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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Keeping Track of Voting Irregularities

eRiposte offers the website's most comprehensive vote watch website. They update daily, God bless 'em.



Saturday, October 30, 2004

Powerline Blog: Destroying Careers For Partisan Gain

I've corresponded with the Star-Tribune pollster Ron Daves in the past while taking a masters-level statistics course. I inquired about the methodology of the Star-Tribune poll, and Daves was gracious enough to answer all of my questions and provide me with a greater understanding of the polling process. I was impressed with his professionalism and devotion to his career. Because of this experience, I was angered to see him dragged through the mud for political gain.

Scott W. Johnson, a TCF vice president and attorney, has been part of a concerted effort on the part of Bush partisans to silence the Minnesota Poll/have the pollster fired. Johnson and his cohorts claim that the poll unfairly favours Democrats, and cite past election results to support their claims. That's fair enough. What angers me is that they want the pollster to resign, or at the very least, to have the poll cancelled until after the election. Predictably, they prefer an ad hominem attack rather than debating the merits of different types of polling.

Johnson writes,

"In his conversations with me Daves has generally referred to the accepted social science research that supports the Minnesota poll methodology. Even if the poll's theoretical underpinnings are sound, however, the evidence of actual election results strongly suggests that the poll errs in practice, consistently, in favor of the Democrats by about five to seven points. It is past time that the Star Tribune is called to account".

Could there be any bias on the part of the Star Tribune? Johnson is perfectly entitled to call this into question. Does he have any compelling evidence as such? Not according to any statistician I've spoken to. In any event, what more can he expect than transparency and an explanation? A true scientist would never change methodolgy due to political pressure. I don't object to criticizing Daves or the Minnesota poll, but attempting to shut it down or get Daves fired is beyond the pale.

Those who believe in science would look at all the different types of polls conducted in past political campaigns, perform a comprehensive meta-analysis, and determine which approach is the most accurate based upon historical results. Johnson doesn't believe in science, or at the very least, doesn't believe it should be the primary standard for evaluating polls. He wants results favorable to republicans, and he wants them now, whether they're scientifically valid or not. This objective is worth destroying a reputation and career. The end justifies the means. Johnson's own correspondence with Daves gives him away.

Remember The Polls Last Time?

The Angry Liberal does.

Check this out.

On October 27th, 2000, the Gallup Poll showed Bush with a 13 point advantage.

Marco the Physicist comments,

A sample size of 851 gives an MoE of about 3.43%. This represents 1.96 standard deviations from the mean. That means the standard deviation is about 1.74%.

The probability of the Bush number being off by 3.63% is 0.01897 (about 1 in 52). This is improbable, but not implausible.

The probability of the Gore number being off by 8.89% is 1.858 x 10^-7 (about 1 in 5,381,477), which is implausible. The fact that Gallup was consistently wrong coupled with the fact that it was consistently wrong in favor of Bush says one thing: their polling is severely flawed.

If the votes are counted accurately, it should be a Kerry landslide. I'm not the only one who doubts they will be. If the election is close, it will be decided in court. We can let it happen. Get out the vote!

Friday, October 29, 2004

If You're Looking For "Where Did The Explosives Come From"...

Scroll Down. I've been busy.

If you're looking for The Poutine Diaries...

Click Here

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Damning Indictment, Twice Confirmed

The President has been rocked back on his heels in the past few days by allegations of negligence regarding the disappearance of hundreds of tons of explosive material in Iraq. Bush has criticized Kerry for his "wild accusations", and his campaign has argued that the explosives could have been removed prior to the war.

Within the last 24 hours, the Kerry campaign has been proven correct by two sources, the first of which I mentioned earlier today, and now...

ABC News on Thursday showed video that appeared to confirm that explosives that went missing in Iraq did not disappear until after the United States had taken control of the facility where they were stored.

Read The Reuters Article

As a result of their plan A falling through ( deny,distort), it's time for plan B: Blame the troops.

Enter Rudy Guliani,who showed us this morning on the Today show exactly where the buck stops for this administration. He said:

No matter how you try to blame it on the president, the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough? Didn't they search carefully enough?

Read The Whole Article

It's impossible for them to take any responsibility for the war.

As John Stewart said minutes ago on the Daily Show, "Finally, A politician with the courage to support the war and blame the soldiers".

Lists of Prominent Moderate Republican Defectors

Will the last moderate republican to defect to the Kerry campaign please turn off the lights?

In recent days, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has printed a series of open letters from prominent republicans who feel they cannot, in good conscience, vote for Bush.

