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

Saturday, September 18, 2004

When I'm Wrong, I'm Wrong

posted by Jazz at 9/18/2004 07:27:00 PM

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In a previous post about Republican rally supporters attacking a female Democrat protester and pulling her hair, I took Michelle Malkin to task. I reported that the hair pulling incident happened at the Republican National Convention in New York City.

Here is the picture in question.




It turns out that this Democratic protester's hair was actually pulled at a GOP rally at Colmar, PA on Sept. 9, 2004.

I apologize for reporting the location of this incident in error. I'm sure this is nothing compared to the horror of having your cardboard Bush/Cheney sign torn up, but still...

If Ms. Malkin would like a dozen roses in compensation, such as she offered to Attaturk, I will be happy to send them along providing an address is supplied.

We aim for accuracy here in the pajama brigade.

Bush's Brain Also Avoids Draft

posted by Jazz at 9/18/2004 06:45:00 PM

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Chickenhawk and Bush's Brain Karl Rove apparently joins the ranks of those eager to send other young men and women to war as long as it's not his own life on the line. Once again Taegan Goddard leads the way with this story. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Karl Rove had every opportunity to go to battle for his country, but after being classified as fully qualified, took the same deferments as Dick Cheney and sat it out.

1,000 young American men and women dead in Iraq so far, Karl. How's that sitting with you now?

I imagine he doesn't lose any sleep.

"Rove got one [a deferment] anyway. Rove graduated from high school in the spring of 1969 and in June was reclassified 1-A, available to be drafted. Rove enrolled that fall in the University of Utah. In December the Selective Service System held its first lottery drawing in which numbers were assigned to potential draftees based on their birth dates. The lower the number, the more likely it was the young man would be drafted. Rove received number 84, or within the top one-fourth of the 365 numbers. It would turn out that the highest lottery number drafted from this group was 195, according the Selective Service, putting Rove's number deep within those that could be drafted. On Jan. 19, 1970, less than two months after the lottery, Rove underwent a required Armed Forces Physical Examination and was found to be fit for military service. About a month later, on Feb. 17, 1970, Rove was again reclassified, this time as 2-S, a deferment from the draft because of his enrollment at the University of Utah."

Has Dan Rather Gone Senile?

posted by Jazz at 9/18/2004 10:30:00 AM

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I do not in any way agree with the conspiracy theory that Dan Rather and CBS intentionally forged documents or supplied documents which they knew were forged in an effort to bring down the President. However, I can still appreciate good humor from anyone, even the rabid, frothing Ace of Spades who has been accusing Rather of everything from Fraud to bringing down the Roman Empire. Today he has a list of the "Top Ten Signs that Dan Rather Has Gone Senile."

9. Keeps insisting his "maid is stealing from" him, which is doubly embarassing, because 1) she's not stealing from him and 2) she's not his maid, she's Big Brother hostess Julie Chen

6. Has begun screaming "Get out of my yard!" to squirrels; also occasionally yells this at trees

Read the whole list. It's quite amusing.

What Happened to Halliburton?

posted by Jazz at 9/18/2004 09:21:00 AM

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With the shockingly clear abuse that seems to be happening in the midst of the dirty little hand holding between the White House and Halliburton, I'd been wondering what has happened to this story line and why the media seems to have dropped it. Mr. Left has picked up the ball where CNN and their ilk dropped it.

"It was a little upsetting to me that a scandal as obvious, expensive, far reaching, and easy for the public to grasp as Halliburton had 'lost its legs.' So let me offer you newscats a milk saucer's worth of free advice: don't let this story die, it's a winner for the Dems-- if it's played right."

Read the whole thing.


What Color is the Sky in Bushworld?

posted by Jazz at 9/18/2004 09:04:00 AM

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I realize that I just posted about this recently, but this unflagging optimism on the part of the president regarding Iraq has passed the point of being surreal and moved completely into Bizzaroland. The numbers continue to climb, (and we're not talking about cumulative roses strewn in the streets to welcome the liberators here) and Bush still flogs his droves of carefully screened rally supporters with how well things are going.

Middle Earth Journal brings us up to date on the latest in forced denial at the West Wing. (Also, welcome M.E.J. to my blogroll, where it should have been some time previously. Give them a look.)

Congratulations. You've Been Gerrymandered

posted by Jazz at 9/18/2004 07:16:00 AM

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Or have you?

Taegan Goddard provides us with this look at a recent article in the Economist, titled "Pyongyang on the Potomac." (Ed. Note: This article is not part of Economist's free content. If you want to read the whole thing you'll either have to subscribe online, $19.95 per month, or buy the individual article for $2.95.) The crux of this article is the complete lack of contested races in the House of Representatives, as contrasted with the very competitive Senate races across the country.

"In 2002, four out of five of them [House races] were won by more than 20 points. The average margin was a stunning two to one, meaning some of them had even bigger margins. Last time, 200 races had margins of 40 points or more and 80 were uncontested. So far this year, the uncontested figure was at 68."

So the House is currently split 228 to 206 in favor of the GOP. Each and every House seat is up for election every two years, and yet only 30 of those races are considered "contested" at this time. The rest are districts where the parties don't feel inclined to put out very much effort, as they are taken for granted as going to one party or the other.

On the surface this might appear as a great looming injustice. But is it really? A closer look at the demographics and the districting process seem to indicate this is a natural and predictable result.

First of all, the process is constructed in such a way that "to the victor go the spoils." As populations expand and contract in the various states, districts have to be redrawn periodically. The party in control of the state's government is the one who ends up being able to pick the lines of demarcation. Could we reasonably expect them to intentionally draw lines that would hurt their own party? Granted, sometimes this can be taken to extremes as exemplified by the recent gerrymandering of Texas, but it's generally more subtle.

What can be done about that? Nothing much, really. It would be wonderful if the courts could issue some "fair" method of redistricting. But the fact is, states are not drawn into perfect squares. (Not even those square looking ones in the Southwest.) And even if they were, population is not distributed homogeneously. People are clumped up in large urban centers and spread out thinly across rural areas. Simply drawing big box grids on a state map will never get you an even number of people to represent. Hence the necessity of oddly shaped, tortured district lines which leave open the door to favoring one party or the other.

But even beyond the legalities of it, communities tend to "evolve" along political lines as well. Like minded people tend to group together, different ethnic groups (who will often vote along similar lines as we have seen) will congregate. This grouping adds to and amplifies the "clumping" we see in the demographics of each region. There will always be exceptions, but this will tend to make certain areas lean one way or the other, sometimes very strongly.

Environmental factors come into play as well. What the predominant industries or occupations are in any given area will determine what sort of political policies will benefit that area the most. This in turn will lead to a majority of citizens in these areas voting for the party that courts voters of that type. People living in a large, mainly agricultural farming district will all have the same types of problems and issues and will go for the party that supports their needs. A high cost of living, urban district with a wealthy, upper class population will likewise have similar interests and so on.

