Today’s new banner. If you like the message, post the damn thing somewhere so that people can see it while there is still time. With or without this video, the fact is that Bush was more concerned about his Iraq agenda than he was about bringing the biggest mass murderer in US history to justice. There is no need to spin it, Osama benefitted from our invasion of Iraq in more ways than one.
I don’t care who people think Osama wants as president. I think he hates us all equally. What I do know is that Bush should be held accountable for his decisions, including the decisions that led to so many deaths in Iraq when there were no WMDs, Osama’s escape because they were busy planning Iraq, and the fact that Osama is still alive to try his hand at terrorizing the American people again.
Vote to change the way this country is going. I don’t want four more years like the last few.
How about something truly frightening for Halloween?
“I swear to thee, Adolph Hitler as Fuhrer and chancellor of the German Reich, my Loyalty and Bravery. I vow to thee and the superiors whom those shall appoint, obedience until death, so help me God.” - Schutzstaffel Oath
Worried about that oath that Bush has his supporters doing - the one that I mentioned in the last Shotgun Post? I am, and I think you should be.
I don’t want to compare Bush to Hitler. More importantly, I don’t want Bush doing things that evoke the types of activity which led to a cult of personality Hitler rode to power. If Kerry had an oath of fealty, I would be extremely disturbed. Yet, I don’t hear any Bush supporters batting an eye. (Please forward me a link, if you know of one.)
As I told both Maggie and Ryan, people like a dictator. This is why they elevate them to power. They always have their reasons, but often the main reason is fear. The more shadowy the fear, the better.
Here is the Bush oath:
“I want you to stand, raise your right hands,” and recite “the Bush Pledge,” said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: “I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States.”
They’re working up the crowd to raise the importance of Bush as high as possible. Once we have accepted him as the only leader who can protect us, the only one who we would accept if we care about our country, family, freedom and liberty, then perhaps there is no need to use his given name. We can just call him “The Leader.”
And once we accept that the Repoublican Party is the only one that truly can take care of us, the only one that truly has the best interest of ourselves and the military in mind, it clearly becomes the most important party. The only important party. Why not just call it “The Party?” It’s more to the point.
So, if you care about your way of life, you will vote for the Leader. You will vote for the Party.
If you’re interested in further thoughts on the disconcerting way Bush is tapping into fear, hatred, check out these Billmon posts:
He refers to it as atavism… a throwback. Calling to some deep part of the human brain which reacts without thinking.
Bush is no Hitler. But why is he taking cues from the man? Where is all of this going? We have to ask that now, because the question cannot be asked later when we are over the waterfall.
Breathe in the fresh air. Stretch your legs on a trail. View the scenic landscape. Read a bible verse. Get evangelized. Learn that the Grand Canyon was created over a short period of time during Noah’s flood.
Whiskey tango foxtrot, come again? You’re not going to believe this one.
The Bush Administration has decided that it will stand by its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s flood rather than by geologic forces, according to internal documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
When confronted, the Bush administration has dodged the issue.
“Promoting creationism in our national parks is just as wrong as promoting it in our public schools,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, “If the Bush Administration is using public resources for pandering to Christian fundamentalists, it should at least have the decency to tell the truth about it.”
Alas. This is the same Bush administration we’ve come to know so well.
In a rectification that even Winston Smith would have been proud of, conservative groups pressured the administration to change the video displayed at the Lincoln Memorial to remove historic protests which occurred there. Even worse, they wanted to make some additions.
These groups asked to cut out footage of gay rights, pro-choice and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations because it implies that “Lincoln would have supported homosexual and abortion ‘rights’ as well as feminism.” […] Park Service spokespeople indicated that they were considering inserting footage from the Christian group Promise Keepers rally and pro-Gulf War demonstrators even though these events did not take place at the Memorial.
The most prominent mention of this story I found was in the Seattle Times. Take that, myth of the so-called liberal media.
Please, please can we have another president? One based in reality, if we could?
Q: Is US Credibility on the line over “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq?
Bush: I’m not exactly sure what that means.
That’s part of why we need to send you on a permanent vacation, Mr. President.
Watch the video that takes you from hot and heavy WMD talk to “Inspectors didn’t find anything and I doubt that we will.”
That was back in 2002. Today, bin Laden is still running around. It’s probably John Kerry’s fault - right?
The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.
Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe to be decisive evidence, from contemporary and subsequent interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along Afghanistan’s mountainous eastern border. Though there remains a remote chance that he died there, the intelligence community is persuaded that bin Laden slipped away in the first 10 days of December.
After 9/11 we were treated to stories about how Clinton somehow allowed 9/11 to happen because he did not “get bin Laden when he could have.” Clinton has denied there was such a clear chance to get bin Laden.
Over time, we’ve heard Bushies use the Clinton canard on bin Laden less and less. Why is that? Because they understood somewhere within themselves that Bush is guilty of the mistake they pinned on Clinton, but to a higher degree. A Bush administration report proclaims it to be the truth. Decisive evidence bin Laden was at Tora Bora and escaped. The reason? We didn’t pursue him when we had the chance. We’ve known since 2002.
Bush was being truthful when he said he wasn’t that worried about the man responsible for the death of thousands of Americans. (Well, he was truthful about that before he lied about it in the debate).
Now, bin Laden has issued a new video message through Al Jazeera.
When you see bin Laden out and about, let it remind you of Bush’s incompetence as Commander in Chief. Bin Laden was cornered, and now he has had years to run free. Apparently, he is still running free.
When you see the army of Bush-mouthpieces spinning this as “bin Laden Campaigning against Kerry,” let it remind you of Bush’s incompetence as president and how he covers it up with outrageous distortions. Bin Laden does not sound like much of a fan of Kerry’s in this video, stating plainly that he believes neither Kerry nor Bush can make us secure. In this spin, Bush’s supporters truly seek to enlist bin Laden’s video in their campaign strategy.
I’m a little late on the shotgun. It’s a crazy day. Try this on for size:
With U.S. voters soon to pass their verdict on President George W. Bush, readers of a British magazine have rated him the year’s top screen villain.
For his role in Fahrenheit 9/11. Let’s hope this is the only election he wins.
To all you Cards fans who are good sports, you’ve got my respect.
However, I have a brief message for the Yankees (especially Derek Jeter) and any Yankee or Cardinals Fan who is getting up this morning and saying “Sometimes the best team doesn’t win.”
[NOTE: As far as I can tell, most Cardinals fans are of the good sport type. See here. In fact, not just good sports, they’re awesome.]
Fans last night were pouring out of the bars, looking like they were blinking off some nightmare. It felt entirely different from winning the ALCS against the Yankees. The Cardinals just struck me as a decent bunch of guys who were not prepared for the monster team that came alive after 3 bad games and ate the Yankees for breakfast in Fenway Park.
I am no baseball analyst, but it doesn’t take one to point out how the Cards bats were just plain shut down by the Sox. D-Lowe was not giving them any rest after Pedro’s performance the night before. It was a 4 hit game.
It was disconcerting to watch Tony LaRussa’s in the indignity of the post-game interview, trying to keep his composure while looking like someone had just hit him in the gut and then the nose. People, have some decency and let the guy catch his wind back.
Seeing that personal bit of the aftermath and looking back at 8 post season games that weren’t flawless but where the Sox dug in, worked ( hard ) as a team, didn’t dwell on mistakes, it’s tempting to imagine them as possessed by some preternatural force — some fearsome talisman against which no curse could compete.
I heard inane radio commentary in the hour before the game. “The Red Sox will be just another team if they win this.”
Are you kidding me? They didn’t just win the World Series. They swept it. They never trailed.
A lot of people were waiting a lot longer than I have. A lot of people were more invested than I was, and more loyal. But you can’t grow up here and not have the Red Sox in your blood somewhere. So I ask, what were we waiting for? Were we waiting for a superstar to come and save us? A 21st century Bambino?
No. They showed us how a team believes in something bigger. They were not full of themselves. They united in one goal. And when they pulled together, they yanked a star out of the firmament for the long suffering fans. For that, their names will never be forgotten in New England. Despite my cynicism, I’m finding it damn inspirational.
SOX WIN SOX WIN SOX WIN !!!!
8 GAMES IN A ROW!
What crazy, screwed-up wonderful bizarro world is this???
Somewhere, the Bambino is saying, “You crazy bunch of idiots. You had it all wrong. There never was any curse. Click your heels together, Dorothy, you had the power all along.”
You know what? I think we won. I am stunned.
Buying snacks for tonight at Stop & Shop, the fellow at the checkout was amazed at how few aisles they were going to have open tonight, and his friend pointed out that, after 8 or so, the place would be pretty much dead because of the game.
I said to him “What? There’s a game on tonight?”
Looking down at the register he started to say “Well, not until 8:00, it’s…” and then he trailed off as he looked up at my Sox cap and my idiot grin. I couldn’t resist. We both laughed.
18 years ago on a similar night I was working at a nearly empty Shaw’s in Fall River. I was mopping the floor of the bakery as we listened to a game over the PA system. You all know the rest of the story.
If someone tries to tell you that those 380 tons of high explosives went missing before the invasion, keep this in mind:
“It is impossible that these materials could have been taken from this site before the regime’s fall,” said Mohammed al-Sharaa, who heads the science ministry’s site monitoring department and previously worked with UN weapons inspectors under Saddam.
“The officials that were inside this facility (Al-Qaqaa) beforehand confirm that not even a shred of paper left it before the fall and I spoke to them about it and they even issued certified statements to this effect which the US-led coalition was aware of.”
Sharaa goes on to say that more sites may have been plundered and are now in the hands of bandits.
The administration seems to be scrambling to get their info from NBC and other news outlets… why is that? Do they have to watch TV like the rest of us to tell what happened during the invasion? There are people issuing certified statements that the explosives were there. They disappeared. Did we get their too late? Where are the administration officials issuing their own statements?
FOX: LISTEN UP. WE’RE TRYING TO WATCH HISTORY BEING MADE. NOT SOME CHEAP COMEDY ROUTINE. To heck with Leon. You just don’t get it, Fox, do you? Is it possible you’re not making enough money off this game?
