Reading all of this shit that's coming out about voter-suppression activity
, and the Bush Pledge, and this
-- it gets me down sometimes. Seriously.
I'm worried. Lots of things are going wrong. Sometimes it's good to remind yourself, though, that there is reason to hope.
Two links for you. Pick-me-ups. Don't miss 'em.
Chin up, people.
Yeah. Packin' up (again) and moving to new digs. I'll be living very close to the spiritual heart of Hippie Nation in the Upper Haight section of San Francisco. Goddamned dirty hippies.
Just a few things:
1. Kerry is going to win. It won't be all that close.
2. Halloween is my favorite holiday. Whoa.
3. Moving is traumatic and I hate it.
MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Friday the invasion of Iraq will go down in history, along with the war in Afghanistan, for its ``brilliance.''
The vice president's comment came as he portrayed the controversy over hundreds of tons of missing explosives in Iraq as a battle pitting Sen. John Kerry against U.S. troops, with Cheney siding with the military.
At an airport rally at a hangar in Montoursville, Pa., Cheney said the U.S. invasions of ``Afghanistan and Iraq will be studied for years for their brilliance."
Vietnam and the Bay of Pigs, too. Frickin' sharp
How disconnected from reality is this administration?
...oh, and it gets better. Get this:
``Our troops were doing their job,'' Cheney said as he called Kerry an ``armchair general,'' a characterization the vice president has been using for several days.
Fightin' Dick Cheney, that damned draft-dodging
chickenhawk, calls war-hero Kerry an "armchair general." Can you believe the audacity of this incompetent bungler?
He should have been impeached. Long ago. For the Energy Commission stuff if nothing else. Or the Plame smear. Or...
THE BUSH PLEDGE
"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."
I know the Bush-Cheney campaign occasionally requires the people who attend its events to sign loyalty oaths, but this was the first time I have ever seen an audience actually stand and utter one. Maybe they've replaced the written oath with a verbal one.
Josh has it here
From what I understand, the oath does not include multiple recitations of, like, "Hail Bush" or anything like that. So don't worry!
Read this article
by Kara Baskin on the Zombies.
The band, that is. Not undead monsters.
KERRY IN MADISON
100,000 turn out for Big John and Bruuuuuuuuuuce.
Chin up, people.
SALTO SELLS OUT
I've added Google advertising on the
right. If you click one of those links, I believe that I receive as much as seven-hundredths of a cent. So make me rich, bitches.
BUSH GIVES *YOU* THE FINGER
This is our asshole president. When he was governor of Texas, he flips the bird to the camera. What a joker.
The video is here
. [And here
I've stolen, from Bob Harris
, the following animated gif, which has been culled from the video. What a prick:
Blogger has been sketched out for, like, 24 hours. Dammit. This is not a good time.
Freakin' hobbits actually existed
. Whoa baby.
This is our president
Iraqi authorities assert that the [380 tons of missing high-powered explosives] was stolen after Baghdad fell, amid the widespread lawlessness and chaos that prevailed as U.S. forces struggled to reassert order. The Pentagon says it's possible the explosives went missing before the war, but they're not sure. It's unlikely they'll have it all cleared up in the next week.
What is clear is that Bush and his advisers decided that staying above the fray and ignoring Kerry's attacks wasn't working.
As of yesterday, Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei wrote in The Washington Post: "Bush remained determined not to respond to the Democratic charge. Asked by a reporter about who was responsible for the missing munitions, Bush, on a visit to a dairy barn in Viola, Wis., simply glared, journalists with him said. . . .
Are you kidding me?
THE U.S. ARMY ENDORSES KERRY
Well, no, not really. But they might as well have, according to what Josh is reporting
36 newspapers that endorsed Bush in 2000 have now either endorsed Big John or refused to endorse this year. Howie reports
The [Orlando] Sentinel is among 36 newspapers that endorsed President Bush four years ago and have flip-flopped, to coin a phrase, into Kerry's corner. These include the Chicago Sun-Times, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, according to industry magazine Editor & Publisher. Bush has won over only six papers that backed Al Gore, including the Denver Post, which received 700 letters -- all of them protesting the move.
Nine more papers, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday, abandoned Bush after four years but did not support the Massachusetts senator. Instead, these papers -- the Detroit News, the Tampa Tribune and the New Orleans Times-Picayune among them -- threw up their collective hands and made no endorsement.
"We have decided not to add one more potentially polarizing voice to a poisoned debate," the Plain Dealer editorial said. Amid reports that Publisher Alex Machaskee, who chairs the editorial board, wanted to back Bush, the Ohio paper acknowledged that a majority of the board favored Kerry.
Even many editorial page editors say they do not believe their endorsements move many voters in an age of round-the-clock opinion-slinging on television and online. But the Bush defections may reflect a degree of disillusionment with the president, at least among opinion leaders, principally on Iraq but on domestic issues, as well.
People are starting to pay attention to the election.
Seriously. Even lil' ol' Salto, this backwater corner of boonie Blogiana, is experiencing record traffic.
Watch poll numbers carefully
in key states. Ignore the national numbers, as they are -- how do you say it? Absolutely irrelevant?
RIP JOHN PEEL
...I really love and admire John Peel. What a force for good music.