The dkosopedia has a collection of republican defector lists. Some notables are:

Lee Iacocca, former Chrysler Chairman -- June 25
Russell E. Train
, EPA chief under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford -- Jul. '04
Pete McCloskey, former Republican Representative from California -- Sept. 8
Elmer L. Andersen, former Republican Governor of Minnesota (1961-63) -- Oct. 13
William Milliken, former Republican Governor of Michigan (1969-82) -- Oct. 18
Peter Gillette, former Republican Commissioner of Trade for Minnesota (1991-95) -- Oct. 20
Steve Chapman, conservative syndicated columnist, Chicago Tribune -- Oct. 24
Andrew Sullivan, conservative columnist, former editor of The New Republic -- Oct. 26 (on Jul. 25 he announced he wouldn't vote for Bush)
Jack Bogle Founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund.
David Durenberger, former Senator from Minnesota (1978-95) -- Oct. 27 (endorsing Kerry health plan over Bush's)

Even Independence Party mascot, former MN Governor Jesse Ventura will not vote for Bush.
Where did the al QaQaa Explosives Come From?

The current debate on the al QaQaa has centered around when the explosives were looted. As far as I'm concerned, that debate is over. Josh Marshall of talkingpointsmemo has covered that better than anyone. Please read him.

Even so, this story is just beginning to develop. The most astouding new report is an exclusive from Minneapolis news channel KSTP, who had an embedded reporter on the scene.

In one bunker, there were boxes marked with the name "Al Qaqaa", the munitions plant where tons of explosives allegedly went missing.

Once the doors to the bunkers were opened, they weren't secured. They were left open when the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew and the military went back to their base.

Read This Story, Please!

Unbelieveable! We knew there were massive stockpiles of weapons, yet we left them open for looters.

This is far more than further proof that the war is run by backseat drivers and nobody is at the wheel. Consider this photo from the KSTP article:

Don't you find it interesting that the Iraqis chose to label their explosives in English?

That got me thinking...Where did those weapons come from? I typed in the source code listed on the boxes (CNMR 8702)in several databases, and I found a match on a Defense Logistics Information Service web page. The Defense Logistics Information Service

The results seem to indicate that these explosives originated in the United States. One could assume that these munitions were originally sold to the Iraqis during the Iran/Iraq war. Now, in all likelihood, they're being used by insurgents to blow up troops in Iraq. How could we let this happen?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Bride of Frankenberry

As a left-of center blogger completely absorbed with Iraq and the Bush Administration as of late, I realize I've neglected to tend to other societal ills, such as sexism. It's time to step back and take a look at the big picture. A recent essay by noted social commentator Dave Barry (forwarded to me by Allyn)has helped me to do so. I'd like to share it with you, brothers and sisters.


...But Mr. Phillips did not write to me about Latin. He wrote to me about a troubling thing he has noticed; namely - and here I will quote Mr. Phillips, using his own words - "the complete male domination of the breakfast-cereal cartoon-spokescharacter world."
And he's right. Think about the characters representing your major cereal brands: Cap'n Crunch. Tony the Tiger. The Quaker Oats Quaker man, Toucan Sam. Count Chocula. Frankenberry. Lucky the Leprechaun. Snap, Crackle, and - yes - Pop. The Kellogg's rooster. The Trix Rabbit. All males!

Read The Full Essay
More On The El QuaQa '300 Tons of Missing Weapons' Scandal...

Josh Marshall from Talking Points Memo also takes on the veracity of the MSNBC/Administration "They were gone when we got there" excuse:

Read it Here!

The Bush Administration told us that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction, and then couldn't find them, now we know that there were, but they've lost them. It doesn't matter what type of bread you use, it's still a shit sandwich.
How To Know When Drudge Is Lying

Matt Drudge, author of the famous Drudge Report, is the blogger who broke the Lewinsky scandal during the Clinton presidency. Drudge's gossip/news site is often ground zero for news leaked to the press by the administration.

The blogosphere has become the de facto test market for media spin; they try it out here before attempting it in the major media outlets. This naturally has made Drudge quite powerful; a powerful, ridiculous tool of the administration feigning objectivity with the best of 'em. Reading the drudge report today is a great way to find out what will be on Fox, MSNBC, and CNN tomorrow.

Here's how you can tell when this pseudo-journalist is full of it:

Pay attention to the sources. When Druge is telling the truth,(a rarity), or feigning objectivity, he links to an actual article. When he's lying or spinning, he omits hyperlinks and instead summarizes in his officious "exclusive reports".

For example, he reported today on the missing stockpiles of weapons:

But tonight, NBCNEWS reported: The 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives were already missing back in April 10, 2003 -- when U.S. troops arrived at the installation south of Baghdad!

An NBCNEWS crew embedded with troops moved in to secure the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility on April 10, 2003, one day after the liberation of Iraq.

According to NBCNEWS, the HMX and RDX explosives were already missing when the American troops arrived.

"The U.S. Army was at the site one day after the liberation and the weapons were already gone," a top Republican blasted from Washington late Monday.

Here's the Druge account

Most of the article is devoted to painting a picture of the Kerry campaign using this report as a cynical campaign strategy. The Drudge Report would like you to think that this is an October Surprise coordinated by Kerry and UNSCOM.

What Drudge omits is that there is substantial proof that the opposite is occurring. NBC and the Bush Administration are teaming up to discredit the UNSCOM officials, including Charles Duelfer.

Consider this from the Washington Post:

In satellite photos of the Qaqaa site taken in November 2003 and shown to The Washington Post on Monday by senior U.N. officials, signs of damage from previous U.S. bombing campaigns and looting were evident. But the facilities that stored HMX and RDX were still largely intact, according to the officials.