It occurs to me that Fox is now rooting against the Sox in game 4 because they don’t want the money train to come to a halt. My daughters can’t watch a whole game because you clowns can’t show a game in the afternoon, and we get to watch these inane interviews/comedy routines/advertisements during gameplay. Fox, you have no soul.
Don’t make me come down there. Really.
On the game itself, I almost feel bad for the Cards fans. People (Ryan) told me, “The Cardinals are a different team at home. They were playing under their ability.” True, but the Sox won 2 games with 8 errors. They were playing under their ability as well. And tonight we saw them rise to the challenge in a big way to almost completely shut out the Cardinals.
The ALCS taught us that 3 games does not end a series. History taught us not to count our chickens. But one thing cannot be denied: the Sox have the Cards in a pressure cooker. It can only lead to interesting baseball, I’m thinking.
Woohoo! GO SOX!
Will those Fox people stop harassing the fans? Do they think we’re so bored watching the game that we need to hear them ask stupid questions to fans who are obviously trying to watch the game.
Worse, when they’re talking to the managers you get the feeling that they’re distracting someone who is busy managing a team trying to win an extremely important game.
Pedro in the top of the 6th: “Hey! look at me! I’m on base in the World Series!!!” You go, Pedro!
Steve has a good post on G. W. Bush and the Catholic Church. My comments are in the extended entry.
I’m basically highlighting Steve’s post here. Read his for a more complete treatment. But:
If your argument against voting Kerry is on moral, Catholic grounds, G.W. doesn’t cut it on these issues. You then are led to looking at the balance of the candidates, and where they will lead America. That is for everyone to decide in their own individual way. But the points Steve is making show that this election cannot be oversimplified to a moral battle where one agrees with the Catholic Church and the other does not.
Just don’t fool yourselves. That’s all I ask.
I’ve added a few more Bush banners to TrimShrub.com in the last few days. You can look at posts from earlier today to see the new ones, or just go to TrimShrub.com to catch the whole lot of them. Time is short, but more will be added as inspiration hits.
If any of the banners strikes you as particularly persuasive or funny, I urge you to go ahead and steal it for the purpose of getting other people to see it. It is now one week until the election, and this is a time period in which a surprising number of people will be making their decisions.
If you have an idea of your own, and you make a banner that you want to see here, give me a link to the image and I will display it on TrimShrub.com. One of the lagre banners already on that page is not mine (Mike created the one about inheritance).
I’m thinking about promotion and exposure. Not necessarily promotion of TrimShrub.com- I don’t really care about the domain. But exposure of the banners (the ideas in the banners) will communicate not just why we think Bush needs to go, but why swing voters ought to as well. It is too complicated to argue from scratch why Bush is bad for this country. An ad needs to play off what these voters already believe and feel. They know Bush has screwed up in Iraq. The challenge is getting him to take responsibility, and getting them to vote based on that feeling.
If you can display one of these banners somewhere, you never know who you might swing.
Sorry for the poor quality of the images this week. I couldn’t use the computer for screencaps. For reasons that may or may not become clear, I had to make the images somewhat challenging. You won’t come close to getting this if you haven’t seen the movie. Second clue at Noon EST to give any early-bird west-coasters a shot if they’re checking the blog first thing in the morning.
Look in the comments when you’re ready for the answer.
How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?
None. There’s nothing wrong with that light bulb. There is no need to change anything. We made the right decision and nothing has happened to change our minds. People who criticize this light bulb now, just because it doesn’t work anymore, supported us when we first screwed it in, and when these flip-floppers insist on saying that it is burned out, they are merely giving aid and encouragement to the Forces of Darkness.
(Sent by Patti)
I’ve got some pictures from the general vicinity of my intended cache hide.
That photo on the right is from an overlook of a salt marsh. The location is in Dartmouth, MA, famous for its salt marshes.
The next image is of a polypore mushroom “Laetiporus sulphureus” - a so-called “Chicken Mushroom.” This edible mushroom can often be found in this area growing off the side of some tree.
I also saw some “little brown mushrooms.” Not a good idea to eat those; it’s too hard to determine exactly what they are. I think they’re “boletes” but not sure. Still, neat to look at.
While I was scouting, I came too close to the pond and startled some geese. A couple of swans, however, were unconcerned about my presence.
Click any of the photos for larger versions.
Two outs and men on? That seems to be when the Sox like to score their runs. A little nerve wracking, but also exciting. Despite 4 errors, Sox are up 6-1 in the bottom of the 7th before the first pitch.
The short version of the story:
There were 350 [metric] tons of high explosives [380 tons] in Iraq under seal by the International Atomic Energy Agency. So they weren’t of much danger to anyone.
In possibly the worst screw-up of the invasion and post-invasion time period, the Bush Administration did not prevent those same explosives from being plundered by people wishing to do harm to Americans.
The result? We’re seeing those same explosives in the hands of terrorists and insurgents. They are being used to kill our servicemen and women in Iraq (in car bombs, improvised explosive devices, etc.).
Further, the Bush administration has known this for over a year and, while they were in control of Iraq, did not notify the IAEA. Then they pressured the Iraqis not to tell the IAEA.
There are a number of reasons why you can imagine the White House and the civilians at the Pentagon wouldn’t want to inform the IAEA. But one pretty clear one is that letting the IAEA find out would pretty clearly mean that the American public would find out what a major league screw-up the president and his advisors had allowed to happen.
Only a couple weeks ago did the Iraqis finally report the theft to the IAEA. And from there it was only a matter of time till the yearlong cover-up started to unravel.
But it didn’t even stop there.
This is huge. Bush tells the bad guys “Bring it on”… with deadly weapons he allowed them to get their hands on. And then, the cover-up.
I have to agree with Josh Marshall: It’s a story that really brings together the adminstration’s two cardinal sins: dishonesty and incompetence.
President Bush, do you have no shame?
In previous comments, Mike mentioned
Jessica Ashlee Simpson’s WTF? moment in the musical guest segment on SNL last night.
If you missed it, through some screwup, Ms. Simpson’s lip synch track was not the one she expected. So, instead of performing, she danced around for a few seconds and then walked off stage. SNL cut to commercial.
Mistakes happen, but I found two things about this notable. First, why not just perform the song? Whatever happened to “the show must go on? Second, when she came out at the end of the show, she flat out blamed the bend. “My band played the wrong song.”
No, clearly there was some other screw up. Don’t blame the band. If it had been as simple as that (the whole band prepared to do one song and Ashlee out in left field) it shoudl have taken her a second or two to catch on and sing the song the band was playing.
Messenger Puppet blogged some links to the clip.
Clearly the music industry is in losing money because people pirate songs.
[Ryan corrected me. Somehow I can’t tell Ashlee and Jessica apart. No, it’s not because of any resemblance. It’s because I can’t muster the desire to care about telling them apart.]
Cardinals second baseman Tony Womack was smacked with a ground ball in the left collarbone. Luckily for him, it doesn’t appear to be broken. I’ve broken that particular bone, and it smarts! It sure looked like he was in a good deal of pain as he made an effort to walk it off. What bad luck; the guy is just recovering from back spasms.
The crowd gave him a respectfully quiet moment as he exited the field, but there was some sort of music playing over the speaker system that didn’t really go with the moment. Aerosmith?
In any case, he says he’s ready to play again. Good for him.
George W. Bush incorrectly labelled my wolfpack
as a terrorist threat. We are NOT terrorists. We do
not associate with terrorists (unless you count that
pesky wolverine) and FRANKLY, we don’t even like
What do you call 25 men sitting at home watching the World Series on a Saturday night?
The New York Yankees.
Yeah, I know it’s obvious. But it’s still funny. And it got me when I read it on Sara’s blog. I shamelessly stole it because it bears repeating. File it under “funny because it’s true.”
Menino was considering a prohibition on alcohol during the World Series in Boston, but has since backed off on the threat.
So, they’re floating all sorts of trial balloons on how to control the crowds during what promises to be a very exciting and inciting series.
We’re an intelligent bunch. Let’s hear some suggestions for the mayor on how to deal with the exuberance and destructiveness of Boston fandom. I’ll start you off.
OK, your turn.
Here is some more reportage on the UMass Dartmouth ALCS-night incident
[Update: Added a reference to the Torch. I haven’t had a chance to read the whole thing yet, but it should provide some interesting details. I’m bumping this story to the top, as the Torch is a much more in-depth story.]
The Herald Report says:
The overzealous celebration Wednesday night followed similar acts that occurred Tuesday night. Hoey said 19 students were given an interim suspension after Tuesday night’s Game 6 win. The students have been removed from their classes and on-campus living. Those students will be entitled to a hearing, he added. He said similar actions will likely be taken against the students arrested Wednesday night.
20 were arrested, and the fellow I know has not been given an interim suspension. He has been kicked out of housing, but he is still allowed to attend classes. So perhaps he is the one out of the 20. He was also not charged with disorderly conduct, so that probably has something to do with it.
I don’t have sympathy for people who overturn a car or dumpster, and people who destroy windows and light posts. But I’m getting info from reliable sources that things are not nearly as clear as these stories make them out to be.
We’re talking about a group of students in the middle of the dorms. How do you distinguish between students celebrating, students hanging around, students who are about to take part in malicious mischief and students just passing through to get to the dorms? The answer appears to be “use the dogs and pepper balls and let God sort them out.” Further, I’m hearing that the police were blocking access to the newer dorm buildings. The students were surrounded, some with nowhere to go.
If the order to disperse had been clearly given, why am I hearing from reliable people that they never heard such an order, nor did they see police with megaphones? Sure, when the police order you to disperse, you know what’s about to come next and you get the heck out of there. But what if there was no dispersal order effectively given? What if, in your effort to get out of the area, you run smack into a truncheon or attack dog? What if you’re blocked from your dorm, or your dorm is locked down?
I wasn’t there, but I’m talking to people who were there and it’s not coinciding with what the papers are reporting.
Update 12:17 PM
The Torch story has filled in some holes. I can’t help but sympathize somewhat with the police, here, though I don’t think their approach is working. It’s clear that these riot are going to happen, and the idea that they would not have happened at all without police intervention is disputed by history.
