Sunday, October 31, 2004


From Newsweek:
Even Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former general who stays in touch with the Joint Chiefs, has acknowledged this privately to friends in recent weeks, NEWSWEEK has learned. The insurgents have effectively created a reign of terror throughout the country, killing thousands, driving Iraqi elites and technocrats into exile and scaring foreigners out. "Things are getting really bad," a senior Iraqi official in interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's government told NEWSWEEK last week. "The initiative is in [the insurgents'] hands right now. This approach of being lenient and accommodating has really backfired. They see this as weakness."
Some would say the approach of invading Iraq has really backfired.

Statement From 'Jersey Girls' on Bin Laden Video

From Atrios
We cried when we saw the tape on Friday of Osama Bin Laden. He's tanned and healthy. He does not look desperate or scared. He does not look like a man on the run.

Three years ago, President Bush promised us he would capture Osama Bin Laden--Dead or Alive. He didn't do that.

The man that murdered our husbands, is back terrorizing our country again. The videotape of him has brought us back to 9/11. We feel threatened. We feel vulnerable. We are scared.

Our question to President Bush is: Why didn't you catch him when you promised us you would? Why is this mass murderer--this madman-- still out there making videotapes and terrorizing our country three years after you promised our country that you would make us safe from him? President Bush, why cant you keep us safe from this madmen?

Kristen Breitweiser and Monica Gabrielle


All of Alan Keyes "ambassadorial" skills are on full display in the Daily Herald:

Keyes said bin Laden's message is a "clear indication that we can't afford to elect John Kerry or put Barack Obama" in the Senate.

"If we follow Kerry and think that by appeasement and talk and negotiation we can deal with those who intend to kill us then they will go on killing us and we will end up dead."
Mr. Keyes then further demonstrated his tenuous relationship with reality
When asked how he would overcome what polls show is a 40-percentage-point deficit to Obama, Keyes responded by attacking what he called the "media elites."

"A media that is committed to the triumph of the moral degradation of America does not see the people of moral conscience who are moving forward in this race," Keyes said.
With only two days until the election, time is running out for Mr. Keyes to blame the Chicago media elites for the 9-11 attacks.

Saturday, October 30, 2004


First, from Atrios
More Republicans Celebrating Proof of Failure

Yay! Bin Laden's alive!
Wrapping up a campaign shadowed by war and terrorism, President Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry unabashedly sought political advantage Saturday from Osama bin Laden's re-emergence.

"It's very helpful to the president," contended Bush ally Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., although the president didn't mention the menacing new message from bin Laden at his first campaign stops on a four-state, 14-hour swing.
Weird people, Republicans.

..and, Josh Marshall has the poll results.

bin Laden = "a little gift"

What Republicans think of the guy responsible for thousands killed:

A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.
and Kos notes the GOP response as well
Republicans celebrate their incompetence

No surprise, but the Bush people are giddy as can be that they've failed to capture or kill Osama.
"We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. "And anything that raises the issue in people's minds is good for us."

A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.

And as the Chicken Littles among us run around in a blind panic, note that Fox News's pollster reported that Bush's numbers have gone down since the OBL tape aired. (Poll here. Info that the post-OBL numbers for Bush were down came from the broadcast.)

I'm not sure why Republicans think the American voters will reward incompetence.

MORE: This all puts Brad Delong in mind of this passage from Emmanuel Goldstein's Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism:

George Orwell - 1984 (full text, online, free) - Part 2, Chapter 9: [S]o long as they remain in conflict they prop one another up, like... sheaves of corn.... [I]t is necessary that the war should continue everlastingly and without victory.... In past ages, a war, almost by definition, was something that sooner or later came to an end, usually in unmistakable victory or defeat.... But when war becomes literally continuous.... The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture.... But though it is unreal it is not meaningless...

Friday, October 29, 2004


You should read this while listening to this.


Former(?) blogger bilmon connects the dots:

"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."

One Nation Under Bush
October 29, 2004

All officers of the SS were required to take the loyalty oath. Raising their right hand and their left hand placed on their officers sword, the oath went as follows: "I swear to thee, Adolph Hitler as Fuhrer and chancellor of the German Reich, my Loyalty and Bravery. I vow to thee and the superiors whom those shall appoint, obedience until death, so help me God."

Jim Harris
World War II Stories: In Their Own Words

"Sure, only here they'll call it anti-fascism."

Huey Long
When asked if fascism could ever come to America


There was a lot of bad news for the Bushies this week. Dan Kennedy looks at the stories beyond allowing 380 tons of incredibly dangerous explosives to "fall into the wrong hands" following the invasion of Iraq:
But if the missing explosives is the most important story, it's far from the only one.

The Bushies are trying to take away the NAACP's tax exemption, because chairman Julian Bond had the temerity to speak out against the Great Leader, and because the Republicans can't bring back the poll tax until the second term, after they've replaced a few justices on the Supreme Court.

Dick Cheney's old company, Halliburton, on whose payroll he remains, is under criminal investigation.

A new study suggests that 100,000 Iraqi civilians died for what Cheney calls a "remarkable success story."

And the flagging campaign of Kentucky senator Jim Bunning, a Republican whose re-election is key to the GOP maintaining its majority, is taunting Democratic opponent Daniel Mongiardo as one of them "limp-wristed" guys, if you follow their drift.
Isn't it just about time for the White House to issue a phony terror alert?


Apparently they Keyes campaign is falling apart. The latest Keyes2004 e-mail newsletter arrived in my in-box today and it was riddled with numerous errors. I will examine each in turn:
We'd like to let you know about a helpful new feature at We've gathered 30-second and 60-second video clips from the debates on various issues, to help you share Alan's message quickly and effectively with others.

These clips are powerful tools.
This, of course should have said, "Steve Rauschenberger and Dave Syverson are powerful tools."
Three very effective radio ads are currently being run. You can hear these appealing ads at the links below
There are two problems with the radio ads section:

First, "appalling" is misspelled.

Second, in a shocking misassessment of the Illinois electorate, one of the radio ads is entitled: "Pastor Hunter." Now, there are few people who are more suspect of the role of religion in public life than I am, but even I know that hunting a pastor is beyond the pale. Even among Hollywood elites like myself.

I understand that Keyes needs to reach out beyond his base, but I think that this ad could very well turn off his religious supporters.
Invite your friends over and watch the debates together. These historic, classic contests show Alan at his best -- as he clearly outshines, outthinks, and outperforms his opponent. The more people see the debates, the more support Alan will have on election day!
The second sentence is a mess. It fails to name Mr. Keyes' opponent so the reader never knows the identity of the mysterious "he" that "outshines, outthinks and outperforms" Mr. Keyes in the debates.

And the most glaring omission of all in this e-mailing is that, unlike the dozens of newsletters that proceeded it, it fails to beg for more money for Mr. Keyes.

I am sure that this last error was merely an oversight and will be remedied shortly.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


MSNBC provides video of Bruce Springsteen performing at a John Kerry rally in Madison.

And its not some tiny clip either -- it is 11:38 minutes long and includes two full songs which bookend a heartfelt populist rant.

I have never been a fan of 'the Boss' -- his music has just never 'clicked' with me and I could take it or leave it -- but I think that I may have just been converted.


