Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Saturday, September 11, 2004

It's Good to be the King

posted by Jazz at 9/11/2004 07:30:00 PM

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Because then, the rules don't apply to you. Or at least it would seem so in Florida. The St. Petersburg Times reports that, against all probability, George W. Bush missed the filing deadline to get on the ballot in Florida. The deadline was Sept. 1, but because that's when the RNC was, they didn't file the papers until Sept. 2. This apparently won't stop the GOP though, and the Democrats are already folding under. (Thanks to Lazerus who dug this out.)

"Florida Democratic Party chairman Scott Maddox said he knew the president's certificate of nomination did not reach the state until Sept. 2, but he said he decided not to make an issue of it."

Not everyone is taking it so calmly, though. Julie Aires of the Green Party says,
"If the Green Party or the Reform Party had not gotten their names in by Sept. 1 and they said, "You missed the deadline,' I don't think we'd have a leg to stand on," she said. "They would have kept us off the ballot on a technicality if they could have."

It seems there's one set of rules for the big and one for the little. I'd really like to be surprised.

Checks and Balances in Blogging

posted by Jazz at 9/11/2004 08:47:00 AM

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Apparently Glenn Reynolds picked up on a debate between Jonathan Klein and Stephen Hayes over the possibly forged CBS documents. Klein is quoted as saying, "Bloggers have no checks and balances... [it's] a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas."

Well, Mr. Klein, (if that is your real name) I have news for you. I don't wear pajamas. I'm wearing a bath robe.

So there.

Pravda (Russia) Boycotting Xerox?

posted by Jazz at 9/11/2004 07:21:00 AM

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Biff from Premeditated Fun pointed me to this strange, yet curious story.

(WARNING: The links in the entry below direct you to the English version of the Russian newspaper Pravda. Now, I'm not quite enough of a conspiracy theorist as to assume that anyone in the United States who clicks on a Pravda link will immediately wind up on a private list, held by John Ashcroft, of people, including their name, e-mail address, phone number, street address, and the number of ounces of C4 needed to blow up your house while you sleep, but... well, just be aware of what you are clicking on.)

At the very bottom of the front page of Pravda, there is a link which reads, "PRAVDA Ru doesn't recommend to use Xerox products." This link takes you to a page detailing the woes which the Russian paper encountered in dealing with the Xerox corporation over servicing their copier. For example:

PRAVDA.Ru has not managed to avoid such a stereotype either. The company once purchased Xerox XE82, series number 2881549223. The machine worked fine for a certain period of time, until it came out of order one day. There was a guarantee for the machine, specialists categorized the repairs as E2 mistake. However, the machine broke soon after the repairs. It kept on working, although each page got printed out with a big black stripe. We had to go to the service center again, although the latter did not seem to hurry in its decisions.

The reasons of the delay became clear a bit later. As it turned out, the damage of the development part of the machine was not a common kind of damage, and there were no necessary spare parts in the service center to fix the machine. Taking care of their customers, the service center ordered necessary spare parts on standard (not urgent) terms of delivery. That measure was done in order not to make the customer spend more money on urgent works. As a result, the repairs was started on December 24th, 2001, but was finished only on March 18th, 2003. The works cost $150, taking into consideration the fact that the machine itself cost $300.

Now, even if the machine was used, I don't know how one gets a functional, office sized Xerox for 300 dollars. And last time I checked, you can't even get the service person to drive over to your office for under 150 bucks, say nothing of fixing anything. Then again, prices may be very different in Moscow.

At any rate, they don't just decry Xerox's product quality and pricing. They take it to an entirely different level and use this example as a sign of the failure of American capitalist expansion into foreign markets.

On the one hand, the fact that foreign companies organize assembly production at home companies is very good for the Russian economy: people have more jobs and the budget has more revenues. However, Russian customers have to buy the poor Russian production under the disguise of "high-quality goods." Moreover, this production is not meant to be as good as its Western analogues that are available in developed countries. Transnational corporations do not conceal the fact that providing high-quality production to the countries of the Third World is not their major goal. Companies strive for conquering the market of developing countries, in order to make "aborigines" get used to brands, so that they could never imagine that there can be other production available, besides Coca-Cola, McDonald's, or Xerox. Global corporations do not offer much to "aborigines" - just fake stuff for the poor. There are not many people in Russia, who can afford buying genuine jeans, for instance. That is why, a lot of Russians wear $20 Calvin Klein jeans that are made somewhere in the Moscow region. It is shameful to wear such pants after washing them two or three times.


