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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Chicken Killing Dog

posted by Jazz at 11/06/2004 01:47:00 PM

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Most weeks, I refuse to read Molly Ivins last column of the week online. Reading that column is, for me, best done in print and only in special circumstances. One of the most important blocks of time in my week is Sunday morning at seven o'clock. This is when Georg and I go out to breakfast and I get to enjoy Molly's column in the old fashioned comfort of a crisp newspaper over a steaming plate of eggs, bacon and jam covered toast, a mug of hot coffee in my hand. It's one of the simple pleasures in life that I treasure.

This week, however, simple pleasures have been few and far between. That's why, when I saw Allen MacKenzie had linked to Molly's column, I followed the link and read it early. In her usual way, Ivins starts off with a bit of Americana crafted to prepare you for the message to follow.

Do you know how to cure a chicken-killin' dog? Now, you know you cannot keep a dog that kills chickens, no matter how fine a dog it is otherwise.

Some people think you cannot break a dog that has got in the habit of killin' chickens, but my friend John Henry always claimed you could. He said the way to do it is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog's neck, good and strong. And leave it there until that dead chicken stinks so bad that no other dog or person will even go near that poor beast. Thing'll smell so bad the dog won't be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won't kill chickens again.

The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.

Obviously Molly is upset. But she has a message of inspiration which is worth reflecting on.

So, fellow progressives, stop thinking about suicide or moving abroad. Want to feel better? Eat a sour grape, then do something immediately, now, today. Figure out what you can do to help rescue the country -- join something, send a little money to some group, call somewhere and offer to volunteer, find a politician you like at the local level and start helping him or her to move up.

Think about how you can lend a hand to the amazing myriad efforts that will promptly break out to help the country recover from what it has done to itself. Now is the time. Don't mourn, organize.

Well said, Molly. Bushwhacked was still one of the better literary investments I've made in a while. There's plenty more in that article which you may find of interest, so go read it. You can do so online from the link above, or wait until you're having your coffee tomorrow to savor it.

The purple map of the US

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/06/2004 01:36:00 PM

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We have all seen the depressing red and blue map of the United States but magpie at Pacific Views has a "reality based map" that shows the states in shades of purple. Not nearly as depressing, check it out.

Drunk With Something

posted by Jazz at 11/06/2004 11:46:00 AM

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The latest edition of "America's Worst Mother" is definitely worth reading. It finds the mother of Tbogg's wonderful children struggling to recover from the depression of Bush's victory... and a pitcher of Manhattens. A taste:

Outside a sudden gust of cold wind whips at the few golden leaves still clinging to a maple tree on the street. Inside, inert and exhausted, I scarcely dare answer.

Molly climbs in next to me and snuggles under the blankets. From upstairs come the smothered sounds of singing and reproach as the other children get dressed; from downstairs rises the smell of coffee. My legs feel like Jimmy Hoffa's must have, at the end.

"Don't worry, Mummy," Molly says comfortably, tucking the sheets under my chin. Abruptly she switches topics and her manner becomes guarded. "Doesn't Paris have to wear white socks?"

"I don't know that it matters," I reply, climbing past her out of bed on to feet that feel like cartoon anvils. In passing, I wonder what campaign Molly has launched about socks and why she wants me to commit preemptively to an opinion of what color her brother's should be, but mostly I am wondering what is wrong with me. Have I ever been this tired before?


Exodus, Washington Style

posted by Jazz at 11/06/2004 11:04:00 AM

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Then the LORD said, "I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Per'izzites, the Hivites, and the Jeb'usites.
- Exodus, 3 - 7,8

Back in the good old days of vengeful Gods and righteous indignation, when the All Powerful got angry, He just began smiting people. (Smiting was very big in biblical times.) Plagues of locusts and floods were your portion if you enraged the Big Guy. George W. Bush doesn't have the power to call down swirling pillars of fire or part Lake Erie, but he can still call for a pox on the houses of the disloyal. And as Mr. Left points out today, the disloyal have gotten the message loud and clear. The Exodus out of the Bush administration is gearing up to start before Thanksgiving.

As he reports, in the next couple of weeks we can expect to see John Ashcroft taking a powder, followed in short order by Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Tom Ridge, Dick Armitage John Snow. In all fairness, some of these people (most notably Condi) will probably be moving to different, and one would presume, better positions in the administration, not leaving. There has been a lot of speculation that Rice will be the Secretary of State after Powell bows out.

It's going to be interesting to see what fresh new faces take these important positions. More moderate, or further to the right? More obedient parrots of the Bush Doctrine, or more independent thinkers who challenge the conventional theocratic wisdom? Stay tuned, folks. The election may be over, but the ride is far from done.

The Federal Government Protecting Your Heath and Pocket Book, NOT!!!!!

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/06/2004 10:45:00 AM

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Vioxx heart risks apparent for years
While the federal government has been spending massive resources to fight the use of medical marijuana over the last four years nothing was done with the evidence that Merck's Vioxx resulted in an increased chance of stroke and heart attack.

Lets look at the reasons behind this:

  • Vioxx: The popular arthritis drug was responsible for about 15% of Merck's profits.

  • Marijuana: There is clinical evidence the marijuana is helpful for treating glaucoma, cancer and multiple sclerosis but it has one serious drawback, the large drug companies can't make any money on it and it is a substitute for drugs they can make money on.
As we can see the federal government's concern is to protect the profits of the drug companies not the health and well being of the citizens.

Cross posted at Middle Earth Journal

How Smart Are You?

posted by Jazz at 11/06/2004 08:33:00 AM

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Having some time to kill, I followed a random advertisement link off of the New York Times to one of those online IQ tests. It was a fairly long one, as these things go, and resembled normal IQ tests I've seen in the past. It's by Tickle, with whom you may already be familiar.

A few warnings about this test follow. First of all, it will probably take you anywhere from five to fifteen minutes if you do it. I believe there were fifty questions, and some of them will require some calculations, analysis of patterns, etc. So if you don't want to invest that amount of time, don't bother starting.

Second, you'll have to fill out an annoying, but free, registration form at the end, so you may want to provide a spam trap e-mail address. You don't have to supply a real one to get the results because they are finally displayed on the screen, not e-mailed to you.

You'll get hit with a couple of advertisements at the end for online education, and a pitch to try to get you to purchase a "full report" of the analysis of your IQ test. Obviously, I didn't bother with either.

So, here's the link to the test.

If you have the time to kill, give it a shot and let us know how you do. Without supplying any critical information or a credit card, I received the following results, which might be somewhat valid or a complete pile of dingo's kidneys. Only you can be the judge.

Congratulations, Jazz! Your IQ score is 142.

This number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions you answered correctly on the Classic IQ Test relative to others.


Your Intellectual Type is
Visionary Philosopher. This means you are highly intelligent and have a powerful mix of skills and insight that can be applied in a variety of different ways. Like Plato, your exceptional math and verbal skills make you very adept at explaining things to others ? and at anticipating and predicting patterns. And that's just some of what we know about you from your IQ results.

Missing Missile Mystery

posted by Jazz at 11/06/2004 07:24:00 AM

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It has long been government policy to release bad news on Friday night, since the least number of people see it that way. Thus, it will come as little surprise to Bush watchers that our leaders waited until the first Friday after the election to announce this. Three times as many shoulder fired missiles are missing and presumed in the hands of terrorists than was previously announced.

American intelligence agencies have tripled their formal estimate of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile systems believed to be at large worldwide, since determining that at least 4,000 of the weapons in Iraq's prewar arsenals cannot be accounted for, government officials said Friday.

A new government estimate says a total of 6,000 of the weapons may be outside the control of any government, up from a previous estimate of 2,000, American officials said.



Of all the weapons that terrorist absolutely drool over, shoulder fired missiles are certainly the most sought after. A single person with minimal training can bring down a helicopter or commercial airliner with one of these. It's estimated that they were widely used by Iraq insurgents earlier in the war attack American Apache helicopters.

