Thursday, October 28, 2004
Bush himself has been quoted as having recently told a group of Amish in Pennsylvania:
“I trust God speaks through me.”
It is gratifying to read that this message does not resonate well even with Christians.
“God is not a Republican, neither is he a Democrat, and their candidates are wonderful Christians, but neither of their parties has a direct line to God.... It is known that the Bible is very accommodating and respects divergence of opinion and our ability to choose. People who use their Bible to reach their own ends do a great disservice to Christianity." Zimbabwean Bishop Patrick Mutume
Keeping to the religious theme, a bumpersticker noted on Sojourners website: Bush/Cheney 04: Because you don’t change horsemen mid-apocalypse
It is also rumored there that the price of real estate in New Zealand is due to rise dramatically should Bush win the election.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
DailyKos informs us of a BBC report showing private detectives hired by the Florida GOP conducting under-cover surveillance of early voters as part of a campaign to challenge African-American voters, create long lines at polling stations, and discourage turn-out. Why are the Republicans trying to limit the number of voters on Nov. 2? Because they love freedom.
Also from DailyKos, a story that really should be getting more attention from the press: The Bush administration denied the military permission to strike at Abu Musab Zarqawi before the invasion of Iraq because to do so would have eliminated one of their reasons to invade Iraq.
Monday, October 25, 2004
A contributor to The Gadflyer looks at the AMA's claim that high malpractice insurance premiums are driving doctors into retirement and hurting patient care.
An economist writes for Slate that Bush's tax cuts are unfair... To the rich:
"the rich already pay too much—it seems patently unfair to ask anyone to pay over 30 times as much as his neighbors (unless he receives 30 times as much in government services, which strikes me as implausible). If you share my sense of fairness, you'll join me in condemning the president's tax policy."
Another economist has a website the automatically downloads state poll results and uses margins of error to predict probabilities of Kerry and Bush results. Currently 64% chance of a Kerry victory.
Friday, October 22, 2004
That said, I am still predicting (and hoping for) a Kerry victory on Nov 2nd. Even if it dooms his presidency, Kerry will be far better able to handle the multiple crises when they explode in his face.
TPM continues its Karl Rove Dirty Tricks Watch, today noting efforts in Ohio to misinform voters of the location of their polling places.
More on the religious front: New Donkey covers the news that the Vatican has said No, John Kerry is not a heretic. Good for them--they're getting much better at this sort of thing. It took them what, 400 years to decide that Galileo wasn't a heretic?
Some good things on DailyKos.com recently:
- Possible pick-up for the Dems in Nebraska congressional races
- Democrats overwhelmingly support card-check recognition for American workers; Republicans don't.
- Tracking the White House's efforts to scrub their (publicly funded) website of historical content possibly embarrassing to Bush.
- Comprehensive list of Republicans and Independents backing Kerry. A few more testimonials in this post here. And, just to be fair, a list of Democrats backing Bush (I have no idea how comprehensive this list is, but it's much, much shorter).
Middle East expert Juan Cole tries his hand at both psychoanalysis and dissecting US youth culture in this unintentionally amusing post on the rapper Eminem.
The hawkish New Republic endorses Kerry (registration required--check out BugMeNot site for public registrations). Without, alas, admitting the folly of their ways.
Finally, a piece from TomPaine.com on misconceptions of the racial and socioeconomic makeup of the US military. Useful to read before making arguments about how the armed forces prey on the American underclass. According to the author, David L. Englin, a recent Pentagon survey shows US military inductees are not significantly poorer or less educated than the US population as a whole. Interesting, though I wonder what the result would be if you looked at the services seperately? My guess is that Army inductees are significantly poorer, more likely to be black or hispanic, and less educated than the population as a whole. Also, Englin's contention that combat units are less poor, more white and more educated can also be read as a selection bias: Combat posts are the best way to earn advancement in the military; those serving for a lack of civilian employment opportunities are probably disproportionately channeled toward support units with less chance for upward mobility.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
FAITH-BASED GOVERNMENT (or not)
We learn via DailyKos.com about the Bush campaign's response to Pat Robertson's claim that Bush was as certain as "a contented Christian with four aces" that there would be no American casualties in Iraq.
From Amy Sullivan at Washington Monthly's Political Animal: It's a truism in American political circles that Bush is deeply faithful. But, judged by his actions rather than his words, Ayelish McGarvey of the American Prospect says, "Bush is no devout evangelical. In fact, he may not be a Christian at all." Says McGarvey: "Ironically for a man who once famously named Jesus as his favorite political philosopher during a campaign debate, it is remarkably difficult to pinpoint a single instance wherein Christian teaching has won out over partisan politics in the Bush White House." Most politics these days--Dem and Rep--is driven by a corrosive ends-justify-the-means attitude, but the Republicans have taken this to new extremes (see below).
Also, if you've not seen it already, it's worth reading Ron Suskind's NY Times Magazine article on the Bush administration's disdain for the 'reality-based community.'
POLLS AND ELECTORAL COLLEGE UPDATES
(get your predictions in now!)
With the election less than two weeks away, obsessive poll-watchers are hungry for more information. More! MORE! With that in mind, Politicalwire.com provides a good set of electoral college update pages. Looks pretty good for Kerry right now, I think.
For more cheery polls, see Donkey Rising.
