Friday, October 29, 2004
After Florida 2000 I'm sure everyone heard snarky comments like, "If they're too dumb to figure out the ballot, then they don't deserve to have their votes counted."
Why in the world does Montgomery County Ohio's ballot look like this?
This ballot can't be the best way to make sure people vote for who they want. Pandagon
-Daddy Brooklyn 10:12 EST |
Responding with vigor
I had planned on responding to the scurrilous attack against my fervent desire to produce a Kerry vote in a swing state, but I have recently been overwhelmed with actual election work (research on Pennsylvania's election among other things) and I leave in eleven hours for Ohio to do some hot, hot, hot GOTV action. So Miguel will have to take his scolding later, after we celebrate Kerry's victory.
Good luck to everyone with your respective election work. I'll be back in contact after the victory celebration or perhaps instead the beginning of the recounts...
-Ziggy Stardust 01:59 EST |
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
The American Conservative
Is a magazine published by Pat Buchanan, and has endorsed John Kerry
-Miguel Sanchez 23:37 EST |
Cheney's littlest supporters
The kids who support
Cheney are impressed by his stance on domestic issues:
Asked to name the country's biggest problem, 12-year-old Vivian Resto said, "Homosexuals. I think it's kind of gross, and my mom and I believe it should be a man and a woman."
Her 7-year-old classmate, Kevin Strickland, said the most significant issue facing the country is stem cell research. And 13-year-old Marcus Kleinhans said he was most worried about abortion.
Cheney got the most robust applause after he said, "We believe our nation is one nation under God. And we believe Americans ought to be able to say so when we pledge allegiance to our flag."
In these troubled times, I'm glad a politician is willing to stand up for the pledge.
-Daddy Brooklyn 16:26 EST |
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
If any of you are ever my hack inside the NYT
Please, please, please do not waste your precious column inches on masturbatory drivel
Though I suspect Crooked Timber is right
and Brook's column is actually autobiographical, especially his knock on the sub-demographic groups. Didn't he create
that silly little trend?
So, I repeat, if you ever are writing for my vast left-wing propaganda machine, I want real propaganda. Because, well, your credibility and dignity will already be shot...
-Ziggy Stardust 13:04 EST |
Monday, October 25, 2004
Disregard the post below this one
Contrary to what some people on this blog might say, a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush wherever in the country. Here's the problem. Nader people are (a) crazy and (b) extremely unethical. Look at how they have used forged signature, accepted republican money, and done their damndest to circumvent election law to get that fucking boil on the ballot.
What assurance do you have that Nader supporters will stick to their word? If anything, there's a preponderance of evidance to the contrary.
I will personally kick everyone in the nuts (or elsewhere) who participates in this. Think I'm joking? [This is a joke, and not illegal voter intimidation. A Joke.]
Do you like it when people break election law? If you do, you'll love Nader people. Do you trust people like this?
DO NOT TRADE YOUR VOTE!!!
What is patriotic about voting for someone you think is not qualified to be president? The answer: nothing.
NO MORE LIBERAL WIMP BULLSHIT IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY!
-Miguel Sanchez 16:14 EST |
Stupid Nader is making me vote for him again.
If you live in NY or CA or elsewhere that is not a swing state, please trade your vote on Nader trader. Sure, Nader is a ego-maniac and liar who deserves much pain, but hold your nose and trade to vote for him anyway. It is the patriotic thing to do.
-Ziggy Stardust 15:43 EST |
It comes down to WI (10), Iowa (7) and New Mexico (5).
Check out Ryan Lizza
-Ziggy Stardust 15:40 EST |
If you search "Ideas Kerry supports" on Yahoo
our stupid blog comes up #2. Given that I don't want Kerry to lose, I would prefer that some other (and better) pro-Kerry site come up.
If you've arrived at this site in search of "Ideas Kerry supports", go here
. If you want a reason to vote for Kerry, I suggest you go here
for a fair-minded argument that might appeal to the undecided voter.
-Daddy Brooklyn 13:39 EST |
Can the news get any worse?
-Daddy Brooklyn 11:17 EST |
Lighter than my last post
I know that not everyone here is a fan of The Note
. Regardless of your feelings towards it, this New Yorker article
is a good read. Talks about The Note along with its and the media proper's role in modern day politics.
Of course, the two people who seem to hate Halperin's daily adhan have probably already read the thing. I for one love it.
-Ben 01:17 EST |
Sunday, October 24, 2004
You need to read these two posts
on Talking Points Memo
For my part, I hope there is a media shit storm over this in the next few days. Here's the gist:
Approximately 350 tons of ridiculously powerful explosives disappeared from a previously IAEA monitored facility in Iraq in the days immediately following the war with Saddam. You will recall that this was the time when just about everything in Iraq disappeared because there were not enough troops to act as guards.
Now missing for a year and a half
, we are just now hearing about it. The speculation (for now) is that it is these explosives primarily that have been used in attacks against US soldiers and that news of this loss has been kept quiet in part out of fear of political fallout against the Bush administration. Since it only takes a few pounds of this stuff to make a mother of a bomb, there is virtually an unlimited supply. An unlimited supply of car bombs, vest bombs, suitcase bombs, cell phone bombs, teddy bear bombs, you-open-it-up-and-we'll-put-some-explosives-in-it bombs.
It is unfortunate that in addition to the spoils from munitions dumps and museums, the insurgency was blessed with such a potent weapon.
The kicker is that the primary reason this did happen was because there were too few troops in Iraq from the get go. Today hundreds of US troops have died as a result.
And President Bush would not have done anything differently?
-Ben 23:58 EST |
Speaking of the Guardian's ill-advised commentary
actually helping Bush:
Throughout the debate, John Kerry, for his part, looks and sounds a bit like a haunted tree. But at least he's not a lying, sniggering, drink-driving, selfish, reckless, ignorant, dangerous, backward, drooling, twitching, blinking, mouse-faced little cheat. And besides, in a fight between a tree and a bush, I know who I'd favour.
On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?