The police may have exacerbated the riot in their attempts to control it. Quickly, a chaotic situation developed where troublemaker and innocent alike were embroiled.
As others have said, it’s too bad this has to taint an historic Red Sox victory. The fault falls squarely on the numbskulls who would use any occasion as an excuse to engage in property-damaging activities. And in a group of easily-incited college students (remember being a college student?) this is a recipe for disaster.
I blew away a few (6, to be specific) legitimate comments while dealing with a new barrage of spam this morning. This is also why the shotgun post has not yet gone up. I have recreated the comments from backup copies. Unfortunately, I cannot easily restore the correct order of some of the comments. Apologies to all.
In the afterglow of an amazing series, I give you… links.
A former prosecution witness whose testimony at Carl Drewï¿½s 1981 murder trial doomed the convicted “cult killer” to life in prison began telling a very different story Thursday of the events surrounding the mysterious slaying of Fall River prostitute Karen Marsden. (The Herald News)
Will we ever know exactly what happened to Karen Marsden? The previous story was about a murder that took place in the Westport woods, and a head being used like a soccer ball. But now…
“We never went to the Westport woods,” Fletcher testified. “That never happened.”
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
Minutes after last night’s Red Sox win, riot police dispersed an unruly mob of UMass Dartmouth students that flocked into a campus courtyard, broke windows, overturned a light post and lobbed firecrackers and smoke bombs into police ranks. There were reports of as many as 20 UMD students arrested for disorderly conduct. (New Bedford Standard Times)
This is not quite the way I heard it.
As I understand, somewhere between 17-20 students were arrested including the brother of a friend and coworker. In his specific case, he was cited for “failure to disperse” and faces a number of repercussions. I am just now learning that all the students arrested are barred from the campus dormitories. They have been kicked off campus, as far as housing is concerned.
This was not just the campus police. There were a number of “homeland security” and riot control RV-type vehicles on campus from campus police, local municipalities and the Bristol County law enforcement organizations. Something like a small army, by the sound of it.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
My friend’s brother’s story sounds like one that could happen to just about anyone. He’s a student at UMass Dartmouth, and the sort of student that is well-liked by the professors here. At least one has said he’ll vouch for the young man. And, while alcohol can cause even mild-mannered folk to get into trouble, he’d only had one beer.
The situation began with students pouring out of the campus pub, mingling with those who had already begun to celebrate outside. But what turned a celebrator crowd into a mob?
People I know who were on the scene tell me that there was no order to disperse. There were no announcements given to the crowd and it was fairly calm. According to a friend, the police began by trying to take pictures of the students’ faces. After that, it’s a little unclear what happened. But my impression is that there may have been some troublemakers in the crowd, and the police adopted a “shock and awe” approach to subduing the crowd, which was not a mob, nor a riot at first.
All Hell Breaks Loose
That changed when the stun grenades began to explode. There are stories of the police throwing a number of these grenades, which cause a flash of light and a loud report. Of course, this gets the attack dogs quite excited. It’s also reported that students were pelted with pepper balls - the nasty big brother of the air-propelled paint ball. These are the same guns the police were playing with out behind our office.
I am hearing that there was no effort to peacefully disperse the crowd, leading to a situation where people who were not causing trouble were caught in the middle. In fact, it sounds clear that the tactics used allowed actual trouble makers time to run, while those students who didn’t feel they were doing anything wrong (and therefore didn’t feel the need to run like hell) were left as easy targets. And the police went after the easy targets with relish, unleashing with their snazzy new equipment. This situation is not far-fetched. I’m told that a New Bedford police officer told the families of the arrested students that he was confident he knew what had happened. The troublemakers had run and the police had grabbed the flat-footed bystanders.
Back to my friend’s brother. He got in between an officer and a girl they were about to push. The girl was a soccer player who had a torn ACL which was soon to be operated on. The student tried to prevent the girl from being knocked over, explaining about her injury. At that point, he was grabbed and dragged to one of the paddy wagons. No one here believes he did anything to threaten the officer, or to participate in any riot. I’ve seen this fellow in a party situation, and he is not the rowdy type. Even at a raucous party. He’s not charged with doing anything specific, or attacking an officer. “Failure to disperse.” As far as I know, no one was given instructions to disperse. If a stun grenade is a command to disperse, it’s pretty nonspecific.
I’m told that some students who turned and attempted to vacate the area (i.e. disperse) ran into police. Sounds like a “fog of war” situation, with one side in riot gear, using dogs and nightsticks at the least.
Sadly, my friend’s brother is now in a tough situation. He was in the middle of a campus police debacle and will pay for it. I understand it is the police’s responsibility to prevent riots from getting out of hand, but it is tough to see how their gung-ho attitude is helping things. They seem to eager to use their new gadgets n students, and I don’t see any effort to prevent trouble, just the willingness to dive in with guns a-blazing once trouble has started. Perhaps students could have been informed upon leaving the pub that congregating outside was not going to be tolerated.
I’ll be interested to see the full story as it becomes available (presumably tomorrow on the Standard Times website). I’m told that the press were not allowed to get too close to the fracas. A student I know was interviewed for the evening news, and he wisely made his way to where the press were — less likely to become the target of a zealous police force. While the press did not get pictures, it’s almost certain that there are student photos and, perhaps, videotape.
That was awesome. Especially the part with all the angry Yankee fans after the umpires corrected their call on ARod and his “creative” running style and ball-swatting prowess.
But, just awesome to behold. Amazing work by Schilling. The Fox commentators couldn’t stop talking about Francona taking him off the mound after 7 excellent innings. They spent half an inning coming back to it again. And again. And again.
See you for game 7.
An Oregon man discovered earlier this month that his year-old Toshiba Corporation flat-screen TV was emitting an international distress signal picked up by a satellite, leading a search and rescue operation to his apartment in Corvallis, Oregon, 70 miles south of Portland. (CNN)
Even funnier, the authorities told him he’d face a stiff fine if he kept using that TV which transmitted the signal. Maybe he can sell it to someone with a boat.
Interesting to note that, at this time in 2000, the polls all swung to favor Bush by 10%. You may remember that Bush did not win by 10%. In fact, he lost the popular vote.
Still worried about the polls? Flip a coin and get an answer you can have some real confidence in. I’m worried about the uncertainty, not the polls.
I was checking up on the game via MLB Game Day. Maggie thought hits was silly, so we went over to watch the game in the 10th inning, thinking it would be over in about 5 minutes. It is extremely unusual for Maggie to be on the couch watching TV for as long as she was, and unheard of for a sports event.
Of course, we were there for quite a while. David Ortiz was extremely accommodating, batting in the winning run just as the clock struck 11PM, which led right into The Daily Show.
John Jon Stewart has really got his dander up lately, hasn’t he?
After that, I cut up apples for a pie. I can’t say I’m impressed with store-bought pie crusts, but I thought I’d try them out. They say they’re 9 inch crusts, and they are 9 inches wide, but not as deep nor as wide at the bottom as my Pyrex pie plates. That means fewer apples fit in the damned pie. It sure is easy to make a pie, though, if you’re not rolling out the crust. It feels more like assembling than baking when someone has made the crust for me. A pastry is comprised of filling and a pastry crust. If you really want to be the pie, you have to roll out that crust. Even when I’ve made some mistake, like leaving off the salt, my homemade crusts have been better than store-bought.
So, practically speaking, what does it mean when you bake a pie in the middle of the night and leave it to cool in the refrigerator?
It means: pie for breakfast.
We spent Saturday at Old Sturbridge Village. This used ot be a yearly trip, but we haven’t gone now in a few years. If you’ve never been, I encourage you to make a visit. It’s a great active museum of New England’s past. It’s always been a good visit, but this time we noticed that they’ve opened up a lot more of the museum to visitors and made other parts more interactive than in past years.
I had a whopping headache upon leaving, and so the rest of Saturday is not worth reporting, as I spent it semi-comatose once we got home.
Sunday, the girls had a piano recital which meant we missed Somerset’s big celebration day the Musictown Parade — the capstone event of the Musictown festival.
The recital was a long affair, and continuing the legacy of equipment failure, my video camera battery died during Mattie’s performance. The girls performed quite well and were real troopers during the 2 1/2 hour event, sitting there patiently. But I don’t think we’ll be sitting through one of those in its entirety again. 2 1/2 hours is altogether too long.
The location was a new one. In previous years, recitals have been at a Unitarian Universalist church in Fall River. This one was at some other sort of church in Tiverton. I’m not certain whether it was a Baptist church, but at any rate the pastor had generously donated the venue and, I believe, refreshments for the intermission. It was a very dramatic room and looked like what you might see on a religious television broadcast. In fact, part of what made it a good venue for a recital was that it was completely wired for sound, and was a complete, working television/recording studio.
I noticed that they also had a projector anchored far up on the ceiling, and the projection screen had been lowered. This stuck me as odd until I realized that it must be obscuring a depiction of the crucifixion behind it. Perhaps the pastor was trying to be accommodating.
In any case, the spot was a place of worship, but it was hard not to notice that it was also a place of politics, which turned me right off. Literature in the back of the hall had a religious right bent to it, including stuff from Rush Limbaugh! The Unitarian Church, which has a considerably more liberal leaning, never appeared to have liberal literature displayed prominently about. Imagine seeing flyers for Air America Radio, or Al Franken’s latest book in church. Nutzoid.
At the end of the event, a really accomplished and talented student performed a challenging piece which we really enjoyed. Directly after that, the pastor gave us his “closing statement” or whatever you might call it. He began to expound upon how we had witnessed the incredible gift that god had given these students. At this point what he was saying became somewhat of a hum and I heard:
Blah blah, blah blah god blah blah. Blah blah god, blah god, blah blah, blah. Blah, blah blah god blah. Blah blah blah god, blah blah, blah.
Basically, for those that can’t understand my filter, it wasn’t good enough that these students had applied themselves, some of whom practice 4 hours a day. Somehow it was important for us to internalize that this we really had god to thank. Then he implied that god had given us such good brains that we could all perform like that fellow who is the star of every one of these recitals.
