September 30, 2004
Questions for Kerry
What did John Kerry mean when he said, "And we got weapons of mass destruction crossing the border every single day, and they're blowing people up." Are the WMD mention a metaphor for terrorists? Or are nukes and nerve gas bombs going off in Iraq and the MSM isn't telling us? If Kerry actually means the nuclear/chemical type WMD, then does he believe they're crossing the border from Syria? And if so were they originally in Saddam's Iraq thus giving Bush justification for invading?
Another question: During the discussion on Darfur Kerry said he wouldn't send in U.S. troops. However, moments later he said, "But I'll tell you this, as president, if it took American forces to some degree to coalesce the African Union, I'd be prepared to do it because we could never allow another Rwanda." Which is it, Senator? Kerry's answer would be, "both."
One last question (for now): what subways closed during the GOP convention?
UPDATE: Blaster noticed an interesting Kerry comment. Was Kerry willing to bribe and coerce to get a favorable resolution through the Security Council?
And I have another question. Kerry only mentioned Vietnam once but made reference to his military service. About that war he said, "It reminds me it is vital for us not to confuse the war -- ever -- with the warrior. That happened before." Will Kerry back down from his 1971 Senate testimony?
I'll try to be as objective as I can even though I'm a big Bush backer who has already called the race for him.
The only winner tonight was the American voter who got to hear the differences between Bush and Kerry. Since this debate was on foreign affairs one would have expected the President to dominate. That didn't happen. John Kerry talked tough and pointed out the contrasts of the candidates. While looking Presidential he made some outrageous statements. He called the Iraq War a "colossal error of misjudgement." Kerry said Bush "made a mistake in invading Iraq" even though he voted for the war. He insulted the Brits, Aussies, Poles, and other members the alliance in Iraq.
Kerry has a plan to "win the peace" in Iraq. The only specific part mentioned was a summit to get allies to commit troops and funds. He still has the delusion that France and Germany will go into Iraq after some Kerry sweet talking. It won't happen, Kerry knows it, but has no Plan B--which should really be Plan A. And he complains of the Bush administration's lack of planning.
There was substantial back and forth on North Korea. Kerry practically blamed Bush for North Korea new nuclear weapons. No mention was made of the Bill Clinton's and Jimmy Carter's failed agreement. A difference between the candidates was Bush's multilateral talks versus Kerry's bilateral talks (along with multilateral).
Kerry criticized backing down in Fallujah, but you know he would have been the first to complain had the marines gone in and suffered tremendous causalties along with the deaths of untold Iraqi civilians.
Kerry did some pandering by mentioning Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin (twice).
He talked about tax cuts for the rich even though the debate was about foreign policy. He said, "We didn't need that tax cut." If Kerry Edwards wants to stop talking about Iraq and talk about taxes, fine by me.
Kerry had some weird moments. Only one of the candidates made reference to Ronald Reagan, and it wasn't President Bush. I guess Kerry thinks there are some disgruntled conservatives out there who'd want to vote for him if they could be convinced Kerry was strong on defense.
There was an obligatory Halliburton reference that only kooks and hard-core Bush haters would understand. Also kooky was was the claim that the U.S. is building 14 permanent bases in Iraq. Where did that come from?
The Massachusetts Senator mentioned weapons of mass destruction crossing borders but didn't say which borders. Iraq? The U.S.?
Kerry also announced the President had the right to engage in pre-emptive attacks. Deaniacs and Kerry's anti-war supporters must have just cringed when hearing that. I bet the wish the Dean Scream never happened.
But the strangest comment from Kerry was his idea of U.S. military intervention passing a "global test." Does that mean France has veto power over future wars that are in the U.S. interest? Does that mean U.N. Security Council is needed before U.S. troops step foot in a foreign land? Does Kerry really care about national sovereignty? Those two words bring up a whole host of questions. Kerry's goal was to sound firm and steady, but such a nebulous concept sounds like a foundation made of sand.
The slouching President did a fine job of reiterating his stump speech points. If you heard his acceptance speech at the GOP convention earlier this month or been to one of his campaign rallies you know what he said. "Steady leadership" and "hard work" were mentioned over and over and over. Too much for my blood, but then the President wasn't trying to win over a Bush-backing political junkie like me.
The President defended his Iraq War decision by saying that in a post-Sept. 11 world a leader can't sit back and react to an attack. He said he went to the U.N. to give Saddam one last chance. In the President's mind Saddam failed his last chance and had to go.
To use a football analogy Bush played a soft zone not allowing Kerry to make the big play. The President could have blitzed more often and hammer at Kerry for voting for the $87 billion military package before he voted against it. He only mentioned it once allowing Kerry to reply that he sometimes messed up his words. The problem wasn't the words, it was the action of voting against the aid. Bush go after him for that.
Another example is when Kerry offered Iran nuclear fuel and a test to make sure it was only being used for peaceful purposes. Bush should have went after him by questioning why a petroleum-rich country needed a nuclear reactor. A country with a history of sponsoring terrorism cannot have a nuke. Bush just let the comment pass.
There was something that bothered me about both candidates. When asked what the #1 foreign policy issue is Kerry said nuclear proliferation while Bush said WMD in the hands of terrorist networks. They're both wrong. The #1 issue is defeating the Islamist ideology. WMD are just tools to attack. Like Communism Islamism is an America-opposing ideology. Islamism is the root of al Qaeda and the Sep. 11 attacks. Destroy (or marginalize) the Islamists and WMD proliferation becomes less consequential though still important.
The final result is a draw which prolongs Kerry's campaign. If Bush was trying to make a final kill it didn't happen tonight.
The MSM spin is Kerry looked Presidential, that he energized his base by going toe-to-toe with the President on Bush's top issue, and the polls will narrow because of the debate. Well, the polls will narrow if the MSM decides a closer race would get viewers more interested in news coverage. Recall the newly-named TAM's first rule of thumb of news consumption: News is entertainment.
Allah is collecting blogospheric reaction and expect updates when I find interesting post-debate commentary.
TAM's Debate Coverage
The Pre-Debate Score
On the Iowa Electronic Markets President Bush is leading Sen. Kerry, but the lead has narrowed over the last few days. Traders must think Bush was overvalued at the $0.74 level. Tune into TAM tomorrow to see if the debate effected this prediction market.
Preventing Voter Fraud
First, concerned citizens have to be aware of what's happening at their polling place. If the place is packed and filled with brand new voters, red flags should spring up in their minds. Local and state election officals need to be contacted and given as much information as possible so they don't think the citizen is just a partisan crank.
The second thing is for citizens to put pressure on their District Attorneys to fully investigate and prosecute those accused of vote fraud. McCann's a lost cause, but the prosecutors in Racine should know that the public won't stand for a lax defense of the vote.
Third, suspicious citizens should call local media. Like contacting election officials they should have good, plausible information to back up their suspicion that individuals or groups are attempting to rig the election. Initial contact may not cause a story to get into print or on the air, but it may inspire further investigation. If no reporters listen then contact a weblogger, like me, or start one up yourself. The New Media revolution offers many more ways to get a story out.
These ideas were just from some brief thinking. E-mail me or leave a comment if you have some of your own.
Stolen Honor, the documentary "how John Kerry's actions during the Vietnam era impacted the treatment of American soldiers and POWs" is available for sale and also pay-per-view on the internet. You would have thought Michael Moore would have thought of this.
This Means War
The new $50 might be a French conspiracy.
"This Time the Treasury has Gone Too Far"
Alone in the Wilderness
The Boston Globe almost got caught up in a forgery about the forged Killian memos. A few jobs may have been saved by this Wizbang post.
That's all well and good, but why are the same webloggers who went gung-ho after CBS News letting USA Today off the hook for their role publicizing the memos? For daily TAM readers this is old news. The paper relied on CBS News' "journalism" and the White House's lack of a denial to run with the story a day after the 60 Minutes II airing. Only after the blogosphere and some MSM questioned the memos' authencity did USAT have experts look at the documents. USAT reporters have a history with Bill Burkett and have spent months trying to dig up dirt on President Bush's National Guard service.
Webloggers aren't the only ones missing this angle. USAT's own media reporter, Peter Johnson, wrote about how conservatives think Dan Rather and CBS News lean Left. Not one mention is made that his employer also ran a smear story on Bush based on forged documents.
Not all webloggers following the Killian memo story have ignored TAM's investigation. Thanks must be given to them for publicizing USAT's role.
This isn't about me trying to break a big story. This is about holding media organizations accountable for bad journalism. USAT editor Ken Paulson sees nothing wrong with how his paper covered the story. There's no contrition and no apology to readers and President Bush. You'd think such arrogance would receive heaps of scorn from the blogosphere. Well, there's at least one person is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
News as Entertainment
Television news isn't about information dispersal. It's about entertainment. Years ago, an economics professor (can't remember his name) at an IHS conference bestowed this insight on me, and I have never watched television the same since.
The CBS News draft story is a mini-movie. There's the protagonist, Beverly Cocco who's "absolutely scared" and "petrified" about an impending draft. There's the villian, President Bush who's sent troops to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq and who vows to continue waging war on America's enemies. With the villian is his lackey. Here, it's the Selective Service Director Jack Martin who admits a draft could begin six months after a law was passed. (Neither Kerry nor Bush have said they will reinstate the draft.)
Now, CBS News could have put in the much-needed fact that the e-mails scaring people about the draft contain dubious information at best. They didn't, not because of some anti-Bush or anti-government bias but because it would tone down the story's tension. Viewers wouldn't have a "wow" moment if the story was about a military draft that no one of any significance says will happen. Such a story would just make Beverly Cocco look like a paranoid kook. Putting paranoid kooks on the evening news is not good for rating (but do it on Jerry Springer and you have a hit).
The evening news isn't just the only place where news is entertainment. There are the talking head yap fests like Crossfire, Hannity & Colmes, and Hardball. After watching Crossfire for a few years I realized the point of the show wasn't to inform the viewer. The guests have their talking points they stick to and all participants just try to make their ideological foes look like extremist wackos. That's not news, it's professional wrestling in front of a Washington, D.C. backdrop.
For those if us news junkies news is entertainment. We have an unsatiable desire to be in the know and up to date with all that happening around us. We click on Instapundit and Drudge many times an hour to keep up. Many of us have gone so far as to write weblogs to quench our thirst for news.
What I'm getting as is news as entertainment isn't inherently bad. It just means the viewer or reader needs to maintain an assumption when consuming media: sometimes the story is more important than the substance; there's usually more than meets the eye.
P.S. Here's what Google thinks when you type in "television news entertainment." I know it's only the result of an algorithm so take it with a grain of silicon.
UPDATE: I don't know if Glenn Reynolds has ever explicitly dubbed news as entertainment, but this quote makes me think we're of like mind:
Unless Kerry melts into a puddle on the floor, the media spin will be that he did well and helped his campaign. This is for two reasons. One is, as Newsweek' Evan Thomas remarked, that the press "wants Kerry to win."
Lights, Camera, Complain
Kerry Edwards aides want signal lights removed from the lecterns before tonight's debate. Captain Ed calls it a "temper tantrum." (Gee, was there a Teresa sighting?) I wonder how many viewers would have even noticed them. Now, the press will point out focus of the pre-debate scuffle. More will pay attention to the lights. If the Kerry Edwards' strategy was for Kerry get away with being long-winded then the complaining aides made a boo-boo.
"Debate Panel Nixes Kerry Campaign Request"
September 29, 2004
Voter Fraud Central
Bill Hobbs is collecting voter fraud information. The first pattern I'm noticing is there's plenty of activity in the battleground states of Ohio and Wisconsin. Bush definitely need Ohio, while Kerry has to have Wisconsin.
Our Money is Pink!
Behold, the further "wussification" of our money. The Treasury Department should just go all out and put Hello Kitty on the bills. It's one thing to make currency tougher to counterfeit, but it's another to do it in such an aesthetically unpleasing way. Before messing with the $10 bill bring over the crew doing the nice new nickels.
"New $50 Bill Begins Circulating"
September 28, 2004
The Fix is In
In today's Journal Sentinel is a front page story on how important the youth vote is in the election. The story is rather hum-drum. Much more interesting is a caption to this picture:
New Voters Project volunteers gather to be deputized as city registrars. Wisconsin is one of six states targeted by the non-partisan group, which says it has already added more than 100,000 young adults to the rolls here.
New Voters Project is about as non-partisan as Rock the Vote. NVP is a project of the State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) and George Washington University. The PIRGs are nothing more than Leftist political outfits. More importantly the New Voters Project now has the ability to commit massive vote fraud that could swing Wisconsin and the election toward John Kerry. The Wisconsin Campus Director is Jessy Tolkan. She's had experience with election fraud.
The dirty little secret about registering in Wisconsin is a voter can do so at the polls on Election Day. There is no need to register beforehand. Registration drives only make local officials spend time finding first-time registrants and ask for identification. After that no indentification is needed. Thus a first-time registrant who showed a town clerk their ID does not have to show it again before voting.
There's even a big loophole in same-day registration. The registrant doesn't even need to show any idea if someone who lives in the same municipality vouches for the person.
In some cases NVP workers have been deputized to register voters. In other localities they haven't. Those deputized can register voters without local officials checking IDs. They are simply added to the voter rolls.
Because of Wisconsin's lax voting rules here is a plausible scenerio to steal a Kerry victory:
Here’s the method to the New Voter Project madness. In Wisconsin, you can register to vote at the polls on Election Day. You have to produce identification when you register. But sending in a phony registration in advance puts you on the voter list before the election. Already-registered voters don’t have to show any identification. By putting perhaps thousands of fake names on the voter lists, it will be possible for fraudsters to show up at the polls and simply claim to be the person who was already "registered."
