Saturday, January 31, 2004

MoDo Prediction

Lerxst suggests MoDo will do the obvious - Kerry and Botox.

I suggest MoDo will spend another lonely night wondering why Michael Douglas abandoned her.

Judy, Judy, Judy

Katha Pollitt has a great column.


Bush is still saying that the deficit will be cut in half in five years if congress follows his plan. I'm not going to revisit the figures, but needless to say this is a total lie. Perhaps the press should start asking where these numbers are coming from, aside from out of Karl Rove's ass.

...perhaps I spoke a little to soon. Bush has been saying this all week, and now the new plan is being presented. We'll have to wait on the actual numbers. they're claiming it's the case, but they haven't released the details of unspecified cuts in over 60 programs.

Add to the Big Mo

Imagine the gnashing of teeth when a DEMOCRAT beats a REPUBLICAN in a RED STATE in a special election. Drop a few nickles into my sponsor Ben Chandler's contribution box. Add $.18 so they know it comes from my readers. You can contribute here.

3 Deadliest Months in a Row

November, December, and January were the 3 deadliest months in Iraq since the "end of major combat operations." Things are not getting better for our military.

Friday, January 30, 2004

The Google Search to End All Google Searches


From Tom Tomorrow.

(Maybe someone can explain to me how weapons of mass destruction aren't an "imminent threat.")

Holocaust Denial

Tbogg catches the Road Warrior in a bit of Holocaust Denial. He's slick. He first says he knows holocaust survivors. You know, people who LIVED. Then, he says that "some" of the people who died were "Jews in concentration camps." Then he just chalks it all up to war being hell. Okay.

The follow up question, should a reporter get near him again, should be "Mr. Gibson, how many Jews do you think were exterminated by the Nazis during World War II?"

"Kerry and Botox"

So, the volume's off, but the caption on screen at CNN was "Kerry and Botox - he denies using it." So, let's get this straight - the eggman can accuse anybody of anything, and soon the accusation and denial will appear on CNN.

Tomorrow, I look forward to:

"Kerry and Child Molestation - He Denies It."

Then we should be seeing:

"Kerry and Cannibalism - He Denies It."



You know, it's pretty goddamn scary that it's even easier to hack these machines than I thought.

And I better not hear anyone say "conspiracy theory." Election fraud has always been with us - now it's just simple and undetectable.

The paper whitewashes it a bit. Here's a full report.


Nick over at TAPPED notices just how dishonest Wes Pruden and his newspaper are. Oh, and he also works for a man who looks forward to genocide against gays and Jews. Oh, and one of his assistant editors is a man who is an open advocate of Southern Secession and who believes that the murder of Emmett Till wasn't really a racist act.


Heard about this one?

Did you know that a Middle Easterner residing in South Africa has been picked up on federal charges of conspiring to send 200 American-made nuclear weapons detonators to Pakistan?

Me neither. It apparently warranted 3 paragraphs on A12.

Red vs. Blue

I wrote about this a long long long time ago, but Daniel Pink reminds us in the NYT that the "red states" are by and large the ones who are sucking on the federal government's tit.

The wacky folks at the right wing Tax Foundation are kind enough to provide us with this information every year.

...California is one of the worst off. And, as someone pointed out fairly recently, they and other states could find ways to close the gap simply by revamping their tax codes. Specifically, shifting government revenues towards state income taxes which are deductible from federal taxes and away from sales taxes, user fees, property taxes, etc...

Another Theory Shot

After we captured Saddam there were numerous trolls claiming that since the capture there were fewer soldiers being killed. Howard Dean was exorciated for saying that Americans were not safer after Saddam's capture, even though he meant Americans In America, because American soldiers (not all of whom are American) were "of course" now safer. Oops.

US combat deaths in Iraq have risen sharply during January despite a drop in the number of attacks and the capture of former dictator Saddam Hussein over a month ago.

As of Thursday, 33 American soldiers and one civilian had been killed by hostile fire during the month. That compares with 24 US combat deaths in December, and a total of 32 coalition combat deaths.

The figures appear to show that the security situation in Iraq is not improving, contrary to earlier claims from the US military and politicians.

Look, I wish I'd occasionally be wrong about these things. But, you know what? The situation isn't good. And, no amount of "CLAP LOUDER!" is going to make it any better. It may get better. I doubt it. Either way, the fact that I'm insufficiently enthusiastic about things which aren't true is going to have little impact..

One rather sad thing is that I have to admit that it's going to be a hell of a lot easier for a second Bush administration to get us the hell out of there than for a Democratic administration to do so. I think a Democratic administration would be preferable, all things considered, but the Republicans will turn the whole thing into a political nightmare.