I'm not sure exactly what this says about the state of mind of people in Russia, but I found it fascinating.

Your Quote for the Day

posted by Jazz at 9/11/2004 07:00:00 AM

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"We are merely making the observation that the current administration are lying, thieving, conspiring motherfuckers who will make this country look like the bottom of a Shake 'n Bake bag if they are not *thrown out*."
--- Bill Cleere

Friday, September 10, 2004

Nader Gone From Ballot in Florida

posted by Jazz at 9/10/2004 03:05:00 PM

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Thank any higher powers. The GOP has been pushing to recruit signatures across the nation for Ralph Nader's bid to be on the ballot. Obviously, he takes votes away from Kerry and that's in Bush's favor. In Florida, one of the tightest and most critical elections in the 2000 election, and likely to be the same this year, a judge has just ruled that Nader will probably be a no show.

Source: Mr. Left
Reported at:
Fox News (yes, I know, I know... yuck.)
Washington Post .

This is NOT the time for Ralph Nader, though I used to have all the respect for him in the world. Give it a rest, Ralph. We need to get Bush out of Office, then you can worry about whatever your current agenda is.

Another Tree Hugging Lefty Pinko Etc.

posted by Jazz at 9/10/2004 02:28:00 PM

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... but I suppose I owe a link to my good friend Lazerus at Ungodly Politics. Just don't think this means I'm joining the godless Democrats. :-)

And yet another, Monkey Media Report, which is just hilarious.

Which led me to... OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!

JohnKerryIsADouchbagButImVotingForHimAnyway.com

More Page Design Data

posted by Jazz at 9/10/2004 10:40:00 AM

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Incredible find in web viewer usage studies. This report should be read by anyone laying out their own business or personal web pages. (Source: JoeTerrito.com)

Cheney Pumping Economy Numbers with e-bay?

posted by Jazz at 9/10/2004 09:55:00 AM

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Please, somebody tell me this is a joke. (Source credit: Atrios.)
Indicators measure the nation�s unemployment rate, consumer spending and other economic milestones, but Vice President Dick Cheney says it misses the hundreds of thousands who make money selling on eBay.
John Edwards rushes in with a timely reply:
�If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking,�


Keeping the Myth Alive

posted by Jazz at 9/10/2004 08:46:00 AM

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According to a poll conducted last week, 42% of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the Sept. 11 attacks which occurred three years ago tomorrow. If that figure doesn't scare you, it should. This comes long after the president finally stated at least twice, in no uncertain terms, that there was no evidence of any connection. (source and source.) The phrasing of the poll question, which has been repeated periodically since just after the attacks, was as follows:

"How likely is it that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks? Would you say that it is very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely, or not at all likely?"

Respondents who were listed as believing the connection came from the "very likely and somewhat likely" groups.

If you want some good news (sort of) that number is improving. On 9/13/01 the figure was 78%. By 2/6/03 it had dropped to 72% and by 8/11/03 it slipped to 69%. But even with the admission by Bush and the complete lack of any evidence, how do 42% of Americans still hold onto this myth? The likely answer is that each time Bush comes out and admits there is no connection, Dick "Damn the evidence, full speed ahead" Cheney shows up on the next round of Sunday morning talk shows and says there is "no question there is a connection." Or more recently, "There may or may not be a connection, but there is no information we can share with you about it at this point."

Then you only need to add into this equation the near daily appearances of George W. Bush talking in rosy terms about how well things are going in Iraq and how we are doing so well in the "war on terror." Guess what, Mr. President? The war on "terror" (if you can even have such a "war") is in Afghanistan. You remember Afghanistan, don't you? And that fellow with the long beard hanging out in the mountains over there.... what was his name again? bin something?

Let's all join in together now and loudly have a verbal exercise to wake ourselves up. Say it with me now. "IRAQ HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WAR ON TERROR."

Don't you feel better?

Iraq is, if anything, a distraction from the "war" on terror. How many troops do we have on the ground in Iraq now? Roughly 120,000? Take a look at Afghanistan. It's not even the size of Texas. That mountainous section along the border with Pakistan is smaller than New Jersey. Can you imagine what would have happened if we put 120,000 angry troops into that region right off the bat? If you were trying to hide in there you'd be tripping over our soldiers. Not to mention the thousands of troops from allied countries who were more than willing to go in there and help out. If we had gotten serious about hunting down the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks and used the type of force we have employed in the diversion of Iraq, bin Laden would have long since been dead or captured and the Army Corps of Engineers would likely be busy right now building golf courses and paving the parking lot around the new McDonald's.