House races may be largely taken for granted, but in light of this I would say it's hardly surprising. What we are seeing isn't so much corruption or some nefarious scheme as it is the natural evolution of a group political mindset in each district.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Friday Cat Blog

posted by Jazz at 9/17/2004 05:03:00 PM

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I was only today informed by the Blogosphere police that I'm required to post pet photos on Fridays or my blogging license will be revoked and John Ashcroft will take me in as a "person of interest."

This is Pepe', our long haired cat. Any open box is an invitation for him.



The Phil Parlock Saga Continues

posted by Jazz at 9/17/2004 03:29:00 PM

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Update: In this post, Ms. Malkin updates her story stating the following:

"And let me state for the record: If the union or I or anyone else finds out that this was staged, I will be the loudest to condemn Parlock and will send an apology and a dozen roses to Attaturk at Rising Hegemon."


More information coming in on the Phil Parlock story. Also seen here on Rising Hegemon and on Atrios. Of course we can't forget my new favorite Fox "fair and balanced" blogger, Michelle Malkin who is now apparently best buddies with Phil.

First of all, the Union in question has apparently issued an apology. At this point I'd say it's very likely that the person taking the sign was not only not a member of the Parlock family, (that would be too easy to establish) but might not have known him at all.

However, the fact still remains that this is the third election in a row where this has happened to Phil.

Also, the photographer who snapped the photo is allegedly an associate of Phil's. (I have no link yet to verification of this, except a post in a discussion board which can't be verified.) In any event, assuming Phil just innocently shows up at a Kerry rally with a Bush/Cheney sign and somebody took it away from him, what were that odds that somebody was going to be right there with a digital camera, get the picture on the internet almost immediately, and make it look like a Democratic attack poodle squadron?

Plus, it seems that Phil is confirmed to be an archconservative Republican candidate for local office who has lost four times running. He needs some PR.

Add it all up, and it looks staged to me. The odd part is, if the "union worker" who took the sign had been Phil's son, I'd have felt a bit better about it. It would have been a controlled environment to have his three year old daughter in. If that was just an angry, liberal Kerry supporter, what if it had gotten more inflamed? What if shoving had come into play? Then his daughter may have been knocked to the ground. Involving her in a stunt like that was horribly irresponsible.

But apparently Ms. Malkin is going to stick with her story that Phil is the innocent victim of rabid left wing radicals here. As they say, "developing."



Finally, Solid Polling Numbers

posted by Jazz at 9/17/2004 11:42:00 AM

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Seventeen new polls were released today, all by well respected, non-partisan international polling agencies. The news is good no matter who you are.

Slogby & Rhymes shows that the initial Bush Bounce expanded, contracted and then almost exploded, and that Bush is now up by 27% over Kerry among likely, registered voters named Fred who live in the three southernmost wards of Columbus, Ohio.

But don't you liberals get depressed yet! Analysis by Archer, Skrewem, S'more & Doncha clearly shows that Kerry has taken a commanding 38% lead over Bush among people who own rabbits in states who's names start with a letter lower than "L."

Another poll conducted among all registered voters at Phil Parlock's house in West Virginia reveals that absolutely nobody is going to vote for Kerry. That's right. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

And lastly, a poll of all bloggers who run websites with the phrase "runscared" in their titles indicates that Bush will not only lose the election, but will be eviscerated and his entrails fed to a new species of carnivorous donkeys wearing convention hats. The donkeys will then steal Bush Cheney 04 signs from a number of kindergarten children and eat them as well.

Those Evil Democratic Supporters

posted by Jazz at 9/17/2004 10:28:00 AM

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Today, Power Line brings us the heart rending story of an innocent young three year old girl, most likely traumatized for life, and her helpless, peace loving father. The crux of this story is that the man and his very young daughter were showing up at a Democratic rally for John Kerry and displaying Bush Cheney 04 signs. A supposed union worker and supporter of Kerry takes the small cardboard sign away from the little girl, tearing it to pieces and throwing it back at them. This, of course, offends the political sensibilities of the three year old and she begins to cry. Here's a photo of the tragedy as it unfolds.



Tearing up a cardboard sign? I did a quick check on the back posts in Power Line. I was looking for their coverage of the young Republican gentleman who kicked a female Democratic protester at the RNC while three secret service agents held her down. Or maybe their coverage of the woman in New Jersey yesterday who tried to ask Laura Bush questions about her son who died in Iraq this year, but was jeered and shouted down by the Bush supporters. Or possibly that other lovely photo from the RNC where an older Bush supporter is dragging another female Democrat backwards by her hair. (Too lazy and tired to go look up the link on that one.) Oddly enough, no mention of any of these by Power Line. How odd.

But wait... there's more. (If you could see me at my keyboard at this moment, I'm grinning evilly. You'll just have to trust me on this.) Full credit to Atrios for this one.

It turns out that the father of the little girl in the story above, Phil Parlock, is no stranger to being oppressed by the evil Democrats. In fact, it seems to happen to him every election year and he gets in the paper every single time. People must travel across the country just to tear up his signs. What a streak of bad luck! You can only pray for somebody with such a history of the forces of darkness ganging up on him.

Charleston, W.V. 8/27/96 The Huntington man said he was knocked to the ground by a Clinton supporter when he tried to display a sign that read "Remember Vince Foster,"
Charleston, W.V. 10/28/2000 But each time they [Parlock and family] raised a sign, someone would grab it out of their hands, the two Huntington residents said. And sometimes it got physical. "I expected some people to take our signs," said Louis, 12. "But I did not expect people to practically attack us."

And then, to top things off, here's a picture of his very numerous family. Notice anything familiar? Go back and take a look at the evil union advocate in the first picture. The one who obviously enjoys tormenting three year olds by tearing up their political signs.



He doesn't happen to look suspiciously like either of the two boys in the lower right portion of this family photo, does he? Only maybe 4 years older?

Let's face it... this election is bringing out the worst in everyone. This includes a general loss of manners and sometimes even physical violence. It's wrong, and it should be condemned. But let's not act like one side has clean hands in this. Our GOP supporters have been up to more than their fair share of nasty tricks, and Power Line is digging pretty deep to come up with somebody attacking a Republican supporter.

Updates: Rising Hegemon has more on this.

Also: Someone named Michelle Malkin, apparently a token right winger and contributor to Rupert M's Fox News (in case you want to know how "unbiased" she is) has "proven" that this story was not a setup by....

wait for it...

yep. Calling Mr. Parlock. And he said it's not true. So there you go. Glad that's all cleared up.

