Saturday, October 02, 2004

Big Mo

Kerry Leads!

Hoeffel/Arlen "Einhorn Not a Flight Risk" Specter Debate

Taped earlier, broadcast this evening, tomorrow - check local listings.

Fox News - Snookered Again

Is anyone ever going to hold this network to any standard?

Of course, there were some Kerry supporters in attendance who had no doubts whatever about their candidate.

"We're trying to get Comrade Kerry elected and get that capitalist enabler George Bush out of office," said 17-year-old Komoselutes Rob of Communists for Kerry.

"Even though he, too, is a capitalist, he supports my socialist values more than President Bush," Rob said, before assuring that his organization was not a parody group. When asked his thoughts on Washington's policy toward Communist holdout North Korea, Rob said: "The North Koreans are my comrades to a point, and I'm sure they support Comrade Kerry, too."

It is unclear whether the Kerry campaign has welcomed the Communists' endorsement.

All Fox had to do was click on the "About" link:

"Communists for Kerry" is a campaign of the Hellgate Republican Club, a tax exempt non-partisan public advocacy "527" organization that exists for the purpose of;

"Informing voters with satire and irony, how political candidates make decisions based on the failed social economic principles of socialism that punish the individual by preventing them from becoming their dream through proven ideas of entrepreneurship and freedom."

Our members help elect candidates who support economic growth through Entrepreneurship, limited government and lower taxes. Communists For Kerry is separate and distinct from the Communist party of America and any of its organization. None of it's members are members of any communist organizations.

(thanks to reader g)



The tubes quickly became a critical exhibit in the administration's brief against Iraq. As the only physical evidence the United States of Mr. Hussein's revived nuclear ambitions, they gave credibility to the apocalyptic imagery invoked by President Bush and his advisers. The tubes were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, asserted on CNN on Sept. 8, 2002. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

But before Ms. Rice made those remarks, she was aware that the government's foremost nuclear experts had concluded that the tubes were most likely not for nuclear weapons at all, an examination by The New York Times has found. As early as 2001, her staff had been told that these experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were probably intended for small artillery rockets, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and a senior administration official, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

"She was aware of the differences of opinion," the senior administration official said in an interview authorized by the White House. "She was also aware that at the highest level of the intelligence community, there was great confidence that these tubes were for centrifuges."

Ms. Rice's alarming description on CNN was in keeping with the Bush administration's overall treatment of the tubes. Senior administration officials repeatedly failed to fully disclose the contrary views of America's leading nuclear scientists, The Times found. They sometimes overstated even the most dire intelligence assessments of the tubes, yet minimized or rejected the strong doubts of their own experts. They worried privately that the nuclear case was weak, but expressed sober certitude in public.

I think we can put to rest any notion that, as Connolly and Kessler wrote, "there is little evidence the Bush administration purposely tried to deceive Americans and other world leaders about the threat posed by the alleged weapons..."

Powell too:

Intelligence analysts at the State Department waged a quiet battle against much of the proposed language on tubes. A year before, they had sent Mr. Powell a report explaining why they believed the tubes were more likely for rockets. The National Intelligence Estimate included their dissent - that they saw no compelling evidence of a comprehensive effort to revive a nuclear weapons program. Now, in the days before the Security Council speech, they sent the secretary detailed memos warning him away from a long list of assertions in the drafts, the Intelligence Committee found. The language on the tubes, they said, contained "egregious errors'' and "highly misleading'' claims. Changes were made, language softened. The line about "the mere pressure of my hand,'' for instance, was removed.

"My colleagues,'' Mr. Powell assured the Security Council, "every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions.''

He made his way to the subject of Mr. Hussein's current nuclear capabilities.

"By now,'' he said, "just about everyone has heard of these tubes, and we all know there are differences of opinion. There is controversy about what these tubes are for. Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Other experts and the Iraqis themselves argue that they are really to produce the rocket bodies for a conventional weapon, a multiple rocket launcher.''

But Mr. Powell did not acknowledge that those "other experts'' included many of the nation's most authoritative nuclear experts, some of whom said in interviews that they were offended to find themselves now lumped in with a reviled government.

In making the case that the tubes were for centrifuges, Mr. Powell made claims that his own intelligence experts had told him were not accurate. Mr. Powell, for example, asserted to the Security Council that the tubes were manufactured to a tolerance "that far exceeds U.S. requirements for comparable rockets."

Yet in a memo written two days earlier, Mr. Powell's intelligence experts had specifically cautioned him about those very same words. "In fact,'' they explained, "the most comparable U.S. system is a tactical rocket - the U.S. Mark 66 air-launched 70-millimeter rocket - that uses the same, high-grade (7075-T6) aluminum, and that has specifications with similar tolerances.''

The Times, very gently, at least reminds us in parts of the article about its own culpability in this mess. Let's see. Sources made claims. Times reports them. Claims later turn out to be bullshit. hmmmm....

Made Up

Wow. Bob Somerby managed to get to the bottom of the Dowd's quoting of Kerry saying "Who among us doesn't love Nascar?" which he never said.

Start here with this post for a background.

So, here's the timeline. At a campaign rally on February 17, Kerry says:

There isn't one of us here who doesn't like NASCAR and who isn't a fan...

Dowd reported in her March 18 column:

Even when he puts on that barn jacket over his expensive suit to look less lockjaw -- and says things like, "Who among us doesn't like NASCAR?" -- he can come across like Collins, Elizabeth Bennet's pretentious cousin in "Pride and Prejudice."

Of course, she didn't hear the quote. So, where did she get it from? Apparently New York Times journalist Sheryl Gay Stolberg who was at the rally.

The quote was subsequently used in Boston Globe article on March 20, sourced to Dowd, dissecting the speech patterns of the candidates.

It was then used in a March 23 column in the New York Daily News by Denis Hamill, who wrote:

If you're a John Kerry fan you must have cringed recently when he chased the blue-collar male vote by saying, "Who among us doesn't like NASCAR?"

It showed up in a July 7, 2004 Newsday column by Joseph Dolan:

"Who among us doesn't like NASCAR?" he supposedly said when confronted with George W. Bush's gaudy performance before the beer-bellied dads of Dixie at the Daytona 500 a few months ago.

It showed up in a July 25, 2004 NYT article by John Tierney(quiz format):

5. When journalists do impressions of John Kerry, their favorite words to quote are:

a) I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.

b) I have three words for this president that I know he understands: Bring it on!

c) Folks, I say to you

d) I learned my first cuss words sitting on a tractor.

e) Who among us doesn't like Nascar?

(the "correct" answer being e)

It showed up again in another New York Times report by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and John Tierney on July 30, 2004:

To anyone who has listened to Mr. Kerry extemporize at length -- who among us can forget his ''Who among us doesn't like Nascar?

It showed up again in an August 22 NYT article by Timothy Egan:

Still, some red-state Democrats wince when they see Mr. Kerry stiltedly asking, ''Who among us does not love Nascar?'' and connecting to the great outdoors by windsurfing.

One wonders how they wince if they haven't actually seen it.

It showed up again in a September 5 column by Frank Rich:

When the Democrat asks ''Who among us does not love Nascar?'' and lets reporters follow him around on a ''day off'' when his errands include buying a jock strap, he is asking to be ridiculed as an ''International Man of Mystery.'

It is likely, though not necessarily, the inspiration for the jokey September 5 NYT article by Kate Zernike, which was headlined "Who Among Us Does Not Love Windsurfing?":

The stereotypes of the sport are unfair -- there are lots of plumbers and construction workers windsurfing off Cape Cod and in the lakes of Iowa. (Better put: Who among us doesn't like windsurfing?)

Again in the September 18 Toronto Star in a Tim Harper article:

Kerry was never going to win this vote, but tossed it away with his strong push to extend the assault weapons ban this week and his rather patrician nod to the track when he said, "Who among us doesn't love NASCAR?"

And, it shows up most recently in a September 26 Hartford Courant piece by Aaron Zelinsky:

Kerry-Don't 1. Don't speak in elegant sentences. Kerry needs to create good sound-bites. He also needs to connect with rank-and-file Americans. This means saying fewer things like "Who among us does not love NASCAR?" and more things like "America can do better." He ditched the Brahmin lilt a while back; now he just needs to make sure he doesn't speak in sentences that involve semicolons (like this sentence).

