y Density-land

It's..... The angriest blog on earth
Last updated November 26


In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama says that his mother, "for all her professed secularism...was in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I've even known."

She had an unsweving instinct for kidness, charity, and love, and spent much of her life acting on that instinct, sometimes to her detriment.

Without the help of religious texts or outside authorities, she worked mightily to instill in me the values that many Americans learn in Sunday school... She raged at poverty and injustice, and scorned those who were indifferent to both.

12:51 AM


Barack Obama made some remarks last night in Washington.
"I am seriously glad to be here tonight at the annual Alfalfa dinner. I know that many of you are aware that this dinner began almost one hundred years ago as a way to celebrate the birthday of General Robert E. Lee. If he were here with us tonight, the General would be 202 years old. And very confused."

11:34 AM


Barack Obama boarded the plane leaving Illinois for D.C., then spoke candidly to the reporters at the back of the plane.
"Well guys, I am looking forward to seeing you guys in Washington... I gotta say I choked up a little bit leaving my house today."

"Malia's friend had dropped off an album of the two of them together. They had been friends since pre-school and I just looked through the pages and the house was empty and it was a little tough, it got me."

4:12 PM


Here's the music video for a song about Barack Obama by Michael Franti.

Via the blog Barack Obama NOW!

5:10 PM


At a church food bank on the South Side of Chicago, Barack Obama (and Michelle Obama) made a surprise visit.

Reporters described the reaction.

Clearly, those lining up for food hadn't been told they had an important guest helping out this day. Many of them lit up. Some shrieked with delight and hugged one or more of the Obamas. One elderly woman bowed. All seemed very appreciative.

One and all were greeted with handshakes, hugs, and hearty "Happy Thanksgivings"...

One sixty-something neighborhood resident named Daryel Namdan was asked how it felt to have Obama there. "It makes me feel very special," he said, before choking up

3:06 PM


"And so we stand up from whatever stoop we found in the last 24 hours, brush the tears from our eyes, and start back down the tree-lined streets---yellow and orange leaves falling, our country ablaze again with possibility."

Reactions to Obama's victory are assembled in a celebratory post at Daily Kos. It also includes jokes from Jay Leno and David Letterman.

"People were worried about the Bradley effect.

Apparently, it was not nearly as strong as the Bush effect."

6:30 PM


In 2006 — two years before his death at age 85 — Norman Mailer was interviewed by his 28-year-old son, John Buffalo.

Bloggers became the surprise focus in a paragraph about powerlessness and political correctness.

My fear — not my attitude, but my fear — is that there's such a foul atmosphere now in America, such powerlessness for most of us — it's almost like the more power we have with the Internet, the less power we really have — you can feel this in the emptiness of so many blogs. There's a kind of dissipated fury in people today. They're frustrated, they're angry, and they are full of bad conscience, bad conscience among other things, that we're in Iraq, bad conscience that we're so passive about the fact that the top half of one percent of the country are pulling in — whatever they're getting — 25 percent of the wealth of the country each year and not even being taxed for it properly. So of course, yes, public figures can be seriously reduced by making rash statements.

2:18 AM


In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama remembers his mother's "incorrigible, sweet-natured romanticism," saying she tried intellectually to understand the 1960s radicals, but "the anger, the oppositional spirit, just wasn't in her."

"Emotionally her liberalism would always remain of a decidedly pre-1967 vintage, her heart a time capsule filled with images of the space program, the Peace Corps and Freedom Rides, Mahalia Jackson, and Joan Baez."

11:16 PM


Walking down the street today, I saw a black grade school-aged kid wearing a Barack Obama t-shirt. It said...

"The time for change is now."

5:43 PM


"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

-- Douglas Adams

11:21 PM


"But if the word 'reject' Senator Clinton feels is stronger than the word 'denounce,' then I'm happy to concede the point and I would reject and denounce."

Barack Obama shows that he understands politics.

8:48 PM


Jack Nicholson just called me.

He wanted to tell me that Hillary Clinton was "battle tested." Okay, it was a recorded message, but it was still fun getting a call from the star of Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

Jack thinks Hillary would make a "strong" commander in chief, and has "the experience to deal with the economic challenges we face as a nation today."

"I'm casting my vote for Hillary Clinton," says Jack Nicholson. And he hopes you'll join him.

6:34 PM


Rural Votes is doing a very good job of covering this primary.

12:04 PM


Josh Marshall points out...
Paris Hilton did more time than Scooter Libby.

4:19 PM

He'd won a Pulitzer Prize, 43 years ago. Before his death in April, David Halberstam wrote one last article about George Bush -- and Vanity Fair just put it up on their web site.

The 74-year-old's final verdict?

We have lately been getting so many history lessons from the White House that I have come to think of Bush, Cheney, Rice, and the late, unlamented Rumsfeld as the History Boys.

They are people groping for rationales for their failed policy, and as the criticism becomes ever harsher, they cling to the idea that a true judgment will come only in the future, and history will save them.

3:06 PM


A lively song by the Asylum Street Spankers, parodying the song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree."

It's called:

"Stick another ribbon on the SUV."

10:13 PM


A very interesting article about Michael Crook

9:04 AM


Joe Lieberman is no longer a Democrat. He's running against the Democrat, in his own self-created party.

Lieberman's mind-set is deconstructed at a parody web site, Connecticut for Lieberman.

"If you hate the democratic process, and agree that people who vote in primaries are just troublemaking radicals, then please support Connecticut for Lieberman.

"It's my party, and I'll run if I want to."

8:08 PM


Pre-Watergate, there was little or no public knowledge of the vast pushing, shoving and outright acrimony between the Nixon White House and Hoover's FBI...

[Deep Throat] had nothing but contempt for the Nixon White House and their efforts to manipulate the bureau for political reasons.

34 years later, Bob Woodward tells all about how he met his powerful and secretive source. I love how the picture captures the different styles of their generation - and how the expressions on their faces hint at the roles they'll play.

Every time Woodward asked about his motivations, the FBI chief gave him the same answer.
"I have to do this my way."

8:35 PM

A sweet moment. A Ned Lamont supporter reaches over to a Joe Lieberman support, and hands him a Sno-Cone.

6:55 PM

I didn't know Norman Mailer had contributed to the Huffington Post.
"In the wake of all the fluvial funereal obsequies that the media attached to Ronald Reagan's earthly departure, I felt obliged to remark that he had been the most overrated president in American history and the second most ignorant.

Then I added -- how could I not? -- guess who is the most ignorant? Half the audience applauded; the other half were outraged and groaned in true patriotic pain."

There's only one other. Mailer wonders if Michael Isikoff's erroneous story about the desecrated Koran could have been a classic case of planting false information.

"Obviously, I can offer no proof of any of the above. There still resides, however, under my aging novelist's pate a volunteer intelligence agent, sadly manque... At the age of eighty-two I do not wish to revive old paranoia, but Lenin did leave us one valuable notion, one, at any rate. It was 'Whom?' When you cannot understand a curious matter, ask yourself, 'Whom? Whom does this benefit?'"

This is my favorite part...
"George W. is not only a horse's ass, but vain and platitudinous to boot..."

1:42 AM


"The only crisis with Iran is the crisis with the president's public approval ratings. Period. End of story."

Josh Marshall thinks the Bush administration wants to bamboozle the public.

"The Iranians are years, probably as long as a decade away, and possibly even longer from creating even a limited yield nuclear weapon. Ergo, the only reason to ramp up a confrontation now is to help the president's poll numbers...."

Josh backs up his statement with a key point from a recent Time magazine article, which uncovered a five-point plan aimed at shoring up the President's support before the November elections. The fourth point was to "reclaim security credibility." And Time even cites a "Republican frequently consulted by the White House" who believes that "In the face of the Iranian menace, the Democrats will lose."

Is an international crisis being manufactured? Josh calls for a strong response.

"Enough of the lies. Enough of the incompetence and failure. No buying into another of the president's phony crises...

To the president the Democrats should be saying, Double or Nothing is Not a Foreign Policy."

3:50 PM


Jessica Cutler blogged about her sex life in Washington D.C. When the blog was discovered, she was fired from her internship with Republican Senator Mike Dewine.

The 26-year-old intern then posed for Playboy and wrote a "novel" -- about a 26-year-old who gets fired for blogging about her sex life. But now one of her blogged-about lovers is suing her for "invasion of privacy."

Robert Steinbuch - described by Cutler as "this crazy hair-pulling, ass-smacking dude who wants to use handcuffs on me" - filed his lawsuit last year complaining of "humiliation and anguish beyond that which any reasonable person should be expected to bear in a decent and civilized society."

