Sunday, October 31, 2004
Ok, so your only virtually invited, but mark your calendars because Elephant's hosting an election party at his new house. Attending are both my red and blue friends from Capitol Hill and a host of assorted lobbyists. Cocktails and assorted Red-State and Blue State food will be served. Should be fun and I'll be blogging the election. Mark your calendar!
The Little Gift
What happens when you tie the war in Iraq with the greater war on terror? Maybe, in some peoples mind a link between the war in Iraq and the pursuit of OBL. So when OBL pops up on our televisions just four days before the election, should it be a suprise that Bush sees some erosion. Things are so fluid who knows, but it will be interesting to study the election demographics when this is all done.
The Redskins Curse
Legend has it that if the Redskins loose their home game before the election the incumbant president will loose. Superstition, yes, but for anyone who caught the 'skins v. packers today a thrilling subplot to a truly horrific performance.
I love my I-pod
Ok, is it just me or is every flight you've been on lately been completely sold out? Sitting on a plane, cheek by jowl with your fellow traveler's is a major bummer. Thank goodness I invested in an I-pod. It's a quick way to transport oneself to one's happy place. With the election coming and everyone on edge, it was nice to tune out and groove for the four hour flight.
Speaking of grooving, I'm not one to get very emotional about anything. If you can't tell, I'd rather deal with any type of situation with gentle humor. But two songs this week really got to me...in a good way.
First, I finally caught the Eminem video for Mosh. Talk about brilliant. If you haven't seen it, check it out. I've never been super into rap/hip hop, but Eminem proves himself a master at channeling his anger. All I can say is I want to go by a black hooded sweatshirt, baggy jeans and saunter off to the polls on tuesday.
Another song that I really like is a new release by Heather Headley. Never heard of her? Neither did I. But apparently she was part of the original cast of Aida on broadway. Elephant's friend Donkey saw her perform at a convention and gave me a listen. It's a broad ranging album that encompasses both hip hop riffs and a really sappy, yet touching ballad called, if it wasnn't for your love(likely to be played at many weddings in the near future). Heather's got a set of pipes for sure and her talent shows through on just about every track. Anyway, Heather Headley: This is Who I am...Check it out.
Finally, I also picked up the Queen Latifa-The Dana Owens Album. If your a fan of Jazz or classic standards, then all hail the Queen. Seriously, Ms. Owens shows us that her turn in Chicago was no fluke.
By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Off to catch a flight to Phoenix. Yes, it's probably one of the funnest holidays and my new house is in a prime trick or treat area and I have to go on a business trip. Bummer. But fear not. I'll be posting (provided I can find a wifi hot spot) later tonight and tomorrow too.
No Bin Laden Bounce for Bush
Well, things are still dicey and two days do not make a trend, but intersting poll numbers out today from Fox and WaPo. Both are national surveys, which are of limited use since we don't election a president in a national elections (fifty state elections instead), but here's what they show.
WaPo tracking poll has Bush down 1 point for a tie of 48% each.
Fox Poll shows Bush with a "two point" advantange (but within the margin of error, so tied really), with a 47% to 45% lead, down from 50% pre OBL tape.
Of course these fluctuations are still within the margin of error and are most likely caused by sampling variations, but if the election were solely about terrorism you'd expect a spike for Bush rather than a slight decline.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
I think I've figured it out...
Does anyone remember the Princess Bride? It's a great movie. This whole OBL thing is soo that scene where the evil genius villan does a battle of wits with the Black Pirate. Which cup to drink? Catch the clip. Doesn't it sound like CNN or Fox?
But it's so simple; all I have to do is divine from what I know of you....are you the sort of man who would put the poison in his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I'm not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
You've made your decision then?
Not remotely! Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows. And Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me. So I can clearlyl not choose the wine in front of you.
Truly you have a dizzying intellect.
Wait till I get going! Where was I?
Yes, Australia. And you must have suspected I would have known the powder's origin, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
You're just stalling now.
You'd like to think that, now wouldn't you?
Will the GOP Overplay Their Hand on OBL?
The TV's a buzzing with the impact of OBL on the election. I say it should hurt Bush, after all he's the one who said he is not a big deal and doesn't think about him much. But the tape poses a certain risk for the Bush administration that the media, as always, is overlooking. First and foremost, the fact that OBL is still alive is proof positive of the abject failure of Bush's War on Terrorism. We've spent a quarter of a trillion dollars on the Iraq war, which the Bushies keep saying is related to the broader war on terror, we've lost 1,000 fine young men and women and boom, there's OBL on everyone's TV. I think it causes a little dissonance, don't you? How much can BC04 hype this without most of us realizing that the Iraqi diversion is part in parcel as to why this evil zealot is still out there?
Need more evidence that BC04 will overplay their hand on this...just check this out...
A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."
He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.
A little gift...how nice. But when I saw OBL on tv my thoughts were that he'd be in some gawd-awful U.S. prison by now if it weren't for Bush's foray into Iraq. I was mad that I even had to look at him. I'm sure others will be too.
Adli, He Loves you Madly!
Tired of the wolves or the eagle commercial? Long for the days when commercial's for presidential candidates were less heavy handed and more simple? Check out "The Living Room Candidate" an online archive of presidential campaign commercials.
Some of the more intersting ones are Jackie Kennedy's spanish language commercial and the Adli Stevens song.
Does This Clear Things Up?
Ok, I know there's a few appologists out there that claim OBL wasn't responsible for 9/11. I hope his mea culpa yesterday answers your questions. He organized it allegedly in response to Isreal's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Ok....
Friday, October 29, 2004
Yes, I'll be posting all weekend. Why? Because even the smallest development in the presidential race is worth mocking!
The Media Is Sooo Lame
Ok, when the OBL tape broke on the news I was about 1/2 hour into my stair climber workout at the Sports Club/LA. Actually, I thought Neil Cavoto (or whatever his name is) did a good job trying to assess the impact of the tape on the fly. But when they rolled out a panel of people to talk about the tape who's there but former SNL star Joe Piscapo? What?
I'm so confused? Was Mo Rocca Busy?
Bush and Kerry Comment on OBL
Bush told reporters as he was boarding Air Force One for Columbus, Ohio. "Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country. I'm sure Senator Kerry agrees with this. ... We are at war with these terrorists, and I am confident we will prevail."
Kerry told reporters in West Palm Beach, Florida: "Let me make it clear; crystal clear -- as Americans, we are absolutely united in our determination to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists."
He added: "They are barbarians. And I will stop at absolutely nothing to hunt down, capture or kill the terrorists wherever they are, whatever it takes. Period."
OMG! It's OBL on CNN!
Gee who didn't see this coming! I think all the talking heads might just explode!
"This is soo big!" They're saying. But do you really think that this will sway anybody? I'm not so sure, but Bush has to be happy that this diverts attention from the missing explosives issue.
From the Desk of Nelson Muntz:
BUSH IN EVENT IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: Event workers had been told to fire off confetti pods when Bush said, 'God Bless'... his normal closing line. But 5 minutes before the end of his speech, Bush offered a "God Bless" to Arlene Howard, mother of George Howard a Port Authority of New York/New Jersey Police Officer killed in the World Trade Center... BLAM!!!!! Everyone first ducked -- hard -- then looked up to see confetti falling. Bush looked momentarily stunned, then plain unhappy, then just went on with his speech as the confetti rained to the floor of the Verizon Wireless Arena... (From Drudge)
Al Qaaqa Blame Update
Wow, I can't believe how this missing explosives story keeps spinning and spinning. First, the explosives were supposed to have gone missing before our troops got their, then it was the Russians, following that Rudy Giulliani indicated that it was the fault of our troops, then the administration said there were never 380 tons there because the Iraqi's miscounted, but thank goodness that we are now getting the right story (yeah...that's it, the right story).... We found and took care of the explosives after all....maybe.
