The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, February 21, 2004


Rest in peace, Spot.
Presidnt Bush's dog Spot, the 15-year-old English springer spaniel who had remained eager to please despite increasing health troubles, died Saturday. Bush and his wife, Laura, went along with a veterinarian's recommendation to put Spotty, as the longtime Bush family pet was known, to sleep, according to White House spokesman Allen Abney. She had suffered a series of strokes recently, including one this week, he said.
So, Bush had his dog euthanized.

Does Bush even have the slightest care for the sanctity of life? How dare he interfere in God's plan! We'll be waiting for the Kevorkian pardon anytime now. And it's too bad ol' Jeb didn't get a chance to intervene.

We at The Facts Machine are "troubled" by President Bush's lack of respect for the sanctity of life.

Nader's probably in, and Paul Bruno is on the case, complete with a humorous picture that reminds me of a scene from Dave.

The Fox story is going on word from some Nader advisors. His official announcement of his intentions will be tomorrow morning, when he makes an appearance on . . . Meet the friggin Press???

Isn't that a microcosm of what's fundamentally wrong about Nader's candidacy?

Ralph will sit down with Tim Russert, the person who most exemplifies the disparity between how the So Called Liberal Media treats Democrats and Republicans (Timmy was MWO's Whore of the Year, by the way.). Either Nader is showing a blind-spot for this disparity, or he means to.

My sense -- and this is totally subjective, and relative to the experiences I've had among liberal student communities, such as within the USCA -- is that while the average potential Nader voter knows enough not to fully trust the United States media, particularly the television media, he/she might have forest-trees issues with those who uphold non-corporate journalistic standards, even while operating under the blanket designation of "the media". Helen Thomas asking a question at a White House briefing is very, very different from Jim Angle, or even David "Stretch" Gregory doing so. Being interviewed by Aaron Brown is, in fact, rather different from being interviewed by Tim Russert, or heck, Bill O'Reilly. So why isn't Ralph announcing his intentions on ABC's This Week, hosted by a much more even-handed interviewer, George Stephanopoulos? (Oh wait, I know why: Ralph supported the Republican-led impeachment of President Clinton)

Maybe this is a consequence of your average SB liberal or Berkeley co-oper not regularly watching cable news, which is, no doubt, a very valid and respectable life choice. Maybe this is a case of blogger triumphalism: A lot of college-age bloggers are really into this sort of thing. But regardless of his soon-to-be-announced intentions, Ralph's talking to Tim Russert about the relative congruency of the two parties in America sends a message to me, but I don't know if some of the people who might constitute his voting base will receive the same message.

But let's make as much good of a bad situation as possible: As long as Russert's gonna be the one asking the questions, could he please, please put together one of his happy little charts, outlining Duverger's Law?

Of course, I feel sad for the political party whose vote will be split by Nader's candidacy. Funny, how Ralph Nader may be positioning himself to become the largest obstacle to the Green Party reaching the 5% plateau required for federal funds.

UCSB's daily student-run paper printed this photo from Representative Lois Capps' (D-CA) appearance at last tuesday's UCSB Campus Democrats meeting:

The khaki pants immediately behind Capps belong to yours truly! (here's a link to the brief story, merely a caption to the picture)

Capps covered a wide variety of topics in her visit to the meeting, including how that night's Democratic victory in Kentucky might affect the 2004 election cycle in a way similar to the way the special election that brought Capps to Washington in 1998 set the tone for that election cycle, when the Dems picked up a number of seats in the House. She also discussed a variety of environmental issues, notably her efforts to combat the Bush administration's efforts to gut the budget for national forests.

Lastly, in the back of the picture, the man with outstretched, crossed ankles, wearing a jeans and a denim jacket is John Buttny, candidate for 3rd district Supervisor in Santa Barbara County. If you're a registered voter in Isla Vista, Buellton or the Santa Ynez Valley, he's the man for you. Check him out.

Friday, February 20, 2004

A hilarious shorter Tom Friedman over at Busy Busy Busy.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Obviously, Bill O'Reilly's marriage has been seriously denigrated.

Okay, before I run off to do a variety of things this weekend...

I guess the SF Chron and the photographers for Reuters were feeling bittersweet about Dean's departure for the race.