In the beginning of 2002 President Bush not only had the support of the international community - he had the support of almost the entire nation for an assault on the terrorists hiding out in Afghanistan. Even the most peace loving among us were saying, "Ok, George. We don't much care for war, but these guys just murdered 3,000 of our citizens. Go get the bastards." Instead, we made a token gesture with an insufficient number of under-funded and ill equipped troops, and now they are holed up in the three major cities while warlords, the Taliban and bin Laden's boys continue to blow up the place. As a consolation prize we get one thousand dead American troops in Iraq.

And what about you, Senator Kerry? I've heard you say that we should be aggressively prosecuting the war in Afghanistan, and that's great. Probably one of your best talking points and you haven't diverted from it very much. But exactly how do you plan to do it? Where will the troops come from, and when? In short, where's the beef, John? Don't give us platitudes if you want our votes. Give us some details.

The Document Plot Thickens

posted by Jazz at 9/10/2004 05:12:00 AM

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I just finished reading a Washington Monthly report with more observations on the flap over the Sixty Minutes documents. I don't think the matter is 100% resolved, nor am I sure it ever will be, but it's not looking good for these documents. The technical debate seems to center on four key issues.

The first issue is probably the most compelling. The vertical alignment of the right margin is nearly perfect on the CBS document. I remember using typewriters in the late 70's. I also just went and dug out a couple of my own military records from 1978. (Several years after the ones in question.) If you take documents from that period and turn them horizontally, the left margin is straight as an arrow. The right margin, however, looks like the EKG of a methamphetamine freak on a three day bender. I suppose it would be possible to intentionally get a nearly perfect right hand margin using such a typewriter, but the process would be maddening. You would need to adjust the wording of the document on the fly, selecting new phrasing as you went to get lines that all wound up being physically the same length. Doing this for a personal memo is a bit beyond anything I can believe.

Next there is the horizontal spacing and the mysterious "th" symbol. It seems that there was one type of IBM typewriter capable of both if it had the appropriate movable print head. However, the machine was huge and extremely expensive. The odds of some backwater reserve office having one seem slim at best.

The last is the signature. I am not claiming to be a forensic handwriting expert in any way, but even a rank amateur can look at the two samples being shown and see something is very different. The signature on the CBS document has been displayed side by side with a known original signature of the author on another military document. They barely resemble each other.

My question now, assuming these documents do turn out to be forgeries, is who did this? What sort of dimwit would it take to even attempt something like this? In this day and age you would have to know that any controversial documents on this subject would be subjected to the most critical forensic analysis possible as soon as they were released. Putting out forgeries is not only going to fail to help the Kerry campaign, it's going to hurt it. Whether or not the Dems had anything to do with this, you know they will be associated with it in the public mind. It's just like the Swiftboat Veterans smear - even if Bush had no inkling of it beforehand (and I doubt he did. It looks like Karl Rove's work to me) the president will still be associated with them and the smear in the eyes of John Q. Public.

I can understand Kerry deciding to go low in the campaign. I really can understand. After the damage from the GOP attack operations he probably thought he didn't have any choice. But if you must get into the mudslinging, couldn't John Kerry at least hire somebody who was good at it?

Edit: Dead Parrot Society is following this issue closely. Of particular interest is their observation of how bloggers moved this story along much faster than it might have progressed in the traditional media.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Back to AP Bashing

posted by Jazz at 9/09/2004 06:21:00 PM

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It looks like PowerLine is back to bashing the AP about the phony "Bush fans booing party" since the rumors of the 60 minutes TANG documents being forged look to be bogus. I'll admit, that was a horrible piece of work by the AP, and I hope the reporter in question gets called on the carpet for it. I refuse to believe any group of Americans of either party, no matter how partisan, were booing someone who was wishing well to the victim of a heart attack.

On the other hand, let's face it - PowerLine was pretty fast to take up on the forged article story. The two signatures they show in the post linked above, plus numerous rebuttals coming out today, are making it look like the documents may still be valid. The jury is still out, in my opinion. I wouldn't put it past anyone to fake them out of desperation, looking at Kerry's poll numbers. But let's face it, folks. You'd have to be fairly dense in the cranium department to try to pass off some badly faked paper documents in a case that will be this closely scrutinized.

