may be filed is November 1, 2004. An exception is where the LAST DAY falls on a Saturday, Sunday, holiday, or on a date that the Commission is closed for business, in which case the LAST DAY is extended to the first full business day thereafter. For example, the expiration date for a radio station in Virginia was October 1, 2003. September 1, 2003 was a holiday. In this instance, the LAST DAY that a petition to deny could be filed was September 2, 2003. Petitions to Deny are considered to be filed with the Commission only upon their receipt by the Commission at either of the addresses set out below, not when they are mailed or postmarked.

Procedure for Filing Petitions to Deny

Petitions to deny broadcast station license renewals (a signed original and two copies) must be mailed or delivered to one of the following FCC addresses:

U.S. Postal Service Mail

Office of the Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20554

ATTN: Audio Division, License Renewal Processing Team
Mail Stop 1800B

OR

Video Division, License Renewal Processing Team
Room 2-A665

Messenger or Hand Delivered Filings, and Filings Delivered by Other Than USPS

Office of the Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
c/o Natek, Inc.
236 Massachusetts Ave., N.E.
Suite 110
Washington, DC 20002

ATTN: Audio Division, License Renewal Processing Team
Mail Stop 1800B
OR

Video Division, License Renewal Processing Team
Room 2-A665

In addition, courtesy copies may be sent directly to the Audio Division, License Renewal Processing Team (for radio) or the Video Division, License Renewal Processing Team (for television), using the addresses set forth above.

A petition to deny must contain a certification that a copy of the petition was also mailed to the station, and must contain an affidavit of a person with personal knowledge attesting that the facts contained in the petition are true.

Petition to Deny Requirements. First, to file a petition to deny, a person must be a “party in interest” and have “standing.” That means, generally, that the person must have more than a passing interest in the station. He or she must be a regular listener or viewer or have some other contact with the station that gives the petitioner a real stake in outcome of the renewal process. Also, a petition must be supported by an affidavit of a person or persons with personal knowledge of the allegations of fact contained in the petition. Additionally, a petition to deny license renewal must be “timely.” That is, as noted above, a petition to deny must be filed at least one month prior to the license expiration date. Finally, as noted above, failure to include a certification that a copy of the petition was also mailed to the station and the affidavit may result in dismissal of the petition to deny.

Procedure for Filing Informal Objections. A person or entity opposing the grant of a radio station's license renewal application may file an informal objection against the license renewal application at any time prior to staff action on the license renewal application. An informal objection is less formal than a petition to deny, but some requirements still apply. It may take the form of a letter signed by the objector and mailed or delivered to one of the FCC addresses above. An informal objection need not contain the affidavit required for a petition to deny. It should, however, contain sufficient information to establish any violation alleged. Additionally, an informal objection not received by the time the station’s license renewal application has been granted by the Commission will not be considered.

Filing Positive Comments. Affirmative comments concerning a licensee’s service during the prior license term should be filed by the petition to deny deadline date and be filed with the Commission’s Secretary at the same address indicated above.

Additional Suggestions for Filers

To help the staff expeditiously associate a petition to deny, informal objection or positive comment with the proper license renewal application, a petition to deny, informal objection or positive comment should identify (1) the station's call sign, city and state, (2) the station's facility ID number, and (3) the license renewal application file number. This information, which is available on CDBS through the Commission’s website, should be listed on the first page of the submission.

October 10, 2004

Debate Recap, Courtesy of Salon.com

Salon (watch the ad if you're not a subscriber) provides us with a hysterical blow by blow recap of Friday night's debate. It is neither fair nor balanced, just hilarious:


Man asks Bush about the draft. Between convulsions, Bush distracts draft-age demographic by revealing the existence of a second Internet. Kerry says that using stop-loss policies to keep people from getting out of military service amounts to a back-door draft. Bush jumps off stool, barking and grinding his teeth. Moderator tries to pet him, sustains lacerations. Bush snarls: Tell that to the Italian guy and the Brits. Hey, we've got 30 countries helpin' us out. Kerry says: You forgot Poland. Smoke coming out of Bush's ears spells out these words: "Poland can kiss my grand coalition."