Here is the full WP Article:

So the question comes down to credible sources. Drudge's approach to this story reveals the obfuscatory tactic. Summarize, paraphrase, omit crucial facts, quote the administration as if they were authorative rather than political, and above all, avoid hyperlinking so that people don't read the full articles and make up their own minds.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Kerry Bombshell That Won't Explode

The news story that powerlineblog and others had claimed would be so damaging to John Kerry has been printed in the Washington Times today.

My reaction is pity; I truly pity these poor deluded folks. In a nutshell, here's the content of the article:

The Washington Times, a right wing mag owned by the Moonies, is on a major fishing expedition. They need to discredit John Kerry, and here is the best they can come up with:

They quote Kerry on the campaign trail:

This president hasn't listened. I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them, to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable,

Apparently, John Kerry exaggerated. He didn't talk to all the members of the security council.

According to French ambassador John-David Levitte, John Kerry didn't meet with every member of the security council, "only some of them". This "some of them" includes France and Great Britain. It does not, however, include Columbia and Bulgaria.

Of course, Powerlineblog and the Washington Times claim this is proof that Kerry is a liar. He didn't meet with every member of the security council.

Any graduate of 10th grade civics would know that there are temporary and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. The permanent members of the security council are the United States, China, Russia, France and Great Britain. The article confirms that Kerry definitely met with France and Great Britain. It neither confirms or denies that Kerry met with Russia or China. It's possible Kerry met with all five permanent members of the security council.

A reasonable explanation would be that Kerry talked to the five permanent members--the only members with any real power to sway the course of events--and didn't waste his time talking to Cameroon and Columbia. On the campaign, he talked in verbal shorthand.

Let's assume, though, that the Washington Post wrote a "fair and balanced" article. The worst we could conclude is that Kerry went to the U.N. and only spoke to representatives of four other nations. Afterwards, he exaggerated, claiming he had spoken to fourteen. What does this incident reveal? For the Washington Post, this is proof that Kerry is deceptive.

Now let's imagine, for a second, that he actually had met with every nation on the security council--then they would be claiming he was handing over our sovergnity to foreign nations, and claiming our foreign policy was written in a Paris commune.

Like powerlineblog, they know Bush won't win on his economic policy or his foreign policy, because they're both disasters. Therefore, their only hope is that they can discredit Kerry enough that people will be too dispirited to vote for the "lesser of two evils".

Nice try, boys. The fact that this is the best you can come up with is pathetic. President Bush has turned a massive surplus into defecits as far as the eye can see; he has sent men needlessly to their deaths under false pretense; he has restricted civil liberties and men are tortured in our prisons while hidden from the red cross.

And the best you guys can come up with is that Kerry didn't meet with Columbia and Cameroon?

The next four years are going to be a living hell for you.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Get Ready for the October Surprise

The right-wing blogs, led by powerlineblog, are a titterin' with rumours of a "tip" that the Washington Times will be publishing a story on Monday that will be devastating to the foreign-policy reputation of John Kerry.

I predict this will be much ado about nothing.

I'm ready to be underwhelmed. First of all, the Washington Times is an unabashedly right-wing newspaper owned by the moonies, and secondly, Kerry has been tarred and feathered by the right almost as much as Hillary Clinton. People are tired of it, and question the veracity of the mud-slingers.

This internet rumour is like lifesaver candies tossed to drowning men. It may have resonance for Bush partisans, but most Americans would like to see the Bush campaign tout accomplishments rather than engage in partisan politics. Gee, I wonder why they don't do that?

Friday, October 22, 2004

Mr. Pax Goes To Washington

The Guardian Newspaper published a fascinating series of essays by the famous Baghdad Blogger, Salam Pax. Mr. Pax, at great personal risk,travelled to Washington last week searching for answers about the Iraq War. In his essays, he writes about meeting with David Kay, a CIA analyst, and an American solder:

You have no idea how strange it feels that we share so much in common. When I told him I would never actually approach an American soldier on the street in Baghdad, he told me that if we were in Baghdad he would probably be talking to me with his gun pointing at me because he would be scared shitless. Yet there we sat, drinking beers together.

We exchange stories about how badly both of us are dealing with sounds of things popping. He tells me he will never again go to a July 4 celebration because of the fireworks, and I tell him how I got laughed at when I ducked and ran after a car backfired near me in London.,2763,1332810,00.html


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Please Read My Other Blog

It's not all politics, I promise.

The Poutine Diaries

Coming Soon: The Conspirator's Den. Keep reading here to stay posted.
False Images, False Reality

Remember those images from Al Quaeda training camps in Afghanistan you saw on 60 minutes? You know, the ones they played over and over again on T.V. on all the news shows? Turns out they were provided to CBS by Jonathan Idema, the man who was convicted for running a private Abu Graib-style prison in Afghanistan, and even at the time, Special Forces experts considered them to be bogus.