Josh Marshall gathers the many right-wing realities:
If you look through the right-wing media universe this morning you will hear that perhaps the explosives were never at al Qaqaa at all. Or if they were there perhaps Saddam's men carted them off in March. Or if Saddam's men didn't cart them off for the insurgency then the Russians carted them off to Syria. Or if, God forbid, it really did happen as the critics say, well, President Bush wasn't there. It was the fault of the troops on the ground.
Of course Al Qaqaa is just another example of the many ways that this administration has bungled the post-invasion stage of the Iraq war:

The president and his advisors insisted on a warplan that had far too few troops to secure even the key facilities in Iraq that were the reason for the invasion in the first place. Remember, many of the nuclear facilities were stripped bare too. This wasn't the fault of troops streaming through on their way to Baghdad, doing a quick check for chemical and biological weapons. The error was in the planning of the war itself -- planning that came from Rumsfeld's civilians and the White House over and against the advice of the generals.
Why was the mission so undermanned?
The biggest reason is that President Bush and his chief advisors knew that it would be much harder to get the country into Iraq if the electorate knew the full scope of the investment -- in dollars, deployments and casualties -- upfront. In other words, undermanning the operation was always part of the essential dishonesty and recklessness with which the president led the nation to war.

If we all do our part we need only suffer five more days of President Not-Me.


Hiram Wurf, the Democratic candidate for DuPage County Board District 5, provides a nifty review of yesterday's DuPage Democrats get out the vote rally.

I was there, and I can confirm that the auditorium at COD was packed to see Barack Obama, Gloria Anderson, Christine Cegelis, Ruben Zamora, and the state and local candidates.

If the folks in attendance can stay that fired-up through election day, we can introduce a two-party system to DuPage County.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


From "Planet Simpson" By Chris Turner:
First, the incidental gag. It's nothing more than some set-dressing for Episode 9F11 (Selma's Choice), a background detail as the Simpsons stop for a quick bite to eat on their way to the funeral of Marge's Aunt Gladys. As they pull up to the restaurant, we catch a glimpse of a sign that reads: The Buzzing Sign Diner. The lettering is neon; the sign is buzzing. The gag is built on the hoary cliché of old-time Hollywood that every grimy diner has a run-down, buzzing neon sign out front. The sign's message refers to its own condition, and that condition refers to a phenomenon that's a stereotypical element of old movies. It's a deconstruction of a deconstruction of a cliché. This incidental detail serves as a concise, workable summary of what's meant by the term 'postmodern.'
I believe that by blogging this item, it is now terminally self-referential.


"With all deliberate speed."

Mathew Gross presents: How to Steal an Election
You send letters to newly registered voters in Democratic districts. Letters that come back as undeliverable are used to form a list. You send 8,000 lawyers to every polling place armed with that list. When a newly registered (black) voter shows up to vote, you challenge their registration. In Ohio, the poll worker makes the final decision as to whether the challenged voter can cast a ballot. The poll worker is a hard-core GOP partisan. The poll worker says no; the voter is sent home. Frustrated eligible voters in line give up because it's taking forever, and more Democratic voters decide to leave without casting ballots. Repeat until George Bush is President.

Coming soon to an election near you.
Nick Confessore over at the American Prosepect picks up the theme:
First, the GOP, using what appear to qualify as illegal methods, has attempted to mislead thousands of Democratic-leaning voters in Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, into thinking they'd be registered but are not. (And Ed Gillespie, whose own outfit is funding these efforts via Sproul & Associates and God knows what other firms and consultants, is alleging Democratic fraud in precisely those states! Black is white. Up is down.)

Consequently, those thousands of people are going to show up at polls and probably run into a lot of confusion and paperwork and problems. At the same time, Republican secretaries of state and election officials in Ohio, Florida, and elsewhere are pushing interpretations of election statutes that further muddy the waters for those who do get to vote.

Having done as much as possible to create the conditions for a confusing election, the GOP is getting ready to cast the inevitable results of that confusion -- people turning up in the wrong precincts, people who've moved from the neighborhood they originally registered and are trying to vote wherever they live now, and so forth -- as symptoms of outright election fraud.

On Election Day, the GOP will challenge as many votes as they can at the polls, on whatever pretext is handy. They've already said they will. And then, if they're behind at the end of the day, GOP officials will start alleging massive voter fraud in Ohio, Florida, and elsewhere, whatever the facts on the ground are. That will give them a rhetorical advantage in the short-term -- if, say, John Kerry is far enough ahead that he declares victory, but there are still some votes to be counted or re-counted.

And it's important for the long-term, too. If Kerry does win, but only narrowly, the GOP will allege that the Democrats stole the election, which will set the stage for later Republican efforts to shut down Kerry's ability to govern and deny him legitimacy.
Matthew Yglesias adds
It's worth noting that the efficacy of issuing blanket challenges to the credentials of voters in predominantly African-American precincts isn't necessarily contingent on the challenger actually getting many voters disqualified. If you challenge enough people, you slow the voting process down, generating long lines at the polling places, which may dissuade people with a limited amount of time on their hands from sticking around and actually casting their ballots.

That's closer to gamesmanship than cheating, but unless the Democrats are prepared to cope with it, it could prove very costly.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


The Tribune's Campaign Notebook covers Christine Cegelis and DJW fight to make DuPage County safe for democracy.
Omission complaint: A week after her name was left off a voters' guide that was sent to dozens of newspapers, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives against Republican U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde filed a complaint Monday with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The guide, sent out by the DuPage County Election Commission, listed Christine Cegelis as a candidate for state Senate, rather than for U.S. Congress. Hyde appeared in the guide as if he were running unopposed.

The DuPage commission called the omission a "cut and paste" error and pledged to buy advertisements to run this week in all 43 papers showing the correct candidates for the office.

But Cegelis' complaint asks the state board to investigate whether "this was gross negligence or any low-level employee engaged in intentional misconduct," Cegelis' attorney Dan Johnson-Weinberger said.
The Notebook column leads with a charming story on how Alan Keyes doesn't know what he's talking about... even when he's talking about his favorite topic.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Nick Confessore of The American Prospect Online has friends that can do math -- scary, scary math.
Most people have probably never heard of RDX, HMX, and PETN, the types of explosives that were looted from al Qaqaa. (Neither did I until I started researching this recently.) Depending on how you ask, these are either the most powerful or among the most powerful conventional explosives that exist. So how much boom do you get for 380 tons of the stuff?

My friend and fellow blogger Phillip Carter, a former Army captain, e-mails with an attempt at a back-of-the-envelope calculation, using a "how many Oklahoma City bombings" metric. Here's the result:
OK City = 5,000 pounds/2,300 kg of ammonium-nitrate and nitromethane. This mix has a TNT equivalent ranging from 3%-10%, i.e. the OK City bomb is the equivalent of 150 - 500 pounds of TNT.

AQQ = 380 tons of RDX, HMX and PETN. RDX and PETN have a TNT equivalent value of 170%. Converted into TNT, the AQQ stockpile equals 646 tons or 1,292,000 pounds of explosives.

Convert this back into my OK City metric, and this means that the lost material at AQQ equals betwen 2,584 - 8,613 OK City-size bombs.

That's one hell of a lot of material to be on the street -- enough to fuel a car-bomb and IED-based insurgency for years, if not decades.
Chilling thought. Even if the order of magnitude is off by, say, two decimal places.
Has algebra ever been so depressing?

The Revealer asks the musical question, "What if Hitler Was a Blogger?"
What if you had a "best blog contest" and Hitler won?

Neo-Nazis will have to stick to wishful thinking and settle for second best: hate-spewing anti-Muslim blog Little Green Footballs won Washington Post's reader poll for "best international blog" with bon mots about Palestinians and other Muslims such as "I've been fond of transfer of these subhuman[s] for a while. Perhaps something more like targeted genocide... will become necessary" and "How can these vermin have a country? How can these vermin be allowed to live?"

It's a truism by now that liberals sling around Hitler accusations too loosely, but LGF quacks like a Nazi duck. Its win in the poll proves only that there was a campaign on its behalf, as there surely was for the all the "liberal" blogs to the left of Goebbels. But the fact is that LGF is one of the most popular blogs on the web, one of the most popular conservative blogs, and stands unrepudiated by most other conservative bloggers.