This was the first Peel item I owned, circa 1993 or 1994:
But I might have heard a Breeders Peel Session via Andrew Rieth my freshman year of college before I actually owned that. Andrew, baby! Miss you!
RIP John Peel. Seriously.
HAVE WE REALLY COME TO THIS?
It's deeply disturbing that I just got a google hit for the following search:
nude pictures lou dobbs
Yes. It's true. If you click on that link, Salto comes up #1.
This is CNN's Lou Dobbs, for those who don't know:
He may be an attractive older man (or whatever), but the question remains: who the hell is searching for nude pictures of Lou Dobbs? A lonely widow
with cable TV and lots of investments? Unbelievable.
(By the way, and speaking of Google: a quarter of Salto's traffic comes from Googlers hitting this post
...and three searches today for
within an hour. But never seen before. Google is mysterious.
...also, because of monkey.org, my host
, any search combination of "monkey" with "bush" tends to get me. Try it
KERRY IN PHILLY
Chin up, people.
I never really "got" the whole Lyndon LaRouche cult. After reading this (excellent) article
, I definitely still don't "get" it, but at least my belief is confirmed that they're goddamnned loonies.
LaRouche maintained that the convictions were engineered to silence him politically and set him up to be murdered in prison. He survived. One of his cellmates was disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker, who later described LaRouche as amusing, erudite and convinced their cell was bugged. "To say that Lyndon was slightly paranoid," Bakker wrote in his autobiography, "would be like saying the Titanic had a bit of a leak."
Oh dear me
Armageddon came early for George Bush this year, and he was not ready for it. His long-awaited showdowns with my man John Kerry turned into a series of horrible embarrassments that cracked his nerve and demoralized his closest campaign advisers. They knew he would never recover, no matter how many votes they could steal for him in Florida, where the presidential debates were closely watched and widely celebrated by millions of Kerry supporters who suddenly had reason to feel like winners.
Kerry came into October as a five-point underdog with almost no chance of winning three out of three rigged confrontations with a treacherous little freak like George Bush. But the debates are over now, and the victor was clearly John Kerry every time. He steamrollered Bush and left him for roadkill.
Did you see Bush on TV, trying to debate? Jesus, he talked like a donkey with no brains at all. The tide turned early, in Coral Gables, when Bush went belly up less than halfway through his first bout with Kerry, who hammered poor George into jelly. It was pitiful. . . . I almost felt sorry for him, until I heard someone call him "Mister President," and then I felt ashamed.
Richard Nixon looks like a flaming liberal today, compared to a golem like George Bush. Indeed. Where is Richard Nixon now that we finally need him?
If Nixon were running for president today, he would be seen as a "liberal" candidate, and he would probably win. He was a crook and a bungler, but what the hell? Nixon was a barrel of laughs compared to this gang of thugs from the Halliburton petroleum organization who are running the White House today -- and who will be running it this time next year, if we (the once-proud, once-loved and widely respected "American people") don't rise up like wounded warriors and whack those lying petroleum pimps out of the White House on November 2nd.
Nixon hated running for president during football season, but he did it anyway. Nixon was a professional politician, and I despised everything he stood for -- but if he were running for president this year against the evil Bush-Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him.
You bet. Richard Nixon would be my Man. He was a crook and a creep and a gin-sot, but on some nights, when he would get hammered and wander around in the streets, he was fun to hang out with. He would wear a silk sweat suit and pull a stocking down over his face so nobody could recognize him. Then we would get in a cab and cruise down to the Watergate Hotel, just for laughs.
Read it all
Yeah, we're like eight days away. I feel like I'm gonna shit myself. Must remember to find some valiums or some such before next Tuesday.
A couple of different music media joints reported this week that Jandek, the most mysterious man in rock (check this
), played an actual live show
last weekend in Scotland
Here's the original story
from the (Glasgow?) Sunday Herald by story's breaker.
Last weekend’s world-beating line-up saw performers drawn from the margins of genres such as jazz, improvisation, folk and rock, with saxophonist Masayoshi Urabe welding Noh theatre, Fluxus art-action and wild free-jazz blurt during a staggering solo set, and the avant-rock group Vajra – featuring Japanese underground veterans Keiji Haino and Kan Mikami – working two guitars and a set of drums into what sounded like the end credits on the story of your life. But it was an unannounced performance by one of the most revered and reclusive outsider artists of the past three decades that really set the whole event on fire.
The man known only as Jandek, a Texan singer-songwriter who plays internally explosive blues and wails with a voice that’s as void and haunted as Robert Johnson, has never before appeared in public. Indeed, only one journalist has ever even met him, and in his absence a cult of rumours has sprung up, spawning a speculative mini-industry that reached its apo theosis last year with the release of the film Jandek On Corwood, a documentary in which Jandek himself never actually appears. The emotionally wounded nature of his lyrics and his idiosyncratic, self-taught guitar style have led commentators to speculate that his many privately-pressed rec ordings were actually part of a long-term recovery programme, or perhaps a form of self-therapy. Whatever the story, his back catalogue remains one of the most personally revelatory and deeply human bodies of work of any artist of the modern era.