No comment yet from the admittedly lovely Ms. Malkin about how Mr. Parlock manages to get "attacked" like this and get himself in the paper as a victim of horrible, evil Democrats every election cycle.

Further, much like Power Line, no comment from Ms. Malkin about the Republicans kicking the young woman at the RNC, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

The Sixth Borough

posted by Jazz at 9/17/2004 09:25:00 AM

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Today the New York Times, taking a break from all of the bleak political news and bedlam overseas, has published a work of short fiction by Jonathan Safran Foer. The title is, "The Sixth Borough" and it is one of the more compelling things that I've read in a very long time. It is a short piece (three web pages in length, to put it in crude modern technospeak) but delivers a full story that is ripe with symbolism. I won't try to interpret the author's intent for you, as I generally wind up getting it wrong, and it would spoil your fun anyway.

Even if you are not an online subscriber to the Times (it's free and only takes a minute) this one piece is all the justification you need to finally sign up. The story, on the surface, is a tale of an island that used to sit adjacent to Manhattan, and was the original location of Central Park. But then one day it began to float away.

I'll leave you with a short excerpt.

"The Sixth Borough was an island, separated from Manhattan by a thin body of water, whose narrowest crossing happened to equal the world's long jump record, such that exactly one person on earth could go from Manhattan to the Sixth Borough without getting wet. A huge party was made of the yearly leap. Bagels were strung from island to island on special spaghetti, samosas were bowled at baguettes, Greek salads were thrown like confetti. The children of New York captured fireflies in glass jars, which they floated between the boroughs. The bugs would slowly asphyxiate, flickering rapidly for their last few minutes of life. If it was timed right, the river shimmered as the jumper crossed it."

Ewwwww

posted by Jazz at 9/17/2004 07:34:00 AM

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Something else you can't do in California. (Warning: This link contains information about necrophilia. If you don't know what that means but you have a weak stomach, don't look it up. Just move on. )

[Source: Weblar ]

"Damn that Schwarzenegger!

Imposing his conservative morals on free citizens -- how dare he!"



Perhpas He Really Doesn't Read the News

posted by Jazz at 9/17/2004 06:58:00 AM

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According to the AP this morning, George W. Bush is still "upbeat and optimistic" about the situation in Iraq, proclaiming that "Freedom is on the march." It may well be, but apparently freedom is also pretty damned angry and well armed.

Other things that Bush may not be reading include reports from his own intelligence sources, who's outlook for Iraq's future runs the gamut from "tenuous stability" to "civil war." If this is news to be upbeat and optimistic about, I don't want to be around when it starts to look gloomy. Not that John Kerry has provided any substantive vision about this, but I have to keep asking this question. How are we going to disengage from Iraq and get down to the serious business of finding and eliminating the people who took down the World Trade Center towers? I don't think there is anyone left with the ability to read who thinks those people are in Iraq. Andrew Sullivan has his usual, unique perspective on it.



Thursday, September 16, 2004

Cheney on Iraq from 1991

posted by Jazz at 9/16/2004 01:51:00 PM

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This is far too good. One from the archives. From a speech about Iraq given by Dick Cheney in 1991. Here's a nice passage:

"I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we were going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we'd have had to hunt him down. And once we'd done that and we'd gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we'd have had to put another government in its place.

What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi'i government or a Kurdish government or Ba'athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable?

I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it's my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq."

[Bold emphasis added is mine.] Kind of surreal, isn't it? Read the rest.

Big thanks to alert reader Carl. P who e-mailed that in.


Good luck to our Southern Friends

posted by Jazz at 9/16/2004 11:41:00 AM

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Update: According to the AP, Bush has already done his job and signed emergency relief funds allocation for areas affected by hurricane Ivan. He did so aboard Air Force One. Good job. However, the report then goes on to say,

[Bush] is considering a visit to the region, his spokesman said. He said no decision had been made about whether Bush would make a visit to the region but, "We're looking into that right now. I do expect there to be some changes to the president's schedule."

Let's hope that he chooses to stay away this time, let disaster relief officials and workers do their jobs, and not tie up traffic and hold up relief supplies like he did for the last hurricane.


Wolcott Flip Flops on Hurricanes

posted by Jazz at 9/16/2004 10:18:00 AM

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(Yes, that title is tongue in cheek.) After raising the ire of Dave Barry and his legion of fans while Dave braced and girded for multiple hurricanes, it seems that James Wolcott has seen the light. This isn't exactly a retraction, but it might make Dave feel better.

"Meanwhile, a tropical storm has formed named Jeanne which threatens the Caribbean islands. Though my mother's name is Jeanne, I have no sentimental attachment to this latest tempest; indeed, when I think of the path of destruction my mother was capable of in her prime, dumping heavy rain along a wide perimeter and damaging the roof of the VFW hall, I fear what could happen should Jeanne reach hurricane status.

Besides, we've already had enough hurricanes this season. They're becoming de trop."



Your Quote for the Day

posted by Jazz at 9/16/2004 08:08:00 AM

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"The administration has been so dazzling in misleading the public with audacious, mendacious malarkey that the Democrats fear the Bushies are capable of any level of deceit."

- Maureen Dowd

Bush Pulls an O.J. Simpson

posted by Jazz at 9/16/2004 07:32:00 AM

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If you weren't in a coma throughout the early nineties you probably, like me, have horrible memories of the O.J. Simpson trial burned permanently into your cerebral cortex. That sad story has been brought to mind again by the recent debacle of "memogate."

Did the Los Angeles Police Department frame O.J. Simpson? Of course they did. The problem was, they framed a guilty man. Not positive that their case was strong enough to guarantee a conviction, the good ole' boys at the LAPD decided to hedge their bet a little and they were caught. The result was immediate and dramatic. Regardless of the fact that he had clearly killed two people in cold blood, the focus shifted away from O.J. Simpson. The police and the evidence were suddenly on trial, and they were found guilty. O.J. was free to head on out to the golf course.

Isn't this exactly what we are seeing today on the issue of Bush and his Vietnam years? Did George W. Bush take advantage of politically powerful and influential family friends to get a cushy and highly contested spot on the Texas Air National Guard, and then take his responsibilities there somewhat "less than seriously?" Of course he did. I lived through that era and that sort of thing happened all the time in every state. But in the greatest stroke of luck ever, CBS brought up the now infamous documents which have lit the blogosphere on fire. The focus immediately shifted from Bush's youthful priviliged escapades to the question of who forged the memos and whether CBS was complicit in some sort of fraud.

In short, the media took careful aim for a crippling attack on the president and somehow managed to hit Dan Rather square between the eyes. This leaves good ole' George free to skate off with four more years in the White House. If history is any indication, he will spend 40% of that time vacationing at his ranch down in Crawford.

Perhaps he can have O.J. over to play some golf.