Emphasis is my own. If they want Kerry to win they ought to cease sending pompous letters to American swing voters and writing crazy editorials.
-Daddy Brooklyn 22:13 EST |
Yglesias for Kerry!
says it plainly and convincingly:
At last, Matt's valuable endorsement is revealed -- Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts. More below the fold.
Democracy, they say, is the worst form of government except for all the others. But why would that be? Not, certainly, because of the superior wisdom of the voting public who, if you read any of the public opinion literature you'll swiftly see, have almost no grasp of substantive policy issues and only a very vague familiarity with what the different candidates stand for. And yet, it seems to work pretty well. This is, I think, primarily because the voters have a habit of kicking incumbents out of office when thinks don't seem to be going well, and reelecting them when things are going well.
This is often not a very sound analytic approach. Candidates get blamed for economic problems that are not really their fault (see, e.g., Jimmy Carter in 1980) or get praise beyond what they deserve for improvements in living conditions (see, e.g., Rudy Giuliani in 1997). Nevertheless, this crude approach has certain merits. In particular, it encourages officeholders to try and make things better. If an incumbent mayor knows that whether the crime rate rises or falls will seriously impact his electoral fortunes, he has reason to try and make the crime rate fall. If an incumbent president knows that a solid macroeconomic situation will benefit him on Election Day, he'll spend at least some time trying to make it come about.
The basic dynamic here serves democratic countries well. Officeholders do many things, but they spend at least some time trying to make things better.
Things are not better now than when George W. Bush took office. Instead, on virtually every front there has been deterioration. The proportion of the population at work has fallen. The number of people with health insurance has fallen. The number of people living in poverty has risen. The dollar -- and with it the average American's purchasing power -- has fallen. The federal government's fiscal capacity to cope with an unexpected crisis or the looming problems in Medicare financing has deteriorated. The esteem in which America is held in the world has fallen. The degree of trust foreign governments and the American people have in the US President's description of foreign threats has fallen. The number of terrorist attacks has risen. The state of human rights in China has fallen. Russia's progress toward democracy has been reversed. Politics in the non-Iraq portions of the Middle East are less liberal. In Iraq, a dictatorship and the human suffering of the sanctions regime has been replaced by chaos and the human suffering of a civil war. The American military is less prepared to cope with a foreign threat. The propensity of friendly governments to cooperate with us has eroded markedly. One could go on.
Under the circumstances, the only reason for voting for Bush would be if you had some very good reason to believe that John Kerry would bring about some kind of calamity, and no such reason exists. For all the loud talk of Kerry's alleged weakness, this would only possibly manifest itself in a greater reluctance to involve the country in a second preventative war that, in light of the dire state of the American military, would be unwise anyway. Kerry's tax proposals would leave the rates no higher than they were just a few years ago when such rates were demonstrably compatible with economic strength. Where Bush has taken steps to make things better -- in Afghanistan, on education policy, on AIDS funding -- Kerry promises not to reverse Bush's good initiatives, but to go beyond what the president's ideological commitments will allow him to do.
Kerry has, throughout his life, been a serious person seriously dedicated to public service and the public good. His record is not perfect by any means, but compares favorably with those of the overwhelming majority of politicians with a comparable level of experience. He has done less to make the world a better place than one could have, but he has done far more than most -- certainly more than any of the whiners in the punditocracy who complain about his lack of achievements. Kerry's proposals for health care, military reform, intelligence reform, public diplomacy, and global education promotion are all very good. His proposals for taxation, domestic education, and the so-called "social issues" are, at minimum, an improvement over those of his opponent.
But one must admit that nothing is for sure, and perhaps, in office, Kerry will do a bad job. I see no particular reason to think that he will, but he certainly might. If that happens, we can fire him in 2008. We know that the current officeholder has done a bad job by his own terms -- "compassionate conservatism" has not improved the plight of the poor, tax cutting has not improved the economy or even the average person's disposable income, preventative warfare has not halted nuclear proliferation, crossing names off the high-value target list is not stopping al-Qaeda, pounding the table is not spreading democracy, unilateralism is not producing a pro-American bandwagon, the size and intrusiveness of government is not lessening, even the number of abortions has increased. It is time for him to go. Kerry will almost certainly do better, and if he does not, the Republican Party will be encouraged to put up a more credible alternative next time around to try and get another shot at the reigns of power. To reward failure would be to wish for a downward spiral of bad leadership extending indefinitely into the future.
-Daddy Brooklyn 18:16 EST |
Thursday, October 21, 2004
SWAT teams of lawyers?
What could be more cool? The Boston Globe has a story
about KE04's preparation for post-election legal battles. The motto? "Don't act like Gore." Damn straight.
-Ziggy Stardust 11:18 EST |
Stupid, Rich Republicans
pretty much describes a guy I met a couple weeks ago, too greedy to know his long-term interest (even if it just making lots of money) isn't in the BushCo.
-Ziggy Stardust 10:55 EST |
Look at me, I'm Atrios
I'm sick of all the bias in the conservative media. Case in point, The New York Times
Mr. Kerry and many of the president's other critics argue that his embrace of American-led democratization - replete with a warm reference to Harry S. Truman, the president who initiated the reconstruction of Europe and Japan - amounts to little more than an ex post facto justification of the war. They note that Mr. Bush gave only one major speech about democratizing the Middle East before invading Iraq, though he spoke almost daily of the threat of unconventional weapons. ("We needed a few more of the democratization speeches, and less of the other,'' one of his most senior advisers conceded late last year.) Now, it is part of his daily message.
an ex post facto justification. Just because Kerry said it doesn't mean you have to report it is an opinion.
-Daddy Brooklyn 07:57 EST |
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
What the hell are all of these graphs?
"I'll tell you," says Mark. On tradesports.com, you can buy forward contracts (that pay $1 each) on all kinds of stuff. These particular contracts pay off if Bush wins the indicated state. The graphs show the prices of the contracts from May 30, 2003 up to October 18, 2004.