When I first heard of the dubious sourcing of this quote, after I bit of research I concluded pretty quickly that the quote was bogus - not because I couldn't imagine Kerry saying it, but because I knew that if he *had* said it, then it would have run on the cable nets and the late night talk shows over and over and over and over. Instead, it seems to have been a little anecdote people passed around and around. But, then Bovino claimed to have verfied it with the journalist, who now admits that maybe she misheard, and so I had to admit that I must have been wrong. Silly me.

Lisa Myers

Wow. Truly hacktackular. NBC should stop embarrassing itself.



What Fox Thinks of The Liberal Media

While everyone's been focusing on the Made Up Story over at Fox News, a reader pointed out another fascinating bit of 'reporting' in the same page:

While it is not uncommon in press filing centers for reporters to laugh, cheer, groan and audibly react during a presidential debate, there was silence in the press room Thursday night.

There is a growing consensus among reporters that Kerry's criticisms got under the president's skin.

Is there any other way to interpret this other than that the Fox reporter (presumably) Cameron thinks the press corps was chilled into silence by the horrible thought of a looming Kerry presidency?

If they were a bunch of libruls, wouldn't they be cheering?

Open Thread

BRUUUUUUUUUUUUCE edition. concert review. Went to see Bright Eyes, REM, and Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band on their Vote for Change tour. Politics were in the air, with Bruce making a brief "public service announcement" and Stipe wearing a "Kerry" t-shirt, but not overwhelming. Mostly it was just a good show. I'm not a particularly big fan of either REM or Bruce (flame away), so I can't really give a "fan's" perspective, but it was a good show. Bright Eyes opened, then REM, then Bruce. Crossover moments include Springsteen joining in on "Man on the Moon" with REM and Stipe joining in on "Because the Night." The whole crowd joined in for "Peace, Love, and Understanding" and "People Have the Power."

Friday, October 01, 2004

Before and After

The pre- and post- debate spin.

There's a Reason They're Called Faux

I'm sure you've all been following Josh Marshall follow the fake Fox News (is there any other kind?) story. Apparently the author was their star campaign reporter Carl Cameron. That's quite a big deal.

Over to you, Howie... (who, if he addresses it, will marvel at Cameron's wit).

Friday Cat Blogging

Gizmo prepares to eat Wiley



Since then Bush has been wheeled out into forums where no one can dare question or contradict his majesty, where he can lean forward and repeat ad nauseam his patented soundbites. Last night I believe we saw the ugly comeback of the private face of Bush--the irritable expressions he flashes subordinates when he's presented with information he doesn't like or feels someone's taken up too much of his time or is pressed to explain himself to people he shouldn't have to explain himself to because he's the president and fuck you. The notion that Bush is "likeable" has always been laughable. It takes a Washington pundit to be that dumb. He's an angry, spoiled, resentful little big man--I use "little big man" in the Reichian sense of a small personality who puffs himself up to look big through bluster and swagger but remains a scheming coward inside--and next to a genuinely big man like Kerry, shrunk before the camera's eyes.


Bush blasted in businessweek.


I know Saletan is using a literary device here, with "we" being generic "Amurikan people," but still, what the hell?

This time, however, Kerry isn't raising the question. His opponent, the president of the United States, is raising it. Why? Because Iraq is different from Vietnam. We were attacked on 9/11. We thought Saddam Hussein was behind it. We thought Iraq posed the next threat. We don't want to believe that we were wrong, that we've committed $200 billion and sacrificed more than 1,000 American lives in error. We can't imagine asking thousands more to die for a mistake.

(thanks to apophenia)

More "Undecided" Republican Posers

How do they let themselves get punk'd so easily?

America Can't Afford to Be Safe From Terrorists

Once we move away from the jokey stuff, the most stunning statement by Bush last night was:

I don't think we want to get to how he's going to pay for all these promises.

Bush chose the wrong debate to use that line. Was Kerry about incresing welfare payments? Free health care for all? Subways in every city? Some oliberal big government program? No. He was talking about doing very sensible and relatively inexpensive things to prevent catastrophe. The full exchange:

Mr. Kerry Jim, let me tell you exactly what I'll do. And there are a long list of things. First of all, what kind of mixed message does it send when you've got $500 million going over to Iraq to put police officers in the streets of Iraq and the president is cutting the cops program in America? What kind of message does it send to be sending money to open firehouses in Iraq but we're shutting firehouses, who are the first responders here in America? The president hasn't put one nickel - not one nickel - into the effort to fix some of our tunnels and bridges and most exposed subway systems. That's why they had to close down the subway in New York when the Republican convention was there. We haven't done the work that ought to be done.

The president - 95 percent of the containers that come into the ports, right here in Florida, are not inspected. Civilians get onto aircraft and their luggage is X-rayed, but the cargo hold is not X-rayed. Does that make you feel safer in America?

This president thought it was more important to give the wealthiest people in America a tax cut rather than invest in homeland security. Those aren't my values. I believe in protecting America first. And long before President Bush and I get a tax cut - and that's who gets it - long before we do, I'm going to invest in homeland security and I'm going to make sure we're not cutting cops programs in America and we're fully staffed in our firehouses and that we protect the nuclear and chemical plants.

The president, also unfortunately, gave in to the chemical industry, which didn't want to do some of the things necessary to strengthen our chemical plant exposure. And there's an enormous undone job to protect the loose nuclear materials in the world that are able to get to terrorists. That's a whole other subject.

But I see we still have a little bit more time. Let me just quickly say, at the current pace, the president will not secure the loose material in the Soviet Union, former Soviet Union, for 13 years. I'm going to do it in four years. And we're going to keep it out of the hands of terrorists.

Mr. Lehrer Ninety-second response, Mr. President.

Mr. Bush I don't think we want to get to how he's going to pay for all these promises. It's like a huge tax gap and - anyway, that's for another debate.

From a tactical perspective, it was a great gaffe. When he tries to offer up something like that in that next debate, Shrum and gang will have a line ready...

Bush Debate Notes

A Talent Show exclusive.
(sorry, not entirely work safe)

Going Upriver

Make sure to check out the new documentary about Kerry this weekend.

Theater listing here.

Faces of Frustration

Go watch the DNC video.

(thanks to pixie)

Congratulations, Team Leaders!

Apparently you made poor Ken Mehlman sweat.

Someone Needs to Retire


In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard.

It's-and it's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is. But it's necessary work.

We're making progress. It is hard work.

You know my hardest, the hardest part of the job is to know that I committed the troops in harm's way and then do the best I can to provide comfort for the loves ones who lost a son or a daughter or husband and wife. [sadly, no one asked my question]

Her husband, P.J., got killed-been in Afghanistan, went to Iraq. You know, it's hard work to try to love her as best as I can knowing full well that the decision I made caused her, her loved one to be in harm's way.

Yeah, we're the job done. It's hard work.

Understand how hard it is to commit troops. I never wanted to commit troops. I never - when I was running - when we had the debate in 2000, never dreamt I'd be doing that, but the enemy attacked us, Jim, and I have a solemn duty to protect the American people, to do everything I can to protect us. [never dreamt he might have to go to war? wow]

Polish Love

Bush sure was obsessed with Poland and its president last night. Which big media outlet will be the first to remind viewers of his recent statement:

They deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that's true. We were taken for a ride.

The Charge Not Answered

Yglesias says:

THE CHARGE NOT ANSWERED. The main thing that lends debates -- as opposed to normal speeches -- some interest is that even when the candidates aren't allowed to directly address one another, they still set up their charges in such a way as to clearly imply that the other guy ought to be responding to his opponents' attacks. In that light, it's worth highlighting one charge Kerry made several times that Bush never responded to directly -- namely that the reason Osama bin Laden is at large threatening the United States rather than dead on the battlefield was the Bush administration's decision to "outsource" the battle of Tora Bora.
I've never heard any of Bush's allies offer a convincing defense of this decision, and it's a critique Kerry's been leveling on-and-off ever since the day it happened. Tonight, Bush didn't even try. A tacit admission, perhaps, that Kerry was right. I think that means Kerry ought to press the assault forward and start bringing this up more often. Force the president to either admit he was wrong and puncture his self-cultivated mystique of infallibility or else offer some kind of defense. I don't see what he could possibly have to say for himself.