Or how about this: I, being a big Bush backer, get deputized by my town clerk to register voters. I could be legit and have people fill out the proper form and check their ID to make sure they are who they claim to be. Or I could take names out of the phone book, fill out the paperwork, lie that I saw the ID, and put them onto the rolls. While illegal these nefarious actions wouldn't themselves affect an election. There would just be a bunch of false names on the voter rolls.
Now, suppose I falsely registered 20 new voters, then had people from outside the community vote. My cohorts may have already voted somewhere else and are now voting again. That is voter fraud. Wisconsin's attitude that Illinois-style shenanigans could never happen here make the Badger State a defenseless target. When you combine that with it being a battleground state in a close election, then the potential for vote fraud rises significantly.
The PIRGs, George Washington University, and the Pew Charitable Trusts must answer why someone with Tolkan's background is (presumably) being paid to register voters.
What can be done for this election is for Bush supporters to keep a close eye on the polls. Lots of strange, new people coming to the polls should trigger red flags. For future elections, state law has to be changed to require voters to show ID before getting a ballot.
"At 25 Million Strong, Young Adults Coaxed to Flex at the Polls"
"'That St. Louis Dog'"
Slog through the posts below because if you're interested in the potential power of prediction markets like the Iowa Electronic Markets these posts will help you understand some of the strengths and weaknesses of these devices.
While the Manski paper argues there is a weakness in the market-derived probability, Steve Vernon points out that the movement of the probability and the Manski bounds can tell us something about what market participants think will happen.
UPDATE: I just found this Tyler Cowen post. Here's a key paragraph:
The very virtue of prediction markets now becomes their cost. If you hear rumors, in the absence of prediction markets, you can ignore them and pretend they are not true. With asset markets, however, your forecast moves into equality with that of the market, otherwise you would trade. It is precisely this "forcing quality" that makes prediction markets so useful, but also so potent. Price movements are materially and psychologically harder to ignore. The very feature of prediction markets that mobilizes information also mobilizes coordinated social reactions to the embodied information, and not always for the better.
"Prediction Markets: Need We Fear Price Variance?"
Hamm's Day in Court
Olympic gold medalist Paul Hamm endured 11 1/2 hours of a hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport over whether he will keep his medal. The Americans felt they said what they needed to say. A decision is expected within two weeks.
"Gymnastics Fight Hits Sports Court"
Attanasio Buying Brewers
Should Major League Baseball approve, Mark Attanasio is become the next majority owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Los Angeles investor is reportedly paying more than $180 million while a local sports radio yapper believes its closer to $200 million. The sale could be finalized in November.
"Brewers Accept Offer from L.A. Investor"
September 27, 2004
Drinkin' With Voters
Karl Rove may have started his victory dance too early. John Kerry may have finally gotten the message and figured out how to connect to average Joes:
Susan Lampert Smith, a columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, was sprawled on her couch in Mount Horeb on Sunday afternoon, like so many others in her state, watching the Green Bay Packers and looking forward to a nap.
Kerry even has some good taste in beer. He neither went for the home state Miller or the enemy brew Budweiser. Instead, he drank a full-flavored, Chippewa Falls Leinenkugel's.
Underestimate Kerry's campaigning skills at your peril.
"In Wisconsin, Columnist Suggests, Kerry Complies"
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
I missed this Killian memo timeline put together by USA Today reporter Mark Memmott. I want to point out the items involving USA Today.
Let's get into the substance of how USA Today put together their Killian memo story.
One hour and fifteen minutes after the 60 Minutes II story aired, Dave Moniz received copies of the forged memos from Bill Burkett. Presumably this was in Bozeman, Montana.
USAT editors admit that they ran with the story based on the CBS News airing and a woman who knew about National Guard practices and files. No document expert was consulted. Two days later and only after webloggers inspire some MSM to question the memos' authenticity does USAT "assign reporters to expand the story and investigate the memos' authenticity."
On 09.12.04 (three days after running the initial story), USAT shows the memos to document experts. Two say they're fakes while other experts say 1970s technology could produce such documents. They publish this story the next day.
Three days later on 09.15.04, reporters Dave Moniz and Kevin Johnson begin five days of interviews with Bill Burkett. The story is published on 09.21.04.
Now, let's see how many of my questions have been answered:
The paper should be praised for not allowing Dave Moniz or Jim Drinkard to continue covering this story. A new reporter not only prevents any conflict of interest but allows for an outside perspective.
Unfortunately for the paper, the comments of Ken Paulson show the paper admits to no wrong. He uses CBS News and the White House as excuses for not authenticating the Killian memos.
Finally let me toot my horn. Editor & Publisher finally noticed USAT's role in this story on 09.14. They called it "widely overlooked." If they were reading TAM they would have realized the paper's role on 09.13. Sure it's one little day, but TAM scooped "America's Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry."
"Scoops and Skepticism: How the Story Unfolded"
Doug Forrester takes on Dan Rather and gives himself some publicity. He's starting a campaign to kick the CBS News anchor off the air.
"GOP Businessman Forrester Seeks Dan Rather's Ouster"
September 26, 2004
John Kerry didn't advocate pre-emption against Iraq in 1997, and the Washington Times biffed it. Sloppy journalism is bipartisan.
"Kerry Circa '97: Corrected Edition"
The Next Hip Tech
This AP story is the first from the MSM I've read about wikis. I guess the Killian memo story and notice of weblogs on cable news and in magazines like Time, the MSM needs to find the next-big-thing.
"'Wikis' Offer Knowledge-Sharing Online"
Pack Loses Shootout; Legendary Performance
Defense? What defense? That was the question in Indianapolis today. Brett Favre and Payton "Favre, Jr." Manning combined for nine touchdown passes and oodles of offense.
The Colts owned the first half tearing apart the Packers depleted secondary. Favre and the gang kept pace. In the second half, the Packers fought their way back. Late in the fourth quarter, the Packers were within seven points of the Colts and driving. Then Javon Walker coughed up the ball with a great Colts strip. Indianapolis then scored on a Edgerin James run to seal the 45-31 victory.
To those betting types, if you need help with Packers games check out Lisa's prediction then bet the other way.
Colonel Ed Morrisey's Claim
President Bush volunterred to go to Vietnam? With anything that happened 30+ years ago, we need something more than one man's word. Did Bush sign anything? Has he made that claim? Have others publically said something similar?
UPDATE: Because of Penraker's good hunting we now know that Col. Morrisey's claim backs up Bush's assertion that he volunteered for Palace Alert. Morrisey didn't mention the program but the reasons Bush wasn't accepted matches Morrisey's reason of why Bush didn't go to Vietnam.
The words from Kerry Edwards and Nancy Pelosi aren't those of a party that believes they're winning voters' hearts and minds. Kerry Edwards released an add decrying the Bush campaign's "despicable politics." It was in response to a 527 ad showing Mohammad Atta, Osama bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein then asking, "Would you trust Kerry against these fanatic killers?"
In the Democrats weekly radio address, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the Iraq War a "grotesque mistake." Does that mean she would prefer Saddam still brutalizing Iraqis while waiting for U.N. to melt away so he can rebuild his WMD stockpile? Unlike Kerry, Pelosi didn't vote for the Iraq War resolution or the $87 billion supplemental.
"Kerry Ad Labels Bush Politics 'Despicable'"
"Pelosi Calls Iraq War 'Grotesque Mistake'"
Jumping on the Pile
Even NFL.com is ripping Dan Rather:
Before Monday night's kickoff in Philadelphia, Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens compared his matchup with Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss to one between Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.
"Favre and Manning in Another Dream Matchup"
What Money Will Get You
Oh to be in Boston and know a few rich conservatives.
"Donate to the RNC, Get Your Photo with Hotties"
September 25, 2004
A Rainbow and a Weirdo
There were a couple oddities during Bush's Wisconsin visit yesterday:
At one point during the speech, a rainbow appeared over the crowd, although there had been no rain in the area during the afternoon. Beth Mueller, 57, of Caledonia took it as a sign that Bush would be re-elected. "He's electrifying," she said after the speech.
"Bush Back in State, on Attack"
September 24, 2004
Flames! Fire! Smoke!
For your Bonfire of the Vanities fix, Daly Thoughts is the place to be.
Bush Defends Allawi
President Bush was back in Wisconsin again. In Janesville, he told his audience, "This brave man came to our country to talk about how he's risking his life for a free Iraq, which helps America. And Senator Kerry held a press conference and questioned Mr. Allawi's credibility. You can't lead this country if your ally in Iraq feels like you question his credibility."
[Notice the AP gave a byline to the story in contrast to the "boo" story when Bush was in West Allis.]
"Bush: Kerry Wrongly Questioned Allawi"
A Knock Against the Twins
A little bit of my heart broke when I read these words from Barbara and Jenna:
We were excited to get to Minnesota—not only is there a HUGE effort to re-elect our Dad in this state, but it is also the home of the Vikings. We are both new Viking fans because one of our friends from Texas is the long snapper for the team.
Don't they realize the Vikings are evil? They're the #1 enemy of America's most beloved team, the Green Bay Packers.
I'll get over it, but it might require a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
An Explanation Please
Vice President Cheney should explain how his thinking has changed in the 12+ years since the Persian Gulf War. (Calling John Edwards.) Why are 1000+ American casualties tragically acceptable today when a few more than the 146 weren't in 1992? Does he regret not trying to topple Saddam back then? These questions would be perfect for the VP debate.
Despite Oliver's valliant attempt, it's a little late to paste the flip-flop label on Cheney. First, no one votes for the VP. Second, he had to find something said 12 years ago. In contrast, Kerry has stood on both sides of an argument in the same sentence.
"Cheney's 'Major League' Flip-Flop on Iraq"
P.S. Oliver, the idea that Glenn Reynolds is one reason France and Germany aren't in Iraq is just plain goofy. The man's a law professor in Tennessee.
Blogosphere is Hayekian
I always like posts that reference F. A. Hayek. King's is no different. I wonder if anyone has published a Hayekian analysis of the blogosphere? If not, someone should. Or how about getting the Pope to declare Hayek the saint of the blogosphere?
"Forming Different Information Flows"
Redstone Endorses Bush
Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone is doing some CYA when he endorsed President Bush in Hong Kong. The self-proclaimed "liberal Democrat" told an audience that "I look at the election from what's good for Viacom. I vote for what's good for Viacom." He noted that "Because the Republican administration has stood for many things we believe in, deregulation and so on.... [W]e believe the election of a Republican administration is better for our company."
Since one division of Viacom, CBS, is in hot water for using forged memos to attack the President, Redstone certainly may feel that doing something to get on the administration's good side is good for Viacom.
"Guess Who's a GOP Booster?"
The Return of Sen. Zoop!
He folded his lanky frame, sat on the floor and opened "Abiyoyo" by Pete Seeger, a book about a giant tamed by an African boy and his father, whose magic wand makes the giant disappear. Mr. Kerry, whose daughters are long since grown, kept neglecting to show the children the pictures.
Right now, I'm sure there's quite a list of people Kerry would like to zoop:
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
Burkett Accuses Lockhart
Bill Burkett claims ex-Clintonists, now Kerry operative Joe Lockhart wanted the documents. Be very very skeptical of anything Burkett says. First, he passed on phony documents to smear the President. Then, when called on it he claims a woman named Lucy Ramirez gave them to him. Ramirez hasn't been found.
If Burkett's claim is true that would put a black mark on Kerry Edwards, but would exonerate them as the prime movers of the forgeries. Why would Lockhart want the documents if the campaign was already behind the forgeries?
UPDATE: Captain Ed doesn't buy Burkett's story.
Roe v. Wade: "Exercise of Raw Judicial Power"
U.S. Circuit Judge Edith Jones has guaranteed she will never meet the approval of Senate Democrats. Do we know for sure she isn't related to Antonin Scalia?
September 23, 2004
What a Relief
The political book run is almost over. I can't wait. No more dealing with crazy people of all political stripes who see publishing conspiracies that don't exist. Unfortunately, I'll be seeing many of these political titles in bookstore remainder sections for years to come.
"Season for Political Books Nears End"
Election Cheating Has Begun
An outfit called the "New Voter Project" claims to be nonpartisan but is being bankrolled and staffed by leftists. The organization is already active in Wisconsin and already involved in trouble. Thousands of "voters" registered by this group in the last few weeks have submitted registration forms without the legally required proof of identification. This has forced village and city clerks all over the region to send out notices asking for the information. Why would so many of these forms be filled out without identification?
I'm predicting a Bush win. Nevertheless, Bush backers have to work hard to get as many people to vote for the President as possible. As Hugh Hewitt's book puts it, "If It's Not Close They Can't Cheat."
Rove, Cork It!
What's Karl Rove thinking? He was bragging to the Washington Times on how the Bush campaign is taking battleground states off the board and how the battle is being pushed to states considered safe for John Kerry.
This cocky attitude could make the Republican base complacent. Those Bush supporters who back Bush solely because of foreign policy (i.e. pro-war libertarians) may may vote for someone else (besides Kerry) or not show up a the polls knowing Bush is a lock to win.
We haven't even had one debate and Rove is dancing on Kerry Edwards' grave. This race is still close, and turnout will be the key to victory. That means Rove should find more ways to keep people excited about President Bush instead of bragging to reporters.
Or this is a complex plot by the man some call an "evil genius."