As soon as he walks on stage at The Arches, wearing a black wide-brimmed hat, black shirt and smart grey/black slacks, it’s clear that he’s the same person as has appeared on most of his cryptic record sleeves, only now older and a little more emaciated, with a glassy stare that could penetrate concrete. For his backing band he has recruited a pair of local musicians, with revered folk spirit Richard Youngs standing in on bass and Scatter percussionist Alex Neilson on drums. With the accumulated weight of a lifetime of myth and rumour hanging over the performance the stakes were perilously high, but the group more than rose to the challenge, navigating the weight of Jandek’s free blues with pulsing, Can-styled bass parts and locomotive percussion. Jandek himself moved through skeletal slow-motion postures, digging deep into his guitar and resurfacing with barbed, overtone-heavy drones and slicing chords that punctuated his black-snake moan. Although he never spoke, at several points he actually cracked a smile, raising hopes that this might not be the only performance of his career.
For Jandek-watchers worldwide, this is all simply earth-shattering news.
If you're not familiar with Jandek's oeuvre, perhaps you should hop on to your file-share method of choice and download some songs. They're very accessible.
Q. What is the etiquette of turning off a tv in a public place?
A. TV-B-Gone(TM) universal remote control is capable of turning off virtually any remotely controlled tv. Since a tv that is powered on fills the room with its sights and sounds, impinging on everyone in the room, it is similar to a smoker who fills a room with smoke. Some people may like breathing in someone else's smoke, but that's not for everyone. Similarly, not everyone wants to be disturbed with someone else's media. If someone were smoking a cigar in a public place and you were disturbed by it, you would probably either leave, or you would ask them if they would mind putting it out. Similarly, if someone is filling your space with disturbing sights and sounds of a tv, you have the same choices. With TV-B-Gone(TM) universal remote control, you also have the power to turn the tv off with others' approval.
I approve. Might be fun at, like, the Sony Metreon. Somebody get one.
Sorry for the lack of new stuff. I had to fill my hump with hate at the Oasis of Outrage. I'm back now.
SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING
I just don't know anymore.
Three Medford school teachers were threatened with arrest and thrown out of the President Bush rally at the Jackson County Fairgrounds Thursday night, after they showed up wearing T-shirts with the slogan "Protect our civil liberties."
...their shirts were called "obscene." Seriously. Lookit:
I voted today by absentee ballot.
It's the first time I've done this. I already miss the feeling of going into my polling place, interacting with the elections staff, seeing other voters, and casting my own vote. It always makes me feel good afterwards.
BUSH, CERTAINTY, AND RELIGION
is a really excellent article that you should read (if you haven't).
Here's an excerpt. But be sure to read the whole thing.
There is one story about Bush's particular brand of certainty I am able to piece together and tell for the record.
In the Oval Office in December 2002, the president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored ''road map'' for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region. The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman -- the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress -- mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.
''I don't know why you're talking about Sweden,'' Bush said. ''They're the neutral one. They don't have an army.''
Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ''Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.'' Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.
Bush held to his view. ''No, no, it's Sweden that has no army.''
The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.
A few weeks later, members of Congress and their spouses gathered with administration officials and other dignitaries for the White House Christmas party. The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the shoulder. ''You were right,'' he said, with bonhomie. ''Sweden does have an army.''
This story was told to me by one of the senators in the Oval Office that December day, Joe Biden. Lantos, a liberal Democrat, would not comment about it. In general, people who meet with Bush will not discuss their encounters. (Lantos, through a spokesman, says it is a longstanding policy of his not to discuss Oval Office meetings.)
This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker. Nothing could be more vital, whether staying on message with the voters or the terrorists or a California congressman in a meeting about one of the world's most nagging problems. As Bush himself has said any number of times on the campaign trail, ''By remaining resolute and firm and strong, this world will be peaceful.''
...I also think this bit on Sen. Joe Biden's take on Bush is especially good:
Biden, who early on became disenchanted with Bush's grasp of foreign-policy issues and is among John Kerry's closest Senate friends, has spent a lot of time trying to size up the president. ''Most successful people are good at identifying, very early, their strengths and weaknesses, at knowing themselves,'' he told me not long ago. ''For most of us average Joes, that meant we've relied on strengths but had to work on our weakness -- to lift them to adequacy -- otherwise they might bring us down. I don't think the president really had to do that, because he always had someone there -- his family or friends -- to bail him out. I don't think, on balance, that has served him well for the moment he's in now as president. He never seems to have worked on his weaknesses.''
Question #1: A Safer America
Kerry is solid. Bush wastes no time to pull out Kerry's "nuisance" line. Bush lies about homeland security measures. Kerry hits back at the prosecution of the war in Afghanistan and the search for Bin Laden. Bush calls that an "exaggeration." Verdict? Draw at best, edge for Kerry at worst.
Question #2: Flu Vaccine
To Bush. He explains the news about the lack of flu vaccine. Dullsville. He turns it into a tort-reform question. Typical. Kerry turns it into a question about health care (or lack thereof). Kerry cites health insurance stats from essential swing states Ohio and Wisconsin. This question has
to go to Kerry.
I want to watch this. I'll be back.
...OK. I thought Bush was at his best and Kerry wasn't. I would score it a draw. Honestly.
I'm gonna try to liveblog this sucker tonight. Stay tuned.
SINCLAIR LOCAL ADVERTISERS DATABASE
Looks like it's back up
. Check it out.