This is a big religion story, and it's a big political story, but it goes mostly unreported on the grounds that it's best to ignore raving wingnuts. That's fine -- until the wingnuts have gathered so many supporters that respectable conservatives are afraid to stand up to them.
I nominated Archpundit in the WP blog poll -- Let's hope my candidates do better on November 2.


Lest we forget, on November 2nd we will determine which man picks this guy's replacement.
No matter who is elected president next week, a vacancy on the high court is likely during the next presidential term. Both President Bush and John Kerry have avoided describing a litmus test for a Supreme Court nomination, although their differences on abortion are cut along partisan lines. The future of the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion is the most visible symbol of the court's ideological split.


Other members of the high court have also been treated for cancer. Justice John Paul Stevens, the oldest at 84, has had prostate cancer. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor had breast cancer and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had colon cancer.
Remember: Supreme Court Justices are forever.

Jon Stewart on C-SPAN


"The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart talks about the presidential politics, the election and the media in a discussion hosted by Syracuse University. The sound is kind of muddy at first, but they do give Mr. Stewart a proper mic after about 4 minutes.

In the immortal words of C-SPAN: "This is about an hour." Link

UPDATE: "Portions of this program contain language that some may find offensive."

Sunday, October 24, 2004


Hope springs eternal at RenewAmerica. Bill Pascoe provided my favorite line:
It was obvious that Obama had little to offer in defense of his record, his positions on the issues, and the reasoning behind them except canned talking points prepared by handlers from the very Chicago machine of which he claims to be independent.
Of course, there is also a plea for money -- which raises the question of how much money the self-professed candidate of Jesus should need -- in which they manage to take a swipe at the same Illinois Republican party that invited Keyes into the race.
There is still time to combat the Democrat machine of Cook County, but Illinois is the third most-expensive media market in the country -- and the costs of campaigning here have greatly contributed to the big money influence peddling that has tainted BOTH political parties in the state.
All capitalization provided by the Eternal Campaign of Alan Keyes.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

"If her husband is one-fourth as good as she is, he'll be excellent."

"I didn't expect it, but I embrace the responsibility that I think all of us have to be actively engaged in the political process," [Michelle Obama] said. "I can't sit at home and watch my husband spend 12-hour days and not roll up my sleeves and do what I can to further the cause.
I found it of particular interest that Michelle Obama and I have a smiliar view of our fellow citizens.
She saw politics as a dirty business of power and manipulation and feared voters wouldn't see that her husband was different.

"I started to believe that we as Americans, as citizens of this state, were so jaded that we wouldn't recognize a good thing when we saw it," Michelle Obama said. "Fortunately, Barack was not as cynical about politics as I was. Unlike me, Barack always had faith in the American people."
And a U.S. Senate candidate James Durkin sees Michelle Obama's prominent role as an indication of big things in the Obamas' future:
"It may be the fact that their sights are bigger than Illinois and this is a team that is looking further down the road," he said.
Let's hope that Mr. Durkin is right and Mr. Obama has a long future in "the dirty business of power and manipulation."

Friday, October 22, 2004


The Leaders surprisingly fair and balanced story on the Senate debate contained this nugget:
As George W. Bush did in the final presidential debate, Keyes endeavored, particularly in the first half of the debate, to highlight aspect of Obama's voting record to buttress his case that Obama is far to the left of the mainstream in Illinois.
Has it come to this? Illinois' greatest orator of this century is taking debating tips from Dubya.


Juan Cole gives his assessment of why the British government has agreed to redeploy 850 troops to the area southwest of Baghdad:
Here's my lay guess as to what this is about: Bush wants to flatten Fallujah as soon as the US elections are over. Flattening Fallujah requires moving another battalion or so to that western city. But that battalion is now tied down fighting the guerrillas in Latifiyah and environs. So the British are being brought in to keep a lid on the insurgency there, so as to free up forces for the assault on Fallujah.


If my interpretation is correct, it demonstrates how completely overstretched the US military is in Iraq. With over 130,000 troops on the ground, with stop loss orders in effect kidnapping troops far beyond the time they signed up for, the US doesn't have 1,000 troops to spare for a Fallujah campaign. It is completely tied down. So Bush needed Blair once again to save his behind.
Casting your vote just won't be enough this year.

Support the Troops: Plan a trip to Wisconsin for November 2nd.


Tim, a (the?) Progressive on the Prairie, doesn't like what he sees when he connects the dots:
A friend of mine is a reservist. He was called up nearly two years ago and has been out of state (but not overseas) and away from his wife and young children since with the exception of occasional visits. A couple weeks ago, he was told his outfit would soon learn when they were going home or if they were being extended again. He has now been told word will not be coming until after the election.

It also seems his unit is now going to have an "employer visit day." Various employers of some of these reservists will travel -- at government expense -- to where this outfit is currently stationed to observe what they do and have some "briefings." The date of visit day? November 8.

Perhaps I am just too cynical but it seems an odd "coincidence" that the employers are being invited for briefings at government expense a week after the election. I also doubt the purpose of the briefings is to merely thank the employers and tell them what great employees they have and how happy the government is they will be home in a couple weeks.
"At times, to be silent is to lie." -- Miguel de Unamuno


The Daily Herald is covering the suspicious sample ballot omission:
DuPage County Democrats want a big effort to make good an election commission gaffe that left one of their candidates off sample ballots.

But they won't get the full compensation they are seeking.

The sample ballots, printed in 43 local newspapers this week, show U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde running unopposed in the 6th Congressional District. In truth, he is being challenged by Democrat Christine Cegelis.

Cegelis was listed as running for state senate in the 41st District, a seat in which Republican Christine Radogno has no competition.

The erroneous sample also tells people they can vote for two county board and forest preserve candidates when only one spot is up for election.

DuPage Democrats believe the gaffes were intentionally done to hurt their candidates. On Thursday, party leaders demanded the commission reprint the entire sample ballot in the 43 newspapers.

They also want a correction published that explains the errors in the first sample.

"I'm just livid," the county's Democratic Party Chair Gayl Ferraro said. "This is the last bastion of the corrupt Illinois Republican Party rearing its ugly head in DuPage. There's no way I believe this was an honest mistake."
The continuing fight for free and fair elections in DuPage county will not be cheap or easy.

Any help -- by contributing your money or your voice -- would be deeply appreciated.

UPDATE: Is the GOP theme for this election cycle "Disappear the Democrats"?


The Boston Globe reports on a study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland which reveals what has been painfully obvious:

Supporters of President Bush are less knowledgeable about the president's foreign policy positions and are more likely to be mistaken about factual issues in world affairs than voters who back John F. Kerry, a survey released yesterday indicated.

A large majority of self-identified Bush voters polled believe Saddam Hussein provided "substantial support" to Al Qaeda, and 47 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the US invasion. Among the president's supporters, 57 percent queried think international public opinion favors Bush's reelection, and 51 percent believe that most Islamic countries support "US-led efforts to fight terrorism."


The polls results, said Steven Kull, the head of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which conducted the survey, showed that Americans are so polarized two weeks before the election that many lack even a common understanding of the facts.

"It is rather unique the extent to which we have different perceptions of reality," Kull said.


Kull said it is common for voters to tailor their views on particular issues to those of the candidate they favor overall, but the extent to which Bush supporters are filtering out news from Iraq that might reflect poorly on the president is unprecedented.


And many of the Bush voters surveyed knew that the Duelfer report said Hussein had no WMDs, but continue to believe that he did regardless.

Kull suggested the dissonance among Bush voters reflects the country's difficulty coming to grips with the discrediting of the rationale for the Iraq war.

"This period will really stand out as when the US went to war on assumptions that turned out to be incorrect," he said. "The body politic is still struggling to come to terms with that."

Geez, I don't know which is more disturbing:

1) the people who are ignorant of the administration's policies and support Bush, or

2) the people know Bush's policy positions and support him anyway?