This is the photo the Chron put on page A1, above the fold, to go with the article summarizing Dean's withdrawl from the race:

Not to be outdone, here's AP's attempt:


POSTSCRIPT: Looking at the two photos, it's possible that both were taken at right about the same moment. Gee, what were they looking for?

A variety of committments will keep me occupied through monday. If you expect no blogging from me during that time period, then you will not be disappointed, and may yet be pleasantly surprised.

Please choose from my extensive list of links on the left side of this blog for lots of informa-goodness.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Ah good, some cold water to be thrown on the Giuliani Veep rumors.

(link via hesiod)
Kevin Drum has a pretty comprehensive wrap-up of the controversy surrounding Bush's military service, and his continuing reluctancy (despite last week's document purge), to release the documents necessary to fully resolve the issue.

Basically, in a couple of weeks of discussion of the issue, the question went from "where was Bush for a year?" to "where was Bush for six months?"

Conservative blogger John Cole tries to rain on Kevin's parade, suggesting that his entire case rests on the word of one man (Bill Burkett, the person claiming that he heard Bush's people discussing the "cleansing" of his record). Of course, the only evidence anyone has come up with that even slightly suggests that Bush was present in Alabama from May to November of 1972 is the word of one man, John Calhoun, who has not only shown himself to be not credible, but in direct contradiction to the line pushed by the White House.

Nevermind, of course, that any number of documents, outside of the word of Burkett, could clear this all up, as Kevin mentions:
Where is his final Officer Efficiency Report? His pay stubs? The Flight Inquiry Board report after he was grounded for missing his physical?

A new poll from USA Today, CNN and Gallup gives Kerry a double-digit lead over Bush (55-43), growing his lead from 8% a couple of weeks ago. Edwards holds a 54-44 advantage.

Yeah yeah yeah, it's still early. Nevertheless, short of capturing Bin Laden and parading him around Madison Square Garden, I'm not sure what Bush can do of substance to really turn it around. Jesse has more thoughts along those lines.
I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't be laughing at this, and I'm likely to vote for Kerry in less than two weeks, but the picture is just too funny.
Uh, Mickey?
The lesson of 1992 wasn't that sex shouldn't be dredged up. It's that voters need to know about philandering. Clinton's philandering in fact heavily impacted both his terms in office. First, his wife had the goods on him, which encouraged him to defer to her in giving her health care plan priority over welfare reform and defending it past the moment of compromise--the biggest mistakes of his first four years, mistakes that led directly to GOP control of the Congress.
Frankly, sir, you are on crack. I can't think of anything else that would explain this. The idea that Hillary blackmailed Bill into giving her control of the Health Care bill is idiotic paranoia to the extreme.

More sound theory for an audience not consisting of people arriving from Bill and Hillary believed very strongly in universal health care, perhaps to a fault given the political climate, and thought they could do more with the Democratic legislative majorities than they actually could, and combined with a fierce mobilization by the Republicans, the GOP was able to turn the tables in 1994.
David Niewert explains, pretty clearly, why AWOL matters. In short, "It's the character and the arrogance, stupid!"

Bush just used it.
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Wednesday he was "troubled" by gay weddings in San Francisco and by legal decisions in Massachusetts that could clear the way for same-sex marriage. But he declined to say whether he is any closer to backing a constitutional ban on such vows.

"I have watched carefully what's happening in San Francisco, where licenses were being issued, even though the law states otherwise," Bush said. "I have consistently stated that I'll support law to protect marriage between a man and a woman. Obviously these events are influencing my decision."

"I am watching very carefully, but I am troubled by what I've seen," Bush said.

He didn't answer directly when asked whether he is any closer to endorsing a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages, as conservative groups say the White House has assured them Bush will do.

"I strongly believe marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman," Bush said during an Oval Office session with Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. "I am troubled by activist judges who are defining marriage."

"People need to be involved in this decision," Bush said. "Marriage ought to be defined by the people not by the courts. And I'm watching it carefully."
Hmm, the President of Tunisia. How are homosexuals doing there?
status of homosexuality: illegal
age of consent: 20
laws covering homosexual activity: Article 230 [of the Penal Code of 1913 (largely modified in 1964)] decrees imprisonment of up to three years for sodomy between consenting adults. (Arno Schmitt and Jehoeda Sofer - "Sexuality and Eroticism Among Males in Moslem Societies") ILGA

The Pink Book states that Article 230 covers both women and men.

transgender rights
December 22, 1993: The Appeal Court of Tunis dismissed the request of a transsexual to change his civil status...

background information and government attitudes: one gay man is known to have been granted asylum in 1996/7 by the US (GLAS)
So Bush is "troubled" by the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, including couples that had been together for upwards of fifty years, who were in positive relationships based on love, and wanted the simple decency of equal treatment under the United States Constitution?