...and a special bonus: a list of mutual funds
that are part-owners of Sinclair. Check it:
Management Company % of Sinclair / value of stock telephone number
EARNEST PARTNERS, LLC 5% / $36M 800-322-0068
GABELLI ASSET MANAGEMENT CO 5% / $30M 914-921-5100
WESTFIELD CAP MGMT CO, INC. 3% / $19 617-428-7100
MORGAN STANLEY INV MGMT INC.(U 3% / $18M 212-761-4000
NEUBERGER BERMAN, LLC 3% / $17 212-476-9000
COLUMBIA MGMT ADVISORS, INC. 3% / $16M 800-345-6611
PUTNAM INVESTMENT MGMT, L.L.C. 2% / $15M 617-760-1000
BARCLAYS GBL INVESTORS, N.A. 2% / $13M 415-597-2000
JANUS CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC 2% / $10M 303-333-3863
VANGUARD GROUP, INC. 1% / $8M 610-669-1000
INVESCO CAPITAL MGMT INC. 1% / $8M 404-892-0896
ARTISAN PTNR L.P. 1% / $7M 414-390-6100
J.P. MORGAN INV MGMT INC. (NY) 1% / $6M 212-483-2323
BLACKROCK FINL MGMT (VALUE) 1% / $6M 617-386-2500
BLACKROCK FINL MGMT (GROWTH) 0.8% / $5M 302-797-2000
LIBERTY RIDGE CAPITAL, INC. 0.7% / $4M 610-647-4100
KIRR, MARBACH & COMPANY, LLC 0.7% / $4M 812-376-9444
MFS INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT 0.6% / $4M 800-637-2929
VAN KAMPEN 0.6% / $3M 713-438-4000
DREYFUS CORPORATION 0.5% / $3M 212-922-6000
Management Company % of Sinclair / value of stock telephone number
COLLEGE RETIREMENT EQUITIES (TIAA-CREF) 0.3% / $2M 212-916-4000
CALIFORNIA PUBLIC EMP' RET SYS (CALPERS) 0.3% / $2M 916-795-3400
NEW YORK STATE COMMON RET SYS 0.3% / $2M 866-805-0990
OHIO PUBLIC EMP RETIREMENT SYS (OPERS) 0.2% / $1M 614-222-6705
CALIFORNIA STATE TEACH'RET SYS (CALSTRS) 0.1% / $1M 800-228-5453
FLORIDA STATE BD ADMINISTRATIO 0.1% / $1M 850-488-4406
Salon has an update
on the Bush-cheating-at-the-debates-with-coached-answers-electronically-transmitted-to-his-tiny-brain story.
Make sure to look at the pics closely.
Kevin Hayden has the latest update
Here's a short summary
for those not following closely:
Amazing. Right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group, a company that owns local TV stations across the country, is ordering its local stations to preempt normal broadcasting a couple days before the election to air an anti-Kerry film made by a former 'reporter' for the Washington Times.
Basically it's a 90 minute Swift-Boat ad which Sinclair is ordering stations seen in a quarter of the nation's households to show a week before the election.
Check out Josh Green's article on Karl Rove in the current Atlantic Monthly if you want some clue what's going on here. See earlier TPM discussion of the article's contents here.
Many links to follow in these posts.
Don't underestimate the influence of a 90-minute anti-Kerry infomercial broadcast for free in the many swing states in which Sinclair operates (including Wisconsin). It's getting bad, folks. As if it's not enough that Karl Rove has been furiously working the phones for four years in an effort to intimidate those in the media who dare to criticize Bush. Now at least one corporate media entity has actively cast their lot with the Bush adminstration, probably violating FEC guidelines in the process.
There are things that we can do. Sinclair is publicly owned. And their advertisers would probably like to know what's going on. Here's a report
of an early success. Make a call or two.
Brad DeLong compiles the evidence
that Bush is brain-damaged. Seriously.
Don't miss Kruggles
today. The last debate is tomorrow night, remember...
WAS BUSH WIRED?
An anonymous reader inquires as to my thoughts about the possibility that Bush was wired
for that first debate (and the last one, too, actually).
Put away your tinfoil hats; this has progressed beyond being conspiracy-theory material. Salon
was the first semi-major media outlet to write about the story. The NYT followed
Scanning through blogs, I'm sure I've now seen dozens of photos that purport to show something
. Kos has a picture up from the town-hall debate that seems to show
a wire running down a Bush's back, for example. Or maybe it's a wrinkle in his suit. It's hard to tell.
The evidence that Bush has
been wired before is pretty compelling. Check out isbushwired.com
for that stuff, including some video and a couple of compelling anecdotal accounts. That Bush has likely been wired in the past makes it more likely that he might be wired later, for those of you keeping track at home.
Would you put it past Karl Rove to wire the president for the debates? I wouldn't exclude the possibility. The debate rules did include a strange negotiated clause forbidding photographs of the candidates from the back. Why could that possibly be? Bush has too much junk in the trunk? A big ass? A hole to jack into the Matrix on the back of his head? It's all a little confusing.
If Bush were definitively caught cheating, though, the ensuing brouhaha would almost certainly doom his re-election. Perhaps Rove was so arrogantly confident about not being caught that he did
do it. But hanging on to (and abusing) power seems to be the leitmotif of this administration, and they have consistently been risk-averse when it comes to scandal. Wiring Bush for a debate would have been a scandal.
