The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, September 04, 2004

James Wolcott, who now has a blog (yes!), skewers those such as the Freepers quoted in the previous post who questioned the timing of . . . Bill Clinton's emergency quadruple bypass operation.
With the transparent, calculating cynicism that marked his two terms in office, Bill Clinton chose to burglarize the majesty of President Bush's Churchillian convention address by conveniently entering the hospital for heart surgery. Unable to yield the spotlight, Clinton clutched his chest like Fred Sanford and called 911 in a desperate bid to deny Bush the "big mo" he was beginning to enjoy after addressing the nation last night from a mound of skulls at Madison Square Garden, each skull beautifully handcrafted by Thai sweatshop workers.
Wow. Congrats, James, you just earned yourself a place on the TFM-roll.

Wolcott's blog found via Tbogg. Oh, and the first chapter of this is 3 laughs per graf, particularly when he gets to describing the leading lights of the punditocracy.

Friday, September 03, 2004


Former President Bill Clinton is going to have bypass surgery tomorrow. TFM's thoughts are with the man from Hope.

Kudos to both President Bush and Senator Kerry for the swift, classy responses:
"He is in our thoughts and prayers. We send him our best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery," Bush told an audience in West Allis, Wisconsin.

"Every single one of us wants to extend to him our best wishes, our prayers and our thoughts," Kerry said during a rally in Newark, Ohio. "And I want you all to let a cheer out and clap that he can hear all the way to New York, all the way to New York."
But on the other hand, there are the Freepers:
Suspicious timing...

4 posted on 09/03/2004 9:04:09 AM PDT by Mannaggia l'America
-- -- --
Timing is suspicious.

5 posted on 09/03/2004 9:04:23 AM PDT by Lijahsbubbe
-- -- --
I wish him well, but the timing is suspicious.

6 posted on 09/03/2004 9:04:33 AM PDT by bayourod
-- -- --
So and I should care, because?

9 posted on 09/03/2004 9:04:38 AM PDT by dts32041
-- -- --
Must have swallowed some spitballs...

12 posted on 09/03/2004 9:05:03 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (The theory of evolution is just that - a theory.)
(haha, nice signature)
Hopefully someone can fix his black little heart.

24 posted on 09/03/2004 9:06:59 AM PDT by Doomonyou
-- -- --

Last I heard, he and the beast were at the fair.
26 posted on 09/03/2004 9:07:09 AM PDT by meyer
-- -- --
And my favorite:
Comment #34 Removed by Moderator
Yet all the above comments were just fine with them.

Sometimes the Freepers walk on very thin ice:
Don't they say that chronic cocaine use can lead to heart problems later in life?

46 posted on 09/03/2004 9:09:42 AM PDT by TBall

I just quit the California Patriot Watch after two years. I don't really have any meaningful direct connection to Berkeley anymore, so it's time to move on.

If any of you would like to take over that blog, email me (address on the top left) if you're serious, and I'll add you and remove myself. I would warn you that masochism is a required trait for such a task.

Dear Atrios and Kos,

Both of you have recently written posts referring to Slate political writer William Saletan as "Lord Saletan". I generally enjoy Saletan's writing, but the rationale for the nickname is definitely valid: When he talks about the political discours, he comes off as high, mighty and preachy, self-righteously proclaiming what he believes is, and is not rhetorically acceptable (from Democrats).

That's all fine, but here's the thing. I'm pretty sure that it was Digby who coined the phrase. Yet he referred to him with a slightly different spelling "Lord Saleton", replacing the last A with an O, to make his name sound, well, more like a British Lord. So my question is: How come you guys spell his name normally when you make the reference? It's funnier with the O! Anyway, enough explicit nerdiness...

Dear Republicans,

If any of you simultaneously hold the opinions that
1) Al Gore has shown himself to have broken down mentally through his recent speeches, and
2) Zell Miller was decent, genuine, and just simply passionate on Wednesday night
then I don't have to listen to anything you say, ever again.



P.S. That definitely goes for James Taranto, who's been at the leading edge of this whole "Al Gore has gone mad!" nonsense. He sure seems awfully apologetic. If Gore had made that same speech but about Bush, then... well you get the idea.

(This post inspired by tonight's Daily Show. McCain was the guest, and his comment was "did Kerry shoot his dog?")

Thursday, September 02, 2004


7:10 - A good 8 seconds before getting right into 9/11. And a strange applause line about "the killers".