USA Today Focus Group

Wow, a focus group without Luntz:

A panel of 15 undecided voters convened to watch the debate. Although the panel leaned Republican in party registration, when it came to deciding who won the first of three presidential debates, the members overwhelmingly gave the nod to Kerry. (Related: Full poll results)

Only three members of the group who watched the debate at the offices of JRP Marketing Research Services thought Bush emerged the winner.

"He was horrible," said Jason Marsh, 28, a data systems clerk who said he is a registered Republican. "He was stuttering. He wasn't speaking in one coherent thought."

Petulant Child

Oliver catches Bush in some very unpresidential moments. Watch the videos.

...and attaturk gives the debate in pictures.

More Reviews

according to the Kerry folk:

“As far as the debate goes, I don't see how anybody could look at this debate and not score this a very clear win on points for John Kerry." -- Joe Scarborough

"I thought the President was repetitive and reactive." - Kate O'Beirne

"It was John Kerry's best performance ever." -- Joe Scarborough

“The president was remarkably angry seeming"—Mark Halperin

"Bush appeared perturbed when Kerry leveled some of his charges, scowling at times and looking away in apparent disgust at others." Milbank and VanderHei


Kerry: 45

Bush 36:

Tie: 17

CNN's "Undecided" Voter

Not so undecided.





Kerry: 53
Bush: 37


Kerry: 44
Bush: 26
Tie: 30


Kerry: 45
Bush 36:
Tie: 17

Kerry Wins

According to CNN/Gallup.

Late Night Thread

Goodbye George edition.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Spin Consensus

Kerry presidential. Bush smirked.

President John Kerry...

Post-Debate Spin

Document the atrocities.

Salute the New Commander in Chief

Say hello, to our next president, John Kerry.

Make sure to hit the online polls which will likely be up momentarily.

"Mexed Missages"

Open Thread. Eric Alterman is sitting on my couch looking grumpy edition.

Hear the Spin -- Live!

The Bush Cheney conf call begins at 10:45 pm. To join call:
1-800-262-1292. That's 1-800-262-1292, password Miami Debate.

"I expect to win"

but...but...but...just a few weeks ago you said:

I don't think you can win it.


Open Thread


what's up with Snippy McBlinky?

The Rolling of Eyes is the New "Sighs"


Split Screen

May just save the country.

rant away.

Open Thread - Fact Check

Post any factual errors you hear.

Open Thread - General Discussion

Rant away.

Hot Tip

Bush whitened teeth for tonight...

Pre-Debate Spinners Thread

Report on the atrocities.


Go take Anderson Cooper's poll.


Everyone's probably already read this, but here's the "for friends only" email from a WSJ reporter that's been circulating.

Digby comments here, and Josh here, so go read those.

But, what frustrates me, aside from the Bush administration's belief that fantasy trumps reality if only you clap hard enough, is that the media is complicit. I'm not entirely sure why, but "everyone knows" that Iraq has been "Lebanized." Once upon a time I can understand why a healthy dose of optimism kept a lot of people cheerleading, but now it's just a mess. The media won't present the mess, they present the Rove-tinted fantasy version that he gives to them. I wish I knew why - it would be easier to figure out what to do about it. It could be simply because they're in the tank for Republicans, and we can't possible broadcast such "partisan facts" at this time. It could be because they were all complicit in the runup to the war, and they're unwilling to face the monster they've created.

I've heard a lot of rumbling recently that reporting on Iraq will get better the day after the election. I'm sure that's true if John Kerry gets elected, but I doubt it'll be the case if Bush is re-elected. We've been hearing forever that "after this...the reporting will get btter." Well, I remember on September 12 the media started navel gazing and writing mea culpas about how they should have focused on more serious things and oh boy they're sure going to now and...nothing. Then, we had all those mea culpas once Iraq started going sour... and then once Abu Ghraib hit... and then... well, what?

As always, yes of course there are good journalists and stories are being reported, etc... etc... But, the responsible parts of our media need to recognize that they are part of a much larger fabric. Their job must be not simply to report, but to get their message heard above the noise. Their job is to inform the public, and right now they public is tragically uninformed. When a big chunk of the media is just horrible, and another, and incrasingly big chunk of the media is in the tank for the party which controls all the branches of the federal government, then there's little place for quiet, meek, "objective," "centrist" journalism. It doesn't work. You'll get drowned out.

That doesn't mean a move to all partisan journalism, though I tend to sympathize with that idea, but it does mean that media outlets needs to consider the issue of "balance" in a way which goes beyond the confines of the actual pages of their own paper. They need to recognize that it isn't necessarily "choosing sides" to provide a counterweight to the prevailing message which is out there.

Whatever one thought of Michael Moore's movie, one of the sillier lines of attack was that it wasn't "balanced," as if the movie existed in a vacuum. As if people going to see it hadn't already been inundated with the conventional view on Iraq, with the administration's view on Iraq. The responsible media, what's left of them, need to recognize that they too don't exist in a vacuum. There's a notstop 24/7 battle not just to report the facts, but to take control of which facts actually make their way to the majority of the population. It's time to wake up to that.


It's pretty sad when unhappy mothers of dead soldiers can't get a mention on TV.

On a related note, I will repost my earlier suggestion for a debate qusetion:

Mr. Bush, just how many widows have you hugged?

DNC Donation

If you were thinking about donating to the DNC any time soon, I'd suggest doing it the instant the debate ends...

Afternoon Thread

Will the two-faced "I didn't do it" boy take responsibility for anything? All signs point to no...

Oops, I Missed It

The AP gives us the template for debate articles:

CORAL GABLES, Fla. Sept. 30, 2004 — After a deluge of campaign speeches and hostile television ads, President Bush and challenger John Kerry got their chance to face each other directly Thursday night before an audience of tens of millions of voters in a high-stakes debate about terrorism, the Iraq war and the bloody aftermath.

The 90-minute encounter was particularly crucial for Kerry, trailing slightly in the polls and struggling for momentum less than five weeks before the election. The Democratic candidate faced the challenge of presenting himself as a credible commander in chief after a torrent of Republican criticism that he was prone to changing his positions.

Bush was expected to confront questions about leading the nation into war on the still-unproven premise that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He also has faced accusations that he lacked a strategy to deal with the violence and chaos that have left more than 1,000 Americans dead and that the Iraq war has diverted U.S. attention from al-Qaida and other terrorists.

With a record of four years in office to defend, Bush had a debate strategy of being optimistic about Iraq but acknowledging that times were tough. His stance is that Americans know he is a decisive leader even if they don't always agree with his decisions and that Kerry has taken conflicting positions on Iraq and can't be trusted to lead the nation.

Although Kerry voted to give Bush authority to invade Iraq, he says he would not have followed Bush's path to war a path that alienated allies and, the Democrat says, left Americans less secure. Kerry argues Bush is out of touch with reality, paints too rosy a picture about Iraq and lacks a strategy to end the crisis.

Kerry also says Bush has neglected other major problems like North Korea and Iran, two nations suspected of pursing nuclear weapons.

Kerry, in a taped interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday, said, "George Bush is scaring America. He's talking terror every day, and people see terrible images of what's happening in the world, and they're real."

Bush spent the morning comforting hurricane victims on his fifth survey of Florida areas hit by storms. At the Martin County, Fla., Red Cross center, Bush thanked volunteers for showing "the true heart of America. We long to help somebody when they're hurting."

The debate's focus on Iraq was sharpened by bombings in Baghdad Thursday that killed three dozen children.

Ahead in the polls, Bush could afford to settle for a debate draw while Kerry needed something to break the status quo. Some Democrats saw the debates as the last chance for a Kerry breakout.

Thursday night's meeting at the University of Miami was the first of three Bush-Kerry debates over a two-week period. Neither side was underestimating its importance with a TV audience of 30 million to 40 million expected. Almost a third of people surveyed say the debates will be a deciding factor in how they vote.

The first debate drew the nation's attention to hurricane-battered Florida and its political importance. Florida swung the presidency to Bush in the disputed 2000 election and could determine whether he wins re-election.