If this is Kerry's counter punch to BC04 for the Swift Boat ads that kept him off message for so long this past summer, then I say it's game, set match for Kerry. The Al Qaaqa story has keep BC04 off message and off balance the final week of the campaign. Can any undecided voter, looking at the big picuture in Iraq, the economy and the handling of this story actually think Bush is the man? Who knows.
Economist: If Bush loses...
THE wake of George Bush senior's defeat in 1992, the Republican Party had a collective nervous breakdown. One of the many bizarre manifestations of the breakdown took place at the Heritage Foundation: a group of young conservatives filled a hall with friends before marching in carrying a plastic head of the former president on a plate. The plate was covered with blood-coloured crÃªpe paperâ€”and the young activists were almost as jubilant as the triumphant Clintonites down in Little Rock.
The Elephant Electoral Average Index: Final Update
As I mentioned before, I've just kind of made up this index by averaging electoral projection websites. Nothing scientific here, I was just jumping on this over polled, over analyzed election band wagon. But the final EEAI numbers show a very close race:
What's exciting is that with the polling numbers so close across the board, this election could be a squeaker or could be an electoral landslide either way. My bets still on a Kerry victory.
Is O'Reilly Part of the Problem?
It was certainly a salacious mini-scandal wasn't it. Bill O'Rielly on the phone, vibrators and sex talk. But if Mr. O'Reilly is innocent, he should stick to his guns regardless of the financial cost. Giving in to lawsuits, when you claim your innocence, enourages more lawsuits. So, next time Mr. O'Reilly criticizes the legal system, I'll choose to turn a deaf ear to his comments. Kind of like how John Stossell of ABC talks about out of control lawyers after he sued the WWF for an alleged hearing loss he suffered after doing a peice on professional wrestling and won $400,000.
Of course Mr. O'Reilly might want to keep some things underwraps so to speak.
Then They Came for the Blacks
Much has been written about how Pat Robertson and many churches across the country have been trageted by BC04 to gin up support for their re-election. As Elephant has stated before, churches or other non-profits who speak out in favor of a particular candidate risk loosing their tax-exempt status. But what really gets my goat here is that when Rove and Co. are out soliciting church membership lists and preachers are calling on folks to vote BC04, that the IRS is going after the NAACP for a speech its leader Julian Bond gave that was critical of President Bush. How heavy handed of them.
Here's what Julian Bond had to say:
Bond, in a speech in July at the civil rights group's convention in Philadelphia, declared: "The election this fall is a contest between two widely disparate views of who we are and what we believe.
"One view wants to march us backward through history -- surrendering control of government to special interests, weakening democracy, giving religion veto power over science, curtailing civil liberties, despoiling the environment."The other view promises expanded democracy and giving the people, not plutocrats, control over their government."
Note that he didn't say Vote for Kerry or Vote for Bush. How is this different than all the church leaders telling their parishoners to vote their values, oh yes, it involves African Americans who 9 times out of ten vote for a democrat. It's shameful and heavy handed.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Wow, this is it folks, the last weekend before the election. So many unknowns. It could go either way and could even be a tie. Egad. He's your weekend reading to help sooth your nerves.
The incompetent or the incoherent
YOU might have thought that, three years after a devastating terrorist attack on American soil, a period which has featured two wars, radical political and economic legislation, and an adjustment to one of the biggest stockmarket crashes in history, the campaign for the presidency would be an especially elevated and notable affair.
Electoral College is an invention of compromise
It's often stated that the framers of the Constitution gave us the Electoral College because they were leery of too much democracy or because they worried about offending the small states.
Mandatory Health Insurance Now!
In an ABC News/Washington Post poll last fall, 62 percent of the respondents favored a universal, government-run medical insurance program. Such surveys reflect a widespread frustration with a health care system that is too expensive, too uncertain, and too complicated.
Death by 1,000 Paper Cuts Hits the Media
The Christian Science Monitor hits the nail on the head so to speak on the theory of death by 1,000 paper cuts in this election. But you already knew that from reading elephant.
Just Go Vote, Ok?
I've been checking out a lot of my usual blog haunghts today and noticed quite a few of them have postings about who the blogger endorses. Spare me. You dear reader pretty much know wear I stand on the matter and I trust that you are smart enough to make up your own mind on this election, besides I know that in politics, your opinion matters as much as mine does. I just hope you go and vote.
Now you may note that I've been pretty critical of the President and have repeatedly said that I doubt I'll vote for him. Well that's true, but it's not a ringing endorsement for Kerry now is it? My goal and the point of Elephant on the Edge is just to share my frustrations with what I think has been a wasted GOP majority these last few years and hopefully make you smile every now and then.
So vote and vote often friends.
That's Why they Call It Spin!
Ok, I'm not sure the explosives ever existed now, or even it Iraq is a real place as this issue is spinning, and spinning. But I've tried to put together an update on the exact causes/persons to blame for the alleged missing explosives.
Rudy Giuliani: It's Our Troops Fault (Say it ain't so Rudy!)
"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?"
Washington Times/Moonies/John Shaw: It's the Russians
ABC News: It's the Iraqis 'cause they can't count
President Bush: Don't even question us!
Does any of this matter at this point? I mean the media is already whipping us up into a frenzy about the election/end of the world next week. A review of right leaning bloggers show that they think this Al-Qaqaa thing is the end of Kerry and it's the exact opposite on the Democrat side. But I think all sides are missing an important suspect in this missing explosives issue, the secret Lesbian conspiracy in Oklahoma.
More Moderates for Kerry
Wow, when I started this blog, it was out of frustration and my feeling that the Bush administraton had abandoned republican principles that were fundamental to the party's continued success. Increasingly people whose voices I respect are coming out in support of a change. Most recently, the Economist and Andrew Sullivan.
Here's their endorsements, which I might add probably come as close as possible to how I feel about the election.
Economist, which comes out in hard copy today, hasn't updated thier webpage yet, I'll post a link when the article goes up.
Deep in the Qaqaa
UPDATE: OK, did my own Al Qaqaa here. The John Shaw in question is a different John Shaw, not the one I know. However, despite the fact that I don't know this particular John Shaw, I think my criticisms still stand. Meanwhile I blame the following factors for my error: 1) I was visiting hurricane victims in Florida and was tired, 2) The Russians made me do it, 3) It's our troops fault and 4) I'll say anything to get elected because I'm a bad person. No seriously, my fault.
Wow, The administration is starting to sound an awful lot like Ashley Simpson when it comes to the missing 380 tons of high explosives from the unfortunately named Al-Qaqaa facility. At first it was, "Well, they we're taken before we got there," but now it seems, at least according to DOE Flunky John Shaw, that the Russians snuck in and moved them to Syria. Yes, the same Russians whose President Vladamir Putin endorsed President Bush last week and whose words have been touted by BC04 as a reason to vote for a second Bush term. We are through the looking glass people.
Here's what the Washington Times has to say about the whole situation:
John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.
"The Russians brought in, just before the war got started, a whole series of military units," Mr. Shaw said. "Their main job was to shred all evidence of any of the contractual arrangements they had with the Iraqis. The others were transportation units."
There are so many things about this I find disconcerting. First, is that I know John Shaw. Oh, he's a nice enough guy, but he's definitely the Mo Rocca of political appointees. My impression of him is that, like grade-C celebrity Mo Rocca, he has his job because of a good agent. As a result, his reportedly being in charge of cataloging the weapons issue in Iraq does not fill me with a sense of security or confidence in the Administration. Besides, from a political standpoint, what better way to float a trial balloon to explain away the missing explosives than by a third level political appointee at the department of energy. (I'm guessing every one higher up is on the road trying to save Bush's reelection chances- which begs the question of whose running the store). Anyway, float a new excuse through a flunky like John, and if it doesn't fly, then just say that John was a rogue official who neither had knowledge nor authorization to know. Hey John, I think you're being played by your own people here.