Posted by shamanic at 2:53 PM

More on the Bush Earpiece Thing (With Picture)

bushtail.jpgThis is a photo that I cropped and sized in Photoshop (resizing again with HTML), but otherwise I have done nothing to it. Taken from this site. It appears to me that in this picture the linked website may have brightened the shot a bit from what I've seen elsewhere on the web.

I think I may have solved the mystery: to psych himself up for the debate, he was wearing one of these (scroll down to first item).

I really wish that Photoshop did all the neato gee-whiz stuff that the computers on cop shows do. CSI:[insert locale here] uses their computers to do magic. Mine... well, I can make the shot brighter than it is here.

Posted by shamanic at 2:22 AM

Dowd Nails It

Maureen Dowd is not my favorite columnist, but she really nails one aspect of George Bush and Iraq today in the Times: "He can't admit what the Duelfer report says, that Saddam was no threat to the U.S. or any other country. The mushroom cloud was a Fig Newton of Dick Cheney's feverish imagination. That would mean W. didn't fix his father's screw-up, but he screwed up his father's fix. A big Oedipal oops."

Posted by shamanic at 1:56 AM

You Forgot Poland

Be sure to check out You Forgot Poland.com. It popped up last Friday following the first debate, and they've finally expanded it to include more images.

I find it a little less amusing than I did last weekend, but in part because I've now been gifted with the other cunning linguistic blunder: "Need some wood?", which does not appear to have a website at this time. More the pity.

Posted by shamanic at 1:47 AM

October 8, 2004

Week In Review

Going into tonight's debate, we have a week of truly damaging things for the Bush administration:

Monday: Rumsfeld reveals that he has never seen any "strong, hard evidence" that Saddam Hussein was associated with al Qaeda. The next day, he retracted his remarks, explaining that he was "misunderstood" and that he has consistently said that there was a link, making it true. I'd insert some sarcastic response here, but really, what is there to add?

Tuesday: Former Iraq viceroy L. Paul Bremer reveals that there were not enough troops on the ground or throughout his tenure to prevent a "culture of lawlessness" from developing in Iraq, and that he frequently pushed the administration for more troops. The next day, he announced that his remarks were not meant to imply that there are not enough troops in Iraq and that he supports the administration.

Wednesday: America begins to cope with news that half of the supply of flu vaccine has been shut off because of contamination at a Liverpool plant operated by Chiron Corporation. Following the advent of SARS and with the possible re-emergence of Bird Flu, public health officials encourage healthy adult Americans to take their health into their own hands by washing them often. Those who follow the global spread of flu grimly wonder if we are drifting towards the perfect storm that dwarfs the 1918 flu pandemic.

Thursday: Israeli tourists are murdered in terrorist attacks in Egyptian resort towns. People everywhere wonder how, exactly, the world is safer with Saddam out of power. It still appears that al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden are targeting civilians and acting whenever, and wherever, they wish.

Friday: Labor department reports that the US economy added a disappointing 96,000 new jobs in September. August numbers are revised downward. While this does represent a 13-month string of job growth (sometimes weak, sometimes less so), George Bush is the first president in 72 years to have presided over negative job growth. The American economy has 585,000 fewer jobs today than it did in 2001 when George Bush took office. Labor Secretary Elaine Chow blames the chattering class: "What doesn't help is all the talk about the economy not doing well, people not hiring. It only spurs insecurity and it talks down the economy."

In March 2001, Forbes Magazine had this to say about George Bush and talking down the economy: "Yesterday, President George W. Bush said he has "great faith in our economy." Others put part of the blame on him for talking down the economy in order to press for his tax cut plan as a measure of relief."

Tonight, the debate. One wonders if Bush's advisors have spent the last week exposing him to news reports and subversive ideas in order to innoculate him.

I, unfortunately, will be at another fundraiser for Georgians Against Discrimination tonight and our fight against Amendment 1. I will watch the debate afterwards on cspan.org through the miracle of their amazing video archive. Or I'll catch it on one of the cable nets in replay. By then the blogosphere will be all aglow, so I probably won't spend much time on it unless something really super cool happens. Which really can't be ruled out this political season.