The debates were staged under a rigid set of rules negotiated by the candidates' representatives to limit spontaneity and opportunities for back-and-forth exchanges.'s gone. Annatopia has the screenshot.


The Daily Show caught this last night, but it's worth spreading around. It's interesting what Bill O'Reilly considers to be "impressive:"

The president did not receive the questions in advance, nor were there any restrictions on what I could ask. Again, that's impressive. Even if you don't support Mr. Bush, you have to admire his willingness to discuss the issues in a venue like this.

Ad Nags

Someone discovered the "private diary" of Adam Nagourney... Jodi posts there too sometimes.

Completing the Circle

New York Times retains Ken Starr.

Archive Problems

Blogger's doing weird things to my archives, so I'm gonna mess around a bit. It might lead to some temporary problems, so bear with me...

Debate Watching

So, here's the plan for tonight. I'll set up threads as necessary for general discussion of the debate while it happens, but I also want to set up a factchecking thread for more specific calls of "foul."

Also, as important, is monitoring all of the post debate spin. So, everyone pick a network and comment on the atrocities.

Bush - Big Liar

Of course, the Post puts these 3 paragraphs at the very end of the story:

The unit histories undermine the initial contention of the Bush camp that he gave up flying because his services as an F-102 pilot were no longer needed. They show that the F-102 remained the workhorse of the 147th through mid-1972, when Bush moved from Texas to Alabama to take part in a political campaign, even as pilots were being trained on the more sophisticated F-101. Fifteen F-102 planes were in service in the 147th that year, compared with 18 planes in 1968, the year Bush joined the Guard.

The use of F-102s expanded in October 1972, when the group assumed a new "24-hour active alert mission" to safeguard the southern boundary of the United States against "surprise attack," according to the unit history. The new mission required that two F-102 fighter-interceptors be on five-minute alert at all times. The plane was not phased out until September 1974, 2 1/2 years after Bush stopped flying.

The unit histories also cast doubt on a 1999 statement by Bush that there were "five or six flying slots available" in the 147th when he first expressed an interest in applying, in January 1968. At that time, the unit was two pilots short of its assigned strength of 29 pilots. Two pilots were undergoing training to take over the positions, and one pilot was on the transfer list.

Late Night Thread


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Pop Quiz

Who said:

I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.

Guess first. But, trust me, no one will get it right.

"MSNBC Cans Luntz"

Success. From Roll Call, subscription only. Here's the relevant bit:

Looks like the letter had an impact. Although MSNBC did not respond to Brock, a spokeswoman for the network told HOH late Wednesday that the network has decided “not to go with Frank for the debate.” In fact, MSNBC won’t conduct polling at all now, she said.

Brock was delighted to hear the news. “It is encouraging that MSNBC responded to criticism in a constructive way. Clearly they realized that employing a partisan pollster does not reflect well on them as a responsible media outlet.”

...MSNBC now claiming "A press release indicating that Frank Luntz would be on our air went out in error."

No Quid Pro Quo

Just so people know, I had no idea that the Schrader campaign was going to place an ad (look to the right) and it had nothing to do with me suggesting that you donate to her. Of the candidates I've chosen, I know Hoeffel has advertised here. Obviously Schrader has. I honestly don't remember of Matsunka, Keever, or Bean have.

But, let me give an additional reason why I put her on the list -- it was this post from Kos from a few days back. Schrader's opponent is an anti-abortion nut, and she's staunchly pro-choice. So, this is a race where we'll be running on one of "our" issues, instead of running away from them. We'll be getting some Republican votes not by being a Republican-lite, but by embracing a proud liberal position.

So, give away...

Say "NO!" To the Outsourcing of Torture

Giblets is right. We need to keep those good jobs at home. I'm sure that Brad DeLong will start whining about the moral issues associated with depriving some poor Syrian thumbscrew operator the opportunity to earn an honest living, but that's because he hates America.

(and, yes, this is a serious issue.)


Lost again. I really though it was my year. Especially since last year when I expressed my disappointment, someone in the comments section promised that I would get mine this year. I feel so let down.

News from the Weird

From AFP:

JENIN, West Bank (AFP) - Two Palestinians were killed when Israeli troops targeting a militant from the radical Islamic Jihad movement fired on their taxi in the West Bank town of Jenin, medics said.

Palestian security sources said the target, Ahmed Chalabi, had got out of the taxi just before the soldiers opened fire, killing the driver and his passenger. Medics said their bodies were riddled with bullets.

"Our" Ahmed Chalabi?

Ambassador John Eisenhower, Republican, Endorses Kerry


End of Quarter

It's important to donate to your favorite It's the end of the quarter and what they can bring in by the filing deadline can influence how much more gets dumped on them in the coming month. Money creates more money.

I've added two more candidates to my ActBlue list - Melissa Bean and Ginny Schrader. I've been too busy to do much research on candidates lately, but, Melissa Bean gets added because she's scaring Novakula. And, Schrader is a real target of opportunity and she's local to me. I'd said there wouldn't be any more overlap with Kos, but so what, I lied.

So, click through and give some bucks. Or give to the DCCC. Or choose your own favorite candidate. Only about 30 more days until that election....Mars, my bitches! MARS!

(I'm in for $50 for each).


On October Surprises. Funny.

...David E. has more.

The 5 Stages of Bush at the Debates

The Talent Show has it.


Looks like MSNBC is going to serve him up to us again.
Call and write MSNBC and ask them why they almost always fail to identify him as a Republican pollster. Ask them also why they don't have a Democratic pollster on for balance. [edited due to correction from Dubner]

One MSNBC Plaza
Secaucus, NJ 07094
Phone: (201) 583-5000
Fax: (201) 583-5453

More info here. And here.

Bad Leadership

There's another reason the Bush administration has been a disaster -- it's that he's been a horrible leader. As E&Ppoints out, at a rather important time in our history, the White House, the Pentagon, and the CIA are in an all-out war. Now, the right wingers are frothing about the nasty CIA inappropriately attacking poor dear leader. And, hey, they may even have a point to some degree. But, at the end of the day Bush is the guy in charge. It's Bush's job, by using some of that bold steadfast leadership we keep hearing about, to make sure we don't have massive inter-agency warfare. Well, he's failing in that job. Let's hope the consequences aren't as disastrous as they were the last time he didn't think he needed to have an active leadership role.

Prime Wingnuttery


...various people are saying the guy wrote them and his response included this sentence, which is his basic claim:

The letter was sociological in intent. It was a literary device to get readers to examine their own assumptions.

And denies actually believing most of what was posted, and claims he didn't sign his name to it. Here's even more wingnuttery from the guy, however, with name still attached.

...someone claiming to be him (but not using his main email address) writes in:

I am asking to have an oopen mind. I do NOT have the
opinions in that letter. Okay, I was stupid to think
that it could be used to get folks to be rational. I
was wrong about that. But right that we have gone down
the road to unreason.

I wish you would somehow suggest on your website what
I wrote aleady. The letter was a device, akin to
Swift's Immodest Proposal.

I do not believe or advocate ANYTHING in that letter

As another reader suggested in email, Martin Kozloff is claiming that "Martin Kozloff" is just a character he's invented. Aside from the initial thing linked to, "Martin Kozloff" has written this (scroll down, search for name), and a variety of things one can read beginning here...

Two-Faced Liar

Will Bunch discovers, shock, that Cheney himself could be called a "flip-flopper." The truth is, anyone with a reasonable long public record could be fit into the "flip-flopper" meta-narrative narrative(or at least any Democrat given the willingness of the media to parrot any Republican talking points).

But, the truth is Cheney isn't a "flip flopper," he's a corrupt two-faced liar, like his "boss," whose decision to con the public into going to war in Iraq has been disastrous. I won't claim to be pure of heart and spirit, but I can't comprehend how these people have so managed to destroy their consciences, if they ever had them, that they can get through the day given what they've been responsible for.

What's He Thinking?

I have no idea, and never did, who the "most electable" Dem primary candidate was, or whether we'd be in a better shape with a different one right now. I tend to think we probably did end up with the best one, I have no strong support for that opinion. My concern during the primary was that every candidate's supporters seemed to believe their chosen one would somehow be immune to "line of attack X." That's never true.