Yet Bush is not "troubled" to make this comment while sitting next to the leader of a country where homosexuality is flat-out illegal?

This is a man with a well-developed moral compass?

UPDATE: O-Dub has an interesting take on this.

...think that the entire world was once flooded, and that a guy put two of every animal on a boat and sailed around for 40 days until the waters receded?* (link to #s, link to story)
An ABC News poll released Sunday found that 61 percent of Americans believe the account of creation in the Bible's book of Genesis is "literally true" rather than a story meant as a "lesson."

Sixty percent believe in the story of Noah's ark and a global flood, while 64 percent agree that Moses parted the Red Sea to save fleeing Jews from their Egyptian captors.

The poll, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points, was conducted Feb. 6 to 10 among 1,011 adults.
Jeebus! I know virtually none of the 61% of America that thinks the Earth was created in six days, save for the loons I met during my brief stint in 2000 with UCSB's chapter of Campus Jihad Crusade for Christ. (The highlight: Going on a "prayer-walk" and listening to some nut-bar pray that the biology department turn away from teaching evolution and realize "god's true vision". Oh boy.)

So this must mean that there's a huge chunk of America (the middle, the south, etc) where there must be a near-100% infection rate with this allegorical drivel?

(You might notice that I'm not a very big fan of young-earth creationism, by the way.)

How to explain these results? They could be a product of how the question itself was asked. The alternate choice aside from literal interpretation in the survey was, according to the Washington Times (hmm), as a "lesson" (or maybe as a "symbolic lesson", the article isn't very clear). To a person with strong religious convictions, perhaps this language could be seen as either condescending or ambiguous, or both even. A person could conceivably be strongly Christian and believe the creation story to be very important to their beliefs, yet not necessarily a literal recounting of actual events. The respondent thinks that calling the stories "lessons" shortchanges their importance, yet the only other non-literal-interpretation response allowed by the survey question is "no opinion". Since the deeply religious respondent doesn't want to be seen as not having an opinion on the matter, they gravitate towards the "literal" answer, as it is less condescending to the stories.

In other words, whether ABC (the network of "In Search of Jesus", if you remember) meant to or not, the question was framed in a way where strongly-religious people who don't necessarily believe in literal interpretations of Genesis and Exodus might respond to a survey that they do.

Lastly, for those 61% who believe the creation is literal, what are they to make of this?
The farthest object in the Universe yet detected has been seen by scientists using the Hubble and Keck telescopes.

It is so distant its light must have set out when the Universe was just 750m years old to reach the Earth now.

Details of the discovery were revealed by a team of astrophysicists from the California Institute of Technology.

They said the work underlined again the remarkable capabilities of Hubble and called on Nasa to reverse its decision to stop servicing the telescope.

The US space agency has confirmed it will not send another shuttle to upgrade the space telescope, which probably means Hubble has no more than three years of full observations ahead of it.
750m years means 750 million years, in case you weren't sure. So is this a crock of shit then, fundies? And is this why y'all might have an interest in discarding the space shuttle program, and thus the Hubble, to instead sent mission(aries) to Mars?

* - and Noah wasn't even on a speedboat! ("you could shoot across the water much faster. there'd be great photos for the bible")

Oh, and do these people believe that Noah put every one of the hundreds of thousands of species of insects on that boat, keeping track of each? They're animals too, right?

I was about to post on this Saletan column about how Edwards' crossover votes from Republicans in open primaries means that he has a better chance of beating Bush than Kerry does, but not only did Hesiod beat me to it, but he makes a lot of good points, ones that I intended to make.
The only problem with this is that, in every single national poll, John Kerry ALWAYS does better than Edwards in a head to head matchup with Bush.

How can that be? How can Edwards pull in so many Republican and independents in Wisconsin, for example, yet not be as close as Kerry is to Bush in national polls?

