Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Long View

I caught Douglas Brinkley in an interview on C-Span today talking about John Kerry. He came across as a truly legitimate historian whose primary interest was getting the facts right regardless of where the chips fall. And despite the criticisms and distortions that have been made about Tour of Duty, the record of Kerry's heroism and leadership in the face of combat remains a solid one. Furthermore that record is completely consistent with everything John has done since. In total it is a worthy record of a worthy man.

Florida 2000 Fallout

I think it is fair to say that as a consequence of the Florida 2000 results, voters this year are more determined than ever to overcome all obstacles to cast their ballots.
"People stood outside for an hour, in the blazing sun, then inside for another four hours as the line snaked around the library, slowly inching forward. It made Disneyland look like speed-walking. Some waited 6 hours. To cast one vote. And EVERYBODY felt that it was crucial, that their vote was important, and that they were important."
Granted that Florida voters may be more motivated that voters in other states, but 6 hours to cast a ballot? That is serious. If the rest of the country experiences just half of that kind of enthusiasm, not only will Kerry's White House bid be secure but big changes could be in order for Congress as well.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Springsteen on Kerry

The Boss had this to say,
"As a songwriter, I've written about America for thirty years. Tryin' to write about who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for…

"And he's shown starting as a young man, that by facing America's hard truths, both the good and the bad, that that's where we find a deeper patriotism. That's where we find a more complete view of who we are. That's where we find a more authentic experience as citizens. And that's where we find the power that is embedded only in truth, to make our world a better and safer place…

"That's why I'm here today, to stand alongside Senator Kerry and to tell you that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting. And together we can move America towards her deepest ideals…."

Yet another grudging endorsement

Via Brad DeLong. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post:
I do not write the headlines for my columns. Someone else does. But if I were to write the headline for this one, it would be 'Impeach George Bush.'... Not since the Spanish-American War has the United States gone off to war so casually, so half-cocked and so ineptly. The sinking of the Maine, the casus belli for that dustup, has been replaced by missing weapons of mass destruction, and the Hearst and Pulitzer presses are now talk radio and Fox News Channel. Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. Still, though, we mourn the dead, look away from the wounded and maimed, and wonder what it was all about. We embarked, truly and regrettably, on a crusade.

Yet from Bush comes not a bleep of regret, not to mention apology. It is all 'steady as she goes' -- although we have lost our bearings and we no longer know our destination. (Don't tell me it's a democratic Middle East.) If the man were commanding a ship, he would be relieved of command. If he were the CEO of some big company, the board would offer him a golden parachute -- and force him to jump. But in government, it's the people who make those decisions. We get our chance on Tuesday.

Brad adds:
Yes, it is true. RICHARD COHEN IS SHRILL NOW!!! It took him a long time to get here--a long time to join the reality-based community. But welcome."

Kerry endorsement from across the aisle

Via Daily Kos. GOP former Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire:
"As someone who worked with you daily for 12 years as a United States Senator, I am acutely conscious of the fact that we disagree on many important issues. Despite our differences, you have always been willing to engage in constructive debate in an effort to forge sound public policy.

I deeply respect your commitment to our nation and your patriotism which, I believe, was forged when you-like I-proudly wore the uniform of the United States Navy in Viet Nam...

Because of the courage and character you demonstrated in Vietnam, I believe you when you say that you'll do a better job than President Bush to win the peace in Iraq, as well as to win the war against terrorism.

President Bush has failed to restrain federal spending, sending our deficit spinning into the stratosphere. I well remember that you were one of a handful of Democrats who crossed the aisle to forge a bipartisan coalition in the Senate to balance the federal budget [...]

John, for each of these reasons I believe President Bush has failed our country and my party. Accordingly, I want you to know that when I go into the booth next Tuesday I am going to cast my vote for you. So will my wife, Mary Jo, and all three of my children: Jason, Bobby and Jenny.

Moreover, I will do all that I can to encourage my friends in New Hampshire and Florida to join me in supporting you."

More Chalabi Effect

Digby points out that one reason al-Qaqaa was ignored was another screwup caused by relying on Iraqi exiles. Big mistake. Big, big mistake.

Explosives in Perspective

In an interview with Aaron Brown, David Kay makes an alarming point that can be translated into the amount of explosives now available to the insurgents.:
"Iraq had, and it's a frightening number, two-thirds of the total conventional explosives that the US has in its entire inventory."
Think about it. Two-thirds of the entire US inventory. Doing a controlled detonation of that much explosive over a reasonable time could have local environmental consequences. And regardless of how much we may have destroyed since the invasion, the insurgency is sure to have enough for years to come.

The Bush (hswib) wire

After the election hoopla is all over it will be interesting to hear about what was really behind the Bush (hswib) bulge. One NASA photo analyst thinks he may have a clue.
For the past week, while at home, using his own computers, and off the clock at Caltech and NASA, Nelson has been analyzing images of the president's back during the debates. A professional physicist and photo analyst for more than 30 years, he speaks earnestly and thoughtfully about his subject. "I am willing to stake my scientific reputation to the statement that Bush was wearing something under his jacket during the debate," he says. "This is not about a bad suit. And there's no way the bulge can be described as a wrinkled shirt."

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Cruise ship assisted living

One study says that it makes sense to put Grandma on a long cruise.
Living on a cruise ship is a feasible and cost-effective option to assisted living facilities, and the services offered on a cruise ship parallel -- even surpass -- what is provided in senior care facilities, according to a study in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. ''Offering many amenities, such as three meals a day with escorts to meals, physicians on site and housekeeping/laundry services, cruise ship could be considered a floating assisted living facility,'' said Lee Lindquist, M.D., instructor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
FuturePundit weighs in.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Rude Kerry Creds

The Rude One lays out some Kerry credentials that show what a real hero is made of. [colorful language alert]
Kerry vs. Nixon
Kerry vs. Reagan
Kerry vs. Bush corp.
Won every time.