But that's just the beginning.
First off, what the administration has been saying time and again is that despite the lack of WMD (and high explosives, while deadly, are not considered WMD), that America is safer because we invaded Iraq. But wait! Now, in an effort to assuage blame for the missing explosives, they're telling me that Russia, who is supposed to be an ally in the broader War on Terror, has helped move these explosives and other weapons to terrorist nations like Syria, Lebanon and Iran. So the weapons we had contained in Iraq for many years, have now spread to three other countries that wish us harm. AND I'M SUPPOSED TO FEEL SAFER?
It bogles the mind that the BC04 folks are offering this up as an excuse or explanation. Especially since it seems to undermine not only their premise for going to war, but also their claim that we are safer. Maybe they should have taken a page from Ashley Simpson and marked it up to a bad case of acid reflux disease.
I'll tell you this. When the administration is leaking excuses through people like John Shaw, I know that 1) They don't know what the hell is going on, 2) They have no plan and 3) They are desperate. Sorry John.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Media Whores Gone Wild!
So I return from Atlanta and settle into the "big chair" to zone out and watch something semi-intellectual on the History Channel. Only there is no semi-intellectual program, just a program called "7 Ways to win the presidency" hosted by the seemingly omnipresent class C celebrity, Mo Rocca.
There's so much to rant about here that I'll have to break it up into two parts; 1) The very lame premise of this show, and 2) Mo Rocca.
First off, the show itself was nothing more than Mr. Rocca interviewing what could best be described as other media whores like Frank Luntz (A once powerful pollster for Republican candidates) and Jeff "I'll do anything for a dollar" Greenfield from CNN. I learned that Jeff Greenfield claims to have invented the term "Political Judo" and that neither Luntz nor Greenfield would advise a presidential candidate to 1) Eat sushi in public, 2) party their hair on the left and 3) plant tulips. Riveting stuff. I'm guessing that the underlying premise of this show was to present an irreverent and humorous look at some common trivial factors of our last few presidents. Unfortunately in execution (and that's definitely the right word-execution) the program was unbelievably lame and kind of insulting. Note: Viewers don't want to see third string media folk talking to each other about what they think of current political developments.
That brings us to Mo Rocca. Who the hell is this guy and why does he seem to be on every program on VH-1, TLC and occasionally CNN? This guy doesn't impress me as being particularly funny, nor bright, nor even blandly good looking. His sole skill seems to be his retro look and his squeaky-nails-on-chalkboard voice. His attempts are irony and satire are easily topped by a common house plant. His pseudo celebrity status has me both fascinated and horrified. On one hand I'd like to start a Mo Rocca-Must-Die Blog and on the other hand, I'd love to know who his agent is.
Alas, until then I'm doomed to see him take on such difficult challenges as being a celebrity judge on the "World's Most Talented Pets."
From the Desk of Midgie Cramblin, Professional Skeptic:
I think a lot of Republicansâ€™ support of GWB is similar to that of an abused spouse/partner and their abuser. Bush and his administration continually tell people two things 1) We are not safe and 2) We are the only ones who can keep you safe, you better vote for us.
Isnâ€™t that the tried and true method abusers use to keep their victims with them? Telling them 1) You are not good looking/smart/worthwhile and then 2) I am the only one who thinks you are good looking/smart/worthwhile, so you better never leave me.
Create a deep fear, and then portray yourself as the only person who can assuage that fear.
Just like the abuser, GWB wants to isolate the American people (oh, the rest of the world? Who fucking cares what they think!), can never admit heâ€™s wrong (GWB in the debates: Iâ€™m sure if I thought a while, I could think of a mistake, but nothingâ€™s springing to mind) and lies his ass off (do I really need to list them? How would I pick which ones?).
The Bush voters refuse to face facts (loss of jobs, enormous deficits, healthcare costs out of control, whole Iraq situation mis-managed), staunchly standing by their man. Heâ€™s a â€œgood manâ€�- they proclaim. But when pressed, there is little they can say about their president. â€œHe will keep us safeâ€� is the one I hear over and over. Just like â€œbut he loves me!â€� But when backed to the wall, people who are voting for Bush can offer nothing that he has done for them. Nothing positive. Our domestic situation is in shambles. Our foreign policy situation is worse. The only thing Bush voters can offer is that they have to vote for him, thereâ€™s no one else (No one else will love me and take care of me!).
There are some exceptions to what I described above. One is that the person voting for Bush is rich, and knows that GWB is his best shot at lower taxes. Two is that some people just vote a straight ticket. My grandparents are on the opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they are both in their 80â€™s and in every.single.election they vote a straight up Dem ticket. So, I have to imagine there are Repubs doing the same. These people probably wonâ€™t be swayed.
But for people who arenâ€™t in either of those two categories, they are voting on fear. GWB is charming and clever in the way that abusive partners are often that way too. He has made them fear so many things. He has made people fear that if he is not elected the terrorists will attack again (and yes, they will, we all know that. GWBâ€™s attempts at securing our ports and our airports have been spectacular in their failure). He has made them fear that homosexuals are crazy perverts who threaten the very foundation of marriage. He has made them fear that the US will have to run everything we do foreign policy-wise by some UN/World Court institution (did every single Republican forget that Kerry voted in favor of this war so many Republicans love?).
In short, I wish, this week, that everyone who knows someone who is voting for GWB would compassionately talk to them about their fears. Explain to them that the worst is over. They have suffered enough. This figure, looming so large in their life, so strong in his promises of protection, is a liar. He has done so much damage to their country and their civil liberties.
John Kerry may not be their dreamboat, but he can be that kind of geeky, yet totally nice, transition man. Heâ€™ll fix the door the surly ex (GWB) broke down and wonâ€™t try to tap your phone or intercept your e-mail (Patriot Act). Their exâ€™s friends will stop harassing them (Ashcroft). They wonâ€™t have to cringe from embarrassment when his friends pick fights they canâ€™t finish (Rumsfeld).
Breaking up is hard to do. But this week, letâ€™s each find a friend, or a colleague, or a family member, and support them as they walk away from lies, and abuse of trust, and complete disrespect. Itâ€™s hard and itâ€™s personal and itâ€™s uncomfortable. But every single person in this country deserves better than GWB.
Hmm..some good points Midgie- like - I mean if we're supposed to be safer because of Bush's leadership, then why should I have to be scared too? Very Orwellian on BC04's part.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Stream of Consciousness Posting from ATL Airport: Are We There Yet Edition
It seems that all my friends who work in the tech industry spend a good deal of time in Atlanta. As a large, regional commercial city it makes sense. Atlanta airport is also always competing with Oâ€™Hare for the title of busiest airport in the world. So, itâ€™s kind of shocking that while I sit and wait for my flight, thereâ€™s no wireless internet access for me to post my rantings in real time. How spoiled am I?
The Crazy Business of Flying
Ok, so I finish my speech this morning and get back to the airport early. Although Iâ€™m scheduled on a 4:30 pm flight, I opt to get on a 3:30 pm flight, which I am assured has space available. So I get to the gate to get a seat assignment only to find out Iâ€™ve been bumped back to my original 4:30pm flight. Ironically, they pay me $250 for putting me back on the flight I was going to take anyway. No surprise, I guess, that even with every seat filled, the airlines are loosing money faster than a republican congress. Iâ€™m not complaining mind you, the Delta folks are most gracious, itâ€™s just odd that theyâ€™d put me on a full flight to begin with.
Before I spoke today, I was talking with some Atlantianâ€™s about the election. One of them informed me that theyâ€™d released poll results from those who have voted early here in Georgia. If heâ€™s right, that seems so odd as it could arguably alter the outcome of the election as folks sayâ€¦â€�Oh, Bush is so far ahead he doesnâ€™t need my vote.â€� Also whatâ€™s interesting is that the alleged early voting results to date are Bush 50% Kerry47%, youâ€™d expect a much larger margin in a red state like Georgia, but then who the heck knows the make up of the early voters.