Simple. Many Republicans (and some independents) are voting for Edwards to hurt Kerry, drag out the Democratic nominating process, and help Bush in the fall. It's not too hard to figure this out. And, Wisconsin's very liberal voter registration law, which allows you to register to vote AT YOUR POLLING PLACE ON THE DAY OF THE ELECTION, made that state's primary particularly susceptible to these shenanigans.

There is a recent precedent, incidentally, which supports this theory: The 2000 GOP Primary in Michigan.

I know for a FACT that many, many Democrats turned out in droves to vote for John McCain as a way to screw then Governor John Engler and to throw a monkey wrench into the GOP nominating process. It was also a way to poison the well between Bush and McCain further and dissuade McCain from accepting a slot as Bush's Vice President.

In fact, both my wife and I voted for McCain knowing that we'd both be voting for Al Gore (and did so) in November of 2000.

Now, what about the other states Saleton cites? Of them, only Missouri, and New Hampshire will be "swing" states in November. In those two states, Kerry killed Edwards among independents and did well enough among Republicans.
There's a bit more there too.

UPDATE: Wearing his Tapped hat, Yglesias has more thoughts on the subject.
Edwards, after all, hasn't yet had to face the sort of onslaught from the right that's been directed at Kerry over the past few weeks, so it stands to reason that folks disillusioned by Bush but not temperamentally disinclined toward the Democrats would feel warm and fuzzy about him at this point. Would that hold up in an actual campaign? Maybe -- his stump skills are impressive, his regional background is ideal, and unlike Kerry he doesn't have a long voting record that can be thrown back at him. On the other hand, the flipside of this point is that he doesn't have much in the way of experience -- especially national security experience.
Unfortunately, though, the constant factor isn't Kerry's vulnerability to attack, it's the Bush campaign's constant propensity to attack any Democrat who gets the nomination.
Did Scott McClellan lie in yesterday's press briefing?
Q Why a National Guard event now? Why having the President's picture taken with National Guard troops now?

MR. McCLELLAN: This is an event that's been in the works for several weeks. And the President -- the President recognizes his most important responsibility is to protect the American people and our troops. Both those in the Armed Forces and those in our reserve units and Guard are playing an important role in helping us confront the dangerous threats that we face, and make the world a safer and better place.

So this is an opportunity to not only thank our troops, but thank their families, and also provide them an update in the war on terrorism. They're involved in a very important cause, and the President is forever grateful for their service and sacrifice.

Q By several weeks, you mean before the Democrats raised questions about the President's service?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, yes.

Q It has nothing to do with that whole controversy, his visit here today?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, this has to do with the President thanking our troops for their service and sacrifice in an important cause.
But then, via Atrios, there's this:
President Bush, dogged by questions about his Vietnam-era service in the Air National Guard, surrounded himself with a sea of military olive and beige yesterday, touting his credentials as commander in chief at an Army base that has sent thousands of troops to Afghanistan and Iraq and lunching with a soon-to-be-deployed group of guardsmen.

White House officials said Bush's campaign-style stop at Fort Polk had nothing to do with the controversy over gaps in his service record with the Air National Guard between May 1972 and May 1973.

"This event has been in the works for several weeks," White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said.

But one officer at the base said Fort Polk received orders last week to begin preparing for the president's visit.
Fascinating. The Bush administration would never time an event, or schedule one, for political gain would they?

Apparently the plan, which will be announced in a press conference at 10 AM Pacific, is to stop campaigning but leave his name on the ballot.
The move would allow his supporters to continue to vote for him in the upcoming primaries and have a say at the Democratic National Convention in July.


Dean's decision comes after he insisted for days that he would not drop out if he lost in Wisconsin. But his top advisors agreed that it would be futile for him to stay in the race after suffering a slew of defeats.

The mood was already nostalgic among members of Dean's staff, who greeted him when he arrived in Burlington early today with chants of "Dean! Dean! Dean" and calls of "Welcome home!" They embraced the former governor, who appeared relaxed and at peace with his decision.

"You guys are the best," he said.

As he stood on the airport tarmac in the frosty early morning air, Dean did not let on that he had made the decision to withdraw, at one point joking that he was going to campaign next in Hawaii.
He was also vague Tuesday night when he thanked a few hundred supporters assembled in a hotel ballroom in Madison, Wis.

But he struck a reflective tone in a 20-minute speech to supporters, reminding them of what they have accomplished.

"I know that some of you are disappointed because we didn't do as well as we had hoped we would do in Wisconsin, but I also want you to think for a moment about how far we have come," Dean said.