Bubble World

Dwight Meredith takes a look at why the right wing seems to be so disconnected from reality. He takes his answer from Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
It's hard to see that as anything but willful self-delusion. Deep in their hearts, many Bush supporters have to know that the pre-war case for invading Iraq has collapsed, leaving us with a looming disaster. But they don't dare to admit that fact, not to themselves, not to others and certainly not to a pollster on the telephone.

They know where that would lead. They know that once they let that little bit of reality penetrate their bubble, they would be forced to confront the even more daunting fact that they had been fooled and misled by the president, a man in whom they placed so much faith. That's particularly difficult for voters who see politics as an extension of the culture war, and Bush as their champion.

Admitting the truth about him seems like disloyalty.

And so, they do what they must.
For the sake of the future of the country this bubble, as well as whatever similar bubble is on the left, needs to be burst.

More Reaping

In his book Soros talks about how overreacting to terrorists tends to play into their hands. A commentary on the admittedly wildly partisan Democratic Underground does put it into words rather well.:
"I tell you what, George. No matter what Zarqawi might have been doing right now if you hadn't started the Iraq war, he wouldn't be doing it with 800,000 pounds of Saddam Hussein's dynamite.

This is what just drives you mad if you listen to it for too long. 'If we left Saddam in power, terrorists might have gotten weapons from Saddam Hussein and used them against us!' Cheney chortles, when asked for the millionth time to explain why in God's name we started this war. Might have? Well then, thank God that instead of living with the remote possibility we went out there and made it inevitable. By going to war the way he did, Bush ensured that Al Qaeda would inherit Saddam Hussein's arsenal. We're goddamn lucky he didn't have any weapons of mass destruction."

And Hitchens vs. Hitchens

Despite claims to the contrary, he must be undecided. Or maybe just serially-decided.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


The LO has a take on the al-Qaqaa flap. Regardless of the actual history of the explosives in question the actions of the IAEA seem to indicate that they wish to be rid of Bush as well.

Hitchens vs. the CIA

An angry VP and a cowed CIA director. Via Kevin Drum Hitchens argues that Saddam and Zarqawi had lots going on. But the CIA begs to differ. The VP isn't happy.
Cheney reacted with fury, screaming at the briefer that CIA was trying to get John Kerry elected by contradicting the president's stance that Saddam had supported terrorism and therefore needed to be overthrown. The hapless briefer was shaken by the vice president's outburst, and the incident was reported back to Goss, who indicated that he was reluctant to confront the vice president's staff regarding it.
Perhaps the Company, after being poorly used by the White House, is giving its endorsement to regime change.

Kerry Creds

Was watching a C-Span presentation on the congressional record of John Kerry. Cocaine-Contra, BCCI, the Clarence Thomas nomination, all good stuff. In all of them he showed the grit of pursuing the truth despite adversity and opposition. And in the end his dedication to sticking to the investigations when others would have folded exposed the evil-doers. The interesting thing is that the a slice of the evil was in the hands of Republicans in each case. Reagan and Bush the father in one case, Bush and other high-rolling oilmen in the next, and Clarence in the third.

John has a record of accomplishments. Bush's (hswib) record is a string of failures including the failure of this presidency.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Another Kerry credential

(free day pass required) Independent but cagey.
"Behind it all was Kerry, who combined a prosecutor's sense for sniffing out criminality and a politician's instinct for pushing the limits. The Kerry whom I met during this period was a complex man who balanced a rebellious idealism with a determination not to burn his bridges to the political establishment.

The Reagan administration did everything it could to thwart Kerry's investigation, including attempting to discredit witnesses, stonewalling the Senate when it requested evidence and assigning the CIA to monitor Kerry's probe. But it couldn't stop Kerry and his investigators from discovering the explosive truth: that the Contra war was permeated with drug traffickers who gave the Contras money, weapons and equipment in exchange for help in smuggling cocaine into the United States. Even more damningly, Kerry found that U.S. government agencies knew about the Contra-drug connection, but turned a blind eye to the evidence in order to avoid undermining a top Reagan-Bush foreign policy initiative."
Kerry has proven that he can get to the truth in the face of adversity. The other guy seems to want to hide the truth in the face of adversity.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A new American export

Hooters opens first restaurant in China

How's John doing? Ashcroft that is.

He managed to get a raid executed on a FICTION WRITER. Do you feel safer now? Or not?
"It is the lack of common sense that has me so scared for this country --- this underreaction to real threats and the overreaction to non-threats. We can't seem to strike any balance anywhere and it's getting us further and further into trouble.

I am very curiuus as to who President Kerry will appoint as AG. It's going to be a hell of a job trying to straighten out the unholy mess that Ashcroft has made of the place."

Tri-City Herald Endores Kerry!

I, among other Kerry supporters, reminded the Herald of the criteria they invoked when they supported Bush last time. By that same criteria they find they must endorse Kerry this time.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

I'm with Brad

Maybe it's time for John Snow to resign.

Statement of Principles

From the Project for a New American Century
American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.

As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.

Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global
responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.
Agree or Disagree? and why?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Soon to be Feithless

Perhaps the next administration official to fall on his sword as a plausible scapegoat will be Douglas Feith.
"The broad outlines of the role played by Feith as a champion of the view that Iraq and Al Qaeda were closely linked have been disclosed previously. The view, a staple of the Bush administration's public statements before the Iraq invasion in March 2003, has since been discredited by the Sept. 11 commission, which concluded that Iraq and Al Qaeda had 'no close collaborative relationship.'

Bush administration officials have defended Feith's prewar efforts as reflecting a legitimate effort to develop an alternative analysis of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda. But the report by Levin includes new details showing that Feith's accounts to the White House and Congress through early 2004 deviated from the intelligence agencies' assessments to a degree that the Pentagon official did not acknowledge."
Or not.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Read His Lips -- and Smirk

An expert on non-verbal communication analyzes the non-verbal presidential campaignk.
"Over the course of the debates, the President's body language was inappropriate when faced with harsh criticism from Kerry or tough questions from moderators or town-hall meeting participants.