7:11 - And the first WWII reference. We toppled Saddam's government in two and a half weeks. Yeah, just like Normandy.

7:13 - Ooh, "walking life", nothing like a nice Evangelical code-word to brighten any speech!

7:15 - "[Reagan's] spirit of optimism and decency are in this hall"... where do those purple heart bandaids fit in with that?

7:16 - Thinking back a couple minutes, he brought up 9/11, and segued right into introducing his family? Doesn't that seem a bit crass?

7:17 - "Our economy is growing again, and creating jobs" Well, 32k jobs are jobs. Are they good jobs? Or even just better than the ones we were losing?

7:21 - Translation: We will gut the social safety net.

7:22 - Please, George, by all means, keep talking about restraining federal spending, you have soo much credibility there!

7:25 - Ooh, job retraining. Of course, a lot of these people were already retrained after getting fucked by the manufacturing sector, but anyway. But money for community colleges is not a bad thing.

7:26 - Health savings accounts: substantial applause. Help getting healthcare for lower-income Americans: a few scattered claps. Gotta love those Republicans.

7:28 - I don't know, making medical liability reform a high campaign priority seems like something that could backfire for Bush. Of the four people on the two tickets, who's most prepared to talk about the issue? I'll give you a hint: He kind of looks like Luke Skywalker.

7:29 - A "home" is an abstract concept. If you live in an apartment, you have a home. We're talking about "houses" here. Was that a deliberate choice of words?

7:30 - "We must strengthen social security by..." uh oh "...helping younger workers..." fuck. [krugman]2-1=4[/krugman]

7:33 - Ahh, the Spanglish. Let the cameras of your station of choice now hunt for brown people in the convention hall. Watch out for Tancredo though...

7:34 - He grazed the issue of "science". We're waiting enthusiastically for stem cells to come up, sir.

7:37 - "Path to the future" replaces "turning the corner". What do I win?

7:38 - Ahh, disingenuous Kerry bashing. Eliminating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that haven't happened yet is not increasing taxes. Sorry.

7:39 - "I support the protection of marriage against activist judges" CNN did not cut to Cheney or Giuliani. Note that Bush didn't mention the constitution. Is that a flipflop?

7:41 - I'd sure love to get into the Reagan presidency a bit further. Should we start in Nicaragua or Iran? How about with AIDS? Though I'm guessing that Rove's idea here, talking about "conservative values", is to play hard, hard to the base.

7:43 - He's going to have to get into Iraq soon (he's on the WoT right now). Let's see if he steps on the feet of anything McCain or Rudy said about it.

7:45 - Hahahahahahahaha, someone got in. And it yielded a stutter too!

7:46 - Saddam's "support for terror". A usefully vague phrase indeed. Vagueries will not help Bush explain how Iraq was a threat.

7:47 - And again! A woman this time. I'll bet there will be more.

7:48 - "Again, he refused (to comply)". That's a rather black&white way of putting it. Then again, we're talkin Dubya here.

7:50 - He's avoiding specifics in Iraq like the plague...

7:52 - "We soldiers of yours"? Did I hear that right?

7:54 - Does "victory" require necessary body armor?

7:55 - Bush gets a cookie if he puts the quote in context. Will he do it? . . . Survey says: Nope! By the way, the context was: Real broad sacrifice, and real accountability.

7:56 - Again, George knows what countries Kerry was talking about in terms of the coalition. Bush "respects every soldier", ironic since Kerry was talking about countries who didn't send soldiers, and just wanted their names on the list with the idea that we might give them favors and such.

8:01 - Useless analogy. If Germany had deep divides both ethnically and religiously, and didn't have a history of democracy, maybe he'd have a point.

8:03 - There's the "freedom is the almighty's gift" line again, returning from that March "oh shit, Falluja" press conference.

8:06 - And some self-depricating humor. What happened to "those weapons of mass destruction have to be around here somewhere", the joke that went over so well with the Washington press corps.

8:07 - He's pronounced "rather" as "rah-ther" twice in this speech. Is that a Texas thing?

8:11 - "By encouraging liberty at home..." That just reminded me that there has been no mention of expanding and continuing the Patriot Act in his speech. Must not have polled well.

8:12 - Okay, I need a drink.

Dear Republicans at the Convention,

If you had been able to find a snarky comeback to that Kerry line you keep citing on the 87 billion ("I actually voted for the 87 billion before I voted against it") that actually addresses the context of his comment, I would have been impressed.

