Thursday, July 22, 2004

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The Blogging of the Convention
Tomorrow I head for Boston

Call this the first of the convention posts, although I haven't actually left home, yet.  One of the reasons my blogging has been a tad on the light side this week is that I've felt the need to put in sufficient time with family and day job to allow me to actually sneak off to the convention tomorrow with a relatively clear conscience.

It's going to be a full week. 
Jenny Greenleaf has a pretty good post, both about the flood of invitations that attendees have been receiving for the past few weeks, and also the massive number of events one can attend while at the convention.

I did my schedule in a table format, but it doesn't look real different than hers. 

I want to say a word about the
GAIN training (you'll see it mentioned in Jenny's schedule).  These are dozens of one or two hour classes that seem to cover the whole range of how to run a campaign.  Many are taught by people who do campaigns (both issues and candidates) for a living.  There will also be presentations by some big name folks such as James Carville, David Brock, Stan Greenberg, and Donna Brazile.  Even the famous Kos himself will be sitting on a panel on the impact of blogs on campaigns.

These trainings are open to volunteers and activist as well as delegates.  GAIN may well prove to be the foundation for a whole new generation of savvy Democrats who are determined to take their country back from the Republicans, and who have the skills to do it.

As for bloggers actually providing a value-added perspective from the campaign, it will be interesting to see. 
Atrios seems to have his doubts, but he's going to be there anyway.  I'm starting to think that maybe we all should have planned to blog the Republican convention, instead.  Sure, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun (despite those reports about the great influx of working girls who'll be coming to New York so all those male Republican delegates don't get themselves all stressed out waving the flag for more tax cuts for the rich), but think of all the dirt, hypocrisy, and hateful expressions of bigotry we'd be able to dig up.  I'd even consider getting a haircut to blog that gig.

I'm also curious to see how the WiFi issue at the convention has been resolved, if it has been resolved.  I suspect I'm going to find many of my fellow bloggers wandering the streets of Boston, desperately looking for a Starbucks so they can get on-line.  It's a good bet that's where I'll be.  See you there.

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Big Surprise!  Minorities don't like Bush,
but don't want to be taken for granted

Over at the
Daily Kos, DemFromCT notes that Kerry enjoys a 2-1 lead among registered Latinos.  These are the kind of numbers that could swing the election in New Mexico and Arizona, provided the Democrats can execute a well-organized get out the vote (GOTV) campaign.  It should also put a permanent dent in Republican fantasies of Bush taking California on the Governator's coat tails.

Professor Kim notes a BET/CBS poll that indicates that Bush might only get a handful of Black votes in November (maybe Condy Rice, Clarence Thomas, J.C. Watts, and Ward Connerly -- I'm thinking that at this point Colin Powell is secretly on the fence).
African American voters overwhelmingly support Sen. John Kerry for president, but a lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy could be costly if it translates into a smaller Black voter turnout on Election Day than a zealous electorate would generate.

A BET/CBS News poll of Black voters shows that Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is leading President Bush by an 8-to-1 margin. But that strong level of support has a weak underbelly.
Black voters as yet have not been given a reason to get excited about another white liberal candidate, even though they hate Bush.

Note to the Kerry Campaign: You need the Black vote to turn out in big numbers in Ohio and Michigan. Don't take this key constituency for granted.

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It's Kerry/Edwards Thursday.
This is the last week that you can donate to the campaign.  Once Kerry accepts the nomination at the convention, the campaing shifts to public financing.
So this is it.  This is your chance.  DONATE TODAY.
Do it because you love America, and you want her to get well again.


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

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Swing State Update:
Bad news for Bush

A couple of dramatic changes in polling numbers for two key swing states look bad for Bush/Cheney, Inc.