But don't worry, guys. Everything's going according to plan and freedom is on the march. Watch your backs, though. It looks like freedom is also pretty heavily armed.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Friday Pet Blogging: Late Edition

posted by Jazz at 11/05/2004 06:35:00 PM

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From the top shelf: Our Cat Colin tells us to take the camera and do something anatomically impossible. (Click on image for full size picture.)





Check out The Modulator for more pets.
Carnival of the Cats will be at Mind of Mog this Sunday.

"Holy Cow, I Think He's Gonna Make it!"

posted by Jazz at 11/05/2004 03:37:00 PM

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... all the way to the 18th century. And he'll take us with him. (Hat Tip to Meatloaf for stealing some lyrics from "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" for a cheap baseball analogy.) Speaking of baseball and the 18th century, in today's LA Times, former major league orb hurler Frank Pastore has some thoughts to share with you. The title, which may be enough to send many of you scurrying to a bunker, is "Christian Conservatives Must Not Compromise." Before I can even comment, let's take a look at some of the assembled wisdom of Mr. Pastore, who left baseball to take up the right wing, talk radio alter worshipping Rush Limbaugh.

On Tuesday, this nation rejected liberalism, primarily because liberalism has been taken captive by the left. Since 1968, the left has taken millions captive, and we must help those Democrats who truly want to be free to actually break free of this evil ideology.

The left must be defeated in the realm of ideas, just as it was on Tuesday at the ballot box. The left hates the ballot box and loves its courtrooms, which is why it hopes to continue to advance its agenda through the courts. This must end.


The left bewitches with its potions and elixirs, served daily in its strongholds of academe, Hollywood and old media. It vomits upon the morals, values and traditions we hold sacred: God, family and country. As we learned Tuesday, it is clear the left holds the majority of Americans, the majority of us, in contempt.


We still believe that liberty and justice is for all.


Yes, apparently you do. Unless, of course, the members of the "all" in question happen to be gay, female, or have skin that's of too dark a shade. Is that frightening enough for you? It should be.

As hopeless as it sounds, this is a time for moderates to step up to the plate and find the power of the fulcrum on the teeter totter that divides the nation. There are a number of liberals out there who are advocating a "scorched earth" policy of resistance against the new, but slight, theocon majority. These outnumbered liberals are going to need allies to achieve any significant progress. The right wing is clearly poised to try to move a bulldozer into the political landscape and drive it so far to the right that it won't be able to shift back for a generation.

There are still member of congress, particularly in the Senate, who are of a clearly moderate bent. They are vastly outnumbered, and often forced to bend a knee to Rove and the theocon hawks. But on issues that matter, they can be called upon to stand up. They count among their numbers Olympia Snowe, Lincoln Chaffee, and Arlen Spectre, along with others. When a seriously threatening right wing move comes into play, I would urge the liberal Democrats to reach out to these moderates, and offer them their support in exchange for a critical vote.

In such ways, progress towards moderation could still be made. You may not be able to get a radically liberal judge appointed to the Supremes, but you could stop a card carrying member of Operation Rescue from donning the robes, and settle on a moderate constitutional constructionist. While some of the more regressive, homophobic states will certainly pass anti-gay amendments to their constitutions, you can call on moderates to prevent the passage of a national constitution that endorses fear, bigotry and homophobia. You may have to compromise on other issue that are distasteful to the far left in exchange for such concessions, but that is the fate of the minority party. And make no mistake, the Democrats are the minority party now in all ways that matter. This is the time for moderate Republicans to use the leverage they hold in the middle to their advantage. Failure to do so will make the theocratic dreams of Mr. Pastore a reality before we even get to the mid-term elections.

Kevin Drum points out that there are some radical right wingers that you just can't talk to.

Kevin Roderick thinks it could be a long four years.

I was unable to find any bloggers from the right commenting on this article yet.

I'm out of anchovies, can I use sardines?

posted by Mu at 11/05/2004 03:34:00 PM

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It looks like my position on �gay marriage� is not the general consensus on this blog. So here is some more explanation on why I think we don�t need it.

The historic reason for marriage, in my opinion, is a trade off between man and female. The male can be reasonable sure his offspring is his, and the female can be reasonable sure to receive some support in exchange for bringing up children. Now, under that premise a homosexual marriage has no historic standing. It�s also definitely not a �god given� right, since the Torah and derivative works like Bible and Koran have a strong anti-homosexual sentiment. This leaves a �constitutional right� under the �pursuit of happiness� clause. Now, that clause has always been limited by the moral standards of the day, and you cannot commit necrophilia, pedophilia, public acts of sexuality, and a myriad of other things even if they�d make you the happiest person on earth. These values might change, but from the results on the �defense of marriage� referenda it�s far from mainstream acceptable yet.

Now, if it�s not a right, does the state have an interest in granting you the privilege? For a state (or any group for that matter) to give you something it usually wants something back. From the average heterosexual marriage the state gets a number of years of free childcare and education, with a decent chance for productive future members of society. From an average homosexual relation, that is a biological impossibility. So, there is no benefit for the state or the society to grant you the privilege, and pay the cost of increased healthcare benefits, lower taxes, social security and what else comes with a typical marriage.

The only point that cannot be argued is to proclaim marriage as a basic human right. But that is a purely philosophical reasoning, and has as much merit as the religious argument. �I believe, and therefore I�m right� never had much convincing power to me.


The Absence of Posts Today

posted by Jazz at 11/05/2004 03:01:00 PM

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No, I didn't abandon you, nor did I throw myself from some high tower in despair over the last election. I didn't even move to Ireland yet. I received this e-mail from Blogger a short time ago.

Last night, we had a significant problem with one of our database servers. This prevented some people from being able to access their blogs and caused errors to be seen by others. We are working to migrate data off of this troubled server and bring on new hardware to replace it.

We sincerely apologize for this outage and are working hard to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.

Sincerely,
Blogger Support

Sorry about that, and we'll be back in business shortly. Look for a move soon to a new platform, though. This is getting sad.

Angry White People

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/05/2004 01:06:00 PM

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I posted this over at MEJ yesterday and although it is unpleasant I think it is something we need to think about as we try to figure out how to neuter the Bush cabal. I'm not going to comment on it other than to say I am looking at my own attitudes to the "red" citizens.
From xymphora
People aren't entirely prepared to admit it, but there really is an underclass of very unhappy white people in the United States who are still fighting the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and the Civil War. The dissatisfaction in their lives is caused by the powerlessness they feel in the face of the fact that they fall further behind with each generation. The Republicans manage these people with great skill, and use the full force of the media to direct all their anger and hatred to liberalism. The fact that many of them are evangelical Christians is more a symptom of the same malaise that it is the cause of their hatreds. Nutty religion is their opium. While many of them are terribly misinformed and stupid, I don't think it is entirely fair to say that they misunderstand their class interests. They have come to the conclusion that they are going to be screwed regardless of which party is in power, and they prefer to be screwed by a group that doesn't appear to hold them in contempt. Indeed, you get the impression that their hatred is so great that they are taunting the liberal attempts at policy solutions to their problems, almost saying we hate your contempt for us so much we'll prove it by voting against our own interests.


Blogger Borked Again

posted by Jazz at 11/05/2004 09:52:00 AM

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If this even shows up, I just wanted to let you know that Blogger is virtually shut down for me at the moment. Be sure to visit Ron at Middle Earth Journal, and all the other must read blogs in my blogroll to the right. I'll be back in action as soon as possible.

I'll also be looking into a switch to movabletype or one of the other formats very soon. I've about had it with blogger. (And yes, I have the pay version, so I'm entitled to complain.)
--

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I was going to write a post on gay marriage bans

posted by Jazz at 11/04/2004 05:56:00 PM

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... but now I won't bother. Read The One True Tami and bask in her wisdom. Or cover yourself in anchovies. Your choice.

It's the Media, Stupid.

posted by Jazz at 11/04/2004 03:14:00 PM

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"Now what? First, we kill the media."
- Al Giordano

Today, from Latin America, Al Giordano attempts to answer the question of what went wrong on Tuesday. I've already gone on record as saying that nothing "went wrong" and that the system operated as it was designed. The problem lies in the perceptions of the populace. It's very hard to focus on enlightened thinking when you have a band of harpies and banshees screeching that you're all going to die.