Another thing thatâ€™s very surprising is on the local news and in the papers here there is story after story about long lines to vote early. Heavy turn out and itâ€™s not even election day. Regardless of my feelings about either candidate, itâ€™s nice to see people engaged in the process. After all, we in Washington, DC are supposed to be working to you.
Can you hear me now! What is it about people and cell phones? Is it really necessary the power up and start calling everyone you know as soon as the plane lands? Every flight, itâ€™s the same thingâ€¦.â€�Hey Bob!â€� they say in a way too loud voice, â€œYeah, we just landed, weâ€™re not at the gate yet.â€� Duh! Of course this trend is not as disturbing as the increasing frequency of finding people chatting away while using public restrooms. Is it just me?
I feel like Larry King
Wow, Iâ€™ve babbled on quite extensively here. I feel like Larry King, in fact I hear his voice as I type these words. You know what Iâ€™m talking aboutâ€¦Larry will ask a guest a tough questionâ€¦â€�So, Mr. President, did you or did you not have an affair with â€˜thatâ€™ woman?â€� then follow it up with something completely off the wall like â€œI like watermelon, donâ€™t you?â€� Perhaps thatâ€™s another effect of being stuck in an airport.
Daniel Drezer Goes for Kerry
Here's another blogger I admire. He's conservative and like me carries huge doubts about Bush. See what he has to say about his vote. (Second posting down)
Time to Make the Donuts
By the way, another record month for Elephant on the Edge, thanks for reading!
Right to Privacy in the Balance
If your up on your Constitutional law, you know that there is no express right to privacy in the Constitution. In fact the right to be free from government interference in things like raising your children, sexual relations between adults, how you educate your children, access to abortion, the ability to freely associate, and acess to birth control all arise from this right to privacy. This right, as the Court has put it, is a right created by the shadow cast by the Bill of Rights. So, despite its importance, it is fragile.
The Republicans don't equivocate when it comes to the right to privacy, they don't think it should exist at all. Ironic for the party that wants to keep the government off people's backs..uh? In fact, as Elephant has discussed a number of times in this blog, Sentors like Santorum, Shelby and even majority leader Frist want to get rid of it. Fortunately, they can't legislate it away, it needs to be overturned by the courts. So its with great consternation that I read the news about Justice Reinquist.
If you like having access to birth control, not having the government regulate your sex life, choose how you educate/raise your kids, then you should think long and hard about how you cast your vote for President.
Monday, October 25, 2004
Death by 1,000 Paper Cuts
During the debates, much was made of Kerry's claim that the war in Iraq was costing us $200 billion. The BC04 operatives qualified it, parsed it and hit Kerry on the figure. But now, if the Washington Post is to be believed, another $70 billion appropriation request is in the offing, pushing the costs to near $225. WIll voters care?
Are the Explosives Exploding?
The Explosives: How Bad Is It?
Ok, I was curious as to what the 'wolves' could do with 380 tons of high explosives, so here's what I looked up. Remember to downing of the Pan-Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland back in the late 80s? That was accomplished with less than one pound of high explosives. So, rounding that up to 1 lbs and dividing that into 380 tons (380 Tons X 2000lbs/ton X 16 oz/lbs) gives us the grand total of 47,500 Pan-Am downings.
The only person who I've hear talk about this issue today was Henry Kissenger, who stated that the problem was 1) Turkey would let us invade from the north and 2) NOT ENOUGH TROOPS in Iraq from the get go.
Do you feel safer now?
The Presidential Election
After reading the papers, watching the news and listening to talk radio today during my journey to Atlanta I've come to the following conclusion: No one really knows whose going to win next Tuesday. Not the pundits, not the politicians and not the campaign consultants. For the next week, we the voter have all the power. So what's going on?
There are several factors that I think are driving the uncertainty in this election.
First and foremost it is the first presidential election after the vicious attacks on 9/11. For those of you outside of DC and New York, the attacks remain scarily abstract and the images just as horrifying today as they were that fateful day. We still feel the pain in DC and New York, in fact we look around when we get on the subway, but the attacks are less abstract for us as they hit our cities and we're doing our best to move on. The fear of future attacks is Bush's only remaining advantage. If this is the defining issue of the campaign, then get ready for Bush II.
Iraq is a qualifier on the war on terror and Bush's Achillesâ€™ heel. Launched on the grounds that Iraq possessed WMD and could use it against American targets, many of us put our faith that the government knew what it was talking about and would fight a war to win. Now, a year and a half after the initial invasion, there are no WMD and seemingly no plan to win the peace. In fact, today's revelation that 380 tons of high explosives underscore this issue. People may believe that Bush is better suited to fight the war on terror per se, but experience a bit of dissonance on if they feel safer as Iraq continues to slip into chaos. As Elephant has mentioned time and time again, Bush was elected because he was not Al Gore or Bill Clinton. After years of parsing words, we elected a president who we could take at face value. That doesn't seem to be the case now.
Political Parties in Flux
From time to time the dominant political parties in the U.S. mutate and take on new positions while abandoning old principles. Under Bush, the Republican Party has moved away from its traditional perceived strengths in fiscal management, governmental accountability, reducing the size of the government and a respect for individualism. Instead, they've adopted a more spendthrift domestic policy and shifted to the far right on social issues.
The Democrats too seem to be in the state of ideological flux, although a transformation that is less clear than the GOP's rightward shift. On one side we have the neo-liberal/populism of Howard Dean and on the other the New Democrat vision of Clinton. The Democrats have yet to decide which direction best suits their future a return to the liberal policies of the past or embracing the more centrist approach implemented by Clinton.
The Domestic Scene
No one can say the last four years have been great. Elephant was out of work for nearly 20 months and has many friends are still looking. Yes, there's a limit to what the president can actually do to create jobs, but there is such a thing as talking up the economy. Clinton was a master at this, unveiling small government programs or initiatives to reassure the public that the government was working to keep things growing. The current administration has been AWOL on economic issues. Spending is out of control, oil prices spiraling ever higher and no clear vision on the domestic front. But this issue can be easily trumped by the fear factor, so its traditional leading role is guiding voters is less clear.
So What's Going To Happen?
I'm still convinced that Bush's days are numbered. The only trump factor for Bush is the fear of terrorism, on all other fronts he's playing against type. So, my instincts are that the bad information on Iraq, the uncertainty of the economy and the Republican's abandonment of its traditional strengths will prove fatal to their presidential aspirations. But then, what do I know....
Yes, there are wolves after us and now they have 380 tons of high explosives.
Every now and then something so painfully embarassing happens on TV that I have to divert my eyes out. The widely reported Ashley Simpson incident on Saturday Night Live is probably the worst such event in many years. It's not so embarassing that she lip sincs...but the little 'jig' she does before moping off stage is really, really sad. As I always say, if you're going to fail, fail big time!
View it here.
Are We Are Own Wolves?
Wow, as someone who initially supported the war, the continuing parade of post war fumbles, (which I'll blame on short changing our troop numbers) is becoming stunning.
The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, produce missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.
The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no-man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Saturday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished after the American invasion last year [...]
Since the NYT article I quote above is subscription only, here's the Rueters story.
Bottom line, do I feel safer? NO.
The Conservative Case Against Bush
While not a conservative as say The Washington Times, the Detroit News is a relaible ideological friend to Republicans and their editorial board has never endorsed a democrat for president. But this year, they're refusing to endorse Bush. Why? As Elephant's been saying for months...
Four years ago, the choice was clear. We endorsed George W. Bush based on his promises of fiscal conservatism, limited government and prudence in foreign affairs.
Today, we sadly acknowledge that the president has failed to deliver on those promises.