Posted by shamanic at 7:10 PM

Predicting the Race

Blogger Mathew Gross has a challenge for other bloggers: stick your neck out and predict the outcome of this election. Okay, I'm game. I have a series of mixed predictions, with good news and bad news. Good news first.

I predict a turnout of between 105 million and 110 million voters on Election Day. Last time around there were roughly 100 million, so this will represent a 5%-10% bump from 2000 (which saw a 1% bump from 1996, but a 4% decline from 1992).

I predict that through a long and complicated legal process, and the unwillingness of the United States Supreme Court to throw out the entire ballot in Missouri where the 14th Amendment issues raised in Bush v. Gore have been especially engineered for this election, Bush will emerge victorious.

I predict that he will lose the popular vote somewhere on the order of 2-3 million, but that party operatives in Secretary of State positions all over America have been quietly arranging for November 2 for the last four years, and he will carry the electoral college by a small, and disputed, margin.

Summary: My prediction is that Kerry will win the popular vote overwhelmingly but Bush will be the next President.

Make me wrong, America! Make me wrong!

Posted by shamanic at 8:16 AM

Tom Delay, the New White Meat

Sorry for the sporadic posting, it's been a busy busy few days. Today looks like it'll be no different. The weekend may be calmer.

Today, may I recommend Kos' rundown of events in the Tom Delay investigation in Texas. It's a really good analysis that gives me a lot of hope that an indictment is forthcoming.

Look, I've never lived in Texas, and when I think "Tom Delay" I think "Shady Deals". He's famous for constantly skating the line with corruption; of course he's walked past it before.

Anyway, enjoy.

Posted by shamanic at 7:52 AM

October 6, 2004

Dick Cheney & El Salvador

I see that many people are Googling "Dick Cheney & El Salvador" today following his comments from the debate. He read David Brooks last week is all. My comments on Brooks and his dishonesty (not really like him, but it happens to the best of us) last week here. Cheney just continued the narrative: Elections defeat terrorists, without mentioning that it was another 10 years and a lot of UN involvement before El Salvador ended its civil war and experienced real freedom.

Posted by shamanic at 1:01 PM

October 5, 2004

VP Debate

Other than Dick Cheney shielding his microphone with his hands or his slumped-over posture, I have to call this one a tie. A very good debate, very tough, both candidates got their jabs in, both candidates made their points solidly, and both candidates used the phrase "a fundamental difference of opinion" several times, which was probably the defining phrase of the debate.

Edwards drilled Cheney hard on Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda, and 9/11; Cheney drilled Edwards pretty hard on Kerry's fitness to be president.

Winner? I'm kind of back to where I was in 2000: all debates should be like this. Pretty philosophical, both candidates outlined very clearly their own stances. I heard Edwards offer more specifics; Cheney was in the unfortunate position of having to gloss over a very difficult record when it comes to the economy, health care, poverty, and much more.

Iraq was the issue that Cheney really got a hold of, hammering the "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" line over and over, I think very effectively. Cheney's insistence that Iraqi casualties be counted is, quite frankly, overdue.

Cheney comes across as much more authentic than his boss does, and Edwards still comes off as a bit light when he's not speaking (I watched on split screen). I particularly liked Cheney's nostalgia for a time when Congress acted in a more bipartisan way.

I think Edwards was much more clear about specific policy plans and priorities, and I especially appreciated Edwards' statement that they would trim back their proposals as needed in order to halve the massive, untenable deficit in four years. Edwards was tough but likeable, starting on the offense but softening over the course of the debate.

I enjoyed this a lot, giving both men an A- (hey, it wasn't perfect), and I wish that we had more of these sort of encounters in American politics. The British have their Questions in Parliament, and if we didn't have that dastardly tradition of Presidents avoiding the Congress except for the State of the Union Address, we'd probably be better served by our democracy.

Posted by shamanic at 10:40 PM

Pentagon Strike

I guess everyone who surfs a lot is aware that there is some apparent controversy surrounding whether an airplane hit the Pentagon on September 11. I've seen a number of sites discuss this, and have generally felt that it was crazies and way-out conspiracy theorists pushing this, but here is a flash movie laying out the evidence (complete with industrial soundtrack) and I'm finding this theory increasingly compelling.