UPDATE: Kull also discussed the study with NPR.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


From the Herald-Palladium:
[CIA Director George Tenet] called the war on Iraq "wrong" in a speech Wednesday night to 2,000 members of The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan at Lake Michigan College's Mendel Center. He did not elaborate.
Well, I guess that's why pencils have erasers.


Barack Obama will be interviewed on CNN's television special, "Off Topic With Carlos Watson," airing Sunday, 9 pm. In this column by Watson, Obama discusses his views on potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees:
"I teach constitutional law, [and] I'm getting to the age now that I actually know some of the people that they are appointing to these courts, " Obama said. "If they didn't go to school with me, they might have taught me ... and I've got strong opinions about the need to have justices who respect civil rights and civil liberties.

"I don't have a litmus test, but I do expect that there's a core of constitutional values that are going to be upheld in these next series of appointments, and I suspect that I will have something to say about who's going to shape the legal landscape for the next 40, 50 years."

Asked to name which justices would be good models for the type of people he would want to see working with the next administration, Obama said, "Well, obviously, it depends on if John Kerry is president or if George Bush is president. I think that if John Kerry is president then there's a wider range of justices [whom] I think could do a good job.

"I've always felt that someone like [the late Supreme Court Justice] William Brennan, who [was] a real liberal champion for the courts, was one of our greatest jurists, " he said. "But I also respect ... more conservative jurists ... people like [the late Supreme Court Justice] Felix Frankfurter and others who understood the important role of limiting the court's reach and [were] respectful of the other branches of government. So, you know, I don't have a single line that judges have to toe, but if I get a sense that somebody is being appointed just for ideological reasons as opposed to the quality of their thoughts, then I might have some significant objections."
Dear Lord, Please let Barack Obama vote on John Kerry's nominations to the Supreme Court. Amen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


ABC 7 issued press release on tomorrow's Obama-Keyes debate:
ABC 7 News anchor Ron Magers will moderate this live debate, which will air commercial free during primetime, 7 - 8 p.m. Magers is the co-anchor of ABC 7's 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts.

A panel of Chicago journalists, who will question the candidates on pertinent issues, will join Magers during the hour-long debate. Panelists include Andy Shaw, political reporter, ABC 7 News; Laura Washington, award-winning journalist and DePaul University professor; and Carlos Hernandez-Gomez, news correspondent, Chicago Public Radio. In addition, candidates will have the opportunity to question each other.
Candidates will have the opportunity to question each other?

Set your VCRs.

"I thought that this would be a fair election, I was wrong"

The Republican Party of DuPage County just isn't ready for competition. From The Cegelis Campaign via Archpundit:
The DuPage County Election Commission has begun distributing a "sample ballot" with Henry Hyde listed as facing no opposition. Cegelis is listed incorrectly as a candidate for the "41st Senate District." The sample ballot was distributed to over 40 local newspapers that reach hundreds of thousands potential voters in the Sixth District.


"This was not an honest mistake. Considering I won the Primary Election, I cannot believe that anyone at the DuPage County Election Commission did not know that I was running against Henry Hyde. This does not give me any confidence in DuPage County's ability to hold a fair election."
Click here to volunteer to help introduce free and fair elections to DuPage County.

Every vote counts, so lets make sure they count every vote.

Clinton to stump for Kerry

From AP:
Former President Clinton will appear with Sen. John Kerry at a lunchtime rally in Philadelphia Monday in what Democrats hope will be a boost to the presidential ticket in a crucial battleground state.

The two-term former president also will campaign separately for the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Lockhart, an adviser to Kerry and former Clinton press secretary, said Wednesday.

Clinton, who is recovering from heart surgery, has agreed to the appearance for his fellow Democrat, who is locked in a tight race against President Bush.

Jim Kennedy, a spokesman for Clinton, said the former president "is pleased to be able to help John Kerry in this very important campaign for the future of our country."
I am sure that someone much smarter than I has already run the numbers, but I hope that this doesn't merely fire-up both sides of the race.


Senator John Kerry on NPR:
If you can't get flu vaccines to Americans, how are you going to protect them against bioterrorism? If you can't get flu vaccines to Americans, what kind of health care program are you running?
Will the lack of flu vaccine be a deciding factor in senior-heavy Florida and Pennsylvania?


From Reuters:
A conservative U.S. lawyer's attempt to enlist the Vatican in his drive to declare Senator John Kerry a heretic over his abortion views backfired Wednesday when the Holy See said it had been hoodwinked.

Marc Balestrieri, head of a conservative Catholic group called De Fide, has been pushing for the Church to rule that the Democratic presidential candidate has inflicted excommunication on himself because he supports a woman's right to an abortion.

Balestrieri caused a stir in the United States this week when he asserted in interviews and on his Web site that he had won an unofficial and indirect green light from the Vatican.

But Wednesday, the Vatican denied his assertions, which received widespread coverage in major U.S. media.


Father Augustine Di Noia, third-ranking official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's doctrinal office, told Reuters that Balestrieri had hoodwinked the Church by misrepresenting himself.

Balestrieri submitted a query to the Congregation several months ago, asking if someone who publicly supported abortion rights would be guilty of heresy and incur what the Church calls "automatic excommunication."

Di Noia, the Congregation's undersecretary, referred the request to Father Basil Cole, a canon lawyer in Washington.

Cole provided a response which said that if a Catholic "publicly and obstinately" supports the civil right to abortion despite knowledge of the Church's teaching, that person commits heresy and "is automatically excommunicated."

Balestrieri asserted that Cole's letter was proof that the Vatican was on his side. But Di Noia said: "His claim that the private letter he received from Father Basil Cole is a Vatican response has no merit whatsoever."
If you can judge a man by the quality of his enemies, John Kerry must be one hell of a guy.

Bush told Robertson: 'We're not going to have any casualties'

From CNN:
The founder of the U.S. Christian Coalition said Tuesday he told President George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties, but the president told him, "We're not going to have any casualties."

Pat Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 invasion. He described Bush in the meeting as "the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life."

"You remember Mark Twain said, 'He looks like a contented Christian with four aces.' I mean he was just sitting there like, 'I'm on top of the world,' " Robertson said on the CNN show, "Paula Zahn Now."

"And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' "

Robertson said the president then told him, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."


More than 1,100 U.S. troops have died in Iraq and another 8,000 troops have been wounded in the ongoing campaign, with the casualty toll significantly increasing in the last six months as the insurgency there has deepened.
I used to wonder what was happening in Bush's head -- Now I wish I didn't know.

High Noon at Sun-Times

Jeremy Mullman of Crains takes a look at the ongoing labor strife at the Sun-Times:
Little progress had been made by late Tuesday afternoon between union journalists and management at the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Chicago Newspaper Guild has said its union workers will walk off the job at the paper if a new labor contract isn’t in place by noon Wednesday. While both sides have been talking through a federal mediator since 10 a.m. today, they remain far apart on raises and health care costs.

The guild wants a first-year increase of 7.5%; management is offering 2%.


If a deal can’t be reached by noon, and the guild strikes, Mr. Rilea says management has replacement workers from Hollinger’s other Chicago titles ready to fill in. “We’ve got people available to put the paper out, as we always do,” he says. “We hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Just what Chicago needs -- scab reporters during the final days of an election campaign.

UPDATE: Bullet dodged:
(AP) The Chicago Sun-Times averted a strike Wednesday with a last-minute contract deal that was reached as union reporters, copy editors and other news staff were prepared to walk out.

"This is the best deal we can get," Chicago Newspaper Guild spokesman Scott Fornek said in announcing the tentative agreement. "There's no dancing in the aisles. There's no walking out, picketing on the street, either."
Details at Crain's.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Salon looks at the power of Obama:
Obama tries to shape the Senate

Rising Democratic Party star Barack Obama has some extra time on his hands these days.