Al, however, has some interesting perspectives on how matters of perception can go so very far astray.

Now that the American president really was elected, his gnawing sense of illegitimacy removed, his father's curse exorcized, his religious right flank empowered, and a hesitant world now falling to its knees to bow before him, watch out.

During the first four years, he and his gang restrained themselves from fully unleashing the repressive measures of the Patriot Act, knowing that it could cost them the election. The restraints are now gone.

More on the grassroots innovations of 2004: Activists united as never before, across racial and ethnic and class lines, avoiding the sirens of spoiler candidates and the easy cop-out path of the "pox on all houses, purer than thou" stance that, in the past, has kept them divided. So much was accomplished to try and save the Republic. In the end, though, it wasn't enough.


It's worth noting that Al and I hardly agree on every point. Our views on the drug wars differ in several notable areas. But I wouldn't want anyone to think that I agree with every single opinion of any writer I quote. The fact is, Giordano is a rugged individualist of journalism, and his analysis of the American political spectrum is drawn like a jagged rusty knife across the comfortable jugular of "accepted wisdom" which carries the bloodflow in so many of us. Check out his article, linked above, and judge for yourself.

Progressive Regression

posted by Jazz at 11/04/2004 01:43:00 PM

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"One step forward, two steps back."
- Bruce Springsteen

Today, in the NYT, Professor Garry Willis of Northwestern University gives a painful, embarrassing analysis of where this country seems to be heading following this week's election. It's called "The Day the Enlightenment Went Out" and it's well worth a read.

This election confirms the brilliance of Karl Rove as a political strategist. He calculated that the religious conservatives, if they could be turned out, would be the deciding factor. The success of the plan was registered not only in the presidential results but also in all 11 of the state votes to ban same-sex marriage. Mr. Rove understands what surveys have shown, that many more Americans believe in the Virgin Birth than in Darwin's theory of evolution. This might be called Bryan's revenge for the Scopes trial of 1925, in which William Jennings Bryan's fundamentalist assault on the concept of evolution was discredited. Disillusionment with that decision led many evangelicals to withdraw from direct engagement in politics. But they came roaring back into the arena out of anger at other court decisions - on prayer in school, abortion, protection of the flag and, now, gay marriage.


Even if the President was mouthing platitudes about "serving all Americans' in his speech yesterday, he may have precious little choice in the matter. The people who put him into office are harsh taskmasters, doubtless feeling that they are due their pound of flesh. And they intend to get it from bodies of gay rights and personal choice for women.

In his victory speech yesterday, President Bush indicated that he would "reach out to the whole nation," including those who voted for John Kerry. But even if he wanted to be more conciliatory now, the constituency to which he owes his victory is not a yielding one. He must give them what they want on things like judicial appointments. His helpers are also his keepers. The moral zealots will, I predict, give some cause for dismay even to nonfundamentalist Republicans. Jihads are scary things. It is not too early to start yearning back toward the Enlightenment.

This shift from secularity to fundamentalist zeal is making us appear more like our enemies than those we profess to protect.

The secular states of modern Europe do not understand the fundamentalism of the American electorate. It is not what they had experienced from this country in the past. In fact, we now resemble those nations less than we do our putative enemies. Where else do we find fundamentalist zeal, a rage at secularity, religious intolerance, fear of and hatred for modernity? Not in France or Britain or Germany or Italy or Spain. We find it in the Muslim world, in Al Qaeda, in Saddam Hussein's Sunni loyalists. Americans wonder that the rest of the world thinks us so dangerous, so single-minded, so impervious to international appeals. They fear jihad, no matter whose zeal is being expressed.

I think that, growing up, I took it far too much for granted that I was able to live in an age when America continued to move forward in terms of enlightenment. The history books were full of it, so why would I question that this was the natural order of things in the United States?

Change sometimes came about slowly, but it came around. It took quite a while to free the slaves, but we managed it. Later on, in the first two decades of the 20th century, we made the bold leap to decide that women (at least the white ones) were entitled to the same rights as (white) men. And finally, in the second half of the centuries, we began breaking down the barriers of color. Change may have been slow to come, but it always came. And always forward. Never in reverse.

The last two decades have seen a growing acceptance of gays and lesbians. There was no reason to suspect that the barriers to equality would not continue to fall. Now, thanks to the actions of a slight but highly zealous majority, we stand at the edge of our first backward progress since we stepped forth as a nation. Women are in jeopardy of losing the right to control their own bodies, and state after state is lining up to deny fundamental family rights to gays and lesbians. And not just to deny them such rights by the actions of individuals - we're legislating the refusal of those rights in constitutional concrete.

The age of enlightenment. What a lovely phrase. Sad to think that we might live to see the end of it in our own lifetimes, or at least a very long term setback. If Bush puts in the Supreme Court Justices that he is so eager to install, your children will be raising their own offspring before the court can be turned back around.

So, to all of you "Security Moms" who decided to vote for Bush, and all of you "young cell phone generation voters" who couldn't be bothered to come out on Tuesday, I salute you. I hope that you feel really secure when your daughters are lying in emergency rooms after a coat hanger rips open their cervix. And if you have gay children or relatives, I hope you can look them in the eyes when you see their civil liberties stripped away. This is one big, fat apple pie which you baked yourself, and now you're going to eat it. Bon appetite'.



Why Bush Won

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/04/2004 11:59:00 AM

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As a follow up the Jazz's post below some more post election observations. Bush won because Rove got out the Evangelical Christian vote, in other words Bush won because of the abortion issue. Many, if not most, of those Evangelical Bush voters are hurting and are worried about the situation in Iraq but voted for Bush because it was the "Godly" thing to do. Those of us in the "Reality Based Community" have only one way to combat this, we have to convince the Christian Right that the Theocon Republicans can't deliver their flat earth wingnutery. Maybe then they will vote their best interests.

They Waited Almost 24 Hours

posted by Jazz at 11/04/2004 06:54:00 AM

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For everyone who chided moderates and liberals about their "baseless fears" over a future dominated by neocon and theocon hawks, I will direct your attention to this.

Exulting in their electoral victories, President Bush's conservative supporters immediately turned to staking out mandates for an ambitious agenda of long-cherished goals, including privatizing Social Security, banning same-sex marriage, remaking the Supreme Court and overturning the court's decisions in support of abortion rights.

"Now comes the revolution," Richard Viguerie, the dean of conservative direct mail, told about a dozen fellow movement stalwarts gathered around a television here, tallying up their Senate seats in the earliest hours of the morning. "If you don't implement a conservative agenda now, when do you?"


This is less than two days after the polls closed. Congratulations, America. The old saying, "be careful what you wish for" would leap to mind, but my mind is still not ready to leap anywhere. Except, possibly, to Ireland.

Expatriot... hrmm. Has a rather "trendy" sound, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Carnival of Solutions: Restoring Confidence

posted by Jazz at 11/03/2004 04:02:00 PM

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The second Carnival of Solutions is up, and this week it is at Miniluv. The topic this week concerns the problem of restoring voter confidence in the electoral process. Since I love a good carnival, and the topic is near and dear to my heart, I'll take a shot at it.

This is a problem. We need to have faith in the democratic process for it to work. When people believe that the vote is a scam, it will not work. We need to trust the vote counting procedure because without that trust, we risk sliding into violence or worse.

This year could be worse that 2000 and the consequences could be worse as well. How do we solve that? How do we restore faith and confidence in the voting process? How do we make sure that there is little to no dispute in each and every election? How do we make sure that every vote is counted accurately and fairly?

This is a broad challenge. There is no silver bullet to solve this problem because it is so broad. But there are solutions out there and many ways to tackle this problem. Let?s hear some.


It's important to examine exactly why it is that people have, in some cases lost faith in the system. From a very high level, there are a few reasons.