Absentee Ballots

Buzz over at the Dean blog is that a large number of absentee ballots have been cast in NM and AZ. Obviously this is a bit of optimism on their part, but more generally I really really don't like the proliferation of easy vote-by-mail. I know many disagree with me on this subject, but a campaign has a certain rhythm to it and voting weeks in advance tends to undercut that. I mean, what if, say, Rick Santorum were in a primary race for a senate seat and the Santorum-on-Dog pictures didn't come out until after thousands of people had already cast their votes?

...note, I'm not coming out against all absentee balloting. But, it used to be that the norm was that you had to go through the trouble of signing an affadavit swearing that you were going to be unable to go to the polls for one of the acceptable reasons. I'm all for making going to vote at the polls easier, but I'm really not for the "everyone vote by internet or mail if they want to" schemes.

Steve G.

A troll, in true form, keeps posting that Steve Gilliard has died. There is no reason to think this information is correct. Carry on, knowing its true depravity.

Irony Lives

Students stopped from performing anti-totalitarianist play because in it they cut up a flag. You just can't make this stuff up.

It was enough to disqualify Archbishop McCarthy High students from a competition early this week for their performance of The Children's Story. In the play, first published in 1963 by Shogun author James Clavell, third-graders in a classroom in a United States that has been defeated by a powerful enemy, presumably Communist, cut the flag into pieces. Their new teacher tells them if the flag is so good, everyone should get a piece and tells them to hand out the shreds. It's a message about the dangers of mindless political indoctrination

"The play is actually pro-American," said Erin Fragetta, 15, a sophomore at the southwest Broward County school who worked on the production. "It was intended to be an anti-communist message, and the judges just turned it around on us."


After receiving complaints about the flag cutting, co-chairman Melody Wicht, who teaches drama at Pembroke Pines Charter High, disqualified the McArthur team.

"Some people came to me after the play and complained about the performance," Wicht said. "So I looked into it."

Wicht said she based her decision on Florida Statute 876.52, which says "Whoever publicly mutilates, defaces or tramples with intent to insult any flag ... of the United States shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree."


"For 10 years it's been clear that these flag desecration statutes are unconstitutional," said Bruce Rogow, a Nova Southeastern University law professor specializing in constitutional law and First Amendment rights. "What's especially ironic is that this is a pro-democracy, anti-totalitarianism play, and yet they're punished for using the flag as an example of what shouldn't be done in a totalitarian society."

Rogow cited the 1990 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down such a statute in the case of Texas vs. Johnson.

Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the court's opinion that flag desecration is the ultimate expression of disagreement in a democracy."

Say Hello to My New Sponsor

The campaign of Ben Chandler for Congress. He's running in the 6th District special election in Kentucky which is... soon! February 17!. The latest poll has him ahead of his challenger, so go donate a few bucks for the cause! Add $.18 to your donation so they know it comes from my readers.

...on a related note, Jerome Armstrong has a post up about campaigns and internet advertising. I don't claim to know anything about this subject, really, except for the fact that advertising on blogs is dirt cheap compared to TV, print, radio, and on "major media" websites. And, at least for fundraising purposes it's hard to imagine that it isn't more cost effective than those other mediums. Well, I hope so anyway. Donate and prove me right! Picking up this seat would help swing a bit of the "Big Mo" our way.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Hutton Report

I'm not going to bother parsing this, but I do have this observation. I always assumed Hutton would condemn the BBC and exonerate the Blair government. The BBC's reporter did screw up somewhat - there's no question of that (though, frankly, it wasn't exactly a Gerth-level screwup). And, Blair made a genius pre-emptive strike when he promised to resign if Hutton came out against him - essentially giving Hutton the power to bring a government down.

But, the report was such a ridiculous whitewash that it oddly ends up condemning Blair. A "naughty naughty BBC" combined with a "yes, mistakes we're made, but these things happen" with respect to Blair would have preserved the status quo and no one could have found too much fault with it. But, Hutton has tried to play us all for fools and destroyed his own reputation in the process.

International Brain Drain

We're pretty lucky that Europe's university system has, thus far, been pretty incestuous and underfunded. That's been changing - and as this Washington Monthly article points out, there's a real risk. For a long time a big chunk of the best and the brighest - in all fields - have come to the US. With the rising xenophobia, increasingly intolerant immigration policies, and a messed up health care, that could turn around.


Brokaw's craptacular debate moderation tonight will be even worse than Hume's.