So far ahead is Obama in the U.S. Senate race in Illinois, with his madman in the attic opponent Alan Keyes lagging by 45 points in the polls, that Obama has begun actively working for other Democratic Senate candidates. On Tuesday, Obama teamed up with MoveOn to solicit support for Democrats in four key races and help wrest control of the Senate from the GOP. In a mass e-mail to MoveOn members, Obama highlighted the Kentucky race, where -- following press reports in Salon and other publications on the erratic behavior of Republican candidate Jim Bunning -- the Democratic contender, Dr. Dan Mongiardo, has come "from out of nowhere" to pull even in the polls. The suddenly surging Mongiardo campaign, written off as a lost cause just weeks ago, is now in urgent need of a cash infusion, which is why Obama is urging people to go to the MoveOn site to contribute.

Last Thursday, Obama asked MoveOn members to support three other Democratic Senate hopefuls Inez Tenenbaum in South Carolina, Ken Salazar in Colorado, and Joe Hoeffel in Pennsylvania and they responded by showering the trio with more than a half million dollars in three days. "It's an amazing result, and I'm inspired and blown away by your generosity," wrote Obama. "Now, with the deadline approaching fast, we have an opportunity to put a few more good people over the top."

If Obama's appeals help tip control of the Senate in November, he will arrive in Washington next year as the most popular newcomer in the party.

-- David Talbot

If Obama's appeals help tip control of the Senate in November, the national Democratic party should send flowers to
State Senator Dave Syverson and Steve Rauschenberger.


Two items from Poynter:
St. Paul PiPress newsmen punished for attending concert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Pioneer Press investigative reporters Chuck Laszewski and Rick Linsk were suspended for three days each after editors learned that they had attended a political concert featuring Bruce Springsteen and R.E.M. The Newspaper Guild is contesting the suspensions. A union rep says the reporters "read the memo (about political concerts), said 'It doesn't apply to me, I don't have a problem.'"

Sinclair fires newsman who blasted airing of anti-Kerry film
Baltimore Sun/Washington Post
Sinclair Broadcast Group D.C. bureau chief Jon Leiberman was fired Monday after criticizing the network's plans to air an anti-Kerry film before the election. "I just think it's a shame that a journalist gets fired for telling the truth," says Leiberman. Sinclair veep and right-wing editorialist Mark Hyman says: "Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion, including Jon Leiberman. We're disappointed that Jon's political views caused him to violate policy and speak to the press about company business." (Related WP story.)
"Company policy is that you do not speak to the media unless you have prior approval, but I feel so strongly that our credibility was at issue here," says Leiberman. "I don't think this is about being on the right or being on the left. I think it's about right and wrong in news." ("Paula Zahn Now")
Sinclair shares trade at all-time low on Wall Street (Philly Inquirer)
Film "has no upside, only multi-dimensional downside" for Sinclair (USAT)
I just think it's a shame that a journalist gets fired for telling the truth.

Monday, October 18, 2004


Short Answer: John Kerry

Robert Novak Compares George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler

From Sun-Times:
Modern history is filled with intelligence bureaus turning againsttheir own governments, for good or ill. In the final days of World WarII, the German Abwehr conspired against Hitler. [The CIA] is supposed to be a resource -- not a critic -- for the president.
Okay, so maybe Novak didn't intend to compare the Bush administration to the Nazis. But try to imagine the DoL's outrage if someone on the left had inadvertently made that comparison.

.06% Agree with Keyes

From WIFR, Channel 23 in Rockford:
In a high-pitched, high-octane, 15-minute speech, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes lashed out against same-sex marriage."The truth of the matter is that our arrogant courts, a small elite minority is trying to force on this country something that's totally against common sense of our people," Keyes said. Keyes' opinion was shared by nearly 100 people in Rockford.
Note: the 2000 census placed the population Rockford at 150,115.

Note: Title updated to reflect mathematics.

Alan Keyes presents: Circular Reasoning

From the The Journal-Standard:
"I wish to remind everyone in Illinois and around the country that (we) can't get rights without the Creator," [Keyes] said, referring to the national gay and lesbian movement for the right to marry. "If there is no Creator there are no rights."
Tautology - n. pl. tau·tol·o·gies - An empty or vacuous statement composed of simpler statements in a fashion that makes it logically true whether the simpler statements are factually true or false.

Keyes for Senate E-Mail

Today I received another e-mail from the Alan Keyes campaign with links to two fliers for publicizing the upcoming debates on October 21 and October 26.
The FIRST FLIER is based on political cartoons illustrating Alan's positions on the issues and parodying Obama's stands. It also contains debate times and channels, and notifies readers that they can see replays of the debates on our website.
"Parodying Obama's stands"?

Gee, there is a novel approach for the Keyes campaign.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Nader's running mate to vote for Kerry

From the AP:
Ralph Nader's running mate in the 1996 and 2000 elections says she's voting for John Kerry this time.

Winona LaDuke, who lives on the White Earth Indian Reservation in northwestern Minnesota, issued a prepared statement saying, "I'm voting my conscience."

LaDuke, 44, is a longtime American Indian activist. She applauded Kerry's efforts in solving Indian Trust cases and said that his support of native communities shows "we are on his radar."

Magical Thinking II

Jeff Sharlet, co-author of Killing the Buddha and editor of The Revealer, asks: "Is George W. Bush the first magical president of the United States?"
What’s surprising about Suskind’s summary of Bush’s “walk,” to borrow an evangelical term, is how small a role Jesus Christ seems to play in it. God gets a few cameos, but even he’s a supporting player. Front and center, though, is faith.


Believing, it seems, is more important to the President than the substance of his belief. Jesus Christ’s particular teachings -- well, those are good, too. But what really matters is that if you believe you can do something, you can.

What Suskind misses, and what Bush’s more orthodox Christian supporters seem to dodge, is that this is not Christian doctrine by any definition. It is, in fact, a key element of the broad, heterodox movement known as New Age religion.

A common aspect of many New Age schools of thought (though not all; plenty of them blend numerous philosophical traditions in a sophisticated manner) is a gentle disdain for perceived reality. Many New Agers argue that their beliefs are actually ancient; and, despite the fact that the superficial characteristics are often of a recent vintage, there’s some truth to that assertion. New Age religions are, literally, reactionary, responses to what’s been called the disenchantment of the world. Another word for that process is the Enlightenment, with its claims of empirical accuracy.


Bush does seem to be a descendent of the Enlightenment: He’s Rousseau’s noble savage, operating on the pure, animal instincts that’re true because they are, and are because they’re true. The noble savage does not live in what Bush’s aide contemptuously calls “the reality-based community”; he is in and is of a “nature” more real than reality, which, in an unexpected nod to postmodernism, Bush believers seem to dismiss as a social construct.


Much has been said about his subtle use of scriptural citations as "coded" signals to his base. But every account of his worldview suggests that he sees no need to be sneaky. He is not sending secret messages. When he speaks of "wonderworking power" (a reference to the gospel standard "Power in the Blood"), as he did in his now infamous "mission accomplished" speech, he is drawing that power into being, to make his desires into reality. Politics, strategy, books, the Bible -- everything falls away in the realm of magical realism.


I happen to like the idea that faith is a path away from easy certainty, but I know it’s just that -- an idea. *** It's not an idea shared by many New Age religions. Such beliefs emphasize that certainty is easy, if you'll just give up the illusion of reality, since certainty is as close to you as your own heart. One need not investigate with the tools of rationalism, but rather, simply -- the simplicity of it all is key -- feel.

Bush feels. The press, so far, does not. In grappling with Bush’s presidency, it has expanded its range, developed a more nuanced understanding of traditional Christian fundamentalism, recognized liberal evangelicalism, and acknowledged the limitations of Enlightenment thinking. But it still can’t account for the kind of magic that says, If you believe you can do something -- become president despite losing the popular vote, launch a war without evidence, and maybe, if you REALLY believe, get re-elected anyway -- you can.
I really don't like how this analysis seems to explain so much of the Bush administration's inexplicable behavior.

