Sunday, October 31, 2004

A courageous reporter

He's not quite Ernie Pyle, but I still have to respect Richard Rushfield, who writes for Slate about his adventures posing as a Bush supporter in Kerryland and a normal person--I mean, a Kerry voter--in "Red America", which for his purposes is Newport Beach, CA. (I guess a drive to the nearest solidly-Republican state, Utah, was out of the question. Besides, he wouldn't have known where Starbucks was out there.)

Insight ensues:
Driving home, I rip off my Bush-Cheney shirt so I can walk the streets of my neighborhood unjeered at and without terrifying little children. Reflecting on the sting of being called "asshole" during my travels through Blue America, I wonder: If I were truly a Bush supporter, how long would I be able to endure a life filled with epithets before I gave up on the shirt? Changing into a nonpartisan brown Gap polo, I breathe a sigh of relief that I will never have to find out.
I guess this passes for insight. (Did it have to be a brown shirt?)

Speaking of NRO

Jay Nordlinger, NR's managing editor, is puzzled by Kerry buttons:
Surely they can assume that others will assume they're voting for Kerry — who's not, around here? So why do they wear the buttons? Are they trying to persuade those who look at their garments? But they're persuaded already.
In a later column, one of his readers explains it:
The Democratic party is the home of the drama queens of politics. The button-wearers — despite being surrounded by wearers of the same buttons — are showing their 'courage,' defying the henchmen of Ashcroft. It's almost sweet, in a pathetic way.
And another confirms it, in his way:
I used to wear a "Vietnamese-American Against Kerry" button until someone on St. Mark's stopped me and delivered a monologue on the Bush police state. When I brought up the real police state that my family lived in (including the re-education camps), he brushed that off and blathered on about Bush and the sorry state of the U.S. I decided to stop wearing the button because I couldn't take the blind idiocy.
Nor can I.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

It feels like a landslide

No, there's nothing specific I can point at, nor even any combination of things that would prove such a thing. It's just a feeling I get based on growing Democratic desperation. There's something about the continued and repeated insistence that Kerry is even and climbing in the polls. They've been saying that for weeks now.

Even and climbing?

I mean, surely they can't both be true. If he were climbing, then sooner or later he'd be measurably, indisputably ahead, wouldn't he? But he isn't, and no one is seriously suggesting that he is. AP, ABC, Reuters, all the polls share a dogged determination to remind us that Kerry is, in fact, still in this race.

I have to wonder who's saying he isn't. It just doesn't feel right. Something isn't being reported.

ABC was recently reduced to reporting that Kerry leads among those likely voters who feel that the country is on the wrong track. Well, duh. Isn't that rather obvious? It isn't exactly a ringing endorsement that those who already feel that we're being governed badly are only 55-45 in Kerry's favor. Who are the other 45% for? Nader? Badnarik? Are they holding out hope for Howard Dean? (There are still a few Dean posters in my neighborhood.) Or for a deadlocked electoral college?

As I write (openly partisan towards Bush) has Bush at 296; (openly partisan towards Kerry) has Bush at "only" 281.

Meanwhile, Indian astrologers are convinced it'll be Kerry. "It is cosmic writ that George W. Bush cannot become president of United States again." Well, that's it then. Goodness knows their tech support is flawless, doubtless their soothsayers are too.

LATER: And now, speaking of soothsayers, OBL pops out of his cave with his review of Fahrenheit 911. I wonder what Michael Moore thinks of that? Jim Geraghty writes at NRO's "Kerry Spot":
I could be proven wrong, but I now have drastically revised my prediction of what's going to happen on election night. A Bush landslide is now exponentially more likely, as every voter walks into the voting booth with the topic of terrorism on his or her mind. It's far and away Bush's strongest issue.

There are times when America wants the eloquent, nuanced multilateral, French-speaking, consensus-building, flexible and cautious negotiator. And then there are times when the country wants the plain-spoken butt-kicking aggressive unilateralist cowboy. Guess which time this is?
Hm. I wonder how long before Terry McAuliffe suggests that Karl Rove arranged OBL's latest press release?

What? Walter Cronkite?