Fear Not. Kerry Has "House Mold" Problem Under Control

posted by Jazz at 9/16/2004 07:16:00 AM

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Simply staggering. The polls have Kerry currently looking like a boxer who is up against the ropes and being pummeled mercilessly with blood streaming into his eyes. So at a critical juncture in a campaign of this magnitude and importance, Kerry takes on... house mold. Yes, you read that correctly and it wasn't a typo. During the candidate's last stop in North Carolina for a speaking engagement, he trotted out his wife's favorite subject: the creation of a national "Department of Wellness." We don't get a lot of specifics as to what this new cabinet level entity would be responsible for above and beyond the existing Department of Health and Human Services, but one thing we know for sure: it would be taking on the health problems resulting from house mold.

Don't get me wrong - I'm no fan of house mold. It just seems that there is so much more fertile ground that he could be covering to try to drag himself back into this race. I understand he doesn't want to talk about Iraq any more, since he has really painted himself into a corner. Couldn't he go back to taking on the tanking economy? The millions of lost jobs? The erosion of civil rights and privacy? The dangers that the Bush presidency poses to women and their right to choice concerning their own bodies? And more importantly, rather than just criticizing Bush, he could tell us specifically what he will do to address these issues.

I don't even know if the debates can save him now, unless Bush's skin splits open and an alien emerges eating a baby.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

New York's 24th District Update. Boehlert Win!

posted by Jazz at 9/15/2004 06:18:00 PM

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The battle is not over, however. Moderate GOP Congressman Sherwood Boehlert has defeated the ultraconservative, shrill David Walrath by an even larger margin than in 2002. However, in a show of complete disregard for the party and selfish ambitions, Walrath will once again continue to run in the general election on the Conservative Party ticket. This does nothing but siphon away votes and give a better chance to the extremely liberal Jeffrey Miller. Please send a message to Dave Walrath letting him know that his ultraconservative views have been rejected by the Republicans of his district, and his continuing to run does nothing but help a candidate who is the exact opposite of all he claims to stand for. This is a selfish move on the part of Walrath, and serves to hurt the party he claims to be a part of.

We don't have enough moderate Republicans in congress as it is. Let's help out Sher Boehlert and keep expanding the moderate voice in congress so we can take back the party platform currently held hostage by the conservatives.

New Moderate Republican Linkage

posted by Jazz at 9/15/2004 03:59:00 PM

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Please welcome a number of new, permanent links to the left hand column which direct you to other sources of information for moderate Republicans. Please take the time to visit Republicans for Kerry and support them as I am. It's obvious at this point that the Democrats aren't going to pull this one off on their own.

P.E.T.A. has finally lost it entirely.

posted by Jazz at 9/15/2004 10:49:00 AM

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I normally don't reprint e-mails here, but when I get an angst fueled letter from the, shall we say, "unique" individuals at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, I succumb to temptation. Apparently somebody took offense with my recent post about endangered birds in the Northwest.

Dear Sir,

Your recent characterization of marbled murrelets as unimportant, and people who fight to save them as "bird brains" is unacceptable as "journalism" even for a "blogger." Placing the value of trees above living animals, even in jest, is dangerous and irresponsible. Old growth forest trees are beautiful and important, but they are still plants. The murrelet is a living breathing animal. We strongly advise you to publish an immediate retraction.


Robert
xxxxxxx [Last name removed to save you embarrassment]
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Dear Robert,
First off, your comcast e-mail address bounced when I tried to respond. If you'd care to write back with a valid e-mail address, I'll be happy to discuss this offline.

Now... you people really are nut jobs, you know that don't you? I can only dream of having the enormous amount of time on my hands with which you must be burdened. You have a president in the White House who is working overtime to aid industrial interests to inflict devastation on the environment, and you spend your time coming after me??? You are attacking a guy who is writing in defense of the old growth forests? Send me your home address and I'll mail you a copy of a dictionary so you can look up the word "humor" in your copious free time.

(p.s. This in no way detracts from my ongoing support of your campaign to get attractive female actresses and models to pose naked in opposition to fur. Please keep up the good work. It's making a difference. After your latest campaign, I was very impressed. I had been planning on buying my wife a rabbit fur coat for Christmas this year, but now I'm only going to get her the raccoon hand muffs.)

Vietnam Draft Dodgers Get Memorial - In Canada

posted by Jazz at 9/15/2004 09:21:00 AM

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This tidbit unearthed by Joe Territo was too good not to hijack.

Apparently the Canadian town of Nelson, British Columbia is erecting a bronze monument to honor Americans who fled their country, heading to the Great White North to avoid going to Viet Nam.

"This will mark the courageous legacy of Vietnam War resisters and the Canadians who helped them resettle in this country during that tumultuous era," said Isaac Romano, director of Our Way Home, a celebration set for 2006.

Dennis Klein, a sculptor and teacher at Kootenay School of the Arts, and artist Naomi Lewis have been chosen to make a memorial depicting Canadians embracing the hands of American resisters.

"I've met so many draft resisters over the years and some of them are local peers of mine that are artists and others are a part of the community," Klein said. "It would be nice to honor them and all those that actually took a step toward peace."

Rumors that Bush, Cheney and Clinton have been invited to speak at the grand opening are not yet confirmed.

(Source: joeterrito.com)


Some Sense from the Nader Camp

posted by Jazz at 9/15/2004 08:48:00 AM

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Today, Mr. Left informs us that some of the staunchest supporters of the Nader campaign are speaking out in a way that will allow Nader voters to express their frustration with the major parties and the two party system while not endangering their position by assisting Bush in his reselection bid.

A high profile group of the Nader 2000 team is urging people to vote for Nader in the clearly blue and red states, but to vote for Kerry in the swing states. At last we see some people from the Nader camp admitting that votes for Nader are votes for George W. Bush, and that this is not in the best interest of Nader's goals.

Nader 2000 Leaders United To Defeat Bush.

"We, the undersigned, were selected by Ralph Nader to be members of his 113-person national "Nader 2000 Citizens Committee." This year, we urge support for Kerry/Edwards in all "swing states," even while we strongly disagree with Kerry's policies on Iraq and other issues. For people seeking progressive social change in the United States, removing George W. Bush from office should be the top priority in the 2004 presidential election. Progressive votes for John Kerry in swing states may prove decisive in attaining this vital goal."

Your Quote of the Day

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

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"Though virtually newborn, the blogosphere has blossomed exponentially from a few random voices to a mighty and diverse chorus of sometimes spectacuar talent. Bloggers are the Big Bang of the Information age."
- - Kathleen Parker

That comes from a very nice column, if you care to click through and read the entire thing.