Magical Thinking

From "Without a Doubt"by Ron Suskind, New York Times Magazine:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'

Magical Thinking III

Where others see madness or New Age mysticism, Juan Cole sees Maoist-flavored irationality:
Ron Suskind's profile of George W. Bush reminded me eerily of Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party. Suskind portrays Bush as filled with unwarranted certainty, sure that God is speaking and working through him, and convinced that decisive action shapes reality in ways that make it unnecessary to first study reality.

This approach to policy-making, it seems to me, should be called Right Maoism. The History Learning Site reminds us that in 1958 Mao initiated what he called the "Great Leap Forward" with the aim of boosting both Chinese industry and agriculture, through the reorganization of China into over 25,000 communes.


In 1960 alone, as a result of Mao's faith-based initiative, 9 million persons starved to death. The total toll from famine, hunger, and illness in 1959-1962 was around 20 million dead.

The above description of the way in which China fell apart under Mao sounds eerily like contemporary Iraq under Bush, since both situations were produced by the same mantra. Reality doesn't matter. Power creates reality. Suskind says that a senior Bush official told him, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." This official may as well have been quoting Mao's Little Red Book: ""it is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever."

A new day dawns in Chicago suburbs

The Daily Herald endorses John Kerry:
Our endorsement for president: John Kerry

In 2000, the Daily Herald endorsed George Bush, believing that his brand of governing offered the best opportunity to extend the nation's peace and prosperity without unduly expanding the federal government's role.

Bush's professed values of fiscal conservatism and social moderation are values this newspaper has long shared and are values that guided the Daily Herald in recommending the Republican candidate in each of the last four presidential endorsements we've made.

Neither peace nor prosperity was to last after the 2000 election. The economy was slowing by Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists killed nearly 3,000 innocents, crippling the economy and dealing a blow to Americans' sense of security. In the immediate aftermath, the president acted admirably, offering reassurance and sending troops to Afghanistan to pursue the perpetrators.

But before long, the president veered far off-course, and a review of his four years underscores that he and his band of neoconservatives have not acted conservatively in any sense of the word.

They have driven the budget deficit to record levels with no honest plan to reverse course.

With Medicare prescriptions, they have created one of the most expensive social entitlements in history while at the same time tying the hands of the government to control its costs. They have turned their backs on more than a century of Republican commitment to the environment and preservation of natural resources.

They have adopted a social agenda that calls for more federal intrusion into the lives of citizens and more power for Washington to override traditional state powers. All of these run counter to a constructive conservative direction. Most fly in the face of principles we cited in endorsing Bush four years ago.

Most seriously, the president rushed the nation into a war in Iraq that increasingly looks unwinnable, using a shifting series of justifications. The war has further destabilized the Middle East. It has siphoned resources needed to stabilize Afghanistan and hunt down Osama bin Laden's organization and face tyrannies that appear even more threatening in Iran and North Korea. We simply cannot endorse this record or the man most responsible for it.

In Democrat John Kerry, voters have an imperfect candidate and one whose own direction can be frustratingly difficult to read. Kerry offers no easy answers to what he accurately terms the mess in Iraq, because easy answers do not exist.

Where we find hope in Kerry's leadership on foreign affairs is not in his somewhat naive vow to entice allies into the fray but in his recognition that the United States must more wisely allocate its finite efforts and resources if we are to prevail in the war on terrorism . Kerry, we believe, would place appropriately greater emphasis on such essential matters as securing nuclear material abroad and tightening our borders at home. Kerry knows from personal experience that wars unleash terrible, unforeseen consequences; we believe he would be admirably more restrained than Bush in placing U.S. troops in harm's way.

Even in the likely event that he fails to persuade allies to share the burden in Iraq, a President Kerry, we believe, would in other ways work more effectively with world leaders to build a strong global network to fight terrorism.

On domestic policy, Kerry wisely recommends rolling back Bush's tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, cuts that have helped fuel budget deficits. He would, we believe, work to reverse decisions damaging to the environment and to hasten the development of alternative energy sources that would reduce reliance on Middle Eastern oil. He proposes some policies that would benefit small business, construction and engineering sectors.

Kerry, we acknowledge, stands to the left of this newspaper on many issues. To restore fiscal order and responsibility, he must leave behind some of the social programs he favors. As a practical matter, a check on his more liberal instincts might be provided by a Congress that is likely to remain in Republican hands - although this Congress has aided and abetted the Bush administration's building of record deficits.

Do voters have an inspiring choice? No. Faced with two imperfect candidates, the Daily Herald endorses John Kerry for president.

Now, if only they would just do something about their awful comics page...

Saturday, October 16, 2004

"Working together, the ants eat the elephant"

Cynical reports on her GOTV work in Wisconsin.

Wes Clark battles for Melissa Bean

Wes Clark will be traveling to Illinois on Monday, October 18th to campaign for Melissa Bean, and the Democratic Party

Chicago, IL -- A Reception in Support of Melissa Bean

Tickets range from $100 to $2000.

Please contact Brett Smiley at (312) 804-6170 for more information.

Paging Dr. Freud. Paging Dr. Freud.

From Knight Ridder:
Bush sought to counter suggestions that there will be a military draft if he's re-elected, but the president almost blew his line.

He said that, after a debate with Kerry, "I made it very plain. We will not have an all-volunteer army." The crowd fell silent. "WE WILL have an all-volunteer army," Bush said, quickly catching himself. "Let me restate that. We will not have a draft."

"We won't not have no Army what ain't not all volunteers!"

Worst Obama story ever?

Is this story from the AP the poorest story on Barack Obama to date? I think it may be the poorest I have read -- and I have probably read them all.

First, the opening sentence makes it sound like Mr. Obama was homeless as a child:
Barack Obama grew up on the beaches of Hawaii and the streets of Indonesia.
It then makes this brilliant observation:
His life, in short, has been far different from the average Illinois voter's.
A life far different from the average Illinois voter's? Oh, like every other candidate for statewide office. In Illinois, average folks generally don't run for public office. Of course if you are related to someone already in office, you can run even if you are well below average.

And how do they address Mr. Obama's becoming the black president of the Harvard Law Review?
The accomplishment led to a flurry of attention in such newspapers as the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times - so much attention that Obama's friends joked about who would play them in the movie.

Their fictitious cast list had Blair Underwood playing Obama. When the actor visited Harvard, he stopped by the law review and had dinner with Obama.
Of course! Naturally, a story about heading one of the nation's most prestigious legal journals should degenerate into a tale of a brush with Hollywood semi-greatness.

But what about Mr. Obama's powerful ability to connect with all types of audiences? How does the AP address that?
At one event, he takes question after question from angry abortion opponents and calmly explains his position. Speaking at a church, he uses "heck" in a story that usually includes the harsher version of the word.

His standard stump speech Murphy's slightly at an event with quite a few black people and union members; suddenly he says "Yale" a lot and includes labor legislation in his list of accomplishments.
Obama doesn't speak in exactly the same manner all the time? An outrage! Who ever heard of someone adjusting their language for a particular audience? After all, I use that particular 12-letter compound word in front of my grandma just like I do with my brother -- anything else would be dishonest.

Huzza, Chris Wills! I wouldn't have guessed that any writer could make Obama's extraordinary life story seem so base.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Leader: Keyes has made millions in Illinois

The Illinois Leader reports on the third quarter Federal Election Commission (FEC) report:

Illinois Republican U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes raised more than $1.3 million dollars in the third quarter and left himself with more than $1.1 million cash on hand going into the campaign’s final stretch, accorrding [sic] to the FEC report they filed today.