This seems to be the consensus of doubt that I mentioned as emerging last week. You can't thumb your nose at the core political positions of your party and then attack the opponent for being inconsistent, especially when your were elected based on people's perception that you were more honest and reliable then your opponent.
EEAI Index Update
Latest EEAI Index Results:
Bush 269.1, Kerry 265
Bush is up, but the numbers are converging at or around 269 with neither candidate getting 270 EVs. God help us!
In's and Out's for the 2004 Election
Whilst back in Michigan I was treated to a near non-stop barrage of election ads and among them I got to see the new "Wolves" ad. For those that are old enough to remember, the 'wolves' ad is a retread of the "Bear" ad from the Reagan Era. Expect, the wolves ad doesn't seem as interesting or as pointed as the Bear ad was. My mini family focus group, even the Bush supporters thought it was a bit over the top. As one person put it, I thought it was effective until they show Bush trying to talk on the phone...Is he multi-tasking or calling the dog catcher....?
If It's Monday, It Must Be Atlanta
Well, the visit to the folks and family in Northern Michigan went well. My family focus group seems to indicate that "Security", at least among members of the family, seems to be winning out over all other issues. Both my brothers are voting for Bush (albiet, reluctantly), as is my Mother, sister-in-law-1 and their parents. Me, my father and sister-in-law-2 will be voting for someone else. But seeing that this groups would traditionallly all vote Republican is telling.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
The View from the Heartland
Well, Elephant is in Grand Rapids and the flight here was enlightening. On the flight I started talking to my seat mates about the election. They all expressed deep skepticism about the 'leadership' of George Bush over the last four years and shared some of my concerns about his lack of attention to Republican core values...most notably fiscal restraint. What was interesting is that folks seemed to be pretty interested in sharing their views and the row in front of us even joined the conversation. It was a positive discussion between a group of citizen's who had differing views on the best fit for President. No shrill talking points, but rather, heartfelt concerns and commentary. Although some still support Bush, there was a consensus that Kerry couldn't be worse and my in fact be better on spending and Iraq.
Friday, October 22, 2004
The Theocrats at Home
This would be funny in a George Orwell/Margret Atwood sense if it weren't so darned scary.
David Barton & the 'Myth' of Church-State Separation
The Bush campaign has hired a controversial activist who calls the U.S. a 'Christian nation'
Elephant on the Road
Headed to Michigan for the weekend then to Atlanta for work. I'll still be posting, but probably at different times than normal. It will be interesting to see what the 'feel' for the election is outside the beltway.
The battle for the Great Lakes
As the presidential race turns increasingly nasty, it is slowly closing in on one particular region of the country
The 9/11 Secret in the CIA's Back Pocket
It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.
Robertson comment troubles some voters
Did religious broadcaster Pat Robertson really hear President Bush say there would be no casualties in a war with Iraq, or did he misunderstand the commander-in-chief?
We Are Not Immune
Influenza, SARS, and the collapse of public health
When News Really Mattered
Is this where Tucker got his start?
Thursday, October 21, 2004
The Emerging Tipping Point
I don't know if it's hubris on my part or the fact I only got four hours of sleep last night, but I think today (at least in the Blogosphere) there is emerging a concensus that a tipping point in the presidential campaign is emerging. That Bush has strayed so far from credibilty on Iraq and core republican values that moderates have begun to defect en masse. Andrew Sullivan is reporting that Catholics are showing a shift away from Bush too. We shall see in the coming days if this attitude jumps from the Blogs to the MSM (Main Stream Media). I'm betting it will. A slow drift toward's Kerry seems to have begun.
Or maybe not, but at least the Riechstag's not burning yet.
Wow, now even O'Reilly seems to be hedging his bets on the election. Money quote:
But on his watch, U.S. intelligence has let us down three times: failing to stop 9/11, faulty analysis on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and a bumbling plan to pacify Iraq after Saddam fell. Those three catastrophes and they are that, have hurt America badly.
Have we reached a tipping point on Bush vs. Reality yet? Will this increasingly erode Bush's electoral support as we approach the election? Well, one can hope can't they.
Rational Thought is Not Dead!
I can't tell you how personally affirming it was to read the items below today. I'm not alone in wishing for a more mainstream republican party.
Former GOP Governor Endorses Kerry Former Republican Gov. William Milliken of Michigan endorsed Democratic Sen. John Kerry for president on Monday, saying President Bush has pursued policies "pandering to the extreme right wing." Milliken, governor from 1969-82, accused the Bush administration of rushing into the Iraq war, pushing tax cuts that benefit the rich and blocking meaningful stem-cell research. "I felt so strongly about the direction of this country that in the end, it wasn't a difficult decision to make,'' Milliken said in an interview Monday with Traverse City Record-Eagle reporters and editors.
Women's rights, civil liberties, the separation of church and state, the funding of family planning efforts world-wide - all have suffered grievously under this president and his administration.
The truth is that President George W. Bush does not speak for me or for many other moderate Republicans on a very broad cross section of issues.
Or even more eloquently by Former Kentucky Senator Marlow Cooke, who articulates (albeit much better) many of the thoughts I've tried to express on my little blog. Measure Bush's values by his actions...they are damning.
In 2000, to defeat Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Â— a man who was shot down in Vietnam and imprisoned for over five years Â— they used Carl Rove's "East Texas special." They started the rumor that he was gay, saying he had spent too much time in the Hanoi Hilton. They said he was crazy. They said his wife was on drugs. Then, to top it off, they spread pictures of his adopted daughter, who was born in Bangladesh and thus dark skinned, to the sons and daughters of the Confederacy in rural South Carolina.
I am not enamored with John Kerry, but I am frightened to death of George Bush. I fear a secret government. I abhor a government that refuses to supply the Congress with requested information. I am against a government that refuses to tell the country with whom the leaders of our country sat down and determined our energy policy, and to prove how much they want to keep that secret, they took it all the way to the Supreme Court.
Those of you who are fiscal conservatives and abhor our staggering debt, tell your conservative friends, "Vote for Kerry," because without Bush to control the Congress, the first thing lawmakers will demand Kerry do is balance the budget.
What's even more refreshing is other such guiding lights on the right like Lee Iacocca, Christine Todd-Whitman, George Will, William F. Buckley, Jr. Andrew Sullivan are speaking out. That and the eloquent words of Bill Milliken and Senator Marlow gave me a great surge of hope and pride that there are people in the GOP (people I greatly admire) who value principle over hanging on to power at any cost. People who remember its about empowering individuals not government and respecting private matters on abortion and gay marriage.
To be honest, reading Milliken and Marlow got me a little choked up today. There is hope for our country.
Below is a refreshing sight. With the current crop of radical republican senate candidates, I'm not sure I'm on board with the whole REB concept, but the message should give both Reps and Dems hope.
Elephant Electoral Average Index Update
Bush: 261 EVs, Kerry: 275 EVs.
Change: Bush Up +1
* The EEAI is my totally arbitrary averaging of electoral vote projects from some EV sites I like to vist. These include (in no particular order):
Election Projection: http://electionprojection.com
Race 2004: http://www.race2004.net/
Cold Hearted Truth: http://www.coldheartedtruth.com/
My DD: http://www.mydd.com/special/president
Electoral Vote: http://www.electoral-vote.com/
Federal Review: http://www.federalreview.com/
The Winter of Their Discontent
Living in DC is great for travel. There's three major airports within a short radius, we're a hub for USAir, Independence, Southwest, and United, plus a gateway to Europe. Generally, flying out of DC to another major metro area is pretty inexpensive, in fact, I can't think of a flight I've taken in the last couple of years that's cost more than $300 (Even to Europe!). But with more of the big airlines headed for bankruptcy and even start ups like Independence Air having trouble, I've begun to notice fares headed up, not everywhere, but it's happening.
Take for example a flight I have coming up to Montgomery Alabama in November. Leaving on a Sunday and returning on a Monday. No big deal, yet the cheapest ticket I could find out of Reagan National was $500 and included two connections.