First, it appears that
Kerry may be getting a little southern bounce out of the selection of John Edwards as his running mate.  In a rather remarkable change in numbers in just three weeks, the Zogby Interactive poll from July 12 has Bush and Kerry deadlocked at 47.5 percent each.  On June 21 it was 57.4 percent for Bush, 38.6 percent for Kerry.  Losing almost 10 points in just 3 weeks has got to have Karl and Karen working on some serious strategy revisions

Out on the western front, there may be more trouble brewing.  Arizona has been an intersting question mark for swing state watchers from the get.  Though generally considered a safe Republican stronghold, Arizona went for Bill Clinton in 1996 and elected Democrat Janet Napolitano governor just two years ago.

Most polls have shown Bush with a solid 10 to 12 point lead in Arizona.  But a
recent survey there shows Bush and Kerry in a virtual dead heat.  Forty-seven percent of the respondents approved of the way Bush is doing his job, a drop from 52 percent in June.

Another interesting poll from Arizona indicates that Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11 could have an impact on undecided voters.  According to Capitol Media Services:
A new statewide survey shows that one out of every seven people questioned said they had not yet made up their minds about who to support. And two thirds of those people said they intend to see "Fahrenheit 9/11," Moore's film that is highly critical of the president's handling of the war on terror.

"The fact that they're undecided means they're still looking for information," said pollster Earl de Berge of the Behavior Research Center of the race between George W. Bush and John Kerry. "If you're looking at an election where you may be talking about 1 or 2 percent difference between the winning and losing candidate, all of a sudden a small shift may actually be fairly relevant."
Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Take a few of your "undecided" friends to the movies.  It'll be fun for everyone, and good for America, too.

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Nukes Found in Iraq?
Is this the July Surprise?

Oops. Story changes in mid-post.

The Moony Times is reporting that nuke warheads have NOT been discovered in Iraq.
A U.S. military official Wednesday denied a report of Iraqi missiles carrying nuclear warheads being found in a concrete trench northwest of Baghdad.

The daily al-Sabah newspaper Wednesday had quoted sources as saying three missiles armed with nuclear warheads were discovered in a trench near the city of Tikrit, the hometown of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

A U.S. military spokesman in Tikrit told United Press International that the report was untrue.

"Nothing's been found. The report is not factual," said Master Sgt. Robert Cowens, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, based in Tikrit.

The newspaper reported the three missiles were discovered by chance when Iraqi security forces captured former Baath party official Khoder al-Douri who revealed during interrogation the location of the missiles saying they carried nuclear warheads.
This may have set the record for the fastest turn around on a bogus WMD story from Iraq. What's it all mean, Mr. Natural?

NOTE:  Just for the sake of clarity, let me point out the the Washington Time ran the story this morning saying that nukes had (reportedly) been found in Iraq.  In less than an hour they changed their site (with the same url!) to indicate that the nuke story was false, never mentioning that they had flip-flopped on the story.  I was literally in the middle of the post when the story changed.  One DOJ anti-terrorism analyst I spoke with said that he had never seen a news source reverse course in that short a time.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

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First The Dixie Chicks,
Now Linda Rondstadt

Looks like a Las Vegas crowd turned ugly when Linda Rondstadt said a few nice words about Michael Moore and encouraged her audience to see Fahrenheit 9/11.  According to
this AP report,
Singer Linda Ronstadt not only got booed, she got the boot after lauding filmmaker Michael Moore and his new movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 during a performance at the Aladdin hotel-casino.

Before singing "Desperado" for an encore Saturday night, the 58-year-old rocker called Moore a "great American patriot" and "someone who is spreading the truth." She also encouraged everybody to see the documentary about President Bush.

Ronstadt's comments drew loud boos and some of the 4,500 people in attendance stormed out of the theater. People also tore down concert posters and tossed cocktails into the air.
Nice folks, those Las Vegas crowds. But let's hear it for management, who stepped in an rectified the situation.
"It was a very ugly scene," Aladdin President Bill Timmins told The Associated Press. "She praised him and all of a sudden all bedlam broke loose."