You guys didn't do that.

So, fuck you.

Brendan of The Facts Machine.
Dammit Pataki, I have to punch you now. And I'm not a violent man.

You know damn fucking well that Kerry is talking about Iraq when he says we should only go to war because we have to.

Maybe the grossest thing coming out of this is the deliberate, slimy confusing of the war on Al Qaeda/terrorism and the war in Iraq.

Pataki wasn't the first person to misrepresent Kerry's words at this convention. I'm guessing he wont be the last. We'll find out in a few minutes.

Mickey Kaus, to his credit, gets it right on Zell, but still throws in something not particularly forgivable:
[A]re baby-boomers who lived through Vietnam likely to find this principle appealing--that Presidents can commit our troops to a war and then attack any criticism as unpatriotic national weakening? When do the people get to weigh in? ... I do think Democrats have engaged in gratuitous morale-weakening partisanship--Hillary's smarmy, sneering, talking-pointed visit to Iraq, for one. But surely an election is the time when it's most appropriate to criticize a war. ... In other words, Miller's appeal was generationally as well as ideologically limited, and I suspect gave off more heat than bounce.
(emphasis mine)

I could swear he meant George W Bush's photo-op-driven, shoot-in-and-out, turkey-brandishing trip to Iraq. When Hillary made her visit, she didn't just go to Baghdad: She also went to not only other cities and bases in Iraq (such as in Kirkuk), but also to Afghanistan. When was the last time Bush went there, or even thought about that place?

But going back to Zell, Saletan rips apart his speech, too. The money grafs? Right after Saletan disposes of Miller's falsehoods about the Democrats,
But the important thing isn't the falsity of the charges, which Republicans continue to repeat despite press reports debunking them. The important thing is that the GOP is trying to quash criticism of the president simply because it's criticism of the president. The election is becoming a referendum on democracy.

In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.

Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power—the very charges Miller leveled tonight against Bush's critics.

Are you prepared to become one of those countries?
Looks like the strategy for Day 4 -- the "optimism" day -- involves "loading the stage with retired athletes".

So far, Kerri Strug, Mary Lou Retton, Lynn Swann and Dorothy Hammill.

Oh no, not a Bush fishing video.
The rest of the evening will be a series of disjointed posts making random and spot-observations as I watch WhiteyCon2004.
ALAN SIMPSON being interviewed by Chris Matthews right now, and from the looks of it, he's trying to win a Malkin/Dole award for "least responsible innuendo about Kerry's military service". The short version is...
Simpson: There's something difficult to understand about how a man could get three Purple Hearts in four months.

Matthews: Are you saying that he didn't deserve his Purple Hearts, or that any of them were self-inflicted, or something like that?

Simpson: Of course not, I'm sure he earned them.

Matthews: Then what exactly is the problem with John Kerry's medals?

Simpsons: I don't know, there's just something difficult to understand about them.
That was all paraphrased, but in the exact spirit of what I saw on the TV. Simpson usually throws some Keith Jackson-esque homespun sayings in there, but I'm not as good with that.

New Rule: No more interviews with retired Republican senators over 70.

As you may have heard, Al Franken is planning a rather unique proest for Bush's acceptance speech tonight. Here are the details:
On September 2nd, 2004, at approximately 10 pm [eastern time], George W. Bush will appear on television screens nationwide. For some of our fellow citizens, this will be a moment of joy. But for most of us, it will be the low point of an incredibly exasperating week.

Until now, there have been only two options: miss the speech (either by screaming at the television or turning it off), or bottle up the frustration within us, causing irreparable psychological harm. The first option is unbecoming of citizens in a democracy. The second option is just terrible. But now, for the first time, we have a better way. At the moment we see the president on our television screens, we will rise. We will throw open our windows. And, as George W. Bush moves to the podium in New York City, we will send him a message about his bid for reelection: we will yell, “fuggedaboudit!”

This will be a peaceful, non-disruptive protest. We will stop yelling before the president starts speaking. Our goal is not to drown him out, but to communicate. (And vent.)
Franken has also suggested, in interviews, some regional variations on the shout-out. He's from Minnesota, so he suggests that his statemates shout, in their accent, "No ya don't!" His suggestion for California was that SoCal residents shout "No way!" while those from NorCal go with "Dude, no way!" Technically, I suppose I'm from both parts of California, but I think I'll go with the New York original.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


I missed tonight's speeches, and C-Span's stream is crapping out on me right now. But if I had to guess...