First, I believe that many people feel that their vote, even if counted correctly, doesn't mean very much. They can feel marginalized, particularly if they are in a "safe state" which will go to one candidate or the other no matter which way they vote. Second, and on a related topic, voters may feel that they are simply taken for granted by the candidates. Third, and most seriously, is a suspicion among voters that the system may not be purely honest, and that tampering may occur, rendering their vote meaningless and producing flawed results.

I agree that there is no "silver bullet" for this situation, but I think there are some courses of action to look into which could help. The first two problems I mentioned are both caused by the same culprit - the Electoral College. This antiquated system, which I have cursed here before, is set up in such a way that 17% of the population could, in theory, elect a president over the objections of the other 83%. While that specific scenario is unlikely to ever play out, the mere fact that it could should be a warning sign. We have already had two presidents elected who were favored by less people than the opponent.

People seem frightened of direct elections for a variety of reasons, but that doesn't mean that there isn't some middle ground. Two states use systems of apportioned awarding of their electoral vote. This means that it is not always going to be "winner take all" for their EC votes. This year, another state tried to implement a similar system, but a massive press campaign got it voted down at the end. We should allow states to apportion their EC votes based either on a percentage of the popular vote in the state, or another system, like Maine's, where it is broken up by their representative districts. Such systems would force candidates to work for votes and serve the interest of everyone in order to win, not just a handful of people in the few states that are "in play" this season. This year, President Bush was elected, in effect, by six states.

The problem of potential voter corruption has deep roots and is very hard to deal with. The chief problem is that the people who are in charge of administering and running the voting system are people - regular Americans who also vote and have a vested interest in the outcome of the election. We're letting the foxes guard the chicken coop. Obviously not every election official is going to act in a corrupt fashion, but the few who do taint the image of the entire system. Perhaps it's time to take all of this out of the hands of party members in state government, administered by the ubiquitous "blue haired old ladies" and make these important positions paid jobs. They could even be elected positions, pertaining only to voting, which would be subject to performance monitoring and corrective action in the case of fraud.

Also the machines that we use are subject to tampering and the registration process is rife with errors. We're already spending tens of millions of dollars all across the country to upgrade voting machines. Congress need to finalize a standard set of requirements that would apply to voting in all states. Machines should be easy to use, but also have to provide a paper trail for the purpose of recounts. Information on how to use the machines needs to be very widely disseminated to the public, along with explanations of their security features and what measures are in place to avoid tampering.

There are constant cries of voter fraud because the voter registration rolls are filled with people who are dead, no longer living in the area, or simply imaginary. These rolls need to be purged every year. We already have to renew our drivers licenses every so often - what would be the harm in just wiping the voter rolls every year or two and having people reregister? A host of ills could be cured that way, and the increase in voter confidence would be well worth the cost.

There... some random thoughts on how to make a bad situation better. Stop by miniluv and put in your own.

Old Soldier

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/03/2004 01:55:00 PM

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I am on the downhill side of 58 and realize that the damage that has been done in the last four years and the damage that will be done in the next four will not be undone in my lifetime. Like Jazz, I think Bush did get the most votes. I think I would feel better if I thought the election was stolen. Political and social institutions, like their carbon based creators, have a lifespan. If you have read the words of the founding fathers you know that their grand experiment has already lasted longer than many of them thought it would. You would also know that in spite of what Pat Robertson says they specifically warned against becoming a "Christian Nation". Unfortunately few Americans have read the words of the founding fathers. Although in the Abrahmic sense I guess you would say I am an atheist I have read the Bible and found great wisdom in the words of Jesus. I can only assume that many of the people today that call themselves "Christians" have not read the Bible.

The problem is not Bush, the problem is not the media, the problem is the people. I don't know how you fix that. I'm glad I don't have grandchildren today. This old soldier is ready to give up the fight.

A Roundup of the Post Mortems

posted by Jazz at 11/03/2004 01:30:00 PM

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Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice has an excellent analysis, and as usual, a list of comments and links to analysis of the election from all over the blogosphere. You can spend a lot of time on that post, but it's worth it. Many good posts are included.

So Your Guy Lost

posted by Jazz at 11/03/2004 01:26:00 PM

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You can't really call the Ghostbusters, so what are you going to do. I'm not surprised that one of the most lucid and hopeful pieces of analysis I came across was to be found in Eric Zorn's blog. Unfortunately you can't link to individual entries, so just scroll down to the entry for Wed. Nov. 3.

Republican President Bush will enjoy a Republican Senate, a Republican House, Republican appointees in seven of the nine Supreme Court justice seats, 29 Republican governors and virtually 24/7 support from right-wing talk radio to help him realize those promises and confirm the beliefs of his supporters.

Credit and blame for what happens in this country and to this country in the upcoming years will belong to him and his party.

Speaking for myself, I'll be happy to apportion both and trust that they will accept it honestly.

They begged the electorate to give them responsibility. Well, they've got it:

Opportunity. Responsibility and that ol' devil Accountability.

No more blaming Dan Rather, Tom Daschle or the homosexual agenda when things go wrong.

No more bleating about what President Clinton did to the economy and a White House intern and didn't do to Osama bin Laden.


I took in my flag today.

posted by georg at 11/03/2004 01:08:00 PM

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I'm not feeling very patriotic or happy today. I'm probably going to have to change the "Defend America Defeat Bush" to a more appropriate bumper sticker that says something like "F**K BUSH" but that may be too mild. I have to take off the other bumper sticker now too- it said, "We support our troops, just not the current unelected White House occupant." I'll have to find something with just "We support our troops" on it. They need all the help they can get.

I cannot resist sharing a poem I grew up with. It is found in the book, "Poems for the John" by Jackie Kannon published in 1960.

The election is over, the result is known.
The will of the people is clearly shown.
Let's forget our quarrels and show by our deeds-
We'll give our leader all the help that he needs.
So let's all get together and let bitterness pass-
I'll hug your elephant, and you can kiss my donkey.

LauraThanks Teresa

posted by Jazz at 11/03/2004 01:04:00 PM

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Any regular reader knows that I've been highly critical of Teresa Hines Kerry and the effect she had on her husband's campaign. I've often wondered if the Bush team didn't think she was one of their biggest assets this year. Thanks to Jill of Brilliant at Breakfast, I was pointed to the Comedy Central election coverage blog. They "found" a thankyou note from Laura Bush to Teresa. Click on the image to check out their blog.



Alas, Tbogg, I feel your pain

posted by Jazz at 11/03/2004 11:50:00 AM

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Tbogg is a bit more angry than me. (Check out his photoshopped cover of Time magazine.)

I look at the big map and all of the red in flyover country and I feel like I've been locked in a room with the slow learners. We have become the country that pulls a dry cleaning bag over its head to play astronaut.

I think we're going to see a lot of that going around. I hope the discussion will get more productive after the anger and depression dies down. I'm trying to skip most of the stages of grieving for now, and head straight to acceptance. At least for now.

The Bull Moose Weighs In

posted by Jazz at 11/03/2004 11:00:00 AM

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In terms of post mortems, I don't think you'll do much better than the Bull Moose this morning. I felt a lot better after reading it. One salient portion:

It is becoming increasingly clear that the elephant has prevailed. The Moose comforts the donkey that the sun will still rise, seasons will change, babies will be born and life will go on. No need to check yourselves into the Betty Ford Depression Clinic.

Kerry ran a hard and admirable campaign. He endured the vicious and ferocious Republican swift boat attack with dignity. It is a stain on the honor of Republicans and the right wing punditry who promoted this vile smear on a man who risked his life and limb for country. John Kerry is an American patriot and hero.

The reality is that it was always going to be an uphill struggle to defeat a sitting commander in chief during wartime. The Moose would fault the Kerry campaign for never developing a compelling theme. When incumbents have been defeated in the recent past (Ford, Carter and Bush I), their challengers offered a distinct vision as well as a biting critique.


Post Mortem

posted by Jazz at 11/03/2004 08:55:00 AM

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While it is not technically over, it certainly is finished in every meaningful sense. I believe that Bush's current lead in Ohio is greater than the total number of provisional and absentee ballots waiting to be counted. I had hoped that whoever won this election would win with a clear mandate from the people by gaining a clean majority in the popular vote, and more than 300 in the electoral college. One out of two isn't bad, and I think Bush will finish with 286 in the EC, which is still substantial. Before this blog converts to a depressing parade of pet pictures and recipes for speedies, I think it's important to stop and take a look at what happened, what went wrong, and what this portends for the future.

