Sunday, October 31, 2004
*** Media

Billmon is back!!

This is tremendous news indeed. Be sure to read all of his recent posts (beginning October 29). He's focusing on trends towards facism at this point. I sure hope he keeps it going, even if he can't post as often as he did before. We will defininetly need him after the election whichever way it goes.
Friday, October 29, 2004
* Politics

Sorry readers that I've been so busy lately. Obviously much is going on and I'm sure you're getting your fill of content from other news sources and blogs.

In the meantime, if you're thinking about the polls, you need to realize that they are mostly bogus. As this Washington Post article notes, people are screening pollsters calls and avoiding them. Not to mention the cell phone only folks, plus the people who just lie for the fun of it.

I'm pretty happy with the way the election looks, but given the uncertain state of polls, you can't be too overconfident. If Bush manages to somehow pull off Hawaii, Jersey, Wisconsin, or Michigan, it could get ugly.

That being said, I'm going to predict a clean sweep for Kerry in the swing states, except for one outlier that will go to Bush (don't know which one). I do not think that there will be litigation that will decide this election. Why? Turnout. It will be unprecedented this year. Even if a good percentage of a new voters don't vote, a good percentage will, and Kerry holds a decisive advantage there.

Another prediction: on November 3 the newspapers will be doing a lot of talk about the youth vote. I'm from the slacker generation, and it looks like we will remain the slackers -- the youngsters are going to be more politically vocal than we are.

In any event, I may very well post again before the election, but if not I wanted to quickly get down my thoughts for posterity. Unlike Chimpy, I don't mind being held accountable.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
* Politics

Winning the spin war in the final week of the election is critical. Given how close this election is, the candidate with the momentum during the final week is likely to win. The good news is that we're winning easily this week. Yesterday's news was all about the missing explosives in Iraq and Clinton's entry onto the campaign trail.

It looks to me like the Clinton story has legs for today, and now we've also got the need for $70 million more in funding for Iraq plus the plan to send in another 22,000 troops. Meanwhile, Bush is having a hard time getting airplay for his message.

Hats off to team Kerry for grabbing the initiative at this critical time. I hope they have a plan for the end of the week as well. If it were me, I'd push the 22,000 troops and the potential for a draft.
Friday, October 22, 2004
* Flu

I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to keep talking about flu vaccines. Today's NYTimes article on the subject shows that the Bush administration continues to lie about its lack of preparedness. Juxtapose this:
"We don't know where, when or how many flue vaccines have come into our areas or whether it's on the way," Mary Selecky, secretary or health for Washington State, said Thursday.
with this:
[Tommy] Thompson said the Bush administration had drastically increased spending on the flu. "We are prepared," he said.
So the bottom line is that local and state health officials still have no idea what's going on, what to tell peopole who need shots, or when or whether they'll even get vaccines. In the meantime, all the Bush administration can do is try to shift the blame. In that light, here's my favorite quote from the article:
Bill Pierce, a spokesman for Health and Human Services, said, "We're resisting the temptation to blame anybody, and we hope others do, too."
I just don't understand why Kerry isn't making more hay out of this.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
* Entertainment

NYTimes preview of The Incredibles. I can't wait.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
* Flu

I worked from home today with CNN on in the background. The flu vaccine shortage is definitely the main thing being talked about (although it's far from the only thing). This is a good issue for Kerry. The Republicans are trying to blame it on Kerry for his supposed opposition to tort reform, but the attacks ring hollow. In the meantime, the Democrats can just say: "you knew about this for three years, where's the vaccine?" Democrats are also pushing the line that the Republicans are refusing to take responsibility here, as usual, and tying it into larger campaign themes.

And Tommy Thompson is a horrible speaker and looks like a total idiot.

Incidentally, I may have been the very first blogger to suggest that Kerry use this issue. I posted a diary about this on Kos the day of the second debate, when the story first broke, but it didn't go anywhere. I was a bit too far ahead of the curve. Some people thought it was out of left field when this issue was mentioned in the third debate. Kerry should have been on it before then.
** Draft

U.S. Has Contingency Plans for a Draft of Medical Workers.

I don't want to scare any of my readers unnecessarily, but if a skills draft does happen, the next group to get nailed will probably be software developers. It looks like the age range for the medical skills draft would be 18 - 44. My guess is that they'd go for younger programmers, but it would still probably be something like 18 - 35.

I'm turning 35 in November, not that they're likely to look for negotiators like myself. Still, if I had a skill that the government wanted, I would be looking at Canadian immigration policies if Bush is reelected.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
* Post Debate Roundup

We lost the post-debate spin for the third debate. Let's admit it. Mary Cheney has been the main story today.

Oh well. Let's put this in perspective. Kerry won all three debates outright. Not only that, he won the post-debate spin for the first two debates, not a small feat given the corporate media bias that generally favors Bush. You gotta give the Kerry campaign credit. You can't expect to win everything, and losing one post-debate spin cycle is far from the end of the world.