'He'd show fear on his face,' says Hill. 'His eyebrows go up and he gets 'bug eyes' -- his eyes go wide for a moment.' When challenged, the Pres sometimes lapsed into an upside-down smile, which, Hill says, reflects 'a combination of anger, disgust, and sadness.'"
In all fairness, Kerry came in for some criticism as well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Somewhere out there...

there's a better idea. "Canada recovered from the same recession with higher job growth and its surplus intact by using more modest tax cuts targeted at the middle-class."


Just in case anyone gives a rip, Bush was terminated from the Air National Guard with (some sort of) prejudice.

The Reserve Mutiny

Phillip Carter takes a look at how today's reservists are similar to draftees of yore.
But the unfortunate truth is that today's Guard and reserve units are being thrown into the fight in ways similar to conscript-based units of past generations. Reservists today get mobilized, trained on the most basic tasks of war, and then shipped to Iraq in a matter of weeks. Today, just as in World War II and Korea, we are throwing unprepared units into battle with the hope that they survive and gel as a team in the ultimate Darwinian environment. The reservists in Iraq lack the training, equipment, leadership, and resources to do their job. And their morale proves it; surveys conducted under the Army's auspices last year showed a marked difference between the attitudes of active-duty soldiers and Marines, and of reservists like those in the 343rd.

There remain a number of salient differences between today's soldiers and the draftees of the World War II and Vietnam generations. Unlike conscripts, today's reservists are volunteers, and they have gone through the rigors of boot camp. But from an operational perspective, some of those differences have been slowly ground away by the exigencies of the mission in Iraq. Consequently, reservists today are acting in ways that look startlingly like conscripts of yesterday. The reservists in the 343rd made a conscious choice between the risk of court-martial and the risk of a combat mission, based on their gut feelings about their equipment, training, leadership, and likelihood of survival. Professional soldiers face such risks every day, and yet they persevere because they have faith in their units, leaders, training, and equipment. The reservists of the 343rd Quartermaster Company appear to have run out of faith, perhaps because the Army—which treated them as disposable—never gave them enough reason to have it.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Major Address today

Gore speaks:
"Gore touched on many topics, but saved his sharpest critique for Bush's Iraq policies. He said evidence from the 9/11 commission and other reports shows the invasion of Iraq was Bush's first choice rather than his last.

Worst of all, Gore said, was that Bush and his Cabinet purposely created the false impression that Saddam Hussein was linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network and that the Iraqi leader was somehow to blame for the September 11, 2001, attacks -- a notion that 70 percent of the public once believed, according to polls.

'This was not an unfortunate misreading of the available evidence, causing a mistaken linkage between Iraq and al-Qaida,' Gore said. 'This was something else -- a willful choice to make a specific linkage whether evidence existed or not.'

The Republican National Committee dismissed Gore's criticism, saying, 'each time he speaks, Al Gore, like John Kerry, demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what it takes to protect America's homeland and win the war on terror.'"
You be the judge.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Blackhorse Regiment deploys

The word is that the Army is stretch so thin, drastic measures are in order.
deploying the OPFOR is like eating your seed corn. This unit is responsible for training other units and raising their level of expertise and combat readiness. The 11th ACR is being replaced by a National Guard unit. That's like replacing the Dodgers with a high school baseball team. Sure, they can both play baseball and wear the uniform — but one is a whole lot more proficient and experienced at its job. The OPFOR has a reputation as a tough enemy, and that's a good thing because it forces units training at the NTC to become better themselves. By replacing this unit with National Guard troops, the Army has hurt its ability to produce good units for Iraq in the future. Suffice to say, National Guard and active units that go through Fort Irwin aren't going to get the same tough experience they would have with the Blackhorse regiment as OPFOR — and that means they'll be less ready for combat when they get to Iraq. This is a desperation measure, and I think the Army will come to regret it.

A Rational Fear?

Alright. I'll jump on board and link this one too. Matthew Yglesias voices the fear that keeps us energized and awake at night.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Freudian slip?

What Bush (hswib) actually said:
"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.'"
But if Kerry had said that, there is no doubt the Bush (hswib) stump speech would be repeating ad nauseum the line: "Kerry said, 'We will not have an all-volunteer army.'" Remember, this kind of stuff is the only ammunition they have.

FCC Wars

Just in case there was any doubt that the FCC might actually have some independent integrity, Michael Powell makes sure we know that the commission has been owned by the administration. Powell pretends that the FCC has been asked to bar the Sinclair-sponsored propaganda. The truth is that he has been asked to investigate. Former FCC chair Reed Hundt lays out the issue:
But no one has asked the FCC to bar Sinclair from showing the program. There are only two issues for the FCC and only two requests to Chairman Powell.

The issues are: if Sinclair shows this anti-Kerry propaganda (which can be downloaded from Internet, lest anyone question the characterization), then (1) should it also give a free hour to pro-Kerry content selected by any authentic progressive organization, and (2) will Sinclair face at least the prospect after the fact of a review of its fulfillment of its public interest duties.

And the two requests are: (1) will the Chairman of the FCC remind Sinclair and other broadcasters by word and deed that they have public interest obligations, and (2) will the Chairman of the FCC investigate now, before the propaganda airs, whether Sinclair has a duty to give an hour to pro-Kerry content selected by any progressive organization?

Chairman Powell instead pretends that he has been asked to bar the showing of the propaganda -- which no one has asked him to do. His remarks are so far off the point, and he is so intelligent, that one must conclude that he knows what he is doing and intends the result -- tacit and plain encouragement of the use of the Sinclair airwaves to pursue a smear campaign. No broadcast group in the history of America has ever committed an hour to smearing a presidential candidate, and no FCC chairman before this one would have reacted with equanimity to this radical step down in broadcasting ethics.

By the way, this FCC Chairman had no trouble issuing volumes of commentary about the obligation of broadcasters not to air indecent material during hours when children are in the audience. As important as that obligation is to many people, no less important to our democracy is the ability to conduct an election without the bombardment from the airwaves of station-sponsored propaganda.

Friday, October 15, 2004


ABC News checked out what the uninterested witnesses had to say about the Swift Boat allegations and found that they have indeed been lies all along. Furthermore they found that they had been approached before back in March. The SBV liars had the evidence to the contrary and promulgated their lies anyway.