It mentions footage from nearby cameras (the Sheraton Hotel, DOT cameras over 395, and a nearby gas station) that was confiscated by the FBI and remains unreleased.

My suggestion to the FBI is that they release some of this footage now. Otherwise, FOIA actions will drag on for years while plaintiffs will be told that the tapes have been lost of were destroyed, and the good efforts of the 9/11 Commission and others will be undermined.

I mean, really, since we have an open form of government there shouldn't be any problem with releasing the Sheraton Hotel's security camera footage, right? Because it'll show exactly what we all know--that a Boeing 757 slammed into the Pentagon, killing 89 people including 64 aboard, right? More conspiracy theories here.

I think my biggest problem with this particular conspiracy theory is the lack of explanation for where Flight 77 actually went. There were people on it. Barbara Olsen, wife of US Solicitor General Ted Olsen, and herself a conservative author and commentator, died on Flight 77. I find it impossible to believe that these people were sequestered away somewhere by the US government and are unable to contact their families.

So if Flight 77 didn't hit the Pentagon, where did it crash? My suggestion to the purveyors of this theory: find the real crash site.

It's probably pointless to take photo evidence as anything at all. These are the same techniques used to prove that man has never been to the moon. But I have to ask... where are Flight 77's wings?

Here's a photo of the crash site for ValuJet Flight 592, which crashed into the Everglades in 1996.



It was a DC-10 that basically buried itself in the swamp, but there is a clear debris field. No debris field to speak of at the Pentagon. File this one under "interesting", but I have a nagging doubt that we have not heard the last on this topic and that there is more to this story than we've been told.

Posted by shamanic at 12:16 PM

Tonight's Debate: The Vice Presidents

Tonight, Sen. John Edwards and Vice President Dick Cheney will meet at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio to debate.

If you're thinking there's any chance that this will go as smoothly as last week's trouncing of George Bush, think again.

Tonight, two extremely intelligent men with radically differing worldviews will square off. Cheney is the administration pit bull; Edwards has been largely invisible since being picked for the VP slot on the Democratic ticket.

Cheney is a hardened cold warrior who, when he says, "Vote for us or you'll die," sounds more fearsome than comical. He has a deep, resonant voice, and is often portrayed in the media as possessing a "gloomy" perspective. He is a free trade, anti-tax Republican whose resume includes time in Congress (Wyoming representative), SecDef during Bush I and the Gulf War, and CEO of Halliburton during the 90s, during which time he orchestrated trade with Axis of Evil nations. He also maintains the fiction that Saddam Hussein helped orchestrate 9/11 and had close ties to al Qaida. Sometimes referred to as Darth Vader by critics.

Edwards is (and looks) younger, prides himself on his hardscrabble background, and it's difficult to imagine that if Edwards had a gay daughter, she and her partner would not appear on stage at the DNC. Edwards came to prominence in the Dem primaries by promoting the "Two Americas" issue which has found a prominent role in Kerry's rhetoric. He is an extremely successful trial lawyer whose primary themes are classic Dem rhetoric: empowering the downtrodden, equalizing economic opportunity, and so forth. Sometimes referred to as "The Breck Girl" by critics.

There may be no clear winner in this debate. Both men will certainly comport themselves well. Cheney goes into this debate at a slight disadvantage after Bush scared the crap out of the public last week by appearing to have no grasp of facts and to strongly resent having to stand there and listen to someone challenge him. Ahem...*creampuff*...ahem...

So Cheney's job is to try to rehabilitate his boss's image, and history tells us he'll do this by attacking Kerry hard. In a very convoluted way, this brings the advantage back to Cheney, because Edwards will be put on the defensive from the get-go. Still, Edwards did some remarkable thrusts and parries in the primaries when attacked. As a lawyer, he's an expert at using humor and reframing arguments. Advantage: Edwards.

So I call it even going in, and it will ultimately be up to the American people to decide which of the two visions of America they are drawn to: one of hopefulness, strength, and expanding opportunity, or one of a bankrupt, isolated America that is perpetually under attack and afraid.