Steinbuch may have gotten the last laugh, according to Wonkette. His lawyer filed a motion arguing that Cutler's attorney was also described in her web-log. (He was W - "a sugar daddy who wants nothing but anal.")

If the tipster is to believed, Cutler's former attorney - William Bode - then filed an "oh-so-meek notice of withdrawal."

In other news, HBO is producing a sitcom based on Cutler's book.

And Senator Dewine is still incredibly short .

11:43 PM


As for weapons of mass destruction, there were none, but Saddam could not bring himself to admit it, because he feared a loss of prestige and, in particular, that Iran might take advantage of his weakness...

The New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" visits new information about the days before the Iraq war.

[Saddam] did not tell even his most senior generals that he had no WMD until just before the invasion. They were appalled, and some thought he might be lying, because, they later told their interrogators, the American government insisted that Iraq did have such weapons.

The New Yorker describes the ultimate outcome with careful understatement...

Saddam "found it impossible to abandon the illusion of having W.M.D.," the study says. The Bush war cabinet, of course, clung to the same illusion, and a kind of mutually reinforcing trance took hold between the two leaderships as the invasion neared.

Via Talking Points Memo

7:43 PM


The Chicago Tribune's blog tells the story of Claude Allen.
When the news was first broken here...that Claude Allen, the president's former domestic policy adviser, had submitted his resignation in early February, the White House said Allen wanted to spend more time with his family.

It appears now that he may have been seeking more time with his defense attorney.

Allen is accused of 25 counts of retail fraud. Josh Marshall notes Bush had nominated him to be a federal judge.

He was also in charge of the White House's reponse to hurricane Katrina.

10:34 AM


What would happen if Rush Limbaugh had an audience?

Magically, this footage from 16 years ago answers the question. Young Rush Limbaugh - guest-hosting on the Pat Sajak talk-show - lasts about one minute before the crowd suddenly turns on him.

"We are gonna be wherever you are, and we're going to denounce and expose you."

The audience shouts, jeers, and rises in mocking ovations when Rush inadvertently admits his prejudices. "As you can see," Rush stammers at the end, "we've had to clear the studio of the audience in order to be able to conclude the final segment of the program......"

And ever since - for 16 years - Rush has recorded every one of his programs without a studio audience.

10:42 AM


1999 - Amazingly, the outgoing message on Mark Felt's answering machine was: "If you'd like to leave a message for Joan, Rob, Nick, or Deep Throat, you may do so after the beep." This 1999 article recounts an interview with Felt about the message, and gives Felt's denials to a series of questions about his historic role in the Watergate investigation.

1980 - Nixon testifies at Deep Throat's trial. A case (unrelated to Watergate) involved anti-war activists suing Felt for wiretaps. Felt's lawyers thought Nixon's unpopularity might hurt their clients, but Nixon insisted on testifying anyways. Nixon also believed that Mark Felt was Deep Throat. So the same article wonders if Nixon's testimony was a calculated form of revenge

1976 - Deep Throat's identity is guessed correctly by an assistant U.S. Attorney General.

1:46 PM


I heard an amazing holiday song today on an L.A. radio station.

"The holidays are here (and we're still at war)."

I thought it was Tracy Chapman, because it's sad and biting. But apparently it's a newcomer named Brett Dennen.

Although it's not the cheeriest Christmas song I ever heard...

Smoggy skies and fixed elections
Injustice strikes from all directions
People with their backs against the floor

Looking for someone to set us free
A king with fists like Mohammad Ali

The holidays are here and we're still at war.

7:43 PM


In The Final Days (1976) Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein told the story of Richard Nixon's fall and ultimate resignation in the all-knowing third person.

"...the President walked through the Rose Garden portico to the residence."

"Kissinger stayed behind when the meeting broke up, and spoke briefly to the President..."

It assured them access to all the administration officials they needed to tell the story - because each one was granted anonymity.

Today the L.A. Times re-visits the issue of anonymity in a brilliant and sweeping essay.

It's a way of doing journalism that still serves its practitioners' career interests, but less and less often their readers or viewers because it's a game the powerful and well-connected have learned to play to their own advantage...

The Washington press corps doesn't want to talk about this because it basically puts some of its most admired members in a line of venal patsies.

The piece walks through the history of using the press, from Lincoln through Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. But then it circles back to today's reporters, and hits hard.

...the administration has adroitly availed itself of the cultural complicity that prevails in a fin de siècle Washington press corps living out the decadence of an increasingly discredited reporting style...

It still may call itself investigative journalism - and so it once was - but now it's really just a glittering and carefully choreographed waltz in which all the dancers share the unspoken agreement that the one unpardonable faux pas is to ask who's calling the tune.

Poignantly, they gave their piece the headline:

"Woodward Joins a Decadent Dance."

Link via Washington Monthly

2:53 PM


Bush impeached?

Kos makes a good point to liberals clamoring for a dramatic reckoning. "Impeachment would, at best, saddle us with Cheney or Hastert in the Oval Office, at worst, give Republicans an opportunity to clean house and redeem themselves. Screw that. Now's not the time to give them a lifeline."

In a post titled "Realignment, Not Impeachment," he links to an essay at MyDD.com arguing that liberals could create dramatic and long-lasting gains in the way power is distributed.

"This is it. This is our chance--our once in a generation window...

"We probably won't get another chance like this for at least another decade, so we have to make it count."

A later post cites a Newsweek poll showing 53% of respondents saying they'd vote for a Democrat in the next Congressional elections, versus just 36% who say they'd vote for a Republican.

"This is the largest lead held by one party over another in the generic ballot in a decade."

4:11 PM


Fun with Scott McClellan, part II.

REPORTER: Back in 2003, the Vice President said publicly that he didn't know who sent Joe Wilson on the Niger mission... There now seems to be contradictory evidence that, in fact, he did know. Do you know, did he know, did he not know?

McCLELLAN: This is a question relating to an ongoing investigation, and we're not having any further comment on the investigation while it's ongoing. That is on all questions relating to the investigation.

QUESTION: But that isn't really a question about the investigation.

McCLELLAN: It relates to the whole issue that the special prosecutor is investigating, or looking into.

QUESTION: Well, it relates to the truthfulness of the Vice President with the American public, too, doesn't it?

10:55 PM


White House press secretary Scott McClellan got tripped up when reporters asked him about a damning newspaper article on the Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation.

MCLELLAN: One, we're not commenting on an ongoing investigation; two, I would challenge the overall accuracy of that news account.

REPORTER: That's a comment.

REPORTER #2: Yes, that is....

REPORTER: So what facts are you challenging?

McCLELLAN: Again, I'm not going to comment on an ongoing investigation.

QUESTION: You can't say you're challenging the facts and then not say which ones you're challenging...

12:01 AM


Tom Delay was indicted today. But some see a larger point.

"...even if he evades imprisonment on the Texas charges, let's remember that the object of the fundraising effort in question was The Hammer's obsessive campaign to launch a re-redistricting of U.S. House seats to buttress his power in the Capitol. And that broader determination to ruthlessly hold and use power by the GOP is what has given us a vast array of ethical lapses and bad policies, from Jack Abramoff's enormous roulette wheel of shakedowns and wirepullings, to a long series of fiscally ruinous special-interest raids on the U.S. Treasury, and even down to the staffing of FEMA with Republican campaign operatives."

That's from the DLC, via TPMCafe - where a reader cites prosecutor Ronnie Earl's clear record of being non-partisan.
...his quote, "We are a moral people, and the first lesson of democracy is not to hold the public in contempt," ought to be engraved in brass and hung on the office door of every elected official in the united states...

Talking Points Memo brings it back into perspective.
See the list of seven Texas congressmen who are sitting in Congress today because of what the Travis County grand jury calls a criminal conspiracy.

6:59 PM


And now, a Density-land exclusive.

"Arianna Huffington is two feet from my finger."

She was one of 25 people who showed up in L.A.'s Farmer's Market in response to a post on Kevin Drum's blog (Washington Monthly).

Also present were Bob Harris
Another blogger from This Modern World
RJ Scal from Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and the Huffington Post
And of course, Kevin Drum

The gathering broke into little conversations - I talked to a political consultant named Renee Nahum, and the blogger behind Abnormal Interests.

A splendid time was had by all...

11:36 PM


"The federal official in charge of the bungled New Orleans rescue was fired from his last private-sector job overseeing horse shows."

-- The Boston Herald

10:19 AM


The Associated Press's Ron Fournier calls George Bush a liar.

7:09 PM


Thousands could die in New Orleans, FEMA's director told CNN tonight.

But then he added that unfortunately, "that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings."