This does two things. Most importantly it should confirm in everyone's mind the kind of character that John Kerry has in the face of danger and death. Less importantly it shows the dearth of integrity in the opposition. If they can reduce their opponent by being silent in the face of lies they have no compunction about doing so. Because, truth be told, they have little else with which to oppose at all.

Update: It seems I have reached too far. Kevin Drum has the correct story that a reporter not associated with the SBV visited the village in March. Doesn't change my opinion of the SBV though.

Karl Rove in a Corner

One doesn't have to speculate much about the the kind of thing of which Karl Rove is capable. Josh Green points out some telling history.

Truth Standard

William Saletan lands on what I think is the most central issue of this campaign and this presidency.
When Bush replied last night that he refuses to pass this "truth standard," there's really no other way to interpret his position. He's saying that he doesn't have to show you any evidence, because evidence is the sort of thing a Frenchman would ask for.

I know I've been hard on the president lately. I'd like to say something nice about him. I'd like to be "fair and balanced." But my first responsibility as a reporter is to the truth. When one candidate tells half the truth, and the other says the truth doesn't matter, it becomes irresponsible for me or any other journalist not to report that by that standard—the standard of respecting the truth standard—one candidate is head and shoulders above the other.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Passion Differential

The Boot muses about why the post-debate online polls have turned out so dismal for Bush (hswib). He thinks it may be the passion differential, Bush (hswib) is more strongly hated than he is loved. But given the apparent passion that I see among Bush (hswib) supporters I find that hard to believe. Trippi may have it right in that there is an unpolled constituency out there who are strongly pro-Kerry and who will make their presence felt on election day. If that is the case I don't think either party will know how to act.

Bad Tax Cut! Bad Tax Cut!

Hie thee hence. The Big Picture opines that the cut in the dividend tax moves money away from job creation. The could be a Kerry opportunity to get a quick economic fix in place next year.
"The new dividend tax rule has created an incentive for corporations to transfer working capital outside of the firm, and into the hands of shareholders. That has reduced the pool of capital that otherwise would be used to build new plants, make more capital improvements, and yes, hire new workers.

Even worse, my calculations show that more than half of all dividend-paying stocks are held in nontaxable accounts -- pension funds, endowments, foreign investors, and retirement accounts. So these increased dividend payouts simply sit in these tax-advantaged accounts, in some cases, for decades, and there is no multiplier effect, because the money is neither spent nor reinvested in the broader economy. So instead of stimulating the economy, these monies lay fallow.'"

The shame of it all

When Kerry points out that homosexuality is not a choice and implies that Mary Cheney doesn't see it as choice, Mary's mother calls it a cheap and tawdry trick. Basically this says that even despite familial affection Cheney feels shameful about the truth of her daughter. I saw this same idea being voiced by the MSNBC pundits last night and it took me a while to get what they were complaining about. What we see here is that the uninformed bigotry in this country is deep and pervasive.

As Josh Marshall put it:
"If one of Cheney's children was, God forbid, paraplegic and Kerry referred to him or her in the context of a question about people with disabilities, would there be a problem?"

For me it's all the more reason to fight on for genuine equality on sexual-orientation. Just like the knee-jerk racism that surrounded me in my youth growing up in Texas, this bigotry is going to die hard. We will need to pass clear-cut laws and have clear-cut consequences for overt discrimination. Yes, we will have to force people to put bigotry on the shelf. And we should recognize that it will remain with us until this generation passes.

Oh and by the way, where was Lynne's outrage when Alan Keyes called her daughter a "selfish hedonist"?

Update: And Atrios further illuminates.

Debate Analyses

Grand Slam by William Saletan.
I wasn't surprised when the instant polls showed Kerry winning the debate handily. I bet Bush wasn't, either. All night long he looked like a pitcher who knew his stuff wasn't working and was stuck out there, alone on the mound in front of millions of people, with no idea what to do next. Now he's given up four runs and the lead. But he's still got the home field. And he's got half an inning—the bottom of the ninth—to turn things around.

Tom Curry does his best to rehabilitate the Bush (hswib) performance. But he has to do it with what Bush (hswib) should have said instead of what actually came out of his mouth.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Voter Registration Hijinks

All the news that's fit to print (and some that probably isn't) on the various Republican-connected voter registration frauds. (from Kos)

The October Surprise Preview

We have hidden prisoners in Jordan. Watch for an Al Qaeda biggie to be appear out of the cake. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Pro-life, Pro-Kerry

Amy Sullivan is Pro-life and Pro-Kerry. She explains why.
Because the real solution to reducing unnecessary abortions in this country doesn't lie in banning specific abortion procedures or sending doctors to jail. It also won't be helped by marshalling all of our political resources to fight parental notification laws that strike most American voters as sensible (Bush highlighted them for a reason in his answer to the same question). Instead, abortion rates drop when unwanted pregnancies decrease, whether through better sex education (that includes, but goes beyond, abstinence promotion) or insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Bush immediately mocked Kerry's nuanced answer—"I'm trying to decipher that"—and it has been roundly criticized in the press for sounding tortured. But the reality is that the feelings of most Americans regarding abortion are tortured. It's easy to stake out a post as a pro-choice or anti-abortion extremist; it's much harder to articulate a desire to respect unborn life and protect women. I suspect, however, that Kerry's answer—particularly the reference to the influence of his Catholic faith—plays better with swing voters than with political reporters precisely because it reflects a genuine attempt to grapple with a difficult issue.

More Taxes for the Rich

Daniel Gross explains the seeming paradox of the super-rich supporting the candidate who will raise their taxes. When you truly have enough money other things become more important than making more money. Go figure.
"The specter of plutocrats spending millions of their own hard-earned dollars to elect somebody who wants to raise their taxes is mystifying to the materialists at the Wall Street Journal editorial page and the Club for Growth, who think that man is a purely economic being who lives and dies by marginal tax rates alone. But to many people who have made f***-you money, taxes are a byproduct of wealth, not an obstacle to its creation. It's hard to find anybody who has made $1 billion, or $100 million, or even $50 million complaining about high marginal tax rates. Of all the luxuries massive wealth affords, one of the nicest is not having to worry about tax policy."

