Saturday, October 09, 2004

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Billmon Burst:
"He's a walking time bomb."

Billmon has become akin to a hunter-killer submarine: undersea, out of sight, almost forgotten, but always tracking its prey. He emerges every now and then, sending out a burst transmission.

Thirdparty at Kos caught a glimpse of him before he submerged once again into the dark depths:
If Kerry and the Dems can't make an issue out of the fact that the president of the United States is utterly incapable of controlling his hairtrigger temper, they don't deserve to win this election... I mean, the man is a walking time bomb.

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Debate Comments Worth Sharing

From Freshpaint who is sitting in at
That Colored Fella's Weblog:
It really irritated him that he wasn't getting the love from the crowd he had expected. This was supposed to be his best format, but it wasn't helping him at all. He leaped out of his seat belligerently. He made those weird faces again. He made inappropriate jokes. For example, in a question about which he might appoint for the Supreme Court, he joked, "I better not say. I want them to vote for me." Well they did last time, and look where it's got us. This was the same kind of tasteless, frat-boy humor he used when at a banquet he looked under tables for WMDs.
From Legal Fiction:
But there are reasons why I give a slight edge to Kerry. First, although Bush performed better tonight than he did last week, he still lost his temper a couple of times. The cut-off of Gibson could become one of those things that gets showed over and over - and more critically, reinforces the impressions of last week. Second, when the debate turned to domestic issues, there were a few times when Bush clearly didn't know what he was talking about. Kerry's best moments - and Bush's worst moments - followed the questions about drugs from Canada and the environment. It was clear that Kerry knew the specifics better, and he expressed complicated issues (New Source Review, e.g.) in clear ways. I also thought Bush did a poor job addressing the question about the deficit, though I was heartened to hear that he wouldn't appoint a pro-slavery judge to the Supreme Court. There goes the Justice Taney Society vote.

From Neil Shah at The American Street:

Bush is questioned on mistakes. The questioner is making Bush angry. You won’t want to see him when he’s angry. Naturally, he is having a lot of trouble answering this question, but continues to assert that he is accountable for whatever mistakes he is not willing to admit. To him, mistakes have been made, but the little ones don’t matter only the big ones. He believes that going into Iraq was a good decision, but whether or not to disband the Iraqi army, to invade Fallujah, to take care of Sadr, to fix the intelligence community, to not alter the tax cut, to not respect fiscal discipline are simply irrelevant. Of course, he doesn’t name any mistakes, completely ignoring the question.

From Kevin Drum:

I've been surfing around TV a little bit, and the one thing that surprises me is that there's very little comment about George Bush's demeanor, especially during the first half hour. His voice was several notches above presidential, he was interrupting both Charlie Gibson and the questioners, he was leaping to his feet, he was jabbing the air with Ross Perot-like abandon, and there were at least a couple of times when he looked like he was about to leap into the audience and throttle someone. It's one thing to be passionate, but it's quite another to look like you're off your meds and need to be restrained.
From Suburban Guerrilla:
My, he's an animated little chimp tonight, isn't he? And when he yelled right over Charlie Gibson, he reminded me of the lead in a really bad high school play.
From Kos:

We know you have a choice in Internets, so thank you for choosing this one. Come back and see us again soon, we appreciate your business.

And if I may offer a little advise -- stay away from those Canadian Internets (damn third-world hellhole). They aren't safe.


Friday, October 08, 2004

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The Bush Communication Style

Pathological Liar or Dangerously Unhinged

Mark Kleiman suggests that most of what the president says is pure bullshit:
The question raised by Saletan and Weisberg -- Is George W. Bush better described as a pathological liar or as someone dangerously unhinged from reality? -- has two faces: one descriptive, one tactical.

[. . .]

Leaving aside fancy ontologies, there's another choice besides "liar" or "lunatic." And it's a choice that naturally comes to mind when thinking of GWB: bullsh*t. (Or, as is sometimes said, Bush*t.)
Or what Atrios frequently refers to as "making shit up."