An article by Stacy Sullivan Keith Idema's Operation Desert Fraud is compelling reading. Read It! (scroll down past the Bosox post)

Keith Idema sold a gullible media the information they craved, and they never mentioned the many doubts regarding the credibility of the source.

The same can be said of Iyad Allawi, the current president of Iraq, who, along with the Iraqi National Congress and Ahmed Chalabi, provided the Bush Administration with the bogus WMD claims that provided the Bush Administration with the justification for launching a premptive war for the first time in our nation's history.

Gullible Dupes or Partisan Hacks, you be the judge!

How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?

None. There’s nothing wrong with that light bulb. There is no need to change anything. We made the right decision and nothing has happened to change our minds. People who criticize this light bulb now, just because it doesn’t work anymore, supported us when we first screwed it in, and when these flip-floppers insist on saying that it is burned out, they are merely giving aid and encouragement to the Forces of Darkness.

-- John Cleese
The Vote Fraud Lowdown

We need a modern Paul Revere to signal the alarm. Without a doubt, our basic democratic priniples are at stake in this election. While there are some accounts of voter fraud involving democrats, the preponderance of evidence points to a systematic, nationwide effort to dienfranchise voters. We know this because of the strenuous protests of prominent republicans, who have distanced themselves from the disgusting tactics of Bush's re-election campaign.

You don't have to believe me...Consider the evidence, and if you draw the same conclusion, take action!

Voter Registration Fraud Clearinghouse
Vote Watch 2004

Dueling Banjos, Anyone?

One thing I like best about my country is that the U.S.A. is an assimilatory nation. Successive waves of immigration have rejuvinated our culture and created an open society that seeks pragmatic answers from all corners of the globe--at least in theory.

Citing the U.S. Constitution's advocacy of a "decent respect for the opinions of mankind", The Guardian Newspaper launced a unique mailing campaign in order to give its readers in the U.K. the opportunity to write personal letters to U.S. citizens in Clark County, Ohio ( a crucial county in a swing state) in order to express their opinions to eligible voters. Readers were asked to explain to their U.S. counterparts why the election matters to them and what issues they think ought to matter to the U.S. electorate.

While I tend to eschew regional stereotypes, having suffered myself after the release of the Cohen Brothers masterpiece, Fargo, I couldn't help but cringe at some of the responses written by residents of the Buckeye state.

In an article entitled "Dear Limey Assholes: Clark County Responds", the Guardian prints out several dozen responses from these enlightened residents of Ohio (names omitted). Here is my favourite:

Have you not noticed that Americans don't give two shits what Europeans think of us? Each email someone gets from some arrogant Brit telling us why to NOT vote for George Bush is going to backfire, you stupid, yellow-toothed pansies ... I don't give a rat's ass if our election is going to have an effect on your worthless little life. I really don't. If you want to have a meaningful election in your crappy little island full of shitty food and yellow teeth, then maybe you should try not to sell your sovereignty out to Brussels and Berlin, dipshit. Oh, yeah - and brush your goddamned teeth, you filthy animals.
Wading River, NY

Read The Letters


Monday, October 18, 2004

Lesbians Vs. Liars

Media Matters For America has an interesting analysis of media coverage of the Presidential Debate. It turns out that Kerry's comment about Mary Cheney's sexual orientation received far more coverage than Bush's false claim, ""I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden". There are two things we know for sure: Someone is a lesbian, and someone is a liar.

The question that remains is "how do we respond to this"?

The response of the media talking heads says more about them than it does about the taciturn Mary Cheney. David Brock writes,

In the five days since the third presidential debate, conservatives in the media have drawn comparisons between Senator John Kerry's reference to Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter, Mary Cheney, as a lesbian and hypothetical statements about abortion, adultery, alcoholism, and obesity.

To them, being gay is a crime. To call someone a homosexual is considered an insult. To lie to the American people and send over a thousand soldiers to die in the desert: leadership. It's time for Mary Cheney to turn from the Republican party and join the mainstream: Lesbians vs. Liars.


Bombs Away!

Here's a list of the countries that the U.S. has bombed since
the end of World War II, compiled by historian William Blum:
China 1945-46
Korea 1950-53
China 1950-53
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959-60
Guatemala 1960
Congo 1964
Peru 1965
Laos 1964-73
Vietnam 1961-73
Cambodia 1969-70
Guatemala 1967-69
Grenada 1983
Libya 1986
El Salvador 1980s
Nicaragua 1980s
Panama 1989
Iraq 1991-99
Sudan 1998
Afghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia 1999
According to Blum, "In none of these cases did a democratic
government, respectful of human rights, occur as a direct result."


Friday, October 15, 2004

Bush Vs. The Bush School of Government at Texas A & M

If 700 scholars from the nation's top university scream, will anyone hear them? No, if the U.S. corporate media have anything to say about it. Read this article and consider whether this is more newsworthy than Cheney's daughter.

Here is what the news report said:

The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has been the “most misguided” policy since the Vietnam War, according to an open letter signed by some 500 (now 700) U.S. national-security specialists...