Dick Cheney: grumble grumble, Kerry sucks. "clear!" *ZAP*


Zell Miller: Roar, roar, whatever happened to those Dixiecrats, fuck LBJ. Oh, and Kerry sucks. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go challenge Chris Matthews to a duel.

Sully doesn't appear impressed with old Zell.
Here's Michael Moore's second column, and yes, it's about McCain.

Actually, that was my first thought as well, when Arnold referenced Nelson Mandela.

--Aww, no return engagement for Dexter Freebish? Nuts.

--I had never realized how much Bill Frist sounds like Jeff Foxworthy. Get this man a 'stache! (but of course, hide the kitties)

--I give Liddy Dole's new hair-dye color a 6.

--Is the woman on the PA the same woman who does the announcing at Giants games? Cuz I swear...

--The Maryland Lt Governor's little Obama joke fell flatter than a Steve Forbes tax plan.

And now, the primtetime hour:

AHHHHHHH-NULD . . . He's probably just about the only politician in America who can get away with the fond comments he made about Nixon. Of course, that's exactly what Bush supporters want to remind everyone of: The Nixon Administration! Hmm.

Well, first and foremost, he was intelligible. But from there... it took about 12 seconds for him to namedrop a movie of his (True Lies, and I can think of very few movies which portrayed Arab Muslims in a better light.) There were no references to his social liberalism, save for one generality about how Republicans can disagree with each other. It was heavy on his immigrant story, which was to be expected, but at its heart it was a strongly partisan speech, with Schwarzy plugging his Republicanism time and time again.

Lastly, his "fohhwur mohhwur yeee-uhhs!" chanting was rather scary. C-Span was pretty quick in cutting away, thankfully. Let's just say it made me wonder exactly what it was he said in those secret outtakes for Pumping Iron about a certain former world leader's oratory skills.

TERESA COME BACK! ALL IS FORGIVEN! . . . Look, I don't think ragging on a Presidential candidate's children is a recipe for political success, and it probably won't sway a single vote in eitehr direction. That said... I don't think I've ever cringed as many times in any 5-minute period in my entire life than during Jenna & Barbara's moment on stage. That was wholly embarassing. And going by The Corner and Fox's talking heads, this seems to be the consensus opinion. How do children of two generations of presidents get all the way through their undergraduate degrees without having anything to say, other than highly awkward, transparent pop culture references? (Wes Clark's OutKast ad was much funnier, I might add) You'd think a world leader would raise children who are a little more, to be polite, cosmopolitan than that. Or at least that two college graduates whose parents occupy the White House should come off better than as if they were popular high school sophomores half-assedly running for student council.

BUSH AT THE SOFTBALL GAME . . . Okay, guys, the President is asking you to continue playing slow-pitch softball. Take good, bold, decisive swings. Let's have none of this wishy-washy checking-your-swing bullshit. Remember, we're a nation at war. And for your trouble, there's a keg at 2nd base, compliments of the big guy himself...

LAURA . . . Eh. She's a wash. I'm glad she's taken up one of those Pet Subservient First Lady Causes -- literacy -- but frankly I have no interest in her opinion on stem cell research.

Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I hope Defrib Dick leads us in a chant of his signature, anatomically-impossible catchphrase.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Matthews, Ingraham, Ron Reagan, Fineman, Gergen. I'm happy 20% of the time. Though Laura ain't so bad when you mute the tv.

I should note: When Matthews asked the panel why the steady stream of KIA's in Iraq isn't making the news the way it used to, David Gergen's response was a clear echo of Paul Krugman's observation that the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq has effectively "Afghanized" coverage of the Iraq war. I should also note that Krugman was citing an observation previously made by Yglesias.

...I didn't watch MSNBC's Dem Convention coverage in July. Did they do those stirring promos with excerpts from the prior night's speeches then?

Matthews just shook up his panel. Now it's an unknown Republican "strategist", Fineman and David Gregory. Damn that liberal media!

Aren't all of Rudy's and McCain's words last night about President Bush's decisiveness and determination in fighting the war on terror a bit wasted when Bush himself can't even decide whether we can actually win the damn thing?

(P.S. Unfortunately, in the Marshall post to which I link, he fails to remember that "Eastasia" is just one word. Oh well.)