Friday, October 29, 2004

Obligatory Self-Promotion

The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company will be appearing at Onstage Atlanta (whose theater, unexpectedly, is at Suburban Plaza in Decatur) Friday night at 10:30pm. And Saturday afternoon at Stone Mountain Park's Memorial Hall. I, for the first time in a while, will be behind the sound effects table.

If you happen to have other plans this weekend, we'll be at Onstage Atlanta for three more weekends.

This is our Hallowe'en show. Some holidays we have to stretch to coordinate with (what exactly is a Tomato Day?) but we own Hallowe'en.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Reasonable people can disagree

Smoking Gun | Katherine Harris's Car Trouble
OCTOBER 27--A Florida man has been charged with attempting to run over controversial Republican congresswoman Katherine Harris with his Cadillac. According to the below Sarasota Police Department report, Barry Seltzer, 46, told cops that he was simply exercising his "political expression" when he drove his car at Harris and several supporters, who were campaigning last night at a Sarasota intersection.
This is not the act of someone who is confident their chosen candidate will win.

Monday, October 25, 2004

"Nobody's been to The White House"

The Washington Times | Polite society anticipates Teresa's pizazz
Is mainstream America ready for Teresa Heinz Kerry, a woman who radio host Don Imus wonders might be "too crazy to be first lady"?
"Well, they better be," said Betty Ford's former press secretary Sheila Weidenfeld. "I think she's going to be controversial, which is good. That's because she'll speak up."
...Social Washington is salivating at the idea of a revitalized White House, with a multilingual, art-collecting, wine-drinking, garden-loving billionairess who calls herself "cheeky" and "sexy" running the salon.
..."What we're hungry for," said former Clinton administration official Ann Pincus, "is someone who's engaged."
The Bushes have been virtually incognito for the last four years. Harpers Bazaar recently referred to the first lady's style as "Marian the Librarian."
"Nobody's been to The White House," added Mrs. Pincus. "You don't know about them. There's no buzz." The president is a teetotaler and Laura Bush "doesn't even do lunches. It's like, 'Hello, is this 1958?' "
Well, everyone has their issues, I guess.

I can't tell if this is parody or serious.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Electioneering 2004

Instapundit noted the following headlines at the top of today's Drudge Report:
Early voting brings cries of bullying...
Bush/Cheney Cincinnati headquarters robbed...
Republican Party headquarters in Flagstaff vandalized...
UK GUARDIAN: 'John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?'...
All of which just proves how right-wing Drudge is, right?

The first story, from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, reports a loophole in Florida law: They forgot to keep that 50-foot safe zone around polling places for early-voting. Thus, there are stories of partisan advocates following voters into the room and standing beside the voting machines telling voters how to vote.

I can't say I'm a big fan of the manner in which these laws are enforced under the best of circumstances. I vote in the local high school, which sprawls over several acres. (Schools have to sprawl, because they have to house so many students, a consequence of guidelines for matching federal funds that require a large student body. This allows the federal government to claim that they don't really run local schools--but local jurisdictions will jump through any hoop the federal level sets in order to get those matching funds. I don't blame the feds for putting conditions on the check: I blame local jurisdictions who are incapable of turning down money if it comes with strings attached. The entire city is littered with empty schools whose students have been consolidated into mall-sized barns--admittedly lovely barns, most of them, but barns the local residents neither asked for nor wanted--in order to achieve the right numbers to qualify for federal money. But don't get me started on that.)

The entrance to the parking lot, and the bus plaza, are more than fifty feet from the front door. Therefore, the campaign volunteers can line up in both places such that I must pass through them in order to vote. This is perfectly legal, yet (in my opinion) counter to the intent of the law. I think fifty feet should be measured from the property line, not the front door.

The second and third stories are, sadly, just the most recent in an ongoing (you should excuse the expression) campaign of violence and vandalism.

And the fourth... Well, the fourth is just plain appalling.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Blast from the past

Apparently someone at DC has (a) a long memory and (b) the same taste as I. How else to explain this:

Free Image Hosting at

This is an upcoming action figure of the Composite Superman, a villain who first appeared in World's Finest #142, and then again in #168. Yep. Twice. I'm guessing he was as difficult to write as Superman himself sometimes became, simply because there wasn't much he couldn't do: He possessed the combined powers of the Legion of Super-Heroes, including Superman himself. (Well, Supergirl.)