Looking at the low numbers for Bush, his approval ratings mired in the mid-40s, the growing number of conservatives (even blood relatives) leaving his ranks, and the large increases in Democratic voter registrations and almost manic get-out-the-vote campaigns, my prediction is that Bush barely breaks 47% in the popular vote on Nov. 2, and that Kerry wins both Florida and Ohio to trounce the incumbent in the electoral college. On a contrary note, though, see this Economist article how the well-run Republican party dominates the Democratic "adhocracy." (Way off base if you ask me. Though the Dems are relatively disorganized, we'll see how well-run the Reps are as they tear each other to pieces after Bush loses. Or even, perhaps, if he wins.)
Many times during this political season, I have read the news of both campaigns and thought, 'hell, I could do a better job than that.' If you have too, Politicalwire.com tells us that the Christian Science Monitor is offering a downloadable simulation game where you can play campaign manager. (Alas, we Mac users are left out of the fun again--someone will have to tell me how the game goes.) Politicalwire also mentions a couple of other politics games, in case you're interested.
ELECTION FRAUD ALERTS
How might the Republicans do better than my prediction? By cheating, that's how. Efforts are currently underway via various legal and illegal methods to keep Dems from voting. In his Guardian column, DailyKos author Markos Moulitsas offers a handy summary of some of these nefarious dealings, and a collection of websites tracking the latest developments: "There are several clearing houses of voter suppression and fraud online, like the Voter Registration Fraud Clearinghouse and Vote Watch 2004."
Some fraudsters are already receiving their just desserts. Politicalwire delivers this item from the Rocky Mountain News: A Colorado Republican "stealing campaign signs late one night got nabbed when he ran across a low-hanging driveway chain, fell face first onto a pilfered sign and the concrete and knocked himself unconscious."Randall Wagner, 50, was trying to steal a sign for congressional candidate Dave Thomas and "had signs for other Democratic candidates in his Toyota pickup."
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
But why would the President need a transmitter--and why didn't it help him do better during the debate? Well, it could be because he is suffering from PRE-SENILE DEMENTIA. As evidence, look at this comparison of his debate performances in the Texas governor's race and the first presidential debate.
Some sort of mental breakdown might also explain why Bush insisted that Dick Cheney be with him when he met with the 9/11 commission, and why Bush's handlers take such extreme steps to isolate him from reporters, protestors, or anyone wearing a John Kerry button. And of course news of the President's condition cannot be allowed to leak out before the election, so his annual physical exam had to be cancelled.
Monday, October 04, 2004
First, Josh Marshall catches a story on FOX News that contains quotes from Kerry like "Didn't my nails and cuticles look great?" Did Kerry really say things like that? Nope--the quotes were made up as a joke by the FOX reporter covering the Kerry campaign, and 'accidentally' posted on the FOX News website before being retracted. What will happen to the reporter--will he be fired or maybe reassigned to some other beat? FOX isn't saying.
Second, scroll down to the Updates on today's Daily Howler, where Maureen Dowd and her colleagues at the NY Times are taken to task for repeatedly using a quote from Kerry--"Who among us does not like NASCAR"--that Kerry never said. The original post from the Howler is overly long and frenzied, but contains more details about how Dowd got the quote. Though the NYT has probably known for some time that the quote is false, they have never apologized or issued a retraction.
Friday, October 01, 2004
lumpen = prefix in social theory denoting the part of the group that is lowest and least powerful; most common usage is "lumpenproletariat": "The lowest, most degraded stratum of the proletariat. Used originally in Marxist theory to describe those members of the proletariat, especially criminals, vagrants, and the unemployed, who lacked class consciousness." (according to the dictionary)
lumpen-logocrats = unemployed or insecurely employed people with higher degrees, stereotypically people with Ph.D's who drive cabs or wait tables for a living...or perhaps Ph.D's who cannot find tenure-track jobs and have to cobble together a living from teaching classes here and there (usage from sociologist Charles Derber and his colleagues)
lumpenlogocracy = perhaps an oxymoron, since "-cracy" usually refers to who rules in a society (e.g., democracy, plutocracy, autocracy), and thus anyone who is "lumpen" can't really be "-cracy"...on the other hand, it is a kind of daring statement that the lowest professionals are trying to assert their authority
[Note: this post was created on 10-18-2005 as a linkable container for information removed from the web log's sidebar when the blog roll was added.]
One longtime political observer -- among the friends canvassed by this critic -- was more irreverent about the debate and how the two debaters came off: "It was Andy Griffith meets Barney Fife," he said, with Kerry in the Griffith role -- solid, sanguine, sensible -- and Bush as the nervous Fife.
It's also amusing to note from this article that good old Dan Rather refuses to describe the 'debate' as a debate--instead, he refers to it always as a 'joint appearance.' Good for you, Mr. Rather. Um, too bad about those documents, huh?
Kudos (Koodohs? Kudoughs? Whatever) to Peter Jennings and ABC, too. I watched their debate coverage last night and was mightily pleased that they did not interview any of the spinmeisters fogging up the lenses and microphones of other organizations in 'spin alley.'
Those in the crowd laughed several times when Bush smirked or stammered, and several undecided voters said afterward that they found Kerry more articulate and decisive.
To me, Bush seemed irritable and uncomfortable. And he really said only two things for every question: 'Criticizing my policies sends the wrong message to the troops,' and 'Being President is hard.'
Did anyone else notice that Bush did not answer Lehrer's question whether Bush really believed that electing Kerry would make a terrorist attack on the US more likely? Bush said, to paraphrase, 'I don't believe that will happen, because Kerry won't be elected.'