“We’re advising the administration, which is already in a deep hole, to stop digging,” said Prof. Barry Posen, the Ford International Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (news - web sites) (MIT), one of the organizers of S3FP which includes some of the most eminent U.S. experts on both national-security policy and on the Middle East and the Arab world.

Among the signers are six of the last seven presidents of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and professors teach in more than 150 colleges and universities in 40 states.

Besides Posen, the main organizers included Stanley Kaufman of the University of Delaware; Michael Brown, director of Security Studies at Georgetown University; Michael Desch, who holds the Robert M. Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security Decision-Making at the Bush School of government at Texas A & M University; and Jessica Stern, at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, who also served in a senior counter-terrorism post in the National Security Council during the Clinton administration.

It appears the only people who actually believe in the Bush Administration's misguided Iraq policy are within the administration. If you can't get your own schools to support you, who will?



Thursday, October 14, 2004

Dude, Who Stole My Religion?

It would be so much easier to be a fundamentalist. To have some Ayatollah or Jerry Falwell dictate what I should think would make this election much, much easier.

A Time magazine poll in June found that 73 percent of Catholics said Kerry should not be denied Communion. And nearly that many said the Catholic Church should not try to influence the positions of Catholic politicians. Similar results have turned up in other independent polls and in a recent poll conducted by Catholics for a Free Choice.

"It seems to be very political that these bishops have singled out John Kerry," said Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pittsburgh and one of three signers who oppose abortion rights. "What about pro-choice Republicans? Is (New York Mayor) George Pataki not welcome to receive Communion? Is Tom Ridge not welcome?"

Ridge's bishop in Erie, Pa., barred him from speaking at Catholic events in that diocese when Ridge was Pennsylvania's governor. But Ridge, now Bush's homeland security secretary, was not forbidden from receiving Communion.

Other Democrats say the church could hurt itself by focusing so narrowly on abortion.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., recently produced a scorecard analyzing Catholic senators on positions taken by the Catholic bishops conference. The scorecard looked at environmental, labor and foreign policy as well as abortion. Kerry received the highest score, while most Republicans came in lower.

A small handful of Pro-Bush Catholic Bishops and partisan attack dogs in league with the Swift Boat Veterans for Complete Bull**it have attempted to paint themselves as representatives of Catholicism at large, even though both the vatican and the vast majority of catholics disagree with their extremist campaign.

Who is calling the shots, theologically speaking, for mainstream Christianity today? Judging from news and television coverage of Christianity and from what I've inferred from quasi-religious claptrap like 7th heaven, the only social issues Christians today take into account are abortion and safeguarding the virginity of teenage daughters. What happened to those nuns that used to hold signs up in front of Honeywell protesting their production of landmines?

Quote Source:


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Harvard Business School Vs. President Bush

Tonight the president will claim that the economy is on the road to recovery after the Clinton-initiated recession and the Attacks of Sept. 11th. John Kerry will remind him that he's presided over the first net loss of jobs since Herbert Hoover.Of course, those who support our dear leader will take Kerry's comment with a grain of salt, just as I will with any claim Bush makes.

Just as Bush ignored and dismissed the assessments of generals like Shinseki, he dissmisses and ignores the advice of the world's top economists. In one of the most egregiously under-reported articles of the campaign season, 56 members of the Harvard Business School faculty and 113 other professors from the nation's top universities sent an open letter to the president regarding his economic policies. The opening paragraph is stunning:

As professors of economics and business, we are concerned that U.S. economic policy has taken a dangerous turn under your stewardship. Nearly every major economic indicator has deteriorated since you took office in January 2001. Real GDP growth during your term is the lowest of any presidential term in recent memory. Total non-farm employment has contracted and the unemployment rate has increased. Bankruptcies are up sharply, as is our dependence on foreign capital to finance an exploding current account deficit. All three major stock indexes are lower now than at the time of your inauguration. The percentage of Americans in poverty has increased, real median income has declined, and income inequality has grown.

Read The Open Letter

Bush: Out of touch with the reality in Iraq, out of touch with reality at home.
Don't take my word for it--ask the nation's top economists.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

So They Stole Your Lawn Sign...

Passions are high this October, and there has been an epidemic of campaign lawn sign theft.

Because the crime is so widespread, quantifying the amount of lawnsign vandalism is impossible. My suspicion, however, is that more Kerry supporters are victims of such crimes.

My reasoning is as follows: 1) The Republican party benefits the most from low voter turnout. 2) A keyword google search for "Kerry" + "lawn sign" + "theft" yields more hits than "Bush" + "lawn sign" + "theft". 3) Republicans pack heat.

In any event, it doesn't really matter. There should be no sign theft by anyone, period. Everyone has a right to their opinion, and sign thieves of every political persuasion are an affront to our democracy.

Here are three ways to safeguard your lawn sign:

1. The doggie-doo barricade: Let their crimes stink to high heaven--and stain their carpet.
2. Coat your sign with bacon grease, or any other staining, greasy substance.
3. Poison Ivy makes a lovely decorative garnish ( I got that from Martha Stewart--she's gone mean in the hoosegow).