Right now you can buy a Bush wins PA contrat for just under 40 cents, so this market (more or less) says that Bush has about a 40% chance to win PA. (Any price under 50 cents favors Kerry.) Please take note that except for two slight hiccups, since the middle of May 2005 Bush's chances in PA have been dropping precipitously. (Kerry's odds went from 2-1 to 1-2.) The start of this drop basically corresponds to the time Sean started working for Kerry in Philly. This can't be a coincidence. Good work Sean! Just as impressively, since Miguel started working for Kerry in CO, Kerry's odds have gone from about 4-1 to 2-1.
The close and big states
The close states
I'm glad MI, MN, and NM have more or less lined up with Kerry. What the hell is wrong with Wisconsin? It looks like the Swfitboat Thing provided substantial help for Bush in every state except for MI. It also looks like the debates hurt Bush in every state, though the affect was muted in WV, CO, and FL.
The idea in practice here, not getting too technical now, is that the market should aggregate all of available information about the election better than any one person can and then present the results in a nice easy to understand number. (Many months ago, the people at Crooked Timber pointed out
in a very interesting post if you like mathematical finance--which I do--that a different futures market called the IEM which sells the same kind of contracts isn't efficient: there are problems with the implied volatility (the volatility can go to infinity and the price still isn't justified) and there are arbitrage opportunities between the various prediction markest. Tradesports probably ain't perfect either, but it's still interesting to me.)
-Daddy Brooklyn 19:07 EST |
Note: this post is more of a reminder to myself to read this article
sometime than a regular "you should read this" post. Deal.
-Ziggy Stardust 16:48 EST |
Another cultural advantage of LA
Now we all know the first advantage
, but I'd be remiss not to acknowledge another one
. Ever since Michael Kinlsey
took over the LAT's op-ed page
, it has become the best op-ed page in the country. Now if only Kinsley could get Krugman and E.J. Dionne, he'd be the Real Madrid of Op-ed pages.
For example, see this exchange
between Kinsley and NYT Editor Keller, or anything written by Kinsley
Update: Yes, the "advantage" link is to the British parliament--an MP cites Woody Allen.
-Ziggy Stardust 13:43 EST |
Forgetting how bad it is in Sudan
I think I want to do poverty law in the United States. It is important, necessary work that does immediate good for people who desperately need help. (Not to mention the fact that it is highly remunerative...)
But then, while riding over the Manhattan Bridge on my commute to school, I read Kristoff's latest report
from Dafur. And I am reminded of how much suffering and death there is in the rest of the world and how relatively inexpensive it would be for us to limit the damage. But we don't. We don't care.
-Ziggy Stardust 13:13 EST |
Obvious anti-Bush point of the day: W. is not a Christian
So we already knew that Bush doesn't go to church. And that whole compassion for the poor thing hasn't been, ahem, a priority for his administration.
But here's the conclusory work. Ayelish McGarvey in the American Prospect writes
This is a huge mistake, because when judged by his deeds, an entirely different picture emerges: Bush does not demonstrate a life of faith by his actions, and neither Methodists, evangelicals, nor fundamentalists can rightly call him brother. In fact, the available evidence raises serious questions about whether Bush is really a Christian at all.
Ironically for a man who once famously named Jesus as his favorite political philosopher during a campaign debate, it is remarkably difficult to pinpoint a single instance wherein Christian teaching has won out over partisan politics in the Bush White House. Though Bush easily weaves Christian language and themes into his political communication, empty religious jargon is no substitute for a bedrock faith. Even little children in Sunday school know that Jesus taught his disciples to live according to his commandments, not simply to talk about them a lot. In Bush’s case, faith without works is not just dead faith -- it’s evangelical agitprop
And I agree. But, then again, I don't think there are many real Christians in the world given how radically selfless and materially demanding an authentic (read: following the text of the Gospels and the letters of the Apostles) Christian life would be to live.
Anybody think differently?
-Ziggy Stardust 13:01 EST |
How to Stop Terror
Vladimir Putin, Czar of Russia, has proposed a new way to stop terrorist acts -- elect anyone but Bush:
"I consider the activities of terrorists in Iraq are not as much aimed at
coalition forces but more personally against President Bush (news - web sites)," Putin said at a news conference after a regional summit in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.
"International terrorism has as its goal to prevent the election of President Bush to a second term," he said.
Okay, maybe that's not what he meant, but I hear what I want to hear. And frankly, I agree that Bush is the reason for increased terrorist attacks, though I don't really see it as a personal thing. I think it's a bit more nuanced than that.
Thanks to a good blog. The best blog. The fafblog.
-Matt 11:32 EST |
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
For those of you not part of Bush's base
Again from Suskind's article
in the NYT Mag:
And for those who don't get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. ''You think he's an idiot, don't you?'' I said, no, I didn't. ''No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!'' In this instance, the final ''you,'' of course, meant the entire reality-based community.
-Ziggy Stardust 11:34 EST |
Sunday, October 17, 2004
A damn fine blogroll
For those of you who don't have enough regular blogs to keep you procrastinating through the day, here's Campaigns and Elections Magazine's blogroll
-Ziggy Stardust 13:11 EST |
Read this. It's good.
I don't have time to summarize this so well. Ron Suskind writes
about how Bush using his "gut" rather than facts and understanding when he's making decisions. I know this is familiar territory; many journalists have done similar pieces on the administration's contempt for data in the face of ideology, but this article is unusual because so many of the quotations come from private meetings or government officials. I've read it and I'm scared. Here are a few choice excerpts:
Forty democratic senators were gathered for a lunch in March just off the Senate floor. I was there as a guest speaker. Joe Biden was telling a story, a story about the president. ''I was in the Oval Office a few months after we swept into Baghdad,'' he began, ''and I was telling the president of my many concerns'' -- concerns about growing problems winning the peace, the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanding of the Iraqi Army and problems securing the oil fields. Bush, Biden recalled, just looked at him, unflappably sure that the United States was on the right course and that all was well. '''Mr. President,' I finally said, 'How can you be so sure when you know you don't know the facts?'''