CNN pointed out that those people were often frail and without transportation. But FEMA's director responded only that this was not the time to be blaming those people, "whether they chose to evacuate or not to evacuate."

10:34 PM


In the latest Zogby poll, 42% of voters say they'd support impeaching President Bush if he misled the nation about his reasons for going to war with Iraq.

"President Bush’s televised address to the nation produced no noticeable bounce in his approval numbers, with his job approval rating slipping a point from a week ago, to 43%...."

9:29 AM


Tuesday night something amazing happened. More people (between the ages of 18 and 49) watched the cable network BET than watched any of the major networks.

It was partly because BET was broadcasting the annual BET awards - but more because the networks decided at the last minute to cancel all their programming, and broadcast President Bush.

ABC's mini-series "Empire" utimately drew just a 5.1 rating and an 8 share - a paltry 6.4 million viewers. NBC's Average Joe scored a 4.4 rating and a 7 share, slightly better than "I Want to Be a Hilton," which got a 4.2 and a 7 share.

11:05 PM


The soldiers in the audience for Bush's speech last night were "at attention," and thus, not supposed to interrupt with applause.

The Washington Post reports that the media took note of the lack of any sounds of support.

The sole supportive interruption followed a sequence in which Bush built to the line, "We will stay in the fight until the fight is won." NBC's Kelly O'Connell, reporting from Fort Bragg, told Williams afterward that the applause appeared to have been "triggered by members of the president's advance team" and that once they began clapping, the soldiers joined in.

8:35 AM


The "Downing Street Memo" is finally get some press attention. Representative Conyers staged an informal hearing, which apparently "legitimized" the story enough for the Associated Press...
Amid new questions about President Bush's drive to topple Saddam Hussein, several House Democrats urged lawmakers on Thursday to conduct an official inquiry to determine whether the president intentionally misled Congress.

At a public forum where the word "impeachment" loomed large, Exhibit A was the so-called Downing Street memo, a prewar document leaked from inside the British government to The Sunday Times of London a month and a half ago...

6:45 PM


Blogger Kos is in the middle of a controversy over - of all things - "The Real Gilligan Island," TBS's new "original comedic reality series".

He accepted an ad promoting the TV show in which the new Ginger and Mary-Anne have a sexy pie fight. When some readers complained about the implicit sexism, he dismissed them as the "women's studies" set.

"Kos has made it quite plain that women are second-class citizens," a reader complained, "and I find his attitude on this issue condescending and insulting."

"I also find it quite disturbing that he refuses to take responsibility for what is advertised on his own website. It's not as if he lacks for blogad revenue; is it too much to ask a 'liberal' website to display the barest modicum of sensitivity towards women and men who object to the blatant sexism of the 'pie fight' ad? Of course it is, silly! It's not as if Kos can control what's on his site--and he's made it quite plain that he realises the ad is sexist and doesn't give a damn."

9:37 PM


Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is said to have been using the filibuster issue to ensure support from radical conservative groups when he ran for President in 2008.

But a compromise has apparently been reached. I like how blogger Kos described its ramifications...

"On top of everything, Frist looks weak. He's failed his crazies. He's finished."

7:41 PM

U.S. Representative Walter Jones led the fight to rename french fries and french toast in the House cafeteria - to "freedom fries" and "freedom toast."

"I wish it had never happened," he says now.

He believes the U.S. want to war in Iraq " with no justification."

Via Atrios who says "The real story is that he was playing to the locals then and he's playing to them now..."

6:18 AM


So ToyPresident.com makes "Talking President Dolls and Political Action Figures". If you click on Bush's lapel pin on their web site, he demonstrates his unique brand of leadership.

"I'm heading to Crawford after tonight!"

And eloquence? The doll also illustrates the President's ability to speak in run-on sentences.

"And our country is unified, and we are strong, and we are resolved, and that makes this president -- feel really good."

Yes, but does it pander? DOES IT PANDER? One more click will tell...
"Glad to be in the midst of patriots."

Over on DailyKos.com, they're voting on what they'd like to hear the Bush doll say.

So far the front-runner is "He forgot Poland!"

5:45 PM

A group of Daily Kos posters has put together a web site to publicize Bush adminstration double-speak prior to the invasion of Iraq.

Since it's based on an internal British document that was just recently released, the site is called:

The Downing Street Memo.

5:21 PM


"According the Social Security Trustees' rather pessimistic estimates, in 2041 or 2042, the Trust Fund will run out and benefits will have to be cut by just over 25%. President Bush calls that bankruptcy.

On the other hand, President Bush's 'plan' cuts benefits by about the same amount. And he calls that solvency....

Josh Marshall calls out President Bush on what he calls "word games."

[F]or President Bush there's only one solution -- big middle class benefit cuts...

For most folks, that's the problem. For President Bush, it’s the solution.

11:31 AM


"A highly classified British memo, leaked in the midst of Britain's just-concluded election campaign, indicates that President Bush decided to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by summer 2002 and was determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence data supported his policy...

"The visit took place while the Bush administration was still declaring to the American public that no decision had been made to go to war."

More from Salon.

Via Washington Monthly.

6:25 AM


The music industry is trying to stop people from sharing mp3 music files with their friends.

The most-recent example of someone downloading their friends' music is: President Bush.

4:36 PM


What about Poland?

Oh - Never mind.

During the first Presidential debate, John Kerry argued there was no "grand coalition" liberating Iraq with the United States.

"When we went in, there were three countries: Great Britain, Australia and the United States. That's not a grand coalition."
And Bush's retort?
"He forgot Poland!"
Well, Poland's out, now, too.

But even at the time Bush said that, the President of Poland had declared publicly that the United States "deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction... We were taken for a ride."

10:38 PM


The Terry Schiavo case would be "a great political issue," according to a Republican Senator's legal counsel. Before Congress intervened, he gloated that "this is a tough issue for Democrats," whereas the Republicans could reap political gains in upcoming elections because "the pro-life base will be excited."

Who wrote the memo? Right-wing bloggers were sure - it was Democrats! A plot by the Democrats! Their theory burbled onto cable news talk shows - though Thursday it was discovered that the memo's author was, in fact, the legal counsel for Florida's Republican Senator Martinez.

So now it's time for the left-wing bloggers to laugh at the right-wing bloggers who promulgated their Democrat-baiting theories...

"...has there ever been a bigger bunch of vainglorious nobodies in the history of the world?" [Digby]

"It's not just that they have no shame, it's that they once met shame on a street, beat the shit out of him, rolled him up in a carpet, and threw him off a bridge." [Ezra Klein]

12:59 PM


If you make less than $40,000 a year, you pay an extra $16 a month, your employer pays an extra $16 a month...

...and social security becomes solvent for the next 75 years.

4:40 PM


If you use the Firefox browser, you can install "extensions" which give your browser special capabilities. (Weather forecasts in the task bar, title of the mp3 currently playing, etc.)

This one does one thing. It tells you whether Terry Schavio is alive or dead.

10:29 PM


Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" was edited and re-released this weekend.

According to the Studio Briefing at IMDB.com, the film appeared in "about 1,000 virtually empty theaters [earning] just $239,850. That works out to an average of 10 tickets sold per theater per day."

4:50 PM


Local newscasts are actually written by the Bush administration, according to The New York Times.
At least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show.

Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government's role in their production.

Our tax dollars - about $63 million a year - paid for the fake news.

9:28 AM


Senator Russ Feingold writes his first blog post, dramatizing his position that "[T]he Federal Elections Commision should provide adequate protection for legitimate online journalists."

"I am enjoying reading many blogs, and am fascinated by their immediate reporting that is covering the important issues of the day."

He also argues that campaign finance reform and blogs both had a positive impact on the 2004 election by empowering ordinary citizens.

Kos at DailyKos thinks "This looks good, except for the part where the Senator talks about 'legitimate' bloggers and online journalists. How, and by whom, that is defined, ultimately, is crucial to whether such regulations truly protect bloggers."

4:35 PM


Eminem's Mosh video has a new ending. He still assembles an army of hooded followers, but instead of voting, they storm Congress.

Carrying signs that read "War won't make us safe," "Bring home the troops," and "Count every vote."

And as we proceed
to Mosh through this desert storm,
in these closing statements, if they should argue
Let us beg to differ.
As we set aside our differences
and assemble our own army
to disarm this Weapon of Mass Destruction
that we call our President, for the present,
and Mosh for the future of our next generation.

To speak and be heard.

"Can you guys hear us?"

3:53 PM


Today Paul Krugman quoted the book "What's the Matter With Kansas?" It attempts to explain why poor rural voters election politicians who will make deep cuts in the capital gains tax.