Sorry, but what? I have a good deal of unused musical talent. More than the average. And I know that I do not have the dexterity to play piano like this fellow. The guy is talented and dedicated, and that is real inspiration. Find what you’re good at and apply yourself as he has applied himself.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that, even as an atheist, I don’t have much of a problem with god. It’s a few of his fan clubs that really tick me off.
Steve brings up the outrage over Kerry mentioning Ms. Cheney in the debate.
Appropriately, he ends his short and accurate post with:
But of course now I have to post about it. I’d preface this with a sigh, but I’m trying to save up just in case Kerry loses the election.
It’s somewhat unrealistic that Kerry might hope to gain a supposed Bush-supporter-homophobic vote. It assumes that this person is so fixated on the issue that they would switch their vote based on the Veep’s daughter. And even though they are fixated on the issue, they have somehow missed the other public and nationally televised mentions of Mary Cheney’s sexual preference. It’s possible that Kerry believes this, but I doubt it.
It is much more plausible it was a tactic to get Bush off balance.So it was a debate tactic.
Emotionally, I feel the mention of her name struck a false note, mainly because it seemed out of place. Realistically, what is the big deal? Ms. Cheney is not some political innocent, unconnected to the campaign. She’s been in the trenches — and specifically regarding to this issue — for quite a while now.
Furthermore, as Steve mentions, Cheney has brought up his daughter’s sexual preference himself on occasion. In a political context.
So, what are they outraged about, exactly? That Kerry would use the word “lesbian?” That only the Cheney’s are allowed to mention their daughter’s name?
The same folks who traded those pictures of Kerry’s daughter whose dress was suddenly rendered translucent under the glare of flashbulbs are now wringing their hands in woe and shaking their fists over the mere mention of Cheney’s daughter.
“But wait,” you say. “You can say that about right wing bloggers, but what about her Lynne Cheney’s pain as a mother?” If some sort of damage was done to Ms. Cheney, I wish someone would point it out to me.
If someone ever says that sort of thing about me, that I am being who I was born as, boy—you just wait to hear my anguish. I’ll be sitting outside, rending my garments and wailing. And holy cow, if my parents ever find out… well, it won’t be pretty.
I’d say “I’ve seen it all” but it makes me afraid at what mock indignation is waiting around the next corner. If Kerry had lied about Cheney’s daughter, or even criticised her, I’d be right there with those who are offended.
Let’s say that the issue had been alcoholism and Kerry had said something like “even though the president’s daughter appears to be alcoholic, her family still loves her…” or something along those lines. I would have to agree—there is something wrong with taking advantage of a weaknesses in the president/vice president’s family to try to knock the president off balance in the debate. There would be something wrong with outing her, wrongly accusing her of being an alcoholic, or taking advantage of her disease.
Thing is, Kerry didn’t do that. Homosexuality is not comparable to alcoholism. But among those who believe it is, their indignation is telling. Back in reality, Kerry’s false note is about as damning as mispronouncing “nuclear.” It comes down to one awkward debate moment with no repercussions except the opportunity for Bush to take advantage of a possible Kerry backlash.
Kerry’s mention of Ms. Cheney doesn’t rise to the treatment it’s getting. The lasting phenomenon of disingenuous outrage is going to be the real stain here, if it lingers.
If Kerry loses the election over this joke, we’ll have a fun four years to discuss how we are all still offended by the above comment which is just in such poor taste.
This election will surely drive me to alcoholism.
There are many like it, but this one is mine.
Those from whom I stole the links will have to excuse me; I can’t remember where they all came from this week. I know many of the usual suspects were involved. And a few came from Mike, for sure.
Bush was back to twitchy again, but not as bad as the first debate. He started out without that Furious George barking, but as the night wore on his frustration wore through. The rumors of Bush wearing a wire, while implausible, are at least understandable when you experience his oddly stilted delivery. Why does he pause like that? My only explanation is that he’s reading his notes, or picturing them in his mind, or something like that. But it didn’t come off as presidential.
Kerry was very even throughout, though he held back on the humor until the end. When Bush joked, the audience seemed confused half of the time. Kerry got a laugh every time (though he made fewer attempts.)
On the substance, Kerry accused Bush right off the bat of saying that he didn’t think much about Osama. Bush just flat-out denied it. Unfortunately, he did say it. I have to imagine the Democrats will make a lot of hay out of this.
Bush was caught flat-footed on the vaccine question, but Kerry didn’t answer it either. Bush seemed constantly on the defensive and was not able to gain much momentum criticising Kerry except by tagging him with the “L” word, even draggign Senator Kennedy into the fray, which elicited a small chuckle from Kerry. In Massachusetts, it’s known that Kennedy and Kerry are not the best of friends, but they have worked together. It must seem quite ironic to Kerry, to be subjected to some sort of guilt by association with Kennedy.
Kerry calmly trounced the silly “global test” BS and responded to the idea that he doesn’t take terrorism seriously by reiterating that, in fact, he’ll hunt them down and destroy them.
So, yes, I think Kerry came out ahead on that debate. I have no idea how an undecided voter would see it. On each debate I have felt more and more that Kerry would make a decent president. Bush scares me more and more. Some of his words may be folksy, but when he’s not angry, he’s twitchy. I’d rather have a beer with Kerry, if that is any sort of litmus.
The democrats have a new ad “Exaggeration” which juxtaposes the lie with the footage of him saying what he said.
Why is it that this administration finds it so easy to lie about their actions? I’d have trouble believing this guy if he told me it was raining outside, if I thought he had something to gain by it.
Obviously, at the election draws nearer, there are a lot of politic-related stories floating around. You’d think I’d be posting like mad about my outrage at some of them. Honestly, I don’t have the energy at the moment, and I have been extremely disappointed lately at some of the rhetoric going back and forth. I figured I’d throw a post up here to round up a few of these stories as they are going by, and give people a chance to comment, if they like.
One big story is the Sinclair Group mandating that its local stations play an extended Swift Boat Veterans Anti-Kerry ad disguised as a Vietnam retrospective. Josh Marshall has been all over this story. And now Kos has a clearinghouse for info on the situation.
If you’ve been keeping up with TPM, you know that applying pressure to the local businesses who advertise on the Sinclair affiliates is having an effect. Many advertisers disagree with Sinclair’s move, and many just don’t want ot be associated with it.
I won’t be watching the debate live tonight, and so that means I won’t be live blogging my comments with Chuck either. I have other plans.I’ll probably tape it and catch it afterwards. Nothing quite so exciting as watching a taped presidential debate.
Election Dirty Tricks
The I-Team has obtained information about an alleged widespread pattern of potential registration fraud aimed at Democrats. The focus of the story is a private registration company called Voters Outreach of America, AKA America Votes.
The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for the past few months, registering voters. It employed up to 300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of registrations per day, but former employees of the company say that Voters Outreach of America only wanted Republican registrations.
Two former workers say they personally witnessed company supervisors rip up and trash registration forms signed by Democrats.
Can you believe it?
Stories about Bush being wired in the first debate didn’t interest me much. I don’t think he was wired, and soon after I saw news stories that reported people having heard some other voice when listening to Bush speak at rallys. Those news stories turned out to be fabricated, so I left the “wired” stories go as mere tinfoil hattery.
However, new pictures from the second debate can be found on Political Animal and elsewhere, showing an odd bulge under Bush’s jacket when he moves his arms forward, tightening the fabric.
To my eyes, it looked like some sort of bulletproof vest. Why would the White House refuse to talk about it?I still thought perhaps it was nothing, but there is another photo of Bush in a T-shirt. A similar bulge is seen there. No reason for him to be wearing a wire in this photo, so I think it rules out a wire. But there is something there. My guess is it is either a physical abnormality, a piece of medical equipment, or a piece of protective equipment. However, the White House will not acknowledge it. From the photos, it would seem obvious there is something there. But we may never know what it is.
And this story probably has zero political impact, unless it is something that might interfere with his ability to act as president. Yes, there are plenty of more important stories, but it’s nice to take a break from Bush lying and screwing us over to look at something just plain weird like this.
You will not believe the complaint against Bill O’Reilly. Harassment against a former Fox employee.It’s plain bizarre. I first saw this on Oliver Willis’ blog (The Harassment Factor) and Willis points us to a particular page of the complaint, where Bill spills his tropical fantasy. This is so out there that she’s going to need tapes or some corroboration. Imagine if she does have tapes. Would anyone listen to O’Reilly again?
Well, it makes amusing reading anyhow. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer network talking head.
BONUS: O’Reilly has an unhealthy fixation on Al Franken:
If you cross FOX NEWS Channel, it’s not just me, it’s Roger Alies who will go after you. I’m the street guy make loud noises about the issues, but Alies operates behind the scenes, strategies and makes things happen so one day BAM! That person gets what’s coming to them but never sees it coming. Look at Al Franken, one day he is going to get a knock on his door and life as he’s known it will change forever. That day will happen trust me.
That’s all for now. Feel free to discuss. Now, sadly, I need a drink.
And I thought geocaching was fun.
This weekend I took advantage of the generous offer of a couple of local geocachers. “RLahti” and “Downy288” like to hang around on cliffs and hide geocaches there. But not many of the local geocachers had the knowledge and equipment to safely retrieve these caches.
To solve this problem they have invited the entire geocaching community to meet them at a cliff in Swansea for lessons in rappelling. This is where they like to test out their skills and equipment, and they can be found there fairly frequently when the weather is nice. They set up a scheduled clinic (known as an “event cache” to geocachers because showing up and going through the lessons qualifies you to log your participation in this event as a cache find.
This was my first event cache and my first time ever throwing myself off the side of a cliff. How did it go? Read on.
I got a little bit of a late start on the morning, but I was headed to the location at about 9:45 AM. If you’re going to show up late, show up with food to share. It’s a good motto. I grabbed a Dunkin’ Donuts “Box o’ Joe” and headed to Swansea.