"The truth is, change is tough," he added. "You have already started to change the Democratic Party, and we will not stop."

(snip, probably something about the Iowa speech)

Instead, the candidate delivered what aides and others agreed was one of his finest speeches — combining fond reminiscences of his two years on the campaign trail with a determined call for the Democratic Party not to abandon the issues he brought to the fore.

"We together have only begun our work," he said, gazing out at the crowd. "People have said that we have begun to transform the Democratic Party…. But the transformation that we have wrought is a transformation of convenience and not of conviction, and we have to fight and fight and fight."
Back before Iowa, when Dean was trouncing everybody in the national polls, people were wondering how solid his 40% support really was. With this announcement, we'll get to see how solid his 10-15% support really is.

You get the feeling from this decision that Howard Dean envisions himself as king-maker in the party, that those 10-15% supporters, and those delegates of his could eventually tip the scales between Kerry and Edwards.

My guess is, however, that Dean's totals in future primaries will not reach double digits, and probably wont top 5-6%. And the reason is: It's not just Dean the person/candidate that voters fell for so early in the campaign, myself included. It's also what he represented in the campaign: Stronger opposition to the extreme policies and fiscal/foreign bungling of the Bush administration, and a much stronger Democratic Party backbone. Those two effects have played out to grand effect, and once that was completed (early this year), energized voters in the Democratic base found that it was "safe" to vote for Kerry/Edwards/etc again. Dean has made the candidacy of John Kerry immeasurably stronger, and in doing so, given the current security climate, ceded much of his chance at the nomination to the Senator from Massachusetts.

In short, Dean's re-energization of Kerry gave Dean's soft supporters a reason to support Kerry. With Dean's de facto dropout, will he give his soft supporters reason as well?

(or will he endorse Edwards, throwing a wrench in the whole situation, and possibly changing the complexion of the remaining primary campaign?)

POSTSCRIPT: Of course, this means that Dean is technically keeping his promise to not drop out after Wisconsin.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004


If the Democratic 2004 campaign were analagous to the war raged against the bug civilization of Klandathu in the Verhoeven's Starship Troopers, then today's events in Kentucky would constitute the early victory on Planet P, followed by the evening's party, in which Ace plays his neon violin, some guy tells Rico that he "kills bugs good", and Dizzy finally gets her man for ten, no, make that twenty minutes.

Yes, for the first time in more than a decade, a Democrat has won a special election for Congress. Ben Chandler beat, no, trounced Republican Alice Kerr by a dozen percentage points to fill the seat vacated by now-Governor Ernie Fletcher.

Why is this a big deal? Because Kerr based her campaign strategy on close association with the record of George W Bush. By doing so, her numbers, well, tanked. This rendered the election, in the view of many, as a referendum on Bushian policy. Some agree with this sentiment, while others assert a different opinion, on the expected party lines, as the AP account strives to convey:
Some Democrats claimed the race in Bluegrass country, home to horse and tobacco farms, had national implications.

Robert T. Matsui, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Chandler's victory was “a clear message to the arrogant Republican government in Washington that Americans are ready for a change” and that Republican policies “have totally failed to create jobs in Kentucky as in so many other states.”

But state Republican Party Chairwoman Ellen Williams suggested Chandler's name recognition was the key factor. “His name was in people's minds, and that makes a big difference,” she said.
Aww, poor Ellen. Right. Nevermind that just as the Democrats did as much as they could to help Chandler, the GOP threw as much as they could, up to and including the kitchen sink, into this race. And nevermind that this was a big slice of Kentucky, a state that gave Bush a 15-point margin of victory in 2000.

For another historical parallel, compare tonight's results to the special election that brought Representative Lois Capps to the US Congress in early 1998. After a string of defeats and blunted momentum on various issues for the Dems, this victory launched the first time ever that the party that controlled the White House gained Congressional seats in a midterm election.

Anyway, expect to see more instances of both
1) Congressional victories for Democrats, starting with Herseth in South Dakota, and
2) Political analysis based on Starship Troopers analogies.

At this precise moment (6:47 PM, Pacific Time), John Edwards leads John Kerry by precisely 3 votes, with 14% of precincts reporting. Dean's way back, so it looks like it's curtains for him tonight, though that's not a sure thing, as he's gone this far since New Hampshire without much hope.