The right "mobilizes voters with explosive social issues, summoning public outrage ... which it then marries to pro-business economic policies.

Krugman believes the right is deploying the same weapons to radically restructure our futures.

...this week we saw [the book]'s thesis acted out so crudely that it was as if someone had deliberately staged it. The right wants to dismantle Social Security, a successful program that is a pillar of stability for working Americans. AARP stands in the way. So without a moment's hesitation, the usual suspects declared that this organization of staid seniors is actually an anti-soldier, pro-gay-marriage leftist front.

8:17 PM

As long as individuals can stand up outside of the tribe and claim Americanism as their own, the right is revealed as weak, because it is their own lies about themselves that they cannot stand. Proof in the form of our existence is enough to make them angry. This is why, as Digby wonders, they keep getting madder as they keep gaining power. They are not really after a conservative agenda in terms of policy; they are not even after power, really. They are after a complete and utter subjugation of the American consciousness to their tribal mentality.

Blogger Digby starts by quoting blogger Matt Stoller. Then he digs up a long, thoughtful response by...

Abraham Lincoln.

Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.

4:18 PM


Enron robbed Bambi.

Walt Disney's Bambi used the voice of Donnie Duggan. The young Depression-era child star is now 63 years old, and, ironically, lost much of his savings in the Enron debacle.

5:49 PM


The conservative reporter-prostitute writing under the pseudonym Jeff Gannon appeared in the White House briefing room before his known media outlet was even created, progressive bloggers have found.
This contradicts the White House's press secretary, who claimed that the Bush-friendly reporter was embedded in press conferences only after they'd confirmed he wrote for a news outlet that published regularly.

Heh. "Conservative reporter-prostitute..."

7:20 PM

The young Nevada man designated to chair the upcoming 2005 Young Republican National Convention in Las Vegas has been accused of embezzling registration fees from around the country to pay off bar tabs, personal loans and credit card debts.
Some news stories speak for themselves...

6:20 AM


"Valid questions are being raised regarding the Bush White House's relationship with James Guckert, also known as 'Jeff Gannon,' and his access to documents that revealed the identity of Undercover CIA Operative Valerie Plame....

"This most recent revelation is only the latest in the growing list of ways that Republicans in Washington are attempting to manipulate the American people through the media and avoid accountability.

-- From the Democratic Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives

6:40 PM


So Wonkette's site breaks the news that Jeff Gannon "has retired from... whatever it is that he did."

"Sad. We miss him already. Also, we won't remember his name in about 9 hours."

6:25 AM

Great moments in internet journalism.

Jeff Gannon
A Voice of the New Media

The voice goes silent.

Because of the attention being paid to me I find it is no longer possible to effectively be a reporter for Talon News. In consideration of the welfare of me and my family I have decided to return to private life.

Thank you to all those who supported me.

Talon news posts its final edition.

6:20 AM


Mild-manner reporter Jeff Gannon has a secret identity which may have been revealed!

His personal web sites were registered to stately Bedrock Corporation, which resides at a (very stately) P.O. box in Delaware. An alternate address turned up for the Bedrock Corporation, however, for a single-family home in Delaware which belonged to...

Jim Guckert.

The home was sold in September.

6:17 AM


A funny photo cartoon called "Rock, Paper, Saddam!"

"TIGER HAND! RAWR!!!!! RAWRR...! You don't know Tiger Hand? Tiger Hand beats paper. Like totally beats paper. Always...'

12:31 PM


QUESTION: Is Jeff Gannon your real name or just your reporter's name?

GANNON: It's definitely my reporter's name, and beyond that, I don't see how relevant anything else is," he replied after a moment's hesitation.

There, see, that settles that? It's none of your business...

Media Bistro assesses the controversial White House reporter's journalistic credentials.

My reporter name is going to be "Lex Luthor."

6:15 AM


Wednesday George Bush gave a press conference, and reporter "Jeff Gannon" asked him about the Democrats.
"[H]ow are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
But is Gannon a real reporter? "He is listed as 'White House Correspondent and Washington DC Bureau Chief' - of a news agency that exists only as a website and one guy who goes to White House press conferences," complains one observer.

Posting in a comments thread on the DailyKos site, they joined a remarkable collaboration among the site's readership to unravel the mystery: Who is Jeff Gannon?

  • His web sites are owned by the conservative activist group GOPUSA.com, and registered to an address in Delaware which turns out to be a UPS Store.

  • Dialing the phone number he gives for JeffGannon.com rings a Verizon wireless cellphone number in Delaware - area code 302 - which belongs to Bob Cohen, the owner of a furniture store in Delaware who's never heard of him.

  • That appears to be a typo with the area code off by one digit, since all his other domains have the same number with area code 202 (Washington D.C).

  • The 202 number corresponds with Jeff's online biography, which says he lives on Capitol Hill - though a Google search on that phone number matches it to a Bill Turnley.*

    UPDATE: Some theorize the investigation wanders after red herrings at this point.

  • The address Google gives for that number is, indeed, on Capitol Hill. In addition a "Jeff Gannon" is cited in local D.C. newspaper "The Hill" complaining about vagrants in an area just two miles from that address.

  • Maybe it's an apartment building. Also at that address is a James P. McFarland - who, like Gannon, lived in Pennsylvania. Definitely a conservative - he's currently on the ministry team at the Little Falls Presbyterian Church in Arlington, Virginia (which sponsors closely-chaperoned dances.)

Is the minister leading a double life as conservative White House correspondent Jeff Gannon? His biography page - created in December of 2003 - says he will be married that month.

Four months later, in a White House press conference, reporter "Jeff Gannon" asks Scott McClellan:

"I hope the grand jury didn't force you to turn over the wedding card I sent to you and your wife..."
Yes, it could be just a coincidence...

Other sightings of the name "James McFarland"...

  • In 1997 there was a conservative James McFarland - apparently living in Seattle - who posted to newsgroups like alt.fan.rush-limbaugh and alt.fan.dan-quayle.

  • The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported in September of 2003 on a James McFarland who "came to D.C. as an intern for one month and left as the Honorary Hill Historian. Except he didn't know it until Roll Call rang him up at his university dorm."

  • Other Kos posters note one related web site is registered to a "J. Daniels" - and suspect instead a Jason T. Daniels whose address history shows time in Texas and the military.

But in any case, Gannon's new notoriety is already starting to be felt. Another commenter on DailyKos notes that Gannon's question was played on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

"Jon Stewart identified the speaker as 'Chip Rightwingenstein of the Bush Agenda Gazette'."

*Bill Turnley shouldn't be confused with GOPUSA contributor Sean Turner.

12:44 AM


Fox News: We were noticing all the snow in Washington, boy it's really coming down! I hope that doesn't put a crimp in anybody's plans. Look at that gorgeous shot of the White House...

JUDY: Well I, I have a feeling that maybe it should put a crimp, or at least something should put a crimp in the plans of the White House to have such a very lavish inaugural at a time of war.

Fox News: Really?


Fox News anchor Brigitte Quinn invited Vanity Fair's Judy Bachrach to comment on the inauguration. It didn't go the way she expected...

JUDY: What I've noticed is the worse a war is going, the more lavish the inaugural festivities. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President, during a time of war, of course as you know, he had a very modest inauguration and a very tiny party where he served chicken salad, or where chicken salad was served. And that was when we were winning a war.

Fox News: Right, but, well, no, I, look, I mean, the President has, has addressed this, hasn't he, he said that this is a, I believe the quote was that we're celebrating, we're celebrating democracy, we're celebrating a peaceful transfer of democracy. What's wrong with doing that?

JUDY: Have you noticed any peace or any transfer of democracy in Iraq? If you have, you're the first person to have seen it.

Fox News: Well, I've noticed the elections coming up, and, to be honest...

JUDY: They don't seem very peaceful.

Fox News: ....I didn't want to argue politics with you this morning.

JUDY: Oh really? I thought I was allowed to talk about what I wanted to talk about.

Fox News: You certainly, you certainly have that right. Let me ask, let me ask you this: what, I mean, what -- what should they have cut back on? I mean we...

JUDY: How about $40 million.

Fox News: All right, well...

JUDY: May I say something? May I say something?

Fox News: Sure.

JUDY: We have soldiers who are incapable of protecting themselves in their humvees in Iraq. They have to use bits of scrap metal in order to make their humvees secure. Their humvees are sitting ducks for bombs. And we have a president who's using $40 million to have a party.

Fox News: What would you suggest for the inauguration? How would you do it?

JUDY: How about a modest party? Just like FDR. I'm sure you'll agree he was a pretty good President with a fine sense of what's appropriate and what's not. And during a time of war, 10 parties are not appropriate when your own soldiers are sitting ducks in very, very bad vehicles.