But, Yglesias is right here to chastize Peter Beinart for writing "If Dean were the nominee, flip-flops wouldn't be the issue; Iraq would." Beinart should be smart enough to understand that the Republicans run virtually the same campaign in every single election. The emphasis shifts somewhat depending on their target, and the exact language differs, but it's always the same.

Kerry actually isn't a "flip-flopper," they've just put that idea out there because it gives them an infinite supply of material to work with. By having that be Kerry's campaign meta-narrative, they can endlessly quote statements out of context and years a part which fit into that narrative, and Judy Woodruff and Candy Crowley will play along and giggle giggle giggle. It's just a variation of "Gore the exaggerating liar" from 2000.

And, while Dean was the most "anti-war" of the candidates, save Kucinich, he had enough, using the Republican rules of truth, statements which could be seen as contradictory. "Flip-flopper," as stupid as it is, would have probably been used no matter who the nominee was.

It's rather frustrating when people who should know better internalize these things.

And, I would add, if Peter Beinart hadn't been the editor of the New Republic these past few years, Iraq might actually not be the subject of this election.

....Bob Somerby writes in to say:

I'll see you and raise you. If Beinart hadn't been the editor of TNR, maybe they would have complained about Gore's coverage and Bush wouldn't even be president.

Ohio Backs Down

Mostly, anyway. Will process registration from "inappropriate" paper.

(via density-land)

Gallup Follies

Ruy Teixeira is having a lot of fun with the latest Gallup poll. Click here and then go browse around his site for more.

I do think Matt's somewhat correct when he says:

Focusing intently on Gallup's problems seems like a way of denying-without-denying the existence of Kerry's problems (like focusing intently on credibility problems at CBS news instead of at the White House). The reality is that after a few days of what looked to me like a comeback, the Kerry campaign has once again lost its momentum.

But, one shouldn't ignore the importance of a result like Gallup's in shaping voter perceptions about the candidate. My well educated liberal friends read Adam Nagourney's campaign coverage in the Times. (Kerry Campaign -- Doomed! In Disarray! Down in Flames!) And then they hear that Kerry is 8, 9, 10 points below in the polls, because Gallup gets much more play than any others, and they get very demoralized. For most of them, being demoralized just means another 30 days of heartburn, but the meta-narrative of "Kerry - Big Wimpy Loser" probably has a big impact on those bizarre undecided voters.

Look, I'm not a big sports fan but when I do pick sides in a game I don't care much about, I inevitably root for the underdog. That's weird. Most people don't. Most people want to be on the record as having chosen the winner. I think it's fair to say that for those people who honestly haven't yet made up their minds but who will probably go to the polls on election day, the idea that they're going to be on the winning team will have a sizeable impact on their choice.

...and, to be clear, I don't think the Kerry campaign is exactly doomed. Here are the results from the latest bunch of polls from polling report.

Morning Thread

Chat away.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Outing Hypocrisy

Signorile has another good column abou the media's "outing" hypocrisy:

TWO MONTHS AGO I received a telephone call from a reporter at the New York Daily News asking me if I knew of a certain Republican political strategist's imminent outing in a gay magazine.

"We don't do that sort of thing ourselves—you know, out people," the reporter claimed, "but with this individual it would be an issue of major hypocrisy if it were true, so we'd probably run with it. Who could object?"

In other words, we have certain standards that we like to herald, but if we can get away with it, let the presses roll! (Nothing ever came of the story about an imminent outing of a Republican strategist, which seems to have been just a rumor.)


All of this, as far as I'm concerned, is progress, uneven as it is. The romantic and sex lives of heterosexual public figures—including stars of hit tv series and members of Congress—are written about regularly, with or without the celebrities' permission. There's no reason why gay public figures should be treated differently, and it only serves to make homosexuality into a dirty little secret that is not reportable. So I have no problem at all with Cynthia Nixon or any other celebrity being reported on. I just wish that media organizations would stop the charades and the hypocrisy, claiming that they don't out people. I also wish they'd apply a standard evenly.

The simple standard should be that it is proper to discuss, report on and ask about the sexual orientation of public figures—and only public figures—when relevant to a larger story (and only when relevant). In that respect, Cynthia Nixon would actually not pass muster as much some antigay members of Congress do. Congressman David Dreier, for example, is someone reporters should now be scrutinizing heavily, asking the question every time he shows up in public, and reporting on the hypocrisy of his life. Dreier, as I wrote in this column two weeks ago, is the California Republican and major George W. Bush booster (throughout the convention the Bush campaign put him on tv as much as it could) who has voted against gay rights for years—from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to the Marriage Protection Act just two months ago. There have been rumors about the unmarried 50-something congressman for years, and yet when I asked him about his sexual orientation at the Republican National Convention, he gave me the Cynthia Nixon response, refusing to deny that he was gay but refusing to confirm it.

That response, however, didn't land him on the front pages of the papers in his district the way Nixon was splashed across the front page of the New York Post. In fact, last week, Mark Cromer, features editor at Hustler magazine, which reportedly plans a sexual expose of Dreier for November, charged that the press in Dreier's San Gabriel Valley district is protecting the congressman. Cromer, a former reporter for a string of conservative newspapers in the Valley, told Doug Ireland in the LA Weekly that the papers have covered up the details of a relationship that Dreier has had with his chief of staff, Brad Smith. The CEO of the company that owns the papers, Dean Singleton, is a major contributor to the Republican Party.

Let me also add that public figures who go to gay bars, travel with their partners, and are not in anyway "closeted" in their private life shouldn't have any greater expectation of privacy than a straight public figure.

Look, as a quasi-public figure myself now, if I had a few too many drinks and started playing grab-ass with women at a bar in DC (note: not actually something I've ever done) and it showed up on Wonkette the next day, or whatever, I wouldn't have much right to complain (though, my wife would). Likewise, if I had a few too many drinks and started playing grab-ass with men I also couldn't complain if it got me wonk'd.

Bush Goggles

Rove tint your world, keeps you safe from the trouble and pain...

American fly.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Kidnappers released two female Italian aid workers and five other hostages Tuesday, raising hopes for foreigners still in captivity. But insurgents showed no sign of easing their blood-soaked campaign against the U.S. presence in Iraq, staging a show of defiance in Samarra and striking twice with deadly force in Basra.

We've now lost over a thousand American troops and a number of civilians. The situation continues to deteriorate. The Bush administration continues to send in more people.

Iraq has become the flypaper for whom?


Debate Prep

Marshall has a post up about "winning" the debates. It of course has almost nothing to do with what happens in the debate, and everything to do with the pre- and post- debate spin. The pre-debate spin involves providing the press with a particular narrative into which everything that happens can fit nicely, including how they supposedly "perform" relatively to expectations. And, the post debate spin involves picking things out from the debate which fit into that narrative - bonus points if it can be turned into a joke.

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

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


Newport from Gallup was just on CNN "defending" itself against the Move On ad in today's New York Times. The incredible thing was that he talked about a bunch of mostly irrelevant details in the text of the ad, without addressing its central charge -- that Gallup is hugely oversampling Republicans.


Soros Speech to National Press Club

You can read it here.

The destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center was such a horrendous event that it required a strong response. But the President committed a fundamental error in thinking: the fact that the terrorists are manifestly evil does not make whatever counter-actions we take automatically good. What we do to combat terrorism may also be wrong. Recognizing that we may be wrong is the foundation of an open society. President Bush admits no doubt and does not base his decisions on a careful weighing of reality. For 18 months after 9/11 he managed to suppress all dissent. That is how he could lead the nation so far in the wrong direction.

Silly Sully

I'm not a TNR subscriber so I can't actually read it, but I got my daily spam from TNR informing me that Sully has an article titled "Out Rage" with the subheading "Why outing gay public figures is a terrible idea."