Biden said that Bush stood up and put his hand on the senator's shoulder. ''My instincts,'' he said. ''My instincts.''
In the Oval Office in December 2002, the president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored ''road map'' for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region. The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman -- the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress -- mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.
''I don't know why you're talking about Sweden,'' Bush said. ''They're the neutral one. They don't have an army.''
Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ''Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.'' Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.
Bush held to his view. ''No, no, it's Sweden that has no army.''
The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.
-Daddy Brooklyn 10:38 EST |
Saturday, October 16, 2004
And then we get this
out of the President:
Kerry also opposes a draft and has suggested that re-electing Bush would greatly increase the prospects for one. The president, fearing that young voters will be swayed by the charge, fired back, "The person talking about a draft is my opponent."
Remember in third grade when someone would say "Ben smells!" And you would reply "no, YOU smell..."
This is the level to which public discourse has been lowered in our country.
-Ben 23:39 EST |
President Bush 10/16/2004
"I made it very plain. We will not have an all-volunteer army."
A gaffe, of course. Or was it...? Let's look at the entire quote:
"I made it very plain. We will not have an all-volunteer army." The crowd fell silent. "WE WILL have an all-volunteer army," Bush said, quickly catching himself. "Let me restate that. We will not have a draft.
Ah! Now who's the flip flopper?
-Ben 21:55 EST |
This has been floating around
the blogsphere for about a day, but I had to ask it here: Why in the hell are we just now freezing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's assets
Seriously, the guy has been the evil face of the insurgency in Iraq for months and we are only now stopping his funding?
It is worth noting, as the Reuters piece does, that Tawhid (one god) and Jihad is unlikely to hold any accounts in it's own name and the move is therefore likely symbolic at this point. It could, however, have an impact as more about this group and it's connections becomes known.
So maybe it's a non-issue issue, but if the group has been known for some time to have connections to terrorism, and if the government is cracking down hard in the war on terrorism, why wasn't this done when it first became evident that this group was tied to Zarqawi?
End note: Zarqawi seems to eclipsing Osama bin Laden as the face of terrorism in the world, or at least in Iraq. He is often wrongly painted as an al Queda leader. See this NYT
piece for an examination of Zarqawi's past and his tenuous AQ ties.
-Ben 10:08 EST |
Friday, October 15, 2004
Does the president have polio?
I should be studying, but I can't stop wondering, what the hell is the bulge in his back? Some say it's a radio transmitter. Now this would be helpful during debates, but there's no proof and I'm all about proof. And why would he wear it on the ranch? Some have suggested that it's a bullet proof vest, but apparently bullet proof vests don't have bumps like this.
By the way, yes, these pictures are real. The first three are taken from each of the debates and the last from The White House website.
(I found the first three pictures on his site) asks, "Why hasn't the White House press corps asked Scott McClellan about this and demanded a straight answer? How can they allow themselves to be blown off about something this peculiar?" Given all of the important things the docile and cowed White House press corps hasn't asked about, you can hardly expect them to do a better job on this.
-Daddy Brooklyn 15:02 EST |
Here's the ad
I was hoping the DNC would make. It's simple: it shows Bush during the bebate, denying he ever said that he wasn't worried about Bin Laden (was he lying? is he losing his mind
? everyone remembers him saying that!) and then the next clip is of him laughing and stumbling, but eventually saying that he wasn't worried about him.
Much like the Bush ad, this one
shows Cheney lying or forgetting twice.
is particularly sad.
-Daddy Brooklyn 13:40 EST |
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Could it be reasonable that a certain unethical campaign
is just waiting to spring on us some big news
about capturing a certain high-profile terrorist? Like, say, with a week or so to go until the big decision. Is this at all a possibility? And, if it happens, is there any hope at all?
-Matt 18:36 EST |
Dem registrations in the trash
From the article
"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 assisatnt to get those from me," said Eric Russell, former Voters Outreach employee.
-Daddy Brooklyn 16:48 EST |
Speaking of Amendment 36, I hope for a Kerry landslide so that Matthew Yglesias's concerns
Advisory Opinion Needed
A Knight-Ridder article on the possibility of Amendment 36 madness in Colorado reminds me to get back on one of my old hobbyhorses -- we ought to make provision for the Supreme Court to provide so-called "advisory opinions" in certain rare circumstances such as this one. The US court system operates under the "actual controversy" system, wherein it only rules on questions of a law's constitutionality or applicability in the event that there is a real legal dispute between two or more parties. In other words, you can't get a ruling on a piece of legislation (or a state constitutional amendment) before it passes in order to see whether or not it passes muster. In many other countries, however, there is a process by which, under certain circumstances at least, the constitutional court can be asked to review a hypothetical law. In the particular case of Colorado, the benefits of such an advisory opinion before the fact would be manifest. Least important, if the thing is unconstitutional, people could save time and money arguing about whether or not to vote for it. More important, it would prevent a really annoying post-election hassle.
Most important, any resolution of this issue in the case of an actual controversy is going to be tainted by an indelible stain of illegitimacy. The legal issue here is sufficiently unclear that a Justice could easily go either way in good faith. Or, by the same token, in bad faith. If the Justices vote on the issue, knowing before their vote that which position they take will determine who wins the White House, then the supporters of the losing candidate will very plausibly suspect that the outcome was determined by narrowly political considerations. Deciding the issue before we know who it helps would make things much better. Amendment 36 is probably a pro-Kerry measure, but it's hardly outside the realm of possibility that Kerry will win the state outright (see bouncing poll numbers) making Amedment 36 an anti-Kerry measure. This ex ante uncertainty over who would be helped by which ruling would make it far, far easier for the Supreme Court to reach a decision that will be accepted as legitimate by the supporters of whichever candidate ultimately winds up being hurt by their ruling.
Personally, I don't share his cynicism and I think the Supreme Court could toss partisan considerations aside and appoint a president based on the merits of the case alone.
-Daddy Brooklyn 10:23 EST |
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
How should I vote?