It would be really nice if this incident could force both the BC04 and KE04 campaigns to just blow off the ads by both the swifties and the "Texans for Truth" and finally get down to dealing with the issues before the debates start. (Assuming Bush shows up for the debates, of course.)

There are so many valid reasons of the moment to be disgusted with both candidates... why dredge up the past on either?

New Jersey Votes for.... nobody?

posted by Jazz at 9/09/2004 05:35:00 PM

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Remind me to ask Joe about this. Latest poll from New Jersey.

New Jersey: Kerry 43%, Bush 39% (Star-Ledger/Eagleton)

That's a whopping 82%. Does Jersey really have that many undecided voters? Or are they all writing in Christie Todd Whitman? ( I would if I still lived there.)

Wanted: Muzzle for Theresa Heinz Kerry

posted by Jazz at 9/09/2004 11:44:00 AM

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She seems to be at it again. At some point, a member of the KE04 staff is going to have to step up to the plate, risk their job, and just say, "John? I don't know how to tell you this, but you've got to send your wife to Europe until Nov. 3 and tell her to shut the hell up."

Quote from Ms. Heinz Kerry: "only an idiot" would fail to support her husband's health care plan.

Calling the voters (or the congressmen from your opponent's party, for that matter) "idiots" in a public appearance is never going to play well. Her husband is in enough trouble in the polls without this.

Haloscan Down

posted by Jazz at 9/09/2004 07:35:00 AM

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Apparently Haloscan is having issues this morning, so some features are going to be absent.

Edit: No sooner had I posted this than apparently it came back up.
On that note, a few comments about some of the blogging tools I've been checking out. I normally don't care to "blog about blogging" as it strikes me as suspiciously close to intellectual onanism. However, there are a large number of services available and I've already picked up on a few of them that may be of use to other bloggers. (The services and applications listed below are all either free, or provide a free version and an upgraded pay version.)

First, Haloscan. (Even though it's down as I write this, that seems to be very rare.) If you use Blogger/Blogspot for your site, you may have noticed some shortcomings. I have always been rather unhappy with the rather inelegant comments application it employs, and they provide no trackback feature. Personally, I think trackback is one of the handiest features in the blogosphere for bloggers to hook up with each other and readers to quickly find related information. Haloscan has a much crisper, neater comment function and can now enable trackback in a wide variety of blogging formats, including Blogger. It was easy to install, (under five minutes even for a techno-challenged individual like myself) and even easier to use.

Technocrati is a great site. It's a nice community tool allowing interaction between bloggers, search functions, update notification, and contact listings. It's easy and free to set up a profile and track usage.

Blogrolling is a terrific way to list, add to, and manage your listing of blogs that you read and wish to link to. It has some automated features for bloggers to quickly add links to each other if they wish, with a lot of flexibility in how the lists are sorted and displayed. The upgraded pay version allows you to build more lists to use sequentially and more choices in how they are shown.

Sitemeter is a fast, easy, efficient, and free way to track your usage stats.

I'll probably add more later, but those are the key ones I've settled on lately.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Rise of the Shrill Blog

posted by Jazz at 9/08/2004 07:58:00 PM

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Why beat around the Bush? Be Shrill and be proud. (Oh, Lord, that was a horrible pun.)

Enjoy.


Blitzer Covers the Cheney Gaff

posted by Jazz at 9/08/2004 06:30:00 PM

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In the same segment where CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewed Bob Mintz, (which I covered below) he interviewed one of the GOP faithful about Cheney's now infamous remarks of this week. Watching our Republican spokesman in action was at once awe inspiring and sickening - something akin to a slow motion car wreck. First they replayed the tape of Cheney describing how America would be attacked by terrorists if Kerry/Edwards are elected on Nov. 2.

I'll never be able to describe that almost surreal speech as well as James Wolcott, who said,
Cheney reminded me of Ed McMahon. Not the McMahon of the brassy, highflying Tonight Show years (though George Bush's mannerisms are clearly modeled on Johnny Carson's), but the Ed of the Jerry Lewis telethons and Larry King appearances. A slow-molasses Ed, consumed with bitterness against foes real and imagined, getting through each day on nothing but spite and chocolate eclairs stuffed in his mouth by his evil spouse.
(Oh, James, why did you wait so long to start blogging? That was priceless.)