Even in perspective, though, losing today's news cycle was pretty bad. Based on his debate performance, Kerry had seemingly assured himself of headlines like "Kerry Prevails in Debates.". Instead, he's getting Kerry Lesbian Remark Angers Cheneys.

Was it worth it? Because let's also admit that it was not an accident. This was a strategic choice. In fact, it was so intentional that John Edwards even sent up a trial balloon up in the VP debate.
Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy.
This remark won more points for Cheney than it did for Edwards. Although Cheney was polite and the Republicans didn't go into attack mode, Edwards did get some bad press, including, for example:
I got the heebie jeebies when he smarmily praised Cheney for having a gay daughter. Why was that Edwards' business (if he didn't have the guts to then accuse Cheney of abandoning his own child)?.
So the Kerry campaign knew that people were watching this closely. Moreover, they had to know that they couldn't go around continuously mentioning Mary Cheney's lesbianism without getting some sort of reaction from the Administration. So why did they risk the "outrage" attack from the Cheneys?

Here's my theory: the Kerry campaign is probably seeing some numbers that show damage from the gay marriage issue. There are surely a large number of fiscally conservative blue collar white men who are opposed to the Iraq war and Bush's misuse of 911, but can't quite bring themselves to vote for a candidate like Kerry who is ok with gay marriage. Kerry is losing these votes, but what can he do to win them back? He can't very well go around saying "vote for me anyway, lesbianism really isn't that big of a deal".

But wait. Kerry (and Edwards) have now forced the word "lesbian" into acceptable (and even mandatory) fodder for water cooler discussion. For the next day or two, people are going to be talking about Mary Cheney, Dick Cheney, John Kerry, and lesbianism. A big part of these discussions will concern whether Kerry was acting politically in tarnishing Mary Cheney. The right will push this hard. The main refrain is going to be Dick Cheney's line: "You saw a man who will do and say anything to get elected".

Meanwhile, the discussions will go on and suddenly lesbianism isn't going to seem all that bad, is it. "Poor Mary Cheney" they'll say. "Dragged around for politics." "She doesn't deserve that." "Lesbians are people too." And suddenly John Kerry's position on gay marriage doesn't seem so bad, does it? "Fine" they'll say, "maybe Kerry shouldn't be playing so dirty, but Bush is even worse. Why are even thinking about voting for Bush anyway".

Anyway, hopefully this is the thinking out of the Kerry camp. Because if it was an accident, they threw away a key day of post debate spin and hurt themselves in the process.
* Politics

Debate score: four points for Loudocracy! Yes, I will take a moment to pat myself on the back for my pre-debate predictions, which, the morning after, look 100% accurate.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
* Politics

Third debate predictions from Loudocracy:I see it as being kind of the the third installment of the Lord of the Rings movies. Was it really better than the first two? Not in my humble opinion. But it still won best picture when the other two did not, since it wrapped up a great trilogy.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
** Iraq

Click here for my Kos diary entry entitled "Pentagon Admits to Engaging in Terrorism in Falluja".

I guess while I'm at it I should mention to devoted readers of my blog, that I often post on Kos without mentioning it here. I have sort of a different audience there, but if you are interested I recommend that you register with Kos and subscribe to my diary there.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
* Politics

Anger appears to be the main lefty theme after the second debate. Some have suggested a new name for the President: Furious George. Very nice, as it cobines the Chimpy reference with the anger theme.
Friday, October 08, 2004
** Politics

Today's version of Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing (which I read almost every day) is definitely worth a read today. He shows how Bush tends to say the words "of course" right before telling a big lie. We should watch out for this at the debate tonight. Maybe make it part of the drinking game, since surely he won't be using the "hard work" term anymore.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
* Bush

Mockery of Bush, stolen straight from Atrios

* VP Debate Roundup

Really, this is just one item in a relatively bad week for the Bush side. The week started off with Kerry scoring from his win in last week's debate and the good poll numbers. The week continued with the VP debate, comments from Bremmer and Rumsfeld, and the WMD report. The week will end with another Presidential debate.

One story that hasn't quite made the rounds yet, but could, is an expansion on the "Cheney lied about meeting Edwards" theme. It turns out that not only has Cheney met Edwards a bunch of times, but he was actually lying about his attendance in the Senate on Tuesdays too. The real reason that Cheney almost never saw Edwards in the Senate is the Cheney himself has blown off that duty way more times than Edwards missed a day at the office. In fact, you could count on one hand the number of times that Cheney presided over the Senate on a Tuesday in the last few years. I don't know if the Kerry campaign will be able to get this story into the mainstream press. The VP debate story is way yesterday's news already. But if it does come out, it could be the type of thing that leaves an impression
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
* Presidential Debate Addendum

One more bullet point to add to my list from Friday:
Also, click here for my Kos diary entry suggesting that Kerry call Bush "the Incumbent" at the next debate.
Friday, October 01, 2004
* Iraq

Here's a belated link to a fascinating Rolling Stone article about a mercenary in Iraq.
* Debate Bottom Line

This puppy is going to be decided in October.

Update (12:10 p.m.): You gotta check out this Faces of Frustration video that was compiled by the DNC. Great, great stuff.
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