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Sinclair - Bush money trail

Talk about the usual suspects!
Sinclair and Enron

Digby's take

and Raw Story.

TAPPED finds VisionAir

Soldiers Once ... And Young

The horrors that are going to feed the next generation of war stories are beginning to bubble up to popular awareness. Those of us with some years under our belts have seen it before. War is ugly and cruel. Those undertake it lightly do so at great peril to innocent lives. And those who don't grasp this fact have no business pretending to be commander-in-chief.

Then there's this attributed to Seymour Hersh.

8 Lies to Look For

In the next debate. Courtesy of the indomitable Krugman. He finishes with this analysis:
"Mr. Kerry sometimes uses verbal shorthand that offers nitpickers things to complain about. He talks of 1.6 million lost jobs; that's the private-sector loss, partly offset by increased government employment. But the job record is indeed awful. He talks of the $200 billion cost of the Iraq war; actual spending is only $120 billion so far. But nobody doubts that the war will cost at least another $80 billion. The point is that Mr. Kerry can, at most, be accused of using loose language; the thrust of his statements is correct.

Mr. Bush's statements, on the other hand, are fundamentally dishonest. He is insisting that black is white, and that failure is success. Journalists who play it safe by spending equal time exposing his lies and parsing Mr. Kerry's choice of words are betraying their readers."

Another un-endorsement

Someone found 650 foreign affairs specialists who don't like the Bush (hswib) foreign policy.

Economists against Bush

The dismal science polls a dismal opinion.

A Bush (hswib) war at home

Folks in the CIA are working for regime change
Bill Harlow, the former CIA spokesman who left with the former director George Tenet in July, acknowledged that there had been leaks from within the agency. "The intelligence community has been made the scapegoat for all the failings over Iraq," he said. "It deserves some of the blame, but not all of it. People are chafing at that, and that's the background to these leaks."
And former counter-terrorism head, Vince Cannistraro:
"These have been an extraordinary four years for the CIA and the political pressure to come up with the right results has been enormous, particularly from Vice-President Cheney.

"I'm afraid that the agency is guilty of bending over backwards to please the administration. George Tenet was desperate to give them what they wanted and that was a complete disaster."
and the Journal:
With the simmering rows breaking out in public, the Wall Street Journal declared in an editorial that the administration was now fighting two insurgencies: one in Iraq and one at the CIA.

Employment Situation: Much worse than it looks . . .

We need to be pointing this out. The standard unemployment statistic does not include those who have given up looking. Unfortunately the guesses on how many that is are just that, guesses.

Forced conservation

This article about plutonium contamination in North Sea shellfish makes me wonder if a possible tactic to reduce fishing pressure might be to contaminate the species in question to a degree that hits regulatory limits but in fact does no harm to the species or the food chain. (Assuming such a level exists)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Military Suspends Firm Accused of Overbilling in Iraq

There seems to be plenty of reports about screwups in Iraq. Where are the reports about clear achievements that indicate some success? Where in Iraq is life approaching some sort of normalcy?

How Bush (hswib) Stays Green

For some folks "politics" is seen as license to twist and spin and cherry-pick items to make whatever point you want to make. Here we have Bush (hswib) trying to make a general point that air quality has improved on his watch. It could be argued that the statistics he quotes are in-spite-of rather than because-of his policies. But it's an incomplete story. Greenhouse gases have continued to go up and some think that they should be included in air quality statistics.

Be that as it may, it causes me to ponder what the distortion index on issues in general can tell us. All candidates do this to some degree. The gentlest method is to conveniently omit what contraindications are present for one's desired point. At the other extreme there is gross lifting of statements or actions out of context in order to mislead the public about an opponent. The only reason I can think of to resort to this tactic is because one has no competent case against the opponent undistorted position.

I think it would be helpful for the voters if the media were to attempt to assess which candidates are doing the most egregious quantity and quality of distortion. Regardless of the issue involved it would give voters an evaluation of how strong each candidate felt about their own position. Any candidate that shows a consistent pattern of using distortion to get applause lines can be assumed to know that his own position has little true merit. I'll be returning this idea with some frequency I think.

Update: Kevin Drum has the same idea only he takes it to the point of a cool numeric score. Check it out.

Boggles the mind

That this guy can be doing so well in the polls. I truly hope that it isn't a measure of the intellectual quality of the American electorate. His positions simple don't make sense.
"The defensible position for Bush would have been to argue that we had no way of knowing whether sanctions were working before we invaded. But instead he's resorted to this preposterous idea that because Saddam was trying to evade the sanctions, somehow that was evidence that the sanctions weren't working. Somehow the fact that Saddam has no weapons and no stockpiles was evidence that sanctions weren't working."

?? Prosecution rests. Sanctions were working. Iraq war completely unnecessary. How will we apologize to the "last man to die for a mistake?"

For Marines, Iraq a frustrating fight

Many soldiers aren't happy with their mission in Iraq. For some its a diversion from the legitimate fight with Al Qaeda. For some it's a frustration of wanting to help Iraqis and being seen as unwelcome invaders. For some it's the disconnect between what is being reported in Iraq and what they see with their own eyes.
"Asked if he was concerned that the Marines would be punished for speaking out, Autin responded: 'We don't give a crap. What are they going to do, send us to Iraq?'"

Integral Fast Reactors: Source of Safe, Abundant, Non-Polluting Power

Would you buy a nuclear reactor that only needed to have fuel shipped in once in its 70-year lifetime? That produces a low volume of plutonium-free wastes that decay in 500 years instead of 10,000 years? That was highly-proliferation resistant? That could turn our existing inventory of spent fuel into power? This could be a sure-fire road to genuine energy independence.