Brad DeLong provides the Dred Scott example from tonight's debate:

Robert Waldmann draws our attention to Section 1 of Amendment XII to the Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1865:
Article XIII: Section 1: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
And he notes that everybody before 1865--everyone--believed that the Constitution (as it was back then) allowed slavery. When George W. Bush said that if Roger B. Taney had been ruling according to the Constitution rather than his "personal opinions" in Dred Scott v. Sanford he would then and there have abolished slavery in the United States, Bush was completely wrong:
Bush: Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges years ago said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights. That's a personal opinion; that's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America.
Making shit up.

* * * * * * * *

Friday Debate Hotwash

Kerry was Presidential. Bush remains delusional.

Bush got angry early. He hates it when Kerry calls him on his mistakes, bad policy, incompetent administration.

But then he remembered what Karl and Karen told him. He shifted to smirk and wink, NASCAR dad, Texas Bubba, fraternity shuck and jive. He believes what they tell him. He's dumber than dog shit.

Kerry talked straight. He passed up several opportunities to really zing Bush. Especially on that environmental trash Bush was talking. I believe that was a calculated decision to be a serious man for serious times.

By the way, Bobo (doing his usual inane commentary on PBS opposite Mark Shields), said Bush won. Bobo should just kill himself. He's beyond help, so he might as well just put himself out of his misery and give the gene pool a break at the same time.

Okay, maybe that was a little harsh. He shouldn't kill himself. But he should see a career counselor and find something he's good at.

* * * * * * * *

Truth in Labeling

Thanks to Judith. She didn't vote for him, either.

* * * * * * * *

Electoral Vote Map Finally Turns Around.
Plenty of Blue going into the weekend

That map at Current Electoral Vote Predictor that caused Mrs. Rain Storm much distress a couple of weeks ago has finally turned the corner. The debates are changing minds (or at least claiming the previously uncommitted). All that hard work of pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, registering voters and spreading the good word about John Kerry is starting to pay off.

It's Kerry by 10 points in Michigan, by 7 in Minnesota, by 7 in New Jersey, and by 10 in Oregon. Kerry holds smaller leads in Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maine.

Colorado, New Hampshire, and (surprisingly) Arkansas all have Bush and Kerry in a tie. By the way, it looks like Colorado voters will approve the ballot measure splitting the state's electoral votes. That likely will lock in 4 of Colorado's EVs for Kerry.

In fairness, I should note that the battleground state numbers at Real Clear Politics aren't nearly as good. One explanation for the difference is that RCP hasn't included any of the recent Zogby Poll data that the Wall Street Journal put online a couple of days ago.

CEVP also has some interesting commentary on that bulge under the back of Bush's coat during the debate that mysteriously resembled a radio receiver. For the moment, at least, it looks like the link to the enhanced photo of that bulge is not working.

Who was Bush talking to when he said, "Let me finish," when his clock was still in the green and nobody on the stage had said a word to him for several seconds?

UPDATE -- Friday Afternoon: Looks like that link is working now. It's likely you've seen this already, but the enhancement on the photo is pretty good.

Now consider how bad it must be with our president. Bush had Karl or Karen feeding him the answers and he still looked and sounded like the village idiot.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

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The Bush Administration:
an absence of objective reality

Krugman -- NYT (registration required):
President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have an unparalleled ability to insulate themselves from inconvenient facts. They lead a party that controls all three branches of government, and face news media that in some cases are partisan supporters, and in other cases are reluctant to state plainly that officials aren't telling the truth. They also still enjoy the residue of the faith placed in them after 9/11.

This has allowed them to engage in what Orwell called "reality control." In the world according to the Bush administration, our leaders are infallible, and their policies always succeed. If the facts don't fit that assumption, they just deny the facts.

As a political strategy, reality control has worked very well. But as a strategy for governing, it has led to predictable disaster. When leaders live in an invented reality, they do a bad job of dealing with real reality.
Unfortunately, their delusions have created our reality. And let's face it -- for the past 4 years, it hasn't been pretty.

* * * * * * * *

The White House Guide
to Terror Alert colors

With the presidential horse race neck and neck, and the election drawing near, we are bound to have another terror alert sometime in the next 3 weeks.

To make sure that we all understand what those colors mean, Betty Bowers -- America's Best Christian -- has helped us all out by publishing the White House Guide to Understanding Terror Alert Colors.

Check it out so you'll know what's really going on.

