The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Sunday, August 29, 2004


Some quick hits:

--The Republican National Convention starts tomorrow. Sadly, Tinky Winky Falwell won't be giving the opening invocation, as that honor has fallen elsewhere. Hope that conservative GOP base enjoys the steady stream of pro-choice Catholic politicians making primetime speeches. We'll have some real coverage starting tomorrow.

Dear Protesters: Please, for the love of Jeebus, don't break anything! You're doing alright so far, keep it up.

--I'm a little late to the show on the issue of a possible Israeli mole in the Pentagon. It seems like a story tailor-made for snark ("you know, he could've cut out the middleman and called up Ahmed"). The United States and Israel are, for better/worse, allies. Thing is, we're one of very few allies for Israel, so for them to damage their credibility with their best friend doesn't seem terribly wise.

Super-snarky point nobody is making: The goal of the apparent espionage was intelligence about Iran's nuclear program. There's no evidence that Israel has ever tried to sneak out info on an Iraqi nuclear program. Well at least somebody had their priorities straight!

I like how some people are accusing those who leaked this as having political timing in mind, with the RNC starting Monday. But of course, this isn't a big deal: Nobody stuffed anything into their clothes!

--My unlikely brainchild, the "Coalition Vs." Olympic medal count, is turning into quite a nailbiter.

--While the situation in Najaf has calmed down a bit -- and I'm not sure what we really accomplished with our operation there -- Falluja and western Iraq are still big problems.

--The Olympics are just about over. What silly nonsense have we witnessed?
--Jim Lampley using the phrase "socialist sports machine" to describe Cuba and the former Soviet countries

--C'mon America, let's all pretend to care about synchronized diving and badminton together!

--I am having serious, serious beach volleyball fatigue. Especially with Kylie Minogue and Jamiroquai songs blasting between every point.

--Too bad there weren't any French judges involved in the usual scoring controversies this time. That way, the neocons would really be into these games. Ah well.

--Not nearly enough prime-time fencing, tae kwon do or judo. Then again, I didn't watch that much, so I don't know for sure.

--The only comprehensively attractive women in the Olympics are the rhythmic gymnasts. Why? Because they weren't good enough to be actual regular gymnasts as they grew up, so they didn't train as ridiculously hard, allowing their bodies to, you know, actually go through puberty.
--The Associated Press got through an entire story about "The Internet at 35" without making some kind of Al Gore joke. That's a good sign.

--By pretty much every account, the race for President is dead-even. This is a change from a week or two ago, when the consensus was that Kerry was up by a little bit. The point-A-to-point-B analysis floating around is that the swift boat controversy is the cause of the shift. While I am convinced that the vast bulk of what O'Neill, Hoffman and their buddies have to say is utter bunk, I do concede that it's possible their efforts have affected the race.

My blanket opinion on SBVT, which can be applied to pretty much any issue within the issue, is as follows: If they were just "Swift Boat Vets Who Are Pissed Off About That Stuff John Kerry Said At A Senate Hearing In 1971", that would be both fine and fair game, though I though I think going after what Kerry said about the Wildly Popular In Historical Hindsight War in Vietnam might not be the best political strategy in the world. Anything SBVT says that isn't related to the testimony should simply be ignored. By me. Not by the Kerry camp and MoveOn and other active bodies who need to refute this stuff.

Another blanket observation, this time about the 2004 campaign. In general, when the public is focused on the big issues -- Iraq, the economy -- Bush goes down and Kerry goes up. However, when the public is generally focused on tangentially-relevant minutia -- whose medals Kerry tossed 33 years ago, SBVT's baseless and often false accusations -- Kerry goes down and Bush goes up. Hmm. Maybe this is how elections are won, but I wouldn't go to bed at night feeling good about it.

--Lastly, I'm inching back to work next door at the California Patriot Watch, and I'm still updating my LiveJournal.


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