His opponent and the overwhelming favorite in the race, Democrat State Senator Barack Obama raised nearly four times the amount of money that Keyes did during the same period but he spent even more leaving him with slightly more than $1.7 million cash on hand.

Obama raised more than $4.2 million in the third quarter but spent $5,824,676.44 during this same period leaving him with a relatively slim resource advantage over Keyes. Obama has raised a whopping $14,319,979.57 in the campaign to date.

So Obama is spending the money he is raising for the campaign on the campaign, on what exactly is Keyes spending the money he has raised?

The story also implies coordination between the Keyes campaign and the anti-Obama 527, Empower Illinois:

An additional late resource for the Keyes campaign has been the work of a new 527 committee called “Empower Illinois” which this week began running targeted television and radio ads critical of Obama.
Far be it from me to give tips on dirty tricks to the Republican party, but I always thought that secrecy was part of underhandedness.

"An officer is responsible for everything his troops do or fail to do."

The Los Angeles Times reports that plans to pin a 4th star on Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top commander in Iraq when the abuses at Abu Ghraib took place, must await Bush's reelection, given that Sanchez is said to be politically "radioactive."

The Washington Post reports that "the highest-ranking intelligence officer tied to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal" has been praised by her superior, who believes she ought to be put in command of the Army's intelligence school.

When I was in ROTC, they taught us the Army's fundamental principle of responsibility:

An officer is responsible for everything his troops do or fail to do.

That must have been covered during one of the guard drills that Dubya skipped.

Support the Troops

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports that an entire 17-member Army Reserve platoon is under arrest in Iraq for refusing orders to undertake what the soldiers called a "suicide mission."
The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq — north of Baghdad — because their vehicles were considered "deadlined" or extremely unsafe, said Patricia McCook of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Larry O. McCook.

Sgt. McCook, a deputy at the Hinds County Detention Center, and the 16 other members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company from Rock Hill, S.C., were read their rights and moved from the military barracks into tents, Patricia McCook said her husband told her during a panicked phone call about 5 a.m. Thursday.

The platoon could be charged with the willful disobeying of orders, punishable by dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay and up to five years confinement.


"I would not want any member of the military to be put in a dangerous situation ill-equipped," said [U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson], who was contacted by families. "I have had similar complaints from military families about vehicles that weren't armor-plated, or bullet-proof vests that are outdated. It concerns me because we made over $150 billion in funds available to equip our forces in Iraq."

"President Bush takes the position that the troops are well-armed, but if this situation is true, it calls into question how honest he has been with the country."

South Dakota garbage shipped to Ohio

Josh Marshall follows up on the story addressed in this earlier post:
Today comes news, however, that [Larry Russell, head of the South Dakota GOP's get-out-the-vote operation, the Republican Victory Program] -- still under investigation in South Dakota -- has been reassigned to run President Bush's get-out-the-vote operation in Ohio. Russell will now "lead the ground operations" for Bush in Ohio, according to an internal Republican party memo obtained by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
In another memo South Dakota Republican Executive Director Jason Glodt praised Russell's work in South Dakota. "Larry has done an excellent job building our organization in South Dakota and he is confident we can get the job done in the next 23 days," he wrote.

I have consulted my GOP-to-English dictionary, and the Republican phrase "Get the job done" means "Suppress the vote and disenfranchise citizens."

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Was I listening to the wrong station?

RenewAmerica guest columnist Helen Valois tuned her radio to the Illinois Senate debate and came to this conclusion:
Barack Obama, whose socialist worldview is corrosive of all the Founding Fathers once sacrificed for, is a fifth columnist.
With such sound judgment, it's no wonder Ms. Valois considers Alan Keyes her hero.

Kerry-Obama Symbiosis

The Independent (UK) looks at John Kerry's one-man-plan for getting out the vote among African-Americans:
The Kerry campaign is, meanwhile, turning to a new superstar in the Democratic Party to boost turnout numbers. He is Barack Obama, the Illinois state senator who wowed the party's Boston convention in July with his keynote speech. Mr Obama is so far ahead in his bid to capture a US Senate seat that he is increasingly switching his time and dollars to campaigning for Mr Kerry.


In coming days, Mr Obama, meanwhile, whose father was from Kenya and mother from Kansas, is expected to travel both to California and to Colorado - itself a fiercely contested state - to campaign for Mr Kerry. In the past week, his campaign has donated cheques worth $260,000 to Democratic Senate candidates in 13 states.

"Turnout is huge," Mr Obama said after a rally in Wisconsin this week. "If there are selective things that we can do that can be helpful, then we want to do them. The Kerry people are still making determinations as to what states remain in play. Safe to say we will probably have a couple more travel days this month."
When the history of the 2004 election is written, the elevation of Barack Obama to national prominence at the Democratic convention may well be recognized as the single most significant decision made by the Kerry campaign.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Is that a "Talking Point" in your pocket or are you just happy to sexually harass me?

Dear Fox News, I am a long time viewer but I never thought this would happen to me...
Hours after Bill O'Reilly accused her of a multimillion dollar shakedown attempt, a female Fox News producer fired back at the TV star today, filing a lawsuit claiming that he subjected her to repeated instances of sexual harassment and spoke often, and explicitly, to her about phone sex, vibrators, threesomes, masturbation, the loss of his virginity, and sexual fantasies. Below you'll find a copy of Andrea Mackris's complaint, an incredible page-turner that quotes O'Reilly, 55, on all sorts of lewd matters. Based on the extensive quotations cited in the complaint, it appears a safe bet that Mackris, 33, recorded some of O'Reilly's more steamy soliloquies. For example, we direct you to his Caribbean shower fantasies. While we suggest reading the entire document, TSG will point you to interesting sections on a Thailand sex show, Al Franken, and the climax of one August 2004 phone conversation.
Now how do I get those images out of my head? Damn you Smoking Gun!

Dirty South Dakota GOP

You don't have to be a resident of KELOLAND to be concerned about this story of GOP dirty tricks against Tom Daschle:
Republicans Resign Over Questionable Absentee Ballot Applications

Tonight six people connected with the South Dakota republican party have resigned over questions surrounding absentee ballot applications.

The state director of the Republican Victory Program, Larry Russell is one of them, along with state republican party employee Eric Fahrendorf. Four independent contractors involved with the absentee ballot applications also resigned. They are Joe Alick, Nathan Mertz, Todd Schlekeway and Rachel Hoff.

Hoff was the notary whose signature and seal appeared on many applications from KELOLAND college students. But several students say only men were there when they filled out the forms.

Mount Marty student Cassandra Herout says, "All I know is they were gonna have the form notarized or audited or something before they sent it in. She was never present at all."

Now the party has a lot of paperwork to sort out.

Many absentee ballot applications are what led to a half dozen resignations. The people involved in securing the forms may not have always made sure a commissioned notary witnessed the voters' signatures.

In a statement, party executive director Jason Glodt says, "The South Dakota Republican Party has a zero tolerance policy regarding such matters, and on Friday and Saturday of last week accepted the resignations of the four independent contractors who were involved in the handling of absentee ballot requests"

The party also accepted Larry Russell's resignation. Russell was defeated by Larry Diedrich in the republican primary this winter in the race for Congress. Since then he's been directing the party's "get out the vote" efforts.

But the party says students who filled out these applications should still be able to vote.

Glodt says, "It is our understanding that because all of the information submitted by the voters is true and correct, all of the ballots will be counted. We are taking additional steps to ensure that each of these legitimate requests are counted."

In the next few days, GOP party members will contact each voter who requested an absentee ballot through the party. They will ask for photocopies of their IDs as a legal alternative to notarization.

Glodt says, "Because absentee ballots do not require notarization, it is unfortunate that these questions have diverted attention from legitimate requests by qualified voters."