DID BUSH WIN?

There will be questions from the segment of America that favors tin foil in their haberdashery, but I can't live in that world. Questions will be raised about how the exit polls could be so wrong, when they have traditionally been piercingly accurate, and why they went wrong in the states with the new electronic voting systems. I simply can not sign on for that. The votes have been counted, as far as I'm concerned. I desperately wanted Bush out of office, but I believe that he won a true majority of the popular vote - not just a plurality - a feat not accomplished by anyone since Reagan, who was arguably the most popular president in the last half century. Bush could have done better in the electoral college, but I am willing to accept 286 as a clear victory, if a close one.

I believe that Bush did win, and did so legitimately. Kerry needs to concede early today, simply to maintain his own dignity and to allow the democratic process to move forward.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

Frankly, nothing went wrong. The majority of Americans simply bought into what Bush was selling, succumbed to fear, and made their choice accordingly. I think Kerry's team fought a spirited campaign, he conveyed his message as well as he was able to, and he garnered a very respectable portion of both the popular and electoral votes. It simply wasn't enough, though. There has to be a winner and a loser in a contest like that, and Kerry is the loser.

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS

This is a perplexing question, both for me, personally, and for the country at large. We had a serious conversation last night, which is still ongoing, about the possibility of leaving the United States. One of the serious consequences of a second Bush term, aside from living four more years in an increasingly dangerous world because of this madman's policies, is what I view as a near certainty that this will set the stage for a Hillary Clinton presidency in 2008. It could be eight or even twelve years before we have a chance of getting a president who I could genuinely support.

Bush, unfettered by a need to be elected again and obviously not concerned about whatever legacy he may leave, seems clearly destined to affect the country and the world in a vast way. I expect to see wars begin on other fronts in the next few years. Death tolls will continue to rise, and the rest of the world will grow to distrust and despise us more deeply than they do now. Terrorist attacks will come as Bush's arrogance continues to infuriate the Muslim world and isolate us from our former allies and supporters. The President will probably be able to tip the Supreme Court, once and for all, to such a radically right wing stance that personal liberties and diversity in this country are going to be seriously endangered.

The economy has hard times ahead. Bush is hardly likely to suddenly become a fiscal conservative overnight. I have no idea how the next generation will pay off the massive deficit that we're going to leave them, but I wish them luck. As companies continue to ship jobs overseas without a president to keep them in check, the wealth gap between the very rich few and the increasingly poor many will grow more vast.

The environment will likely take the biggest hit. Bush dismisses any hard science that doesn't agree with his "vision" of the world. Environmental protection measures which have barely been sufficient will continue to be scrapped in favor of more industry-friendly policies. This president obviously has no incentive to move us away from an oil driven energy policy, so drilling will expand and true wilderness will continue to shrink.

From a personal perspective, the most glaring disaster is the effect this will have on the Republican party. The mandate which Bush received and the continued advances in the House and Senate will be touted by the neocon and theocon hawks as a complete validation of their ultraconservative views. Moderate voices in our party will be effectively silenced now. The lines of separation between church and state are going to continue to blur, and the civil rights of many Americans are going to be taking a back seat. I find it highly unlikely that I will be able to continue on with the GOP. I will take my time making that decision, though, as I don't want to rush into something that important.

I'd like to write something more cheerful about last night's election, but I can't find much sunshine through the current fog. Good luck to us all.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Map

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/02/2004 09:37:00 PM

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Congrats to the GOP

posted by Jazz at 11/02/2004 05:06:00 PM

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By e-mail. Fast update. From everything I'm seeing on CNN, etc. there has been very little in the way of voter challenging by Bush supporters in battleground states, and very little in the way of needless delay in voting. Well done. No matter who wins, if it is a clean election with a huge turnout of Americans voting, we are the winners. I think it bodes well for Kerry at this point, but regardless, if the mass majority of Americans vote and their votes are counted, it was a good election. So far, so good.

Spotty Posting

posted by Jazz at 11/02/2004 03:31:00 PM

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On the road, GOTV, etc. Posting will depend on travel, location, availability, etc. If I'm not posting, be sure to check out Ron at Middle Earth Journal and everyone else in my blogroll. Lots of good people from both sides of the aisle posting a lot on this election day. All I ask is that you do everything you can to get out the vote in the largest percentage possible.

GO! GO! GO!

posted by Jazz at 11/02/2004 03:28:00 PM

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According to CNN just now, we are on track to break Johnson's record in 1964 and possibly see 75% of the eligible voters in the country case a ballot today. If there is one thing that Karl Rove fears, it is a large turnout. If we hit 75% of possible voters, Bush will have unlimited time to spend on his ranch come January.

As Predicted

posted by Jazz at 11/02/2004 11:37:00 AM

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The Supremes have already stepped in, eager for any chance to swing things in Bush's direction. After an Ohio court rightly found that allowing Bush supporters to bog down the voting process at mostly minority polling places was in impediment to democracy, subsequent challenges were sent up to the Supreme Court. Echoing their wonderful attitude from Florida, 2000, of "anything to get George into the West Wing", the conservatives on the court declined to stop the Bushies from being allowed to pull off this stunt.

So, if you find yourself waiting in long lines in Ohio... hang in there. You'll get to the booth eventually. It's sad, but Bush holds a lot of the cards in this game, and we are unfortunately going to have to play the it at his table. This doesn't mean, however, that you can't still beat him.

Just Answer the Questions

posted by Jazz at 11/02/2004 11:02:00 AM

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Whenever I feel overly tense, anxious or upset (like I do on election day) I usually turn to the One True Tami for comfort. Take a look at these seven questions and her observations on them. (Hey, if nothing else it will help pass the time until the polls start closing and the results begin coming in.)

In Breslin's World

posted by Jazz at 11/02/2004 10:29:00 AM

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Hat Tip to Joe Gandelman for this column from sage pundit Jimmy Breslin. Very early in this election season, Breslin predicted that Kerry was not only going to win, but that he would win decisively. Now he appears more sure than ever- so sure, in fact, that he doesn't even plan on staying up to watch the election returns on television tonight.

"Now I am so sure that I am not even going to bother to watch the results tonight. I am going to bed early, for I must rise in the darkness and pursue immediately an exciting, overdue project. Besides, if I was up, so many people, upon seeing every word I said of this election coming true on television in front of them, would be kissing my hands and embarrassing me with outlandish praise. So I go to bed with total confidence. I will get up and stroll to other meadows."

You have to admire the man's hopeful spirit and confidence. I have no such feeling of assurance, but then again, Breslin has been around the block many more times than I. Let's hope that he's as prescient on this as he has been on other things in the past. Read the whole column. You'll likely have a smile on your face after you do.

What could have been

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/02/2004 09:27:00 AM

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I did my daily scan of the op-ed pages and found one commentary that said it all, E.J.Dionne's piece in the Washington Post. He talks about what could have been. George W. Bush could have had a landslide victory in a united country today.
Instead, the president is perilously close to defeat. The best he can hope for is a narrow victory that will leave the nation bitter, divided and angry. One of Bush's achievements will be exceptional voter turnout and a renewal of the idea that elections and political parties matter. The downside, for him at least, is that a large share of the country has been activated for the primary purpose of ending his presidency.
In the days after Sept. 11, Democrats put aside their suspicions of Bush and rallied to his side. "We will speak with one voice," Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle declared on that awful day. "All of us stand with the president," said Sen. Joe Biden. And stand with the president we all did.