"Rove Touts Bush Headway in Key Areas"
Joe Carter put together a short taxonomy of the media world. He then applies it to the Killian memo story and the debate over Michelle Malkin's new book. Carter's thinking is sound, and can be applied when analyzing how a story flows in the media world and how to encourage flow.
Carter's taxonomy explains why USA Today's role in the memo story has garnered little attention. [The paper's role in the story is why I don't call it "Rathergate."] TAM is merely a T5 media source. Until someone on a higher tier picks it up I will continue to be a lone wolf.
"Information Flow and the Gatekeepers of the Media"
Kerry Blasts Allawi
If John Kerry were elected President his demeaning comments on our allies will certainly hamper his ability to execute his foreign policy. He's called our allies in Iraq the "so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted." Today, he practically called Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi a schill for the Bush administration to put the "best face" on the situation in Iraq. What didn't he just call Allawi "Bush's Puppet" and get it out into the open?
Kerry expounds often that as President he would get international help to stabilize Iraq and fight the Islamist War. But all he's said is that he'll get international support. He doesn't acknowledge the help that already exists, but also won't explain what he will do when France and Germany tell him to jump into the Mekong Delta because Iraq is America's mess. On foreign policy, he has no Plan B and a very sketchy Plan A.
More importantly, Kerry has insulted the allies we do have. I thought President Bush was the cowboy. A Kerry Presidency would leave the U.S. quite isolated in the world.
"Kerry: Allawi's Take on Iraq Unrealistic"
"The Center of the Political Universe"
The Journal Sentinel's Alan Borsuk has a great story on how the Presidential campaigns are trying to get local with Wisconsin voters and whether it works.
Bush Leading In Wisconsin--Maybe
New Badger Poll results are out. Bush tops Kerry 52% to 35% in a survey of eligible voters. Right there we see a flaw. Who cares about eligible voters if they aren't even planning on voting? What's more important are surveys of likely voters. ABC News recently did a poll giving Bush a ten-point lead among likely voters.
There's an even more important flaw. 36% of those surveyed called themselves Republicans while only 29% called themselves Democrats.
Also, to get a better sense of the total picture you should look at multiple polls. By doing that the Journal Sentinel comes to this conclusion:
That would put the race about where some outside analysts see it: a Bush advantage, perhaps mid-single digits, but one that is hardly etched in stone.
The Badger Poll's internals bode ill for the challenger. Kerry has a 36% favorable rating, but a 48% unfavorable rating. Bush has a 37-point advantage on the terrorism issue. And the flip-flop label has stuck. Only 16% of those surveyed think Kerry has a consistent record on the issues.
If the political distribution of those surveyed weren't so skewed I'd say this is very bad news for Kerry. It's not good enough for him to just get all the states AlGore did in 2000. Due to demographics, if he only did that Bush would win by a larger margin in the Electoral College. For Kerry to stand a chance of winning he must win Wisconsin. This poll has too many flaws to draw any concrete conclusions. But expect the local radio yappers to jump on this today.
"On Average, Bush Leads State, but Poll Numbers Vary Widely"
[OTB readers should read this post so as to not get too excited about Wisconsin.]
More Young Criminals
Three teens were arrested for shooting an 82-year old woman. While not as young as the swine who raped and terrorized an elderly woman, this is another instance of Milwaukee young people doing truly awful things.
"Woman Shot After She Answers Her Door"
Missing the Forest and the Trees
Kevin's rant at "mainstream media carpetbaggers" allows me to again remind you of USA Today's role in the Killian memos story. The newspaper ran a story on the fake memos the day after the 60 Minutes II airing. It also has a history of working with Bill Burkett and an obsession with President Bush's National Guard service. CBS News actually had experts look at the documents--they just ignored the conclusions that didn't fit the story they were looking for--USAT had experts examine them days after their first story. To make it worse reporters Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard continue to report on the story. This gives them the opportunity to focus the story solely on CBS News' mistakes.
So while some newspaper columnists try to give their employers credit for exposing CBS News--nothing would have happened without the webloggers--they continue to miss a lack of self-reflection at one of their own.
[I will give USAT some credit. They got Burkett on the record. They also broke the important Mape-Lockhart story. What the paper hasn't done is apologize to its readers and investigate what went wrong in their newsroom.]
"Mainstream Media Carpetbaggers"
We know Bill Burkett gave CBS News the fake Killian memos. But where did Burkett get them? Does Lucy Ramirez actually exist, or did Burkett create them himself. Steve Gilbert compares the memos to book that examined President Bush's National Guard record and thinks Burkett is the lone gunman.
Won't this be a waste in the movie since she's suppose to be invisible?
"Jessica Alba is The Invisible Woman"
What should we make of a Guiness commercial prominently proclaiming the number of calories (125) in a bottle of their beer? "BRILLIANT!?!" I don't think so. At least they didn't declare the stuff low-carb.
Lost has piqued my curiosity. I don't know if it's an adventure show, a disaster flick shrunk for a smaller screen, a Jurassic Park-like sci-fi series, or some bizarre Twilight Zone program. There were moments of terror, suspence, but also introspection. It looks like the only show I'll be watching until 24 returns.
A business recently closed in Madison. The Scoop ended it's three-year run as a source for ice cream and legal advice. How did they last that long?
September 22, 2004
Kerry's Smart Move
In finding a place to prepare for the upcoming Presidential debates, John Kerry decided not to go to any of his vacation homes. He's not going to Idaho, Nantucket, or even France. He'll be spending four days in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
This is smart because 1.) Wisconsin is a battleground state Kerry has to win; 2.) he won't have to worry about the media taking any pictures of him windsurfing.
"Kerry Plans Pre-Debate Spring Green Stay"
Hamm Hearing Next Week
Next Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear Yang Tae-young's appeal that the International Gymnastics Federation strip Paul Hamm of his Olympic gold medal and give it to him. The South Korean wants another gold medal to go along with the one the Korean Olympic Committee gave him.
"South Korea Gives Gold-Medal Treatment to Olympic Gymnast"
President Bush will be back in the state Friday. His stops include rallies in Janesville and Racine. The Janesville event is already full and 8,000 are expected in Racine. A local Bush organizer is estatic because both cities have lots of union voters. "Typically, you stay away from those," said Sue Jacobson. Bush drawing that many people in Democratic areas of the state is bad news for Kerry Edwards.
Laura Bush will be in Wausau tomorrow.
"Full House for Bush Speech"
More Democrat Desparation
Why do the work when Kevin's done it for me? By the way, the Dems' tactics were so pitiful a week ago that I declared the race over. It's now like watching a NASCAR race with the leader two laps ahead of everyone else. You still watch to see if someone crashes into the wall.
CBS News has appointed a committee to investigate the Killian memo story. One member is Dick Thornburgh. Professor Bainbridge brings up a possible conflict between Thornburgh and Bush political czar Karl Rove. Did CBS News biff it again by appointing someone who might have an ax to grind against Rove? Thornburgh has some explaining to do for this investigation to win public credibility.
"Breaking News: CBS Names Independent Panel"
Milwaukee's Child Criminals
Milwaukee received another black eye when an 11-year old was arrested for raping a 79-year old woman. The punk kid, along with a 12- and 13-year old were "terrorizing" the woman for days.
Add this to the list of horrific juvenile crimes in the city in the past few years. Most infamous is the mob beating of Charlie Young in 2002.
"Boy, 11, Charged With Rape of Woman, 76"
Which Ever Way the Wind Blows
Bush-Cheney's latest ad is hard-hitting, yet funny. It goes after John Kerry's voting record and mocks his love of windsurfing.
Cybill is Sexy No More
This is what happens when age catches up with you, and you don't let a hair and make-up person do their thing.
She was on the July/August cover of AARP Magazine.
I thought she looked like Rosemary Clooney. Cybill still looks like a Rosemary Clooney, a dead Rosemary Clooney.
September 21, 2004
I don't want to think about the Christmas season yet, but Scott "ScrappleFace" Ott's new book would make a great gift.
Latest SwiftVet Ad
The SwiftVets don't pull any punches. At the end of their latest ad bold letters declare that Kerry "Betrayed His Country."
USA Today Reporter on C-SPAN
Can anyone verify seeing a USA Today reporter on C-SPAN this morning. My computer and the Real player don't get along so I can't watch it. Who was it? Did the reporter actually say that even though the memos were forged the attack on President Bush would continue because documents like them did exist (like CBS News' "fake, but accurate" claim)?
Less Space, Same Price
I figured a slimmed-down PS2 would also have a slimmed-down price. Nope. The new design will run for $149.99, exactly what you'd spend for the bulkier version. I see no real benefit unless the older versions drop down in price on eBay.
But I played Star Wars Battlefront today at Best Buy. Oh, wow! That game could seriously cut into quality weblogging time. Here's a hint: if you can't stand TAM you could set me up and not hear from me for weeks.
Other Memo Coverage
When we're right in the middle of the story (or the story as some became) members of the blogosphere can forget there's over 90% of the public that do not get their news from weblogs. How many big regional newspapers ran stories on the Killian memos, I don't know. I don't even know how extensive the story was covered in the small papers that are owned by giants like Gannett. If the Baltimore Sun is an example, the non-weblog reading public who gets much of their news from newspapers is receiving an old, convoluted story. At least the Sun is trying. My Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finally got around to putting a Washington Post story in today's paper.
Smaller PS2 Coming
Guess I'll be waiting a few months before thinking about getting one of these. I like my GameCube, but too many games are being made for PS2 and X-Box only.
"Sony to Launch Smaller PS2 Console Around Year-End"
USAT Does Some Actual Reporting
USA Today got Bill Burkett to talk publicly about his role in the Killian memo story. He doesn't admit to being the source of the memos. Instead, someone named Lucy Ramirez is supposedly the source. Burkett claims to have received a phone call from her in March. That led to him getting the documents later that month while in Houston. Burkett never met Ramirez and USA Today hasn't been able to locate her. Initially, George Conn was named by Burkett as the memos' source.
This story has shed light on how the story got into the newspaper. About an hour after the 60 Minutes II story aired, Burkett gave the newspaper the memos. It also mentions Burkett's role in previous USA Today stories. The paper admits they took the memos at "face value."
The focus of the innacurate reporting remains on CBS News. Also, while a few questions are answered, many remain. Plus, additional ones must be asked: Was there a pre-arrangement for Burkett to give USA Today the memos after the 60 Minutes II airing? Who said what to whom to arrange Burkett to give a reporter (neither Moniz or Drinkard) in Bozeman, MT?
Most importantly, the paper still has issued no apology to President Bush or their readers. The intent of the fraud was to damage President Bush and swing the election to John Kerry. By reporting the memos as true and authentic, USA Today was part of a dirty trick plot of historic proportions.
It would be nice if USA Today's Peter Johnson would actually point the figure at his employer for shoddy journalism instead of just lumping the paper in with other scarred media organizations.
"CBS Backs off Guard Story"
UPDATE: Paul at Wizbang goes off on Burkett and his latest story.
Out of the Crosshairs
Maybe I'm overreacting, but USA Today does it again. Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard, along with Kevin Johnson, continue to cover the Killian memo story even though Moniz and Drinkard used the memos as a basis for their own story.
I'll let others [and here] examine the appropriateness of a news organization helping a campaign go after a political opponent--Burkett wanted to give Kerry Edwards advice on how to fight back against Bush. I'm interested in how one of America's most-read newspapers is getting away with journalism (and I'm using the term lightly) less comprehensive than CBS News.
A timeline will help put this angle of the Killian memo story in context.
[Much of this timeline was taken from a 09.19.04 Washington Post story.]
What can we gleen from this? Burkett was not only the source for CBS News but also for USA Today. Moniz and Drinkard have at least a 3-year relationship with him. Burkett was a source for the pair's National Guard series so it's not a stretch to believe the reporters gladly accepted Burkett's documents. No matter how well a relationship they had with Burkett, Moniz and Drinkard shouldn't have taken the memos on their face without someone looking them over. Yet they ran the story accepting the memos as fact. They waited days until experts finally looked at them with mixed opinions.
Now, Moniz and Drinkard have plenty of incentive to aim the story's flow squarely on CBS News. It draws all the attention away from themselves and onto the sloppy, possibly partisan journalism of CBS News. Time didn't put the two reporters on the cover of their magazine. So far, only Congressman Chris Cox as mentioned CBS News and USA Today in the same breath. Even if Moniz and Drinkard aren't covertly spinning the story allowing them to continue to cover it without self-examination damages their credibilty further.
Since Moinz and Drunkard have so many questions about Bush's National Guard service, I have some questions for them:
Dan Rather has admitted a "mistake in judgement." No longer can he vouch for the authenticity of the Killian memos. This is an astounding statement by a member of the MSM. This is right up there with the NY Times Jayson Blair admission and their lengthy admission that their Iraq WMD reporting was faulty. What do we hear from Dave Moniz, Jim Drinkard, and USA Today? Silence.
"CBS Arranged for Meeting with Lockhart"
September 20, 2004
Someone, stop my head from spinning. I can't keep track of John Kerry's Iraq stance. He voted for the war; voted against the $87 billion in additional funds (before voting for it); called Howard Dean "irresponsible" for saying the U.S. wasn't safer with Saddam removed from power. Last month, he said he would have still voted for the war even knowing all that he knows now. Now, with his candidacy on the ropes, Kerry said that Saddam just being an awful dictator wasn't a good enough reason for invading. There's just too much nuance there for me to know how he can square this with last month's statement or his pro-war vote.