My answer, then? Possible but unlikely. We need a good ol' leak from a patriot inside the Bush campaign to push this story along.
BIG JOHN'S MO
Read Andy Sullivan on Big John's momentum
Then read William Safire
as he wallows in hacktastic (and clumsy) spin.
DRED SCOTT AT THE DEBATE
Some people seem to be a bit boggled by Bush's Dred Scott remark last night. It wasn't about racism or slavery, or just Bush's natural incoherence. Here's what Bush actually [meant]:
If elected to another term, I promise that I will nominate Supreme Court Justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade.
It turns out the Dred Scott decision, which upheld slavery, is often compared to Roe v. Wade by anti-choicers. Paperwight explains here
how Bush was actually using coded language. Please read it.
If you didn't watch the Friday debate, but you read that Bush "looked better," don't be fooled. He got killed. He was a babbling, incoherent mess. He tried to tell jokes and was met with silence. There were looooooong pauses as he tried to figure out how to fill the time. He lied. He lied again. He responded to Kerry's arguments with generalities, often awkwardly phrased, again and again.
Watch it. Don't just listen to the audio.
This media is pathetic. I'd love to see a poll of those citizens in attendance. I'd bet they would say Kerry won by 2-1 or more.
For much of last night's debate George Bush looked like a blister about to pop. Loud, mouthy, swaggering, interested only in hearing himself lay down the law, he behaved like a verbally abusive husband. Not a wifebeater but a browbeater with a bar-fighter's grin. It is astonishing and sobering that this dull roar with a one-track mind that runs on tank treads is fighting for reelection instead of facing impeachment; his lies and failures have fed thousands of graves, and filled thousands more hospital beds with bodies and psyches that will never be whole again. And still our mainstream pundits can not, will not see him for what he is. He cracks a corny joke, and they marvel at his Reaganesque humor. He hollers at Charlie Gibson, and he's hailed as a take-charge guy.
Wolcott rules. Read the whole thing, and the post after that one.
is worth reading too:
Bush yelled a lot. He tried to compensate for last week's defensiveness with an abundance of aggression. More than once, I thought he was going to sucker punch Gibson, but he seems to have jammed the brakes at mere emasculation. While it's certainly true that the last night's bully looked better than last week's dunce, it still speaks of a soft and unformed man. That, I think, is the story of the debates. The defining contrast between the two men isn't leadership, gravitas or intelligence, but simple maturity. Whether Bush is seen hunched and scowling or stalking the length of the stage and shouting down the moderator, there's a serious sense that this guy is just not an emotional adult. He veers wildly from one emotional extreme to the other, but remains, regardless of the day's visage and gait, a man consumed by his passions and frustrated by his critics.
I don't know George Bush, my judgments on him are produced by the weird entity transmitted by the cameras. But the one thing I've found helpful in my viewings and evaluations is a simple thought experiment: if these guys had no handlers, no briefing books, no focus groups, but were stuck on a stage and forced to debate the issues, what would the outcome be? When I run that scenario, I'm always left with two distinct images. I'm left with a less concise, more unfocused, and zinger-free Kerry, and I'm left with Bush as a sputtering, angry fool. Intelligent or not, this guy simply lacks an abiding interest in the art of governance. Policy clearly bores him, competing arguments obviously tire him. He's thrown himself into the exciting issues and cast them as heroic confrontations. Bush wants to be a president in the same way John Wayne was a cowboy -- he wants the power, the image, the glory. And while Kerry may want that as well, there's no doubt in my mind that he's a man who delights in the policy meetings, who feels fulfilled when his legislation helps people, and who's decided that the path to history lies in the work, not the look, of governing. And that goes back to the point about maturity: George Bush approaches the presidency as a child approaches law enforcement, and if the last few years and the last two debates have taught us nothing else, that's a dangerous way for our leader to think.
...check out Ryan Lizza's take
from TNR, too.
thinks Bush is a brat:
Until he became president, George Bush never really had to grow up, and so he never did. Someone, usually one of daddy's friends, was always around to bail him out, to save him from his business failures, to give him sweetheart deals, to ease him down the path to power. And now we see the result: when the going gets tough, George Bush turns petulant and angry. This is not what we need in a President.
Bush looks even worse at the start.
And Kerry looks even better. He looks like he smells victory already.
Bush just listed all of the decisions he has made that have made him unpopular without answering the question.
Even when Bush can get his lips around a policy question, he sounds terrible (e.g. North Korea).
"Facile"! HA! Sounds nasty-prolix-Kerry-esque!
Clumsy stiffarm by Bush to an attempt by moderator Gibson to ask a question.
Nice long shot of Bush's back. No mysterious lump
First domestic question. Bush seriously sounds like a complete idiot. I'm excited.
Kerry's first stumble comes a half-hour into the debate with a question about the pick of a trial lawyer for VP and effects on healthcare prices.
Liveblogging is tiring. Unless something dramatic happens, I simply can't imagine anyone but the most partisan thinking that Bush has won.