Monday, October 11, 2004

So Long, Superman

This is the stuff of a true hero: refusing to be a victim or a cautionary tale; finding a vision, a reason for hope; seeing yourself as someone who can make a positive change in the world for others; raging against the dying of the light.

"Before him there was really no hope. If you had a spinal cord injury like his there was not much that could be done, but he's changed all that. He's demonstrated that there is hope and that there are things that can be done."

Dr. John McDonald referring to Christopher Reeves


Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Eric Black: Significant Memory Lapse?

In today's Star-Tribune, Eric Black writes, (in a news article, not an editorial, I might add),

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, changed everything. They made Bush into a war president, a symbol of a new national unity to do whatever it took to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent future attacks. For many of his supporters, the fact that no subsequent terrorist attacks have occurred on U.S. soil is a prime reason Bush deserves reelection.

Ahem, Eric. No terrorist attacks? Wasn't there an Antrax Mailer? Wasn't there a D.C. Beltway sniper? Wasn't there even a pipe bomber from Pine River? Weren't they terrorists?

It isn't hard to believe that Cheney and Bush would lie about this, but repeating it as a fact is a mistake.

At least four terrorist attacks have taken place within the United States while Bush has been in office. Do you remember the D.C. Beltway Sniper? Do you remember the Antrax Mailer? Do you remember the Pine River Pipe Bomber?

When Bush tells you no subsequent attacks have taken place, he's lying. When Cheney says it, he's lying.

I've written to Eric Black to ask for clarification...Please do the same! His email is:

If he writes back, I'll print his explanation...or retraction.

"He cannot think properly." - Nelson Mandela, talking about George W. Bush.

A Day In The Life of Joe Republican

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised...

Read The Full Story

This humorous story a friend emailed provides an historical context to the much-maligned influence of liberalism in our society. So many of the benefits in American that we now take for granted were paid for, often in blood, by the efforts of labour unions, environmentalists, and grassroots agitators.


Saturday, October 09, 2004

Worse Than Nixon On The Environment

From the Sierra Club's Analysis of Bush's "Clear Skies" Initiative:

Mercury is a dangerous toxin that threatens people and wildlife as a pollutant from coal-fired power plants. The EPA estimates that enforcement of existing toxic air pollution protections in the Clean Air Act will limit mercury pollution to 5 tons per year by 2008. The Bush Administration’s plan weakens the limit to 26 tons per year by 2010 – allowing 520 percent more mercury pollution. A new EPA report discusses the ways pregnant women pass mercury on to their babies, causing mental retardation, but why did the Administration sit on the report for more than nine months and only release it after journalists exposed their findings?

The Sierra Club's Analysis of the proposed Clear Skies Initiative

The consensus amongst environmental groups is that Bush's "Clear Skies" program waters down the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, by the way, were signed into law by President Nixon. That's right, Bush is further to the right on the environment than Tricky Dick.

There was a time when Republicans shared common cause with Democrats when it came to breathing air and drinking water. Perhaps these republican conservationists weren't too concerned about spotted owls and enjoyed a good hunt now and then, but these two issues crossed the aisle.

We need to return to those days by encouraging our congressmen to hold the "Clear Skies Initiative" up to light. Tell republicans like Jim Ramstad, a Republican conservationist, "Don't you dare touch Nixon's Clean Air Act".


Friday, October 08, 2004

Initial Notes and Reaction: The Town Hall Debate

Bush and Kerry stride out to shake hands....Kerry lanky and imposing, Bush taut and jerky like a bantam rooster. I'm reminded of the cartoon character "Foghorn Leghorn".

First question: "They said you were too wishy-washy"...

Kerry responds: I've had one position on Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, etc. "I think I'm right I think he's wrong".

Bush: Kerry does change his position quite often.

SA Analysis: Bush is agressive and more prepared, yet sticks to the campaign talking points and labels. Kerry is articulate and polished, and speaks with clarity and certainty.

Second Question: "...Do you sincerely believe this is a sufficient justification for invasion?"

Bush: Hardest Decision anyone makes is going to war. 9/11 changed everything.
Taliban is no longer in power. AlQuaeda no longer has a place to plan. We've brought 75% of AlQueda to justice.

Kerry: The world is more dangerous today because the president made poor decisions....This president rushed to war, pushed our allies aside and now Iran and North Korea are more dangerous than before.

SA Analysis: Bush said the same thing he did last debate, and didn't read the fact checks...It doesn't stand to reason, even if his 75% figure is accurate, that AlQuaeda hasn't appointed new terrorists to the vacated leadership roles. Kerry's presentation of the scenario seems to be on the mark.

Bush: Counters with deriding Kerry's "Global Test"--Saddam Hussein was a threat.

SA: Bush is once again left making a spurious claim that Kerry would turn over decisions to the French. Weak.

Kerry: If we would have used smart diplomacy, Osama might be in jail or dead. That's the war on terror.

SA: In other words, I'm smart, you're not. Nyah nyah nyah.

Question: Would you proceed with the same plan as president Bush

Kerry: Iraq is utter chaos. Quotes prominent republicans: "The handling of Iraq is beyond pitiful...It's in the zone of dangerous".
...I will reach out to allies.