"Kerry Says He Wouldn't Have Ousted Saddam"
USA Today: Still Not Accountable
What has not been noticed in the Killian memo scandal is USA Today's role. USAT reporters Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard have admitted the newspaper obtained the memos after the 60 Minutes story aired. As I've written previously they "had only a few hours to get the story written and handed to editors. CBS News took over six weeks to investigate the memos. USA Today didn't even take six hours." Three days after their initial story the newspaper finally had some experts look at the documents. Some said they probably were forgaries while others said there as technology at the time to create a document that looked like them. This is USA Today's weasely way of covering their tush (or "CYA" like in one of the Killian memos).
In a story this past Wednesday, one half of the Moniz/Drinkard team interviewed Dan Rather with Peter Johnson. There's only a brief mention that the newspaper also ran a story based on the memos. However, there is no mention that Drinkard wrote and reported on the original story. Drinkard has a conflict of interest. There's the potential that he could angle the story to make CBS News look even worse by drawing attention from his and his colleagues' work. It's bad enough neither he nor his newspaper has done much to defend or correct their initial report. It's even worse that one of the flawed reporters is still covering the story.
I understand why Dan Rather became the focal point. He's a news legend, and his defense of his reporting is truly laughable. If we're going to keep MSM accoutable, honest, and accurate we cannot forget the awful work of USA Today.
"Rather Says Memo Flap Doesn't Change His Story"
Along with the Big Network news losing to New Media, domination of entertainment programming by them is kaput. This year's Emmy Awards gave 16 statues to HBO.
"Winners at the 56th Annual Emmy Awards"
In the NY Times story on CBS News' contrition, we have this nugget:
In examining where the network had gone wrong, officials at CBS News turning their attention to Ms. Mapes, one of their most respected producers, who was riding particularly high this year after breaking news about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal for the network.
Mary Mapes is going down to save Dan Rather's arse.
"CBS News Concludes It Was Misled on National Guard Memos, Network Officials Say"
CBS News Giving Up
CBS News will finally relent and admit the Killian memos aren't what they appear to be. We'll see how far they go. Will they apologize to President Bush, their viewing public, and the webloggers who exposed the fraud? Will anyone at CBS News resign or be fired for this black stain?
"CBS Talks With Suspected Source of Documents"
September 19, 2004
Michels Gets National Attention
GOP Senate candidate Tim Michels' attempt to paint Sen. Russ Feingold as soft on terrorism gets national exposure in USA Today. For Michels it's not that he's just talking tough. Before running his family's construction business he was an Army Ranger. The "chickenhawk" label will not stick to him.
"'Tough on Terror' Platform Reigns"
What Else Does Burkett "Have?"
While going through Bill Burkett's posts to a Texas Democrat e-mail list, this one piqued my curiosity:
If CBS News would have gotten away with using fake documents as fact, would Burkett (if he is the source) have struck again with more documents?
Burkett: In His Own Words
UPDATE: Depending on your ideology this nugget may help or hurt Burkett's credibility:
Lt. Col. BIll Burkett is a decorated Vietnam era veteran who served 28 years in senior command and staff positions within the US Army and Army National Guard. While serving on the National Guard staff for then Governor George W. Bush, Burkett broke ranks and exposed an ongoing scam of reporting over 1,700 soldiers as present (Ghost Soldiers- USA Today, 2001) and fraudulent readiness reporting (USA Today) as well as the shredding of George W. Bush's own military service files. Burkett was one of five subjects in James Moore's book, "Bush's War for ReElection," and one of the sources for information in the Michael Moore's film "Farenheit 911." He is a recognized military process expert.
"The True Objective in Iraq"
Graham on Bush
The note-taking Senator Bob Graham had these nice words for President Bush:
I think he was doing his job. It happened in this case that doing his job does have political gain. But I think it's important for the chief executive of the nation to indicate national solidarity in support of those victims of a major tragedy.
"Graham Tours Areas Hit Hard by Hurricane Frances"
Another part of John Kerry's past has garnered MSM attention. Fox News is running a story on his meetings with the North Vietnamese during the Paris peace talks. At the very least what Kerry did was a slap in the face to his fellow soldiers. Back then he told stories of atrocities and war crimes committed. Today, he prances his "Band of Brothers" around currying voters' favor.
"Kerry Visited Vietnam Peace Talks"
Help Out NR
National Review was the subject of a frivolous lawsuit (no wonder they don't like John Edwards) and needs help with the legal fees.
What Marketing Genius Thought of This?
When you're looking for a personal injury lawyer, you want someone who will fight for you. No one wants a namby-pamby lawyer who will get rolled over. But this is over the top.
I hope you didn't fall for this like I almost did. The trailer trash shouting glee at owning her own double-wide is what raised my eyebrow. Oh, the power of radio, and this really was a bit of marketing genius.
Another AP "Boo" Boo?
Here is how the AP reported on Packers cornerback Mike McKenzie:
Mike McKenzie, who ended his 46-day holdout Wednesday without retracting his trade request, played in the Packers' dime defense and was booed upon his return. He played fewer than 10 snaps.
I watched the game, expected to hear fans booing (he heldout all pre-season), but heard nothing. I'm trying to find an audio clip to hear what happened. If anyone was at the game or watching it let me know if you heard any booing.
If wives and girlfriends were actually more susceptible to domestic violence during the Super Bowl, I expect to see a few blackeyes in Green Bay this week. Thankfully, only the Packers got spanked.
"Smith Gets His Wish, Bears Beat Packers"
September 18, 2004
Navy Ends Inquiry
The Navy isn't getting hip-deep into the SwiftVets questions surrounding Kerry's medals. Probably for good reason. The Navy won't win. Whatever they did one side would scream. Plus, 30+ years is long time to reconstruct events:
Conducting any additional review regarding events that took place over 30 years ago would not be productive.
So the most the Navy will say is the proper procedures were followed. That's fine with me. Kerry could have been the greatest solider in American history, and that still wouldn't make up for his war protesting lies, his dovish Senate votes, and his incoherence on Iraq.
I think the SwiftVets realize the war service story has run its course. Their latest ad deals with Kerry's ribbon/medal tossing when he was an anti-war agitator--an action, Kerry admits, he's still proud of.
"U.S. Navy Inquiry Concludes John Kerry's Vietnam War Medals Legitimate"
Move Over Mario
Wonder what you would do if you were John Kerry in a swift boat in 1969? Well, you can get a glimpse of what those soldiers had to do in Kuma\War's latest re-creation. One thing's for sure holding up a CD at a campaign rally just doesn't look as cool as holding one of these. At least they didn't put Kerry in Burgertime. Someone should. The game is ketchup-less.
When will we see the first blogospheric fiskings of a video game?
"John Kerry, Action Hero"
September 17, 2004
Kerry's House of Ketchup #26
The Killian memos have hogged the spotlight in the blogosphere making this edition of KHoK more challenging. But I'm here for you guys.
First, a look at some numbers. The Pew poll says the race is a dead heat. The Gallup poll says Bush has a healthy lead. Bill Hobbs doesn't think either of them are right. Electoral Vote Predictor is giving Kerry a sound thumping. KHoK's fave, the Iowa Electronic Markets goes along with that showing a Kerry nosedive.
Now, on to the blogosphere:
Join in the fun by linking to the House of Ketchup. If you have an MT-powered weblog, just trackback to this post, and it will appear below. If your weblog software is incapable of trackbacks use Kevin's Trackback Form.
A Good Sign
Charlie Sykes looked at the vote totals from some primary races. It appears Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats. That bodes well for November.
"Whose Base is More Motivated?"
Charles Krauthammer reinforces my belief that a Bush victory is a done deal. Oddly, if Kerry would have stuck to his dovish instincts Howard Dean probably would have been the nominee, and Bush would be crushing him even more. In hindsight, the Democrats didn't have much of a chance to win with such an anti-war base.
The State of Things
I offer no solutions to the violence plaguing parts (not all) of Iraq. I can only hope comments like these overcome the evil taking place there.
"Hearts and Minds"
More Teachers Pick Private
Milwaukee public school teachers are similar to those nationwide in that a higher percentage of them send their children to private schools than the public around them. Based on census data, 29.4% of Milwaukee public school teachers send their children to private schools. 23.4% of all Milwaukee families do that. It makes you wonder if some of those teacher know something many parents do not. School choice advocate and ex-MPS superintendent Howard Fuller said, "We support a teacher's right to choose a private school. We simply ask them to support the same freedom for low-income families." Sounds good to me.
"More City Teachers than Public Pick Private Schools"
What Were They Thinking?
One of the keys to winning political campaigns is the effective use of money. For example, you don't want to run tax ads when the voters think you have no credibility on that issue. The DNC thought they had an opening with the Killian memos reviving questions about President Bush's National Guard service. The "Fortunate Son" video was their ticket to regaining momentum. Too bad, it hasn't worked. All that time, money, and precious news cycles wasted on a story where only 27% of Democrats think the issue is "very" important. One would have thought a little about the effectiveness of such a tactic instead of shooting from the hip. It's another sign of Democratic desparation.
Even if the Gallup poll is correct I expect a tightening. The news from Charles Duelfer's report that Iraq had no WMD will make people wonder if the war was worth it. And if Kerry Edwards can put together a consistent, coherent message that should pull the numbers back their way.
"Memogate Hurting Kerry?"
September 16, 2004
No Iraqi WMD
There's no way or reason to sugar coat this: This is the biggest intelligence failure in U.S. history. For me personally, Iraqi liberation wasn't the reason to topple Saddam. If freeing people from oppression were all that was needed for U.S. intervention troops would be be in Cuba, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Caucauses. It would really start to look like an American empire. The reason to invade was to prevent him from either using WMD against the U.S., it's allies or, Iraq's neighbors and to prevent WMD from falling into terrorists' hands. Taking WMD out of the hands of Saddam was in the vital interests of the U.S. If I knew before the war that such weapons didn't exist, then I wouldn't have supported the war.
Now, that doesn't mean I've turned into a Deaniac and become an anti-war Bush basher. I put myself in President Bush's shoes. Before the war everyone thought Saddam had WMD. Anti-warriors feared a U.S. invasion would force Saddam to unleashed his deadly arsenal. At the U.N., France, Germany, and Russia didn't opposed an invasion because they said Saddam didn't have WMD. They said inspections should be more aggressive and given more time. The only ones saying Iraq didn't have WMD was Iraq, and their track record was far from pristine.
And with that agreed set of knowledge was the events of Sep. 11. Not acting when Saddam had a history of supporting terrorism and being a threat to U.S. interests was more risky than hoping the WMD didn't exist or U.N. inspections would finally work. If I were in Bush's position then, I would have gone to war too. I can't fault him for something I would have done.
"U.S. Weapons Inspector: Iraq Had No WMD"
So Ben Barnes is corrupt and took a bribe to keep silent. That really adds to his credibility.
"Payola for Bush"
Headway has been made in the search of the forged documents' source. CBS News had Robert Strong look at the memos before being interviewed. He saw the words "Kinko's Abilene" on one of the memos. The Washington Post found one Kinko's in Abilene, TX, and it's 21 miles away from Bill Burkett's home.
Kevin McCullough called the Abilene Kinko's and found out Burkett has an account there.
USA Today got the memos independently of CBS News. Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard have been working on the Bush/National Guard story for some time. In 2001, the two completed a series on "ghost soldiers" people who were still on National Guard rolls but didn't show up for drill and weren't paid. One of their sources for the series was Bill Burkett.
The NY Times goes right out and says (through a CBS source) Burkett is the source.
We've found our man, and fortuantely for Kerry Edwards he isn't a paid employee of the campaign. However, that doesn't mean the campaign or the DNC didn't have anything to do with this. Note The American Spectator article that has an annoymous DNC insider claiming both the DNC and Kerry Edwards knew about the memos.
"Ex-Guardsman Is Said to Be a CBS Source"
Changing the Subject
Dan Rather is trying to spin the questions away from him and toward Presdient Bush:
In an interview with the New York Observer weekly newspaper, Rather, one of the giants of American broadcasting, called on Bush to answer the questions the memos raised about his Vietnam-era service instead of having surrogates question the veracity of the memos.
There's no need to answer the questions. Rather's case is built on the sandy foundation of forged documents and a witness with a huge chip on his shoulder. Maybe when Rather actually has some news to report the President will respond.
"CBS Insists Anti-Bush Memos Accurate"
While other factors have something to do with it, Kerry's "Lambert" Field gaffe may be one reason he's down eight points in Wisconsin. The Washington Post looks at the gaffe's effects and offers this nugget:
Perhaps Lombardi, the Hall of Fame coach who put Titletown on the map in the 1960s, is working from the beyond the grave to trip up the Massachusetts senator. After all, Richard M. Nixon considered Lombardi as his running mate in 1968. There's one problem with this: Lombardi was a Kennedy Democrat. In fact, the Kennedys' connection to the Green and Gold runs even deeper. In 1955, Packers Coach Lisle Blackbourn flirted with a talented young pro prospect in Massachusetts: Ted Kennedy, who now plays offensive line for the Kerry campaign.
If Teddy would have become a Packer he certainly have been able to keep up at the Green Bay taverns with his teammates.
"Kerry Drops Ball With Packers Fans"
September 15, 2004
Crush Kerry has a good analysis of Marion Carr Knox's interviews with the Dallas Morning News and Matt Drudge. Their conclusion: Since Knox admits to never seeing a memo like the forgaries about Bush she's in no position to add anything to the story.