Reports are out this week that Delta, Independence Air, ATA and possibly Northwest will fall into bankruptcy and analysts speculate that one or two of the legacy carriers will be liquidated. That could mean, at least in the short term, some painful changes, price hikes and travel bottlenecks as the industry moves from its current business model to a newer, leaner structure.
Let's hope that on the other side of this crisis is an industry that will still allow us to travel safely, conveniently, and cheaply.
Major US airlines descend into loss, more bankruptcies seen
Airlines brace for crisis: Labor, non-labor cuts expected as fuel costs soar.
Off the Reservation Score Card:
Well, let's see, the number of the president's allies or underlings that gave the president warnings of his team's policy short comings. Let's see where we are at now.
1) General "Let's Torture Prisoners" Sanchez- Not enough troops and equiptment
2) Paul Bremer: We needed more troops from the start.
3) Richard Clark: No Threat from Iraq
4) Larry Lindsey - Iraq War will cost more than $200 Billion
5) Paul O'Neal - Former Treas. Sec. said Tax Cuts were unafordable
6) Pat Robertson - Prepare the public for casualties...Bush..they're won't be any.
So, the parade of people who 'misunderstood' or 'misheard' Bush keeps growing. It's not like these folks are Kerry supporters doing hatchet jobs on the BC04 Campaign. These were Bush people. How many does it take before this triggers an epiphany were we say..."Hey, wait a minute...why does this keep happening?" And how many times can the Bush folks spin, deny or deflect such criticism from their own agents....
Red Sox Going to the World Series
As I live in a city without a major league team, my interest in baseball is minimal. But what a run for the Red Sox! Making a historic comeback from three games down to get to the world series. Good for them!
However, I find the prospect of a Red Sox-Astros World Series to be horrific. I mean Massachusetts v. Texas...right around the election. The potential for bad baseball/political metaphors would be dangerously high. I bet it's a dream come true for people like George Will.....
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Yes, It's a Slow News Day!
Wow, Lynne Cheney is so cool. Maybe I'm all wrong about my many dissappointments over the last four years. The 2nd Lady reads from a Blackberry....It's as if she's saying to me...
"See, I'm just like you, I know how to use this MTV-video-game to access the internets."
It's funny when the 'older' folks think they become 'relatable' by flashing the latest high-tech gadget. Remember Al Gore with the PDA on his belt, he deserved to loose for that alone!
Republican or Democrat, these are the moments to treasure....
An Example of CNNâ€™s Hack Political Reporting
Ok, Iâ€™m actually backing up my criticism of CNN, or at least my affinity for John Stewartâ€™s criticism of CNNâ€™s political coverage. Like many of you, I love looking at all the possible electoral vote outcomes and CNN has a pretty good clickable map where you can explore various â€˜battleground states.â€� But hereâ€™s the rub. For each state they have a nice little poll chart that shows whoâ€™s running a head in that state. Take for example Pennsylvania
Note the pleasing graph that shows Bush up by three points. But wait, this poll is from late September.
Now, click on the PA poll round up
and youâ€™ll see that in every poll since September, Kerry is either leading Bush or they are tied.
The same thing for Florida, where CNN shows Bush with a 9-point lead. http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/special/president/showdown/FL/
But here again this data is from late September and a host of other polls shows a much closer race. In fact, the CNN/USAToday/Gallup poll seems to stick out among the others which demonstrate a much closer trend.
So whatâ€™s my point? That CNN is lazy or too wedded to their own polling system and ignoring a host of other polls that show a narrowing trend for the race. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s bais as much as itâ€™s laziness and maybe arrogance, but then CNN may think their poll is the most accurateâ€¦we shall see.
And you know, itâ€™s not that they show Bush in the lead that bothers me at all, I donâ€™t care. What bothers me is that they are reporting month old information as news and ignoring other credible sources of information.
A lot of both conservative and liberal bloggers have been very critical of the gallup poll methodology however.
The Senate: Tilting Toward A Democratic Majority?
It takes a lot for Kentucky voters to cross the aisle and vote for a Democrat for senate and just a week ago, candidate Bunning follies would be no more than a side show. But last night he skipped a second debate with his Democratic rival, not bothering to even phone it in from DC as in the first debate. It does not appear that Mr. Bunning is well and even the most ardent of Kentuckians should be second guessing his abilties at this point. This should be a solid GOP race, but events seem to be turning the tide.
What's even more surprising is that I've been preparing my office for planning our action items in case Bush gets the boot or control switches in the Senate. A month ago my board looked at me funny for talking about it, now we're seeing it as a distinct possibility.
You know, it's probably not a good sign when Pat Robertson tries to distance himself from President Bush. Robertson should have a lot to be happy about under the Bush administration as Bush is very eager to forward an evangelical friendly agenda. But Robertson is quoted in an article on CNN.com saying:
And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' "
Robertson said the president then told him, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."
Robertson, the televangelist who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, said he wishes Bush would admit to mistakes made.
"I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy," Robertson said. "I warned him about casualties."
It's one thing when John Kerry says Bush isn't in touch with reality, that's just politics, but when Pat Robertson agrees, that's just plain scary.
Bottom Line: Bush must go.
Tucker Won't Let Go
Ok, while not necessarily a disciple of John Stewart, I thought his crossfire comments were both appropriate and delivered with gentle humor. But Tucker won't let go, call it the Lynne Cheney Syndrome if you will. Crossfire does suck, but it's a far better program than Tucker's lame solo effort on PBS.
Here's Tucker's latest rant: (From Page Six)
CNN's Tucker Carlson is still swatting at "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart in the wake of their angry on-air clash on "Crossfire" Friday night.
The conservative commentator yesterday described Stewart's behavior as "bizarre" on the program â€” during which a stone-cold serious Stewart bashed "Crossfire," called Carlson a "d- -k" and made fun of his trademark bow tie. What's more, Stewart stayed an hour and a half after taping ended to continue haranguing Carlson and co-host Paul Begala. Eventually, a CNN director said Stewart had to leave the set, which was to be used for a taping of "Anderson Cooper 360."
After the show was over, "I gave him my cellphone and said, 'Call me any time when you wanna talk about how evil we are,' " Carlson told PAGE SIX. "But then he was waiting back in the green room. He was sitting back there telling us how we were destroying civic life in this country and how bad we are. I had dinner reservations so I finally split, but he stayed there lecturing Begala and our producers.
"It was like a really bad freshman survey course," Carlson fumed. "Just one long lecture. Not a single joke was told. People just don't want to be who they are. Every actor wants to be a director. It's not good enough for Barbra Streisand to star in Yentl.' She has to be a foreign policy expert, too."
Carlson continued, "We've had a lot of hostile guests, but calling me a d- -k or making fun of my bow tie is not gonna rattle my cage. It's not like I haven't heard that before. I would think he would have had something more clever to say."
The trouble started on Friday's show when Stewart accused Carlson and Begala of "partisan hackery" and declared: "You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably."
Carlson fired back, "You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think." "You need to go to one," Stewart retorted. Carlson complained that, for a comedian, Stewart wasn't being very funny. "Come on," he said. "Be funny."
"No," Stewart snapped. "I'm not going to be your monkey."
Carlson chided Stewart â€” who recently said he will vote for John Kerry â€” for lobbing softball questions when the Democrat appeared on "The Daily Show" last month. Later, when Carlson told Stewart he was "more fun" on his Comedy Central show, Stewart retorted that Carlson was "just as big of a d- -k" on "Crossfire."
Stewart did not return calls.
Members of Congress Are So Important!
I heard this on the radio this morning. Despite the shortages of flu shots, Members of Congress aren't forsaking thiers so more needy can get them...oh no, they're at risk too. Why?
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.), a heart surgeon, sent letters urging his 99 colleagues to get the shots because they mingle and shake hands with so many people, his spokeswoman, Amy Call, said. She said she did not know how many senators have taken his advice.