MORE ON POLLING
The new Time
poll has Bush and Kerry tied 45-45. Matt Y. had this
A relatively low-scoring tie like this one is much more favorable to the challenger than is something like a 49-49 tie. The latter is a neck-in-neck race, likely to be determined by GOTV and electoral college quirks, whereas the former is a race where the incumbent desperately needs to change the dynamic in order to forestall an inevitable loss. But of course for all the same reasons that Kerry was not, in fact, doomed before the first debate Bush is not, in fact, currently doomed. There will be more debates, and in today's climate there's still about 1 million news cycles to go before the voting is done.
Will that stubborn ten percent break to Bush? Not bloody likely.
BUSH TWINS NUDE? OR, MANUAL MANIPULATION [OF SEARCH ENGINES]
Search engine manipulation! This post
did it for me. It was some of my finest writing, so I'll reproduce a portion:
[WARNING: GOOGLE MANIPULATION ZONE]
OK. I don't have pictures of Jenna Bush naked or Jenna Bush nude, or even Jenna Bush semi-nude. For that matter, I don't have pictures of Jenna Bush with no clothes on or Jenna Bush undressed or Jenna Bush in a three-way with Babs 2.0 and the wizened corpse of Strom Thurmond. Let me be entirely clear: you will certainly not find nude pictures of the Bush twins here, or the Bush twins nude, for that matter. "But what about Barbara Bush?" you ask, gently. I have no need to lie. You could scour this site for hours and find no pictures of Barbara Bush nude, or Barbara Bush in a mild state of disheveled undress, or even Barbara Bush giving someone a smoky look. Nothing like that around here. Nada. Zip.
No. Seriously. Nothing.
Yeah. No nude or naked Jenna Bush. Nothing even remotely like that. You want to see Jenna Bush nude, you weirdo? Go somewhere else. Because you will not see nude photos (or, in any other format! like, um, .jpg, or .gif, or .bmp, etc.) of the Bush twins here, with their luscious ta-tas all hangin' out, doin' weird sexy twin-things to each other.
Now the results are finally in
-- here are the searches for which Salto gets hits, in order of popularity:
bush twins nude
jenna bush nude
barbara and jenna bush nude
jenna bush naked
barbara and jenna bush nude
"bush twins nude"
"bush twins" nude
"jenna bush naked"
"jenna bush" +twins +sexy +photos
"nude pictures" "barbara bush" "jenna bush"
"pictures of the bush twins"
bush twins nude?
i love.jenna bush.nude
jenna bush and barbara bush nude
jenna bush behavior naked
jenna bush nude 2000
nude photos of jenna bush
I'm very proud.
Looks like another death coming
in the next book.
Yes, that's right. I'm a gigantic nerd.
TOWN HALL DEBATE TONITE!
Don't forget! Starts at 9 EST. Format is town-hall stylee. Bush's mike-in-hand speaking has seemed like a one of his strengths lately. Froomkin has more information
So can President Bush win back the momentum in Missouri?
It may depend on what kinds of questions he gets at the debate in St. Louis tonight -- softballs, hardballs or screwballs?
Judy Keen write in USA Today: "He's no Oprah, and his audiences are supporters who don't usually ask tough questions, but President Bush has an aptitude for the town hall format that will be used in tonight's debate with Sen. John Kerry."
USA Today has some handy figures, too. "Number of question-and-answer sessions President Bush has done with audiences this year: 19
"Number that were open to the public: None. . . .
"Number of Q&A sessions where audience members told Bush they pray for him: 7 "
I expect that there may be anti-Bush hijinx at this debate like at the RNC. I'm desperately hoping for streakers, which should tell you something about my love life.
has some thoughts:
One concern I have about tonight's debate is that the townhall format doesn't really lend itself to hitting Bush on Iraq. If the postdebate focus groups I've been watching are any indication, "undecided" voters seem to want the candidates to talk about what they're going to do in Iraq going forward, not the mistakes made so far. This is, of course, preposterous, since our options going forward have been shaped entirely by the administration's long list of failures. You can't discuss one without the other. But the questions are likely to be along those lines nonetheless, which could complicate things for Kerry.
Still, I'm not overly concerned about this problem. For one thing, Bush is clearly going to set the tone by attacking Kerry first. So if anyone's going to alienate the undecideds in the audience, it's going to be him. Second, I don't put too much stock in what people say when asked what they want candidates to talk about. They all know to tell pollsters they want to hear about the future--and they may actually mean it. But I have no doubt they also find attacks on candidates' records pretty compelling.
EDM has the good news
On the eve of the 2nd presidential debate, Senator John Kerry is ahead or in statistical tie with President Bush in all 16 "battleground states," according to a new poll by Zogby Interactive, conducted 9/30 to 10/5 for the Wall St. Journal.
Kerry LV leads
(%): AR 0.2; FL 0.4; IA 6.6; MI 9.7; MN 8.3; NV 1.0; NH 6.6; NM 11.4; OH 0.3; OR 10.1; PA 5.4; WA 9.9; and WI 2.5.
Bush LV leads
(%): MO 2.2, TN 0.9 and WV 6.1.
According to the analysis of the Zogby Poll published in the Wall St. Journal, "Mr. Kerry holds leads outside the margin of error in 6 states...None of Mr. Bush's leads are outside the margin."