Next, Wolf asked our talking head of the day if Cheney wasn't implying that terrorist attacks would be the direct result of Kerry being elected. The response was amazing. He started off with, "I don't think so, Wolf. What I heard the Vice President saying was..." His intended victim then proceeded to respond with a two minute answer that included none of the words used by Cheney with the possible exceptions of "the" and "Kerry."

One reason that the Democrats lose the War of Spin is that the Republicans are simply that much damned better at it.

When You Lay Down With Dogs...

posted by Jazz at 9/08/2004 05:57:00 PM

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... you get up with fleas. I just finished watching the live CNN interview between Wolf Blitzer and Bob Mintz. Bob is the Alabama Air National Guard pilot (retired) who is now the spokesperson for the newly formed "Texans for Truth." In a move which is a mirror image of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth smear campaign against John Kerry, Bob is starring in a commercial where he states that he never saw Lt. George W. Bush at the Alabama air base during the time Bush was supposedly serving there. Whether you choose to think that Kerry/Edwards or the Democrats were involved, attempting this type of attack on Bush was a badly executed plan and is going to make them look bad themselves.

All I can tell you is that they really picked the wrong person to speak for them. Bob came out and delivered his first line admirably. He's a large, distinguished looking man with a deep, resonant, almost booming voice and an air of authority. He delivered the line with great confidence, stating that he had indeed been there and had never seen Bush. Then Wolf started asking follow-up questions. Bob handled the first one fairly well also. Wolf asked if it wasn't possible that perhaps Bush had been there, but the two of them simply never ran into each other. Bob responded that he didn't think so because it was an extremely small unit, with only twenty to thirty pilots and he saw most everyone. He further pointed out that he had actively sought out Lt. Bush because he had heard that another bachelor from Texas who was the son of an influential family was going to be serving there, and he wanted to meet him to "pal around together." Fair enough.

Then Wolf, doing his job, pressed on with more questions. He pointed out the one person from the Bush campaign who has been saying that he did see Lt. Bush there. Blitzer also pointed out the incident from Bush's medical records where he'd visited a dentist there, and asked if that might not mean that Bush really had been there and Bob had just missed meeting him.

Mintz totally dropped the ball. He began stuttering, stumbling over his words, and fell back on trying to repeat the exact same opening line about how he had served and not seen him. Unfortunately this time it looked far less natural, and much more like a well rehearsed talking point that was failing him under the rapid fire of Wolf's interrogation. He ended the interview very badly, as I saw it.

Am I saying that Bob Mintz is lying? Not at all. He's very likely telling the truth. In my opinion, he's just the poor guy who got caught up in this and was asked to come out and make this pitch, and he's far from being media savvy enough to pull it off gracefully. Texans for Truth was funded by Moveon.Org to the tune of 500 million dollars when they formed, and they didn't pick a very good spokesperson for the media tour.

In the end, however, it's unlikely that it will matter. The broad swath of people that the DNC is trying to reach with this tactic are not the types who will be closely watching Wolf Blitzer interviews and analyzing the responses. They are the people who will be watching Survivor on Thursday night in the battleground states and see this ad come on before they get up to grab a beer. And the ad looks good. It's short, it's crisp, and it features a distinguished looking veteran questioning if Bush ever showed up for duty. It will probably do exactly the job it needs to do, which is the same job Bush needed done during those ridiculous Swiftboat ads.

And given how badly Kerry is running this show thus far, he probably needs a smear tactic counterpunch like this just to get back in the running. It's all very sad, though. The level of debate in this election, in terms of real issues and concerns to Americans, is seriously below the static noise level now.

A Hard Rain Falls in Crawford

posted by Jazz at 9/08/2004 01:45:00 PM

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Today's wapo White House Briefing report by Dan Froomkin is worth a read. Froomkin points out how Bush has had a series of very easy weeks in the media,

"The news has been kind to the White House for a few weeks, with media attention largely focused on the Republican convention and the attacks on John Kerry's war record.But today is looking pretty tough."