Hydrogen Power for All Cars In America

It started out as a link to a report that analyzed how many nuclear reactors it would take to generate enough hydrogen to power the cars in the US. Turns out the conservative high-end estimate is about 1000. There are a number of real factors that could work to bring this number down maybe to as few as 250. Of course, that many nuclear reactors are politically unpalatable regardless of any sort of technical or economic feasability. However, in the comments to the article some fine folks pointed to the existence of a type of reactor design that consumes practically all the fissile material that goes into it. Today's commercial reactors typically consume maybe 5% of the fissile material with the rest left as rather nasty waste. More on the design in the next post.

Researchers use light to detect minute traces of explosives

TNT and other explosives fluoresce at unique point in the electromagnetic spectrum when illuminated by a laser. We are not far from being able to remotely detect minute traces of explosives. Not only handy in the home security trade but could even be useful for such things as land mine detection.

Recognize this?

((U+C+I) x (10-S))/20 x A x 1/(1-sin(F/10))

You should. It's the mathematical representation of Murphy's Law. In the calculation, five factors have to be assessed: urgency (U), complexity (C), importance (I), skill (S) and frequency (F), and each given a score between one and nine. A sixth, aggravation (A), was set at 0.7 by the experts after their poll.
"The lesson from this is that, to cut the seemingly unbeatable Murphy's Law gremlins down to size, you need to change one of the elements in the equation.

"So, if you haven't got the skill to do something important, leave it alone. If something is urgent or complex, find a simple way to do it. If something going wrong will particularly aggravate you, make certain you know how to do it."

But he added a note of caution: "There is, of course, a Sod's Law factor to the equation. If you judge your ratings wrongly, you might become too optimistic - and calamity will strike."

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Rove Factor

Just a reminder fellow Kerry-heads. Count on Karl Rove to be cooking up an October surprise. He is capable of truly monstrous stuff and we should be ready to jump on anything that smacks of a last-minute Rovian smear.

Friday, October 08, 2004

More Talking Points

Matt Miller (no relation) has such an excellent set of lines for Kerry that I simply must post them in their entirety. A key distinction made is between a war of our choosing and one thrust upon us. While the Bush (hswib) administration vainly tries to characterize Iraq as the latter the truth is that it's the former. And with that truth all the excuses evaporate from before our eyes. Here's the stuff:
"There are terrible ways to do a good thing," Kerry should begin, regarding Saddam.

"At every step on Iraq, George Bush has made choices that have made us less secure and more isolated. And the truth is that there can be no possible excuse for these mistakes and misjudgments - because Iraq was a war fought at a time of our own choosing.

"If the war with Iraq had been thrust upon us, our judgment of George Bush's performance might be different. There might have been no time to court our allies and to build the kind of genuine coalition that George H.W. Bush assembled for the first Gulf War - a coalition that bore 90 percent of the cost of that conflict.

"But in a war fought at a time of our own choosing, there is no excuse for these diplomatic failures. Why didn't George Bush fly to Paris or Berlin, and make major speeches in those capitals, knowing how dramatically world opinion stood against us? Then at least we could have said we respected our longtime allies enough to try to persuade them of our course. Now instead we stand diminished and isolated, viewed with reason as arrogant, trigger-happy and untrustworthy.

"If the war with Iraq had been thrust upon us, there might have been no time to worry about plans to stabilize the country in its aftermath.

"But in a war fought at a time of our own choosing, there can be no possible excuse for failing to make adequate plans. We know Colin Powell told the president what was always obvious about Iraq: 'You break it, you own it.' Yet George Bush ignored his military advisors when they told him more troops were needed. He ignored his own government's plans for bringing order to the inevitable postwar chaos. Indeed, no one can point to a single meeting or memo in which this president thought seriously about how to manage the occupation of this country. Every day coffins come home that bear witness to this failure.

"If the war with Iraq had been thrust upon us, there might have been no way to consider how, at the same time, we could make sure rogue regimes in Iran and North Korea did not acquire nuclear weapons.

"But in a war fought at a time of our own choosing, there can be no excuse for failing to balance the risks of nuclear proliferation in these dictatorships with the chance that a prolonged insurgency in Iraq would place everything else beyond this White House's capacity to cope. Yet now we know North Korea has quadrupled its nuclear stockpile, and Iran is at the brink.

"If the war with Iraq had been thrust upon us, there might have been no time to make sure that America's homeland was as secure as it needs to be.

"But in a war fought at a time of our own choosing, how can anyone excuse that fact that more than three years after 9/11, only one in 50 of the cargo ships that come into our ports are inspected ... that frontline firefighters and public health officials have been cheated of the federal money they were promised ... the list goes on.

"Add it up, and the price of George Bush's mismanagement in Iraq is too frighteningly high to risk for another four years.

"There is the cost to America's credibility - for who will believe us next time we say a rogue state has dangerous weapons and the world must act?

"There is the cost in treasure: $200 billion and mounting ... more than 30 times the cost of the first Gulf War. And these were knowable costs that a top Bush advisor was fired for uttering publicly before we invaded ... costs about which this president deceived us in order to pass big tax cuts for the wealthy at a time of war.

"There is the cost of other dangers that have been allowed to fester - in Iran and North Korea, in Russia, and in Afghanistan, which we have once more abandoned to the warlords in order to focus on Iraq.

"There is the cost of not securing our ports and streets and power plants from attack. And there is the cost of taking our focus away from al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden - the author of 9/11 - whose terror movement continues to spread like a cancer while we stumble without leadership respected enough to bring the world to our side to finish the job in Iraq.

"I do not believe George Bush had bad intentions when he chose to conduct this war in this fashion. But good intentions are the excuses children offer - they do not suffice for a president.

"So yes, there are terrible ways to do a good thing. And because George Bush has mismanaged, misjudged and misled on Iraq, we are less safe.

"These few years after 9/11 would have been challenging times for any leader, so we ought not judge George Bush harshly for his efforts beyond rendering this one judgment: It is time for him to go. I will be the first American ready to give President Bush the gold watch for good intentions, and to thank him, in the end, for deposing Saddam. But it is time now to let serious people come in and clean up the global mess this president has created through historic failures of judgment, neglect and mismanagement.