Hey Bill! I ride the Metro everyday and hold on to a bar that probably 1,000 have touched. Does that count? Or are you concerned about all the germs you get from that 'dirty' pac money you get?
How Many of Us Feel This Way?
Ok, I stole this from another blog today, but I really think it sums up how a lot of us feel about the election, or at least about Bush. I thought my dissillussionment was rare, but increasingly I'm thinking that it isn't.
We had fully expected to stand with Bush, whom we endorsed in 2000 because his politics generally reflected ours: a strong military, fiscal conservatism, personal responsibility and small government. We knew him to be a popular governor of Texas who fought for lower taxes, less government and a pro-business constitution.
But we are unable to endorse President Bush for re- election because of his mishandling of the war in Iraq, his record deficit spending, his assault on open government and his failed promise to be a "uniter not a divider'' within the United States and the world.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Survey of Electoral Vote Projections
Yes, the Elephant jumps into the numbers game by throwing out a new voter projection figure. I've surveyed a list of electoral vote projection sites and averaged the projections to arrive at the Elephant's Electoral Average Index (EEAI). Like the professional pollsters, there's nothing scientific about my numbers either! Even better, since I'm averaging a bunch of other people's formulas, I'm probably compounding some errors too! Of course that wouldn't stop the hacks in the MSM, so why should it stop me?
I'll be updating this figure every other day this week!
This Week's EEAI: Electoral Votes
Kerry: 278 Bush: 260
(I'll post a listing of the sources for the projections later).
I'm Still Waiting!
It's a cold rainy day here in DC. I'm sitting here, like many voters, holding my breath for the election, hoping against hope we don't have a tie and it dawned on me....Where's my October surprise? I mean in 2000 we had the Bush DUI, and under Clinton we had Bimbo eruptions and Reagan had the Hostages. Don't we need some last minute turn of events to get the media all atwitter about the 'dynamics' of the campaign?! Alas, the politicians are letting us down again.
I'm Embarrassed for My Generation
Wow, I can't believe that the John Stewart/Tucker Carlson issue is getting so much press. I mean, Stewart didn't say anything that most of us don't think when we see Crossfire or those other tired shouting head shows. My problem, like Stewart's is that hacks like Carlson, Hanity, Colmes and Begala simply ask the talking point questions forwarded to them by their old partisan colleagues. Besides, if they really asked a hard questions, they may ...Gasp...not be able to book the coward politician who only wants to have softballs lobbed at them, thus driving every politician to the truly pathetic Larry King Show.
What gets me is that how Tucker is getting his panties in a knot over what a comedian has to say about his show. That's how desperate we the viewing public are for good commentary that we turn out Carlson and Begala and watch the wry satire of Stewart. And I don't think there could be any doubt for anyone who watched the Crossfire exchange that Stewart handily humiliated Carlson.
What's depressing is that Tucker is my age and is one of the few Gen X'ers to make it to a MSM show, unfortunately he represents the worst hacky-corporate lacky-bland looking- won't rock the boat type that probably made the execs at Time-Warner pee thier pants. I so thought we could do better.
Who'd Have Thunk!
As a child of the Cold War, I don't think I could imagine a leader of Russia supporting a particular candidate for the U.S. Presidency and having it be used by partisans in the U.S. as a reason to vote for that candidate. Brezhnev supports Carter!
But of course that's what's been the topic of many of the pro-bush blogs this week, including one of my favorites Electionprojection.com. Of course there's a huge difference in Russia now. Then they were a bunch of pink-0-commies, but now, they're tilting facist, so I guess it should be no suprise that they're supporting Bush. The only thing that suprises me is that the GOP seems to be so excited about it.
As the state's license plates say, "Oklahoma is OK." It's not great, or spectacular...it's just ok. But when it comes to Senate races, Oklahoma is more than just OK, it's a car wreck. Again, the Republican hubris over issues like gay marriage and abortion are showing that they can only take the party so far before even the most conservative of the party get a little queasy. So, with the GOP sure to lose a seat in Illinios (by historic margins) and SC in play due to continuing gaffes by GOP candidate DeMint, it's shocking to see that even in Oklahoma (A red state if their ever was one), that Brad Carson, the Democratic challenger is dead even in the polls with GOP candidate Tom Coburn. Why? Maybe because while many folks have concerns and issues related to God, Guns and Gays...such talk doesn't really ease concerns about healthcare costs, the deficit, Iraq and more day to day issues. But then, maybe its just me.
You know, Sinclair Broadcasting can play any silly movie they damned well please. If they want to order their stations to play a potentially libelous movie about John Kerry, good for them.
What they seem to be forgetting is that we the viewers are the ones who pay their salaries and it's just not good business sense to go out and alienate half of your customers, especially in the heavy handed manner that Sinclair has done. Of course they're not managing this issue very well now that it's a raging PR fire. Yesterday they fired their Washington Bureau Chief for publicly stating he thought the whole affair was a bad idea. Blatant agenda pushing is their right, but it's also the right of their audience to bolt to different stations or to press advertisers to pull out of their channels. The market seems to be giving Sinclair a big thumbs down on this too. Their stock has lost nearly 1/2 its value since spring.
Isn't this part of the problem with Big Media? That they continue to think they can pontificate (from the left or the right) and we just sit in our chairs and absorb their message without any critical thinking? Sorry guys, those days are gone.
Revenge of the Generals
One of the more lamer moments in the debates is when Bush said he gave the generals everything they needed in Iraq and they "never told me they needed more troops." It sounded half-assed to me at the time and I even commented that laying the blame at the feet of the soldiers on the ground would come back to haunt Bush, who after all is the Commander in Chief.
It looks like this turkey has come home to roost. A pentagon document was leaked in which Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez complained to top Army officials about a shortage of spare parts, lack of protective gear and poor readiness rates for Army weapons in Iraq. Hmmmm.... Bremmer, now Sanchez. Could all these guys be crazy or is it that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz wanted to do this on the cheap.
Although Elephant is skeptical about the reasons we are in Iraq, I strongly believe that we should not let our forces or the Iraqi people down and we need to finish the job. Of course that would have been easier if the planners at the Pentagon actually did their jobs before we went in.
Tommy Thompson Makes Me Sad
Thanks Tommy! I think the last time you got so much press coverage you we're telling me that I couldn't get anthrax through the mail and those sick postal workers at DC's Brentwood Post Office were probably just over reacting....until they died.
P.S.- Will this flu shot mini-crisis impact the Senior vote in Florida?
Monday, October 18, 2004
Election 2004: My Best Outcome
Yes, like many, Elephant isn't a fan of the Bush, nor is he a big fan of the Kerry. I think it's the worst choice I've ever had to make in a Presidential election. (Not that it really is a choice as Kerry's lead for DC's 3 electoral votes is something like 68%). But I've been thinking about the election today and I can think of no happier outcome for Elephant than a split government. Maybe it's Kerry against a Republican House and Senate (possible), or Kerry with a Dem. Senate and a Republican House (plausible), or even Bush against a Democratic Senate (possible, but not probable). The thing is the GOP has done such a lousy job over the last four years that I think forcing them to organize thier thoughts and think about thier agenda would be a good thing. So, Elephant's keeping his fingers crossed for a split, one way or the other.
Voting Problems in Florida?
Well, early voting in several states has begun and within minutes it appears that there are already problems in Florida. I'm so embarrassed for them. I think that all of us, Republican and Democrat should agree that if Florida can't get it right they should be put on notice that we'll kick'em out of the Union if they don't shape up....
Hero of the Week: John Stewart
-- comedian JON STEWART, star Comedy Central's late-night sendup of television news, criticizing the mainstream media's coverage of politics.
