The Facts Machine

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

Friday, November 11, 2005

Fair and Balanced.

But if they're really asking, I'll answer their question: Because doing so creates more of them.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


If you're going to attack a guy who says your people are liars, it would be well-advised not to build your case upon lie after lie.

Also at Media Matters: Loofah strikes again!
Kevin gives a spanking to the latest wingnut (Old Man Pod) defending the administration on its WMD claims.

Quite the spanking across the pond.
Tony Blair has suffered his first defeat after MPs rejected his plan to allow police to detain terror suspects without charge for up to 90 days.

MPs rejected the plans by a bigger than expected margin of 322 votes to 291, before later backing a 28 day limit.

The defeat came despite Mr Blair saying MPs had a "duty" to support the police.

Tory leader Michael Howard said Mr Blair should resign after failing to "carry his party" but Downing Street says it was not a confidence issue.
Another part of that legislation, you may remember, was a highly problematic proposed law banning, among other things, the "glorification of terrorism". If passed, it would surely have precipitated a hilarious public debate about what constitutes both "glorification" and "terrorism". I was wondering if Downing Street would post a wiki-style webpage to that effect. Oh well.

Statement released tonight on statehouse victories in NJ and VA:
"The resounding victories tonight by Jon Corzine and Tim Kaine have sent a powerful message that when Democrats stand up for what we believe in, we win. They showed that the values and priorities of the Democratic Party are the values and priorities of the American people.

"Jon Corzine and Tim Kaine were strong candidates who offered vision and leadership based on the shared values and priorities of the voters of New Jersey and Virginia. They worked hard to earn the trust and the votes of the people in their states by not taking a single vote or voter for granted.

"Also tonight, voters all across the country delivered a resounding message: Americans are tired of the politics of hate and divisiveness, and voted for strong Democratic candidates who offered true leadership for their states and communities. These candidates showed exactly what our party is going to do to stand up and win in 2006."
It will be up to Chairman Dean to build on these successes around this time next year. The special election victories for Ben Chandler and Stephanie Herseth in 2003/early2004 did not translate into Bush's ouster or Congress changing hands, so there are no guarantees.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Elsewhere around the country:

--Tim Kaine wins the gubernatorial race in Virginia.

--Senator John Corzine easily wins the gubernatorial race in New Jersey.

--Electoral reform initiatives in Ohio appear to have failed this time around.

--A victory for gay rights in Maine.

--A victory for science in Dover, PA, as the school board was purged (electorally) of intelligent design apologists.

And on a personal note,

--Santa Barbara County voted FOR prop 75!?!? This is cuz I left, isn't it.

You can watch the results of the California special election as they come in by clicking here.

8:51 PM . . . Just over 12% in, 73-75 are winning (ugh), the rest are losing. As of right now, no precincts in Los Angeles and San Francisco counties have reported.

9:22 PM . . . 73 (abortion) and 74 (teacher tenure) are getting very tight, as more precincts from the Bay Area and LA are getting counted.

9:36 PM . . . Prop 74 just switched from Yes to No, with 22.7% reporting. Only 73 and 75 are currently passing, and the margins for both are dwindling.

9:48 PM . . . Prop 73 moving into a dead heat. Meanwhile the No column for 74 has breathing room, at 51.1%.

9:59 PM . . . Booyah. Prop 73 just flipped, with "No" leading 50.2%. 75 (Arnold's anti-union prop) once had an 11% advantage, and now it's down to 52-48.

10:35 PM . . . Prop 75 is at 50.9% Yes, 49.1% No, with 42.5% reporting. To give you an idea of the movement here, with 15% reporting the split was something like 55-45.

11:10 PM . . . Prop 75 just flipped to "No" (50.1-49.9), so for the moment, Arnold is just plain PWN3D. It could flip back, yes, but it's starting to look like we're exiting the operatic portion of "Bohemian Raphsody", and beginning to bang heads.

11:54 PM . . . "No" is pulling away for each and every ballot initiative. Frankly, I was neither optimistic about 79 and 80 passing, nor was I really that into them, and hey, small price to pay for derailing Arnold's crusade against firefighters, teachers, nurses, organized labor, as well as the Xian right's crusade against women. Earlier tonight at Drudge's place he was pimping the possibility that some of the Arnold-backed propositions might win ("Arnold 2-2?" and later "Arnold 1-3?"). Now that all four of his initiatives are tanking, there is no mention of them on Drudge's site. Sorry!

Hopefully The Editors won't mind if I borrow this:


Frist and Hastert suddenly become huffy and puffy about the leaking of classified information. Hilarity ensues.

Kos gives us Survey USA's final numbers on some of the California ballot initiatives. If they pan out as the numbers suggest, I'll be generally happy, but if 73 passes . . . grrrrrr. I can't find any other late polling on it, but let's hope that (as Kos wonders) the SUSA poll is a bit friendly to the "yes" column, and that the trend, as compared to the previous poll, continues.

Monday, November 07, 2005


"I'm special!"

John McCain and integrity have parted ways.

For the first time in ages, this weekend I watched the increasingly irrelevant Saturday Night Live, only because it was comprised of nothing but 90 minutes of their fake commercials, which are often effective. One of the ads they featured was from the episode hosted by John McCain, in which the Senator promoted a fictional CD of himself singing Barbara Streisand songs very badly, making the point that since he's no good at doing what she does in the entertainment business, she should stay out of politics. Tepid laughter followed.