How did our heroes defeat a threat so powerful? Well... They didn't. They got their rear ends handed to them. Really. Will Pfeifer has the details. Or you could just read the original here. (Note: The previous/next links at the bottom of some pages are miscoded: Use the individual page links at the top.)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Great moments in television

I didn't watch CNN that much when I had cable, and I have trouble with the very concept of a news program with a live audience, so I would still have missed Crossfire last Friday.

Fortunately, CNN has a transcript, and you can watch the video at iFilm, so I got a chance to see Jon Stewart tear Carlson and Begala a new one over journalistic integrity.
CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?
STEWART: Absolutely.
CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you...
STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls.
I can't decide to add or deduct points for Stewart not having heard--or claiming not to have heard--about the alleged bulge in President Bush's jacket (a story every bit as earthshaking as seeing Senator Kerry pull something out of his jacket, which is to say, get a life, people).
CARLSON: Tell us, what do you think about the Bill O'Reilly vibrator story?
STEWART: I'm sorry. I don't.
STEWART: What do you think?
BEGALA: Let me change the subject.
STEWART: Where's your moral outrage on this?
CARLSON: I don't have any.
STEWART: I know.
Heh. (See also Tom the Dog.)

Friday, October 15, 2004

This is a joke, right?

New York Daily News | KRS-One, decency zero
[third item]
If Osama Bin Laden ever buys a rap album, he'll probably start with a CD by KRS-One.

The hip-hop anarchist has declared his solidarity with Al Qaeda by asserting that he and other African-Americans "cheered when 9/11 happened."

...The atrocity of 9/11 "doesn't affect us [the hip-hop community]," he said. "9/11 happened to them, not us," he added, explaining that by "them" he meant "the rich ... those who are oppressing us. RCA or BMG, Universal, the radio stations."
Hey, you left out Clear Channel and the RIAA. I'm sure they were big on OBL's list.

On the other hand, the next item contains Britney Spears speculating that "society probably won't allow" her to take her husband's name. I guess somewhere along the line either the music industry or the NY Daily News was bought out by the Onion, and I missed it.

What do you mean, "it's real"?

Rocky Mountain News | Democrat playbook opened to criticism
Democrats got caught with their election playbook open Thursday when a leaked page was published urging operatives to lodge a "pre-emptive strike" of claiming voter intimidation, whether it's true or not.

Gleeful Republicans quickly called a press conference after the page from The Drudge Report went online, in which they denounced "a new low in gutter politics" that "played the race card."

...But Democrats, who verified as authentic the page from a playbook called "Colorado Election Day Manual: A detailed guide to voting in Colorado," said they must be pro-active to assure that minorities and all others are not scared away from the polls.
Don't you even have the decency to lie about conspiring to lie?

I mean... did that come out the way I meant? I'm confused. Is this meant to make the Democrats look virtuous? "We have to lie because they lie."

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Wednesday funnies

At least I'm not alone. Some think it's outrageous, some think it's just a dumb idea, but nobody seems to like the turn of this plot.
Howling Curmudgeons | So, about Amazing Spider-Man 512...
Okay, uhm... Is this for real? These guys seem to think this is for real. Are they right? Jeff Lester over at The Savage Critic is treating it like this is real and not a gigantic hoax. Is this an actual, honest to God J. Michael Straczynski storyline in Amazing Spider-Man?

...I've always wondered that Norman Osborn got anyone to sleep with him in the first place in order to create Harry: if the story was really about how Harry was in fact an artificially-aged clone of Norman that came out messed up because the cloning process didn't work right, I could believe that a lot more readily than the idea that a middle-aged Norman Osborn could get someone to have sex with him without rohypnol or some Goblin version of it. Add in some teenaged kids born from the illicit union between Gwen and Norman and we're in full-bore lunacy land.

Part of me is thinking this has to be some kind of clone scam. It has to be J. Michael Straczynski poking fun at the Clone Saga in some sly fashion by having Norman have spent his time in Europe raising clones made with his DNA and that of Gwen. Maybe he even teamed up with the Jackal... he knows how to make clones and fast-age them, that might make some kind of insane sense.