So, what’s in a Box o’ Joe? It’s a box filled with coffee. It is also another box filled with coffee cups, stirrers and handfuls of sugar and sugar substitutes. Finally it is another cup full of cream. The second box fit in my pack, which meant I was left with the coffee in one hand and the cream in the other. And I had to find a cliff and hike up it. I had no hand for the GPSr.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When carrying coffee, no hands free and no GPSr, stick to the trail. For some reason, I did not do this. Actually, I was familiar with the trail up to a point, but Bushwhack Burke decided to guess (wrong) and take another trail which turned out not to be a trail. But better than that, it “led” me to a small brook. The brook would have been a mere annoyance with two hands free. With no hands free and an uneven load it was nearly impassible. Some kind soul had placed a log across the brook. The log was now slick and the sole of my boot skidded across it when I tested the footing.
But I was too smart to turn back and try the actual trail. I was late after all. And if I made it across, it would somehow erase the silly mistake of going off trail at the wrong point. I made a few awkward attempts at crossing on the log but did not feel secure. Finally, I found a footing that would allow me to launch myself across and land on solid ground. I was a little worried about slipping, but there is always some risk in jumping.
I jumped, and planted one foot solidly in thick mud that yielded fully over my ankle. I immediately effected a makeshift second jump and then walked to a clear spot where I could assess the damage. Gear and food were intact. Boot was still dry inside, but covered with wet mud. I used some leaves to clean off my boot and jeans. Onward!
Another reason you follow the trail is that there are fewer cliffs to traverse. I’m OK with rocks most of the time, but I like to have my hands free. It wasn’t too long before I could hear voices in the distance, which is a sign better than any that a GPSr can give you. Up the big rock I went as I hard someone yell “Hello there!”
That’s when I met a bunch of new folks. On the net, they’re known by their geocaching handles. “RLahti” and “Downy288” were hosting the event. I got to meet “juneebug” who was there, as I was, as a novice. Also in attendance was “Pandagram.” I offered them the coffee and then sat to listen to what was going on.
Ron (RLahti) was talking about safety and equipment as John (Downy288) continued to prepare the ropes for the 60 ft. descent. The ropes were attached to webbing which was securely wrapped around a couple of hardy trees that were growing out of the hill at the summit. John took me around and showed me how they had managed the anchors so that I could be comfortable with the preparations.
All the time, Ron stressed that they would not allow us to do things beyond what we had learned, and that we weren’t going near the cliff edge without being anchored to one of the ropes. Wire gate carabiners connected to some webbing were used as a safety for anyone approaching the edge or getting ready for a descent.
After witnessing a couple of descents, we were taken to an area where they’s set up a 10 foot drop for practicing. We donned some spare padded harnesses that they had brought. The harness is used to distribute your weight to your thighs and waist so that it is safe and comfortable when the rope is supporting you. Juneebug and I both learned how to thread the ropes (we were using double ropes) through an ATC belay device and secure it to our harnesses with a screw-lock carabiner. The carabiner which connects you to the rope has red markings on the screw lock to remind you that it needs to be tightened before it is safe “If you see red, you’re dead.” When the gate is screwed shut properly the red markings are no longer visible and it is secure.
To The Edge
Ron explained how one hand is just a guide on the rope, and the other hand manages how the rope is fed through the belay device. Very little effort is needed to stop oneself because of this device. You simply tighten your grip on the rope and you come to a stop. As you pull the rope behind you away from your rear end, you begin to descend faster. Pull it back towards you and tighten your grip and you find yourself stopping again. With the thick ropes we were using, movement would be reassuringly slow.
After checking my gear, I approached the 10 foot edge for the first time. I shouted “On Rappel!”
Equipment and Teamwork
Rappelling is the process of descending on a fixed rope according to Wikepedia. It is also known as “abseiling” and “roping down.” It is used by rock climbers when they want to return to a lower location, by cavers, by rescuers who lower themselves down to those who need to be rescued, and by geocachers who want to reach a cache on a cliff face when there is no other safe manner of reaching and replacing it.
Rappelling uses a fixed rope (or ropes) anchored above you. Your equipment allows you to connect to the ropes at any point. The descender/belay device keeps you on the rope, absorbs and dissipates the heat of friction caused by your descent, and allows you or someone else to stop yourself if necessary.
A rappeller can descend alone, because he has complete control over his descent. However, we were using a “fireman’s belay.” The person acting as the belay merely has to tug on the rope and the rappeller’s descent is interrupted. This will stop a fall, or prevent a fall.
Since you have a situation in which people are working together, and safety is an issue, you need to be able to communicate swiftly and accurately. In the case of climbing and rappelling there are a number of verbal signals that the person on the rope uses to communicate with a person providing a belay. “On Rappel!” tells the belay that you are connected to the rope and about to descend. The belay should respond “Belay On!” to signify that he is taking responsibility for the life of the climber should the descent need to be halted. Hearing this tells you someone is looking out for you below and you can begin your descent.
As I eased over the edge, I tried to position myself as Ron had described. My feet were out in front of me, perpendicular to the rock and my upper body was just about parallel to the rock face. This position allows your weight to be supported in the thighs by the harness. If you’re doing it right you suddenly feel you’re sitting in a very secure seat. Once I achieved that position I felt very comfortable. I worked my way down slowly so that I could get used to the technique.
The feeling was great! It was just like walking backwards down a rock.Juneebug and I had a couple more practices, then we were eager to try the 30 foot rock face. Around that time Wreck Diver had arrived with his daughter and a young woman who I believe was Lhollo777. WD was there to test out some new rescue gear which I believe he did on the 60 foot face.
A light rain began to fall, but it didn’t look like it was going to last, so we prepared for the 30’. We hid our gear and electronics under a rock overhang. Ironically, on relatively flat earth I banged my knee here just as I was stuffing my pack under the rock. Otherwise, I could have said the day concluded without a scratch on my part.
The 30’ descent was in 2 parts. A sheer 30’ drop and then a second, less steep descent for about 30’ which we practiced with a single rope through our belay devices. It was just like doing the 10’ face except for a frightening jog at the beginning which caused one to have to compensate by swinging to one side a bit.
Wreck Diver and his daughter left when the rain started to look like it might stay, but soon after that is slowed to nearly nothing. We were lucky, and we hoped that our luck would continue to hold. A taste of the 30’ and we knew we wanted to try the 60’.
It was around that time that “Chickmunk” arrived with her daughter, a young girl who was a wall climber in the girl scouts but was not experienced in rappelling. They practiced a bit with the single rope while we contemplated the 60’.
Don’t Look Down
When I had first arrived, I was just hoping to learn a thing or two about ropes, equipment and knots. I wasn’t sure rappelling was for me. I don’t have a huge fear of heights, but I think I have a healthy enough fear of them.
I looked over the edge of the 60’ as best as I could without going past the safety zone around the time we were having coffee at the top. No, I didn’t think I was going to want to do that at all. 60 feet is a long way down. The top of my roof is about that high. I’ve been up there and I’ve looked down. It;s disconcerting.
However, coming off the 30, I knew that the key to doing it was probably to not dwell too much on the actual distance. Since it is very much like walking backwards, It’s just like walking twice as far.
When the time came, I felt confident and ready to do the 60’ — which was also where the Cliffside #6 geocache is. A bonus! John checked my gear and Ron was below handling the fireman’s belay. “On Rappel!” I shouted, and when the response came, I approached the edge. There was a moment, as I placed my heels on the edge, that a chill ran through me to the tips of my fingers. I leaned back into position and eased myself off the cliff.
It was much easier than expected. Just like the 30’ but without the disconcerting jog. I quickly reached the cache and asked Ron “Take me” at which time he activated the belay by holding the rope firmly. This allowed me to open and sign the cache, replacing it in the crack for juneebug to give it a try. When I reached the bottom, I came to the full realization of why these guys are out there so often, practicing on the rock face. It’s a real hoot.
I tried the descent a couple more times and we practiced stopping and starting. I tried coming down fast and felt the beaner get warm from the friction. I was actually not going down very quickly, and the beaner was considerably warmer than I expected.
A great Day
I had a great day on the rocks and I think I’m hooked. I’d like to learn more and even get my own gear. Margaret has expressed an interest in trying it out herself. I think it would be fin to get some other people up there some time when Ron and Downy are up there practicing. They’re willing to teach anyone and it would be great if I could get some other people interested so that if I want to try to reach a difficult cache, I’ve got someone else crazy enough to help me do it. They’ve stopped the scheduled tutorial events for the year, but they told me to bring Maggie down whenever they’re there, and I’m sure that offer extends beyond her.
Pictures of my descent:
Enjoy debate highlights? Do yourself a favor and stop by Oliver Willis’ blog entry entitled “Bush Flips Out.” He’s got a link to the video of Furious George wigging out and getting medieval on Charlie Gibson.
For an extra hoot, I checked out some of the titles people were using for blog entries that reference this video. Here’s a summary:
Bush beat the first debate Bush, but didn’t beat Kerry. (Running Commentary is in a previous post)
Kerry came out swinging and he’d obviously got Bush a little off balance in the first half of the debate. Bush grew increasingly agitated and finally was pretty ornery with Charlie Gibson. who was trying to give him an extended response. However, less of the dumbfoundedness from last debate was evident in this match-up.
Kerry was calm and friendly in the debate, and made his points clearly and forcefully when needed, although he had one or two episodes of not punctuating a clear point before wandering into detail.
There were some zingers, buy lying as seen in the vice presidential debate was kept to a minimum.
I thought one of the worst moments for Bush was when he completely bungled that last question, which was, admittedly, a challenging one. He actually tried to answer that his mistakes were in his appointments, in other words deferring responsibility once more for bungling. This was the president so many people told me was going to have a team of the best and the brightest. Now he’s reduced to blaming his appointments.
I see many people calling this a draw, and perhaps the undecideds will see it that way as well, but I can’t agree. Bush has no good answers for the hardest questions. His excuse against Kerry’s deficit reduction plan is simply “don’t believe him” and he relied heavily on labeling Kerry “liberal” to get his message across.