For Sale: The Arts

posted by Jazz at 9/15/2004 07:36:00 AM

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Freelance columnist Jim Sollisch is a jewel of commentary, though some of you might not be familiar with him. In today's wapo, he offers up the opportunity to sponsor his column.

"This column would not be possible without the generous support and inspiration of (YOUR NAME HERE). That's just one of the many perks you will receive if you become my sponsor. I might also be able to offer you part of my byline."

He's kidding of course, but the question he raises might be a bit more serious. The Atlanta Ballet is now offering people the chance to "buy" a dancer. That is to say, you can choose to sponsor a ballet dancer for a price ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, depending on the dancer's experience. The company had apparently held auctions to "sell off" some of the dancers.

To their credit, the website for the Atlanta Ballet no longer makes any reference to "buying" dancers, but does still offer you a page where you can "sponsor" the individual performers.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about private sponsorship of ballet artists as if they were race horses, but I do know I like Jim's argument about why you should sponsor him instead.

"As a freelance writer, I deserve your patronage much more than a ballet dancer does. They're on a salary. Plus they don't need much to live on because they don't eat anything but salad. I'm a writer. I need alcohol and good cigars and lots of overpriced Starbucks coffee."

Give the column a look. It may bring a smile to your face in this otherwise bleak election season.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Fear and Loathing at the Voting Booth

posted by Jazz at 9/14/2004 08:04:00 PM

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Here where I live, as in a number of other states, it was primary day today. You probably can't tell just from reading my blog, but I have a passing interest in politics, so I thought I might stop on by and vote.

I live in the suburbs, and my neighborhood (and thus voting district) is an area with an unusually large population of retired folks. They tend to get out early and vote before I can make it down to the small church school where we cast our ballots. As such, it was no surprise that there were only four voters in front of me when I arrived, along with three voting center volunteers. You're probably familiar with the term "blue haired old ladies" that gets bandied about when people discuss polling place workers. Well in my case, it wasn't a figure of speech. There were two women who literally had blue tinted hair behind a desk checking the registration logs and taking the signatures of the eager participants in democracy. I imagine that they were quite experienced at it, since it appeared by my best guess that they had first voted in the Truman election. The third worker was a man who might have commanded some of Truman's troops in the war. His job was to take the color coded cards we were given (indicating our party affiliation) and set up the voting machine for us and reset it when we were done.

The four participants in democracy who were ahead of me were, by some coincidence, all women. By the looks of it they had all missed out on voting in their early years because they had to wait for the 19th amendment to be passed in 1920.

As I finished signing the book and taking my blue "Republican" card, I turned and saw two of the women, obviously friends, over by the voting booth. One had clearly finished voting and the other was having a hard time with the lever which closed the curtain and set the machine to take her votes. After a few minutes I heard her say, "These are very hard to read, Margaret."

I became concerned.

She next asked the male volunteer to help her. He pushed the curtain open and they had a brief exchange I could not hear. Then she said, "So I can only vote for the Democrats?"

I was somewhat more concerned.

The volunteer gruffly pushed the curtain open again, sounded exasperated answering more questions, and finally pointed his finger saying, "Well, just push that one, that one and that one." He let the curtain close.

I was beginning to be alarmed.

Finally the woman walked out without opening the curtain lever. The volunteer just sighed, went into the booth and threw the lever for her. The woman was already outside talking to her friend where I overheard her saying, "Could you read those Margaret? I couldn't read those."

"Did you vote?" Margaret replied.

"Well, I voted for someone." her friend nodded.

Margaret patted her hand and said, "Good. Did I hear that man say we can't vote for Republicans? I think I voted for some Republicans." They walked out.

The number of things wrong with that situation was too great to compute. I reflected on the amount of time I had spent, the e-mails I had sent, and in one case a phone call, just to get all the information on all the local candidates so I knew I was voting for who would best represent my interests. Then I thought of these ladies. At first I experienced a brief moment of spiteful partisanship where I silently thought, "Well, thank God they're Democrats at least." Then I mentally slapped myself and realized that didn't matter at all.

What if these confused women come back in November to vote the Democratic line and can't even figure out which levers they are throwing? What if they wind up voting for Bush simply because they can't comprehend the mechanics of the process and there is no person there acting as a volunteer who is qualified to help them?

I cast my votes and left the polling place a much sadder man.

Unmitigated Gall Part 2

posted by Jazz at 9/14/2004 06:05:00 PM

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I promised myself I wasn't going to write about the Florida Nader debacle, but the fact is I just can't stand it.

A face only a mother****er could love.

There he is. George W. Bush's best friend. The court system in Florida, as you all know by now, ruled that Nader couldn't get on the ballot there. Never to be deterred by a little thing like radical judges making rulings, the Bush clan swung into action. Ignoring the court's orders, Jeb's posse decided, SURPRISE! ... they would just brush off that detail and let him be on the ballot anyway. The reason given? Hurricane. (Don't think about those last few sentences for too long or blood will squirt out of your nose.)

Over at The Moderate Voice, it seems to be put most coherently. "Nader Voters: Can you get the message? If you want to vote for Kerry, vote for Kerry. If you want to vote for Bush, just vote for Bush. This time in Florida there is barely any effort to disguise your role."

When describing the Bush campaign's desperate antics to set up the electoral college, it eventually becomes trivial to ask the rhetorical question, "Is there no level to which these people will not sink?"

There isn't.

Unmitigated Gall Doesn't Do it Justice

posted by Jazz at 9/14/2004 05:02:00 PM

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A couple of hours ago, George W. Bush stood in front of a group of veterans and stated how proud he was of his service to his country in the National Guard. You can read it yourself, but he goes on from there to his usual blathering about how steady he is, how we will stay the course, trying to connect the war on terror to the invasion of Iraq, and saying how things continue to improve in Iraq.

That's odd, since last time I checked the headlines, the power is now out over the majority of the country and people have been dying at an all time record pace for the last three days. Control of several major population centers is fading or gone, and the formerly secure section of their capital was under rocket and mortar fire earlier today.

If this is going well, I certainly wouldn't want to be around when it goes to hell in a handbasket.

Bird Brains

posted by Jazz at 9/14/2004 07:50:00 AM

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In a New York Times editorial today entitled "Junking Science", the paper takes the Bush administration to task for its efforts to reclassify the marbled murrelet. This bird lives in the old growth forests along the Northwest coast of America and Canada. The bottom line is, of course, that if Bush can get the bird taken off the endangered species list, he can approve logging of those sections of old growth Forrest.

I will take a moment to don my asbestos suit and bullet proof vest before telling you the following - I really don't care all that much about the future of the marbled murrelet. Before you assume that I have some hidden, nefarious, genocidal plot to eliminate these birds, let me assure you I do not. I've never seen one in real life, and likely never will, but I've looked at a picture of them and read up on their species. It seems like a fine bird, and frankly I wish them the best. But the fact is, many species go extinct all the time. There is no question that man's ongoing assault on the biosphere has hastened this process immensely over the last century or two, but creatures also went extinct long before mankind came on the scene.