If the polls are close in the general election, there will be at least one major assassination attempt against the Dem. nominee.

The end of Friends ensures that all major networks will produce at least 2 Friends-clone sitcoms for next year.


I don't even know why we're still having this conversation, really. When the administration says a guy with a moustache who doesn't like us much has weapons of mass destruction, I consider that to be an imminent, immediate, clear and present, Oh Shit We're All Going to Die, threat. Unless, of course, the weapons don't really provide very massive destruction in which case they aren't really WMDs then are they...

But, for the record, the CAP has provided this list for us:

"There's no question that Iraq was a threat to the people of the United States."

- White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan, 8/26/03

"We ended the threat from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction."

- President Bush, 7/17/03

Iraq was "the most dangerous threat of our time."

- White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 7/17/03

"Saddam Hussein is no longer a threat to the United States because we removed him, but he was a threat...He was a threat. He's not a threat now."

- President Bush, 7/2/03


- White House spokesman Ari Fleischer answering whether Iraq was an "imminent threat," 5/7/03

"We gave our word that the threat from Iraq would be ended."

- President Bush 4/24/03

"The threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction will be removed."

- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 3/25/03

"It is only a matter of time before the Iraqi regime is destroyed and its threat to the region and the world is ended."

- Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke, 3/22/03

"The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder."

- President Bush, 3/19/03

"The dictator of Iraq and his weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the security of free nations."

- President Bush, 3/16/03

"This is about imminent threat."

- White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2/10/03

Iraq is "a serious threat to our country, to our friends and to our allies."

- Vice President Dick Cheney, 1/31/03

Iraq poses "terrible threats to the civilized world."

- Vice President Dick Cheney, 1/30/03

Iraq "threatens the United States of America."

- Vice President Cheney, 1/30/03

"Iraq poses a serious and mounting threat to our country. His regime has the design for a nuclear weapon, was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 1/29/03

"Saddam Hussein possesses chemical and biological weapons. Iraq poses a threat to the security of our people and to the stability of the world that is distinct from any other. It's a danger to its neighbors, to the United States, to the Middle East and to the international peace and stability. It's a danger we cannot ignore. Iraq and North Korea are both repressive dictatorships to be sure and both pose threats. But Iraq is unique. In both word and deed, Iraq has demonstrated that it is seeking the means to strike the United States and our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction."

- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 1/20/03

"The Iraqi regime is a threat to any American. They not only have weapons of mass destruction, they used weapons of mass destruction...That's why I say Iraq is a threat, a real threat."

- President Bush, 1/3/03

"The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq whose dictator has already used weapons of mass destruction to kill thousands."

- President Bush, 11/23/02

"I would look you in the eye and I would say, go back before September 11 and ask yourself this question: Was the attack that took place on September 11 an imminent threat the month before or two months before or three months before or six months before? When did the attack on September 11 become an imminent threat? Now, transport yourself forward a year, two years or a week or a month...So the question is, when is it such an immediate threat that you must do something?"

- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 11/14/02

"Saddam Hussein is a threat to America."

- President Bush, 11/3/02

"I see a significant threat to the security of the United States in Iraq."

- President Bush, 11/1/02

"There is real threat, in my judgment, a real and dangerous threat to American in Iraq in the form of Saddam Hussein."

- President Bush, 10/28/02

"The Iraqi regime is a serious and growing threat to peace."

- President Bush, 10/16/02

"There are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists."

- President Bush, 10/7/02

"The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency."

- President Bush, 10/2/02

"There's a grave threat in Iraq. There just is."

- President Bush, 10/2/02

"This man poses a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined."

- President Bush, 9/26/02

"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."

- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/19/02

"Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent - that Saddam is at least 5-7 years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain. And we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons."

- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/18/02

"Iraq is busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents, and they continue to pursue an aggressive nuclear weapons program. These are offensive weapons for the purpose of inflicting death on a massive scale, developed so that Saddam Hussein can hold the threat over the head of any one he chooses. What we must not do in the face of this mortal threat is to give in to wishful thinking or to willful blindness."

- Vice President Dick Cheney, 8/29/02

Dangerous Job

More than 300 Iraqi cops have been killed since May.

Cue John Lott telling us why this is good news.

Jonah Goldberg - Hand Iraq to the UN

Well, he didn't say this recently of course, but way back when he said this:

So here's the deal: George Bush ? who has rightly been much more reluctant than Tony Blair to toss the U.N. a bone when it comes to the potentially lucrative prospect of rebuilding Iraq ? should make it known that if Coalition forces find no Iraqi WMD while we're in there, we will defer to the U.N. on how to run postwar Iraq...I am still confident we will find plenty of such weapons ? Saddam didn't buy those chemical suits and atropine injectors because Glamour magazine says they're all the rage...