"Rathergate: What the Secretary Knew-And Most Importantly-What She Didn't"
Yet Another Suspect
Bill Hobbs found an interesting radio broadcast from August that hints at future attacks on President Bush's National Guard service.
A problem with conspiracy theories that that most require too many people to keep their mouths shut for too long. That's one reason I suspect Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in Killing JFK. If Cubans, the CIA, or the Mob were involved by now someone credible would have talked.
A political campaign is even more porous. Because information is power politicos have an incentive to squeal to the media or other politicos. If Bob Tuke really knew about the fake memos he either was intimately involved with their creation and distribution, or Kerry Edwards will be known as the most inept Presidential campaign in modern history.
"August 11 Nashville Radio Broadcast Hints Democrats Knew of Coming Memos"
Behind the Times--Literally
Reuters is behind the times. In a story about why both Bush and Kerry are interviewed in Field & Stream, it ends with this paragraph:
That mythical journal did not figure in the media calculus this election season, but Family Circle magazine, which aims at homemakers, involved both candidates' wives in a cookie-baking contest. Teresa Heinz Kerry's Pumpkin Spice Cookies are up against first lady Laura Bush's Oatmeal-Chocolate Chunk Cookies. The votes are already in -- the contest closed in August -- and results will be announced Oct. 19.
One problem, Teresa's recipe isn't her's and she admitted it. I hope Family Circle makes note of this when they release the results.
"Niche Publications Capture White House Contenders"
Drudge Interviewed Knox
Drudge interviewed Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's secretary. Since Drudge has an obnoxious habit of removing his scoops whenever he gets bored with them I'm posting the reporting in its entirety.
XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX TUE SEP 14, 2004 17:48:35 ET XXXXX
Mike McKenzie will meet with Mike Sherman tomorrow morning. The Journal Sentinel thinks McKenzie is ending his holdout. However, the only thing Sherman has said is "All I know is that I am meeting with Mike tomorrow at 8 o'clock. That's it. That's all I know." Hopefully, McKenzie realized the error of his ways and comes back to fulfill his contract and make the Packers even better.
"McKenzie Will Finally End His Long Holdout"
Wisconsin Primary Results
The people have spoken. At least some of the people have spoken. In many parts of the state the only item to vote on in the primary election was who would face Russ Feingold in the U.S. Senate race. Tim Michels defeated Russ Darrow and (my man) Bob Welch.
Also in this primary, conservatives delivered a very strong message to the state GOP. Don Pridemore beat incumbant State Assemblyman Michael Lehman by 184 votes. Pridemore's sole issue was to vote for a Tax Payers Bill of Rights (TABOR).
Even more astonishingly was State Assemblyman Glenn Grothman crushed State Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer. Here's how badly she lost: for every one vote for Panzer, there were four votes for Grothman. In addition, a radio reporter reported that only 60 people showed up for Panzer's election night party.
The areas Pridemore and Grothman are running in are solidly Republican. The only race that matter was in the primary because both will have little to no opposition. Conservative voters have told the GOP that governing as moderates will cost them elections. In the next legislative session, expect the more conservative State Assembly to push through a TABOR that actually restricts spending. Not like the TABOR belatedly pushed by Panzer that only reduced government spending's growth.
"Ex-Army Officer to Face Feingold in Senate Race"
"Grothman Pulverizes Senate Leader Panzer"
What a Twist
Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's secretary made the bizzare statement that while the memos CBS News and USA Today used for Bush hit pieces are forgaries, they contain correct information from "the real ones." How would she remember some memos she typed 30 years ago? Where are the real memos? What does she mean when she said, "The information in here was correct?" What is the correct information in the fakes? Why would someone go out of their way to make forgaries when Marian Carr Knox and Richard Via have stepped forward to claim that political pressure was put on the TANG when Bush was serving? Occam's Razor still shouldn't be forgotten.
Knox is an admitted Bush basher who think he was "selected, not elected." Now, that doesn't mean she's lying that Killian didn't think highly of Bush even though his reports say otherwise. All people of any ideological persuation can sometimes get so emotional about an issue that they'll remember seeing or hearing things that didn't happen. Knox may truly believe she heard "yak-yak" emulated in the fake memos. Eyewitnesses can be wrong. That's why lawyers try so hard to find corroborating evidence. The memos would have fit in perfectly with Knox's, Via's and Ben Barnes' public statements. In fact, they fit too well which should have raised the eyebrows of CBS News and USA Today.
Steve Verdon is correct. "This story just took a very, very weird turn." Expect a Law & Order episode with this storyline in the near future.
"Secretary: Memos are Forgeries"
September 14, 2004
"A False Ad"
A MoveOn.org ad is another example of the Left's desparation. It's so over-the-top FactCheck.org (not a water carrier for Bush) went so far as to write,
This latest ad from Moveon PAC is about as misleading as it can be. Through words, graphics and sound effects, it invites viewers to think that the expiration of the ban on 19 semiautomatic assault weapons will allow people legally to buy fully automatic machine guns that can fire "up to 300 rounds per minute." That's false.
"A False Ad About Assault Weapons"
Stick a Fork in Him
John Kerry's done.
Kerry supporters threw a haymaker and missed with the charge that President Bush wore ribbons he shouldn't have. Well, that's not the case. I didn't need this desparate reach to come to the conclusion that John Kerry will lose the election. I didn't even need to see the widening gap on the Iowa Electronic Markets. What convinced me was that somebody tried to pass off forged memos. Such desparation is not a sign of a strong, winning campaign. Kerry supporters are scared and know they're behind. When one gets scared and desparate, they do stupid things. Trying to make 1970s memos using 2000s technology is stupid.
Bush backers, don't get cocky or into a lull. No parties until after the polls close on Election Night. Work still needs to be done to assure the President his victory. Plant a lawn sign in your yard, put a bumper sticker on your car, and tell your friends why they should vote for President Bush. Hugh Hewitt is right when he says, "If it isn't close, they can't cheat." Also, the bigger the margin of victory the easier it will be for Bush to fight the Islamist War.
"Operation Fortunate Son Self Destructs On Takeoff"
Kerry Document Published
The After Action Report of the incident that earned Kerry a silver star is now available on the internet [I've posted pics of them below]. Here's the key portion:
PCF 94 beached in center of ambush in front of small path when VC sprung up from bunker 10 feet from unit. Man ran with weapon toward hootch. Forward M-60 gunner wounded man in leg. OINC jumped ashore and gave pursuit while other units saturated area with fire and beached placing assault parties ashore. OINC of PCF 94 chased VC inland behind hootch and shot him while he fled capturing one B-40 rocket launcher with round in chamber.
Kerry was the OINC (what that stands for, I don't know) for PCF 94. Based on this, what Kerry did was heroic. The swift boat was ambushed. A Viet Cong (VC)soldier with a rocket launcher jumps out of a bunker. One swift boat gunner wounds him, and Kerry gives chase. Kerry shot and killed him as he fled. Did he shoot him in the back? Probably since the report says the VC fled even though Kerry denies this. But at a moment like that there's no telling whether the VC would have just turned around and launched his rocket at the swift boat. Unlike his political career, Kerry had no time for nuance and killed the VC. It sounds like a good soldier killing the enemy before he killed him or his men.
Does it rise to the level of a silver star? I don't know. What I do know is Kerry did good that day.
UPDATE: Captain Ed analyzes the report and writes:
When you look at the action on the spot report, it reflects well on the young Lieutenant Kerry. Although it's difficult to see how this action should have resulted in a Silver Star, it would seem a commendation of some sort would be appropriate. It's all of the exaggeration, lies, and paperwork alterations after the fact that calls Kerry's character into serious question.
"Silver Star Spot Report Surfaces"
USA Today Admits to Shoddy Journalism
Remember, USA Today also ran a story using the Killian memos as legit documents. Here's a telling quote from the paper's executive editor John Hillkirk:
We're just busy now trying to determine the authenticity, or not.
As PrestoPundit put it, "[S]houldn't that have been done, say, on Wednesday?"
"CBS Offers New Experts to Support Guard Memos"
Pack Beats Kitties
Constant blitzing by the defense along with a punishing running game led to a solid 24-14 Packers win over the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers.
Somebody give me a reason not to declare the Packers offensive line the best in football.
"Packers Overpower Reigning NFC Champs"
September 13, 2004
2004 Packers Prediction
It's that time of the year when I demonstrate my football prediction powers. Last year, the Packers were 10-6. I predicted 11-5. Not bad. This year I'll used the same criteria to figure out how they'll do.
Did the Packers Get Better?
In the offseason there was frustration. Coach/general manager Mike Sherman was looking for Brett Favre's eventual replacement. He thought he found it in Tim Couch. After weeks of talking with Cleveland the Packers signed Couch as a free agent. However, learning a new offensive system and a weak arm showed that Couch wasn't the answer. He didn't even make the team.
On defense, cornerback Mike Mackenzie wanted his contract renegotiated. Sherman refused so Mackenzie held out. Training camp came and no Mackenzie. Four pre-season games were played and still no Mackenzie. Now, with the first game of the season at hand, missing anymore time will cost him money. Yet still no Mackenzie. The Packers must have figured there would be problems when they drafted two cornerbacks with their first two picks. Ahmad Carroll and Joey Thomas are fast and eager, but they're rookies who will get played by the crafty veterans in the league.
The Packers tried in the offseason to find a pass rusher to compliment Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. No one came through. That means either Aaron Kampman, Cletidus Hunt, or even the mammoth Grady Jackson have to generate enough of a pass rush to free up KGB. If that doesn't happen, the Pack will have to blitz which will expose their defensive backs.
On a better note is the arrival of strong safety Mark Roman. He's an upgrade from Antuan Edwards. His presence allows free safety Darren Sharper to be the LeRoy Butler playmaker he's capable of being. He can be aggressive in blitzs as well as taking chances at passes.
Another plus is the entire offensive line is entact this year. This group was the big reason Ahman Green broke the team single-season rushing record. They're tough, nasty, mobile, and one of the best lines in the league.
Overall, with a missing Mackenzie but an intact offensive line makes it a slight loss. But a new defensive scheme could make up for a missing Mackenzie.
What About the Opposition?
The NFC North has improved this year. Detroit has a group of young offensive weapons that scare me. Even though Chicago is starting a rookie at quarterback they signed Thomas Jones as their all-purpose running back. Minnesota is solid with great offensive weapons like Randy Moss and Dante Culpepper, but their defense shows signs of weakness. Even though Detroit has improved I still see this being a Green Bay-Minnesota race for the division title. Don't be surprised if it comes down to final game of the regular season inside the Metrodome.
What's With Intangibles Anyway?
As always if Favre goes down, a chance at a great season goes down the tubes. The only reason Doug Pederson is still on the team is because he knows the offense and Craig Nall has done little to show he's the QB of the future.
Then there's the punters. They drafted B.J. Sander in the third round, but (to put it nicely) he's been erratic. Instead of cutting him, the Packers have two punters on the roster with veteran Bryan Barker as the starter.
Team chemistry is vital in going to that next level. Just ask the no-name defense of New England. On offense, all starters are back. That means they don't need to get comfortable with each other. Timing should be there, and everyone should be on the same page when Favre has to improvise.
With the team's historic troubles playing in domes, I'm assuming the Packers will split games with Detroit and Minnesota. Chicago is rebuilding (again) so I expect a sweep with them. With the non-conference schedule, I can easily seeing them going 8-0 at home. (St. Louis in late November and Jacksonville in December definitely play to the cold-weather team's advantage.) An upset in Indianapolis or Philly could push them to 12-4, but I'll go with 11-5 and the NFC North title. They won't be the number one seed (that'll be Philly) but they'll play their first playoff game at home.
I'd love to say the Packers are Super Bowl bound, but Philadelphia made some great improvements in the off-season. On paper, they're the best team in the NFC. I predict the Pack will have a re-match with the Eagles in the NFC title game, but Philly will prevail again.
So, who will face Philadelphia? It's so hard to repeat, but New England has a great defense, solid wide receivers, and a winning quarterback. Now, with the addition of Corey Dillion they have a punishing running game. I predict the Eagles vs. the Patriots and an Eagles' victory. I know. I'm really going out on a limb. Of course, I hope I'm wrong, and instead, there's a rematch of Super Bowl XXXI.
Kerry on North Korea
John Kerry made no mention of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and their failed attempt at stopping North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Instead, he blasts President Bush for taking "his eye off the ball, wrongly ignoring this growing danger." Ironically, Bush is using a multilateral approach that would put a smile of Kerry's face if it were applied to Iraq. This time it isn't a flip-flop, but it sure is an inconsistency. Or should I say nuance?
"Kerry Criticizes Bush's 'Massive Failure' on North Korea"
Bill Burkett has come up as the possible forger, but Kevin Aylward suspects Marty Heldt. The man has a track record of pushing forged documents.
"On The Trail Of The Forger"
Memos and Kitty Kelley
RatherBiased.com reports that the Killian memos are source material in Kitty Kelley's new book. Some group called Texas Veterans for Truth are the source of the memos. A Google search came up with nothing. But there is a group called Texans for Truth who are running an anti-Bush ad. Glenn W. Smith started the organization. He's the author of the anti-Bush tome The Politics of Deceit. Smith was also interviewed on the CBS Evening News last Friday when Dan Rather defended his story.
"Who Were CBS's Sources?"