"I say to George Bush: You have squandered America's credibility, America's authority and America's reputation. We are less secure as a result. You cannot possibly recoup these losses. I will."
Hear, Hear!

Good to be in DC!

It's JibJab time!

Factchecking the Bush (hswib) tax cuts

That progressive rag, Reason , runs some numbers that quantizes the impact of the Bush (hswib) tax cut for the biggest slice of taxpayers. If you are making $50,000 a year it helps. Of course the more you make the more it helps.

Some new links on the sidebar

For truth about our veep we have Halliburton Watch.

A newby blog I put together for issues in my congressional district, WA 4th CD Blog.

And a simply outrageous blog that channels the ghost of Dennis Miller past,The Rude Pundit.

Matt Yglesias, who makes incomparable contributions at The American Prospect, has his own personal blog, Matthew Yglesias.

File this one away

The special insight of a sanitation worker:"I know, too, that sanitation workers will learn to read a neighborhood more closely than the most sophisticated sociologist just by observing what it discards, but no one will care about their insights. " This seems like something street cops and even Homeland Security should track. It seems that some good studies could come up with garbage characteristics that might flag impending trouble. And no problematic wiretap regulations to worry about.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Closed, For Business

The Boston Globe has a series of articles about the unprecedented influence lobbyists now have with the Republican Congress.

The Morning After

Already Al Giordano is thinking of where we will be after the Kerry victory:
"A Kerry victory must not become another national sleeping pill, but, rather, a turning up of the volume on the American alarm clock so that it rings daily at the hours set from every home, farm, workplace, school and neighborhood: may the horns of revelry blow, and may we wake each day into battle to reclaim our country and, with our fellow and sister humans abroad, our world.

Kerry, presuming he will take his oath of office on January 20, 2005, will be - from my perspective as one who knows him - an essentially good man in an essentially bad situation. Not even from the official apex of the Empire can he, alone, change the course of history or pull back from wars. The task will not be only his, but also ours, not merely to push him according to traditional political tactics (lobbying, letter-writing, petitions, forming organizations, and the rest of those ineffective choices offered by Power's menu), but also to create, from below, the societal conditions under which he can - indeed, must - act against entrenched and mega-powerful interests, which, for Lieutenant Kerry, can only mean mobilizing the multitudes to awaken and fight."

The Buck stops

Remember this as a clear statement of administration priorities.
“The president told me that de-Baathification comes before the immediate needs of the Iraqi people.” --Paul Bremer
Now there's someone who really knows what they're doing.

Great Unraveling indeed

Krugman has as excellent book with that title. Its focus, naturally enough, is on the Bush (hswib) economic policies. But the unraveling is beginning to apply to the Iraqi invasion rationale. As Mark Kleiman notes:
The practically relevant question is whether Bush, Cheney, and their handlers can induce the mass media, and through them the public, to enter into a looking-glass world in which arguments are proven by facts that refute their premises. If so, they may achieve re-election.
Slowly, ever so slowly, the mass media is beginning to become aware of how it has been abused at the hands of this administration. And that's a good thing. But will it do so soon enough? If it doesn't, the next 4 years are difficult to contemplate.

Equal Time

What does it mean when the White House intentionally misleads the media by telling it that there is going to be a major policy speech when instead it is nothing more than a standard stump speech? The media was tricked into carrying it in its entirety. You have to wonder what sort of imbedded dishonesty would lead them to do that.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Business school professors against Bush (hswib)

MaxSpeak has an open letter from various heavy-hitting business professors that takes Bush (hswib) to task over his fiscal policies.

That pesky $200 billion number and other factchecks

Kerry used it and Edwards used it. Here's where it comes from:
Edwards, for his part, asserted that the war in Iraq has cost $200 billion "and counting," an assertion that Cheney called him on. Cheney said the government has "allocated" $120 billion. As of Sept. 30, the government has spent about $120 billion, and it has allocated — or plans to spend — $174 billion. The tab should run as high as $200 billion in the next year once other expected supplemental spending is added.
So instead of the 200 number, the Kerry campaign should be using a 120-spent and 174-allocated double number. Or in other words 120 spent so far with a total of 294 planned for. The 200 number falls inside that so it is legitimate but in going to a single quotable number it allows the Bush (hswib) campaign a means to refute it.

Cheney's contention on tax-cut-affected small businesses is bogus.
Cheney said Kerry's tax-cut rollback would hit 900,000 small businesses. This is misleading. Under Cheney's definition, a small business is any taxpayer who includes some income from a small business investment, partnership, limited liability corporation or trust. By that definition, every partner at a huge accounting firm or at the largest law firm would represent small businesses. According to IRS data, a tiny fraction of small business "S-corporations" earn enough profits to be in the top two tax brackets. Most are in the bottom two brackets.
They both have done some stretching of the facts to "sex them up". I really wish the Kerry-Edwards campaign would hold the line on veracity a little better. When you dabble in that mud wallow it tends to dampen your powder when you are taking shots at the other party's mendacity. That is their major weakness and we can't let them get a pass on it. The credibility gap cuts both ways.

But big kudos to the press for getting the factchecking out there. We need more of it if we want to get the truth from our officials whatever party they are from.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Debate Blogging

In the comments

Lead levels misrepresented in U.S. cities

This had to come out eventually. When the Bush (hswib) administration allowed EPA enforcement to slack off, lead levels in municipal water went above the guidelines. To keep the public from learning about this you allow testing and reporting to also lapse. Now that's what I call a job well done. These guys really deserve 4 more years in office. NOT.

Of Lice And Men

Theories of ancient human migration and interaction can be confirmed by studying of all things the genetics of the head louse.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Global Test

The Saletan version.
The test isn't moral. It's factual. What you and the Frenchman share is the evidence of your senses. The global test is the measurement of the president's assertions against the real world, the world you and I can see.