Donate to Your Favorite Candidate Day

John Kerry.

Howard Dean.

John Edwards.

Wesley Clark.

Undecided? Give to the DNC.

I know this is the time in the primary season where people start thinking that contributing is pointless, but this primary isn't over. Ever Dem. ad (good ones, anyway) that shows up on TV is more media coverage about the fact that Democrats aren't all Stalin-loving satanists. Every campaign rally means friendly local news coverage. This primary isn't going to be over right away, and the more chances that the candidates have to get their messages out the better.

Perle Supports Terrorists

I have no idea if the organizations whose funds we've frozen are really "terrorist supporters," but if they aren't we shouldn't be freezing their assets, and if we do freeze their assets a DPB board member shouldn't be attending their events.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Pensions underfunded? Why, go ahead and underfund them even more! Fuckheads. And, yes, that includes you too Ted Kennedy.


Apparently rich people in America would prefer to be slaves in the 1850s. I'll buy one.

More Gifts For Steve

Here's a more recent wish list for Steve G.

Trippi's Out

As you all know. Discuss.

Senator Barney Frank

What happens if Kerry resigns from his Senate seat? I was assuming that the governor would appoint a replacement. Eric Alterman implies that the Mass. legislature plays a role. Anyone know?

No Box Cutters

I'm not surprised. It was one of those little details which sounded like it emerged from a PR department.
I suppose if the White House weren't doing everything they could to prevent the 9/11 commission from doing its job we could find out what really happened.


Kos has the most recent poll numbers. Anyway, it's way too early to count any of the 4 out (that Joementum only goes one way). I retract what I said about Clark being "wounded" last night. He's as in as much as Edwards is. I reject all claims that this is over. I reject that any candidate "has to win" any particular state at any particular time, and I also think wondering out loud about a possible brokered convention is silly.

We've had 2 of 50 primaries...

...I'd say the Poor Man's nomination odds are roughly right.


My outgoing mailserver is clogged, presumably due to the worm, so I'll be responding to an even smaller percentage of email than I normally do...

The Crazies Have Taken Over

Brad DeLong takes a look at a WaPo editorial which really is unbelievable. My brain froze up when I read it yesterday.

Moving Forward

The real question now is how comfortable - and aggressive - will the other Dem campaigns be about being the "anti-Kerry?"

Who's Crazy?

Joe Conason lets us know:

The president was fantasizing again this afternoon about the circumstances that led to war -- and if his remarks at his press conference with the Polish president are to be taken seriously, he also seems badly confused about his Iraqi timeline. This was Bush's first attempt to answer the damning findings of David Kay, departing director of the Iraq Survey Group. It didn't go well, although almost everyone in the White House press corps pretended not to notice.

So removed from reality is the president that it seems worthwhile to unpack two exchanges with reporters who asked about Kay's admission that he expects no weapons of mass destruction to be found in Iraq.


Leaving aside those incoherent references to "programs" and what the world obviously "felt," what is most notable in Bush's answer is that he again said Saddam "did not let us in." This is the second time he has made this weird statement, as if Hans Blix and UNMOVIC had never existed, nor conducted the most intrusive weapons inspections ever done in Iraq. (The first time was last July, when Bush said, in the presence of an astonished Kofi Annan: "And we gave [Saddam] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in.")

How dare the press mock Howard Dean when they listen respectfully to this arrant lunacy?

Someday even Bush may learn to cope with the reality of the weapons of mass disappearance. He and his friends will no doubt remind us, however, that liberating the Iraqis from Saddam's evil oppression justifies itself, even though Iraq posed no military threat to us or anyone else. That's an argument of dubious legality -- and Ken Roth disposes of it in Human Rights Watch's annual report:

Gifts for an Ill Blogger

As most of you probably know, Steve Gilliard just had surgery for a heart valve infection. The good news is that he made it through surgery.

His Amazon Wish list is here. Send him a bunch of gifts so when he gets home he has some toys to play with. And, hey, if you want to buy him something that isn't on the list you can always add that to your shopping cart too.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

The Big Mo

No one can argue that two wins gives Kerry momentum. But, that's partially because the press will run with it. The most recent projection gives Kerry +13 delegates to Dean's +9 from New Hampshire.

2161 are needed to win.

The Big Mo is real, but this race ain't over.