Don't Forget USA Today
USA Today also has the four CBS News memos as well as two additional ones. The reporters covering the story say they "obtained copies of the documents independently soon after the 60 Minutes segment aired Wednesday." The story was in Thursday's paper. That could mean one source gave the fakes to both CBS News and USA Today, or more people are involved. If it's the latter there's a greater chance someone will squeal. That also means Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard had only a few hours to get the story written and handed to editors. CBS News took over six weeks to investigate the memos. USA Today didn't even take six hours. The story's only support for the memos' authenticity is that White House communications director Dan Bartlett didn't claim they were fakes. There is no mention of any experts looking at the documents. At least CBS News has at least one expert on record to authenticate the memos.
Now, on Sunday the newspaper finally had two former FBI document examiners look at the memos. They said they're probably fake. Why not do this before printing the story? This is a case of USA Today jumping on a hot story. But like CBS News they got burned. The paper needs to issue a correction and apology to its readers. The same anger directed at Dan Rather also needs to be aimed at "America's Newspaper." This web page will let you lodge a complaint. Here's a snail mail address if you want to contact them that way:
USA TODAY / USATODAY.com
"Memos Debate Eclipses Content"
September 12, 2004
The Hunt is On
Newsweek is on the hunt for who's been passing on fake National Guard memos:
Where did the documents come from? CBS won't say. But the trail pieced together by NEWSWEEK shows that in a sulfurous season like this one, the difference between obscurity and power is small, and anyone can get a hearing. A principal source for CBS's story was Bill Burkett, a disgruntled former Guard officer who lives in Baird, Texas, who says he was present at Guard headquarters in Austin in 1997, when a top aide to the then Governor Bush ordered records sanitized to protect the Boss. Other Guard officials disputed Burkett's account, and the Bush aide involved, Joe Allbaugh, called it "absolute garbage." Burkett may have a motive to make trouble for the powers that be. In 1998, he grew gravely ill on a Guard mission to Panama, causing him to be hospitalized, and he suffered two nervous breakdowns. He unsuccessfully sued for medical expenses.
The Commissar has more on this suspect. Burkett is an ex-Guard officer. The American Spectator reports the memos' source is a "retired military officer." Coincidence?
Missing the Point
Steven is correct that some are focusing on the technological ability of a 1973 typwriter to create a document that looks exactly like one made in 2004. Too many wild assumptions have to made to consider the Killian memos to be legit.
However, Steven is incorrect on a more important point. While discussing the possible political ramifications he writes,
Again, I think that the main story here is a media story with two major components: the sloppiness (and perhaps partisanship) of CBS and the MSM v. blogs in terms of fact-checking and in this case, actual reporting (bloggers have done leg-work, like that noted above, and have interviewed experts of relevances).
Dan Rather and CBS News are fools. They've demonstrated that. What needs to be focused on is who gave CBS News the memos. Is the American Spectator correct in that they came via the Democratic National Committee? Did the Kerry campaign know about these memos? Who is this "retired military officer" mentioned by TAS? What did John Kerry know and when did he know it? It's imperative to know if who tried to sabatoge the Presidential election?
Since the documents' fakeness has been soundly determined the focus must center on who did this?
"I’m 99.99% Convinced: The Killian Docs are Forgeries"
14th Century Monk is Smiling
Occam's Razor is hip right now. Along with Steven Taylor, Steve Verdon and Wretchard of Belmont Club employs it.
Powell, Rice Deny Nuke Test
Today both Collin Powell and Condi Rice said the North Korean explosion wasn't a nuke test. Since it probably wasn't a test, what happened at Ryanggang? The explosion was sighted near a missile base. Was it a missile test gone wrong? Or if it wasn't a nuclear test how about a mishap at a nuclear test facility? While one question has been answered many more have arisen.
"U.S. Says N.Korea Blast Probably Not Nuclear"
Official Denies Nuke Test
A State Department official said,
We've got no indication that anything of the sort has happened. We believe these reports to be completely unfounded."
Can someone just come out and say it with out all the anonymous crap?
And with that, I'm calling it a night.
"N. Korea Blast Unlikely to Have Been Nuclear"
UPDATE: Ok, I lied. David Schneider-Joseph links to an earthquake list. On 09.09 there was a series of quakes in the area of the Alaska stations. There was also an earthquake in Japan on 09.09. So that explains these seismographic readings. Based on the lack of evidence I really doubt a nuke test took place.
Brewers Sale Update
A Los Angeles businessman is now in the running for the Brewers.
"L.A. Financier May Buy Brewers"
Inside the SwiftVets
Knight Ridder does an expose on the SwiftVets, how they got together and how they're operating.
N. Korea's Big Bang
The North Korean explosion story has made it to the BBC website.
Below the fold (for dial-up users) are two seismograph recordings from Japan on 09.09 (generated from this Japanese website). Notice that around 7:43 A.M. something happens that's far different from other times. These events might connect with the Alaska recordings. Taking into account time for the aftershocks to travel to Alaska as well as time zone changes, stations this far apart might have recorded the same event.
I'm still skeptical, but damning evidence would be increased radiation at weather stations downwind from the explosion. Is such an odd bit of data even collected and distributed over the internet?
UPDATE: CNN gets word from a U.S. official that it wasn't a nuke. Instead, the cloud could be from a forest fire. If it wasn't for that goofy alternative I'd say for sure it wasn't.
Dispersed Vs. Centralized Journalism
Steven Horwitz sees the blogosphere's victory over CBS News through Hayekian glasses.
September 11, 2004
Did North Korea Test a Nuke?
I'm skeptical for two reasons:
If the test occured and the administration knows it happened they have to explain why the news hasn't been made public.
"Atomic Activity in North Korea Raises Concerns"
"Blast, Mushroom Cloud Reported in N. Korea"
UPDATE: I know little about seismographs, but a number of Alaska stations, Sand Point, Unalaska, Nikolski, and False Pass recorded an event at around 8:00 a.m. local time on 09.09. There's no indication in the AP story of what time the North Korean explosion happened.
UPDATE II: A reader pointed out a Reuters article where Chung Dong-young, South Korea's unification minister said his government doesn't think the explosion was nuclear. Someone with the title "unification minister" might have an incentive to spin a possible nuke test, but neither the South Koreans, the Japanese, nor the Chinese have said anything. One would think an event this potentially destablizing would bring leaders out before cameras and reporters.
Sep. 11 + 3 Years
Three years have pasted since al Qaeda's greatest accomplishment and the signing of its death warrant. While the country is still at war, at home we have enough normalcy to have elections. What that says is America is stronger than al Qaeda's Islamist ideology. We survived attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. and will survive a highly polarized election. They hit us, but we're hitting them back again and again and again.
Some will forget Sep. 11, 2001. We are just humans who sometimes get our values and priorities mixed up. The rest of us must do our best to remind the forgetters what America faced, how we persevered, and who our heroes were.
Steven Taylor employs Occam's Razor when he writes about a NY Times analysis:
I have a simpler explanation for why the Dems had a rough August: they don’t have a very good candidate.
To actually use Occam's Razor the Times would have to know what it is, how to use it, then decide what to put in the paper with all the empty space made available.
"I Have a Simpler Explanation"
Ivan on the Warpath
Hurricane Ivan just missed Jamaica but still delivered a wallup. Winds were up to 155 mph. What adds to Jamaican's misery are the heartless thugs looting homes and stores.
I bring this up, not because I've suddenly become a weather geek, but because Oliver Willis' mother lives near Montego Bay. He hasn't heard from her is some hours. Keep her, Oliver, and those affected in your prayers.
To try and lighten up this post I'll give you this piece of weirdness: my maternal grandparents are named Ivan and Frances. So what the heck did Florida and the Carribean do to tick them off?
"With 56 Dead, Ivan Intensifies Off Jamaica"
UPDATE: Good news. Oliver's mother is okay. Now where's that weather-controlling machine Tesla supposedly invented? We could use it right about now.
With Rathergate sucking up the blogosphere's attention Howard Dean tossed out some unnoticed zingers that made me wish he was the Democratic nominee. He told a Brown University audience, "The Republicans have the best propaganda out there since Lenin, and they just make stuff up and they keep repeating it, and hope people are going to believe it."
I guess the Bush Bashers have gotten tired of Bush=Hitler references. What next, Stalin? How about Castro or the Kaiser or Jefferson Davis or even King George? Oops! I think I gave them an idea.
Not only did Dean compare Bush to a communist thug he said there will be a draft if Bush is re-elected. Funny, the only candidate I've heard who's said he'd send more troops to Iraq is John Kerry. Just don't tell Howard the Duck. He just might scream.
"Dean Labels Bush 'Dishonest' in Speech in Providence"
One Fine Jay correctly reminds us that the Islamist War is far from over. While we Americans are safe enough to argue over 1970s typewriters, Jakarta is cleaning up after a deadly truck bomb directed at the Australian embassy.
"Blast Hits Central Jakarta"
"Indonesia Releases Embassy Attack Footage"
"Terror Blast Likely to Benefit Coalition"
1st. Amendment? What 1st. Amendment?
King found an example of the "tolerance" of some Kerry supporters.
"Pro-Bush Yard Signs Evoke Protest in Duluth"
MNF's Right-Wing Agenda
In David Brock's world, in every dark corner is a conservative ready to spew his talking points. I wonder if George Soros thinks he's getting his money's worth when Media Matters goes after Monday Night Football's Al Michaels?
At least now I have more reason to watch MNF.
"GOP Talking Point Echoed During ABC Coverage of NFL Season Opener"
September 10, 2004
I know the Soros-funded hack machine that is Media Matters has little credibility in some parts of the blogosphere, but do they really want to go down with Dan Rather? Even Kevin Drum thinks "this sure isn't good news for CBS."
"Forgery Feeding Frenzy: Media Falling Afoul of the Facts"
Earn a Quick 10K
DEFEATJOHNJOHN.COM has issued a challenge.
Dan Rather's Last Stand
CBS News and Dan Rather stand behind their story. They're not backing down. But they won't let anyone look at the documents or disclose where they came from. We do know one of the experts who examined them. Marcel Matley examined the handwriting on them and considered them legit. Ok, so Colonel Jerry Killian's signature is on some of the documents (no all are signed). Since we can't see the originals, because CBS News doesn't even have them, we can't be sure Killian's signature wasn't scanned onto a fake document.
Rather had a chance to back down gracefully. Instead, he went on the attack and created a double standard. If it does turn out that these documents are fake Rather's finished. He will be remembered for three thing: covering the JFK assassination in Dallas; "What's the frequency, Kenneth?"; and destroying the reputation of CBS News.
"CBS Stands By Bush-Guard Memos"
"Some Question Authenticity of Papers on Bush"
"More Problems Surface With 60 Minutes Documents"
The Smoking Gun that Wasn't
THE story is the extremely questionable documents CBS News used to go after President Bush. Because of the power of the blogosphere I don't need to get into the details of fonts, typesets, or typewriters used and available in the 1970s. That's the power of the link.
Why didn't the White House immediately call the memos fake? Their existence doesn't really affect their re-election strategy. Unlike Sen. Kerry President Bush isn't running on his military record. He's running on four years as President where he's had to deal with a war and a terrorist-induced recession. Rove and the gang are viewing Bush's National Guard duty as history that has little bearing on events today. Notice that they've been consistent on this. They haven't leaped to the SwiftVets' claims and attacked Kerry's Vietnam war record. Why bother when Kerry's Senatorial past and mish-mash of statements are enough to use against him?
Next, I'll speculate about the after effects of this hoax. It would take some mental gymnastics to think this was a GOP set up. Is Karl Rove or one of his minions cleaver enough to create the memos then get them into the hands of a Kerry supporter or directly to 60 Minutes? Such an idea seems too far fetched. So Rove setting up the Kerry campaign and a liberal news institution is checked off my list of possibilities.
Could this be the product of someone inside the Kerry campaign? Susan Estrich wrote about how the Democrats now had to play dirty, but would they risk the integrity of their campaign on a hoax? Sure, poll numbers are heading in the wrong direction, but there's two months left. Too many things could happen in this race. With the sudden inclusion of ex-Clintonites, the campaign may be panicking. Proposing a hoax and executing it is possible, but not likely. A hail mary already? There's too much downside, and they can't be that desparate...yet.
The most plausible guilty party is a cold blooded Bush
60 Minutes MUST come clean and disclose how they got these documents. (Why they didn't is just plain poor journalism.) Who gave them these and how did they claim to have come upon them? This is their Jayson Blair. If they do as poorly in dealing with it high-ups at CBS News will be gone--even Dan Rather.
As for the political fallout, this only helps Bush and hurts Kerry. Even if we find out Kerry Edwards had nothing to do with this hoax they will be tarred as dirty players. This is just like many feel the Bush campaign has something to do with the SwiftVets. Many voters will look at this attempt at stealing the election and vote for Bush even if they hold their noses while doing it.
With CBS News' reputation in tatters expect the mainstream media to write lots of stories on what went wrong. Don't be surprised if the news process story is written about more than who forged the memos.
"60 Minutes Documents on Bush Might Be Fake"
"Is It a Hoax?"
September 09, 2004
Kerry's House of Ketchup #25
We're now in the nasty part of the campaign. Democrats have had enough of the successful attacks on the core of John Kerry's campaign--his service in Vietnam. The SwiftVets attacks along with a GOP convention where America's security was placed before voters has shaken Kerry. Clinton operatives have joined the campaign and the Massechusetts Senator is even more incoherent than ever. (I'll buy someone a dozen Krispy Kremes if they can explain Kerry's Iraq position that takes into account his Bush-sounding pro-war rhetoric along with his Howard Dean-sounding anti-war statements.)