Defendant DeLay

Finally there seems to be some action on the Nick Smith/Tom DeLay bribery question. DeLay says Smith pushed for the grease but DeLay's staff talked about the possibility before the DeLay/Smith meeting. It looks more like DeLay's idea than Smith's. Given the reluctance for the Ethics Committee to do much of anything except for the most egregious cases it will be interesting to see if the DeLay case rises to that level in their eyes.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Diagnosis by Debate

In the light of Bush's (hswib) poor performance, Brad DeLong has an interesting analysis of what future performances could mean.
"There appear to be four possible theories to explain Bush's deterioration--both long run (since 1994) and short run (since 2000):

1. George Lakoff's theory: it's deliberate--these daya George W. Bush wants to sound more like John Wayne.
2. Kate O'Beirne's theory: George W. Bush is out of practice, because nobody has dared contradict him to his face for four years.
3. The 'worried man' theory: George W. Bush knows he has messed up badly, and is scared, and it shows.
4. The 'organic brain damage' theory: something is going badly wrong inside George W. Bush's brain--perhaps the result of lots of substance abuse in his youth.

A quick bounce-back next debate would be evidence in favor of (1) or (2). A similar extremely poor performance would be evidence in favor of (3) or (4)."

Predictable Talking Points

It looks like the echo chamber's talking point for the next few days is the contention that Kerry snuck in some crib notes for the debate.

100,000 trained Iraqis

Wouldn't it be refreshing for this administration to toss out a number that was a nice solid one? Do they think they can't make their case unless they exaggerate? And if they can't, shouldn't that tell them something important?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Why this White House fails the trust test

Link via DailyKos. The New York Times has an article today that chronicles how they discounted their own nuclear experts about Saddam's nuclear program. This was in 2002 about the aluminum tubes you may recall. Inside the White House they spoke among themselves about how thin their evidence was but that was certainly not how they played it in public.
Mr. Cheney told a group of Wyoming Republicans the United States had "irrefutable evidence" - thousands of tubes made of high-strength aluminum, tubes that the Bush administration said were destined for clandestine Iraqi uranium centrifuges, before some were seized at the behest of the United States.
Now remember, this was at the time that North Korea's nuclear weapons program was in full swing.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Kaplan on Kerry, Round 1

He thinks Kerry Takes Round 1. And here's part of the reason why.
North Korea: Kerry killed on this one. While Bush went to war against Saddam Hussein on the false belief that he might be developing a "weapons of mass destruction-related program," North Korea—another spoke on the "axis of evil"—started to develop real nuclear weapons. When Bush took office, 8,000 fuel rods were locked in a storage pond under continuous monitoring of international inspectors. As Kerry correctly noted, Colin Powell said publicly he'd continue on course—and President Bush publicly admonished him. Within months, the North Koreans kicked out the inspectors, unlocked and carted away the fuel rods, and reprocessed them into weapons-grade plutonium—in the course of which Bush did nothing. Kerry called for opening bilateral talks with North Korea to solve the problem.

President Bush said such talks would be a "big mistake." If we sat down one-on-one, he said, North Korea would walk out of the six-power talks, which also involve Japan, South Korea, Russia, and China. Bilaterals will accomplish nothing. Kerry replied that just because Bush says they'll accomplish nothing doesn't mean they will.

Point for Kerry. But it would have been a more solid point had Kerry noted that all the other participants in those six-power talks want the United States to have bilateral talks with North Korea.

Update: The Agreed Framework began to fall apart during the Clinton administration in 1996. The conservative US Congress resisted the funding necessary to provide the promised light water reactors to the DPRK. With the LWRs not forthcoming the DPRK began acting out in various ways that resulted in an even more reduced response on our side to the Agreed Framework commitments. In 1997 the DPRK clandestinely acquired uranium enrichment technology from Pakistan. With Bush (hswib) in office they had nothing to lose by reprocessing the spent fuel they had accumulated from their 5 megaWatt graphic reactor into weapons-grade plutonium.

Cybersecurity chief resigns amid frustration

Lobbyists say Yoran has confided to colleagues in the technology industry that he's been frustrated by what he considers a lack of attention paid to computer security issues within the department.

Blumenthal on the first debate.

Link (the Soros commercial is short)
"Kerry's analysis of Bush's 'colossal error of judgment' in Iraq was systematic, factual and historical. The coup de gr?ce was his citation of the president's father's actions in the Gulf War. 'You know,' said Kerry, 'the president's father did not go into Iraq, into Baghdad, beyond Basra. And the reason he didn't is, he said -- he wrote in his book -- because there was no viable exit strategy. And he said our troops would be occupiers in a bitterly hostile land. That's exactly where we find ourselves today.' With that, Kerry touched on Bush's most ambivalent relationship, the father he recently called 'the wrong father,' whom he compared with the 'higher Father.'

In response, Bush simply insisted on his authority. 'I just know how this world works, and that in the councils of government, there must be certainty from the U.S. president.' He reverted to his claim that Sept. 11 justified the invasion of Iraq because 'the enemy' -- meaning Saddam Hussein -- 'attacked us.' A stunned but swift-footed Kerry observed: 'The president just said something extraordinarily revealing and frankly very important in this debate. In answer to your question about Iraq and sending people into Iraq, he just said, 'The enemy attacked us.' Saddam Hussein didn't attack us. Osama bin Laden attacked us.' In his effort to banish all doubt, Bush had retreated into a substitute reality, a delusional version of Iraq, ultimately faith based."


The new Ig Nobel prizes are up.

Gloves off

Granted that there is little that Mr. Bush has done right in my opinion, in these last days of the campaign to get him out of public office I think it is time to pull out all the stops.

I believe the most egregious failing he has had is to gamble with the lives of our military in an ill-advised, diplomatically disastrous, and ultimately costly war and lose miserably. He has not only brought about the untimely deaths and maiming of our own young people but also the deaths of thousands of the people he is supposedly rescuing. The innocent blood that has been shed is on his hands and will follow him to his grave (and perhaps beyond).

Therefore in the spirit of the honorific that traditionally accompanies the mention of the Muslim Prophet - praise be unto him or (pbuh), I will hereafter use the dis-honorific of hands-stained-with-innocent-blood (hswib) when I refer to the current occupant of the White House (hswib).