Newscycles until November 2 and turnout, turnout, turnout. Even Salto's Own Mom, who is not particularly politically active, has volunteered to drive voters to the polls in crucial swing state Wisconsin. Maybe you have relatives living somewhere where they could make a difference?
...Andy Sullivan thinks
that a Kerry landslide is the most likely outcome at this point, based on post-debate polling numbers showing undecideds breaking 2-1 for Kerry.
BIRD FLU SCARINESS
With all of the political hubbub, it's easy to overlook the scary bird flu news
that just came out:
A 26-year-old Thai woman who died of acute pneumonia on 20 September was a “probable” case of human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 bird flu virus, the Thai Ministry of Public Health confirmed on Tuesday.
All 40 previously confirmed human cases of the virus since 2003 were apparently caught from sick birds. But the World Health Organization fears the virus could cause a lethal pandemic if it gains the ability to pass easily from person to person.
The Thai ministry's statement stressed that the probable case of human-to-human transmission followed prolonged, close contact between the woman and her sick daughter, who also died from bird flu. The virus did not show an ability to spread easily, as human flu does, which is required for a pandemic.
But research on the virus’s recent evolution shows it has become steadily better at replicating in mammals in the past few years. It may now be learning to spread between them.
Prescient Salto talked about this back in January
Back then, I linked to this
. And here's an excerpt for those with poor memories:
There are fears that the bird flu virus could mutate, attaching itself to a human flu virus which could spread between people.
"The spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza in several areas in Asia is a threat to human health and a disaster for agricultural production," the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the WHO said in a joint statement.
"Although it has not happened yet, the so-called 'bird flu' presents a risk of evolving into an efficient and dangerous human pathogen," the three agencies warned.
"This is a serious global threat to human health," said WHO Director General Lee Jong-wook.
"This time, we face something we can possibly control before it reaches global proportions if we work co-operatively and share needed resources. We must begin this hard, costly work now."
We don't see so much scary-talk now, strangely.
Be wary. Watch the news carefully.
I was telling BigD and friends Saturday night about James Wolcott's marvelous piece on last Thursday's Bush/Kerry debate. It's here
, just for reference. Here's a bit:
We've seen President Twitchy before. When Helen Thomas persisted in asking Bush why he was trying to tear down the walls between church and state, and wouldn't be sluffed off with one of his standard nonanswers, Bush, as I wrote in Attack Poodles, went through a battery of irked expressions that ended with him imitating Tony Perkins in the final shot of Psycho, looking as if he had a fly on his nose.
Since then Bush has been wheeled out into forums where no one can dare question or contradict his majesty, where he can lean forward and repeat ad nauseam his patented soundbites. Last night I believe we saw the ugly comeback of the private face of Bush--the irritable expressions he flashes subordinates when he's presented with information he doesn't like or feels someone's taken up too much of his time or is pressed to explain himself to people he shouldn't have to explain himself to because he's the president and fuck you. The notion that Bush is "likeable" has always been laughable. It takes a Washington pundit to be that dumb. He's an angry, spoiled, resentful little big man--I use "little big man" in the Reichian sense of a small personality who puffs himself up to look big through bluster and swagger but remains a scheming coward inside--and next to a genuinely big man like Kerry, shrunk before the camera's eyes.
Atrios is exactly right when he praises the left
for owning the cycles of the media lately:
There were a lot of complaints about the people running the Kerry campaign/DNC during the month of August when they appeared to be blindsided by the Swift Boat nonsense. But, I think they should be complimented on how they've been doing things. They've managed to completely own the post-debate spin for both of these debates, highlighting what a nitwit Bush was and highlighting what a liar Dick Cheney was. They've managed to get the information out there, and fast. At least after the first debate (I didn't notice this time), they bought up the banner ads a bunch of major newspapers touting Kerry's performance.
It's rare that our side owns even an entire news cycle. And, of course, given our in the tank media it's never quite perfect. But, we've pretty much owned it since Kerry's debate - the thing which came closest to dislodging us was Drudge's magic pen. Nice try, but no luck.
There must be a real effort to own each and every news cycle from now until November 2nd. There may be times where news from Iraq and elsewhere does the job, unfortunately. When that's not the case, there must be no lessening of effort -- it's too easy to get distracted by memo nonsense, or bullshit about carrying something illegal into the debates, or something
. They'll try to find something
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"My opponent says he has a plan for Iraq. Parts of it should sound pretty familiar -- it's already known as the Bush plan."
"In Iraq, Senator Kerry has a strategy of retreat; I have a strategy of victory."
-- President Bush, in the same speech, this morning in Pennsylvania.
[via Political Wire
FOR THOSE THAT DIDN'T WATCH
The transcript is here
Some surprising passivity from Cheney in the face of an Edwards attack:
: That was a complete distortion of my record. I know that won't come as a shock.
The vice president, I'm surprised to hear him talk about records. When he was one of 435 members of the United States House, he was one of 10 to vote against Head Start, one of four to vote against banning plastic weapons that can pass through metal detectors.
He voted against the Department of Education. He voted against funding for Meals on Wheels for seniors. He voted against a holiday for Martin Luther King. He voted against a resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
It's amazing to hear him criticize either my record or John Kerry's.
: Thirty seconds.
: Oh, I think his record speaks for itself. And frankly, it's not very distinguished.