Fox News: Well, don't you think that the President has, has given his proper respect to our troops? I mean yesterday, as far as I can tell, the festivities opened with a military gala, they ended with a prayer service. There does seem to have certainly been a tremendous effort over the past couple of days and more than that to honor our troops!

JUDY: Well, gee, that prayer should sure keep them safe and warm in their flimsy vehicles in Iraq. I'd rather see that money going to them, rather than to a guy who already is President, for the second time.

Fox News: All right, well, Judy Bachrach, I think we've given you more than your time to give us your point of view this morning.

JUDY: Thanks for having me on.

12:18 AM

GANGSTER: Here's some advice for you, friend: Don't press your luck. Lay off me. Don't print that story!

BOGART: What's that supposed to be -- an order?

GANGSTER: Listen to me! Print that story and you're a dead man.

BOGART: It's not just me anymore. You'd have to stop every newspaper in the country, and you're not big enough for that job. People like you have tried it before -- with bullets, prison, censorship. But as long as even one newspaper will print the truth, you're finished.

(Bogart holds the phone out toward the presses.)

GANGSTER: Hey, that noise! What's that racket?

BOGART: That's the press, baby, the press. And there's nothing you can do about it. Nothing.

(Bogart hangs up, the papers roll off the presses, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" sounds in the background, the movie ends.)

From the 1952 movie Deadline U.S.A.

5:36 PM



John Kerry won Ohio! And thus the electoral college! It turns out that John Kerry is the next President of the United States!

If you're still clinging to hopes that an Ohio recount will put Kerry in the White House after all, read Keith Olberman's blog.

The host of MSNBC's "Countdown" has been following odd voting statistics in Florida and the speculation that Ohio's Secretary of State is stalling the re-count...

Kerry win not confirmed

8:12 PM


CNN's Crossfire booked an even stranger guest -- Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.

The talking puppet revived a sore memory for the show's hosts...

"No, come on. Get over it. Jon Stewart made you his bitch."

6:02 AM


"Sorry, world. We tried. -- Half of America."

Voters hold signs in pictures on a new web site capturing their collective angst at the re-election of George Bush.

It's called Sorry Everybody.com

This tongue-in-cheek project showcases the webmaster's sense of humor - for instance, in his answer to this frequently-asked question.

Q: Why don't you just accept that Bush won and get on with your lives?

A:We have.

That's why we're so sorry.

10:08 PM


After a three-month silence, Selena Thorn returns to her forgotten web-log, "Diary of a Mad Woman," and offers up this paragraph.
We surround ourselves with like-minded people. It is easy to forget that the vast majority of this country is less educated, has less access to information, and is far more religious. When everyone around us shares similar views, it's easy to forget that those views might not be shared by all.
Her current mood? "Contemplative."

4:37 PM


CBS's election coverage includes Dan Rather winging clever metaphors.

It's 10:33 p.m. Tuesday night, and "8 states are hanging like ripe fruit." So what's the state of the tight contest in Iowa?

"This race is hot enough to peel the paint off houses!"

10:33 PM


14% of registered voters had already voted by Wednesday, according to a recent poll.*

"The term 'election day' is becoming a misnomer..." says data analyst Kate Kenski. "Election Day is more accurately described as the last day when Americans can vote."

* Poll conducted by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.
Available as a PDF file.

By comparison, in 2000, only 11% of voters had cast their ballots at this point in the election.

7:01 PM


Eminem's new video "Mosh" ends with the words: "Vote Tuesday November 2."

But the animated rap song is thoughtful, angry -- and amazing.

In these closing statements,
if they should argue,
let us beg to differ,
as we set aside our differences,
and assemble our own army,
to disarm this weapon of mass destruction
that we call our president,
for the present,
and mosh for the future
of our next generation,
to speak and be heard,
Mr. President, Mr. Senator.

9:25 PM

On the Daily Kos blog, they're swapping stories about experiences helping the Kerry campaign "Get out the Vote."

One shares a memorable encounter from Las Vegas...

An elderly chinese man that was quite wary, until he understood why I was there. Then he smiled and said, "We need to beat up on Bush. Good Thing!"

9:20 AM


There are times when a man has campaigned so much that he is running on hollow.

Norman Mailer is a fun read. In The New York Review of Books he offers his blunt assessment of the campaign's dynamics.

Bush's appeal is, after all, to the stupid. They, too, are inflexible - they also know that maintaining one's stupidity can become a kind of strength, provided you never change your mind.

The same article also has a piece by Garry Wills, writing with his usual lucidity.

What will be done in Iraq remains unclear for both parties; but a sane policy must begin from a grasp of the mistake that was made, an understanding of which the Republicans seem incapable

11:02 AM


David Letterman joked tonight about how Florida has started their early voting.

"This gives them an extra two weeks to...rig the results."

Letterman also quipped that those results were surprising.

"Bush now has a slight lead over Al Gore."

11:38 PM

I hear there's rumors on the Internets...
I hear there's rumors on the Internets...
I hear there's rumors on the Internets...
I hear there's rumors on the Internets...

rumorsontheinternets.com used to point to a funny animation, but now it's just a parked domain.

4:52 PM


John Kerry contributers just received an inspiring email from Michael Whouley, Kerry's General Election Strategist.
Towards the end of every presidential campaign, strategists like me crowd into small conference rooms and huddle around spreadsheets with polling data and financial reports. We argue about the best course of action in key battleground states and then we argue with the finance guy about if we can afford it. These meetings usually involve a series of tough decisions guided as much by cash shortages as they are by strategy.

The meeting we had this weekend was different. Time and time again when we decided on the best strategy to win a state and turned to the finance guy his answer was "go for it." It was "go for it" because of the contributions you made just last week.

4:40 PM


The New York Times Magazine analyzes the roots of George W. Bush's "faith-based Presidency."

In 1989 an investment firm spun off a division of Marriott. A former Nixon aide approached David Rubenstein, the firm's co-founder, and said "There is a guy who would like to be on the board. He's kind of down on his luck a bit. Needs a job... Needs some board positions."

Though Rubenstein didn't think George W. Bush, then in his mid-40's, "added much value," he put him on the...board. "Came to all the meetings... Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones.

"And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years: 'You know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.'

"He said: 'Well, I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.' And I said thanks.

"Didn't think I'd ever see him again.''

8:31 PM

In 1971, Richard Nixon talked to his counsel Charles Colson - later a Watergate co-conspirator. They were concerned about a rising star in the anti-war movement - a young John Kerry.

In a memo Colson described his mission in words that ring with irony today. Colson's mission?

"Destroy the young demagogue before he becomes another Ralph Nader."

7:37 PM


Ken Layne thinks the President is just wearing a girdle.

"Why won't the campaign or the White House give a simple explanation? Because the first instinct of anyone involved in the Bush campaign or Administration is to Lie."

7:38 PM

New theories emerge about that mysterious rectangular bulge under the back of President Bush's suit.

Here's my contribution. The bulge is clearly visible in this August 2002 photo on the White House's official web site, in which Bush is wearing a t-shirt. So it's obviously not a seam in his suit.

At the same time, my first thought was that this cast doubt on the "earpiece" theory - since Bush wouldn't be addressing the press that day.

Or would he? On that very day he gave a brief comment to the Associated Press.

On the Corrente blog there's a more interesting theory. Bush skips his physical, his facial expression is off, he's taking long vacations, his family has a history with atrial fibrillation. Corrente wonders if Bush is a long-term stroke survivor, and the bulge under Bush's suit...

...is a portable defibrillator.

One of the guys at work theorizes that it's the box containing the nuclear codes that's never more than 20 feet from the President.

4:49 PM


The blog-o-sphere is energized and motivated. Here's Kevin Drum in top form.

Kerry had accused George Bush of opposing minimum wage increases, and Bush claimed that "Mitch McConnell had a minimum-wage plan that I supported that would have increased the minimum wage."

...there was no such plan and no such bill. In April, led by McConnell, Republicans were said to be "crafting" a minimum wage proposal. In June McConnell was "rumored to be backing" a minimum wage bill. In September, "published reports" had McConnell "preparing legislation."

But apparently raising the minimum wage is more complex than you might think. Senators "straggled out of town" today and no McConnell bill ever saw the light of day.

9:25 PM

Blogger Digby swoons after Kerry's debate win...
I think it's time for Democrats to start giving our man Kerry a little bit of credit. He's a very impressive politician and a very impressive man.

Cool under fire, smart as a whip and hard as nails...

4:34 PM


Here's my thoughts on the last Presidential debate...