I don't like the Colorado ballot initiative
to divide our electoral votes according to the overall percentage of votes received by each candidate. In short, I think it is a fantastic idea if all other states are doing it, but while they are not it makes my vote count that much less.
BUT, if it seems inevitable that Bush will win the state, then I think it need to vote in favor of it so that Kerry gets those 4 extra EV's (Colorado had 9 EV and the Colorado presidential vote will likely be split very closely, say Bush 51%, Kerry 49%, that bush gets 5 and Kerry 4)
4 Electoral votes could very well decide this election.
Trouble is, if Kerry wins Colorado and the initiative passes, then I am depriving him of those 4 EV's.
My question (and I'm looking to Miguel for this one) is what, REALISTICALLY, are Kerry's chances of winning Colorado.
As of 7 OCT, SurveyUSA has Bush 52%, Kerry 44%.
-Ben 15:36 EST |
A better solution to the voting problem
there has been a slight back and forth over whether or not voting is economically rational. Here's a much simplier solution. The first problem I see with the "no voting" camp is that all the calculations come to making a deciding difference. Consider this: in horror movies, many is the scene in which a hero unloads a full clip of ammo to no effect, and then tosses their gun at the approaching monster. Now, the "no vote" people would say that he shouldn't throw the gun, because the probablity of it killing the creature is super low. A person faced with the same situation will throw the gun, because a slim chance is better than no chance is these are your only options to affect a situation.
If a certain outcome has an expected value of negative infinity, or practically negative infinity, then any action you can take to lessen the probability of that outcome is economically rational, unless you are faced with symetrical expected values.
This is why Bush will lose: more people are terrified of a Bush repeat than a Bush win, so the Kerry support has a greater expected value to voting. This means that as the cost of voting increases (say, a major blizzard in ohio) may republicans will have an incentive to stay home that makes only a negligable differance to the expected value of voting for a Kerry supporter.
Mark, do you see any problems with this?
-Miguel Sanchez 01:50 EST |
I'm re-posting this whole column because it's good and people who haven't registered with the Times should be able to read it. And Paul Krugman
probably won't come after me. By Paul Krugman:
It's not hard to predict what President Bush, who sounds increasingly desperate, will say tomorrow. Here are seven lies or distortions you'll hear, and the truth about each.
Jobs Mr. Bush will talk about the 1.7 million jobs created since the summer of 2003, and will say that the economy is "strong and getting stronger." That's like boasting about getting a D on your final exam, when you flunked the midterm and needed at least a C to pass the course.
Mr. Bush is the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a decline in payroll employment. That's worse than it sounds because the economy needs around 1.6 million new jobs each year just to keep up with population growth. The past year's job gains, while better news than earlier job losses, barely met this requirement, and they did little to close the huge gap between the number of jobs the country needs and the number actually available.
Unemployment Mr. Bush will boast about the decline in the unemployment rate from its June 2003 peak. But the employed fraction of the population didn't rise at all; unemployment declined only because some of those without jobs stopped actively looking for work, and therefore dropped out of the unemployment statistics. The labor force participation rate - the fraction of the population either working or actively looking for work - has fallen sharply under Mr. Bush; if it had stayed at its January 2001 level, the official unemployment rate would be 7.4 percent.
The deficit Mr. Bush will claim that the recession and 9/11 caused record budget deficits. Congressional Budget Office estimates show that tax cuts caused about two-thirds of the 2004 deficit.
The tax cuts Mr. Bush will claim that Senator John Kerry opposed "middle class" tax cuts. But budget office numbers show that most of Mr. Bush's tax cuts went to the best-off 10 percent of families, and more than a third went to the top 1 percent, whose average income is more than $1 million.
The Kerry tax plan Mr. Bush will claim, once again, that Mr. Kerry plans to raise taxes on many small businesses. In fact, only a tiny percentage would be affected. Moreover, as Mr. Kerry correctly pointed out last week, the administration's definition of a small-business owner is so broad that it includes Mr. Bush, who does indeed have a stake in a timber company - a business he's so little involved with that he apparently forgot about it.
Fiscal responsibility Mr. Bush will claim that Mr. Kerry proposes $2 trillion in new spending. That's a partisan number and is much higher than independent estimates. Meanwhile, as The Washington Post pointed out after the Republican convention, the administration's own numbers show that the cost of the agenda Mr. Bush laid out "is likely to be well in excess of $3 trillion" and "far eclipses that of the Kerry plan."
Spending On Friday, Mr. Bush claimed that he had increased nondefense discretionary spending by only 1 percent per year. The actual number is 8 percent, even after adjusting for inflation. Mr. Bush seems to have confused his budget promises - which he keeps on breaking - with reality.
Health care Mr. Bush will claim that Mr. Kerry wants to take medical decisions away from individuals. The Kerry plan would expand Medicaid (which works like Medicare), ensuring that children, in particular, have health insurance. It would protect everyone against catastrophic medical expenses, a particular help to the chronically ill. It would do nothing to restrict patients' choices.
By singling out Mr. Bush's lies and misrepresentations, am I saying that Mr. Kerry isn't equally at fault? Yes.
Mr. Kerry sometimes uses verbal shorthand that offers nitpickers things to complain about. He talks of 1.6 million lost jobs; that's the private-sector loss, partly offset by increased government employment. But the job record is indeed awful. He talks of the $200 billion cost of the Iraq war; actual spending is only $120 billion so far. But nobody doubts that the war will cost at least another $80 billion. The point is that Mr. Kerry can, at most, be accused of using loose language; the thrust of his statements is correct.
Mr. Bush's statements, on the other hand, are fundamentally dishonest. He is insisting that black is white, and that failure is success. Journalists who play it safe by spending equal time exposing his lies and parsing Mr. Kerry's choice of words are betraying their readers.