: In that case, we'll move on to domestic matters. And this question, I believe, goes to Senator -- to Vice President Cheney.
Next, Cheney talks about his membership in a union as an electrical worker. This took place, of course, when he was working on the Death Star in the 70s.
Without mentioning them by name at all, explain to us why you are different from your opponent, starting with you, Mr. Vice President.
: Why I am different from John Edwards. Well, in some respects, I think, probably there are more similarities than there are differences in our personal story.
I don't talk about myself very much, but I've heard Senator Edwards, and as I listen to him, I find some similarities.
I come from relatively modest circumstances. My grandfather never even went to high school. I'm the first in my family to graduate from college.
I carried a ticket in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for six years. I've been laid off, been hospitalized without health insurance. So I have some idea of the problems that people encounter.
So the Galactic Empire was using union labor. Unions be powerful with the force!
VEEP DEBATE DISCUSSION: RADIO
Krasny is spending an hour on it right now (10am-11am PST).
Listen to it live from a link on this page
; their archive, which will have the program in an hour or two, is here
THAT SPECIAL GAY MOMENT
It was kinda weird when Edwards started talking about Cheney's gay daughter. I was waiting for Cheney to lunge across the table, hands clutching at Edwards' neck.
Just like that, every social conservative watching was reminded that the vice president raised a gay daughter and that he refuses to condemn homosexuality. And just like that, Edwards staked out the reasonable position that committed gay couples should be able to visit each other in the hospital. Cheney, knowing that the best possible outcome would be for this to disappear into the ether of debate moments that nobody discusses, then punts:
: Mr. Vice President, you have 90 seconds.
: Well, Gwen, let me simply thank the senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter. I appreciate that very much.
: That's it?
: That's it.
It's sort of a shame that the debate rules didn't mandate that all blocks of time be used to their fullest. Another 80 seconds of Cheney highlighting his own untenable position on such a flash point would have been devastating.
I thought Cheney looked classy for a moment, which was vaguely unnerving.
VEEP DEBATE ROUNDUP
Unlike Monstrachaka in comments, I think it was a draw at best for the Repubs. Edwards was too appealing and he landed some serious punches. The big mo of Big John continues.
thought it was Edwards in a landslide:
Boy was I ever wrong. If last Thursday night's debate was an assisted suicide for president Bush, this debate - just concluded - was a car wreck. And Cheney was road-kill. There were times when it was so overwhelming a debate victory for Edwards that I had to look away. I have to do C-SPAN now, but stay tuned for more post-debate blogging in a little while.
Even when he admitted
that he finds Cheney sexier...
...Kevin Drum has this
You know, after taking the time to write all this stuff down, I'm beginning to think Edwards did better than I initially gave him credit for. Basically, he put Cheney on the defensive on Iraq and demonstrated clear superiority on domestic issues. That's not bad.
So score it a modest victory for Edwards, especially since he was the one who had to prove he could hold his own. It probably won't make a big difference in the polls, but even a small difference could be important. The Kerry team is probably pretty happy with how things went tonight, and it definitely puts additional pressure on Bush to perform well on Friday.
...Kos has the instant polls
CBS News tracked the reactions to tonight's vice-presidential debate of a nationwide panel of 169 uncommitted voters - voters who could change their minds before Election Day. Here are the initial results. This scientific poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 7 percentage points:
By 41% to 29%, uncommitted debate watchers say Edwards won the debate tonight.
Who won? (among debate viewers)
So ABC has Cheney winning. Um, until you look at what follows:
Party ID of debate viewers
Whoops! A seven-point gap in debate viewers' party ID and an eight-point Cheney win. Well.
CHENEY DURING THE DEBATES
He looks as if gravity affects him twice as much as anyone else. Dude likes to hunch. Let's be honest.
A good debate for both sides thus far, I think. Edwards sounds good to me. Cheney tends to drone in a monotone that had me daydreaming. No knockouts at this point. It'll be a draw, I'd expect.
I was at the protests to the Republican National Convention in NYC. While I was there, I saw countless signs reflecting variations of the theme "Bush Lied -- Who Died?"
Bush was never this administration's liar-in-chief, however. It was, and has always been, Dick Cheney. Most importantly, Dick is the one who has continued to assert a link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda. And people have believed him.
Edwards has a lot to cover. He can pick from: the lies, the war bungling, the Halliburton profiteering, the energy coverup, the Plame affair, the obscenity, the cherrypicking of intelligence, etc. I'm reminded of what I thought were the failings of Fahrenheit 9/11 -- that there were simply too many allegations in the movie for it to feel
credible, though they all may have been true. I hope Edwards will refuse the lure of throwing everything
at Cheney to see what will stick. He needs two or three themes, and he needs to repeat them again and again. And again.
I love watching these debates. I almost fainted with the adrenaline rush that surged through me before last Thursday's mauling.
CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS
Did you know:
that there have been acts of vandalism and arson against Kerry offices in Lousisana?
that there have been acts of violence against protesters at Bush events?
that your car isn't safe (if you have a Kerry sticker)?
You might not see these on Drudge. But you would know all of this if you were reading David Neiwert's blog.
His essay on fascism and the Republican Party is definitely worth a read. Part I is here. Have a cup of coffee first.
RETURN OF THE KING
Salto back online at home.
That is all.