The Primary Paradox

Big Media Matt makes yet another astute Kinsley-esque observation.

The Script

Just now Jeff Greenfield was on. For about an hour he'd been prepping for his great show - to prove that Kerry had won "beer country" and that Dean had won "wine country," whatever the hell those are. But, then the map pops up and doesn't support his thesis at all so he just degenerated into gibberish.

But, you gotta love a guy who made it into Doonesbury 33 years ago.

Primary Thoughts

Well, I'm not going to pat myself on the back for correct predictions because obviously at some point I changed them, but... My thinking 9 months or so ago was that if not for Howard Dean the primary was going to be dull dull dull and the Dems would be DOA. Dean went out in front and made it "okay" to actually say nasty things about Dear Leader, something the rest of them were scared to do. I figured Dean would continue to force the other candidates to actually come up with a message and distinguish themselves from the Republicans... and that eventually Kerry would be The Man. I was one of the last few to say that Kerry still had a chance before everyone, including me, declared him DOA. It turns out I was right - I just thought Kerry would figure things out by November or December. I didn't think it would take until 3 days before the Iowa Caucus. But, hey, he managed it - good for him. I'm less high on a Kerry candidacy than I once was, but maybe he's found the fire in the belly I've been worried that he lacked.

But, I think people who are writing Dean's obituary yet again are dead wrong. Sure, there were expectations that he could make it a *close* second, but he'll come away with a *solid* second. The difference, while important, is less important than many are saying. Dean has the money.

Similarly, I think it's completely wrong to count Edwards out. To me, Clark's looking pretty wounded, but I could be wrong.

But, everythings changes now. No more months and weeks of on the ground campaigning. There isn't time. It's going to be a combination of momentum, ads, and organizations on the ground. One week from today there are seven primaries. There's a good chance Edwards will take South Carolina. Clark's still got a good chance in Oklahoma. Clark has a good chance in Arizona, and the big prize - Missouri - is probably up in the air. Delaware and New Mexico are probably up for grab also.

How long before Clinton won his first primary in 1992? Who was the presumed nominee at this point? A certain Senator from Mass. if I remember correctly...

...a rather odd thing is the number of people who voted in the Republican primary, but wrote in the names of Democrats...

...along those lines, it's a bit weird listening to Carville and Begala write Dean's obituary. Yeah, I know they've been anti-Dean from the beginning, but don't they remember 1992? I don't remember President Tsongas...


You can find them here. Willis is blogging it.

Draw it Out

I used to think that the best thing for the Dems would be for the primary to be effectively decided as early as possible. But, I'm starting to think that Digby's right. In 3 years of the bunnypants regime, the Democrats have basically gotten zero media coverage. They'd call press conferences and no one would show up. For about 18 months after 9/11, CNN would run every single speech Bush gave live without commercials. Now the Dems are getting a lot of media coverage. It isn't all good media coverage, but as they say any publicity is good.

Roll the Tape

Let's hope there's video of Novakula attacking someone.

Nasty Tactics

We'll probably never know who to pin this on but this is disgusting:

He did not specify tactics but his spokesman, Jay Carson, said Dean supporters are getting phone calls criticizing Dean for, among other things, claiming to be a Christian when his wife and children are Jewish.

Welcome to politics 2004. Just wait for the general...

Exit Polls

Calpundit has a bunch of them from somewhere.

A Fate Worse Than Death

Can you imagine being trapped on a ship with these people?

Bush '04 Pledges to Restore Honor and Dignity


BOSTON - Addressing guests at a $2,000-a-plate fundraiser, George W. Bush pledged Monday that, if re-elected in November, he and running mate Dick Cheney will "restore honor and dignity to the White House."

"After years of false statements and empty promises, it's time for big changes in Washington," Bush said. "We need a president who will finally stand up and fight against the lies and corruption. It's time to renew the faith the people once had in the White House. If elected, I pledge to usher in a new era of integrity inside the Oval Office."

Bush told the crowd that, if given the opportunity, he would work to reestablish the goodwill of the American people "from the very first hour of the very first day" of his second term.

"The people have spoken," Bush said. "They said they want change. They said it's time to clean up Washington. They're tired of politics as usual. They're tired of the pursuit of self-interest that has gripped Washington. They want to see an end to partisan bickering and closed-door decision-making. If I'm elected, I'll make sure that the American people can once again place their trust in the White House."

Bush said the soaring national debt and the lengthy war in Iraq have shaken Americans' faith in the highest levels of government.