For several months, Bush, too, stood above party. In assembling both a domestic and international coalition to wage war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the president put aside his critiques of unilateralism and "nation-building." As I wrote at the time -- yes, even I admired Bush that fall -- the president "grafted the language of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman to the martial rhythms of Ronald Reagan." He sought broad support, not narrow majorities, for the Afghan war and his emergency spending proposals.
Instead of building on that unity the neo-cons, theo-cons and neo-feudalists tried to take advantage of it.
But Bush interpreted his prodigious approval ratings not as an opportunity for something new but as a chance to push the same ideological agenda he was pursuing before Sept. 11. It was a chance to create a Republican majority in Congress in the 2002 elections. It was a chance to push through even more tax cuts, and never mind the deficits created by all that new spending. If the Senate, facing the 2002 elections, could be badgered into giving the president broad authority to wage war against Saddam Hussein, why not short-circuit a more searching debate and just grab the power? And if forcing an early Iraq vote put his potential 2004 opponents -- John Kerry, John Edwards, Dick Gephardt -- in a bind, why not seize that advantage, too?

It worked for a while. And should Bush squeeze out a narrow win, his supporters will no doubt claim a victory for the president's audacious style.

But the cost of such a victory will be paid off for many years -- perhaps for as long as we're paying off the debt.
So, even if Bush loses, and I think he will, we will all be losers. "A Country Divided Cannot Stand", and divided we will be after this election.


Cross Your Fingers and Toes

posted by Jazz at 11/02/2004 07:11:00 AM

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... and let's get ready to rumble. We were at the polls at fifteen minutes after six this morning. I was pleasantly surprised to see that, even though the polls had only opened minutes earlier, there were a dozen people signed in to vote ahead of us. Win or lose, I see a high turnout coming, even in our sleepy little corner of the world.

A note, particularly for Ohio voters... Given the latest turnaround by the courts, once again allowing Karl Rove's so-called "monitors" at primarily minority polling places, you may run into these Bush representatives challenging your right to vote. Even if they stall your attempt to vote, if you know that you are legitimately registered, you can still ask for a paper ballot. The election officials will be responsible for investigating your right to legally vote and then have your vote counted in the total. In most states they also have to notify you later that your vote was recorded.

Do not let these people shut down the process.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Go Watch it One More Time

posted by Jazz at 11/01/2004 08:26:00 PM

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Tomorrow is the day. I don't care if you like rap or not. Watch it.

Go get everyone you know to vote. They can't stay home. There's just too much riding on this one.

Oh Dear

posted by Jazz at 11/01/2004 07:15:00 PM

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Warning. This will make you smile (or spit) and I know many of you don't want to be happy on election eve.

From Red Hair, Black Leather.

Read at your own risk. I'm going to go clean my monitor.

Take the Pledge. Or Not, as you choose.

posted by Jazz at 11/01/2004 07:10:00 PM

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Jeff Jarvis has a pledge to support the president, whoever that is, after the election dust settles. He has a good comments section going on it, as usual. I desperately want to be able to do that, but I still have my doubts that we can get a clean election out of this. His words, though, and those of his readers, are worth a read.

Good News May Still Turn to Bad

posted by Jazz at 11/01/2004 05:14:00 PM

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I am reminded of a recent quote by the master, James Wolcott.

"But credit where credit is due. The skank can shift ass on a dime."

He was, of course, talking about Ann Coulter, but the same can certainly be said for Bush's Brain, the Evil Doctor Karl Rove. Earlier today, we reported that an Ohio judge had thrown out the Bushies' attempts to slow down the voting process and intimidate voters in largely minority precincts. The usual, frantic process of appeals is moving at light speed, as is the right of both parties. However, in an act that one veteran civil rights lawyer on the scene called "highly irregular," Rove has gotten John Ashcroft's Justice Department to try to intervene by writing a letter to the court pushing them to let the blatant vote suppression tactics go on.

"The Justice Department is not a party to the case. They have not filed a motion to intervene in the case or filed an amicus brief," Gerhardstein said. "They volunteered information that goes beyond any federal interest. It's startling to say that challengers can bring information to [the official] poll watchers. That presumes they will bring in outside information. If you are a poll watcher, how are you going to evaluate that information on the spot?" Gerhardstein wondered.

There is a lot of power in being the incumbent. You have the massive resources and influence of the entire Federal government at your disposal. Sensing defeat in the air, the Bush team is now moving like the dark forces of Mordor to bring every weapon to bear. If they can't win in a straight up election by the people, by God they'll find a way to stop all of these upstart citizens from voting.

Stay tuned. This one will be decided by morning. If they lose, I have a sick feeling that the Supremes will be woken up at 2 am to order Ohio to allow the Bush team to keep as many blacks from the polls as possible.

Al Qaeda as a political party

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/01/2004 04:50:00 PM

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Juan Cole has a post today on the Bush administration and how a Kerry administration will differ. Nothing that will be new to most of us here but buried in the middle is a paragraph on the aspirations of al-Qaeda and the real significance of Osama bin Laden's tape last week.
Al-Qaeda has ambitions beyond just blowing a few things up, no matter how horribly. It is now a cadre organization, that is, it consists of a few thousand committed fanatics. But it wants to be a political party. That is the significance of Bin Laden's most recent videotape. He is posing as a champion of "freedom" in the Muslim world (mainly freedom from US hegemony, but he maintains also freedom from authoritarian and corrupt regimes in the region backed by the US). Bin Laden is making a play not just to be a cult leader but to succeed to the position of Gamal Abdul Nasser as an anti-imperialist icon in the region. Ultimately al-Qaeda would like to get control of entire states, and merge them into an Islamic superstate, a new caliphate. It is a crackpot idea that will fail, but many crackpot ideas that fail (e.g. the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia) do a great deal of damage along the way.
We make a serious mistake if we think the "War on Terror" is simply a war against a bunch of "killers". Perhaps the real importance of having a Kerry administration is that there will be a realization that we are dealing with more than good vs evil or black vs white. We may live in a digital world but thinking digitally is very dangerous.

Why would you want this endorsement?

posted by Mu at 11/01/2004 04:50:00 PM

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For the past weekend the NRA has run a number of adds over the airwaves and as wrappers around the daily paper to endorse Albuquerque's republican candidate for congress. My question is, what did she deserve to get that? This is not the deep South; we don't have any gun rack pick-up driving NASCAR fans that need to be brought out to vote. This district is basically the city of Albuquerque, your typical Republican is found on the white collar site, and definitely doesn't want any more guns in the streets (at least not once he moves out into the more "dangerous" parts of town). And we already have a "concealed carry law". I mean, come on. Our local congresswoman has it hard enough, with being strictly pro Bush, anti abortion etc. And a low profile democratic challenger that is not as easily run over as the rich kid she faced in the last elections. The last thing she needs is an NRA endorsement that makes it clear to the last democrat (of which there are 55% in town) that that is really someone they don't like.


Political Thuggery in Vogue

posted by Jazz at 11/01/2004 04:46:00 PM

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Howell Raines has an incredible piece of commentary in the St. Petersburg Times on this election eve. He discusses "political thuggery" not in terms of partisans breaking windows, tearing up signs, or beating up dissenters, but instead looks at how political discourse between the parties and, as a subsequent effect, journalism's coverage of the dialogue, has deteriorated into a pathetic sludge. He offers well written comments on a number of areas, but there are two in particular which I'd like to quote.

First, he looks at journalism. The days of unbiased, respected journalism are numbered unless things change dramatically.

"JOURNALISM: Facts may not be entirely dead as shaping forces in American public life, but the vital signs are not good."

In its most triumphant period, the American press invented the postwar model of journalism that sought to be both fair and analytical and that was admired globally throughout the last half of the 20th century. Fox - and its enablers on the comedy news shows and among neoconservative intellectuals - have destroyed public trust in that traditional model.


Next, I would like to touch on his analysis of the evolution of the Bush family as a political powerhouse in a nation undergoing a theocratic highjacking.

THE BUSHES: My generation of political reporters bear some responsibility for this ethically bankrupt dynasty. We helped glorify big-city rogues like Richard Daley and urban icons like Rudy Giuliani as colorful character actors in the drama of democracy.

We treated George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, even Goldwater and Reagan as comic regional curiosities. We did not predict that their operatives - think of Lee Atwater as Exhibit A - would make their DNA the dominant strain in America's political gene pool.