What does it say about this comic book that I find the idea I just postulated as more plausible than the one supposedly being introduced in the book?
Hey, JMS just got through telling us that it wasn't the radioactive spider after all, that Peter got his powers from the Great Spider-Totem. No, really. (See Amazing Spider-Man #506-508.)
Brian Hibbs' Savage Critic | Spoiler, Spoiler, Spoiler / I Made You Out Of Clay...
I really, really, really hate what JMS has done here. Retconning things so that Gwen Stacy slept with Norman Osborn and then produced genetically shaky offspring obsessed with killing off perceived shitty parent Peter Parker is just ass, plain and simple. I can understand the hook's allure for Straczynski, and don't think it's simply cynical gamesmanship on his part. The idea deepens and justifies the emnity between Pete and Osborn; it makes Osborn much more of an evil calculating prick; it makes for a high stake story; and it closes up any question that Mary Jane isn't the best woman in the world for Pete, destroys the perfect gleaming image of Gwen Stacy that makes the marriage between Mary Jane and Peter seem a little off or wrong or second-best. From the point of view of a writer with a wicked hook and a checklist of story objectives, the idea makes sense.

From every other point of view, however, it is an awful and shitty decision that makes absolutely no sense.
And, so far, we still don't know who raised these kids. But Gwen didn't seem too worried about them a couple of months later, when she was running around Antarctica in a bikini. No, really. (See Amazing Spider-Man #103-104.)
postmodernbarney | Thank You Marvel
I really enjoy having to tell parents that they may want to inspect a Spider-Man comic for content before buying it for their four year old. I don't want to have to be the one having to explain to a little kid what the Green Goblin is doing to Spider-Man's girl-friend in that panel, do you?
I thought we'd established that kids don't read these things any more. Funny what a movie tie-in will do.

For the record, I was getting a little tired of Saint Gwen, too, and it wasn't fair to Mary Jane to have her memory haunting her relationship with Peter, but Gwen boffing the Goblin wasn't what I had in mind.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Who knew there was a Republican teacher?

WABC | Middle School Teacher In Trouble Over Presidential Photo?
Veteran English teacher Shiba Pillai-Diaz says she was shocked when three parents confronted her. The three, insisting the teacher either add John Kerry's photo to the montage of presidents or remove the Bush photo. When Pillai-Diaz refused, she says the school's vice-principal threatened her job which is an act that has parents here fuming.
South Brunswick Post | Hank Kalet: South Brunswick teacher vs. the school administration media battle will leave the truth hidden.
The district says Crossroads South administrators had been hearing complaints previous to the back-to-school night about Ms. Pillai-Diaz from students and parents saying she was using her position to engage in partisan politicking. The district said Mr. Daniels "met with Ms. Pillai-Diaz and cautioned her not to engage in partisan political discussions in her Language Arts classes."

However, the district continued to receive complaints, the superintendent wrote, which culminated in a confrontation on back-to-school night and a request by Mr. Daniels on Friday that she remove the "bulletin board materials because they were being viewed as contributing to an ongoing disruption of the teaching-learning environment." She refused and then had a meeting with Mr. Warfel, who "repeated the directive."

"At this point," according to the superintendent's letter, she "abruptly left the building, abandoning her post of duty and her classroom responsibilities."

Ms. Pillai-Diaz was not fired, the superintendent said in his letter. Mr. Warfel only asked her to turn in her building key because he believed she had resigned when she left the school.

...Ms. Pillai-Diaz has become an archetype in the right's mythology of victimhood, a flaming example of how the so-called liberal powers-that-be that control the world.

...What has happened here is what happens with many stories. Because our major media are obsessed with conflict and controversy, they chase stories like this and make more of them than they warrant. And now with blogs and their instant opinions, stories like this are stripped of their specifics, of their nuance and turned into political emblems.
Oh, so now it's my fault?
Houston Chronicle | Class's viewing of 'Fahrenheit 9/11' has dad steamed
A Southeast Texas businessman is upset that his son's English class watched Michael Moore's scathing documentary on President Bush and his handling of events after the terrorist attacks.