The report then goes on to provide gory details on a series of news items that seem to be raining down on the Bush/Cheney campaign like a biblical plague. Highlights include:
- Iraq death toll passes 1,000
- $422B budget deficit, trillions to come
- Cheney's "votes for Kerry will bring terrorism" gaff
- Renewed interest in Bush's National Guard record (or lack thereof)
- Bob Graham charging a coverup by Bush of a Saudi - 9/11 connection
- Kitty Kelley's new book coming out
- Tonight's 60 Minutes piece on Bush and the Guard
- Bush possibly bailing out on one of the only three debates scheduled.

If I were slightly more of a humanist, I'd almost feel sorry for W. about now.


Log Cabin Republicans Step Up

posted by Jazz at 9/08/2004 01:08:00 PM

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I had been seriously worried that we would have to wait until 2008 before any serious, moderate Republicans would show signs of life and stand up to the ultraconservatives who have highjacked the GOP platform and agenda. Today, however, the Log Cabin Republicans rejected the homophobic, bigoted aspects of this year's GOP platform and denied their endorsement to George W. Bush. (Tipping my hat to Taegan Goddard.) I wonder if it is too much to hope that Republicans for Choice might take that signal and do the same? How about the Republican Youth Majority?

It's not too late, even this close to the election. This is a tight race, and while the conservatives have acted like they own the entire party, the threat of losing this election (or better yet, the actual loss of the White House for four years) is exactly the kind of slap in the face that is needed. Party leaders love talking about the "big tent" the Republicans want. This exposes how much that statement is simply empty campaign rhetoric in today's party .

Well done to the members of the LCR. I hope more moderates will follow your lead.


Saddam's Lost Limericks

posted by Jazz at 9/08/2004 10:38:00 AM

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Oh dear. This can't be healthy. Some samples.

A swain who worked near the Euphrates
Had quite a smooth way with the ladies:
When he tried for a kiss,
He would not ever miss,
So I had him lowered into an acid bath until his screams woke the dead.

A Samarra cleric persisted
In the praising of persons blacklisted.
I was left little choice
But to limit his voice
By feeding his extracted tongue to birds of carrion.

Saddam may have been rather challenged in the rhyming department, but he got extra points for getting his message across clearly.

Yikes.


PowerLine Boggles the Mind

posted by Jazz at 9/08/2004 09:02:00 AM

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For a humpday surprise, PowerLine brings us not only an attack on France, (because you know how dangerous it would be to establish any sort of positive relations with our former allies prior to the election) but also a definitive explanation about Bush's National Guard Service.

France was certainly one of a number of countries doing a lot of business with Iraq prior to and possibly even after the launch of the invasion. However, it's not as politically fashionable for the conservatives to attack England, Russia or Turkey. So they opt to pick on France. Besides, you know how those French are, right? And doesn't John Kerry look a little bit French? Be honest. Of course, there were even some companies not based in Europe who used to love doing business with those wacky Iraqis. Possibly even here in the United States. One big one comes to mind, but I just can't seem to recall the name. Oh, well. Maybe we can ask Dick Cheney.

As to Bush's National Guard service, we can all move on to other things now. (I thought the Democrats had the copyright on "let's move on" but maybe not.) In any event, recent reviews of source documentation and interviews with people in Bush's Guard unit during the time in question were not even needed! Who knew? As PowerLine points out,
[Q]uotes a Guard personnel officer who reviewed records at the request of the White House as stating that Bush in fact fulfilled his commitment during his last year of service.
Well, there you have it! Concerned about satisfying any questions the public may have, Bush himself took the time and trouble of sending somebody down to review his Guard records, and it turns out everything was just fine. Honestly, I don't know why all you people are so suspicious all the time. Sheesh.


More Bush Guard Service Details

posted by Jazz at 9/08/2004 07:15:00 AM

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Posted here in Adobe .pdf format is a 32 page analysis of all of George W. Bush's National Guard records. It was compiled by 40 year veteran Gerald Lechliter. There are many military acronyms which muddy up the entire document. (Trust me. I was in the military. There is absolutely nothing they won't come up with an acronym for, even if it runs into fifty letters.) However, if you can wade through those, the number of glaring errors in Bush's service records are simply staggering. Portions of it even seem to be outright fraudulent. Math errors regarding how many "points" for service were awarded appear in nearly every review period. (You needed a certain number of "points" to be rated satisfactory for your service.)

This comes just before tonight's Sixty Minutes Two release of new information from people who served in the Alabama Guard unit where Bush allegedly finished out his required service. Stay tuned. This could get interesting.