I'll be going to the UCSB Campus Democrats meeting tonight at 8, which will also be attended by our Congressional Representative, Lois Capps. Actual analysis of the Wisconsin results will appear afterwards.

UPDATE: Kerry wins! With 71% in, he has a 25k lead on Edwards. More tonight...

UPDATE 2: Okay, it's tonight. Edwards did very well, but it all comes down to Super Tuesday. I hope Dean doesn't drop out, but I have a feeling he will.
John Kerry responds to Bush's first online campaign ad.
Hi everybody, I've essentially been away from blogging since thursday, and haven't had the opportunity to post much more than an occasional link and excerpt in the interim.

From friday's White House press gaggle, here's the bit on Bush's military service, and the apparent gaps still therein, despite the barrage of documents the White House released late last week. (Though the act of releasing one dental record and a couple paystubs before this "full release" seems to raise more suspicion than quell it)

Round One, in which the questioner attempts to trap Scotty and he evades:
Q Can I ask you a question, Scott? I just want to be absolutely clear on something here. The records that you released earlier this week on the President's Guard service state that he did not perform any Guard service in the third quarter of 1972. That's correct?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you have the records in front of you, and they state the dates on which he was paid. And you are paid for the days on which you serve.

Q So they state that between April 16th of 1972 and October 28th of 1972 he did no Guard duty.

MR. McCLELLAN: We've been through these issues, John, and we've provided you with the documents that show his service.

Q And do you believe that's correct, that he did no duty between April 16th and October 28th?

MR. McCLELLAN: John, I don't know why we need to go through this again. This issue we've been through earlier this week.

Q Well, the reason I bring up the question is that John Calhoun, who claims he was the person in charge of making sure that President Bush reported for duty at the 187th Tactical Recon Group, says that he saw the President several times on the base between May and October of 1972, yet there is no record of him being there, in terms of what you released earlier this week.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't speak for him. You would have to talk to Mr. Calhoun. I do not know him.

Q We did talk to Mr. Calhoun, and Mr. Calhoun said that he saw the President several times between May and October of 1972.

MR. McCLELLAN: And like I've said --

Q So I was just wondering, can you explain that discrepancy?

MR. McCLELLAN: And like I've said, the President doesn't recall the specific dates on which he performed his duties. He does remember serving both in Alabama and in Texas. During that entire period, he was a member of the Texas Air National Guard.

Q But the records that you released do recall quite specifically the days that the President served on. There's no record of his being there --

MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, these are National Guard records that document the President did serve during that time period. And that was an issue that was raised earlier this week.

Q Right. But the records clearly recall that he did no Guard duty between April 16th and October 28th. Yet, Mr. Calhoun says he saw him on the base at the 187th between May and October of '72. So there's a discrepancy here. I'm wondering if you can explain it?

MR. McCLELLAN: John, again, we've provided you with the records and the facts are in the records that we have.

Q A good point. Could the records be incomplete?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q Could the records be incomplete?

MR. McCLELLAN: Direct that question to the National Guard. These are the personnel records that we've received.

Q Scott, have you been through the entire personnel file now? And have you released everything you're going to release?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, like I said, that if there is additional information that comes to our attention that is relevant to the issue, we will certainly provide you with that information. That's a commitment that we've made.

Q But have you seen the entire file? That sounds like a reasonable question.

MR. McCLELLAN: Have I seen the entire file? I don't know the answer to that question at this point, because there is a possibility -- we have expected to receive additional documents from the National Guard. I think we just very recently received some additional documents, but I'm not sure if any of those documents are new. We're going to take a look at those. We'll take a look at those, and if there's new information relevant to the issue, then we will certainly provide you with that information.
and then Round Two, in which a brief changing of the subject is used against Scotty to show the political concerns of the administration:
Q Saturday, during the taping of the Tim Russert program, "Meet the Press," the President said something at the end -- many thought it was a very confident statement, at the least -- that he would not lose this election. That was Saturday. At 12:35 p.m. today, Friday, does he still feel that same way in the midst of all of this controversy, polls showing that he's at his lowest rating ever?

MR. McCLELLAN: Absolutely. You know, one, that's not something that he pays great attention to. What he's focused on is the decisions that we are making on behalf of the American people. And the decisions that the President is making are the right decisions for the American people. They are decisions that are making our country more secure and more prosperous and they are decisions that are leading to a safer and better world.