I don't know what's in the article, but I wonder if he addresses the time he wrote this:

In politics, Brazile is not alone. There are almost no heterosexual politicians who aren't married, divorced, dating or openly straight, and I know of few who would object to being asked if they were heterosexual or dismiss it as nobody's business. But among homosexuals, it's still a different story. To be sure, Representative Barney Frank lives up to his name. And even Republicans, like Representative Jim Kolbe, of Arizona, or the former Jesse Helms adviser Arthur Finkelstein, are increasingly matter-of-fact. But others equivocate. In Clinton's cabinet, almost everyone is married or divorced, but for two who aren't, Donna Shalala and Janet Reno, their orientations are shrouded in deep ambiguity. In a recent issue of New York magazine devoted to "singles," former New York Mayor Ed Koch was invited to write his own personals ad. This is what he wrote: "White Male, 70-something former C.E.O. and practicing attorney. . . . Have belatedly concluded that everyone, straight or gay, needs a partner in life. How'm I doing?" What on earth are we supposed to make of that? Surely no heterosexual wanting to find a partner in a personals ad would feel the need to conceal the sex of the person he is looking for. Why? Koch could have refused to join in the magazine's game, retaining complete privacy, or he could have written an ad clearly looking for a woman. Instead, he chose to play Kinda Ask, Sorta Tell.


Perhaps I should be clear here. I don't believe in "outing" people. But I don't believe in "inning" them, either. I have no evidence that, say, Donna Brazile or Ricky Martin is gay or straight. But I do know that their studied avoidance of the subject, along with their eager divulgence of any number of other private matters, invites an obvious and legitimate question. And, yes, it is legitimate. There comes a point, surely, at which the diminishing public stigmatization of homosexuality makes this kind of coyness not so much understandably defensive as simply feeble: insulting to homosexuals, who know better, and condescending to heterosexuals, who deserve better. It's as if the closet has had every foundation and bearing wall removed but still stands, supported by mere expediency, etiquette and the lingering shards of shame. Does no one have the gumption just to blow it down?

So, Sully raises questions about people's "ambiguous" sexuality, says he has no evidence that they're gay (if he did have evidence would he have not included their names in the article?), then says he's against "outing," and then suggests that someone should blow the closet down.'s the article.

Reality as Presented

Big Media Matt writes about how delusional Bush is. The sad thing is, it isn't just Bush. I've noticed watching Wolf Blitzer over the past few days that the reality as presented by the Bush administration is the reality that he, and much of the rest of the TV news media, convey to the public. It isn't simply a disagreement over certain issues, it's the digestion and regurgitation of an entire alternative reality world which has been served up by the Bush administration and eagerly spit back out by those in the media. It isn't simply about successful framing of the issues, they've managed to provide an entire canvas, a brilliant oil painting of bullshit.

It's impossible for Democrats and other people who are actually living in this world and not the one which the Bush administration has erected around the CNN studios to break through this. It's one thing to challenge errors, or provide a different spin, or reframe an issue. It's another thing to have to tear down the very fabric of this alternate reality.

The Bushies love to mock people for "living in a September 10 world" (apparently not bothered by the fact that on September 10th it was they who were tragically living in that world), but they and much of the rest of our news media are living in a May 2nd 2003 world, where the mission has been accomplished, the "schools" are being rebuilt, electricity is being restored, and progress is being made.


Media Matters has an open letter to Rick Kaplan of MSNBC regarding Frank Luntz.

We're Gonna Win Baby!

Latest Gallup poll has a whopping 12 point party ID advantage for Republicans which, of course, is bullshit.

Anyone else remember the shitstorm which was kicked up when the LA Times ran one poll with party ID skewed a bit too much towards Democrats?

Drinking Liberally

Don't forget, local folks, The Philadelphia chapter of Drinking Liberally convenes this evening at 6pm at Ten Stone, corner of 21st and South.

I can't stay long tonight (theater tix), but I'll be there for a bit.


What are they thinking?

Paul Schur, a spokesman for the Fox News Channel, which is telecasting the first debate on Thursday for the major news networks planning to carry it, said, "Because of journalistic standards, we're not going to follow outside restrictions."

Message From Ed Gillespie

Please join us THIS Wednesday for a National Conference Call with Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. Lt. Gov. Steele will discuss his personal experience at this year's convention and how to get more involved in the upcoming election. Team Leaders are guaranteed a spot, so there is no need to RSVP to participate in this call. Lt. Gov. Steele will answer as many questions as time permits.

DIAL-IN NUMBERS: 877-675-5901
CALL DATE: SEP-29-2004 (Wednesday)

Joining the call is easy! Simply dial the call-in number above and use the pass code "Team Leader". Hope you can join us and thank you for your continued support. Please encourage your friends and family to join the call!!

Ed Gillespie
Republican National Committee

Monday, September 27, 2004


I know this to be true, but even now I resist it. From Digby:

Gore and his team knew that the Republicans would fight with everything they had, but they still maintained some faith in the legal system to require basic fairness in something this important. And, even the most cynical of us thought that the egos of the Supreme Court justices would never allow them to make a purely partisan decision because history would remember them as whores.

If I had any political idealism left it died on the day that Antonin Scalia stopped judges from counting votes in Florida.

This article shows that fix was in from the beginning. Had Gore audaciously requested a statewide recount he would have been accused of not following the strict laws that required him to show problems in each precinct. It was always headed to the Supremes and once they took the case, the interviews with the Supreme court clerks show that there was never any question about who would win. It was always a decision in search of a rationale.

If Jeffrey Rosen is correct and dozens of lawsuits await filing in close races out there, all based on this ill-considered opinion, then we are likely to see a repeat. After all, the same five vote majority still sits on the court today. And like all the others who voted for this irresponsible, unqualified, incompetent boob in 2000, they are not likely to admit their mistake and vote otherwise this time out.

This time, we must operate on that assumption and prepare for a knife fight --- in the courts and in the realm of public opinion. There are no rules other than winning.

Blogging about Blogging

I don't want to spend a lot of time responding directly to Billmon's LA Times article. You can read Kos on it here.

But, it provides a reasonable starting point to discuss a few things. First issue - the blogosphere ain't what it used to be.

Sure, that's true. The Blogosphere, or Blogtopia (yes, skippy!), has been changing rather rapidly ever since I put my shingle out. When I started out being a political blogger was sort of like being an 18th century academic - the idea that you could read/have read everything was not entirely crazy. Back in the day, most such blogs were called "warblogs," named after all the people who went nuts after 9/11 and decided that the best thing they could do for their country in a time of crisis was to sit on their ass and type away. Not too much has changed for most of them, but a lot has changed for the rest of us.

Back then there was a clear hierarchy of bloggers. The Blogger Who Must Not Be Named was at the top of the pyramid, being the only one who got regular substantial traffic. He also served as the "neutral" (don't laugh... okay, laugh) unbiased moderator of the grand blogospheric debate. Think Bill O'Reilly, Mr. Conservatarian Independent. The prominent "liberal" bloggers of the time (approximately) were Matt Welch, Ken Layne, Brian Linse, Charles Dodgson, and Ted Barlow. The Tennessee Voldemort was pretty similar in style to what he is now, though admittedly a little less likely to do things like justify genocide. But, then, the blogosphere was more of a dialogue between the Left side and the Right side. However, admission to the debate required not being an "idiotarian," a wonderful word which said more about the people who used it than the people they hurled it at. Joining this club pretty much involved condemning Susan Sontag and Ted Rall on an hourly basis.

So, people would post their posts, and Voldy would play moderator, linking to arguments he found valid and, at times, declaring a victor. Putting your blog on the map required an approving link from the guy, and doing that required pleasing him somewhat. With one finger on the scales of infinite blogger justice, Voldy controlled the playing field.

Things were a bit more polite then, as long as you were a part of the group of people who thought the biggest threats to the American way of life were Robert Scheer and Edward Said.

When I started blogging, liberal blogs were a small minority, and most of the ones that existed weren't exactly members of the Sublime Order of the Shrill. I started blogging partly as an alternative to yelling at the TV, and partly because I yet again saw another new medium being taken over by the Right. So, I figured I'd add my two cents to the dialogue.

In the early days, I was thrilled to get a couple of hundred hits a day - just about everyone who had a blog was thrilled to get that kind of traffic. Once Tapped and Altercation joined the scene my traffic got a bit of a boost, but IIRC my traffic at the height of the Trent Lott White Sheet Follies, for which I got a reasonable amount of publicity for (including, from such odd sources as Podhoretz), didn't exceed 10,000 per day.