Is it a valid question to ask, and is it pertinent to whether or not Bush should be elected? Normally I would say no. However, given the slime attacks by Bush/Cheney on Kerry's service record, the President leaves himself open to such questions.

Singing in the Rain

posted by Jazz at 9/08/2004 06:42:00 AM

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As the remnants of Frances move up the East coast to drench us all, start off your Wed. with a happy song. George W. Bush and John Kerry join up for a duet of "This Land."

(Note: .swf file requires Flash and you'll want your speakers on for this.)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Who is more paranoid?

posted by Jazz at 9/07/2004 01:57:00 PM

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Is it Hindrocket at PowerLine or George W. Bush himself? Either way, somebody is apparently gotten so deranged that they are accusing the CIA (of all the groups to pick) of being "too liberal" and using their influence to attack the Bush administration.

Did Bill Clinton Know This? (snicker)

posted by Jazz at 9/07/2004 01:36:00 PM

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Hmmm. According to Mr. Left, the doctor who operated on Bill Clinton is a heavy donor to the Bush campaign. (No, I'm not starting a conspiracy theory site today. It's just rather amusing.)

Edit: More amusing confluence of God and the GOP. Does it truly stand for "God's Own Party" now?

Soldier 1,000: Counterpunching on the Campaign Trail

posted by Jazz at 9/07/2004 11:17:00 AM

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As I pointed out below, drawing a comparison between the presidential race and a heavyweight prizefight, the Kerry campaign is on the ropes after August. Various polls I've read this week are giving Bush anything from a double digit lead among likely voters down to a statistical dead heat, well within the margin for error. But no matter which one you read, the trend is clear - the combination of the Swift Boat attack ads and the convention bounce, with virtually no response from the Kerry camp, have moved the numbers in Bush's favor. And the move is fairly dramatic. This leaves Kerry the Boxer as a stunned fighter, swaying on his feet, behind on the scorecard and bleeding. Add to that the fear that Bush still has an "October Surprise" up his sleeve for a knockout blow, and things begin to look grim for Too Tall John.

But perhaps there is something that will deliver a heavyweight counterpunch to Bush's jaw. Unfortunately, it is one of the grimmest things imaginable, and not something that Kerry can crow over. We seem, sadly, to be about to lose soldier number one thousand in the invasion of Iraq. No less than 13 troops were killed there this week, and that brought us to 999.

Why should this matter? Taken from any humanistic point of view, it really shouldn't. There should be no way that we can place more or less value on the life of the first person killed, the one hundredth, the one thousandth, or any other number. Each one represents the life of a brave soldier cut short, and each life is equally precious. However, the public (and more to the point, the media) have a fixation with big round numbers. For some time now, media coverage of American deaths in Iraq have faded to page two or page three news. But this is the kind of number that will get back on the front page for a while and start up the chatter around the water coolers.

This will likely have little effect on the already converted. The hard core conservatives will continue to avow, against all logic, that the war in Iraq is somehow associated with the attacks of 9/11 and that, while tragic, these deaths are the price we pay for freedom and security. The die hard liberals will continue to wave around reports from former Bush aides, insisting that he was planning the bombing of Baghdad even before his address changed from Crawford to Washington, and that the first death was one too many.

But those few left in the middle, scratching their heads over all this madness, will probably begin to question anew the reasons for this war and the cost we are paying. One thousand young American men and women coming home in flag draped coffins. And for what? Iraq continues to remain a quagmire where we are unwanted, unappreciated, and the government continues to slip towards becoming an Islamic theocracy the moment we leave the country.

It's a horrible point to use as a counterpunch, but Kerry desperately needs something. And after the brutal low blows that Bush and his cronies have been landing, you could hardly blame him.

Polls Everywhere

posted by Jazz at 9/07/2004 09:56:00 AM

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This just in from the New York Times:

"50 percent of the electorate think that polls are misleading, inaccurate and inconclusive. The other 50 percent agree 30 percent of the time with 40 percent of the results."

Well, I'm glad that's finally cleared up.

The Curse of Cheney

posted by Jazz at 9/07/2004 05:43:00 AM

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I'm not one for superstition, but this item from Ken Layne certainly makes you think.