Michael Kurth, a veteran, said he was opposed to the film Fahrenheit 9/11 based on its R rating and political partisanship. His son, Matthew, 17, said that he put his head on his desk and tried to sleep through it.

...Michael Ryals, principal of Pathways Learning Center, said he previewed part of the film before he allowed the teacher to show it in class Friday.

"I didn't hear anything that was offensive to me," he told the Beaumont Enterprise in Saturday's editions, adding that he did not know of the R rating.

I'm sure he didn't see anything wrong.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

"Jayson Blair and Jack Kelley are bookends."

PoynterOnline | Time for Journalists to Hold Their Own Accountable
When journalists think something is important, we put it on the air, or in the paper. Except for the stories written by the NY Times and USA Today exposing their own failings, the reporting on our own scandals has been episodic, not investigative.

It's taken a lot less for us to sound the alarms when it comes to other cultures or industries...

We are still looking at Jayson and Jack and all the other incidents as if they have nothing to do with one another. Reporters aren't poring over the J-school curriculum, asking if it could be taught differently. No one is writing page one Sunday stories about the type of personality that goes into journalism and the accountability measures that should keep journalists honest.
And right away, while the field still has some credibility left.

Friday, October 08, 2004

"Attorney General Ashcroft, it's RICO time."

This week, in Orlando, Florida, approximately 100 protestors stormed and ransacked the local Bush-Cheney headquarters injuring one campaign staffer who suffered a broken wrist and causing considerable damage.

According to news accounts, similar "protests" occurred yesterday across the country in Miami, FL; Tampa, FL; Kansas City, MO; Dearborn, MI; St. Paul, MN; Independence, MO; and West Allis, WI. All of the "protests" appear to be a coordinated effort by members of a major labor union to intimidate staff and volunteers of the Bush-Cheney campaign. The AFL-CIO took credit on their own website for these protests that included thousands of workers in 17 cities across the country.
The above passage is an excerpt from a letter to John Ashcroft from Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL) (link goes to Orlando Sentinel, registration required), in whose district the ransacked Orlando Bush/Cheney office is. Via JunkYardBlog. I'm sure my liberal friends are just dying to tell me how Karl Rove arranged this.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Unscientific Experiment

I just did a Google news search for "campaign office vandal": I got eight examples:

Two reports of damages done to Bush-Cheney offices, one by gunfire (!), the other by spray-paint, eggs and rocks through windows.

One report of a Kerry campaign office being egged.

One report of yard sign theft and bumper sticker vandalism, actually mentions both candidates.

One opinion piece (ChronWatch, but then they admit to being conservative, so I suppose they're not reliable) speculating that the lack of Bush signs in San Francisco (49% Kerry/46% Bush, according to the most recent polls) might be that Bush supporters don't wish to attract vandals. (The author doesn't mention the possibility that some neighborhoods might not mirror the averages.)

Three reports of non-political vandalism that happen to use the word "campaign" to describe the vandal's actions

Not being able to afford Nexis-Lexis, my search options are limited. Still working on it.

MORE: See also JunkYardBlog and NRO. With so many of the openly conservative blogs working this subject, I figure it's only a matter of time before some leftyblog tries to reclaim the "victim" flag.

MORE: And Michelle Malkin.

My error above was verb tense. Googling for "campaign office vandalism" yields a couple of hundred results, which appear to run about five to one towards Bush offices / signs being targeted.

I can only assume that the absence of leftyblogs outraged on this subject indicates that there may be no counter-examples (that is, no significant or organized campaign of vandalism or violence against Democratic campaign offices or workers). Talking Points and Media Matters are all over Sinclair Broadcasting. The Daily Kos is all over the polls. John Perry Barlow is dancing in the streets, just because it confuses Republicans to do so.

But then, as previously noted, the Democratic response is to simply ignore it when they get caught. Admit nothing, deny everything.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


The presidency is, and has been for some time, a committee. It is simply not possible for any one human being to juggle that many balls at once, alone.

In some ways this is obvious, as when the president chooses his cabinet--and, through his actions, demonstrates how much autonomy he intends them to have. It's less obvious with the small army of lesser appointments he's expected to make as he takes office.