Since then, blogs have proliferated. And, as Kos points out, a lot of them get the wee bit of traffic that we were thrilled to have back when we started. I get email daily from people with new blogs. So, let me give a bit of advice to them:

1) Don't send me an email saying "please link to my blog." I probably won't read it, let alone link to it. There are many reasons for this, a major one being that a hell of a lot of new bloggers burn out rather quickly.

2) If you want an established blogger to link to your blog, the best thing to do is send them the entire content of a post, with a link, that you think that blogger personally might be interested in. Don't set up a spam list and start spamming everyone. It's annoying.

3) Don't obsess about getting on people's blogrolls. You get their attention with enough good stuff, people will put you on eventually. But, that really isn't such an important part of driving traffic your way.

4) Sure it's harder to break into blogging these days. It got a lot harder about 3 months after I started. So, how to do it? Next point...

5) Popular bloggers either a) post a lot, b) have a unique/funny/interesting take on things, c) have been around awhile, d) a combination of a)-c) with a) being the most important. That's just the way it is. Figure out how you can fit into that. Most blogs don't derive their popularity from their "authority," and those that do usually are by people with some credentials. Simply expressing opinions without advancing any kind of new argument isn't a way to differentiate yourself. What I mean is that people may go to DeLong for economics (yes, I'm an economist, but I've never tried to establish myself as an authority here on the blog), and Volokh or Balkin for Law, but I don't think people come to this site for my opinion on issue "X." My take on it, yes, but not simply for "does Atrios think it is good or bad?" because my "authority" as an opinionshaper has any weight. If there's little reason for your opinion to carry some weight, then your opinion isn't going to be enough.

I do make an effort (sometimes) to promote new blogs, etc... But, I can't possibly read all the blogs that are out there. I can't even read all the ones on my blogroll.

Okay, enough blogging about blogging. I hate these posts.

Billionaires for Bush

Watch their new video.


Bush's campaign style right now reminds me of Poppy's final days. A little more cocky and a little less desperate, sure, but nonetheless the same style. I'm referring to when he started calling Clinton and Gore "Bozo and the Ozone Man." A stupid phrase, anyway, but what was more disturbing about it was just how unpresidential it was. It's one thing for a challenger to be a bit scrappy, but even when he's campaigning the President of the United States is still that - the President of the United States. Sure, his surrogates can get away with things but it's a bit unbecoming for him to behave like a nasty frat boy (full disclosure: I was a nasty frat boy). Someone holding the office should campaign with a bit of dignity.

It'll be interesting to see how Bush behaves during the debates. I don't expect he'll be very presidential. We'll see if Cokie points that out.

Voting Rights

Section 1971

Sec. 1971. - Voting rights

(a) Race, color, or previous condition not to affect right to vote; uniform standards for voting qualifications; errors or omissions from papers; literacy tests; agreements between Attorney General and State or local authorities; definitions


All citizens of the United States who are otherwise qualified by law to vote at any election by the people in any State, Territory, district, county, city, parish, township, school district, municipality, or other territorial subdivision, shall be entitled and allowed to vote at all such elections, without distinction of race, color, or previous condition of servitude; any constitution, law, custom, usage, or regulation of any State or Territory, or by or under its authority, to the contrary notwithstanding.


No person acting under color of law shall -


in determining whether any individual is qualified under State law or laws to vote in any election, apply any standard, practice, or procedure different from the standards, practices, or procedures applied under such law or laws to other individuals within the same county, parish, or similar political subdivision who have been found by State officials to be qualified to vote;


deny the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration, or other act requisite to voting, if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under State law to vote in such election;

Contact Blackwell over this issue. Ask him why he's violating the Federal Voting Rights Act.

J. Kenneth Blackwell-R
180 E. Broad St., 15th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

(thanks to Monica A)

Bite Me, Andy Rooney

This is me with my friend Carlos.

Carlos is going to become a citizen of this country just in time to vote in the November election. Like most people who become citizens, he's been in this country long enough to speak excellent English (and, in his case, French and Spanish) and probably knows a hell of a lot more about the candidates than does Andy Rooney. So, bite me, Andy Rooney, for saying this:

If you're a new citizen, wait another four years until you understand English well enough to know what the candidates are talking about before you vote.


Just got back from his rally with Joe Hoeffel in Philadelphia. Good turnout, great speeches, great response. I hope this guy's squeaky clean, because he's really good. The Republicans obviously aren't going to win in Illinois this year, but they'll sure be looking to ruin him as soon as they can.

Powell Alienates Key Ally Allawi, Calls Him Liar

Powell says Iraq is "getting worse." How can we have an administration that contradicts the statements of key allies? It's so irresponsible.

Voter Suppression

Ohio Secretary of State doing his best to chuck out new voter registration.

Let him know what you think.

J. Kenneth Blackwell-R
180 E. Broad St., 15th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

Operation Fortune Son

Tomasky tell us that it appears to be working and suggests that Kerry go after Bush on his supposed "strength" by contuing to point out that OBL, who was the Evilest One before Saddam became the Eviliest One, is still out there.

I would suggest he can start by reminding America of this quote by George Bush, a mere 6 months after the events of September 11th.

I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority. wtfwjd? pointed out in comments, it appears that this quote is just some evil lefty propaganda. I didn't know we were capable of such things. Here's what Bush did say on that date:

Q Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part -- deep in your heart, don't you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won't really eliminate the threat of --

THE PRESIDENT: Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is -- really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission.

Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just -- he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is -- as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide -- if, in fact, he's hiding at all.

So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. I'm more worried about making sure that our soldiers are well-supplied; that the strategy is clear; that the coalition is strong; that when we find enemy bunched up like we did in Shahikot Mountains, that the military has all the support it needs to go in and do the job, which they did.

And there will be other battles in Afghanistan. There's going to be other struggles like Shahikot, and I'm just as confident about the outcome of those future battles as I was about Shahikot, where our soldiers are performing brilliantly. We're tough, we're strong, they're well-equipped. We have a good strategy. We are showing the world we know how to fight a guerrilla war with conventional means.

Q But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.

But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became -- we shoved him out more and more on the margins. He has no place to train his al Qaeda killers anymore. And if we -- excuse me for a minute -- and if we find a training camp, we'll take care of it. Either we will or our friends will. That's one of the things -- part of the new phase that's becoming apparent to the American people is that we're working closely with other governments to deny sanctuary, or training, or a place to hide, or a place to raise money.

And we've got more work to do. See, that's the thing the American people have got to understand, that we've only been at this six months. This is going to be a long struggle. I keep saying that; I don't know whether you all believe me or not. But time will show you that it's going to take a long time to achieve this objective. And I can assure you, I am not going to blink. And I'm not going to get tired. Because I know what is at stake. And history has called us to action, and I am going to seize this moment for the good of the world, for peace in the world and for freedom.

I would like to add just one more thing about these kinds of polls. There are always going to be fairly wide swings on any subsample of polls taken from a typical sample size. The number of Vets polled is going to be much smaller than the size of the overall sample, and the results will have a much larger margin of error.

Maya Keyes is an Out Lesbian

Just start here and follow the links.

And, no, this isn't an "outing." She's out. If people post their personal information on public websites, then that information is "public." a just and correct world this would not be "news," at least not of the "shocking" type, but we don't live in a just and correct world. We live in a world where the political party in power tries to maintain that power in part by trying to maintain 2nd class status (legal, economic, and social) for a substantial chunk of our population for no other reason than who they have romantic feelings for. We live in a world where the Republican candidate for Senate from Illinois calls the daughter of the Vice President a "selfish hedonist" simply because of who she has decided to make her life partner. We live in a world where a steady stream of homophobic rhetoric is commonplace and accepted as normal, not just from AM hate radio hosts, but from people who are in the highest levels of government.

In a just world this would be "news" in the same way that personal profiles of public figures which regularly include information about their families are "news" -- in the same way that "Chelsea Clinton has a new boyfriend" was always news. But, right now we're in a world where an anti-gay moralizing family vales politician no problems calling other people's kids "selfish hedonists" simply because they're gay. I think it's fair to ask what kind of world Alan Keyes, who wants to be one of 100 senators, wants to create for his daughter.

Morning Thread

Chat away.