From a Conservative's Mouth To Your Ears
Paul Weyrich is many things, but a conservative appologist he is not. Mr. Weyrich is considered by many in the think tank world to hold tremendous influence in the administration and conservative circles. Here's what he is reported to have said about the election:
Some senior conservative activists are getting jittery about President Bush's re-election prospects--and not just because the candidate in chief failed todeliver a knockout blow in the debates. Paul Weyrich, head of the Free CongressFoundation, says he thinks a surge in voter registrations, propelled by angry,anti-incumbent sentiment, spells trouble. "Those new voters are going to kick George Bush out of office," he predicts.
Hey, Paul, don't forget us true republicans who voted for Bush in 2000 and have found our core values jettison early on. Some of us are mad as hell too!
UsaToday Poll: Bush Up, But Down in Ohio
Wow, the USAToday poll shows President Bush up about 8 points among likely voters. Does this mean it's over? No way. First of all, its a nationwide poll, which as you know in a presidential election means zilch. Look deeper into the USAToday story and check out the electoral college map. It's showing Kerry leading in Ohio, and that lead is just outside the margin of error of the poll. If Kerry gets Ohio, it's all over.
In short, what all this means is that things are still in flux.
But also check out the Battleground tracker link too.
Guns, Gays and God
Voters are not convinced that he is on the wrong side. A new TIME poll, conducted after last week's third presidential debate, suggests that wedge issues, which normally work to the Republicans' advantage, are not a big G.O.P. plus this time. Asked whom they trust to handle "moral-values issues such as gay marriage and abortion," more voters chose Bush (44%) than Kerry (42%), though the difference was within the margin for error. In early September the numbers were 51% to 37% in Bush's favor.
GOP Candidate's Fumble Puts Senate In Play
In the race to keep control of the Senate, the GOP had a seemingly easy task. The Dems had more seats up for election and many of these seats were in GOP leaning states. But that doesn't seem to stop the folks at the RNC from running things into the ground. Take for example South Carolina. Conservative Democratic Senator Fritz Hollings retirement opened up what should be an easy win for the GOP. But, candidate DeMint has let off a series of what can best be described as gaffes that have put the odds of this race at even. Among his well known gaffes are
saying gays and unmarried mothers should not teach in public schools, but he stopped short of retracting the statements. He further went on to say he supports a 23% sales tax and the complete elimination of all abortions.
That's a great platform for the red meat Republican crowd, but social issues aren't as cut a dried with the voters as politicians like to think. As a result, DeMint not only had to back away and apologize for his teacher remarks, he must work extra hard to get the majority he needs in what should have been a cake walk.
Elephant will state yet again that the more the republican's move from their core strengths of fiscal prudence, accountable government and social libertarianism, the harder their future prospects for maintaining a national majority will be. Maybe in 2004, maybe not, but under the leadership of President Bush, the party has set off on a new course that could undermine the very identity of the party.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Review: Team America ****
For those of you going to see Team America for it's political satire, you might be dissappointed. Although the marketing of the film leaves one with the impression that the movie is a send up of the current state of the nation, it's not. But don't worry too much, the movie hits on all cylinders and is a riot.
First and foremost, Team America is a great homage to the "Thunderbirds," A 1960's TV show involving puppets. Second, and more important, it is a send up of hollywood blockbuster action flicks ala Armagedon. Trey Parker and Matt Stone set thier satirical sights on Hollywood and don't let up. Nearly a brilliant as South Park the Movie, Team America is a great escape during this parody of an election.
Karl Rove: Brilliant, Cunning, Evil?
At what price victory? That's a good measure of person's integrity. If this article is to be believed, then Karl Rove and George Bush have none. Here's a tid-bit of Rove's strategy:
When his term on the court ended, he chose not to run for re-election. I later learned another reason why. Kennedy had spent years on the bench as a juvenile and family-court judge, during which time he had developed a strong interest in aiding abused children. In the early 1980s he had helped to start the Children's Trust Fund of Alabama, and he later established the Corporate Foundation for Children, a private, nonprofit organization. At the time of the race he had just served a term as president of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect. One of Rove's signature tactics is to attack an opponent on the very front that seems unassailable. Kennedy was no exception.
Some of Kennedy's campaign commercials touted his olunteer work, including one that showed him holding hands with children. "We were trying to counter the positives from that ad," a former Rove staffer told me, explaining that some within the See camp initiated a whisper campaign that Kennedy was a pedophile. "It was our standard practice to use the University of Alabama Law School to disseminate whisper-campaign information," the staffer went on. "That was a major device we used for the transmission of this stuff. The students at the law school are from all over the state, and that's one of the ways that Karl got the information outâ€”he knew the law students would take it back to their home towns and it would get out." This would create the impression that the lie was in fact common knowledge across the state. "What Rove does," says Joe Perkins, "is try to make something so bad for a family that the candidate will not subject the family to the hardship. Mark is not your typical Alabama macho, beer-drinkin', tobacco-chewin', pickup-drivin' kind of guy. He is a small, well-groomed, well-educated family man, and what they tried to do was make him look like a homosexual pedophile. That was really, really hard to take."
Or More recently:
Some of Rove's darker tactics cut even closer to the bone. One constant throughout his career is the prevalence of whisper campaigns against opponents. The 2000 primary campaign, for example, featured a widely disseminated rumor that John McCain, tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, had betrayed his country under interrogation and been rendered mentally unfit for office
Sadly, we're seeing these tactics yet again. Is this compassionate conservatism? Is this leadership? Is this sort of campaigning inevitable when comepeting for the most powerful job in the world?
Saturday, October 16, 2004
John Stewart Takes on Tucker Carlson
Finally, someone puts MSM in its place. John Stewart appears on Crossfire and rips Tucker Carlson a new pie hole. It is awesome. Stewart is brilliant, critical and funny all at the same time. Please, please watch this show.
Wonkette has a list of links
Back to the Future
Wow, I just mowed my lawn for the first time. I had a yard put in at my new house and the wet weather has really helped getting the grass seed to sprout. While I was mowing I tried to remember the last time I mowed a yard and I think it was in 1989.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Should I Rethink This Outsourcing Thing?
Add attorney to the growing list of white-collar jobs being shipped overseas. How far will it go?
Hmmmm....is that a giant sucking sound I hear? No, seriously, the one good thing I found about being a lawyer is that during my 18 months of unemployment (Gotta love that Bush economic miracle) I was still able to pay the bills and live fairly well doing temp attorney work. At the time my colleagues and I bitched about the 'sweatshop' conditions. (e.g. - Fifty lawyers, one bathroom!, or the time we all had to work in temporary office space that was infested with fleas!) But maybe we spoke too soon....
Looks like if I'm ever in that position again, I may have to sign up as a Wal-Mart greeter.
EOTE Weekend Edition
Once again, Elephant is approaching a few weeks of business and personal travel - heading off to Altanta, Grand Rapids, Bridgeport, NYC, Phoenix and Brimingham. Geesh! So, between now and the election, I plan on expanding EOTE to include a "Weekend Edition" of a few postings on Saturday and Sunday. Once again, no blip in the campaign, no news story or pop culture development will be too inane, too over analyzed or too dull for coverage! Please tune in.
If you're not convinced the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States changed everything, ask yourself this: If anybody had told you on September 10 that the talk of early-21st-century Hollywood was going to be an action feature film in which marionettes play celebrities and world leaders, would you have believed it?
Frontline: The Choice
On November 2nd, Americans will vote in the first wartime election since Vietnam. Like that earlier war, the war in Iraq has exposed deep divisions in how Americans see this country and its place in the world. It has also exposed major differences between the two candidates, George W. Bush and John F. Kerry.
RIAA Takes a Body Blow
The Supreme Court handed Internet services providers and privacy advocates a crucial victory yesterday when it decided to pass on an important Internet piracy case.
Inner Circle No More?
Paul Bremerâ€™s remarks on Iraq came as an unwelcome surprise to the White House