Timmins, who is British and was watching the show, decided Ronstadt had to go - for good. Timmins said he didn't allow Ronstadt back in her luxury suite and she was escorted off the property.

Ronstadt's antics "spoiled a wonderful evening for our guests and we had to do something about it," Timmins said.
Okay, so next time you go to Vegas, keep the Aladdin high on your list of places to stay where you'll really feel welcomed by the nice people there.

UPDATE -- Tuesday pm: Maybe it didn't quite go down the way Mr. Timmins would have us believe it did. Via Suburban Guerrilla to TBogg to NRO:
Mr. Goldberg --
My wife & I were at the Linda Ronstadt performance in question, at the Aladdin in Las Vegas, and quite frankly, Aladdin President Bill Timmins' account of what happened is complete crap. There was mixed booing and cheering at Ronstadt's pro-Michael Moore comment, and that was about the extent of the "bedlam" that supposedly broke out. I saw no posters being torn down or cocktails being thrown in the air, and if people stomped out of the theatre unhappy, it was because 1) that was the last song Ronstadt performed; it was her encore; and 2) she mainly sang her standards repertoire, with the Nelson Riddle orchestrations, and a large part of the crowd wanted to hear more of her rock-'n'-roll stuff; she got the biggest round of applause for doing a lackadaisical run-through of her version of "Blue Bayou."

Frankly, my suspicion is that Timmins is way overdramatizing what happened, in order to justify giving Ronstadt the boot. It simply wasn't that big a deal.
There you have it, sports fans. Just another night of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. As Bill Murray said to Chris Makepeace in Meatballs, "I love that town."


Monday, July 19, 2004

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Big Opportunity to Win in PA-08
Republican incumbant drops out

Kos and Susan are noting that moderate Republican Representative Jim Greenwood is going to retire, leaving his Democrat challenger Virginia "Ginny" Schrader with a great opportunity to take another house seat away from the GOP.
Susan writes:

I would suggest that we get involved ASAP. This seat is a Democratic-leaning one, and is too good to miss. Schrader is a liberal-to-moderate, pro-choice Democrat. In addition, she supports civil unions and is against Bush's positions on Iraq and the Patriot Act.

Make Tom DeLay cry.  Send this girl some turkee.  Here's her website

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Cartoon of the Day
At the Gadflyer, Karen and Karl discuss strategy.

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Know Your Terrorist
and keep a sharp look out

I've been thinking about that
news report from a couple of days ago in which the FBI said that al Qaeda is probably trying to recruit non-Arabs, ideally those who have American citizenship, to help them carry out a terrorist attack within the United States.
That would mean that, as diligent patriots, we should all be reporting any and all suspicious activity on the part of American citizens who don't look like Arabs.  If that's true, the Department of Homeland Securtiy should be sending out refrigerator magnets with their phone number to every household in America. 
I'm really surprised that
Jesus' General hasn't been all over this, but I'll cut him some slack since he was out of town for a few days.

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Best Way to Thawrt the Election Day Terror Threat:
Mail-in Ballots
My old friend and compatriot Tomas made a comment on this site that went unnoticed, but which deserves some consideration:

If we're really worried about the threat of terrorism wrecking the November election, why not have everyone vote by mail-in ballot?

Sounds good to me, but I nearly always request an early ballot. Any other great political minds want to weigh in on this one?

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Newspaper Sites
that require registration
It's a fact -- good blogs frequently link to on-line news sites.  And more and more, those news outlets require registration.
Some of them are relatively simple, like age, gender and zip.  Some want a damn resume.  I know other bloggers have complained about this in the past.  Now Kos provides the solution:

Login: dailykos
Password: dailykos

or if the login is an email address, then

Login: kos@dailykos.com
Password: dailykos

Kos suggests that, if you find a site where that doesn't work, it means he hasn't registered there, yet, so please sign him up.

That ought to keep the little marketeers at bay for at least a while.

And you technophiles will want to read the comments on his post, too.