In Wisconsin on Sunday, Mr. Kerry seized on reports of an interview the president gave to Bill O'Reilly on Fox News in which he said he had no regrets about donning a flight suit to give his "Mission Accomplished" speech on Iraq in May 2003 and that he would do it all over again if given the chance, according to a partial transcript of the interview released to the Reuters news service. (Fox News and the White House declined to provide the excerpts to The New York Times).

"It is unbelievable that just this morning we learned that the president has said he would do it all over again and dress up in a flight suit, and land on an aircraft carrier, and say 'mission accomplished' again," Mr. Kerry said. "Well, my friends, when the president landed on that aircraft carrier, 150 of our young sons and daughters had given their lives. Since then, tragically, since he said mission accomplished, tragically over 900 have now died.''

Mr. Bush never actually said "mission accomplished," but stood in front of a banner that contained those words.

Yes, a banner which the White House had printed up. And, while he didn't say quote "mission accomplished" unquote during the speech he did, a couple weeks later, say the "mission had been accomplished."

Sunday, September 26, 2004

"Mission Has Been Accomplished"

Bush, June 2003:
"America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished," he said. Despite growing doubts at home and abroad, he reiterated that troops would find weapons of mass destruction, which were his rationale for striking first at Iraq.

Click through here and you can watch the video.

Linking victory in Iraq with the broader war on terrorism, Bush harked back to his visit to Ground Zero days after Sept. 11. When a rescue worker shouted at him then, "We can't hear you," Bush replied, "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

In his remarks here, Bush asked, "I have a question for you: Can you hear me now?" His audience erupted.

Bush on O'Reilly

I didn't watch O'Reilly on 60 Minutes, but I wouldn't be too surprised if O'Reilly gets a few good punches in when he interviews Bush. O'Reilly is flawed beyond description, but that ego of his isn't going to let him roll over. He's good with the suckerpunch, as well as leading his guests down a trail of illogic which tends to stun them into a confused stupor.

And, we shouldn't forget that he actually managed to tease one of the best Bush moments out during the '00 campaign. From 3/6/00:

O'REILLY: OK. Now in -- so far in this campaign, the thing that sticks in my mind with you is the Jesus Christ political philosopher remark. Everybody remembers that. It's been played many, many times. When I heard you say that, I -- I had no problem with it. I said, you know, that's a legitimate answer. Certainly, Jesus Christ was a philosopher. Certainly, he addressed politics. Render to Caesar. All of that. But somebody might say, "Gee," you know, "if Governor Bush has been so influenced by Jesus Christ, how can he support the death penalty"...

BUSH: Sure.

O'REILLY: ... "for example, so hard?" because Jesus Christ would not have. How do you answer?

BUSH: Well, first, let me say the question was really, you know, who influenced me the most, and I didn't -- this was not a calculated answer. It's one of those moments of time where somebody -- "Who influenced you most?" and...

O'REILLY: Off the top of your head.

BUSH: ... "Christ" came out of my mouth because Christ has influenced me, thanks to Billy Graham. It planted a seed in my heart, and it changed my life. It really did. I'm -- I'm -- I take great solace -- I recognize I'm a humble -- I'm a lowly sinner who sought redemption.

O'REILLY: But what about the death penalty?

BUSH: Let me...

O'REILLY: Texas leads the...

BUSH: Yeah, we can have a lot of issues that relate to Christianity. I -- you know, I don't want to put words in Jesus Christ's mouth. I believe that the death penalty when administered surely, swiftly, and justly saves people's lives. I believe it says -- sends a -- sends a chilling signal that if you kill somebody in my state in the commission of another crime, there's going to be a consequence and you're not going to like it.

O'REILLY: So you might disagree with Jesus on this one if he said...

BUSH: Well...

O'REILLY: ... "I don't believe in that."

BUSH: Well, I -- yeah, and I'm not so sure he addressed the death penalty itself in the New Testament. Maybe he did.

O'REILLY: No, he didn't, but I don't believe he would be for it if he were here today. But I could be wrong. I mean, I could be wrong. But he was one of those...

BUSH: This -- this -- we both can agree on this. Far be it from me and you to put our -- put words into the Savior.

Big John Swings


Kerry, arriving in Madison, Wisconsin for debate preparations, called the statement "unbelievable."

"I will never be a president who just says mission accomplished. I will get the mission accomplished," said the Massachusetts senator. "That's the difference."

Mission Accomplished


A Patriot Act

Mark Crispin Miller's new DVD is out soon, and he intends to find ways to set up screenings all around the country...

Obama in Love Park

For local people, 2:30 tomorrow.

Sep 27, 2004
2:30 p.m. Joe Hoeffel campaigns with Barack Obama
2:30 p.m. Joe Hoeffel and Illinois Democratic Senate candidate Barack Obama campaign to "Take Back the White House, Take Back the Senate"
Love Park
15th Street and JFK Blvd.

Biden on Blitzer

Watch - it's worth it to see Blitzer look as if he just swallowed a cockroach.

Illiquid Wealth

One thing I've been thinking about over the last few weeks is how much the tax system in this country encourages people to hold their wealth in extremely illiquid assets. When I say "thinking about" I mean that, and not, actually, reading or doing any research about. But, I thought I'd just float the issue and maybe I'd be encouraged to dig a little further.

What I mean is that the tax system encourages people to hold their money in real estate through the home mortage interest deduction (and other various programs which encourage people to buy). It also encourages people to save in various investment accounts which can't be tapped without serious penalty until retirement (or, for a couple of other purposes). So, people scrape together as many quarters as they can to throw tax free into their 401K or IRA or whatever. And, there's a relative disincentive for putting money into a standard savings account or some other liquid asset. The net effect of all of this is, among other things, that even people with relatively decent incomes and who are actually managing to accumulate some wealth, still feel they are living "paycheck to paycheck" (once they've sent their mortage payment and thrown a few bucks into their retirement account) because most of that wealth can't be converted into cash as needed.

Ain't Kerry Cool

Harry at AintItCoolNews posts his review of "Going Upriver." Take a look.

Official site here.

Theater list here.

And, through the miracle of modern quick DVD turnaround, you can pre-order your copy here...


From the SF Chron:

Just four months ago, lest we forget, the New York Times issued its own mea culpa, acknowledging the repeated use of dubious information in its coverage of the run-up to the Iraq War and the Bush administration's repeated assertions that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. In the case of one story, the Times flat-out said it was duped, although it used the more decorous phrase "taken in."

The two media apologies have a lot in common. In both cases, the issues involved have major implications for the presidential campaign. In both cases, a well-known national news organization admitted sloppy reporting and acknowledged that critical information could not be verified. In both cases, reporters were overly credulous in dealing with sources who had a political interest at stake -- in the CBS case the former Guardsman who is a vehement Bush opponent, in the New York Times case the Bush administration officials defending the president's decision to attack Iraq.

The critical difference between the two stories is that the Times' mistake was actually the far more serious of the two. The suspect stories touched on a more substantive topic -- the reasons for sending American soldiers to fight and die rather than the service record of a single lieutenant three decades ago -- and the journalistic failures were more prolonged and repeated, involving multiple stories over a period of months rather than a single story on a single day.

Yet against all logic, the CBS mea culpa is getting much more ink and air time than the New York Times case. The Times itself is one example. The paper ran its own apology on Page 10, but, perhaps drunk on schadenfreude, played the CBS confession above the fold on the front page. Other papers showed similar judgment. The Los Angeles Times put the New York paper's goof on Page 10, the CBS one on the front page. Sad to say, The Chronicle did much the same thing: The Times story was reported on Page 2 in an unsigned note "to the readers;" the CBS gaffe merited two stories on Page 1.


Sunday's Meet the Press "roundtable:

David Broder, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robert Novak and William Safire

...All anyone ever needs to know about David Broder is that he actually said this:
He came in here and he trashed the place, and it's not his place.

Morning Thread

Sabbath gasbag edition. Document the atrocities.


Steve Gilliard says:

The real hero in this is not any blogger, but Henry Copeland of Blogads. The first truly honest ad broker. I don't think Kos, Atrios or Jerome Armstrong would disagree. Copeland makes blogs possible, along with generous readers. Those two make this more than the hobby of the frustrated.

Indeed. Henry's my hero.

Late Night Thread

Na Na Na Na edition.