The point is, there isn't that much I can do about it, and it seems like a silly thing to attack Bush on. I've got a better issue. Rather than hiding these trees behind the issue of protecting this little sea bird, what say we just recognize the fact that we shouldn't tear down all of the old growth forests? I have walked in those forests in the Northwest and they are breathtaking. The experience is one that can not be fully described to people who have never seen it. Trees like that, once chopped down, will not grow again to such magnificence in our lifetimes. Those trees are some of the oldest living things on the planet, and have been around since long before white men reached that part of the continent.

Yes, yes, I know - so have the birds. But since I've already been clearly labeled as a founding member of the Society to Torture and Eliminate Marbled Murrelets, I'll let that pass for now.

The larger point I'd like to address is this: if you want to attack Bush on the environment and science, why is the Times wasting print space on this story? There are so many other shocking incidents that they could focus on which would resonate with a larger segment of the American population. This presidency has repeatedly shown a flagrant disregard for hard science, ignoring important reports and, in some cases, fraudulently editing or suppressing them for political battles to profit industry at the expense of the environment and public health and safety. The examples are well known and too numerous to list here.

It would be very heartening to see the major media outlets bringing the debate back to issues instead of mudslinging. The Bush administration's record on science and the environment is one excellent candidate. But if you're going to do it, don't waste your time on these little birds that most of the public has never heard of. Hit a topic that will resonate with most of the voters. Besides, let's just admit it... that bird is kind of ugly anyway.

Some other interesting commentary on this article is over at Captain's Quarters.

Outgoing General Blasts Fallujah Attack Plan

posted by Jazz at 9/14/2004 04:46:00 AM

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This wapo article seemed to get buried back a fair number of pages, but it's worthy of comment as an example of how there seems to be an ongoing struggle between politicians and military leaders regarding how to best prosecute the war in Iraq. A friend of mine who drew my attention to it summed it up best, saying "Politicians should stop trying to be generals, and generals should stop trying to be politicians."

If you follow the unfolding catastrophic victory in Iraq at all, you likely remember the situation we ran into in the city of Fallujah last April. The newly "liberated" Iraqis there weren't taking too kindly to their American benefactors, preferring instead to follow their own clerics and private militia. The city was the site of one of the most horrific attacks by the Iraqi resistance, where four U.S. civilian security contractors were killed, their bodies mutilated and burned.

Lt. General James T. Conway had arrived on the scene in March, and was tasked with bringing the city under control. Conway, as it turns out, voiced opposition to any plan to rush straight in with guns blazing.

Conway said he resisted calls for revenge, and instead advocated targeted operations and continued engagement with municipal leaders.

"We felt like we had a method that we wanted to apply to Fallujah: that we ought to probably let the situation settle before we appeared to be attacking out of revenge," he said in an interview with four journalists after the change-of-command ceremony. "Would our system have been better? Would we have been able to bring over the people of Fallujah with our methods? You'll never know that for sure, but at the time we certainly thought so."


His objections were noted and overruled. The attack proceeded.

"We follow our orders," Conway said. "We had our say, and we understood the rationale, and we saluted smartly, and we went about the attack. When you order elements of a Marine division to attack a city, you really need to understand what the consequences of that are going to be and not perhaps vacillate in the middle of something like that," he said. "Once you commit, you got to stay committed."

But, mysteriously, after three days and solid progress towards taking the city, Conway's superiors informed him that the attack was cancelled and they were to withdraw. This was after he had invested 72 hours of fighting and six of his marines were dead, with another six seriously wounded. Oversight of the area, he was told, would be given to local Iraqis, as America created the "Fallujah Brigade." They were equipped with uniforms, weapons, radios and supplies.

That didn't work out very well, as the new Fallujah Brigade immediately went about wearing their old clothing and the majority of them turned over their weapons and equipment to the rebel militia. There were multiple reports of U.S. troops being attacked by Iraqis wearing the new brigade uniforms.

The bottom line to this story is, when you send an experienced field general in to do a dirty, dangerous job, you let him do it. Politicians negotiating back room deals shouldn't be playing a game of political chess with our troops. That one incident represents six United States soldiers who were killed for absolutely no reason as they carried out an aborted attack, thwarted by civilians after they had already given their lives.

Conway has now been replaced by Lt. General John Sattler. Let's hope that he's given a bit more breathing room to do his job. And who knows? Perhaps the civilian armchair generals can get back to doing theirs as well.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Kerry's Ambition Gap

posted by Jazz at 9/13/2004 07:58:00 PM

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I've been trying to figure out how John Kerry could be slipping in the polls. He's up against George W. Bush. Just by not being Bush, I would have thought he could have won by a slim margin.

Sometimes I need somebody like Maureen Dowd to explain it to me I suppose. How sad is that?

It's a remarkable feat, but teeter-tottering John Kerry is even managing to land on both sides of the ambition issue.

For his entire life, he was seen as so ambitious to be president, as so eager to consort with heiresses, that it was off-putting; his St. Paul's classmates played "Hail to the Chief" on kazoos when he walked by, and in the Senate, Bob Dole mocked the Massachusetts senator's love of cameras by nicknaming him Live Shot.

But this summer, when that lust for power should have been coursing through his veins, Mr. Kerry grew timid and logy. He let the Bush crowd and Swift boat character assassins stomp all over him and, for the longest time, didn't fight back. He stumbled into every trap Bush Inc. set.



Some Design Updates

posted by Jazz at 9/13/2004 06:50:00 PM

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Sorry if you see anything weird this evening. Just working with the layout a bit. Back shortly.

Sickening

posted by Jazz at 9/13/2004 01:18:00 PM

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Don Wycliff of the Chicago Tribune posted an editorial column today that completely sickened and enraged me. The bottom line is, the Tribune refuses to call the animals that blew up the school in Russia "terrorists" for no apparent reason. I was going to post a long rant about this, but Jeff Jarvis already did it for me. Just read his take on it, and then the original editorial if you can stomach it.

Your Quote for the Day

posted by Jazz at 9/13/2004 11:40:00 AM

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" Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is not a political party and doesn't behave like one--even if its anti-Kerry ads may have the intention of hurting one party nominee and helping another. Nor is MoveOn.org, which has run plenty of anti-Bush ads, an arm of the Democratic National Committee. It's a liberal, anti-war group with a strong distaste for the president. But if that makes it a political party, then Barbra Streisand is a political party."
- - - Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune

Meanwhile in the South Dakota Senate Race

posted by Jazz at 9/13/2004 10:51:00 AM

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Some polls are now showing Republican John Thune pulling even with, or even slightly ahead of, Tom Daschle (D - SD) and that might seem like good news at first sight. However, as with most products, you have to look at the fine print on the label. Take a good look at Thune's list of issue statements at his web site. Pay particular attention to the sections marked Family, Homeland Security, National Security, and Taxes and Spending. (You have to love how they all use "family" as an issue tag to hide what they are really saying, don't you?)