Q But a follow up. Apparently, he does feel that this is a problem, the AWOL story, the alleged AWOL story, and some of the other --

MR. McCLELLAN: Which has now been documented to be false.

Q Well, there are still some discrepancies. But apparently he's fighting these stories, so that's saying that the President realizes there is a problem for this campaign, correct?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry? That there is --

Q I made my point clear.

MR. McCLELLAN: That may be your interpretation. This President is confident that the decisions that we are making are the right policies for the American people, and he is confident that the American people are supportive of the decisions that we are making.

Q Putting out paper, you're giving out paper --

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, April --

Q -- you're directing us to The Boston Globe article --

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me finish the question there that you asked. There is going to be plenty of time to talk about the campaign. Right now this President is going to remain focused on the great challenges that we are working to meet. And we are meeting them in a number of different ways, but there is more to do.

But this President is acting decisively to make America more secure, to make America more prosperous, to make America a more compassionate place. And he's acting to make the world a safer and better place.

Q Well, then why would you give us this information, then, if he's not worried about it?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q Why would you give us this information, direct us to The Boston Globe story today? Why would you give us --

MR. McCLELLAN: Why would you ask those questions?
From there, Scotty plays the "talk to the campaign" card about five times, and the gaggle moves on.

After a questioner suggests that the White House is worried about the investigation of Bush's military service as potentially damaging to the re-election campaign, Scotty's response is: "This President is confident that the decisions that we are making are the right policies for the American people, and he is confident that the American people are supportive of the decisions that we are making."??? How the heck is releasing various documents related in any way to policy decisions? This almost seems microcosmic of the Bushies' not viewing any difference between politics and policy, but you didn't hear it from me!

Monday, February 16, 2004

A statement released Monday by Alexandra Polier, who has been the subject of rumors linking her to Sen. John Kerry:

"For the last several days I have seen Internet and tabloid rumors relating to me and Senator John Kerry. Because these stories were false, I assumed the media would ignore them. It seems that efforts to peddle these lies continue, so I feel compelled to address them. I have never had a relationship with Senator Kerry, and the rumors in the press are completely false. Whoever is spreading these rumors and allegations does not know me, but should know the pain they have caused me and my family. I am in Kenya with my fiance visiting his family, and we ask that the press respect our privacy and leave all of us alone."

A statement by Terry and Donna Polier, the parents of Alexandra Polier:

"We have spoken to our daughter and the allegations that have been made regarding her are completely false and unsubstantiated. We love and support her 100 percent and these unfounded rumors are hurtful to our entire family. We appreciate the way Senator Kerry has handled the situation, and intend on voting for him for president of the United States."

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Larry David has some fun with Bush on Guard-gate:
Even though the National Guard and Army Reserve see combat today, it rankles me that people assume it was some kind of waltz in the park back then. If only. Once a month, for an entire weekend — I'm talking eight hours Saturday and Sunday — we would meet in a dank, cold airplane hangar. The temperature in that hangar would sometimes get down to 40 degrees, and very often I had to put on long underwear, which was so restrictive I suffered from an acute vascular disorder for days afterward. Our captain was a strict disciplinarian who wouldn't think twice about not letting us wear sneakers or breaking up a poker game if he was in ill humor. Once, they took us into the woods and dropped us off with nothing but compasses and our wits. One wrong move and I could've wound up on Queens Boulevard. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to find my way out of there and back to the hangar. Some of my buddies did not fare as well and had to call their parents to come and get them.

Then in the summer we would go away to camp for two weeks. It felt more like three. I wondered if I'd ever see my parakeet again. We slept on cots and ate in the International House of Pancakes. I learned the first night that IHOP's not the place to order fish. When the two weeks were up, I came home a changed man. I would often burst into tears for no apparent reason and suffered recurring nightmares about drowning in blueberry syrup. If I hadn't been so strapped for cash, I would've sought the aid of a psychiatrist.

In those days, reserve duty lasted for six years, which, I might add, was three times as long as service in the regular army, although to be perfectly honest, I was unable to fulfill my entire obligation because I was taking acting classes and they said I could skip my last year. I'll always be eternally grateful to the Pentagon for allowing me to pursue my dreams.

You can see me in this picture:

(note: I can't see myself, but for what it's worth, I was a few people behind the person in the lime-green jacket thing)