Another reason that America's voters and journalists were lulled into underestimating the Bush threat was that it came from an unexpected source. We expected venality from buccaneers like the Kennedys or lurkers from the fringe like Nixon. Who could have guessed that such a proud, powerful know-nothing as George W. Bush would be a scion of the great Industrial Age fortunes and a graduate of our second oldest university?

This is an excellent piece, and well worth your time to read.

More Shameless Cross Posting

posted by Jazz at 11/01/2004 03:45:00 PM

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I've guest blogged an article over on Middle Earth Journal titled, "Fall From Grace." It deals with how winners and losers handle victory and defeat in presidential elections, and the effect that has on their legitimacy and their legacy. I would be most flattered if you read it.

Don't hold your breath, silly readers. There's still more than thirty hours to go.

36 Hours to Go

posted by Jazz at 11/01/2004 01:28:00 PM

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And it's a good time to remember... even in the midst of the "war on terror", George W. Bush has spent more time on vacation at his Crawford ranch than any previous president in our nation's history. He sure does love that ranch, doesn't he? And tomorrow you have the opportunity to give him a chance to spend lots more time there in the future.

Where Evil Meets Stupid

posted by Jazz at 11/01/2004 10:14:00 AM

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Take a look at Joshuah Bearman's account of how some Bush supporters spent their Sunday afternoon.

There were four of them, two men and two women, all carrying signs with similar social wedge issues. One of them, wearing ratty boots and a denim shorts and vest matching suit with a leopard skin collar, walked up and down the line, yelling "Vote for Kerry! support gay marriage!"

"What are a bunch of Republican staffers doing here on Sistrunk pretending to be gay?" I asked the one who seemed to be the ringleader.

"I know all about Polk street and the Castro, he said. "Stanford University. I'm from San Francisco, and I'm for gay marriage." He was wearing a yellow golf shirt, tucked into khaki chino shorts with a call phone clipped to his belt, the Republican uniform. "Our candidate, John Kerry, supports gay marriage, gay adoption, everything gay."

You have to wonder how much it pained an obvious group of homophobes like that to have to pretend to be something they despise, (homosexuals) in an effort to influence likely Kerry voters. It would have been a very interesting experiment, having these pictures, to find out who they were and publish their "gay" photos in their home town papers. The rest of the Klansmen would have likely given them a rough time about it at their next white sheet meeting.

Go read the entire article. The pictures alone are worth the click.

Ohio Justice Tells Karl Rove to Stick It.

posted by Jazz at 11/01/2004 09:34:00 AM

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This is some great news. (Hat Tip to Atrios.)

"A federal judge issued an order early Monday barring political party challengers from polling places throughout Ohio during Tuesday's election.

U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott found that the application of Ohio's statute allowing challengers at polling places is unconstitutional.

She said the presence of challengers inexperienced in the electoral process questioning voters about their eligibility would impede voting.

Dlott ruled on a lawsuit by a black Cincinnati couple who said Republican plans to deploy challengers to largely black precincts in Hamilton County was meant to intimidate and block black voters."


The way things are swinging, particularly when combined with the recent Zogby poll numbers about previously unreachable cell phone using young voters, I think this puts Kerry over the top in Ohio. Getting a massive number of Karl Rove's thugs out to slow down the voting process and intimidate minority voters was probably Bush's last chance to take Ohio cleanly. (Read: without going to the courts again.)

Bob Novak: Liar

posted by Jazz at 11/01/2004 08:36:00 AM

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Joe Gandelman brings us an update that makes me feel better. In Robert Novak's latest column, he indicated that John Zogby told him that he was revising his early prediction of a Kerry victory and calling the election for Bush. I found this very strange, as I just saw him on CNN this weekend and could have sworn he was still calling for a Kerry win with at least a ten point buffer in the electoral college. Turns out, I was right and Novak flat out lied about it.

"Zogby says he is still forecasting a Kerry win -- despite what the conservative columnist reported. Here's the complete, relevant section from Sidney Zion's column. Note how Novak made AN ASSUMPTION and ran with it...and note Zogby's reaction to it."

Joe has more on this. Check it out. Between this and his traitorous outing of Valerie Plame, how is it that people have not risen up as one and just slain this guy, if not at least tossing him in jail?

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Redskins lose

posted by georg at 10/31/2004 08:29:00 PM

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There's a superstition that says if the Redskins lose their last home game before election day, the incumbent party in Washington will be booted out. Normally, I'm not much of one for football or superstition, but with the lovely blowout they just experienced, I'm going to hope they continue this 15 years in a row tradition.

I'm seriously going to consider moving to Ireland if ConstipatedMonkeyface is elected. I simply fear for America and the safety of all Americans if he stays as president, and could not bear it. I dread what tricks he may pull to stay where he is. I'm still genuinely frightened that he may try some sort of shenanigans to have himself declared president or make the election void.

How can they say this stuff??????

posted by Ron Beasley at 10/31/2004 07:09:00 PM

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In 2000 the Portland Oregonian endorsed George W. Bush. In 2004 the Oregonian became one of the many papers that found it necessary to change horses and endorse John Kerry. I'm sure there was at least one dissenting voice in that decision, the Oregonian's own Bush shill, David Reinhard. In his op-ed today he tries to tell us why in this time of war we should vote for George Bush. I have read Reinhard for years and in fact have usually found myself in complete disagreement with him but today's column was just too much. I will pick out a few of the most absurd points he tries to make.
Bush has conducted himself through all this with consistency, persistence and courage. He's shown the hard virtues required of a war president and endured the abuse of the nation's smart set, the media and Hollywood glamoratti, with humility and grace.
Years ago, I worked for Ronald Reagan as a low-level political appointee, and I'm more proud of that fact with each passing year. But George Bush? Yes, I know so many people have an unbecoming hatred of the man, but I love the guy. This president has become a profile in Christian character.
He faces a man without two essentials in this time of war -- a strategy to win the war and, well, honor.
Let's take a look at this.
"Bush has conducted himself through all this with consistency, persistence and courage."So when is it a plus to be consistent and persistent when you're wrong and how is it courageous when you can't admit you were wrong?
"This president has become a profile in Christian Character". Excuse me, unlike many Christians I have actually read the Bible and the words of Christ. I don't think that Christ would look kindly on a man who needlessly sends over a 1000 Americans to their death in a war that is all about empire building; and let's not forget the 50-100 thousands of Iraqis who have died. There is evidence that Bush is losing support among the right wing Christian base.
"He faces a man [Kerry] without two essentials in this time of war -- a strategy to win the war and, well, honor." I guess Reinhard doesn't even read his own paper. Bush's strategy thus far has been to lose two wars through sheer incompetence, alienate the rest of the world at a time that we really need friends and become the greatest recruiting aide that al-Qaeda could have asked for. As for his comment that Kerry has no honor, that doesn't even deserve a rebuttal.
Reinhard hard has shown himself for what he is, a third rate David Brooks from the backwoods of Oregon. If you are truly into self abuse you can read the entire column here
Shamelessly cross posted at Middle Earth Journal
(edited only for minor spelling-Georg)

Zogby Polls the Missing Voters

posted by Jazz at 10/31/2004 04:20:00 PM

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Taking off soon for Halloween anti-Bush propaganda distribution, but I'm sure some guest bloggers will hold up the cause, or you can find plenty of other good sources in my blogroll tonight.

In the meantime, be sure to check out Zogby's finally concluded poll of those younger (18-29) voters who are only reachable by cell phone and computer. They're part of the digital generation and they are out there in massive numbers, not being pestered by traditional polling methods.

Kerry is slaying Bush in this category... 55 to 40. Nobody is polling these people, but only 1.2% of them are not planning to vote. (Yes, that's barely over one percent, not twelve.)

Regardless of traditional polls, I'm almost starting to believe that Kerry may take this in a blowout. Read the Zogby results and believe, but don't let it keep you home. Every vote needs to count if the Bushies don't intimidate or block it out.

Halloween Tricks

posted by Jazz at 10/31/2004 01:53:00 PM

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How much of an awful person will I be if I print out four hundred little letters and wrap them around all the candy bars I give out to the trick-or-treat kids tonight?