The polls have shown Bush getting a small convention bounce. I guess the electorate isn't that locked into a candidate. On the Iowa Electronic Markets Kerry hasn't been this far behind since July, but the short-term trend is favorable to him. That's probably because of the new focus on Bush's National Guard service.
As always, the blogosphere is more interesting than me. Let's see what they're saying:
Join in the fun by linking to the House of Ketchup. If you have an MT-powered weblog, just trackback to this post, and it will appear below. If your weblog software is incapable of trackbacks use Kevin's Trackback Form.
Ken Jennings News
Even though this will spread like wildfire I'll keep this below the fold for those of you who don't like spoilers.
Jeopardy! uber-champion Ken Jennings finally lost. His streak ran to 74 wins and $2.5 million in winnings. Even with the news known, I predict the day of Jennings' last game will be the highest-rated episode in Jeopardy!'s history. I just want to know who beat him and how.
"Has Ken Jennings' Jeopardy! Run Ended?"
September 08, 2004
Animals on Fire
Not really, but DeCloah Blog is hosting the Bonfire of the Vanities starring Tigger and Winnie the Pooh.
Keeping Hardball Clean III
Chris Matthews told Lloyd Grove, "I am morally, if not legally, responsible for what is said on the show. If someone is saying something that factually can't be proved, it's my job to call them on it."
After his tussle with Michelle Malkin, Matthews told his audience, "We are going to keep things clean on this show. No irresponsible comments are going to be made on the show."
Now that Kitty Kelley has a new book coming out, what will Matthews do?
Random House's Doubleday unit has ordered an initial printing of 750,000, and Kelley is scheduled to be interviewed by MSNBC's Chris Matthews and radio host Don Imus, among others.
Kitty Kelly is really "keep[ing] things clean."
"Media View Kitty Kelley's Bush Book With Caution"
A Run on Tin Foil
This poll got lost in the tide of GOP convention news. Almost half of NYC residents think U.S. leaders "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act."
"Half of New Yorkers Believe US Leaders Had Foreknowledge of Impending 9-11 Attacks and 'Consciously Failed' To Act; 66% Call For New Probe of nanswered Questions by Congress or New York’s Attorney General, New Zogby International Poll Reveals"
Conservatism is "Thought Disorder"
It's hard to have a discussion with an ideology that that thinks its opponents have a "thought disorder." Here's a small portion of famed playwright, Tony Kushner's anti-Bush play Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy:
TONY KUSHNER: Maybe all liberalism and progressivism and left-leaning politics are pathological but I would argue less maladaptive and delusional than, say, well, your politics, or rather your husband's — since no one knows what yours really are, which is why I find you so fascinating, it's——
[via Brothers Judd]
John Kerry's 30+ year nemesis, John O'Neill is the subject of John Hawkins' latest interview. (Whew! That's a lot of Johns.)
My Head Hurts
Campaign finance law may be as esoteric and complicated as the NFL salary cap. I'm pretty sure some of the details of this previous post on campaign finance "reform" are wrong. I say this because it appears a political action committee (PAC), unlike 527s, can run ads inside the 60-day barrier. The big difference between the two structures is a PAC has a $5000/year contribution limit from individuals, political parties, and other PACs. 527s don't have such a limit, but this is part of the controversy surrounding these organizations.
Let's face it: the idea of a group of concerned citizens expressing their political voice is being buried in minutia. The only people who have the means to get around these laws are the well-off who not only have the resources to buy radio and television ads but to pay for lawyers to take on the FEC. Campaign finance "reformers" have created this legalistic maze to get the money out of politics and reduce public cyncism. They've certainly failed on the first part, and requiring a specialized lawyer just to exercise one's First Amendment rights certainly won't ease the second.
"MoveOn.org PAC FEC Filings"
UPDATE: Nick Gillespie talked to FEC chairman Bradley Smith. He clears up some of my confusion. So some groups could continue as the did before while other must stop. It all depends on what pieces of paper they filled out.
September 07, 2004
Traditionally, Labor Day is the start of the general Presidential election. But for us political junkies we've been following this circus since late-2003. Taegan Goddard has the latest scorecard.
"Where the Race Stands"
Still a Slow News Day
Give yourself a chance at winning $100,000, because tomorrow all the talk will be about President Bush's national guard service.
Hughes Confronts "Boo"-Boo
Hell hath no fury like Karen Hughes scorned.
"Karen Gets Results!"
*Mountain Dew has been on quite a roll in the past few years. It's become the carbonated drink most associated with extreme sports. The original is good as are the newer Code Red and Livewire orange. The marketing gurus at Pepsi can't hit home runs everytime. Now, if they came out with different colors of MD but with the same flavor they might have a big hit. Kids could color coordinate their soda with their outfits.
P.S. Diet Caffeine-Free Mountain Dew makes no sense to me. Colored, unsweetened soda water that doesn't stimulate is a complete waste.
P.P.S. Yes, it's been a slow news day.
What's Old is New Again
Atari is releasing a hoard of old games. Unfortunately for me a Playstation 2 or X-Box is needed. Can't they give us GameCube users some love?
"Atari to Reissue Scores of Old Games"
September 06, 2004
Moore vs. Mel
With the news that Michael Moore is going after the Best Picture Oscar instead of the Best Documentary Oscar I will publically state that the next Academy Awards will be the most polarized in recent memory. Why? Because Fahrenheit 9/11 will be nominated for Best Picture along with Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, Blue America and Red America will battle with the movie business's biggest prize on the line. I give the early edge to Moore, especially if Bush wins the election.
"Moore to Pursue Best Picture Oscar"
Cocaine Charge Revived
It's sad to say I was correct though I'm not surprised.
Mockery of Campaign Finance "Reform"
The McCain-Feingold bell has rung and we're now in the 60-day period before an election where some (probably most) 527s can't run television and radio ads. That doesn't prevent them from advertising because the exception to the law includes "any printed communication, direct mail, voter guides, or the Internet." N. Z. Bear notes correctly that it will be wise for 527s to buy ads on weblogs. (The banner ad is dead; long live BlogAds!)
Here's how ridiculous First Amendment Restriction law has gotten. A certain category of people who voluntarily pooled their money no longer can mention a particular candidate in radio or television ad. However, there's nothing to stop a George Soros or a Richard Mellon-Scaife from spending millions to bash the candidate of their choice. The media is also not restricted. So in theory, a pro-Kerry 527 could produce an ad solely for the internet. It could then be picked up by one of the cable news channels and given tons of free, unregulated publicity. Does this make any sense? In this manner of restricting free speech the rich and the media have become more empowered while the rest of us are silenced.
Democrats like Russ Feingold claim they're for the little guy. Their actions here speak otherwise. The other mastermind of the First Amendment Restriction law, John McCain may not be too happy about the consequences. During his speech at the Republican National Convention he made no mention of his bill even to praise President Bush in signing it.
"Campaign Finance Reform: 60-Day Window is Here"
The Wide Range of Polls
The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll gives President Bush a seven-point lead over John Kerry. Bush's 52%-45% advantage means that, according to this alphabet soup poll, the GOP convention provided a two-point bounce. That's tiny which recinforces the conventional wisdom that post-convention bounces would be minimal because most voters are firmly entrenched with a candidate.
Based on his stump speech Friday, Bush doesn't believe he has a double-digit lead. While making all his arguments he emphasised how important it was for supporters to make phone calls and knock on doors to help him win. He's not campaigning so hard to reach out to undecideds. He's trying to rally the base. Based on this poll the convention did just that.
For the first time this year, self-reported enthusiasm among Republicans about voting exceeded that of Democrats, implying that the convention mobilized the GOP base.
California Yankee links to Rasmussen for an explanation of why their poll differs so much from the apparently outlying TIME and Newsweek polls. Then in the always interesting Iowa Electronic Markets, Bush leads Kerry in both markets.
Telling It Like It Is
A DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor) candidate for House is running against an incumbent DFL'er for Minnesota's 8th Congressional District Seat.
A political newcomer is trying to defeat one of the longest-sitting members of the U.S. House of Representatives to represent much of northern Minnesota.
Ho hum, pretty vanilla. First question: What amount of money will be considered enough to "improve education"? Someone get back to me on that one.
But here candidate Johnson expresses where he differs from Congressman Oberstar on the core DFL issues:
Johnson said he differs from Oberstar on guns, saying he identifies himself with the positions of the National Rifle Association as opposed to Oberstar's voting record in favor of gun control.
I find it interesting that the St. Cloud Times article (by the way, the St Cloud Times has never heard of permalinks, so you have today to see this article) would go so far as to say that a candidate is pro-abortion, and the other anti-abortion, as opposed to the "pro-choice" and "pro-life" monikers.
St. Cloud is located in Stearns County, which is Minnesota's Catholic Hotbed(tm), loaded for bear with pro-life residents. Could this be a way to sway the primary voters? They aren't in Stearns County; Stearns is in the 6th Congressional District . The 8th Congressional District includes two counties, Morrison and Mille Lacs, that are in the SCT reading area, so I imagine that is why the paper covered this story, but I'm not as sure if those counties are as full of Catholic, pro-life voters that Stearns is.
Imagine if Kerry was Way Behind
I should have read this post sooner so I could have wrote Bush bashers are already trying to revive the cocaine charge.
Signing Tim Couch then cutting him may be a sign that Mike Sherman isn't up to the job of general manager. We know he can coach, but the question remains if he can evaluate talent.
Couch never looked good in a Packers uniform. During games he looked indecisive which led to sacks. When he did throw there wasn't the strength he had in Cleveland. Mike Sherman and offensive coordinator Tom Rossley think Couch came into camp with a sore arm. Why didn't they give him a physical before giving him a $625,000 signing bonus? While wasting all that time talking with him as being the possible successor to Brett Favre, the Packers passed up on other opportunites. Favre won't be around forever. Heck, this may be his last season. Just saying, "Hopefully, we can keep Brett around" won't lead to continued success.
"Disappointing Couch Canned"
The New "Strategery"
Based on only seeing part of his talk ("The Brief") on C-SPAN, Thomas Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map has jumped way up on my "must read" list and could claim a coveted TAM Book Award. He has put together a post-Cold War vision of the world and how the U.S. must organize itself and act to build a lasting peace. To get a taste of his thinking Enter Stage Right interviewed him in May.
"A Future Worth Creating: An Interview with Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett"
September 05, 2004
Digging into the Past
What's "dirty" about pointing out your opponent's voting record or past activities? Sure, I admit there's a line that shouldn't be crossed. Kinky yet legal sexual proclivities, unsual habits, and odd but unknown physical features shouldn't be a part of the public debate unless you can make a reasonable case that it affects the election today.
Suppose for the sake of argument that President Bush was indeed AWOL while serving in the National Guard. That fact in and of itself shouldn't disqualify the man from being re-elected. Not coming clean about the fact certainly can be used by Bush's opponents to build a case of untrustworthiness.
The same can be said about John Kerry. Suppose everything the SwiftVets say about him are true. Suppose Kerry had a plan all along to pump up his Vietnam War achievements for his own political advancement. I would argue that that wouldn't disqualify him for President today if he wouldn't have based his entire campaign on his war service. Kerry would have had decades to lay bare what actually happened in Vietnam, just as Bush would have all that time to come clean about his AWOL.
What I'm trying to get at is both the AWOL accusation and the SwiftVets charges are long long ago (but not in a galaxy far far away). We should realize that people do make mistakes. There are skeletons in all of our closets. We really learn about one's character from how they deal with their failings.
How long ago do we go into someone's past? Enough voters thought President Clinton's draft dodging was far enough in the past to not stop them from putting him in the White House twice. With John Kerry, I think it's appropriate to deeply examine his Senate voting record to glean insight into what policies he would implement if elected President. But if you think a vote in the Cold War 80s should have little bearing on Kerry in the Sep. 11 00s there is his schizophrenic votes and comments on the Iraq War.
There's no hard and fast rule. But one thing's for sure: it's not enough to just expose someone's past failing. You have to connect it to the actions and/or character of the person today.
"In fund-raising, one of the first things you do is go to close friends and family," said Dinah Dale, the Dayton campaign's finance director.
Okay, I understand the ex-wife giving money to his campaign to keep him in Washington, as opposed to him being closer to her in Minnesota fulltime if he weren't re-elected. But what's up with the rest of the family? What do they know that we don't know? Even his kid, giving the maximum $4000 so that Dad doesn't come back to Minnesota full time.
This should be a harbinger for other Minnesotans, that the family wants him to stay in Washington.
September 04, 2004
The AP corrected its Bush rally "boo" story:
This is a correction to an incorrect story posted by AP on Friday stating the crowd booed the President when he sent his good wishes. The crowd, in fact, did NOT boo.
That took about 24 hours. Chalk one up for the blogosphere.
The Democratic smear campaign has begun. Jay Reding analyzes this desparate attempt at regaining momentum. It will only get uglier the closer we get to Election Day. I expect a cocaine accusation to pop up like in 2000.
"George Jr. Sent out of Texas by Father as a 'Drunken Liability'"
Criminals for Kerry
Thanks Google Ads. Not only are they funding TAM, but offering inspiration too.
Most Think Bush Will Win
Here's another interesting poll. But with two months until Election Day, anything can happen to change people's opinions. Kerry supporters and the Anyone But Bush crowd shouldn't be dispondent, nor should the Bush backers get cocky.
Laptop On A Stick
At The Minnesota State Fair this year, those who absolutely need to read their email while munching on a Pronto Pup and Cheese Curds, can.
This is the year, geeks and wireless freaks.
Me, I'm leaving the laptop at home.