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Winning the Hearts and Minds

Suburban Guerrilla links to this video footage of a U.S. airstrike on civilians in the street.
The Pentagon said yesterday it was investigating cockpit video footage that shows American pilots attacking and killing a group of apparently unarmed Iraqi civilians.

The 30-second clip shows the pilot targeting the group of people in a street in the city of Fallujah and asking his mission controllers whether he should "take them out". He is told to do so and, shortly afterwards, the footage shows a huge explosion where the people were. A second voice can be heard on the clip saying: "Oh, dude."
Watch the video. Cry for your country -- and theirs.

* * * * * * * *

Going Upriver:
The Long War of John Kerry

Good review of the film by
Kevin Drum:
By now I'm pretty familiar with Kerry's career, but even so I took a couple of new things away from the film. The first was a recognition that Kerry was a leader of the antiwar movement in the most genuine possible sense. Sure, he's the guy who gave speeches and appeared on TV, but he was also the guy who held people together, who kept tempers in check, who boosted morale when times were tough, who never gave up, and who figured out how to get things done. He didn't bully and he didn't yell, but he earned genuine respect from an astonishingly wide variety of people — in exactly the same way a successful president needs to do.

Second, although the film made it clear that Kerry had his eye on public office very early, it also made clear that leading an antiwar group was a huge risk to that ambition. Far from being a steppingstone, it was something likely to prevent him from gaining office (as in fact it initially did). Kerry did what he did out of genuine conviction and he did it despite the risks — and that's something a successful president needs to be willing to do too.
I think these are two very good observations on Kevin's part. He suggests if you have friends who are sick of Bush but haven't made the commitment to Kerry, take them out to the movies. Or you could just buy the DVD and invite them over.

* * * * * * * *

The Bob Edwards Show

Edward Chapman, who championed the cause to keep Bob Edwards on NPR's Morning Edition through the
Save Bob Edwards website, has sent out the following message:

The following is a letter that Bob Edwards has asked that I send out to those who signed the petition on savebobedwards.com. His new show starts on Monday and below Bob’s letter is a letter from XM Radio’s CEO about the show.


Thanks so much to Edward Chapman and to all who showed me support through his website, SaveBobEdwards.com. You can probably imagine how much it meant at such a low point in my professional life. I was honored by your loyalty and drew strength from your encouragement.

While the many thousands of signatures and comments did not change any minds at NPR, they made an impression on XM Satellite Radio. XM has hired me to host "The Bob Edwards Show," a daily interview program that begins Monday, October 4th at 8:00AM ET. Seven other present or former NPR journalists will help me put the show together each day.

The Bob Edwards Show will be heard on XM Channel 133 — a channel called XMPR. XMPR will be devoted strictly to public radio programming, such as "This American Life," "Studio 360" and Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac." Public Radio International and its station partners Chicago Public Radio and WGBH Boston, American Public Media, and NPR member station WBUR in Boston are among XMPR's programming partners.

I hope all of you will supplement your public radio experience by listening to XM Satellite Radio's new public radio channel. You'll find that XM honors radio's rich heritage as it establishes radio's future.

Best wishes to all.

Bob Edwards
I haven't jumped on the satelite radio bandwagon, yet. But it seems like good things are beginning to happen there.


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

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Zogby Sees Blue Battelground States

Suburban Guerrilla pointed to the new Zogby Poll results for (most of) the battleground states.

Looks like the Kerry/Edwards campaign is going to do some serious butt-kicking in Oregon, Washington and New Mexico. What's more, Kerry's lead is outside the margin of error in Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. The Bush lead in Tennessee is less than a point.

Kerry is leading in 5 states that Bush carried (or stole) in 2000. Bush is leading in zero states that went for Gore in 2000.

This is good news. Mo Better Mo.

* * * * * * * *

Limbaugh Loses Search Appeal:
Doctor shopping charge may go forward

According to AP, a search of Limbaugh's medical records was legal:
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Rush Limbaugh's medical records were properly seized by investigators seeking information on alleged illegal drug use, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

State investigators had raided the offices of Limbaugh's doctors seeking information on whether the conservative radio commentator illegally tried to buy prescription painkillers. Limbaugh, 53, has not been charged with a crime and the investigation had been at a standstill pending a decision on the medical records.