"Dear Mom and Dad, You are going to vote for John Kerry, aren't you? I don't want to grow up and inherit a country so deep in debt that my friends and I will never be able to pay it off. I want to have air that I can still breath when I'm raising children. And I don't want to be sent to Iraq to die ten years from now."

Am I that much of a horrible person?

I think I might be.

Taking Bush at His Word

posted by Ron Beasley at 10/31/2004 11:39:00 AM

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Middle Earth Journal is blessed with a resource that knows I would rather read Science Fiction than the Newspaper, Bill In DC. So Bill sends reads the papers and sends us links to the good stuff. Today's tip is this op-ed by Nicholas Kristof. He compares the words of George W. Bush in 2000 - 2003 with the reality of 2004. I'll give a couple of examples to wet your appetite.
Oct. 11, 2000: "If we're an arrogant nation, [foreigners] will resent us. If we're a humble nation but strong, they'll welcome us. ... We've got to be humble."

It's a good thing Mr. Bush tried to be humble, or the U.S. would have an approval rating even lower than 5 percent in Jordan, and Osama bin Laden's approval rating in Pakistan would be higher than 65 percent.

Nov. 5, 2003: "In the debate about the rights of the unborn, we are asked to broaden the circle of our moral concern. ... We're asked by our convictions and tradition and compassion to build a culture of life, and make this a more just and welcoming society."

Abortions declined in the U.S. in the Clinton years; the abortion rate dropped by 22 percent in the 1990's. But while data are incomplete, abortions appear to have increased sharply since Mr. Bush took office. Glen H. Stassen, a Christian pro-life theologian, estimates that 52,000 more abortions occurred in 2002 than would have been expected based on the previous trend. Professor Stassen attributes the rise in abortions in part to the troubled economy and concerns among pregnant women that they cannot afford to have babies.
There is a lot more, it's worth the read.


DeLay on the Hotplate?

posted by Jazz at 10/31/2004 10:51:00 AM

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I completely missed this story yesterday, but fortunately Ron picked it up at Middle Earth Journal. One of may favorite theocon targets, Tom "Da' Hammer" DeLay may be in more trouble than just his current legal investigation woes. Go read. And savor the moment.

Nader Resorts to Playing with Dolls

posted by Jazz at 10/31/2004 10:15:00 AM

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Mr. Left has the details. And a really nice photo of Ralph debating puppets. The man may have finally slipped over the edge into that long, slippery slope to senility.

Unfettered by Restraint

posted by Jazz at 10/31/2004 09:21:00 AM

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One chilling thing to remember as we prepare to head to the polls this Tuesday is the fact that everything that has happened during the first George W. Bush administration occurred while Bush and Cheney were forced to give consideration to their actions in light of their need to win a second term in office. Even with that shadow of public judgment hanging over them we have seen:

- A complete dismantling of the E.P.A. (If you've never read that, you should.)
- Environmental protections years in the making were immediately scrapped.
- We launched a preemptive war on a sovereign nation which had not attacked us.
- We have run up a crippling deficit and national debt with no plan to pay for it

The list goes on. And all of this was done when Bush ostensibly still had to give some consideration as to whether or not people would accept his choices and elect him to a second term. As Dave Rossie said this morning:

The Bush administration was installed four years ago by the aforementioned Supreme Court, following a tainted Florida vote count. Bush lost in the popular election by more than a half-million votes. He lacked a mandate. He even lacked legitimacy. Whatever restraint his administration has exercised was dictated by the need to be re-elected four years later.

If Cheney, Bush and Rove win this time, there will be no need for restraint in any endeavor.

Think about it before you vote.


Well said, Dave. Food for thought indeed.

Primal Fear: Kathleen Parker Fesses Up

posted by Jazz at 10/31/2004 08:56:00 AM

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One of the chief complaints against the Bush campaign strategy is that, failing to make a solid case for the President's domestic record, or to sell the validity of the Iraq invasion, they have resorted to a campaign of fear. The theory seems to be that if they can keep America frightened of whatever terrors await us beyond our borders, we will run back to the arms of "daddy" to keep us safe. Two days before the election, columnist and staunch Bush supporter Kathleen Parker gives up any pretense of trying to paint Bush as the better candidate, and joins in the fear pandering brigade.

"Whichever way the election goes, one thing is true: The wolves are out there and they are circling. While we're enjoying the privilege of determining our own fate, we might recall that we weren't afraid on Sept. 10, 2001. When the wolves are circling, it sometimes makes sense to think like a wolf. At such times, primitive fear may be the only rational response."

I don't know about you, but I don't respond well to threats. They tend to make me angry, and like the obstinate ass that I am, I just push back all the harder. Kerry is nothing to write home about, but I am convinced beyond any question that George W. Bush is the greatest threat to world peace and the future of this country that we have ever seen. Kerry will get my vote on Tuesday and I hope we, as a country, can find the strength to throw off fear and pig headed determination to "stay the course" as we head towards a cliff.

By the Numbers

posted by Jazz at 10/31/2004 08:48:00 AM

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Stolen in whole cloth from Mary Pat Hyland.

Here are a few things to recall before you vote for president on Tuesday:

* Aug. 6, 2001: The date the president received his daily brief memo (titled "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike US") that said "F.B.I. information ... indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."

* 30 days: The length of the president's vacation that summer, begun Aug. 4 -- around 6 1/2 months after he took office.

* 3,000: The approximate number of people killed Sept. 11 -- a week after his vacation ended.

* 0: The amount of "credible evidence" that Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaida target the United States found by the 9/11 Commission.

* 16 words: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." -- spoken by President Bush, 2003 State of the Union Address to drum up support for war with Iraq.

* 8: The number of days between Joseph Wilson's Op-Ed in the New York Times that questioned those 16 words (the CIA sent him to Niger to investigate on behalf of Vice President Cheney's staff -- he found no such evidence) and Robert Novak's column outing Wilson's wife as a CIA operative. (Novak says he was tipped off by a "senior administration official" who is "no partisan gunslinger.")

* 0: How many senior administration officials (or "gunslingers" like Novak) have been charged with treason.

* More than $11 billion: The value of no-bid contracts Halliburton (the company formerly headed by Dick Cheney) and its subsidiaries were given in Iraq.

* 85 percent: The percent of U.S. troops in the Coalition of the Willing that invaded Iraq.

* 972: As of Oct. 28, the U.S. casualties in Iraq since May 1, 2003 -- the date President Bush appeared on the USS Abraham Lincoln under a "Mission Accomplished" sign. There have been 1,111 since the war began.

* 5: How many months after the war started before the Department of Defense sought cuts in combat pay.

* More than $142 billion: The cost to date of the war in Iraq (According to the National Priorities Project).

* More than 85 million: How many children NPP says could receive health insurance with that money.

* 2,931,000: How many jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics (March 2004) says were lost in the private sector under Bush's first term.

* 2,447,000: How many people it also says became unemployed since January 2001.

* $8,000 less: What the U.S. Conference of Mayors says the average new job created during 2004-2005 will pay (a salary of $35,091) compared to those lost between 2001-2003.

* 53 percent: How much of Bush's tax cuts went to the highest-earning 10 percent of individuals and families.

* $413 billion: The federal deficit for 2004.

* $135 billion: The amount over what Congress was told ($400 billion) that the Medicare package rushed through by the Bush administration would cost.

* 45 million: The number of Americans without health care coverage.

* 50 percent: How much average out-of-pocket health care costs have risen for workers under Bush.

* $1.63/$2.16: The average prices per gallon New Yorkers paid for regular gasoline in September 2000/last week.

* 5 percent: The percent of the 20,000 shipping containers inspected that come into U.S. ports each day.

* 1: How many votes George Bush won by in 2000 (as in the 5-4 Supreme Court decision).

* 60.9 percent: A survey of voting records by Catholic senators was done to see whose votes most reflected priorities framed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Senators were ranked on how they voted on issues from low-income housing to worker's rights to war and abortion. This was the highest score -- given to Sen. John Kerry.

* Osama bin Laden: Still free.