-Daddy Brooklyn 01:23 EST |
Monday, October 11, 2004
The Post's Debate Referee
does the best job--nobody else is even close--with their post debate fact checking, explanations, and analysis. Next to each referee you can click on "Analysis and Video Excerpt" to read the details. They point out misleading statements by both candidates, though a typical Kerry inaccuracy is something like not adding the private sector
qualifier when he mentions job-loss statistics, while Bush is much more audacious when he says that Kerry wants to have the government take over healthcare even though Kerry has proposed nothing of the sort. (As a fair minded observer I can say that Bush is much more likely to just make shit up.)
By the way, Kerry keeps on forgetting to make the "private sector" distinction when he gives job-loss statistics; could he be trying to goad Bush into belying his small government rhetoric and admitting that nearly 800,000 government jobs have been added during his tenure as president? Given how Kerry qualifies everything he says, it's hard to believe this isn't intentional.
-Daddy Brooklyn 23:53 EST |
Free John Kerry Documentary: Get yours today!
Going Upriver, the documentary about John Kerry's day's as an anti-war activist after the Vietnam War and the road to his subsequent rise into the US Senate in 1984, is available free by download here
Beware: 650 mb file size, do not attempt without a manly high speed connection or your phone line will be tied up for weeks.
Thanks to Fafblog
for pointing this out. And for noting that Jaques Derrida died
...last year a film was made about his life - a biographical documentary.
At one point, wandering through Derrida's library, one of the filmmakers asks him: "Have you read all the books in here?"
"No," he replies impishly, "only four of them. But I read those very, very carefully".
-Ben 21:54 EST |
It's So, but here's something you can do about it.
Sinclair broadcasting can go to hell. To send them their, click here
-Miguel Sanchez 19:23 EST |
Say It Ain't So
Some pro-Bush television syndicate is airing an anti-Kerry film
two weeks before the election. Tell me this shit ain't possible. Tell me there are laws to prevent this sort of thing. Tell me where I can submit my film, Bush, the Man Who Would Be King,
for airing in millions of households.
-Matt 13:52 EST |
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Republicans for Kerry
Here's Andrew Sullivan
(former Bush backer) on the debate:
BUSH'S BLATHER: But he was also evidently flailing at times. Throwing around the old "liberal" label was hackneyed and seemed a substitute for argument. His distortion of Kerry's healthcare plan didn't flirt with being mendacious; it was an outright lie. His answer on the environment sounded okay but isn't going to convince anyone. That he has to concede the complete absence of WMDs in Iraq is inevitably brutal on him and his argument about the war. The facts are simply against him, and it shows. He had absolutely no answer on his spending spree. None. If you're a one-issue voter on fiscal responsiblity, Kerry is obviously your man; and this debate rammed that point home. And then there were some simply bizarre moments. Does anyone in America ever use the term "internets"? Plural? I've never heard anyone in my life use this formulation. The mandatory malapropism: Bush promised at one point that he'd be more "facile" in future. That's going to be a hard promise to keep. After four years of defending the homeland, the president should also not be giving soundbites like "I'm worried. I'm worried about our country." Hey, Mr president. Join the gang. And then ythere was the hilarious answer on the judicial appointments. Bush won't appoint anyone who still believes in the Dredd Scott decision. That's a relief. But, to be honest, it's the kind of question a high-school president might give, not the president of the United States. Bush's biggest failure was to detail Kerry's record, rather than just describing it as "liberal". "Show, not tell" is a good rule of thumb for effective criticism. And then there was the inevitable "mistakes" question. Bush didn't answer it - except to say he wish he hadn't hired Paul O'Neill. You'd think by now he'd have some kind of answer. But he seems to think he is incapable of error. That, in fact, is an obvious part of the problem.
And this is an email to Sullivan's website:
EMAIL OF THE DAY: "I started reading your work about a year ago on the suggestion of a friend because I was convinced that the actions of the Bush Administration were making life impossible for a fair-minded and intelligent Conservatives. Obviously, there is a great deal of cognitive dissonance in leaving the Party that brought you to this point. But defending the Bush Administration has forced any Conservative thinker who is fairminded and intelligent into either turning himself into rhetorical knots or altogether ignoring reality. (For a classic example of both, see David Brooks' column today--for him to look at the Duelfer report and conclude that "[Saddam] was on the verge of greatness" requires delusions nearly on the level of Hussein's: Hussein's vaunted army lost the country in three weeks without getting a single plane off the ground; he had neither stores of WMD's nor the programs in place to create them; Saddam Hussein was about as close to greatness as an imaginative kid playing battleship.)
It has been refreshing to see you come to the conclusion that you cannot be Conservative, intelligent and fair minded and continue to support this administration. In fact, at the risk of being melodramatic, it renews my faith in the idea that a fairminded struggle with ideas can result in progress, rather than further entrenchment at the expense of logic, fairness and reality.
So much of Conservative ideology is already part and parcel of the current political millieu on both sides of the aisle--a faith in American power, free market ideology, personal responsibility--that a Conservative can vote for John Kerry without sacrificing his ideals. (After all, it was Bill Clinton who led Welfare Reform and the formation of NAFTA, two actions that were absolute anathema to the Left. He also balanced the budget ... remember when Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility?)"
-Daddy Brooklyn 20:39 EST |
I own a timber company?
Yeah fucko. You do
. You use it to avoid paying taxes.
Here's the exchange at the debate that I'm referring to:
Kerry: But let me just address what the president just said. Ladies and gentlemen, that's just not true what he said. The Wall Street Journal said 96 percent of small businesses are not affected at all by my plan. And you know why he gets that count? The president got $84 from a timber company that he owns, and he's counted as a small business. Dick Cheney's counted as a small business. That's how they do things. That's just not right.
Bush: I own a timber company? That's news to me. Need some wood?
I guess you can't expect rich people to know how their accountants are reducing their tax liability.