Debate begins at 9:00, but the cable networks will have plenty of pre-debate expectation building in the two hours prior.

Posted by shamanic at 9:48 AM

October 4, 2004

ABC News/WaPo Polling

Since I know we on the left tremble at the slightest bad news, please know this:

1. The race is tied and has been since, uh, March. Please ignore polling data; this race will be decided on the ground.

2. Since I know you can't ignore it, here's this, from the story with my own editorial additions:

In the aftermath of last week's presidential debate, Bush currently leads Kerry 51 percent to 46 percent among those most likely to vote, [They decide this; there is no consensus on how to decide what constitutes a "likely voter". Did you vote last time? Did you vot ein the primaries? Have you ever voted before? Every organization has a different way to do it, and it's really just guessing]according to polling conducted Friday through Sunday. Independent candidate Ralph Nader claims 1 percent of the hypothetical vote.

But the president held only a 3-point advantage among all registered voters, down from 7 points [Registered voter stats have generally been more accurate] in a Post-ABC News survey conducted before last week's presidential debate. Kerry is particularly popular among occasional voters -- a sign that the election may hinge for Kerry on his campaign's ability to get newly registered voters and those with only a spotty voting record to go to the polls [and literally hundreds of thousands of new voters have been registered by Kerry-friendly groups].

Margin of sampling error for results based on either sample is about plus or minus 3 percentage points[So Bush's "three point lead" among RVs is actually the margin of error. Tied race.].

Ignore it. If you can't ignore it, please read some of the data from the ground; voter registration drives have turned out amazing numbers of new voters. Still, it remains that we live in a 50/50 country.

While it is possible for Mr. Bush to take the electoral college (entry coming soon on Republican efforts in a number of swing states to limit new voters) it seems improbable that this President could be recorded by historians as ever having won the popular vote.

Kerry's in great shape, guys. Don't let them get to you. By the way, early voting in Georgia runs from October 25-29, so if you want to play the horse race game on November 2 without the lines--you can.

Posted by shamanic at 6:47 PM

When did that thing happen again?

Funniest movie I've seen in a while.

You know, it's funny 'cause it's true.

Posted by shamanic at 6:23 PM

Freeway Blogging

The Freeway Blogger calls a day of action on October 13.

Got ink?

Posted by shamanic at 1:13 PM

The Earpiece Theory

Have you heard the one about how Bush's suit didn't fit right so he must have been wearing an earpiece during the debate?

Blue Lemur has a balanced (read: sane) overview with picture, but I've seen some bloggers screaming for a major investigation into this.

Um, guys? Chill out, okay. This isn't going to go anywhere, and you're just sounding crazy. We're doing fine, it's pretty ugly when we start grasping at straws while ahead.

Posted by shamanic at 11:27 AM

October 3, 2004

Picture Pages

One serious, one not so much...

The lost (and now found) mug shot of Rosa Parks from her 1956 arrest during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.




Bush's most memorable line, by far.

Posted by shamanic at 1:07 AM

October 2, 2004

"Little Big Man"

While I'm away, read this very enjoyable essay on the private face of George Bush.

Posted by shamanic at 12:48 AM

On the road again

I'll be travelling on Saturday and likely won't get a chance to post. I may get a chance to read for a few minutes, though, and I'd love to see your thoughts on the debate or the post-debate spin. Call it an open thread...

Posted by shamanic at 12:32 AM

October 1, 2004

The Political War

Unsurprisingly, the day after the Foreign Policy Debate, which I'm sure the Republicans thought that Bush would win handily, US troops have gone on the offensive in Samarra, a town they have not entered since September 9.

Heavy casualties are reported, as US armor, air power, and ground troops lead Iraqis to battle. Insurgent casualties are reported at 96, with at least one US death at the moment.

I only question whether this battle was planned with direction from the White House because everything about this exercize has been about politics. The 2002 election was the reason for the run up to the war, George Bush famously blinked when Fallujah was on the brink and that calculated decision had everything to do with November.