Minutes later, during the real commercial break, there was Senator McCain again. Only this time he was lending his endorsement to four ballot initiatives in California that were put forth by . . . Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hmm.

Well then, we have arrived at the eve of what was supposed to be a pre-emptive nail in the coffin for any Democratic challenger to Governor Gropenfuhrer. This special election in California -- a series of eight ballot initiatives, for you outta-staters -- was originally conceived of back when Ahhnuld was riding high off his 2004 proposition victories, and it is meant to be the new Big Thing he could point to in order to tell the opposition that the people of California are with him, and not with the Democratically-controlled legislative bodies. His trump card, his ace in the hole, his Triforce, his Anduril, Flame of the West.

Well then, let's break his blade, shall we?

The problem for Arnold "A Woman's Head In Every Toilet" Schwarzenegger (pictured at right, presumably bulking up to play a fat secret agent) is that the people of California can break his blade, because his approval rating is currently in the very toilet in which he would dunk the heads of female cyborgs (and their biological counterparts). His approval tanked (!) because he overplayed his hand after the 2004 election, thinking that the success he had with his vague sloganeering meant he had a blank check to go after labor unions. Especially the unions of such groups as teachers, nurses and firefighters. And now, after months of making his ill-advised crusade against such groups the leading edge of his political identity, he is about to find out, in numerical percentage terms, just where Californians stand on that. What he had envisioned as his "so there" moment may end up the clearest demonstration yet of his weakness, and his vulnerability in next year's gubernatorial election. Recent polling suggests such a spanking may be imminent for Ahhnuld, but with the saturation of advertisments on television lately, he hopes to avoid such a fate. Will he be able to jingle at least some of the way? Or will THE BRIDGE be OUT!?!?!

And now, the ballot initiatives.

Proposition 73: Parental notification for abortions. Well, for one thing, the events that lead up to an unwanted teen pregnancy probably involve children and parents not communicating properly to begin with, so if that's the case, are the conceivers suddenly going to change their relationship with their parents? Or will they try to find an secret, and possibly unsafe means of abortion? In other words, take the lyrics to Ben Folds Five's megahit "Brick", and add serious medical complications because Ben and his high school girlfriend couldn't see a real doctor. TFM SEZ: FUCK THAT SHIT (No).

Proposition 74: 5 years of probationary employment for teachers. Seen the ads in favor of this one? They cite, as evidence for the need of this initiative, a single incident involving one teacher... in 1999. While not as sketchy as the Bush-Cheney "wolves" ad from last year's campaign, which cited post-ColdWar defense spending cuts as a way to paint John Kerry as "weak" on defense, this should still be enough to set off a smoke alarm or two. What this is really about, ultimately, is weakening teachers unions. And for all the bloviating on the right about teachers unions (and for that matter, trial lawyers), the public at large doesn't have nearly the distaste for such groups as the right does. Frankly, if you read into any Republican-backed policy pertaining to public schools through the Norquistian lens, the aims of such policies are clear. TFM SEZ: FUCK THAT SHIT (No).

Proposition 75: Union money discretion. Public employees in unions can already opt out of having their dues go to political campaigns. Did you know that? If you listen only to the Yes-On-75 crowd, probably not. This proposition is about trying to create the reverse system, an opt-in system, which I might think about supporting only if the same standard were applied to corporations. Until then? TFM SEZ: FUCK THAT SHIT (No).

Proposition 76: More executive power. The Field Poll has this one going down by 14 percent as of last week. That would be a message to Ahhnuld leading into next year's reelection campaign. Let me put it this way. Who should have more budget control right now? State legislators, familiar to their constituents, relatively representative of the political proportions of the state? Or a governor elected in strange, smoke-and-mirrors laden, circus-like recall campaign, in which he only participated in a single debate with foreknowledge of the questions? Right now, to split that control exactly down the middle wouldn't even be fair to the legislature and senate. So... TFM SEZ: FUCK THAT SHIT (No).

Proposition 77: Redistricting. Here's my long post from a couple weeks ago proclaiming my opposition to 77. Short version: I'd support it if the guidelines for drawing the districts were fair, and if they were proposed (and passed) in Texas and Florida too. But for now, TFM SEZ: FUCK THAT SHIT (No).

Proposition 78: Pharma-sponsored pill plan. I go by the Merck Pfizer Yin-Yang Rule, as in, "where their money goes, I go elsewhere." They support this one, so TFM SEZ: FUCK THAT SHIT (No).

Proposition 79: Consumer-sponsored pill plan. Merk and Pfizer oppose this one, and I think Congressman Santos, by proxy, made a pretty good case for this one on Sunday night. TFM SEZ: HELLA YES (Yes).

Proposition 80: Re-regulation of electricity. I'm voting for it, but why do I feel so completely dismal as to its chances? The recall forces so successfully fooled so many Californians into thinking that dumping Gray Davis was the beginning and ending of accountability for the Enron-manufactured energy "crisis" of 2000 that I'm very doubtful that they'll support this one. Still, there's been very little advertising for it in either direction, and as of a week ago it only had 50% recognition among registered voters, so who knows. TFM SEZ: HELLA YES (Yes).

See you at the polls tomorrow.
TFM's Special Election Voter Guide Slash Inaccurate Predictions to be released Monday during the day. Oh boy!