-Daddy Brooklyn 20:26 EST |
Debates and Numbers
I want to run a debate. I want to lay down the ground rules and ask the questions. And my only rule would be this (cursing, spitting, biting, and folding chairs are all fair game): NO NUMBERS. Foolishness, you say. How can a candidate possibly back up a claim on jobs created or money spent or field a question on the budget? Well, you have to put it in terms relevant to, oh, anyone in the entire country who is not a politician (or, the political equivalent of a roadie -- a pundit, or worse, a wannabe pundit. Guilty as charged). 1.3 million jobs. $200 billion spent. Increase from $10 billion to $30 billion. These numbers are entirely meaningless to me. They could be speaking Hebrew (a language I'm not familiar with) and it would make about as much sense. And the real problem is that you must rely on an opinion of the candidate or his opponent to understand what these numbers mean in context, which is the only real way to understand them. Or you could figure it out yourself, but, really, how many people are gonna do that, assuming that half the people in this great land of ours can't muster the energy to vote? This leaves you with two opinions of a figure that are entirely opposite, not to mention the fact that the context used by both sides to explain things is not entirely (or, often, even partially) accurate.
So that's the debate I wanna see. But I must admit it was kinda fun watching the vice-President and Edwards play "Password". Maybe have a whole debate like that, where there are buzzwords you can't say.
-Matt 13:58 EST |
Saturday, October 09, 2004
Post debate talk
So...what'd everybody think of last night's debate?
I'll get started:
Bush continued to elicit falsitudes and inexacticites. Kerry wasn't in perfect form.
Why oh why did Kerry not smack Bush on things like his insistence that the Duelfer report supports the Iraq war? Why didn't he nail Bush to the wall on his inabillty to answer the last question "please name three mistakes you've made during your presidency?" He hardly named one! The man can not even identify his own failures, let alone own them.
No papers seem willing to pick a winner, so I'll say it was probably Bush. Not as much because of his performance, but because he shined in comparison to his showing last week. God knows people love a comeback.
If you aren't sure how you feel about the debate, I recommend reading the following:
WaPo transcript of the debate
LAT fact check
LAT on why no one won the debate
Kerry blows the second debate. By William Saletan
-Ben 08:56 EST |
Friday, October 08, 2004
Discrediting every argument for the Iraq war
Very very well said here
-Daddy Brooklyn 17:44 EST |
Things Are Looking Up
This, from the Las Vegas Advisor:
Presidential Odds Update
Following up on last week's report on the odds for
the Presidential election, the price on Kerry has dropped to +156 (bet $100 to
win $156) at the offshore Pinnacle Sports. The line was +200 prior to the first
Meanwhile, some of the off-shore joints are getting creative with
propositions tied to tonight's debate. We've seen the following (these are
actual propositions that you can bet on):
Bush will sing Amazing grace using
Mrs. Kerry will jump on stage and curse at Bush, +15000
announce plans to invade Iran, +1000
Kerry will use the word "Colossal" during
the debate, Even
-Matt 16:11 EST |
Maybe Cheney is suffering from presenial dementia like Bush, or maybe he was just lying. I don't know, but he's met Edwards multiple times. Of course, this is a minor, trivial lie, but it was treated as a knockout punch when Cheney said it.
Cheney also said, "Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session." According to Senate diary records (via Kos), he's been present on 2 out of 127 Tuesdays.
Instead of addressing Edwards's criticisms about Halliburton, Cheney famously referred people to factcheck.com when he was going for factcheck.org. On debate night, neither website's content refuted Edwards's accusations. This tactic is becoming a pattern. Bush/Cheney refer to primary sources that nobody will read (e.g., the Iraq report that came out yesterday) and act like the sources support what they're saying.
And lastly, during the debate Cheney said, "I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11." That's just crazy.
-Daddy Brooklyn 13:05 EST |
Kweli's new CD
is very good.
Does anyone want a Gmail account? I have extra invites.
-Daddy Brooklyn 11:20 EST |
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Where the war on terror went wrong
Bush's Lost Year
by James Fallows is definitely worth reading. His preface is:
By deciding to invade Iraq, the Bush Administration decided not to do many other things: not to reconstruct Afghanistan, not to deal with the threats posed by North Korea and Iran, and not to wage an effective war on terror. An inventory of opportunities lost.
As someone who worries about terrorism pretty often--I work in Lower Manhattan and the guys with M-16s and dogs are always there to remind me--I'm as dissapointed as anyone that the Administration ignored real threats to the U.S. in order to invade Iraq. I'll stop writing now because Fallows says what I want to better than I ever could.
-Daddy Brooklyn 23:35 EST |
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
I can't believe this fucking shit
What the fuck is wrong with people? Why are liberals SUCH FUCKING WIMPS? Why are people supporting Bush? Why is this such a close race?
-Miguel Sanchez 14:23 EST |
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Monday, October 04, 2004
A big day for nerds everywhere
SpaceShipOne Has claimed the Ansari X prize
In 1919, the Ortig prize offered $25000 to anyone who could fly a plane from New York to Paris. Charles Lindberg, of course, won it in 1927. The spirit of the prize was to foster research and innovation in Manned flight that might help bring it to the masses and make it more commercially useful. After the flight, passenger airplane travel increased thirty times.
The Ansari X prize was offered in the same spirit. The first team to privately finance and fly a manned space vehicle with two occupants into space (defined as 100 km above ground level) twice within a two week period will be awarded $10 million.
Today the prize was claimed
The team behind SpaceShipOne
, mostly financed by Microsoft co-owner Paul Allen, completed their second flight only six days after the first, and they plan to make another within the two week window.
Today, the most lucrative prospects in outer space are unmanned missions deploying satellites. Despite constant howling that manned space flight is impractical, (what with the lack of oxygen and the sub zero temperatures and the deadly radiation and the space monsters) but I hope that this can be something that will spurn a new era of travel.
For now, Richard Branson has licensed the technology created by this team and founded Virgin Galactic
. The company plans to build several of the craft and charge the well-to-do upwards of $200,000 for a flight. It's a start. Next is maybe the suborbital space-plane, able to carry passengers from New York to London in 20 minutes. After that, there's a whole world of possibilities.
-Ben 21:59 EST |
After reading this
, I'm pissed I spent part of my weekend campaigning for Kerry. I'm voting for Bush because I don't want mandatory partial third-term abortions performed by tax-collecting homosexual French communist activist judges.