Great. This is JUST what we need. (Reset sarcasm detector please.) Another anti-choice, anti-gay, deficit raising, preemptive war mongering ultraconservative right wing nut. No thank you. I'd rather keep Daschle myself. Come on, South Dakota. Stop letting the state party office shove these extremists down your throats and you'll probably win some seats on the hill again. There are plenty of mainstream, moderate Republicans out there, as there are across the country, who actually believe in modern, inclusive values and policies which respect everyone equally and don't make the world a less safe or stable place. Surely you can nominate one. Don't let them file you into the stone age.

Everyone Has a Theory

posted by Jazz at 9/13/2004 09:58:00 AM

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A conspiracy theory, that is. I had been under the impression that, since Clinton left office, the Democrats had the market cornered on conspiracy theories. (e.g. Bush knew about or even planned the 9/11 attacks for his own gain) but it seems that GOP supporters have their share as well.

The latest, of course, relates to the forged CBS 60 minutes documents about George W. Bush's Guard service. Over at Power Line it is being stated, as if it were fact, that CBS has "perpetrated a fraud of astonishing proportions in an effort to influence the election." In fact, if you do a "find in page" search on their site today for the word 'influence' you will come up with no less than three instances of their using that phrase or a variation thereof.

It may be time for a reality check. If you wish, feel free to say that CBS is incompetent. Expound at length on how their research department needs to be fired. Even go so far as to say that Dan Rather is over the hill and needs to be forced into retirement because of impending senility. But does anyone seriously think that CBS is part of some secret conspiracy to get the Republicans out of the White House? That they are risking the name of their entire media empire in knowingly passing off fraudulent documents as authentic sources?

In this age of internet watchdogs, 24 hour cable news networks, and millions of tipsters reporting on every action in the country, it's very hard for an old media, weekly magazine show to come up with anything that's remotely surprising, to say nothing of a "scoop." This can undoubtedly lead to a lot of pressure for them to work faster, be more secretive, and stretch further to come up with something to catch the attention of the masses. In a development environment like that, mistakes are surely more likely to happen. It might even be a sign of the times that old stream media formats are reaching end of life. But intentional fraud? I'm sorry. CBS was duped by somebody with a partisan interest in the outcome of the election, and Dan Rather got caught looking like a royal sucker.

I'd expect this sort of accusation from the more shrill, self styled pundits. If it had shown up on Ace of Spades I wouldn't be surprised at all. It's very similar to some of the regular readers of Atrios who are posting in comment threads saying that the Republicans actually forged the documents themselves to embarrass the Dems when they jumped on the accusation band wagon. But it is rather surprising to see that on Power Line. They've traditionally struck me as a bit more level headed.

New York's 24th District Race

posted by Jazz at 9/13/2004 07:49:00 AM

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There's an important (and somewhat ugly) race happening in Upstate New York's 24th congressional district. One of the few truly forward thinking, moderate Republicans in the area, incumbent Sherwood Boehlert (R - NY) is in a primary battle with a truly hawkish conservative, David Walrath. This isn't Walrath's first run at this Senate seat, but he keeps trying.

Boehlert is a jewel of the moderate GOP. He is strongly supportive of pro-choice initiatives and women's rights, he does not endorse the conservatives' homophobic anti-gay marriage proposals, and is very environmentally friendly. He maintains traditional Republican values of smaller government and lower taxes, while he has tried to expand the high tech industry in his district, particularly in areas of nanotechnology.

Walrath's entire platform, it seems, is based on hating Boehlert and trying to label him as a liberal. Dave is at the opposite end of the spectrum and is pushing for the extremist right wing conservative views that are driving our party further and further from the mainstream. He is anti-choice, anti-gay marriage, and a backer of Bush's tax cuts for the extremely wealthy. His own web site states proudly, "Boehlert is one of a gang of liberal Republicans who have handed Bush and House Speaker Denny Hastert a series of defeats this summer."

That alone, in my opinion, is a good enough endorsement of Boehlert to vote against Walrath and his regressive, ultraconservative platform. The big problem is that Walrath, even if he loses the Sept. 14th primary (which is all but certain) will still appear on the ballot for the Conservative party. Once this primary is done, the people need to send a message to Walrath that splitting the party and handing the House seat to Jeff Miller, one of the more extreme liberals trying for a New York seat, would be a loss for everyone. Walrath needs to withdraw from the race entirely if the party votes against his regressive agenda in the primary.

This just in

posted by Jazz at 9/13/2004 04:44:00 AM

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From The Mudville Gazette.



Thanks for that.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Racial Profiling for Presidential Debate Coverage?

posted by Jazz at 9/12/2004 06:15:00 PM

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An alert reader tipped me off to this vexing article in the Arizona Daily Star. (Thanks go out to Patt Haring!) It was first picked up in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and concerns press pass applications mailed out to journalists wishing to attend the Oct. 8th presidential debates. (No word yet on whether or not there will be bloggers invited. Put in a good word for me.) Apparently the form requested that applicants disclose their race, offering choices of "American Indian or Alaskan native; Asian or Pacific islander; black, not of Hispanic origin; Hispanic; I do not wish to provide; white, not of Hispanic origin."

Now I'll grant you, since they inserted the obligatory "I do not wish to provide" option, it starts to look somewhat better. On top of that, I'm not even sure what laws may or may not apply to color blind issues on the distribution of press passes. (It's Sunday evening and there's no way I'm going to get an answer at this point. Any Missouri lawyers care to comment?)

The question is... why? What possible reason could the sponsors of the event have for showing the slightest interest in the race of the reporters requesting press passes? I notice they didn't offer anything that would identify a reporter as being Middle Eastern, so we can't jump to any sort of conspiracy theory here regarding "the War on Terror." But there are very pronounced divisions in the American public demographic breakdown in terms of race vs. party. (I'm not going to feel too terribly un-PC if I say that minorities swing more heavily towards the Democratic party.)

What is the explanation for this, and is it even legal in the first place? I need a lawyer again.

*sigh*



The Freeway Blogger Strikes Again

posted by Jazz at 9/12/2004 06:10:00 PM

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Three cheers to the Freeway Blogger.


