The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Of Instapundit and Atrios, only one seems to know how to use Lexis-Nexis.

Guess which one.

Though even if Howard Kurtz had a point (which he doesn't appear to), a couple things I'd note:

-Two terms is twice as many as one term.
-Highest outgoing approval rating in the history of public opinion polls.

--Thank you, Tayshaun.

--By the way, Go Bears!

Friday, November 19, 2004

"Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties because it's COOOLD out there today."

"It's cold out there everyday. What is this- Miami Beach?"

"Not hardly. And you can expect hazardous travel later today with that, you know, blizzard thing-"

"That 'blizzard thing?' Oh, here's the report: the National Weather Service is calling for a big blizzard thing."

"Yes they are, but there's another reason today is very special-"

"Especially cold-"

"Especially cold, okay, but the big question on everybody's lips-"

"Chapped lips-"

"On their chapped lips, right-Do you think Phil's going to come out and see his shadow?"

"Punxsutawney Phil."

"That's right, rodent lovers, it's Groundhog Day!"

Thursday, November 18, 2004

CalJunket is having an open casting call.

If you're reading this from a coop, on the house computer with 3 or 4 keys missing, this is probably the job for you. teehee.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

DemFromCT has more on that RCP chart showing Bush gaining proportionally in just about every state, and Kerry gaining in a bit over half of them. You know, the chart Jack and I both discussed a week ago.

There's another appearance from the great beyond.

And it's for sale on eBay.

"ODB in my grilled cheese YO!"

(link via uggabugga)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


With the election over, Eminem has added a new ending to his video for "Mosh".

In it, his army of moshers storm the State of the Union address. I wont give away the rest, but for those who watch it with a careful eye: Is that Kucinich applauding on the left as it zooms in on Bush? If so, nifty.
Via Americablog, check out John Ashcroft's goodbye card from the office.

Last Thursday I argued that Arlen Specter would get to be chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in spite of the complaints of the culture warriors of the right.

According to Congressional Quarterly (via Tapped), it looks like that prediction will pan out.
Although he still has considerable penance to perform, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., appears to have withstood a massive campaign by social conservatives who want to block him from the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee.
I'm not a subscriber, so I don't have access to the full article. But if I had to guess...

-It's possible that Specter will be allowed to keep a relatively hard line about protection of reproductive rights, in exchange for allowing judges to slip through who would gut other aspects of the post-NewDeal federal government.

-Specter will do that because Bush personally saved him in the Pennsylvania primary from a defeat at the hands of the Club For Growth-endorsed Pat Toomey.

UPDATE: Tim Noah has more on the Club for Growth and their efforts regarding Specter and others.

As many fast-food chains introduce healthier fare amid fears of being sued, Hardee’s is serving up a hamburger with 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat.

St. Louis-based Hardee’s Food Systems Inc. on Monday rolled out its Monster Thickburger — two 1/3-pound slabs of Angus beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese and mayonnaise on a buttered sesame seed bun. The sandwich alone sells for $5.49, $7.09 with fries and a soda.


“Maybe this is a smart strategy because there are still folks out there who care about the taste and size of their sandwich, and less about their weight,” said Jerry McVety, president of the restaurant consulting firm McVety & Associates in Farmington Hills, Mich.
Their weight? Jeez, they should sell that thing with a free stent included.

Not to be outdone,

BERKELEY VERSION: Next week Smart Alec's will announce the debut of the Big-Big-Big-ReallyfuckingBig-A Burger. With a free piece of cornbread. And you can ask out the hot cashier with the bandana.

UCSB VERSION: Deja Vu will top off the on-tap beer of your choice with a half-pound of ground chuck. You get a second one free if you participate in Deja Vu's charitable "Guns for Thongs" program.

Give me a fucking break.

First of all, who decided that the only two people who get to appear in food are Jesus and his mom?

If you ask me, the image on the sandwich looks more like the living Madonna. You know, the like a Virgin Mary.

Monday, November 15, 2004


This is interesting: HBO will be showing a Peter Sellers biopic with none other than Geoffrey Rush starring as the famed comedic actor.

Now I love Geoffrey Rush, no doubt about it, but this is a tall order, even for him. That said, I'll watch it if I have a chance, since it premieres on December 5th, right smack dab in the run-up to finals.

As anyone who's followed the Iraq war from the beginning knows, our military, and hence our government has made it clear that we wouldn't be doing any body counts. To illustrate that point, allow me to quote General Tommy Franks, heading up CentCom at the time:
"We don't do body counts"
See, that would suggest we don't do body counts.

The rationale is understandable. Our government tried to use body counts in Vietnam as a way to convey to Americans that we were winning the war there. That didn't exactly work out according to plan, even though a few million Vietnamese died while a shade over fifty thousand Americans perished there. Thus, we stopped doing that, especially since we weren't fighting an out-and-out, highly-organized national army, but were mired in what amounted to a large-scale guerrilla war, where casualty numbers and "body counts" weren't the final word on who was "winning".

So we don't do that anymore.

Er, we didn't do that anymore. Until Fallujah. Suddenly we're counting Iraqi bodies the way Astros fans count Roger Clemens strikeouts.