Kerry entered smiling. Bush looked worried at first. His microphone was humming.

Kerry was speaking slower, assured. More confident. Bush tried to replace his angriness from Friday with: cheeriness. It seemed unserious.

At one point the split screen showed Bush signalling for a follow-up and not getting it...

On an early question about job out-sourcing, Bush changed the subject to education. Voters didn't like it. CBS's real-time polling showed Bush's approval dropping the moment he started touting his job re-education programs.

When Bush later got another pesky question about the minimum wage, he again changed the subject to: education.

Some of the attacks were predictible. Kerry repeated the charge that Bush out-sourced the capture of Osama bin Laden; Bush repeated the attack that Kerry wanted a "global test" for defending America and that Kerry had said terrorism [could one day be reduced to the level of] "a nuisance."

Kerry actually stepped up to his "global test," remark, first re-iterating that he wouldn't cede veto power to any other country, but then adding that security and defense responses - implicity, with the military - would have to pass "a truth standard."

Politically, it's probably hard to raise objections to "a truth standard"...

Kerry tried channelling President Clinton, talking about families who "work hard, and play by the rules." But he followed it with a good line of his own.

"I'm tired of politicians who talk about family values and don't value families."

The moderator asked a question that was unusual and tough - yet simple. "Is homosexuality a choice?" Bush ducked it; Kerry gave something more thoughtful.

Bush: "I don't know."
Kerry: "We're all god's children."
John Kerry also gave a more direct answer on the question of abortion. "I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade." Bush offered the ambiguous phrase "a culture of life."

(Bush was less guarded Friday, touting his signature on a bill re-defining murder to include unborn fetuses and trumpeting the prohibition of stem-cell research as "ethical".)

A priceless exchange:

Kerry: Well, two leading national news networks have both said the president's characterization of my health-care plan is incorrect. One called it fiction. The other called it untrue....

Schieffer: Mr. President?

Bush: In all due respect, I'm not so sure it's credible to quote leading news organizations about -- oh, nevermind. Anyway...

Atta boy! Go get 'em, tiger!

The last thing the moderator asked was a weird Oprah-like question: "What have you learned from the strong women around you."

Bush: "Stand up straight and don't scowl."
Kerry: "Integrity, integrity, integrity."
Maybe the touchy-feely question was moderator Bob Schieffer's way of bringing America together.

I thought Kerry's closing statement was stronger than Bush's, but read the transcript yourself.

USA Today/Gallup showed Kerry winning the debate 52- 39.

CBS News showed Kerry winning 39-25.

10:20 PM

The Democratic Headquarters for a crucial swing-state county in Ohio was robbed Tuesday morning.

Campaign strategy emails were taken, as well as the computers of The County Commissioner and an attorney who were working, ironically, on "election security."

The thieves - who bashed in a window - ignored many items with a high monetary value, choosing instead the politically sensitive computers. "They knew what they wanted," said a Democratic party spokesman.

The party offered a $2500 reward for information on the perpetrators. "If the information is provided before the election, the reward is $5,000."

8:53 PM

Are the Republicans funding voter fraud? That's what one web site is asking about a Republican-funded firm called "Voter's Outreach of America."

Democrats who registered in Nevada had their registrations discarded by the firm's supervisor, former employees told a Nevada TV station.

"We caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them to her assistant and he ripped them up right in front of us.

"I grabbed some of them out of the garbage and she tells her assistant to get those from me."

Bloggers have discovered the firm's original classified ad, which specifies that the operation is funded by the Republican party and is in support of Republican candidates.

The group was evicted from their Nevada office space for "non-payment of rent."

The Associated Press follows-up with Nevada efforts to investigate. But ominously, the first article also cited another source who believes the group is now registering voters in Oregon...

Oregon bloggers are on the case. One describes an Oregon TV report about a voter registration worker who "sometimes simply tosses Democratic registration cards in the trash. Why? Because he's getting paid $5 for every Republican registration, but nothing for Democratic registrations."

And according to the report, his group had just recently been in Las Vegas....

The web version of the story says the worker "was instructed to only accept Republican registration forms. He told the TV reporter that he 'might' destroy forms turned in by Democrats."

Oregon's Secretary of State tells the TV reporter "I have never in my five years as secretary of state ever seen an allegation like the one that came up tonight -- ever. I mean, frankly, it just totally offends me that someone would take someone else's registration and throw it out."

Strangely, the TV report identified the group as "America Votes" - which is a non-partisan registration group whose sponsors include MoveOn.org. And this isn't the first time there's been confusion. In Pennsylvania Voter's Outreach of America mis-identified themselves as "America Votes." The same apparent "mis-identification" of the group's name happened when the group tried to set up their partisan vote-gathering operation in an Oregon library. (Publicly-funded libraries are prohibited from hosting partisan vote-gathering groups.)

Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Nevada, are all swing states in the upcoming election.

Many more links here.

4:52 PM

Republican activist Nathan Sproul has previously hired the (partisan) group "Voters Outreach of America" - and he's faced similar charges. In the early 1990s, when he headed the Christian Coalition's field operation in Arizona, Sproul "encouraged members to run for Republican precinct committee chairs and mislead voters about their Christian Coalition affiliation," according to The American Prospect. In June Sproul was allegedly bank-rolling a signature drive to get Ralph Nader on the ballot in Arizona in order to draw votes away from the Kerry campaign.

4:51 PM


A blog called The Left Coaster asks two questions about Gallup's recent poll.

1.) Kerry ties Bush in a sample with more Republicans than Democrats. How far ahead would Kerry be if Gallup sampled an equal number of Democrats and Republicans?

2.) Re-calibrating the poll so it matches America's current party distribution, we'd see that Kerry leads by 4%. Wouldn't it change perceptions of the Presidential race if the venerable Gallup pollsters simply reported Kerry's larger lead?

4:36 PM


There's an old Klingon saying.

"Only a fool fights in a burning barn."

I think it explains this election.

America didn't respond to an expensive barrage of negative campaign ads early on. This time, voters were pre-occupied with a real issue -- terrorism and the war in Iraq.

Millions of dollars worth of negative campaign ads tried to create a link, lobbing accusations about leadership and steadfastness. But this election was too important for that. Polls showed that the electorate remained largely unmoved.

After September 11, voters apparently wanted first to make sure that America's security had been restored.

"Only a fool fights in a burning barn."

7:22 PM


Dick Cheney got the latest report that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And he claimed, unconvincingly, that the report vindicated the invasion, because it showed Iraq was hoping to bypass U.N. sanctions and eventually re-start a weapons programs.

In fact, says Cheney, "the sanctions regime was coming apart at the seams. Saddam perverted that whole thing and generated billions of dollars."

Here's an example. "Halliburton, the largest U.S. oil services company, is among a significant number of U.S. companies that have sold oil industry equipment to Iraq since the UN relaxed sanctions two years ago."

This was, of course, when the CEO of Halliburton was Dick Cheney himself.

Blogger Digby dug up these links, then concludes that "Cheney is now implicating himself in Saddam's WMD programs and he doesn't even realize it."

See also: Sadly, No.

11:42 AM


"There were noticeable snickers in the audience," the AP writes, "when Bush referred to rumors on the 'Internets' about the draft."

Blogger Kos runs with the joke...

"We know you have a choice in Internets, so thank you for choosing this one. Come back and see us again soon, we appreciate your business."

Kos also provides a link to an equally sardonic eBay auction.

11:37 AM

Today I decided to check in on the Doonesbury comic strip.

Trudeau is offering some subtle commentary on America's progress in Iraq.

8:15 AM

My friend Splicer offers his own analysis of President Bush's performance in the first debate.
If he can't face John Kerry without breaking down in gibbering terror, what the hell makes you think he can stand up to Usama bin Laden?

I mean, sure, Kerry had some key advantages, like not sleeping through his debate classes because he was too hung over. And having an IQ higher than 80. So I guess it wasn't a fair fight...

Later, Splicer adds one last observation about Bush. "Before tonight, I'd never seen him whine like a beaten dog."

Then he quotes the lyrics to Leonard Cohen's "Everybody knows the dice are loaded..."

8:04 AM

A blog called "Mad Social Scientist" coins a clever phrase.

"The Bush administration wishes we had something to fear besides fear itself."

The blogger suspects a kind of dis-inspiration -- a President who tries to lead by terror.

"The second they find something remotely fishy, they trump it up into a bogeyman."

Maybe that's why this web site is offering web surfers the opportunity to have the current terror alert level interpreted by dancing bananas.

alert banana

7:46 AM


Are there no black people in St. Louis?

It seemed like the audience for Friday's Presidential debate was almost exclusively white.