In summary, I don’t see anything in this debate that would slow down Kerry’s momentum. Bush merely showed that in one out of two debates he doesn’t look like a complete incompetent.
|Chuck||(9:03:21 PM)||Herecomes the chief|
|James||(9:03:43 PM)||Bush looks taller than the last time|
|Chuck||(9:03:50 PM)||platform shoes|
|Chuck||(9:03:52 PM)||hee hee|
|Chuck||(9:04:27 PM)||Q: (KERRY) are you wishy washy?|
OTIS: Senator Kerry, after talking with several co-workers and family and friends, I asked the ones who said they were not voting for you, Why? They said that you were too wishy-washy. Do you have a reply for them?
|James||(9:04:42 PM)||He looks comfortable. Respectful.|
|James||(9:06:12 PM)||His answer is a good start. He's gettign a chance to explain his positions and how they have not changed.|
|James||(9:06:27 PM)||Tone: very coinversational. Nor stiff at all.|
|Chuck||(9:06:32 PM)||the tail end of his answer seems to have left the wishy-washy thing behind|
|James||(9:07:49 PM)||This is Bush's strategy in this question: Bring in Howard Dean. Repeat the same distortion about the Iraq war.|
|Chuck||(9:08:03 PM)||Bush is being a little better this time.|
|James||(9:08:48 PM)||Not hard to do.|
|James||(9:09:09 PM)||Bush has been asked if the president's latest justification for the war is reasonable.|
DAHLE: Mr. President, yesterday in a statement you admitted that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, but justified the invasion by stating, I quote, He retained the knowledge, the materials, the means and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction and could have passed this knowledge to our terrorist enemies. Do you sincerely believe this to be a reasonable justification for invasion when this statement applies to so many other countries, including North Korea?
|James||(9:09:21 PM)||"9/11 changed it all"|
|James||(9:09:48 PM)||So, apparently, 9/11 means we no longer need reasonable justification. <-- my analysis.|
BUSH: In the old days we'd see a threat, and we could deal with it if we felt like it or not. But 9/11 changed it all.
|Chuck||(9:09:50 PM)||Bush is claiming the decision to go to war was difficult and that diplomacy was exhausted.|
|James||(9:10:15 PM)||He's taken an Iraq question and diverted it briefly to Afghanistan. Now oil for food is the issue.|
|James||(9:11:19 PM)||Kerry asserts that the world IS more dangerous today.|
|Chuck||(9:11:36 PM)||Kerry is slamming Bush HARD|
KERRY: The world is more dangerous today. The world is more dangerous today because the president didn't make the right judgments. [...] So what does he do? 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. 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.
|James||(9:12:03 PM)||Mike on Bush: 'I've got an intelligence group together to figure out why the intelligence group was wrong!'|
|Chuck||(9:12:47 PM)||here comes global test again|
GIBSON (After Bush won't let him talk): Well, I was going to have you do the rebuttal on it, but you go ahead.
|James||(9:13:21 PM)||And he just said Saddam could have given the WMDs to terrorists.|
|James||(9:13:40 PM)||Kerry: Sanctions worked! WMDs were out of Saddam's hand.|
|Chuck||(9:13:48 PM)||good responses so far|
|Chuck||(9:13:52 PM)||Both look very strong|
|James||(9:14:05 PM)||Bush is just louder.|
BALDI: Senator Kerry, the U.S. is preparing a new Iraq government and will proceed to withdraw U.S. troops. Would you proceed with the same plans as President Bush?
|Chuck||(9:14:52 PM)||Kerry is invoking conservative republican condemnations of Iraq.|
|James||(9:15:11 PM)||Those are some harsh quotes.|
KERRY: Senator Richard Lugar, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said that the handling of the reconstruction aid in Iraq by this administration has been incompetent. Those are the Republican chairman's words. Senator Hagel of Nebraska said that the handling of Iraq is beyond pitiful, beyond embarrassing; it's in the zone of dangerous.
|Chuck||(9:15:14 PM)||Kerry differentiating himself. Bring in allies. Apply real diplomacy.|
|James||(9:15:53 PM)||Bush is doing the head-bob. Kerry so far has had no reaction when he's not talking. Even when the global test was mentioned.|
|James||(9:17:39 PM)||Bush is asserting that Kerry thinks we can't win, therefore he won't get any support.|
|James||(9:18:28 PM)||Bush is hammering on "Kerry thought we had weapons, too"|
|James||(9:18:49 PM)||Bush is a little shrill.|
My opponent says he has a plan; it sounds familiar, because it's called the Bush plan. We're going to train troops, and we are. We'll have 125,000 trained by the end of December. We're spending about $7 billion.
|Chuck||(9:19:13 PM)||Bush is saying Osama is not the focus of the War on terror, instead it is to keep WMDs out of the hands of terrorists.|
|Chuck||(9:19:30 PM)||Q (BUSH) : other coutnries are mad at us... what can we do to repair that?|
|Chuck||(9:19:37 PM)||invoking reagan|
|Chuck||(9:19:43 PM)||comparing himself to reagan|
|James||(9:19:48 PM)||"I made some decisions that have made others not understand our values."|
|James||(9:20:22 PM)||Bringing up Israel, Rove told him to talk to the base.|
|Chuck||(9:20:37 PM)||I think Bush is doing very well thus far.|
|James||(9:20:58 PM)||Perhaps, if you like shrill. But, yeah, his supporters would be happy.|
|James||(9:21:07 PM)||I'm not so sure he's reaching out to the moderates.|
|James||(9:22:17 PM)||"This president doesn't listen" (Kerry)|
|Chuck||(9:22:40 PM)||Bush is trying hard not to go facial|
|James||(9:23:01 PM)||Buch can't even wait for the moderator now.|
|James||(9:23:58 PM)||Kerry is sticking to a good message.|
|James||(9:24:29 PM)||The president didn't listen. The president rushed. The president was unprepared.|
|Chuck||(9:24:35 PM)||Q (KERRY): iran sponsors terrorism, has missles. Iran will have nukes in 3 years. If UN sanctions don't work what will you do?|
|Chuck||(9:25:05 PM)||JK <-- can't rely on UN sanctions alone... now shifting toward Iraq. Not answering question.|
|Chuck||(9:25:30 PM)||he's not answering the question|
|James||(9:25:35 PM)||He's staying on the Bush message. He has to tie it back.|
|James||(9:25:43 PM)||Here he goes.|
|Chuck||(9:25:43 PM)||now he is answering|
|Chuck||(9:25:57 PM)||bring in germans, french, british. Lead the world. Crack down on proliferation.|
|Chuck||(9:26:09 PM)||Restating position on Russian nuke materials.|
|Chuck||(9:26:20 PM)||Bringing back bunker busting nuke wep.|
|Chuck||(9:26:29 PM)||closes with threat on Iran.|
|James||(9:26:30 PM)||Promises the greates counterproliferation effort.|
|James||(9:26:43 PM)||Bush jokes that he almost wanted ot scowl while Kerry was speaking.|
|James||(9:27:54 PM)||Axis of evil|
|Chuck||(9:28:21 PM)||Q BUSH How do we maintain Military presence without a draft?|
|James||(9:28:25 PM)||"the internets"|
BUSH: I hear there's rumors on the Internets (sic) that we're going to have a draft.
|Chuck||(9:28:34 PM)||GB no draft... all volunteer army works|
|James||(9:29:09 PM)||Replacing troops in Korea with weapons.|
|James||(9:29:19 PM)||(Bush explains how we are avoiding a draft)|
|Chuck||(9:29:38 PM)||withdrawing troops from europe and korean penninsula...|
|James||(9:30:14 PM)||Replacing troops with unmanned vehicles. "Forget all this talk abotu the draft."|
|Chuck||(9:31:24 PM)||JK --> backdoor draft ... overextended|
|James||(9:31:49 PM)||Half hour mark, no blood drawn.|
|James||(9:32:07 PM)||Bush is arguing with the moderator who is TRYING to give him more time!!!|
|Chuck||(9:32:10 PM)||GB getting mad|
GIBSON: Mr. President, let's extend for a minute...
|James||(9:32:37 PM)||Bush's voice is practically screeching.|
|James||(9:32:48 PM)||Kerry: calm.|
|Chuck||(9:33:43 PM)||Q KERRY : Why no terror attacks since 9/11? And how willo yu keep it that way?|
|James||(9:34:26 PM)||Bush agrees that it is not a question of "if" but of "when" though he had a little trouble getting it out.|
|James||(9:35:11 PM)||Even so, Kerry says we need cooperation. And we're not getting it. And Kerry now ties it to the tax cut.|
|Chuck||(9:35:16 PM)||Bush reallyllooks twitchy|
|Chuck||(9:35:25 PM)||He's trying very hard not to look mad.|
|James||(9:35:35 PM)||He's starting to blink away.|
|James||(9:36:05 PM)||Bush is actually more comfortable (slightly) when he's talking. That's why he talks over the moderator.|
BUSH: And there's a lot of good people working hard. We're doing the best we possibly can to share information. That's why the Patriot Act was important.
|Chuck||(9:36:09 PM)||he said working hard|
|James||(9:36:26 PM)||That's a swig|
|James||(9:37:17 PM)||Kerry actually allows the moderator to talk.|
|Chuck||(9:38:10 PM)||working on weekends|
|Chuck||(9:38:19 PM)||long hurs|
|Chuck||(9:38:52 PM)||Q BUSH : why block cheap drugs?|
|Chuck||(9:39:05 PM)||I haven't we are just making sure it is safe.|
|James||(9:39:19 PM)||Massachusetts is already doing what Bush says he's not sure is safe.|
|James||(9:39:36 PM)||They're doing it in Fall River|
|James||(9:40:14 PM)||Bush barked back at the questioner at the beginning of this question.|
|James||(9:40:25 PM)||I think it's OK for him if he shows agitation with Kerry|
|James||(9:40:41 PM)||But it's not going to work if he's mad at the moderator and the asker.|
|James||(9:40:54 PM)||He must have felt that because he tried to save with "thank you for asking!"|
|James||(9:41:40 PM)||Bush said he hasn't blocked Canadian drugs. Kerry says the senate passed it and the president DID block it.|
|James||(9:41:59 PM)||He's picking on Bush calling Canadian drugs 3rd World -- they're made here in America.|
|James||(9:42:13 PM)||Now linking Bush to the big companies. A good answer arc here|
|James||(9:42:39 PM)||Bush can't wait for the moderator. Can't control himself. Looking desperate and ornery. Will it work with undecideds?|
|James||(9:43:49 PM)||Tough question coming, Kerry ought to be ready for it, though.|
|Chuck||(9:43:54 PM)||Q KERRY: you chose a lawyer who sues medical professionals how does this lower costs?|
LAURENT: Senator Kerry, you've stated your concern for the rising cost of health care, yet you chose a vice presidential candidate who has made millions of dollars successfully suing medical professionals. How do you reconcile this with the voters? KERRY: Very easily. John Edwards is the author of the Patients' Bill of Rights. He wanted to give people rights. John Edwards and I support tort reform. We both believe that, as lawyers -- I'm a lawyer, too. And I believe that we will be able to get a fix that has alluded everybody else because we know how to do it.