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When Blogging Don't Pay the Bills

Life, the economy, and ADD are taking their toll on the Suburban Guerrilla. Please help a wonderful blogger make it over a difficult stretch (and keep her on-line!).

Stop by and read her latest post, and if you can, send her some turkee. If we don't take care of one another, nobody else will.


Sunday, July 18, 2004

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The President is Hearing Voices
and they tell him what to say

Susan at Suburban Guerrilla noticed this post at The Leftist:
I'm wondering if any one else caught this, President Bush met with French president Jacques Chirac around the second of June. Both men were in France at podiums in front of a large press corps. Bush had an earpiece in, I thought nothing of this since Bush has not yet mastered English, him knowing any French is a long shot. Soon after turning on CNN, I noticed that some one else was carefully dictating Mr. Bush's exact words before he acually said them.

At first I thought this simply must be a tech problem, like an echo of some sort, but that was not the case. I could distinctly discern that these were two separate voices. The voice was diffrent, as was the enunciation. Okay, I thought, this is just weird, so I flipped it to MSNBC, same deal, Faux News (maja props to skunx), amazingly the same, but the first voice was much lower in volume on Fox.

It was surreal, Bush was being fed his lines through an earpiece, I could come to no other logical conclution. We all well know that Mr. Bush is not the best speaker, but if he cannot even read his own speech, then he is not qualified to be a member in AA, let alone the president of the United States.
I can't help but wonder who it was (Dick, Karl, Karen) that actually took Dub aside and told him, "Mr. President, it's time to face facts. You're dumber than dogshit and we're going to have to tell you what to say, word for word."

It's also interesting in light of the statement Bush made to a group of Amish folk recently in Pennsylvania:
“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.’’
It would appear that Dear Leader is really confused about who is on the other end of that ear piece link.

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Digby at His Visceral Best:
The Democrat Mission
Everybody who cares about this election and the future of America should go visit Digby ASAP:
DeLong asks the question, "What changed between 2000 and 2004?" Commenters predictably said, "four years of George W. Bush." And once again, I reply, "what in gawds name were you people doing for the previous eight years?" Apparently, many Democrats were watching their favorite infotainment programs and uncritically saw the partisan bloodshed of the 1990's as some sort of sit-com instead of the bare knuckled, political power grab it was.

It was clear to many of us in 2000 that the Republican Party had completely run amuck and that George W. Bush was simply a brand name in a suit that the Party was putting forth to hide their essential ugliness from the American people. It was obvious to some of us that this was an unprecedented partisan battle and that this insular, myopic view on the left was going to hurt us very badly. I have little patience for the idea that it took this massive demonstration of GOP power under the Bush administration to convince people that the first, most important order of political business was to check the Republican power grab. It was obvious in 2000 to anyone who was paying attention.
Read it all.

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Picking and Choosing Scripture
to fit your politics

It's Sunday morning, and instead of attending services with one bunch of the faithful or another, I decided to wander over to The Slacktivist to get a little on-line Sunday School in the comfort (such as it is) of my own home.
One of the problems I have with organized religion is that, if you're willing to wade into the deep waters of scripture -- regardless of the particular faith under consideration -- before long you run into the challenge of how to actually interpret that scripture.  And my experience has been that getting a bunch of theologians together is a lot like getting a bunch of economists together -- everybody has a different take on what the data actually means.
And then there is this tendency for the faithful to sort of pick and choose which scripture is still relevant in the modern world, and which scripture can be casually disregarded without fear of hell, damnation, or bad karma.  My friend Publius at Legal Fiction wrote about this in his recent post Shaky Logic -- The Bible and the FMA.
Fred Clark at the Slaktivist adds some more clarity to this issue with his insightful post Why Some Christians Hate Gays but Love Bacon.  If you somehow missed the services at your local temple, gurdwara, synagogue, church, or mosque today (or yesterday or whenever), stop by The Slacktivist for your shot of redemption.  The truth will set you free.  Amen.


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