So, did the White House tell commanders on the ground to take Samarra the day after the debate to highlight the increasing prowess of the Iraqi security forces and show how tough George Bush is? Let's just say that it wouldn't surprise me at all.

Posted by shamanic at 3:02 PM

Bush's Distortions Begin to Hurt Him

From Sign On San Diego:

"He clearly was not the person that he's been portrayed as," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. "The American people now will have to take a second look at him – and when you're behind, that's what you need."

I really think Bush is going to suffer for creating a caricature of a human being and expecting people to be dumb enough to believe it. I'm wondering why Bush accepted debates at all--he obviously loathes answering questions, has avoided having to answer for his policy blunders for three and a half years, doesn't allow dissenting opinions into his campaign appearances, and has done everything possible to keep himself deep in a bubble.

Kerry's not the guy that he and Dick Cheney have been warning America about. John Kerry is a bright, well-spoken politician who wants to approach America's problems in a different way. And all that Bush seemed able to say about that last night was, "That plan won't work!" No plan of his own to speak of, but no one else deserves a shot.

Posted by shamanic at 7:49 AM

Replay

Watching it again, Karen says: "Watching this the second time through, Bush really does come off as a screaming little monkey." (No link. She's sitting on the couch.)

Andrew Sullivan: "If you believe, as I do, that the Iraq war is beginning to spiral downward, Bush was not reassuring. He seemed as out of it as ever. When Kerry rightly pointed out the failure of Bush to revamp the CIA or to secure Soviet nuclear material, Bush simply and sadly responded that every morning some guy comes in and briefs him on national security. Now I feel better. And you don't want to be the president who is forced to say, "Of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us."

Josh Marshall: "To put it bluntly, the Bush campaign has created an image of Kerry as a weak and indecisive man, someone that -- whatever you think of President Bush -- just can't be trusted to keep the country safe in these dangerous times.

"Often they've made him into an object of contempt.

"Whatever else you can say about this debate, though, whatever you think of his policies, I don't think that's how Kerry came off. I think he came off as forceful and direct. And I suspect that most people who were at all genuinely undecided came away from the 90 minutes with that impression."
---
Okay, just hit the moment where Bush says, "You forgot Poland!", to which I would add, "You forgot Eritrea! Micronesia! Marshall Islands! Palau and Tonga! Azerbaijian!"

God, that John Kerry is just plain stupid, isn't he?

I love how Bush goes on to upbraid Kerry for denigrating allies. The Old Europe vs. New Europe President suddenly has a soft spot for allies. Aw, if it wasn't so coldly calculated, it would be really heartwarming.

Karen adds: When the question comes to him, he blinks a whole lot like a monkey in headlights.

She's ready for bed. Good night all.

Posted by shamanic at 1:39 AM

More on "That's Not Going To Happen"

Downthread a couple of posts, I have a comment about Bush's answer to the second question of the debate, where he was asked if he thought that electing John Kerry would result in another 9/11 type attack.

Bush responded this way: "I don't believe it's going to happen. I believe I'm going to win."

See, I thought that Bush was going to say, "I think we've made America safer, I think we've secured the country and I think that Americans can feel safer."

But it's all about him, of course. And Bush's quote says so much about what I dislike about Bush's policymaking.

Question: "Mr. President, do you think that if X happens, it will result in Y?"
Answer: "Oh, X won't happen."

So we don't need to plan for Y. To bother thinking about Y would be ridiculous.

Question: "Mr. President, do you think that your tax cuts will result in massive budget deficits?"

Answer: "My tax cuts will stimulate growth. Why are we talking about the deficit?"

Question: "Mr President, do you think that if we go into Iraq without enough troops, we might get bogged down in an insurgency?"

Answer: "The Iraqis will be happy to see us, they'll greet us as liberators. Everyone views America as great and honorable liberators, why would they launch an insurgency against us?"

This is the man who said tonight that he knows how the world works. Which world?

In the space of this debate, two more US soldiers (referred to in the CentCom release as "Multi-National Force Soldiers") were reported killed in Iraq. 1057 Americans total. 79 in September.

Yeah, George Bush knows how the world works.

Posted by shamanic at 12:41 AM


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