Glodt says the party has been in contact with the secretary of state and attorney general and will cooperate with their investigation.
If you are still not sure if there is funny business going on in the Great State of South Dakota, just see what former Republican governor Bill Janklow has to say on the matter:
The former governor and congressman says the national GOP is encouraging campaign workers to cheat. He says his ire is directed at the Republican Party's Victory operation, which helps register people and get them to the polls.
Via Atrios who asks why the national media is MIA on this story.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Keyes Choice: GOP or God

Alan Keyes as quoted by the BBC: "I think it's perfectly clear if you ask people are you going to vote against God or for the Democratic party they will stand with God."

Now I am not the greatest orator of the 21st century or anything, but it seems to me that Mr. Keyes has presented us with a peculiar choice -- a choice between voting against one thing -- God -- and voting for another -- the Democratic party. This odd construction of the choice put forward by Mr. Keyes means that, because the choice is between voting for or against, the thing that you can vote against and the thing you can vote for are the same, i.e., you can vote against X or you can vote for X.

Therefore, because we all know that Alan Keyes has few equals in his understanding of the issues or his ability to articulate core values and principle, Alan Keyes clearly thinks that the Democrats are the party of God.

Obama on Bush

Barack Obama summarizes the Bush presidency:
Everybody here knows somebody who's stubborn and wrong all the time. Why would you elect somebody like that president?

I mean, it's one thing that somebody's wrong and they know they're wrong. Or it's one thing if they're arrogant, but they're right all the time. But when they're arrogant and wrong all the time, that's a problem.
George W. Bush: Arrogant and Wrong All the Time

Morning Edition Looks at Obama's Sentate Race

Two stories from NPR's Morning Edition:
Barack Obama is running for one of Illinois' U.S. Senate seats, but he has spent much of the campaign season stumping for Sen. John Kerry and other candidates outside his state. Following his keynote address at the DNC in Boston, Obama has traveled to many of the battleground states -- and is a big money raiser for Democrats.


Franklin Gilliam, a political science professor at UCLA, talks about the historic dimensions of the Illinois Senate race. Illinois is expected to elect only the third African-American senator since Reconstruction. Gilliam talks about why Democratic candidate Barack Obama has attracted a national following.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

"We don't give a crap. What are they going to do, send us to Iraq?"

The Marines speaking out in this Washington Post story have a much different take on Iraq than Mr. Bush:
"I feel we're going to be here for years and years and years," said Lance Cpl. Edward Elston, 22, of Hackettstown, N.J. "I don't think anything is going to get better; I think it's going to get a lot worse. It's going to be like a Palestinian-type deal. We're going to stop being a policing presence and then start being an occupying presence. . . . We're always going to be here. We're never going to leave."


"Every day you read the articles in the States where it's like, 'Oh, it's getting better and better,' " said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Snyder, 22, of Gettysburg, Pa. "But when you're here, you know it's worse every day."

Pfc. Kyle Maio, 19, of Bucks County, Pa., said he thought government officials were reticent to speak candidly because of the upcoming U.S. elections. "Stuff's going on here but they won't flat-out say it," he said. "They can't get into it."


"The reality right now is that the most dangerous opinion in the world is the opinion of a U.S. serviceman," said Lance Cpl. Devin Kelly, 20, of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Lance Cpl. Alexander Jones, 20, of Ball Ground, Ga., agreed: "We're basically proving out that the government is wrong," he said. "We're catching them in a lie."


"How do I put this?" [Lance Cpl. Carlos Perez] said. "First of all, this is a whole different thing. We're supposed to be looking for al Qaeda. They're the ones who are supposedly responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks. This has no connection at all to Sept. 11 because this war started just by telling us about all the nuclear warheads over here."

[Lance Cpl. Jonathan Snyder], who was listening, added: "Pretty much I think they just diverted the war on terrorism. I agree with the Afghanistan war and all the Sept. 11 stuff, but it feels like they left the bigger war over there to come here. And now, while we're on the ground over here, it seems like we're not even close to catching frigging bin Laden."

Why do Marines hate America?

In defense of an Ivy League education

From Mathew Gross:
I have no idea if Bush is suffering from pre-senile dementia, as this video and this letter from a physician to the Atlantic both argue, or if such a condition could explain the president's bizarre and aggressive behavior at the last two debates. But it does seem to be a fair question to ask why the President skipped his annual physical in August-- the full results of which are typically released to the public-- and is delaying the physical until after the election. It seems to me that such a report from the president's physicians could lay many of these questions to rest.
There must be some explanation for why a man educated at Harvard and Yale -- and who used to be able to speak in full sentences -- is no longer able to string words together.

More: from the UK's Guardian.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Blago's subconscious to Blago: You need to be more like Barack

Rosalind Cartwright, director of the Sleep Disorder Service at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago and an expert in dream psychology, examines this dream of Blagorgeous:
"It's a beautiful dream."


"The bottom line is, we dream about current concerns, those things that touch us emotionally," she said. "And what's the governor concerned about? The main theme is security/insecurity. He plays that financially, personally, socially and politically -- all in one dream."

Ah, the politics.

"He's got Barack as popular and he needs to ally himself with him," she said. "Barack is frugal and maybe it's, 'I'm not. I need to be more like him.' And Barack is a good Samaritan so it's, 'I'm gonna help change the tire.'"

As for Keyes, whose appearance ended the dream?

"He's obviously the not-helpful one in this scenario."


Friday, October 08, 2004

Obama's Springfield Record Examined

Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet says Obama opponents are preparing some swiftboat-style ads for Illinois:
527 ads aimed at Obama

In August, I wrote about the creation of Empower Illinois, a 527 political group established to nick some dents into Democratic Senate nominee Barack Obama. Conservative activist Jack Roeser told me Wednesday he gave $40,000 to the group, which will start running television ads in Downstate markets Monday dealing with "terrible votes" cast by Obama, a state senator.

Roeser said he recently hosted a funder for GOP Senate nominee Alan Keyes in Carpentersville that took in about $10,000. According to Keyes spokesman Connie Hair, former United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick will headline a lunch for Keyes in Chicago next Thursday.

But as long as we are on the subject of Obama's record as a state senator, lets take a look at the Tribune's analysis of his time in Springfield:
A review of Obama's legislative record shows that the liberal label is not misplaced. He has fought for gun control, worked to expand government assistance to the poor, led efforts to reform the death penalty system, proposed universal health care and opposed legislation aimed at cracking down on gangs.

At the same time, however, the record includes evidence of a legislator adept at persuading many Republicans to go along with initiatives as he worked behind the scenes to win bipartisan support on potentially polarizing measures, from welfare reform to proposals to battle racial profiling.

"The most important thing that you do in Springfield is you bring all sides of an issue to the table and you make them feel they are being listened to," Obama said.


"I voted for, or co-sponsored myself, over 100 bills that strengthened criminal penalties for everything ranging from sex offenders to drug dealers to domestic violence abusers," he said. "It would be very hard to argue, if you look at the totality of my record, that I somehow have been soft on crime. ... Those who have tried to paint me recently as being too liberal are some of the colleagues I worked most closely with. They never held that view until election season."

Overall, Obama's record in Springfield appears consistent with his current campaign rhetoric: that government has a responsibility -- indeed, it should be used vigorously -- to assist society's most vulnerable.

"I think if you look at my eight years in the Senate, my reputation in the Senate consistently has been that I work both sides of the aisle," Obama said. "If you look at my signature legislation, whether it was helping craft welfare reform, helping to shape the state Earned Income Tax Credit, death penalty reform, expanding KidCare, all those pieces of legislation are the bills that I am most proud of."
I know it means that Alan Keyes will now think that I am "hard-line, academic, Marxist-socialist," but the idea that "government has a responsibility -- indeed, it should be used vigorously -- to assist society's most vulnerable" pretty much sums up my view of government's role.


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