|Chuck||(9:44:11 PM)||Edwards *AUTHORED* the patient bill of rights.|
|James||(9:44:18 PM)||Tort reform plan|
|James||(9:44:34 PM)||and the two of them are lawyers so they understand the problem (as opposed to Bush)|
|James||(9:45:43 PM)||Kerry calmly has answers for everything. Bush's attacks are shrill.|
|James||(9:46:06 PM)||Kerry asks people to help by rolling back the tax cut for >200/year|
|James||(9:46:15 PM)||Bush just called him Kennedy.|
|James||(9:46:33 PM)||And called him the most liberal senator.|
|James||(9:49:05 PM)||Good question!|
|Chuck||(9:49:17 PM)||Q BUSH: u never vetoed a single spending bill. 700B spent and not paid for. Please explain how this is better than JK's spending|
O'BRIEN: Mr. President, you have enjoyed a Republican majority in the House and Senate for most of your presidency. In that time, you've not vetoed a single spending bill. Excluding $120 billion spent in Iran and -- I'm sorry, Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been $700 billion spent and not paid for by taxes. Please explain how the spending you have approved and not paid for is better for the American people than the spending proposed by your opponent.
|James||(9:49:31 PM)||He's going to blame it on Clinton.|
|James||(9:49:34 PM)||And the war|
|James||(9:49:59 PM)||"this lady"|
|Chuck||(9:51:11 PM)||concerned about deficit, but not going to raise taxes or shortchange troops|
|James||(9:52:26 PM)||Kerry is pointing out that other presidents led during wartime, not cut taxes.|
|James||(9:52:48 PM)||Kerry can defend himself well while attacking Bush. Good answers|
KERRY: He talked about war. This is the first time the United States of America has ever had a tax cut when we're at war. Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, others, knew how to lead. They knew how to ask the American people for the right things.
|James||(9:53:25 PM)||Moderator is wrong: Kerry did say that he would raise taxes on >200K/year|
|James||(9:53:36 PM)||To help cut the deficit.|
|Chuck||(9:55:02 PM)||Q KERRY : give american people pledge not to sign a tax bill on those who earn less thanj 200K|
|Chuck||(9:55:14 PM)||JK --> NP. Does so.|
|Chuck||(9:55:20 PM)||lot of details though|
|James||(9:55:34 PM)||Yes, but he answered it to start.|
|James||(9:56:07 PM)||Mike: "Bush scaled back his favorite program, Sesame St."|
|Chuck||(9:56:44 PM)||GB --> he's not credible|
BUSH: He's just not credible when he talks about being fiscally conservative. He's just not credible. If you look at his record in the Senate, he voted to break the caps -- the spending caps -- over 200 times.
|Chuck||(9:57:03 PM)||JK will raise your taxes.|
|James||(9:57:06 PM)||He looked into the camera and answered. GWB's only answer is "don't believe him."|
|James||(9:57:50 PM)||Hasn't Bush figured out the light system yet?|
|Chuck||(9:57:51 PM)||GB says the tax rollback doesn|
|Chuck||(9:58:06 PM)||raise more than a third of what JK's proposals cost|
|Chuck||(9:58:10 PM)||so JK will raise taxes.|
|James||(9:58:54 PM)||JK is invoking John McCain. I have to think Bush will respond.|
|James||(9:59:05 PM)||(On fiscal credibility)|
|James||(9:59:13 PM)||No, he's going to let it go.|
|James||(9:59:22 PM)||Bang on liberal again.|
|Chuck||(9:59:43 PM)||Q BUSH: how would you rate yourself as an environmentalist?|
|James||(10:00:19 PM)||Going to increase wetlands by 3 million <-- Bush|
|Chuck||(10:00:23 PM)||reduce pollution 90% FROM Diesel engines, plan to increase wetland, green-up sore spots in cities, clean air initiative|
|James||(10:00:28 PM)||3 million what? <-- me|
|Chuck||(10:00:34 PM)||healthy forest bill|
|James||(10:00:59 PM)||Bush cites lousy federal policy.|
|James||(10:01:07 PM)||Er, who makes the federal policy?|
|James||(10:02:22 PM)||Kerry: "Don't throw the labels around."|
|James||(10:03:28 PM)||Kerry: "Clear Skies Act = Orwellian"|
KERRY: The fact is that the Kyoto treaty was flawed. I was in Kyoto, and I was part of that. I know what happened. But this president didn't try to fix it. He just declared it dead, ladies and gentlemen, and we walked away from the work of 160 nations over 10 years.
|James||(10:03:41 PM)||Mike: " Bush: "Or-who-ellen?""|
|Chuck||(10:03:47 PM)||kyoto --> cost america too much money|
|Chuck||(10:03:52 PM)||GB air is cleaner under me|
|James||(10:04:23 PM)||Kerry can remember people's names|
|James||(10:04:42 PM)||Bush sez: "that lady"|
|Chuck||(10:04:58 PM)||Q KERRY : how can the US be competitive in manuf given the wage necessary?|
|Chuck||(10:07:23 PM)||I'm too focussed on what they are saying to comment... :-(|
|James||(10:07:46 PM)||Yeah. A lot to listen to, but they're talking aobut keeping jobs.|
|James||(10:07:53 PM)||Kerry is on outsorcing.|
|James||(10:08:11 PM)||Bush is on less regulation and legla reform|
KERRY: And you know why he gets that count? The president got $84 from a timber company that 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: That's news to me. Need some wood?
|James||(10:10:39 PM)||Patriot act question: Why are my rights being watered down?|
|Chuck||(10:10:47 PM)||GB they're not|
|James||(10:12:55 PM)||Kerry is telling him he's right.|
|Chuck||(10:14:08 PM)||Q KERRY: stem cells, nobody cured by using embryonic stem cells|
|James||(10:16:56 PM)||Bush: stem cell research destroys life... I'm the first president to fund it. Huh?|
|James||(10:17:06 PM)||Did he mean to say it that way?|
KERRY: Well, you talk about walking a waffle line -- he says he's allowed it, which means he's going to allow the destruction of life up to a certain amount and then he isn't going to allow it.
|James||(10:19:29 PM)||Could he take the question seriously, please (Bush)?|
|James||(10:19:52 PM)||Oh, here's the God talk.|
|Chuck||(10:19:54 PM)||appeal to religious right|
|James||(10:20:42 PM)||Relating slavery to the pledge of allegiance?|
|James||(10:20:57 PM)||There's a good balance of important issues.|
|James||(10:21:11 PM)||(and I'm being sarcastic)|
|James||(10:22:16 PM)||Kerry is talking to the moderates on choosing justices|
|James||(10:22:20 PM)||And doing it well|
|James||(10:22:43 PM)||If anyone is concerned about that, this is a VERY good answer.|
|James||(10:22:56 PM)||Choose good judges, not liberal/conservative ones|
|Chuck||(10:23:11 PM)||Q KERRY: hypothetical... voter thinks abortion is murder. What would you say to that person?|
|James||(10:23:38 PM)||Is he ready for this question? Will he keep to the subject?|
|James||(10:24:03 PM)||He was specifically asked abotu taxpayer money.|
|James||(10:24:20 PM)||Taxpayers don't get to choose. As a pacifist, your money still goes to the war.|
|James||(10:24:54 PM)||Not a very clear answer so far.|
|James||(10:25:09 PM)||But he is saying he will fund the abortions.|
|James||(10:25:53 PM)||Bush is just going to take it as a gimme for his base.|
|James||(10:27:05 PM)||Kerry's response is alowing him to clarify. Good, good good.|
|James||(10:27:16 PM)||Clear response!|
|James||(10:28:22 PM)||GOOD LAST QUESTION!|
GRABEL: President Bush, during the last four years, you have made thousands of decisions that have affected millions of lives. Please give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong decision, and what you did to correct it. Thank you.
|Chuck||(10:28:59 PM)||is he going to answer?|
|James||(10:29:15 PM)||He's changing the question!|
|James||(10:29:27 PM)||Actually telling her that she asked a different question, the gall!|
BUSH: That's really what you're -- when they ask about the mistakes, that's what they're talking about. They're trying to say, Did you make a mistake going into Iraq? And the answer is, Absolutely not. It was the right decision. [...] Now, you asked what mistakes. I made some mistakes in appointing people, but I'm not going to name them. I don't want to hurt their feelings on national TV.
|Chuck||(10:29:42 PM)||JK is already picking up his mic|
|Chuck||(10:30:14 PM)||GB is not going to name mistaken appointments because he doesnt want to hurt feelings?|
|James||(10:30:20 PM)||Bush's lame prepared answer about appointments he made.|
|James||(10:30:30 PM)||Lame, obviously prepared and puzzling.|
|James||(10:31:00 PM)||Kerry is asking US to decide what mistakes Bush has made.|
|James||(10:31:37 PM)||The crowd is connecting with Kerry on this last answer as he repeats some of the Republican criticism of Bush|
|James||(10:32:44 PM)||And Kerry admits to his mistake.|
|James||(10:32:52 PM)||(in describing his decisions)|
KERRY: I ask each of you just to look into your hearts, look into your guts. Gut-check time. Was this really going to war as a last resort?
|Chuck||(10:37:38 PM)||GB did an excellent job|
|Chuck||(10:37:43 PM)||Much more polished than last time|
|Chuck||(10:37:48 PM)||Clear winner?|
|James||(10:38:26 PM)||Really, I disagree|
|James||(10:38:35 PM)||He quarreled with the moderator|
|James||(10:38:46 PM)||He was less twitchy, but he didn't land anything major|
|James||(10:38:55 PM)||I think Kerry had some decent blows.|
|James||(10:39:17 PM)||GWB improved, but how could he have been worse?|
|Chuck||(10:39:55 PM)||GB's appeal is not so much on fact and evidence and reason, and I think his performance will appeal.|
|James||(10:40:05 PM)||We'll see.|
|Chuck||(10:40:14 PM)||Not feeling too good right now.|
|Chuck||(10:40:53 PM)||JK did well, but GB did well too. No clear winner, but at least GB didn't look lost dealing with JK. That's going to energize his base|
|James||(10:41:12 PM)||They were voting for him anyhow.|
Just a few thoughts on doublethink and the news lately. In which I describe some of the doublethink that I perceive in the Bush administration.
dou·ble·think n.Thought marked by the acceptance of gross contradictions and falsehoods, especially when used as a technique of self-indoctrination
The entry in Wikipedia says:
Doublethink was a form of trained, willful blindness to contradictions in a system of beliefs. In the case of Winston Smith, Orwell’s protagonist, it meant being able to work at the Ministry of Information deleting uncomfortable facts from public records, and then believing in the new history which he himself had written.