Bush: Nobody is going to follow somebody who says "follow me into a mistake".

SA: Bush's response is lame as a rubber crutch. Should we instead follow a fu**up that got us in to the mess in the first place? Bush argues that people won't follow Kerry, but it's a sure thing they haven't and won't follow him.

Kerry: While Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons, North Korea has moved to 4-7 bombs. The president did nothing at all. We were safter before president Bush came to office. We have to lead the world to crack down on proliferation. We will get tough with Iran.

Bush: Bilateral talks with North Korea. Good idea. Axis of Evil. The Axis of Evil rhetoric...

S.A. Analysis: Kerry lays out a compelling case that the world is a more dangerous place. Bush mentions bilateral talks again, which has no resonance and questionable relevance.

Bush: The " Transforming the Military" Rumsfeldian boilerplate.

Our first Bushisms: "I Hear There's Rumors on the Internets"
"We don't need mass armies anymore"
Whoah! Bush went up like a roman candle in defense of the coalition.

S.A. : Doubtless, Bush will be portrayed as agressive and assertive and his malpropisms will be glossed over.

Preventing Terrorist Attacks:

Kerry: It's not a question of "if", it's a question of "when".
I can do that far more effectively

Question: Why did you block imported drugs from Canada?

Bush: What I'm worried about is safety. Drug Discount cards.

Kerry: I think that makes sense, I think that's a good idea. He didn't level with you. He could have lowered the costs. Made it illegal to "bulk purchase" drugs. The president sides with the power companies, the oil companies...

SA: Kerry takes him to the woodshed on this one. Show me one example of a Canadian drug mishap. I dare you.

Kerry Zinger: We did something you don't know how to do. We balanced the budget.

Kerry: John Edwards is the sponsor of the Patient's Bill of Rights. Tort Reform plan. The president likes to make a big deal out of it. Less than 1% of the total cost of health care. Co-pays, deductables. 5 million have lost healthcare. I have a plan.

Bush: Weak Punkass "most liberal senator" label. He's gonna tax ya! He's gonna tax ya!

SA: Bush slapped to the mat.

Kerry's Economic Zingers: "you like your high premiums, you keep 'em"
"This is the first time we've had a tax cut during war"
"The top 1% got more than the 80% from the middle on down"
Tax cut to Enron: Good move.
The president broke the "pay as you go" plan.
Only three people here Bush, Me, and Charley, you.

Bush: He's not a credible fiscal conservative. He's going to break his promises. Grow the economy by keeping taxes low. We're growing.

SA: Kerry mauls Bush here, and the only weak defense Bush can offer is an Ad Hominem attack.

Bush: He voted 98 times to raise taxes.

SA: That's a little bit less than the 300 your campaign ads claim.

Question: Environmentalist : Air and water supplies.

Bush: Off-road diesel engines. Increase wetlands "sore spots" sulfur dioxide. Improve wildlife in the habitats. Technology will change the way we live. Hydrogen. Clean coal technology. I'm a good steward of the land.

Kerry: Don't throw the labels around. Clear Skies bill Orwellian Names. If they just left the clean air act alone. His air quality. I'm going to be a president that believes in science.

Bush Whopper: "Quality of the air is cleaner since I've been president".

S.A.: Sen. Kerry doesn't have to try on this one. How many recognized environmental organizations endorse Bush?

Question: How can we be competitive in industry?

Kerry: Cornerstone: Energy independence.

Bush Cluelessness: I own a timber company? That's news to me.

SA: Just saw this confirmed via an ABC fact check.

Question: Why are my rights being watered down?

Bush: I don't believe they are....

Question: You've made thousands of decisions. What three mistakes have you made? I made mistakes in appointments, but I'm not going to mention the names.

Kerry: Gut check time: Was this really going to war as a last resort. There wasn't a plan to win the peace. We didn't guard tons of ammo. We went in without ammo. That's not a reason, that's an excuse.

Kerry Closing statement: Our nation is strongest when we lead the world. I have a plan. I have a better plan for Iraq. A fresh start, new credibility. I have a plan for healthcare. I have a plan for schools, protecting the environment. I believe our best days are ahead of us but we need to make smart decisions.

Bush Closing statement: Who can lead, who can get things done. 1.9 million new jobs, we're on the move. Keep taxes low. We're at war. Steadfast, strong, and determined. Keep on the hunt. Freedom is on the march.

SA Verdict: Kerry wins, but not by the same margin. Bush was better prepared than he was in the previous debate, but the bottom line is that when Kerry clearly states his plans and explains his objections to the Bush policies, Bush is forced to defend policies that most Americans can't get behind.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Running Out of Legs To Stand On

So here is the way the WMD issue has panned out:

Hans Blix said they have no WMDs. The Administration bleated, "Blix is biased! Blix is incompetent!" Blix is out of the picture.

David Kay replaces Blix on the Iraq Survey Group. After spending millions, he concludes there are no WMDs. The Administration bleated, "Kay is biased! Kay is incompetent!" David Kay is out of the picture.