November 12:
American forces have killed about 600 insurgents in their fight to retake Fallujah, the U.S. military said Thursday as troops pushed toward the city's southern corridor.
November 13:
Iraq's national security adviser says more than 1,000 insurgents have been killed and some 200 captured during the six-day military operation by U.S. and Iraqi forces in the rebel stronghold of Al-Fallujah.
November 14:
Maj. Gen. Richard Natonski, commander of the 1st Marine Division,said Sunday as many as 1,600 insurgents have been killed since the operation began.
CNN is all over these numbers too, they escaped Anderson Cooper's lips a couple times in the first couple minutes of 360 today.

It would seem that our government is not only counting bodies, but really, really wants us to know that they are. And yet, at the same time, are they claiming a complete lack of civilian casualties?

A couple days ago I linked to this blog post from Night Light, which pointed out that Democratic senate candidates received over three million more votes than Republican candidates did. This would seem to complicate that whole "mandate" and "political capital" narrative Bush is trying to push.

In response, over at TigerHawk Jack wondered,
is this a valid comparison? After all, the aggregate popular vote for the Senate addresses only 33 or 34 states, not 50. Obviously, if these races were distributed more disproportionately among "blue" jurisdictions, Brendan's point would prove exactly nothing. However, if they were disproportionately in "red" states, Brendan would be on to something. On this Sunday morning I lack the energy to figure out whether the distribution of those votes nationally supports Brendan's argument or undercuts it. Maybe I'll update later.
Well since Jack appears poised to go on one of his non-break breaks, I took it upon myself to do some of the number-chrunching. More specifically, I compared 2004's Senate results to those of the 2002 midterms. I chose 2002 because the overall result of that round of elections was pretty similar to that of this year's set, with Republicans picking up a few seats each time, and winning most of the close races.

Going by CNN's numbers, the total national vote breakdown was:
GOP: 21,443,548 (50.7%)
Dem: 19,613,804 (46.4%)
Other: 1,228,576 (2.9%)
That's interesting: An election with a similar legislative result to this year shows the numbers reversed in the popular vote, with Republican candidates gaining about 2 million more votes than the Democrats.

But what accounts for this difference? Jack thinks that the inclusion of more deep "blue" states in this year's elections has something to do with it. Is he right? Let's take a look at which states had Senate elections when, and which ones were close (within 10 percent)...

States with Senate elections in 2002 but not in 2004 (competitive races in bold):
New Jersey
New Mexico
Rhode Island
West Virginia
States with Senate elections in 2004 but not in 2002 (competitive in bold):
New York
North Dakota
States with Senate races in 2002 and 2004 (close in 2002 in bold, close in 2004 in italics, close in both in CAPS... hmm this could get messy!):
New Hampshire
Okay, what have we learned from this?

--The big blue states did play a part in this. California and New York both had Senate races in 2004 but not in 2002, and both of those races were romps for the Democratic candidate. Conversely, Texas had a Senate race in 2002 but not in 2004. But a couple big states can't account for a 5 million vote swing all by themselves. For instance, Pennsylvania, a large state that leans Democratic, gave Arlen Specter a double-digit victory in its Senate race.

--More close races in the red-ish states in 2004. In '02 the close races were evenly distributed between Dem and GOP-friendly states. But this year virtually all of the close races, regardless of the incumbent's party affiliation, were in Bush states. Of course, the Republicans won every close race except for Colorado. Since the blue-ish states had a higher proportion of snoozer races, the total Dem vote was higher proportionally than two years ago.

This is an odd debate to have, though, since...

--The Senate is perhaps the world's most propotionally-odd parliamentary body. Lisa Murkowski won her seat with 121,027 votes, while Barbara Boxer was re-elected to her seat with 5,599,219 votes, yet both Senators will have essentially the same amount of power on the Senate floor. Because of numbers like those, the Senate is prone to scenarios like this year's, in which the total Senate popular vote shows the opposite of the true balance of power in the body.

One last thing, though:

California and New York are full of . . . Americans! The people of my home state are not tens of millions of electoral asterisks. Republicans who look at California and say "oh, it's just California, you know how they are" are not helping the discourse. It's all a part of the general strategy to paint the Democratic party as nothing more than a hodgepodge of evil interest groups, and to say that certain aspects of the Democratic coalition "don't count" because they're "not real Americans". This usually happens with three groups: City dwellers, California&NewYork, and black people.

California and New York have something else in common: Republican governors.

POSTSCRIPT: And if your counterargument to that last part is "you guys don't have respect for, say, Texans and Alabamans either", let me put it this way:

What Californians say: "Hey, we're Americans too!"
What Texans say: "Hey, you're not Americans!"


Will we remember him for his strongly-worded defense of women's rights and affirmative action at the 2000 GOP convention? Of course, because he took his principles with him to the State Department and stood up to Rummy and Cheney and told the tru--

Wait a minute, what am I saying? His legacy in the administration will always be this:

If Condi replaces him at the State Dept, and the loyalty purge at the CIA continues, the GOP will have just about run out of things about which to complain. Thank Christ Jesus for Arlen Specter!

Anyway, Colin, please be a dear and fuck off. Oh, and take your mammaryphobe son with you.

TFM welcomes two of his friends to the blogosphere, though it's up in the air as to whether or not it will take for either of them.

Official TFM Housemate Aaron has a blog, Tiger Snack, named after a vagrant cat that hangs out on our street. There's only one entry so far, and it's in Japanese, and it's rather amusing if you can read it.

Also, check out The Super Secret Blog.

If I were a young Mary Cheney, and I saw that, it would probably be enough to counteract all of that electro-shock therapy Lynne was surely giving her.

The General has more.