"A credibility gap has opened between the Oval Office and America," Bush said. "The public hears talk, but they don't see any result. But if you choose me as your next president, the promises I make in my inaugural address will actually mean something. The president of this country will be held accountable for his promises, starting Jan. 20 of next year."

Exit Polls

Frankly, I don't care if the media releases exit poll numbers and predicts a winner at 10 AM, but the total hypocrisy of the media (if the rumor is true) releasing exit poll data 3 hours before the polls close just pisses me off. The Most Important Issue in election 2000 wasn't the 80,000+ people who were wrongly scrubbed from the voter rolls, it wasn't the "bourgeois" riot by Republican staffers, it wasn't the Supreme Court's emergency stay due to the possible "irreperable harm" to one George W. Bush, it was the fact that the media called the election 15 minutes before the polls closed on the Florida panhandle, causing literally millions of panhandle voters to turn their cars around and drive home. Since then they promised us over and over that they would never ever do such a thing. Oy.

Actually, I wish they would release the data - the numbers are always an "open secret" in the media, and you can infer what they are from the little giggles the know-it-alls start making. It influences their coverage in an obvious way.

More on Conflict Kurtz

The Horse has an update.'s the Media Notes column they refer to.

Useful Idiots

Christopher Allbritton takes a look at the latest truly hilarious "iraq miracle" email being gobbled up by the armchair warriors.

The funny thing is that the email really doesn't pass the giggle test. Not even close.

Punch and Judy Dean Show

I'm sure the Diane Sawyer interview was a net positive for Dean, but it was nonetheless a truly horrible moment in campaign journalism.

Dean's natural response should have been, at some point, to have cut Sawyer off: "Excuse me, I'm tired of answering these superficial questions. Can't we talk about issues that matter to the American people?" Had he done so, however, it would have appeared to confirm the rap on him as a hothead. So the Deans were forced into the frame supplied by Sawyer — a father who gets excited at his son's hockey game can't be trusted; a woman doctor who doesn't watch much TV isn't really a normal American.


You know, it isn't just Bush himself - his whole adminstration defines a culture of "failing upwards," in which the competent sensible people get canned and the crazies get promoted. This article in the WaPo is a Cliffs Notes version of a longer one in the Atlantic Monthly. It's devastating. Will any of these idiots ever be held accountable? For anything? Ever?

The Reptilian Invasion

Peggy Noonan admits that it exists:

Let me assert something that I cannot prove with a poll but that is based on serious conversations the past few months with Republicans and also normal people ...

(thanks to cadenhead)

...go here for more on the Reptilian Invasion.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Predictions for Tomorrow

It will either be close between Kerry and Dean or it won't. Clark or Edwards will be third. How's that for bold? ARG numbers out.

By the Numbers

Max draws a pretty picture to explain the latest CBO deficit projection. It isn't pretty.

...Krugman has more.

Why 13 Year Olds Shouldn't Be Tried As Adults

For Anything. These two pictures say it all.

Conflict Kurtz

It's hard to imagine what conflicts of interest Howard could have that a) are worse than what we know about and b) would actually cause his bosses at the WaPo to give a shit, but this is amusing...

From the Horse:

Conflict-of-Interest Charges to Get Kurtz Fired?
Charges of Personal Influence Peddling at Wash Post

MWO has learned from highly informed Washington sources that Howard 'Mistah' Kurtz faces numerous dangerous charges of conflict-of-interest and influence peddling in his media column at the Washington Post...The charges stem from documented instances of Kurtz's involvement in what appears to be insider trading of information aimed at enriching his wife, GOP right-wing media consultant Sheri Annis..."No one has used the word 'fired' yet," one source close to the investigation told MWO, "but Kurtz better be watching his back."...


Sully's Minions

Thanks for all the viruses you're sending me.

...apologies to the minions. It appears there's a new worm.

Pity Them

For they know not how silly they are.

You Rock Antonin Scalia!

A 9-0 Miranda case. Finally.

Silly Sully

Last night in our little conversation Silly Sully said the following:

...what you'll never hear atrios do, is criticize the left...

after which I deservedly called him a liar. He then posted the following “challenge:”

On the radio last night, I made the point that blogger Atrios never seems to criticize the left. He denied this and called it a lie. So I asked him to cite a recent case in which he criticized the left or had anything good to say about president Bush. He couldn't. Well, he's now got plenty of time to prove me wrong. Let's see a few recent examples of his taking on the left or defying pure partisanship. If he can't, I'd appreciate him withdarwing the notion that I was committing a lie.

He's already shifting the goal post, requiring that I also demonstrate that I ever praise Bush and also wants recent examples.