9:53 PM

Fox News' transcript of Friday's debate chops out 1200 words after the second question. (Here's a complete transcript of the debate.)

Fox's deletion occurs right after John Kerry says "He's trying to attack me. He wants you to believe that I can't be president. And he's trying to make you believe it because he wants you to think I change my mind."

The deleted portion begins when Kerry says:

Well, let me tell you straight up: I've never changed my mind about Iraq. I do believe Saddam Hussein was a threat. I always believed he was a threat. Believed it in 1998 when Clinton was president. I wanted to give Clinton the power to use force if necessary. But I would have used that force wisely, I would have used that authority wisely, not rushed to war without a plan to win the peace...."
About 600 words are missing from John Kerry, and about 500 from George Bush.

9:15 PM

al-Jazeera reporters have been instructed to stop using the term "occupation" for the U.S. presence in Iraq, "and to refrain from referring to militant extremists as members of the 'resistance.'"

At least, that's what this second-hand news item attributes to the Guardian newspaper in Britain, which adds that many al-Jazeera reporters "believe the policy glosses over the reality of what is happening in Iraq."

5:57 PM

One last link about the Tuesday debate.

An enterprising reporter gathers reactions from Dick Cheney's hometown in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Several people surveyed in Jackson said they have had all they can stand of presidential politics. A Dubois woman, who asked that she not be identified, said she chose not to watch Tuesday's debate because she is sick of all the "distortion, spin and lies...."

Warren Pierce, 56, who was visiting from Ohio, one of the election's battleground states, said his decision already has been made, and nothing that happens between now and Nov. 2 is going to change his mind...."It's become more of an advertising campaign, more than who's the best guy for the job," he said.

Pierce will vote for Kerry.

5:51 PM

A CBS News poll showed John Edwards trouncing Dick Cheney in Tuesday's debate - 41% to 28%. But strangely, ABC's poll found respondents giving the edge to Cheney. Here's what I think happened...

According to Studio Briefing, twice as many people tuned in to Fox News for their debate coverage as CNN. "According to figures released by Nielsen Media Research, Fox News Channel drew 7.8 million viewers, while CNN could attract only 3.3 million."

Fox's viewership was dwarfed by the huge numbers who watched on NBC, ABC, or CBS -- but it seems to suggest alot more conservatives were tuning in than non-partisan viewers. After Bush performed so poorly in his first debate, conservatives may have craved re-assurance that Bush wasn't losing the election before their very eyes...

ABC's own numbers seem to confirm this. According to Salon, "the network found more Republicans watched the debate."

MSNBC: 1.5 million
NBC: 11.5 million
All 3 networks: 31 million

5:44 PM

Election day comes - and there's voting irregularities. A worried voter calls the "Voter Alert Line," a non-partisan watchdog organization...

NBC will be there. "Mindful of charges that some voters were wrongfully turned away from the polls four years ago," NBC has arranged to have exclusive access to the voter complaint line. Should a flurry of voter-intimidation complaints rise up in Florida (or Ohio, or Michigan...) - NBC may get the first anecdotal evidence.

The election is three weeks from Tuesday.

In other media news, John Kerry told TV Guide "I like Bill O'Reilly. ... I think he does a terrific job. I think he's got a very good show."

5:37 PM

Why did George Bush do so poorly in his debate with John Kerry?

"Bush has taken unusual pains to insulate himself from hard questions from those who disagree with him," writes the AFP.

6:15 AM


A Corrente reader points out Newsweek.com's latest hard-hitting article about Cheney's debate performance.

It's called "Rewriting History."

"With virtually all of the administration's original case for war in Iraq in tatters," the article begins, "Vice President Dick Cheney provided shifting and sometimes misleading arguments in last night's debate with John Edwards..."

5:01 PM

Dick Cheney made a bizarre misstatement in Wednesday's debate.

Cheney was repeating one of his campaign's standard attacks against John Kerry....

And with respect to this particular operation, we've seen a situation in which, first, they voted to commit the troops, to send them to war, John Edwards and John Kerry, then they came back and when the question was whether or not you provide them with the resources they needed -- body armor, spare parts, ammunition -- they voted against it.
But this time, Cheney added a bizarre theory.
I couldn't figure out why that happened initially. And then I looked and figured out that what was happening was Howard Dean was making major progress in the Democratic primaries, running away with the primaries based on an anti-war record. So they, in effect, decided they would cast an anti-war vote and they voted against the troops.

Now if they couldn't stand up to the pressures that Howard Dean represented, how can we expect them to stand up to Al Qaida?

Air America Radio pointed out that Howard Dean wasn't "running away" with any primaries. As the contests were held, he placed 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th, 5th... Eventually racking up a whopping 170 delegates (out of 2162 needed.) Kerry placed first in the first nine primaries.

But there's another more important fact. This all-crucial vote that Dick Cheney focussed on, that he "looked" at to "figure out why that happened." The vote was held four months before the primaries even started.

FactCheck.org identifies that vote as occuring in October of 2003.

Air America theorized that the conservatives love making crazy connections between their opponents and Howard Dean.

5:35 PM


I think the campaigns have decided it's all going to come down to credibility. The very first thing that Senator Edwards said in Tuesday's debate was:
"Mr. Vice President, you still are not being straight with the American people."
And one of the last things he said was:
"John Kerry and I will tell the American people the truth."

CBS Poll shows undecided voters choosing Edwards over Cheney in the debate, 41% to 28%

10:37 PM


All the coverage of Thursday's debate overlooked another voice...

Outside the campus, several hundred protesters huddled in a half-mile parade, carrying one coffin for each of the 76 soldiers killed in Iraq this month.

As the media focused on the Presidential candidates, a protesting drama played out. Three pro-Bush students entered with a Bush-Cheney sign.

"We were looking for other Bush supporters," they told the press, "but we couldn't find them."

Via Corrente

11:35 AM


Virginia Republicans pressured their state university to cancel Michael Moore's appearance or withhold his payment. (See video.)

Moore told the Associated Press he was going to show up anyways "in support of free speech and free expression."

But it's not just Virginia. In Reno conservative donors demanded Moore's appearance be cancelled, and threatened to withhold future donations. When the student government didn't budge, conservatives suggested Moore cut his time in half, and share the stage with a conservative spokesman. $100,000 would then be forthcoming to the student government.

The students said no.

Conservatives also pressured Iowa State University bookers, and one parent of a student at Utah Valley State College "offered $25,000 to keep Moore away."

Donors and legislators are pressuring the Utah university, even though a Utah newspaper noted Barbara Bush had been paid the same fee as Moore in 1996.

California's Cal State San Marcos was the first school to buckle, but an alternate arrangement was apparently worked out, the controversy spurring huge advance ticket sales.

You can watch a video of Moore's appearance on his web site...

12:32 PM

A 19-year-old has an intense reaction to the Kerry-Bush debate...

11:53 AM

62 million people watched John Kerry debate George Bush on Thursday, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Of all the TV's in America that were turned on, 57% were tuned to the candidates.

The share for the Kerry/Bush debate was higher than every Academy Awards broadcast since 1983, when "Gandhi" won Best Picture...

Also, according to Nielsen estimates, Thursday night's debate was seen in more homes than five of the past 10 Super Bowls.

9:42 AM


James Wolcott is also piling on Bush's debate mannerisms...
He was President Twitchy, giving a performance that critics hailed as "peevish" and "petulant"....

10:47 PM

The Democrats have posted a funny video excerpting last night's debate.

The entire video consists of Bush's reactions while John Kerry is speaking...

5:08 PM

"Last night, I'm afraid, the president looked like a man who showed up for a nine-minute debate and was terrified to find it was a 90-minute debate," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

"After nine minutes he'd run out of Karl Rove's one-liners."

4:50 PM

I'll say it .... Our out of touch leader is a LIAR!

Bush's poor performance in the debate has apparently emboldened his critics. Ohio House candidate Jeff Seemann watched the Kerry-Bush debate in a swing district - then emailed his supporters...

Debate winner: Senator John Kerry. You don't even have to take my word for it; take the word of the decidedly partisan crowd watching "our misleader," stutter and stammer through answers - seemingly trying to cover up his lies of the past...

Yes, lies. Maybe Senator Kerry can't say it, but I will...

12:01 AM


At some points, it seemed like Bush just wasn't trying very hard in tonight's debate. Kerry cited North Korea's recently-acquired nuclear weapons, then said "For two years this administration didn't talk to North Korea. That happened on this President's watch."

Bush countered that if you opened multi-lateral negotiations with North Korea, you'd lose China - but Kerry persisted...