Here's Michael Moore's first column of the week for USA Today, from the GOP Convention. McPaper signed him up to do a column a day, much as they (was it them?) signed up Ann "The Man" Coulter for the Dem Convention.

Instapundit links, saying only "This has got to be an embarassment".

Hmm, Moore must have spouted off some kind of Rall-esque rant, or flung insults at John McCain for calling him out. Or maybe he wasted 700 words plugging his movie.

Was it any of those things? Read it for yourself. Here's the link again.

And of course,

Read the whole thing.

Here's a Quicktime video of the McCain-Moore moment.

They must be terrified of that movie. This is sure to help the DVD sales.

An Instant Messenger conversation between myself and Former TFM Roomie Josh...
Josh: I may not agree with much of what he says, but if Giuliani runs against Kerry in '08, Kerry's toast.
TFM: at first blush, i would be concerned about rudy
TFM: but if he runs,
TFM: he'll no longer be "that 9/11 guy"
TFM: and the full rudy wont necessarily sit well with the socially conservative right
Josh: true. But I think the right, if it loses this election, is going to have to become more centrist to stay alive, and Rudy might be their guy. If Kerry wins this, the vietnam vet thing will seem out of touch next to Giuliani's contemporary hero image in '08. The rescue effort after 9/11 produced a new kind of "war hero." I think emerging NY politicians are going to have their own guilded age (hilary included).
Josh: *ll
TFM: i agree that if bush loses the republicans are going to have a bit of an identity crisis... and it'll be brutal... and they could come out of it more moderate, with the rudys and (gasp) ahhnulds taking the lead . . . i think the amount of rudy glow that remains in 08 will be relative to how central an issue combating terrorism will be at that time, and we don't really know yet
Josh: Well, at the same time you could say that Vietnam is no longer relevant, but it still pops up as a campaign issue. The draft was the defining moment for a generation and how you dealt with it is considered a character reference, despite the relative disconnect between vietnam and many contemporary issues. I think 9/11 will be a similar thing. It will outlast any actual policy focus to become a sort of character reference.
TFM: ive thought about that... and with kerry being 60 and mccain 64, this could be the last election where vietnam rears its complicated head . . . i think in terms of service, 9/11 and the following conflicts will have a different sort of role, partially because the people fighting them, even moreso than with 'nam, are not people who are on track for positions of power, but are the products of what amounts to a lower-class backdoor draft, that was one of moore's more effective points in the doc
TFM: couple that with the short attentionspan and memory of the current electorate
Josh: Yes, that's true of firefighers and rescue workers. But not so much the 9/11 widows and children. You can bet there are widows and orphans who will one day get into politics, who will claim it as a defining moment.
TFM: umm... dennis miller?
TFM: hehehe
TFM: ron friggin silver?
TFM: hehe
TFM: the 9/11 families, as we've seen, are politically diverse
TFM: for every lisa beamer there is a jeremy glick
Josh: They are definitely diverse. So are nam vets. I'm sure there's a Rhodes scholar out there right now coming off of a public policy program who lost a parent or a sibling in 9/11 and you can bet when they run for office in a few years, we'll be hearing about it.
TFM: so what are the implications then, are you looking at this more as a future character issue, the foreign policy/natl security historical moment from which future candidates will be judged for their involvement a la vietnam
TFM: we're already seeing post 9/11 posturing against terrorism as a bit of a stick-measuring contest between the two parties, the early coldwar trumanish thing
Josh: It will be a new kind of war hero. Not knowing a 9/11 victim won't be a detractor, but it will have to be treated with respect. And family members and friends of 9/11 victims or rescue workers will definitely get bonus points in the political arena.
TFM: this is something that probably wont really sink in for a couple more election cycles, unless giuliani runs
Josh: probably true. Although Hillary could also lay claim to the whole thing, although her ties to the first administration suggest a pre-terrorist identity.
TFM: the problem with accessing 9/11 heroism, particularly for the republican party, is that the Bush presidency has tied 9/11 so closely to the Iraq war...
TFM: ...and if there's a Republican identity crisis after they lose in november, it's likely that the neocons who "got us into this mess" will lose out
Josh: I agree with you there. It's a problem for Bush. But the same is true of vietnam to an extent. The politicians who ran the war have a controversial legacy, but the people who fought it were relatively clean - they came off as the victims of bad policy, who served honorably.
TFM: that's true, and the same can/will? be said for direct participants in 9/11 heroism
Josh: Yup, and that may extend to veterans of the Iraq war, although without a draft it's a bit more of sketchy situation.
Josh: The inevitibility of involvement seems to be a factor.
TFM: agreed, but it will also be dependent on circumstances at the time of future elections... in 1992, a relatively peaceful time with the end of the cold war, a draft dodger beat a decorated wwii pilot
Josh: Very true. Of course Clinton had one of the best-run campaigns in history. Had he had lesser strategists, he could have been in the shitter on many occasions during that campaign.
Josh: John Kerry's war room sucks by comparison and he's having trouble defending himself despite a stellar record.
TFM: speaking of which i saw 'the war room' a few weeks ago, it was fun watching all the strategery
Josh: Great movie.
TFM: yeah kerry's people need serious work, especially his on-camera spokespeople, it's sad that in this age of instant info that they sometimes get caught off guard the way they do
Josh: I'm reading George Stephanopoulos' book on the Clinton campaign/first term. It's really fascinating.
Josh: Well, Nightline just ended, which generally signals my bedtime. It's been an interesting chat. I'll catch you later.
TFM: yes it has, later dude
Josh: later
Josh, as I've mentioned before, is one of the smarter, more informed people I've ever met. He has a particular interest in the Cold War era, and the culture and media therein, and that explains his interest in the possible analogy with future references to 9/11 experiences by politicians in elections yet to come.