The thing is, of course, is that no matter what I write in “defense” of the challenge, debate team gold star winner Andy will declare victory. You see, it all depends on how we define “the left” and what it means to criticize them.

I'm not sure what “the left” means in Andy's world. Sometimes it's Salon and the New York Times. Sometimes it's Tom Daschle. Sometimes it's Hillary Clinton. Sometimes it's the mythical Transnational Progressivism movement, operated out of Barbra Streisand's basement. Sometimes it's some guy with a sign somewhere that Andy doesn't like. Sometimes it's a website in the Netherlands which proves the existence of a liberal fifth column operating out of liberal blue state enclaves like Provincetown and Washington, D.C.

As for criticize, I'm sure what Andy will require is that I've criticized them in a way he agrees with. It won't be enough to prove I'm ever critical of the Left, but critical of them from a perspective he endorses.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I regularly criticize the New York Times and Salon. I've criticized the American Prospect and even the liberal New Republic. I regularly criticize the congressional leadership. I've criticized Daschle for selling out for farm interests. I've criticized Clinton, Kerry, Lieberman, and Edwards for their Iraq war votes. I've criticized Russ Feingold for voting to confirm John Ashcroft. I've criticized Dennis Kucinich for his abortion flipflop. I've criticized all of the major Democratic candidates for various things they've done in the campaign. I've criticized the Dems for passing that Medicare nonsense. Given that they're the minority party, there's little to criticize them for doing proactively – such as stupid legislation they've proposed . They're the minority party – they can't do much but react. But, I've criticized Fritz Holling for being behind stupid digital copyright-related stuff. I called for Jim Moran to resign from his leadership position after his anti-Semitic comments, as did Nancy Pelosi, and he subsequently did step down. I said that their little “pledge of allegiance under God” performance was when I was most embarassed to be a Democrat. Andy may not agree with these criticisms, but they are criticisms nonetheless.

The implication of Andy's statement is that in order to make “my team” look good, I only ever criticize the other team. That's what a hyper-partisan would do – never find foul with anything they do. So, if, say, Tom Daschle proposed a constitutional amendment banning abortion I'd say “You rock Tom! That's Great!” despite my lifelong opposition to such a thing. I don't do that. I can't think of any major person/entity/publication on “the left” that I haven't criticized.

I don't care what some guy with a sign or some other person-we're-going-to-pretend-is-representative-of-the-left says or does. I don't really feel the need to scream and shout every time Cockburn writes something I don't agree with, largely because I never read him. He doesn't represent me or the Democratic party, so why should I? I have no idea what Transnational Progrsesivism is, and I really don't understand why the Left gets equated with Militant Islamic Fundamentalism simply because we're occasionally insufficiently enthused about indscriminately bombing countries which have nothing to do with it. Generally, there's little point in critcizing the powerless, and only in the fevered imagination of Adam Yoshida do the elements of the left which are unpleasant to me actually have any political or financial power.

But, once again, Andy showed himself to be the small little man that he is. I had my list of “things to attack Andy with just in case” at hand, but after listening to 100 minutes of cordial nonconfrontational discussion about blogs it really didn't seem appropriate. It wasn't.

Big Mo

As a couple of people have pointed out, the latest Zogby poll has such a drastic change due to a change in the methodology - the "leaners" are now put in with the decideds. There's nothing wrong with this - Zogby's job this close to the election is to make his best guess, given the information, about what the outcome will be.

But, on the other hand, obviously polls have an influence, to some degree, on the outcome. So, if this outlier of a result gets pushed, as Drudge is doing now, it could help give Dean the "comeback kid" momentum. Zogby can make a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Anyway, it's increasingly clear that the big loser of Iowa was the guy who didn't even run in it - Clark. One wonders what he can do to get the Big Mo back.

...and, what Kos says, which is much the same.

AWOL Primer

If there are any journalists who, years later, have found all this Bush/AWOL stuff just too confusing to look into, you can go read David Neiwert who takes a look at the issues.
He concludes:

Though of course, we all remember how many critics of the mainstream right have referred to Clinton as a "draft dodger" -- which, like "deserter," is a term that refers specifically to acts of law-breaking. But then, I can't recall anyone demanding that George H.W. Bush or Bob Dole renounce the people who uttered those characterizations, either.


Latest Polls

ARG shows NH tightening slightly, but with Kerry still way ahead, and Zogby shows it to basically be a tie.

Silly Sully

I'll have a response to Sullivan's dishonest "challenge" later, but here's Sadly, No on his now-modified letters policy.