Bush Photo Op Blocking Florida Relief?

posted by Jazz at 9/12/2004 02:24:00 PM

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Now that power, phones, and cable access are returning to large parts of Florida following hurricane Charley, it seems people are getting back online. With several family members and friends in the Melbourne, Florida area (where Charlie came ashore) I had to check into a rather odd sounding e-mail from Karen (e-mail address and last name omitted by request) about events following the storm. During the recovery, it seems that President Bush showed up at a relief station at Fort Pierce, Florida. He was there with his brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, coming to briefly hand out water and ice to people who had lost utility services.

Her chief complaint was that the line of cars waiting for water and ice virtually ground to a halt with the president there as Secret Service checked all of the cars and the press milled about. This didn't' seem like enough to go on until I checked with the recent archives of the local paper, Florida Today. Sure enough, they had covered the Chief Executive's visit, and at the end of their report they made a rather odd comment that seemed to line up with Karen's complaint.

As cars lined up at a relief center in Fort Pierce, the president pitched in personally.

"What can we help you with? Ice? Ice and water? A little food?" he asked one driver.

"You doing OK?" Bush asked another car full of people. "The water's on? Good."

As Bush peered into each car's passenger window, a Secret Service agent leaned into the driver's side, keeping a close eye. White House aides hovered nearby, ensuring that a mob of journalists captured the scene of the president as empathizer in chief.

"Oh, you lost your trailer?" Bush said to one passenger.

"Hang in there," he urged another.


[Edit: Emphasis added in bold]

If anyone else from the Fort Pierce area would care to share their experiences of that day, I'd be very interested. It seems to me that during such a time of crisis Jeb and George W. Bush have an important role to play. They need to move quickly and efficiently to assess the damage and allocate the appropriate state and federal emergency management funding to assist in the recovery efforts. They did this, and I give them full credit for it. However, using such a tragedy just to gain a few votes with a public relations stunt seems a bit beyond belief.

Oh well. I suppose it was worth it to get this photo op.



Bryan Keefer's Take on the Blogger's Place in the Media

posted by Jazz at 9/12/2004 10:30:00 AM

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Today's wapo ran an editorial by Bryan Keefer, editor of Spinsanity.org and author of "All the President's Spin: George W. Bush, the Media, and the Truth." He offers some interesting perspectives on the evolution of network news, cable news networks, and the rise of internet news sources, particularly bloggers, as an alternative to conventional media.

Of particular interest is his take on how younger people in particular are skeptical of old stream news sources in terms of bias.

People -- young people in particular -- sense that they aren't getting the whole story (or the right story) from the established media. That's why an Internet culture of fact-checking has sprung up to keep the media honest, such as campaigndesk.org, where I work, and others such as factcheck.org and snopes.com. A number of bloggers -- ranging from the partisan (instapundit.com, atrios.blogspot.com) to the professional (pressthink.org, www.j-bradford-delong.net) -- have also leaped into the breach and helped foster a culture of fact-based media criticism.

Where can people go to get the real story on issues like Kerry's Vietnam service? The sad truth is that there isn't one single place where they can go, because hardly anyone in the mainstream media is putting the real story together effectively. Until the media begin understanding that many young people are turning away from mainstream news outlets for precisely this reason, we'll continue to go elsewhere for our news.

Give the entire article a read. He's got some excellent observations which I tend to agree with. As the speed of news publication increases, fact checking suffers. As more partisan cable news networks gain market share, the unbiased footing of conventional network news entities falls further from the public view, and comes even more into question. And as doubt of veracity grows, the more important independent checks and balances like the blogosphere become.


Sunday Editorial Funnies

posted by Jazz at 9/12/2004 09:43:00 AM

NOTE: YOU ARE VIEWING AN ARCHIVED POST AT RUNNING SCARED'S OLD BLOG. PLEASE VISIT THE NEW BLOG HERE.

While I refuse to link to it, you may want to risk your sanity and check out Bill O'Reilly's "No Spin Zone" column for today. He actually devoted an entire column (and I couldn't make this up if I tried) to complaining about media bias.

(I'll wait a moment until you start breathing again.)

His complaint, and it's a valid one, is that CNN is allowing James Carville and Paul Begala to continue on as commentators at CNN after taking advisory positions with the Kerry campaign. This is an issue of media balance that certainly deserves a look. But Bill O'Reilly is the one asking the question? It' boggles the mind that any paper would print that.

And now, the funnies.


The North Korea Event

posted by Jazz at 9/12/2004 06:16:00 AM

NOTE: YOU ARE VIEWING AN ARCHIVED POST AT RUNNING SCARED'S OLD BLOG. PLEASE VISIT THE NEW BLOG HERE.

The blogosphere has been abuzz for the last 12 hours over the alleged nuclear explosion in North Korea. Now, as you may have heard, Washington officials are stating that it was not, in fact, an atomic bomb. It may have been an accidental explosion of non-tactical nature, or even a forrest fire. Obviously I need to take any statement from the current administration with a grain of salt these days, but I'm hoping they are on the mark in this case. While few would call me a starry eyed optimist, given the choice between a forrest fire and an atomic test blast a few miles from China's border, I'll take the forrest fire every time. Let's not forget that back in April the North Koreans had another massive explosion which turned out to be a train load of chemicals going up in flames. It would also be impossible to cover up evidence of an actual nuclear detonation for very long, so I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt and say it was something else - this time.

The situation certainly reeks of ominous portents, though. Just this week the New York Times reported that President Bush had been receiving upticks in intelligence which indicated that North Korea might be planning a test of that sort. This came right on the heels of several European nations setting a deadline for Iran to "dispel worries" about possible nuclear weapons programs. Iran had been giving the appearance of adopting more open policies about their nuclear activities and moving away from a weapons program. Initially, Bush was heard crowing about their actions, pointing to this as proof that his policy of preemptive war was working. It now appears, however, that the Iranians were up to their usual tricks. They waved one hand in friendly, peaceful gestures while shuffling weapons grade plutonium behind their backs with the other.

Iran and North Korea have been given a very clear set of messages by Washington. First, they have learned that this American president is a cowboy with no semblance of restraint or remorse. If Bush sees your country as a potential target in his agenda, there isn't much that will likely keep him from rolling into your capitol and toppling some statues. Second - the international nuclear weapons club isn't accepting applications for new members.

These two nations, on the verge of becoming atomic age players, have seen the third member of the "axis of evil" overthrown with little effort. Attempts to use diplomacy with Bush, short of complete surrender and the dismantling of their programs, will not get them anywhere. It certainly seems possible that, much like an animal trapped in the back of its cage, they both might feel their only option is to move forward full steam on building some tactical weapons. There is no body armor in the U.S. supply command that will protect our soldiers from a direct nuclear blast. The MAD policy (Mutually Assured Destruction) worked well for the United States and the Soviet Union during the cold war. Should we be shocked if Iran and North Korea want to give it a shot?

Strange days indeed, my friends. Jim Morrison would be having a field day if he were with us today.