Monday, August 30, 2004


I'm going to set an over/under of 1 for the amount of times during Bush's thursday acceptance speech that he uses any variant of the phrase "turning the corner".

I'll take under. Anyone want in? (:
An even more compelling flip-flop from Bush than I had expected.

Okay, okay, that was about the most hilarious two minutes I can remember in politics since . . . maybe since Bush I's lunch with the Japanese Prime Minister.

News flash! The right doesn't like Michael Moore. Someone must tell the people!

Daniel Drezner just became a father. Congrats.

What the hell happened to Ron Silver?

Wasn't he a guest host on Crossfire, representing the left as recently as 2002?

I guess since he has the same hair and goatee as Dennis Miller, he has to go through the same political devolution?

Oh well. I guess us lefties will have to settle for the rest of the business.

Arnold has a new job, and when was the last time Bo Derek worked?
If you have yet to be initiated to the story, David Orland(o? hehe) of ResIpsa appears to have sacrificed himself as a one-man news aggregator on the possible Israeli spy in the Pentagon. He gathers everything here and here.

Big headline on today's San Francisco Chronicle front page, regarding the Republican National Convention:
GOP strives to pitch a bigger tent
Indeed. Will they have George Carlin present their foreign policy?

--The first Nancy Pelosi name-droppage occurred before the first Ronald Reagan name-droppage.

--I will give the GOP credit, as they figured out a way to get more delegates on the convention floor earlier: Get Defrib Dick in there at noon.

--Seeing some of these older, overweight white men I've never heard of walk to the podium to the tune of "That's the Way (Uh Huh) I Like It" is a wholly disturbing experience. And at this precise moment (10AM pacific), "do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight". Moderate Republicans indeed!

The NY Times has a handy convention schedule page that notes not only each day's main speakers, but what protests will be occurring on which day, and when each network will be broadcasting convention coverage.

But look at Tuesday:
Featured Convention Speakers
First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary of Education Rod Paige, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Scheduled Protests
Direct Action Day
An anarchist collective calling itself the A31 Action Coalition has organized a series of nonviolent civil disobedience events that will use parts of Midtown to stage demonstrations, without permits.
Hmmm. On the one hand, this could give the Foxes of the world precisely the pictures they want to contrast with the proceedings inside Madison Square Garden. On the other hand, I'd guess that all interested parties with agendas will be able to get what they want out of the protests anyway, and since direct action is a whole category of protesting, it may not be a problem. I've been going back and forth on the subject since the protests in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion.

My problem in early 2003 was "would Bush care, or even mind if some idealistic protesters try to shut down portions of San Francisco?" Now they're in New York, another place that won't be voting for Dubya. And not only that, but a place that has been rendered into utter gridlock due to the convention anyway. Eh...

You pick up the remote, and flip on C-Span, and what's the first thing you see?

Don King.

Oy. This is going to be a long week.

P.S. Convicted killer Don King, btw

Sunday, August 29, 2004


More evidence of Bush flipfloppage, dug up by The Poor Man.

Dick Cheney does a soundcheck.

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.