Radio MP3

You can listen to the bit I was on here, courtesy of Intelligence Failure.

... I'm not the one with the Brit accent.

Preemption House

The General has a great suggestion for Fox News.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Fake Campaign Calls in NH

It appears that in NH people are phoning residents in the wee hours of the morning and claiming to be from the Dean campaign and encouraging them to vote. Lovely 4am wakeup call.

Here's an individual story.
Here's the statement from the New Hampshire Dean campaign:

Statement from State Director Karen Hicks
Posted by Timothy Jones
on Sun, 01/25/2004, 12:50 pm

Today, Karen Hicks, Dean For America's New Hampshire State Director, made the following statement:

"In recent days, our campaign has been hearing reports from New Hampshire voters that they are receiving:

* phone calls early in the morning and late at night;
* "robo calls" from soulless machines, not calls from considerate people;
* calls claiming to originate from the Dean campaign, but do not;
* and even harassing calls and bigoted messages.

Let me be very clear. The Dean campaign does not call New Hampshire homes before 8:30 am or after 8:30 pm. Our calls are made by respectful people, not droning machines. Our callers tell the truth.

We call on the other campaigns to make the same commitments.

We are grateful for the extraordinary engagement of New Hampshire's people in this race. But our campaign believes that everyone deserves some peace, some respect, and a truthful message."

Radio Tonight

I'll be on sometime between 9-11 EST. I'm not sure exactly what time or who I'll be on with, but all the info can be found here.

More Eastercrap

Easterbrook gets a spanking in the NYT today. Frankly, in my mind, Easterbrook is practically hitting John Lott territory. At least Lott has the good sense to dazzle you with a fancy laser light show to obscure the fact that he's full of it, but Easterbrook seems to just make stuff up as he goes along while hoping that no one notices. His honesty is definitely in question.

The Pickler

When Nedra Pickler writes that Howard Dean said " that the standard of living for Iraqis is a "whole lot worse" since Saddam Hussein's removal from power," she neglects to inform us that he's referring to the dead ones.

Of course, it isn't as if what she's claiming he said should be particularly controversial either.

The Kucinich-Bush Iraq Plan

Both are for bugging out, apparently, though the former is for doing it a bit more responsibly.


I think we're all in agreeance that the world didn't need a Limp Bizkit cover of the Who's "Behind Blue Eyes."

That'll teach me to turn on the local rock station.


SOTU edition.

Haiku Award Winner

In comments, marquer provided the generic shorter Tom Friedman:

If we had some ham
We could have some ham and eggs
If we had some eggs.

Koufax Awards

Go vote!

Latest NH Tracking Polls



...and Gallup. Mark Kleiman wondered a couple days ago - are they polling the same race?

ARG gives us a huge Kerry victory and a 3 way tie for second - Clark, Dean Edwards.

Zogby gives us an increasingly slim Kerry victory, a strong Dean second, and a Clark/Edwards tie for 3rd.

Gallup gives us a big Kerry victory, a clear Dean second, and ... Lieberman in 3rd!

Bush vs. Dean

You be the judge.

It's funny. In the crowd video, the famous scream is all but inaudible.

Dead Peasants

You know, something's been confusing me. We've had these stories about how companies have been taking out "dead peasant" life insurance policies on their workers and make money on their deaths. Now we have this story out of Texas where the state is proposing to take out such life insurance policies on retired teachers. This Does Not Make Any Sense. Somebody doesn't understand how insurance works.

Any life insurance policy should be actuarially fair - that is, the expected discounted value of the payout should be equal to the expected discounted lifetime premium payments. So, if you die the day after you take out the policy you'll be ahead of the game. If you live until you're 110 you'll probably have wasted your money. Life insurance isn't a get quick rich scheme for the estate, it's simply a way to remove individual risk by combining it with a large number of other policies making it, from the perspective of the company, a riskless endeavor - barring a plague or something.

The reason to have "dead peasant" insurance policies is because from the point of view of a business, if your workers die prematurely it's costly to replace them and train new workers. (update: as Wingnut correctly reminds us in comments, favorable tax treatment can also be a reason.)

However, I can't think of any reason why an actuarially fair insurance policy written for a pool of retired teachers would have any financial benefit for the state. Somebody's getting scammed. And who's doing the scamming?

Former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, now an executive at UBS Investment Bank of New York, is promoting the proposal. State officials stressed that they are only considering the idea. But they pointed out that the plan could raise millions of dollars for the financially strapped Texas Teacher Retirement System, one of the largest public pensions in the nation, while the state would assume little risk.