Are voters smart enough to cut through half-truths?
Through all the rhetoric, this election is easy to decide. If you want gay marriage, partial third-term abortion, if you want to soak the job creators with higher taxes, redistribute the wealth, drive the deficit with underfunded giveaway social programs, nominate judges who ignore the Constitution and make their own laws, hope that our supposedly brave allies France, Germany and the United Nations will take over in Iraq while we turn tail and run, serve as pawns and at the pleasure of the Ted Kennedy, the Clintons, the obstructionist Tom Daschle, and the Democratic Party, then by all means vote for John Kerry and the Salazar boys Ken and John.
Ken Salazar couldn’t even fulfill his duty as attorney general. Case in point, his lawsuit to overturn the legitimate congressional redistricting as set forth by our Colorado Legislature. He was supposed to defend us, instead he sued us.
Are you smart enough to cut through the lies, half-truths and deceit of the Democrats? One glaring example is the lie that President Bush lied about WMSs to get us into Iraq. They are wrong again. Anybody who will think it through knows that Saddam Hussein had months to hide or destroy them. It’s a classic case of the Bush haters who will believe anything, just because.
If you want solid, sensible, leadership, a winning team with more individual freedom and responsibility, job creation, a simplified tax code, retain and continue tax cuts to stimulate the economy, strict constitutional judicial appointments, a forward and positive, steady agenda for the future, and to really with the war on terror then vote for President Bush, Pete Coors and the Republican ticket, top to bottom.
-Daddy Brooklyn 18:50 EST |
Stealin' from the Atlantic
Ziggy asked me to use my Atlantic subscription to steal this copyrighted content from the subscribers only portion of their website. Like the big music companies who refuse to share their copyrighted material, I am sick of literary/political magazines (shall I invent the word, "politerati"?) like The New Yorker and The Atlantic not giving away all of their stuff for free.
Bush vs. Kerry: Round One
Immediately following Bush and Kerry's faceoff last night in Miami, James Fallows, The Atlantic's national correspondent, penned some thoughts on their respective performances
That was George Bush's worst performance in a debate, by far, ever. My mantra had been that neither Bush nor Kerry had ever lost a debate. That is no longer true.
What made it a bad performance for Bush was not what he said but how he looked and the way he comported himself. Inexplicably, he spent the debate hunched down behind his lectern, looking small. In no previous debate had he permitted himself the grimaces that he wore each time he was criticized or challenged. Although the "rules" told him those expressions would not be televised, he had to have known (and have learned from the Gore debates four years ago) that he would be on stage and potentially on camera the entire time. So either he could not help himself or he had not prepared. When Bush has been "skillfully on message," as he has been in every one of his previous debates over the last ten years, he has been able to dress up his two or three main points with a variety of supporting details. When he has been "clumsily on message," as in most press conferences this year, he just says the same two or three things over and over again and seems unable to respond to or even hear questions. His performance in this debate was in the latter category.
This was near the top of Kerry's past performances, even though he missed a few opportunities and looked unusually (for him) nervous at the start. What made it a good performance for him was less what he said, though that mattered, than the way he looked and carried himself. With no sound on, if you had to choose "The President" from watching the two men on the screen, it would be the big one with the square shoulders and the relaxed air you'd pick. As the evening wore on Kerry relaxed and Bush tired. Previously Kerry had been strongest when taking a prosecutor's role—calm in bearing, but continually moving in on the adversary. He maintained that tone in much of the debate. As for what he said, Kerry came closer than he has previously in the campaign to a concise indictment of the Bush stewardship of foreign affairs. His line that Bush's policy boiled down to four words—"more of the same"—is one he could keep using.
This reminded me of the first Carter-Reagan debate, not because there were any "there you go again" lines—though the gotcha about not being attacked by Saddam Hussein was useful—but because it put the challenger on equal footing with the incumbent. It does not mean that Kerry will win, but it gives him a much better chance to make his case and be considered.
My favorite line from Bush: "He forgot Poland!"
Friday, October 1, 2:00 p.m update:
What does it mean to say that Kerry "missed some opportunities?" Presidential debates aren't really about catching every missed point or logical lapse. But there were a few more places where Kerry could have struck—as he did with "Saddam Hussein didn't attack us."
"You say we're training 100,000 Iraqi security forces and they'll take care of the situation? What happened to the 100,000 that Secretary Rumsfeld said were trained and ready last March?"
"You say that training those 100,000 Iraqis is our highest priority. Then why is the American unit charged with this duty, under General Petraeus, at 30 percent of its authorized strength? Is that incompetence? Or is it a wrong choice?"
"You say we can't seek other nations' permission in dealing with Iraq. Yet you've told us over and over that we have to worry about China's permission before dealing with the ongoing nuclear problem in North Korea. Which is it, Mr. President? How can you lead with this mixed message."
"You say that all Senators had the same information you did before going into Iraq. In all previous administrations, the President himself was uniquely entrusted with the most sensitive intelligence reports. Are you saying that you've reversed the policy of all your predecessors and shared our nation's secrets with 100 members of the Senate—some of whom are bound to leak?"
Or, if John Kerry had given up all realistic hopes of winning the Presidency: "You say that Iraq used to be a place where Iraqis had their hands cut off. Now it's a place where Americans have their heads cut off. Is this an improvement, Mr. President?"
-Daddy Brooklyn 18:36 EST |
There Goes the Coalition...
Well, the most important country in the world
(to hear the President talk about it. Well, okay, he did mention America's bitch, the UK, but that doesn't really count. Blair would jump off a bridge if Bush told him to.) to be in our "coalition" just skipped town.
-Matt 13:37 EST |
by the best news team in the country helped me better understand what, exactly, happened during the debates.
-Matt 13:01 EST |
Friday, October 01, 2004
Who Won the Debate?
I'm kind of wondering what you all thought, considering you're the most unbiased, balanced and fair group of people I know concerning politics and the current administration. No, I'm serious. How sad is that?
-Matt 05:55 EST |