Somewhere in between is his inner core of personal advisors and assistants. Some names are well-known, others aren't. Some job responsibilities are defined by law, many aren't. Their importance is far greater than their public recognition--and that relative anonymity is often what allows them to do their jobs.

That said, what purpose does a presidential "debate" serve? (I'm not sure I can call it a debate with a straight face: It was a joint press conference with only one reporter present.)

It places the candidate in a situation he'll never encounter once he's in office: Alone, without notes, without advisors, without advance knowledge of the questions being asked, without the option to ignore or refuse to answer any of them.

In such circumstances, are debates about specific policies, or the minutiae of day-to-day operations? Often, yes, but they shouldn't be. Can't be, really, although questions on the subjects are apparently irresistable, and the answers, or lack thereof, often provide the evening's most entertaining moments. One's opponent, and the media, delight in discovering a fact the candidate has forgotten or overlooked, an incorrect word substituted for a correct one, a needless repetition that hints that the speaker has forgotten what he meant to say.

Such debates should be about character. What kind of man is the candidate? What does he consider important? What are the principles that guide his decision-making?

In that way, Bush drove the debate. I know, it probably looked like Kerry was dominating (and I was disappointed in Bush's performance), but Kerry was reacting only, bringing nothing new to the table. Even now, he has no plan: He can only say "Bush is wrong: I would have done everything differently." Elect me: I'm not him. If he "won" the debate, he did so because he can repeat himself without appearing to--something Bush never learned how to do.
Winds of Change | John Kerry, Owen Wilson & Facing Reality
I'm sorry that America's choices across the aisle in the GOP are questionable. I agree that it sucks. I also agree that a Democratic Party that can be trusted to defend America is a critical component of eventual victory, and that the stakes for the long term are civilizational in scope.

I even understand the impetus to look at 2 candidates who offer less than the times demand, and see the stakes before us, and tell oneself that Kerry will have to do the right thing.

But you know what? He absolutely does not.

Look at Europe now, or look back into human history - illusion and passivity in the face of real threats is an option, and some leaders and states will take it.

One question: is Kerry one of those people? Simple question. Simple answer.
Yeah. "Global test." He has his chance to look like a statesman, and he almost made it (I was impressed, I'll say so), but then he made it clear that if the United States' interests conflict with the United Nations', he may not be on our side.

Suddenly, I realized that Kerry has been telling the absolute truth all along. "I have one consistent position", he's been saying, and he's right. He expressed it at Congressional hearings in 1971.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Why I don't allow yard signs

Channel 3000 | Swastika Burned Into Grass On Bush-Cheney Supporter's Lawn
Someone burned an 8-foot-by-8-foot Nazi swastika on a home's lawn near where Bush-Cheney signs were posted. The vandals used grass killer to spray the symbol.

Several nearby homes were vandalized -- all were within a two-block radius on the West Side, near Ice Age Trail, News 3 reported.
I don't put bumper stickers on my car either.
komo news | Car Vandalized Because of Political Bumper Sticker
RENTON - A local woman claims someone vandalized her car because of a Kerry-Edwards campaign sticker in her back window.

Joni Job told KOMO 4 News someone put a confederate flag alongside her sticker. They also used red paint to write "Bush in 2004" on her passenger side door.

Job says the vandals also dented her car, causing hundreds of dollars in damage.
And if I had it to do over again, this blog probably wouldn't have my name on it either.

Man Without Qualities | A Climate of Fear
It is not just that one sees few Bush-Cheney bumper stickers and lawn signs - even in areas in which one knows his support is high. I do not have such a bumper sticker or lawn sign. In fact, most Bush supporters I have asked, even those who are fairly passionate on the topic, just don't think the risk of a key-scratch or broken home or car window, or much worse, is worth whatever benefit one receives from a partisan bumper sticker or lawn sign. There are just too many personal stories of cars and homes defaced and damaged.

The sentiment is not symmetrical: One sees plenty of Kerry-Edwards bumber stickers and lawn signs - even in highly Republican neighborhoods. Indeed,one sees plenty of such stickers and signs that express left-wing sentiments much more intense and partisan than mere support of the Democratic presidential ticket. Not infrequently these stickers and signs mention some form of violence or even death with respect to Republican officials.
The perception is real.