KERRY: Just because the president says it can't be done, that you'd lose China, doesn't mean it can't be done. I mean, this is the president who said There were weapons of mass destruction, said Mission accomplished, said we could fight the war on the cheap -- none of which were true.

LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Mr. President.

BUSH: You know my opinion on North Korea. I can't say it any more plainly.

LEHRER: Well, but when he used the word truth again...

BUSH: Pardon me?

LEHRER: ... talking about the truth of the matter. He used the word truth again. Did that raise any hackles with you?

BUSH: Oh, I'm a pretty calm guy. I don't take it personally.

11:47 PM

"He forgot Poland!"

My friend Richard says he laughed out loud when George Bush said that during tonight's debate. Kerry had raised the issue of Bush's failure to build coalitions for the war in Iraq...

KERRY: When we went in, there were three countries: Great Britain, Australia and the United States. That's not a grand coalition. We can do better.

BUSH: Well, actually, he forgot Poland!

The easy joke about the President's position is: "It wasn't just two little countries. It was three little countries!"

But Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly points out the current position of the President of Poland.

"They deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction... We were taken for a ride."

11:45 PM


George Monbiot writes a harsh article arguing religious beliefs may be affecting U.S. foreign policy.
[S]everal million fundamentalist Christians have succombed to an extraordinary delusion. In the 19th century an Irish priest named John Nelson Darby did what many other quacks, cranks, and con men have done: He claimed to have discovered a hidden prophecy in the Bible. He had cobbled together a series of unrelated passages to create what appeared to be a consistent narrative: Jesus will return to earth when certain preconditions have been met.

The first was the establishment of a state of Israel. The next involved Israel's occupation of the rest of its "Biblical lands"... The legions of the Antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to earth.

Monboit's article -- "Political Rapture" (in this month's Playboy) -- cites a poll suggesting that 33 percent of Republicans belong to a church or movement that believes in the coming Rapture...including Attorney General John Ashcroft and House majority leader Tom Delay.

Monboit provokatively argues that this voter bloc is lobbying for Middle East confrontations.

Here then we have a major political constituency - representing much of the President's core vote - that entertains a series of insane beliefs and actively seeks to provoke a new world war...

When Bush asked Ariel Sharon to pull his tanks out of Jenin in 2002 he received 100,000 angry emails from Christian fundamentalists. He never mentioned the matter again.

10:33 PM

My friend Lego-Man has a theory about why Ohio's Secretary of State changed his mind.
A bureaucrat tries to fiddle with the works in a subtle way ("rules is rules"). Everyone catches on and the word spreads across the country.

Then he gets bombarded with emails and calls. He backs down.

12:04 PM

I just interviewed the Board of Elections deputy director in Ohio's Summit County.

Ohio - a critical swing state - got tens of thousands of new voter registrations for this upcoming election. Then Ohio's (Republican) Secretary of State advised they'd be required to re-register - and ineligible to vote if their re-registrations weren't processed fast enough - if: the paper stock wasn't heavy enough.

In a close election, this could change the outcome - so readers on the MyDD web-log suggested concerned voters should call the Board of Elections for Ohio's Counties.

Here's the response I got from Tom McCabe, Deputy Director for Summit County.

"Yeah, that was -- let me look for my little advisory directive. It said Boards of Elections should be sending those back.

We've been processing those as new registrations...

Most of those [new voter registration forms] we've gotten back have been the federal ones on light paper stock. We're processing those as new registrations.

I think if you call around, most counties are doing likewise.

What the Secretary of State wanted us to do is send them back with a registration form, which really is not only time consuming and costly -- I don't know if it goes against the registerer's intent.

We didn't want to go there.

I think boards can look at it one of two ways... If we don't process them and we don't get those back then there's a bigger mess there. It's been our belief that we go with voter intent. And the voter's intent is to register

We polled some of the different counties and most of the ones we've talked to are in agreement with us that they're processing those as voter registration cards.

We'd just wanted to hear that we're not alone in that.

Update: Secretary of State Blackwell has retreated from his paper-stock requirement.

7:48 AM


Tonight David Letterman joked about the upcoming Presidential debates.

The first debate will be held in Florida, Letterman said, "as George Bush's way of saying 'Thank you for the last crooked election.'"

And Ralph Nader wasn't invited to the debates, but Letterman says Nader will do a cameo on CSI: Miami...as a guest cadaver.

11:43 PM


Bill Moyers says democratic debate is "a cynical charade behind which the real business goes on -- the none-too-scrupulous business of getting and keeping power so that you can divide up the spoils."

An article I saw Friday on the "Blogging of the President" site - quoting a newly-minted media reporter -- makes more or less the same point.

Political reporters become expert in the management of the campaign, the horse race ("which is interesting," he said) because the big issues today are "genuinely confusing." They feel the answers to most policy questions require a language and knowledge base "that are essentially the property of elites."

But Moyers takes that point a step further, arguing that real political influence is only bought with campaign contributions. He seals his case with a quote from Warren Buffett.

"If there was a class war, my class won."

Will democracy be rescued by blogs? Read on!

11:06 PM

In a recent national survey, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that more than two million Americans have their own blog. Most of them, nobody reads.
Sunday's New York Times magazine ponders the increasing role of bloggers in this election.

It's called "Fear and Laptops on the Campaign Trail," with lots of witty asides.

A pizza-stained paper plate sat between Moulitsas and Atrios. Together, they have more readers than The Philadelphia Inquirer.

This summer...reading campaign blogs, you could sometimes get a half-giddy, half-sickening feeling that something was shifting, that the news agenda was beginning to be set by this largely unpaid, T-shirt-clad army of bloggers.

Imagine a fairly drunk housewife stuck in front of CNN, growing hornier as the day wears on. [Wonkette.com] reads like a diary of that day.

[A]s a seasoned reporter myself...I can safely say that you get about as many insights into the hearts and souls of the candidates on the campaign trail as you would watching a plastic fern grow.

1:59 PM


Jon Stewart sparred with Bill O'Reilly on Friday's episode of Fox's "O'Reilly Factor".

O'REILLY: OK. You know what's really frightening...? You actually have an influence on this presidential election. That is scary... I mean, you've got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night, OK, and they can vote.


O'REILLY: You can't stop them.

STEWART: Yeah, I just don't know how motivated they would be, these stoned slackers... What am I, a Cheech and Chong movie? 'Stoned slackers?'...

O'REILLY: Come on, you do the research, you know the research on your program... Eighty-seven percent are intoxicated when they watch it. You didn't see that...?

STEWART: We come on right after, I believe, puppets that make crank calls...


STEWART: ... so we are, I think, the appropriate follow up...

5:53 PM


Today, of all days, I found the URL for a short web video called WTC.swf.

It shows the faces of the 9/11 victims while music plays...

10:18 PM


Doesn't look like the Bush twins impressed Wonkette with their speech at the Republican convention.
"And what is Jenna wearing, anyway? Could someone ask if Puffy lost a track suit?"

Wonkette titled her blurb "Jenna and Barb disappoint their parents and this time everyone else."

4:05 PM


A local Kerry campaign organizer believes increasing voter turnout in Ohio might swing its crucial 20 electoral votes into the Kerry column.

"When Democrats turn-out, they do okay. When they don't, it's the whole ballgame."

He's encouraged by the current conventional wisdom on the parties' motivation levels.

"Right now, on a scale of 1 to 10, Republicans are an 8. Democrats are at an 11.5."

5:55 PM

"All I know is, the Democrats elected a president, and the Republicans cheated 'em out of it!"

That's from the 1968 Disney musical " The Family Band" - about that cantankerous 1888 presidential campaign between Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland. It's just been released on DVD!

What did you think I was talking about?!

5:44 PM


"You'd be amazed the number of people who want to introduce themselves to you in the men's room."

John Kerry appeared on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central. ("Is it true that every time I use ketchup, your wife gets a nickel?" Stewart asked.)

Kerry's answer? "Would that it were."

So what about the controversial ads attacking his Swift Boat service?

"I think most Americans would like to have a much more intelligent conversation about where the country's going..."

"George Bush doesn't want to talk about the real issues. What's he going to do? Come out and say we lost 1.8 million jobs, 4 million Americans lost their health care, we're going backwards on the environment, we've angered everybody in the world..."

Kerry also drew applause for his criticism of U.S. involvement in Iraq.

"I think the United States of America should never go to war the way this President took us to war. You don't go to war because you want to. You go to war because you have to."

5:37 PM


My friend Richard, a political activist, puts the campaign in perspective.

I talked to my Mom night before last, and she might vote. She has never voted. I read that as a victory....

I just know at the end of the day, I have done what I could.

9:04 PM