Up, Up, and Away
It's not only TIME that's showing Bush with a substantial bounce from his convention speech and the SwiftVets. Newsweek's poll gives the President an 11-point lead over John Kerry. This poll was of registered voters. Erick Erickson points out that Bush has polled better with likely voters so the President may be even stronger than these numbers indicate. A number that jump out at me is that 65% think Bush has the "stronger leadership qualities" while 47% think that of Kerry. Another interesting number is terrorism and homeland security are the number one issue (28%) while the economy is second (21%). As we near Election Day, voters are becoming more serious about national security. The atrocities in Russia will only harden voters' resolve that Islamist terrorism is the Free World's #1 security issue. This only helps those who can appear to be strong on defense. Unfortunately for Kerry Edwards a political career of opposing many vital defense systems leaves them very vulnerable. They'll have to hope for some awful event to happen that can be blamed on Bush or follow Susan Estrich's advice and find (or make up) a host of skeletons in the closets of Bush and Cheney.
This is more evidence that I'm not much of a political prognosticator.
"I Question the Timing of This Poll!"
UPDATE: Cam Edwards thinks this poll may be hype because they oversampled Republicans. From my quick calculations, 37% of registered voters asked were Republicans. That does seem a bit much, but I haven't found any survey breaking down the percentage of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
September 03, 2004
More on the "Booing"
I just talked with my sister who was also at the Bush rally today. She didn't hear any booing when Bush mentioned Clinton. She saw and heard people around her mumbling. Whether is was negative or just wondering what happen to him, she doesn't know. Is there one person who will step forward and claim he heard booing?
From the first-hand reports and the audio, the AP really blew it. (I also better get some help because I'm hearing things.) Not offering a retraction or correction this many hours after the event goes way beyond sloppy journalism. It's malpractice.
"The Associated Press Makes It Up"
UPDATE: Here's a mission for some enterprising TAM reader: call up the AP's Milwaukee office tomorrow and ask who was assigned to cover the Bush rally. If they won't tell you, politely ask for their supervisor. Like poor customer service departments, find someone who can help you. Then find out who the reporter was and when a very public correction will be published. Here's the info for the Milwaukee bureau:
918 N. 4th St.
I'd do it, but I'm working tomorrow. I'm pretty sure my boss wouldn't want me to be doing investigative reporting on Barnes & Noble's time.
"Booing the AP"
UPDATE II: The Journal Sentinel had two reporters covering the rally. Neither of them mention any boos. They noticed what lines got the most applause so we should be confident they were really paying attention.
"Bush Vows to Win Wisconsin"
Badger State is Bush Country
The second stop for the President and First Lady after a successful GOP convention in NYC was at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, WI just next door to Milwaukee. At the rally the President proudly accepted the endorsements of both the Milwaukee Firefighters union and the Milwaukee Police union. National unions may be backing Kerry, but there are some grassroots groups with the courage to defy the groupthink. Bush also took a jab at John Kerry for mangling Lambeau Field.
Bush's speech repeated many of the lines and most of the themes from last night's acceptance speech. If you heard him last night you weren't surprised with what he said today. What was different was the ratio between domestic and foreign policy was almost 50/50. That seemed like more emphasis on his domestic agenda than in his acceptance speech. Some of it had to do with today's release of new jobs data showing 144,000 new jobs were created in August which marked a full year of monthly job growth. Adjustments to the June and July figures show 59,000 additional new jobs were created in those two months. [You Big Mouth, You! has lots of jobs charts to see what progress has been made.] He talked about medical savings accounts and partial privatization of Social Security--dressed up in compassionate conservative rhetoric. He only offered a few sentences about education.
On foreign policy, Bush spoke of his administration's accomplishments in the Islamist War. Afghanistan and Iraq are free from oppressive rulers with national elections to take place in months. Al Qaeda is on the run and being destroyed. Bush defended his decision to invade Iraq by giving his audience the context of his decision. The world knew the awful history of Saddam's Iraq. The world thought he still had WMD--that's why U.N. sanctions were still in place. Given the Sep. 11 attacks a policy of reacting to threats instead of being proactive meant more Americans would probably die. President Bush weighed all this and determined that Saddam had to go.
Bush couched the invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan as means to long-term American security. Bush said that free nations are peaceful nations. The best chance for Americans to be safe from the Islamist threat is a relentless pursuit of liberty worldwide.
The blogospheric buzz about the West Allis event is whether some of the audience booed upon hearing news President Clinton was in the hospital. Before diving into his new stump speech the President asked us all to keep him and his family in our prayers. The exposition hall filled with polite claps, but I'm pretty sure I heard some boos. Not many, only a few. None can be heard on this audio clip, and Lisa didn't hear any either so maybe I was hearing things. Maybe it was the sound of those annoying thunder sticks. If there were boos shame on them!
I could bore you with talk of the other speakers, but they were either forgettable (Rep. Tom Petri) or just plain bad (State Treasurer Jack Voight). The star was President Bush, and he didn't leave anyone there disappointed.
Below the fold are some pics I took, and here are Lisa's.
UPDATE: Lisa bossed The Man (I like that nickname) around and helped a little old lady.
The lines were long to see the President. We had to wait hours.
Part of wait was because of the security. The Secret Service had to try out my new digital camera. Either he wanted to get one for himself, or he had to make sure it was what it was.
Laura introduces her husband.
The Man himself.
If the TIME poll is correct, I don't know what I'm talking about. It wouldn't be the first time either. That this also means is Kerry's support is weak. After weeks of getting his Vietnam War record challenged and a week of speeches devoted to pointing out his liberal Senate record some Kerry supporters have changed their minds and are backing the President. With nine weeks to go a lot can happen in a campaign. The convention has given Bush another shot at the Kerry leaners. He will have to build on his momentum. These swing voters are probably fickle.
[Sung to the Tune of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz]
"It's Off to See the President
The wonderful President of the United States."
I'll stop now.
Will report later.
"President to Speak Friday in West Allis"
Panzer vs. Grothman
The convention has distracted me from commenting on the important local race where State Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer is being challenged in the GOP primary by the more conservative State Assemblymen Glenn Grothman. Want some evidence that Grothman is the more conservative choice? Panzer is receiving support (but not endorsement) from the teachers' union and Planned Parenthood.
The Journal Sentinel also catches Panzer in a fib:
Panzer told the Journal Sentinel in a story published Sunday that she had never been endorsed by WEAC during her years in the Senate, even though she was in 1996, according to the WEAC Web site.
Panzer's explanation: "I was not endorsed by WEAC in the primary, which is what counts. Their endorsement came during the general election. I'm not sure exactly what that accomplished."
In my book an endorsement is an endorsement.
"Two Groups Urge Support for Panzer over Grothman"
Maybe I'm too cautious or too conservative (and is that bad?) but even with how well the GOP did with their convention I don't see Bush getting a big bounce. Like the conventional wisdom, I see the electorate as highly polarized with few undecided voters out there. It's anecdotal, but I'm seeing people get politically active that haven't before. Lots of people see this as a very important election.
If I'm right and Bush/Kerry remain virtually deadlocked until November then Get Out The Vote will be hugely important. The GOP is putting together their most ambitious program yet, but historically the Democrats have won the GOTV battle with help from labor unions and liberal activist groups.
A Jeopardy! Answer/Question
What did Mort Kondracke and Steven Taylor think of John Kerry's quick response to President Bush's acceptance speech?
Here's another one:
What is Kerry Edwards feeling after a successful GOP convention and weeks of attacks on your #1 issue?
Bush Stands His Ground
President Bush gave 1/2 a good speech. The first part was his call for more government programs and making his tax cuts permanent. There was stuff on rural health care, K-12 education, Pell grants, health savings accounts, and personal savings accounts under Social Security. Once again Bush took a page from Bill Clinton. Just like in 1996, the incumbent President patched together a lot of little items to make his domestic policy quilt. We conservative Bush backers realize again that "compassionate conservatism" isn't small government conservatism, and it won't come cheap.
But we live in dangerous times. 09.11.01 brought the Islamist War home to the United States. President Bush addressed this in the second half of his speech, and this is where he shined. He restated his claim that given what we knew about Saddam's past and the evil intentions of al Qaeda deterence and crumbling sanctions were no way to deal with Iraq. He also restated his Wilsonian/Neo-conservative claim that a free Middle East was the best path to a lasting peace. The President never said the Iraq War and post-war would be easy. He called ordering the invasion a most difficult decision, but one he stands behind.
The U.S. is safer without Saddam thumbing his nose at the world, sponsoring terrorism, and waiting out sanctions so he could regain dominance in the region. The U.S. is safer now that al Qaeda is on the run and taking on allied troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's what the President argued tonight. Love him or hate him, you know where he stands, and you know he's willing to fight to keep the U.S. free.
Bush effectively used John Kerry's own words against him--Kerry Edwards calls this a "personal attack." He brought up the "I voted for it before I voted against it" line when talking about adequately funding our troops at war. He also hammered Kerry for claiming he was the one promoting conservative values. Bush ruthlessly employed Kerry's claim that Hollywood was the heart and soul of America. He also used Kerry's harsh words of Reagan against him.
Near the end of his speech, the President let America see some of the burden that's been place on him. (He chose to accept this when he took the oath of office so don't feel sorry for him.) Tears welled up in his eyes when he talked about meeting with Sep. 11 victims' families, soldiers' families, and injured soldiers. You saw some of the great weight that falls upon all men who send others into battle. Even in our Age of Oprah the display felt sincere and moving.
Soon after the RNC ended, Kerry Edwards started their late-night pep rally in Ohio. John Edwards decried the "personal attacks" on Kerry a million times. From listening to Edwards you'd think the GOP accused Kerry of committing war crimes in Vietnam. Then Kerry went after Dick Cheney for asking for and receiving deferments from the Vietnam War. Such language is quite the departure from what he said about Bill Clinton's problems with the draft.
Now, for some other reaction:
September 02, 2004
To Boldly Go To St. Cloud
King, you have to bring Dr. Hyde to Keegans sometime, to reprise his rendition of "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen."
Meet The Bloggers
Captain Ed certainly cleans up nice when the newspaper shows up with a camera.
Stupid Question Of The Day
Lots of Red Meat
Sen. Zell Miller riled up the crowd with his condemnation of Sen. Kerry's voting record. His best line was
I could go on and on and on: against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel; against the Aegis air-defense cruiser; against the Strategic Defense Initiative; against the Trident missile; against, against, against.
After that he didn't let himself get bullied by Chris "Keeping it Clean" Matthews.
Then Vice President Dick Cheney continued to harp on the Senate record of the Vietnam vet.
It's really late but here are some reactions from the RNC webloggers:
Over the Deep End
Paul Krugman may one day get the Nobel Prize for his economics work. However, his intellectual stature will take even more of a drubbing if he actually writes a book on how there really is a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy that spans from Goldwater to President Bush.
September 01, 2004
Helping The Cause
I want to do what I can to help President Bush in his re-election effort.
In a couple days, I will accept a job offer. That will reduce the unemployment rolls by one person, at least. Now that it's September, September's unemployment rate won't be reported until October. I hope that the lower unemployment rate will further solidify the President's lead in the final weeks of the campaign.
An added bonus, that might make Oliver mad.
Protesters Attack GOP Youth
Bush bashers snuck into Madison Square Garden and disrupted a Republican youth rally. Ten chanted "Bush kills!" and "Bush lies!" A Milwaukee delegate was punched by one of the protesters.
"AIDS Activists Disrupt Convention Event"
"Protesters Disrupt Youth Convention"
Firemen for Bush
John Kerry may have a national union endorsement, but President Bush received the support of Milwaukee's firefighters.
Taking the War Home
The AP is reporting that hundreds of men, women, and children in a Russian school are being held hostage by people with bombs strapped to them. This probably the work of Chechen terrorists who have bombed a Moscow subway and knocked two airliners out of the sky.
"Reports: Hundreds Held Hostage in Russia"
Who made a more passionate, inspired defense of Paul Hamm keeping his Olympic gold medal: the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel or TAM [more]? The Journal Sentinel's headline is good because it's blunt, but the rest is correctly argued milqetoast.
"To Yang: Deal with It"
Snoozer of a Night
Some, but not much valuable television time went to the convention tonight. I flipped on Sen. Frist, then flipped to The World Series of Poker.
Then I stumbled upon Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Breast cancer research is important, but backing Bush because he's for such research pales to the importance of winning the Islamist War. That got tiring so it was off to catch some Brewers baseball.
Then it was back to catch some of Ahhnold! (I think you're required to say his name in a unique way. Just like whenever you mention the death metal band Slayer, you must say "SLAAAYER!") His "then you are a Republican" passage was great and inclusive. All his movie quotes were hokey, but people eat that stuff up. Then it was back to the Brewers game (they finally won!).
Then back to the RNC to catch the Bush twins. They were hot, but told lame jokes with bad timing, and voices perfect for print. Did the organizers actually let the ladies write their own jokes? Or the minor league speech writing team was at work. I'll give them some credit. The hamster quip was ok.
Then it was back to more poker and baseball. I did without Laura Bush tonight. Like a Vice President, the First Lady, no matter how nice and sweet she appears, doesn't matter in my political calculus. They never win an election, but can hurt it--just ask Teresa Heinz Kerry. In the post-game coverage, Chris "Keeping it clean" Matthews once again had nothing bad to say about the Republicans. The GOP is doing their job.
Like last night, here's some blogospheric views:
P.S. So what if the twins' public speaking didn't impress me. I'd go out with either of them.