Here in the Dreaded Purple Neighborhood, Kerry signs are everywhere (alternating with "War is not the answer" signs)--but then, this is John Lewis' congressional district. Every primary election, I'm reminded just how overwhelming the Democratic majority is. (I don't know if they do it this way in your district, but here you fill out a slip of paper which you then turn in for a ballot. In the primaries, those slips are color coded for Democrat, Republican or non-partisan. Secret ballot? What secret ballot?)


Up is arbitrary

All you need is a fresh perspective.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

That's the best you can do?

The DNC has a Faces of Frustration montage from the presidential debate. I assume it's meant to refer to Bush's annoyed expression while Kerry calls him ten kinds of "incompetent." Hard to tell what the context is, since there's no dialogue, only a jazzy soundtrack. The RNC, instead, has the sound of Kerry's own voice, in "10 Flip Flops", which shows how Kerry, er, tailors his message to his audience.

The contrast between these two videos would be funny enough if they were coming from and the Swift boat veterans, but they're coming directly from the party national committees.

Friday, October 01, 2004

How bias works

POVOnline | The Debate
I think [Bush] loses points just because so much of the discussion is about what he may or may not have done wrong.
That would be Jim Lehrer's doing: he wrote the questions.

The first question, directed to Senator Kerry, was: "Do you believe you could do a better job than President Bush in preventing another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States?" Kerry couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to read from his own press releases.

The second, directed to President Bush, was: "Do you believe the election of Senator Kerry on November the 2nd would increase the chances of the U.S. being hit by another 9/11-type terrorist attack?" An absurd question. Although some of the loonier blogs and talk-show hosts have made this accusation, the Bush campaign never has.

The third, to Kerry: "What colossal misjudgments, in your opinion, has President Bush made...?" And Kerry reads from his press releases again.

The fourth, to Bush: "What about Senator Kerry's point, the comparison he drew between the priorities of going after Usama bin Laden and going after Saddam Hussein?" Now Lehrer is reading from Kerry's press releases.

We're a half-hour into the show, and Kerry's record hasn't been questioned once. But then, it never really was. Yet all of the first four questions, in their ways, attack Bush's. It's fair to challenge the president, but it's also expected that you challenge the other side every now and again. Still waiting for that.

Do they lunch together, or what?

Proving once again that in comic books no idea ever strikes only once: Two months ago in Identity Crisis #2 it was revealed that Sue Dibny was raped by Dr Light, and Saint Barry (er, I mean, the Flash) cast the deciding vote to mess with his mind. Now, in Amazing Spider-Man #512, we learn that the father of the children of the silver age's other saint, Gwen Stacy, was Norman (the Green Goblin) Osborn. (Well, okay, it wasn't really a comparable situation. Gwen wasn't raped, she was seduced by the sheer power of Osborn's personality. Something else I really didn't need to see happen on-panel.)

Global test?

I joined the presidential debate late (Sarah particularly wanted to see it), so I had to go back and read the transcript of the parts I missed. (Fox News has it complete now: CNN's is only partial. Fox also did a fact check on both candidates' claims: Maybe CNN is working on that.)

In general, I agree with Glenn Reynolds: Neither candidate is a good enough orator to really take control and run away with it. The debate was more substantive for it. Chances are, the liberals will think Kerry won, and the conservatives will think Bush won. It didn't look good for Bush that he repeated his accusations of inconsistency, especially when he provided so few examples. It didn't look good for Kerry when he hinted that America can't be trusted with "bunker-buster" nuclear weapons.

Still, there was one moment:

LEHRER: New question. Two minutes, Senator Kerry. What is your position on the whole concept of preemptive war?

KERRY: The president always has the right, and always has had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War. And it was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control.

No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.

But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons. ...

BUSH: Let me -- I'm not exactly sure what you mean, "passes the global test," you take preemptive action if you pass a global test.

My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure.

...I just think trying to be popular, kind of, in the global sense, if it's not in our best interest makes no sense. I'm interested in working with our nations and do a lot of it. But I'm not going to make decisions that I think are wrong for America.

As Hugh Hewitt said: Game, set, match.