"We hold that the constitutional right of privacy in medical records is not implicated by the State's seizure and review of medical records under a valid search warrant without prior notice or hearing," a three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled.

Prosecutors went after Limbaugh's medical records after learning that he received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach mansion.
I have a great deal of sympathy for anyone with a chemical depedency. However, Mr. Limbaugh's hypocrisy with regards to those affected with drug addiction is well known. He deserves to face the sort of aggressive prosecution he has championed for so many years.

Payback is hell, Mr. Limbaugh. So are chickens, comin' home to roost.

* * * * * * * *

CNN Dumps Early Poll
that showed Edwards crushing Cheney

One of the first post-debate polls I saw last night (thanks to Atrios for all the great links) was on CNN and it had Edwards ahead of Cheney in the neighborhood of 80 - 20.

For whatever reason (one can only imagine), they pulled that down within 2 hours of the debate and replaced it with a fluff poll on whether the debate influenced how a viewer would vote.

When they work so hard to build up this kind of credibility, is it any wonder that their ratings are now lower than whale shit?

You can feedback to CNN here.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

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The Big Veep Debate:
A victory for style over snarl

First impression: Edwards has a great smile. Cheney doesn't own one.

Appearances aside, Cheney stuck with the same old (and so very tired) administration lies. It must be a lifestyle choice with these people.

Edwards can lay out his case as well as anyone in the business, and Cheney has no shortage of vulnerabilties. For Edwards, it was a target-rich environment.

I took a look at the polls that various media outlets are running. Many of them have connected to a national poll that had Edwards whupping Cheney's butt 77 to 22. Some of the local papers had the spread even further. I think the LA Times was like 95 to 3. I checked a couple of dozen polls, and not one of them was even close. The talking heads will all do their little ritual dances about how close it was on the issues. I'll quote an old Chapin Carpenter song:
The stars might lie
But the numbers never do
We've got the Mo. Let's ride it all the way to the White House.

* * * * * * * *

The Kerry Doctrine

Mark Kleiman provides good copy:
Defend the country. Promote freedom. Pay attention to the facts. Listen to the experts. Make sure your buddies have your back. Plan for victory. Tell the truth.
There it is -- clear enough that even Wolf Blitzer should be able to get it.


Monday, October 04, 2004

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Bush, Hard Work, and
The Grapes of Wrath

This summer I picked up a copy of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, and appropriately enough, finished it on Labor Day.

If not the Great American Novel, it must certainly be in the running. Steinbeck's portrayal of an Oklahoma farming family driven off their land, like so many others, during the dust bowl years of the Great Depression, only to find resentment and exploitation in the fields of California, is a classic of American literature.

I thought about that while reading Bryan Curtis'
Burning Bushes: A reader's guide to Kitty Kelley's The Family that was in Slate last month.

One of the many little Bush stories in Kelley's book is the one about George W. Bush's reaction to an economics professor at the Harvard Business School who planned to show the film version of The Grapes of Wrath.
Page 309: At Harvard Business School, which W. attends from 1973 to 1975, a professor screens The Grapes of Wrath. Bush asks him, "Why are you going to show us that Commie movie?" W.'s take on the film: "Look. People are poor because they are lazy."
This is a telling quote from a little rich boy who never had to work a day in his life.

It also provides a context to the line Bush repeated over and over again during the debate with John Kerry last week:
Look, this is hard work.
Years ago, during my time in Special Forces, we had an 18 X 24 poster of John Wayne hanging in the orderly room. The picture was The Duke in the uniform of the Special Forces colonel he wore in the movie The Green Berets. The caption at the bottom of the poster said:
Life is tough. It's tougher when you're stupid.


Sunday, October 03, 2004

* * * * * * * *

If Bush Wrote Poetry
instead of drawing doodles

Rodrigo at
North Coast Cafe has posted Make the Pie Higher: A Poem Composed From Direct Quotations Of George W. Bush. I'm taking the liberty of reproducing it here verbatim:
I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
And potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the Internet
Become more few?

How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.

I know that the human being
And the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope,
Where our wings take dream.

Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!
Make the pie higher!

By Washington Post writer, Richard Thompson.
(although I haven't been able to find the WaPo link)


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