Charles Duelfer replaces David Kay on the Iraq Survey Group. After spending millions, he concludes there are no WMDs.

How could anyone still think we were justified in invading Iraq?

Because this is a "fair and balanced" blog, I'd like to showcase the Neoconservative response via Powerlineblog.

The Neoconservative Response:

Powerlineblog makes the following points:

Point One: No wonder it was hard for our intelligence agencies, and other countries', to get accurate information about Iraq's weapons. Even Iraq's own military commanders didn't know whether the WMDs existed or not.

Following that train of thought, should we then invade any country where military commanders are unsure about the presence of WMDs?

Point Two: Saddam was determined to produce weapons of mass destruction.

Following that train of thought, should we attack every country that is determined to produce WMDs?

Point Three: If Saddam could produce mustard gas within a few days, or at most a few months, then the existence or non-existence of stockpiles is a moot point.

In hammering home this point, he concludes with the anectdotal account of a reader, Harrison Coulter, who explains how easy it is to make Mustard Gas:

"In 1979 I was doing synthetic organic research as an undergraduate. One of the projects I worked on used mustard gas as a precursor. I think it took an hour or two to cook it up. Of course, I was working in 600ml beaker conditions, not production environments, but as I remember, the stuff is so easy to make that if you had the containers and raw materials, ramp up could take all afternoon".

So, virtually everyone can produce Weapons of Mass Destruction. The only logical conclusion is that we should invade everyone!

Let's see a show of hands...Are you convinced? If you follow that logic, vote Bush and get ready to invade the next 90 countries on earth! Army recruiters are on standby waiting to take your call.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Cheney Doubles the Coalition Casualty Count

Just a thought before bed...

In the Veep Debate, John Edwards claimed correctly that the U.S. is bearing 90% of the financial burden and suffering 90% of the casualties.

Cheney responded by saying "that's not true". He claimed that, if we factor in that Iraqi security forces are our coalition partners, we've only about 50% of the Iraq War casualties.

Now let's follow that stillborn brainchild out a bit, shall we?

In other words, we've lost at least twice as many coalition troops as we thought.

...Is that really the best defense he could come up with?

It was classic Dick Cheney. Authorative, articulate, and never more convinced he's right than when he's completely wrong.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Quote of the Day

When people ask why this election is so close, I can't explain it. It's like trying to figure out how Billy Ray Cyrus sold 10 million records.

-Jeff Tweedy of Wilco

The Coalition of the Unnoticed

While working in Korea, the streets of Itaewon are often teeming with U.S. soldiers. I wasn't suprised that a many of them were black, but I was surprised that I heard so much Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba being spoken. In a conversation with one of them, I found that he was serving in the army as a means of obtaining his green card so that he could live and work in the United States. It seems that many would-be immigrants from African countries are willing to risk being shot or blown up in order to get a shot at living in America. After seeing the wretched lives many Nigerians are faced with, I might make the same choice if I were in their shoes.

The question I've been pondering for the past few months is "what role do these men and women play in the war in Iraq".

According to a Russian military analyst as quoted in an Indian newspaper, a largely unnoticed one...

"'Official statistics do not include casualties among non-U.S. nationals who sign up to serve in the American armed forces in order to get a U.S. `green card.' According to reliable information the share of non-Americans in the U.S. force in Iraq may be as high as 60 per cent,' the source said. 'The real number of U.S. losses may be as high as 2,000 casualties and up to 12,000 wounded,' the military diplomat said".

Judging from my firsthand observations, this seems like a credible report. I've yet to hear of any news reports of Africans fighting and dying in Iraq for the United States, but I know for a fact that many have been deployed. Do you think their names have shown up in any press releases? If they have, I haven't seen them, have you?

Don't you think that, if the pentagon has deployed foreign nationals, they would most likely deploy them to the most troublesome areas, knowing that the fallout from their deaths would be less politically damaging to their public relations?

Is this occurring? I think it's more than likely, and it's time for the media to start asking the question. Uncounted troop deaths contribute to the fog of war. They create the impression that the conflict is less intense than it actually is. If the report is correct and we actually have over 2,000 killed and 12,000 injured, that's almost a ten percent attrition rate...How would that compare to past wars? My suspicion is that a ten percent attrition rate would indicate that we're still in the midst of "major combat operations".


Saturday, October 02, 2004


These are today's top three news stories today in Canada as posted on

The minority Liberal government will make good on a pledge to bring in a national child-care program worth $5 billion over five years, Prime Minister Paul Martin said yesterday...

Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman denied Saturday that the province is trying to bribe doctors into cutting prescription drug costs to the poor and elderly, saying the proposal is meant to curb the over-prescription of medication to seniors...

"There is no bribe here," Smitherman said, responding to criticism of a provincial proposal asking Ontario doctors to cut drug costs, and in return, obtain a funding boost for physician services...

Grannies raged in Montreal and clowns and jugglers marched on Parliament Hill on Saturday as part of what was billed as a national day of action against Canadian participation in the American missile defence system.

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