Should George W. Bush win this election, it will give him the distinction of being the first occupant of the White House to have survived naming Dick Cheney to a post in his administration. The Cheney jinx first manifested itself at the presidential level back in 1969, when Richard Nixon appointed him to his first job in the executive branch. It surfaced again in 1975, when Gerald Ford made Cheney his chief of staff and then -- with Cheney's help -- lost the 1976 election. George H.W. Bush, having named Cheney secretary of defense, was defeated for re-election in 1992. The ever-canny Ronald Reagan was the only Republican president since Eisenhower who managed to serve two full terms. He is also the only one not to have appointed Dick Cheney to office.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Kick the Liberals.

posted by Jazz at 9/06/2004 09:15:00 AM

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A new entry to the G.O.R.E. hall of fame comes to us from the recently ended RNC. Here we find a young Republican who thought it might be a good idea to kick a female protester while security guards were holding her down on the floor. (I was tipped off to this by TalkLeft.) Oh, yes. That's exactly the kind of image we want to put on display for ABC cameras. A big thanks to this young man for literally portraying the GOP as the hob nailed boot of the Nazis.

Moderate Republicans Rejoice! And Thank You Ken Layne.

posted by Jazz at 9/06/2004 07:39:00 AM

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While browsing James Wolcott's recent posts, I found my way to the blog of another moderate. His name is Ken Layne, and he has a link on his site (which I am, in turn, highjacking myself) to another organization assisting in these efforts. Please check out Come Back to the Mainstream. Thank you, Ken, for pointing me to this.

Wolcott Does it Again

posted by Jazz at 9/06/2004 07:19:00 AM

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In a recent post, the new shining star of the Blogosphere has added to our lexicon. I shall hereafter refer to Ann Coulter as "the Toxic Toothpick." For the record, I despised Coulter long before Al Franken's book, and long before it became "cool" for Republicans to diss her.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Boxers: Kerry and Bush

posted by Jazz at 9/05/2004 05:48:00 PM

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In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminder of every glove that laid him down or cut him 'Til he cried out in his anger and his shame
I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains
- - "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkle
A recent conversation with a friend reminded me of how many of Kerry's supporters keep chanting that Kerry is "a strong finisher" and "a great closer." They are fond of comparing this election to some kind of marathon, and telling the nervous Democrats to stop worrying. Kerry will come out with a big finish and take this race home. Of course, it's tempting to compare the election with a race, since that is how we so often refer to it.

However, that's really not a very good analogy. The election is much more like a heavyweight prize fight. The two campaigns keep coming out, round after round, and delivering their jabs - trying to score points with the judges and wearing their opponent down. They can make attacks on their opponent's record, their personality, their history, and wait to see how the other guy counterpunches.

So far, Bush is really racking up the rounds. Bush's Swiftboat Veterans for Whatever come out and attack Kerry's war record. He barely fights back. He's called a flip-flopper every five minutes, based on cherrypicking of congressional record moments, and we hear next to nothing coming back from the Kerry camp. The list goes on.

Each one of these blows weakens the opponent a little bit more. Each round lost tallies up more points for the other fighter. Bush is getting ahead on the card. And unlike the analogy of two racers, one of whom is saving energy for a final burst of speed, Kerry is a boxer who is sore, tiring fast, and already has the cut man in his corner looking at a gash over his eye. If you get too far behind on the scorecared, nothing will save you except a knockout near the end of the fight, made harder by how tired you have become.

What can Kerry come up with for a knockout? People are already wondering if Bush doesn't have a knockout of his own in the form of an October Surprise. Anything from pulling Osama out of a big black bag (which is already a hot rumor) to a sudden jump in economic numbers could work for Bush as a late inning knockout blow. What could Kerry come up with in comparison? He's not the seated president, so he doesn't get to take credit (or blame, to be fair) for any big ticket news items. Unless he can suddenly produce photos of George W. shooting heroin in the Oval Office, he can't do much to surprise us.

The Kerry campaign has fumbled at almost every opportunity. It's getting into the late rounds of the fight, and he'd better start some serious movement in this campaign or he's going to be on the mat while the ref counts him out.

Fingers Crossed

posted by Jazz at 9/05/2004 11:49:00 AM

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Frances is crossing Florida, still packing hurricane force winds. My sister-in-law Michelle and her husband Scott live in Melbourne. That's right where the eye of the storm came ashore. For safety purposes, they moved inland to Brovard University where she works, to stay in her office for a few days. They turned the University into a shelter for thousands of people. And what happens now? Sure enough, Frances is tracking to head straight over the college. It's almost like the storm is chasing them. If you have a moment to spare, say a quick prayer for them.