One particularly memorable passage (for me) from 1984 is the following, where Winston and O’Brien are discussing the all-important photograph of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford. (I’ve edited it down here, but you can read the chapter in its entirety online )
An oblong slip of newspaper had appeared between O’Brien’s fingers. […] It was a photograph, and there was no question of its identity. It was the photograph. It was another copy of the photograph of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford at the party function in New York, which he had chanced upon eleven years ago and promptly destroyed. For only an instant it was before his eyes, then it was out of sight again. But he had seen it, unquestionably he had seen it! He made a desperate, agonizing effort to wrench the top half of his body free. It was impossible to move so much as a centimetre in any direction. For the moment he had even forgotten the dial. All he wanted was to hold the photograph in his fingers again, or at least to see it.
‘It exists!’ he cried.
‘No,’ said O’Brien.
He stepped across the room. There was a memory hole in the opposite wall. O’Brien lifted the grating. Unseen, the frail slip of paper was whirling away on the current of warm air; it was vanishing in a flash of flame. O’Brien turned away from the wall.
‘Ashes,’ he said. ‘Not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It does not exist. It never existed.’
‘But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in memory. I remember it. You remember it.’
‘I do not remember it,’ said O’Brien.
Winston’s heart sank. That was doublethink. He had a feeling of deadly helplessness. If he could have been certain that O’Brien was lying, it would not have seemed to matter. But it was perfectly possible that O’Brien had really forgotten the photograph. And if so, then already he would have forgotten his denial of remembering it, and forgotten the act of forgetting. How could one be sure that it was simple trickery? Perhaps that lunatic dislocation in the mind could really happen: that was the thought that defeated him.
Of course, this is just a prelude to the news.
One contradiction that has struck me lately is the amazing one of Bush supporters telling us that the war was necessary for two contradictory reasons:
Think about that. We’re going to help you, Iraqis, in a way that attracts (and undeniably has attracted) terrorists, violence and the horrors of war into your backyard. And front yard. And, just maybe, your living room.
It really fries my bacon that Bush supporters (and Bush) can criticise Kerry for his opinion on a murderer like Allawi, saying that this is no way to strengthen ties with our allies. Meanwhile, this is the administration which preemptively waged war in their land on thin and now evaporated pretence. That’s confidence-building? Allawi is not the ally whose confidence we need. If it’s to be a free Iraq then it is the Iraqis who need to trust us, not a puppet. Telling the truth about Iraq is the best way to gain the confidence of the American people and the Iraqi people. Bush has blown for too many chances at that, and his credibility is nil.
Paul Krugman points out that ignorance isn’t strength. Another echo of Orwell came during the first debate when the president made it clear that criticising mistakes was more of an issue for him than making the mistake in the first place. And, please, forget that criticism can lead to correction. Read Krugman’s article for a decent tour of how reality control is a hallmark of the Bush presidency.
And new examples of reality control present themselves daily. Take Paul Bremer for example. Former administrator of Iraq, he was recently overheard saying:
“The single most important change — the one thing that would have improved the situation — would have been having more troops in Iraq at the beginning and throughout.”
He highlighted a pretty tangible mistake of the Bush administration. He wasn’t alone in his observation (Gen Shinseki agreed) It was only news, really, because he was the administration’s guy — a true believer.
Now, as Josh Marshall points out, he’s been made to publicly swallow his words, since they could mean disaster in tonight’s debate. Oops! You told the truth. Damage control time. How many times have we seen this in the Bush administration so far. Intense pressure, followed by a “clarification” of what they meant that cannot explain their earlier statements. In this case, Bremer weakly says that maybe he was wrong because some people disagree with him. What?
Loyalty to this Republican administration is increasingly becoming an exercise in doublethink. As in Bremer’s case, the inconvenient facts keep creeping around and biting us in the ass.
This post represents a major policy shotgun, and therefore should be broadcast by all media.
Chuck had a post earlier about his frustration with polling. For Kerry-supporters, there were a tough few weeks after the Republican Convention. It seemed that delaying their convention turned out to be a good strategy for a number of reasons. But as the balloons and rhetoric fade, we’re left with Bush’s same tired repetition that more of the same is what he’s got in store for the country. And as we look around, many of us are saying “we’ve had enough of the same, thank you very much.”
The polls are fickle. Zogby is showing surges for Kerry.
What are we to say about those earlier predictions that had Bush ahead? What we say is that these polls do not predict the future. So, what good are these polls to us? Not much good.
Kerry has edged to a narrow lead in Ohio and Nevada while his lead has widened in Iowa. Meanwhile, Bush is losing ground in Tennessee and W. Va. Do you believe the poll numbers, the trends, or neither? I htink that the polls are decent in showing trends, just like a poorly calibrated scale. As long as the polling methodology is consistent, I think it can show that a candidate is gaining or losing support. But it can’t tell you, really, where the voting is going to end up.
No one can predict the future. Put too much faith in the polls and you might find yourself depressed for no reason, or perhaps surprised on election day. Heck last time we didn’t even know for sure until the Supreme Court stepped in. So, ignore the polls as a predictor of who will win. Perhaps use them as an indicator of who is gaining support.
A handful of donors to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an organization that has run controversial ads attacking Democrat John F. Kerry, have also given money to independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
To the tune of $7,500 recently. Here is the evidence of their delusion, or at least the illusion they expect us to believe:
The Nader camp rejected suggestions that it was hypocritical of him to accept the money — and said the donations were evidence of its candidate’s ability to appeal to voters from across the political spectrum. “Twenty-five percent of our voters are people who voted for Bush. I’m not surprised there’s some overlap in funding, as well,” said spokesman Kevin Zeese. “If they support us, they support us,” he said. “We can still criticize their advertising campaign.”
Evidence of the candidate’s appeal? I understand saying “whatever support that’s theirs to give is ours to take.” But to imagine that the people who funded the Swifties are actually interested in electing Nader displays a nearly pathological break with reality.
I expect there has been plenty of funding for Nader along these lines, but we haven’t been privy to it.
“The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.” - Slick Dick Cheney Oct 5, 2004
[Image from a February 2001 prayer breakfast]
Cheney is someone willing to make serious assertions and accusations with information that hasn’t passed the most cursory smell test.Take your pick, is he a slick liar or a sloppy and dangerous ideologue? Or both?
This is a clear pattern in the Bush administration. Arguments where the truth doesn’t matter. Certainty without facts.
I’ve never met you before tonight. Without a doubt there ARE weapons of mass destruction.
The only Vice Presidential Debate came and went without leaving either candidate wounded. My conclusion, therefore, is that neither candidate came out as a clear winner. But they both were able to accomplish something. [Update I’ve elaborated my post with a few links to supporting news stories.]
No Clear Winner
In a debate that was supposed to be all over the map, the candidates started right out with the Iraq question, and it is clear that the Democratic strategy is partly to stick to Iraq. It makes sense, since it is a huge issue and the people feel now that Bush has made mistakes there. Also, it is an issue which can be used to question the credibility of the administration. Any time people’s perceptions are out of line with what the administration is saying, that is an opportunity for the challenger.
Cheney seemed bent on keeping Edwards off-message with constant direct attacks, mostly at the beginning of his droned-on responses. I go the impression that he wanted me to change the channel, that he felt Bush/Cheney had little to gain from this debate, so it would be better if no one watched it.
Edwards got off some attacks of his own, but he also acted as a decent booster for Kerry several times, even mentioning Kerry’s name when told specifically not to do it in one question.
In the wake of this debate I was left wondering what impact it would have? How many people tuned in and stayed tuned in? How would people respond to the attacks they saw, and the responses?
Really, I think it would be difficult for the undecided voter to score this without extensive fact checking. And there’s one humorous note there. Factcheck.org is a website that usually hosts a review of the facts that come out of the candidate’s mouths. Last night the Vice President mentioned “FactCheck.com” which, as Mike pointed out to me at the time, was an unregistered domain pointing to a placeholder page. However, someone was thinking quick. The URL now redirects to GeorgeSoros.com! So, people looking into the Veep’s url are directed to an anti-Bush message.
Meanwhile, Factcheck.org is down, overrun by requests. If one were a conspiracy theorist, one might think that this was Cheney’s plan all along, to take out Factcheck.org so that his distortions would not be catalogued there (see the Boston.com fact review below). But such a theory is really beyond the pale, especially considering he got the URL wrong.
Attacks Barely Stick
Nobody in this debate was able to make a serious hit that stuck. Cheney did have the accusation that Edwards has never been in the Senate in the last 4 years. (Cheney claimed he visited the Senate “most Tuesdays”) I’m trying to imagine someone refuting my attendance in college by saying that they had visited the campus center on most Tuesdays and yet never met me. It’s ridiculous, but some naive people may fall for that zinger, especially because he dragged a newspaper into the mix. (His assertion contained a lie, see links below)
Edwards made his attempt to tie Cheney closer to Halliburton and the no bid contracts. I don’t know how people regard Halliburton, so I don’t see whether this will make an impact.
In another Cheney attack, he actually tried to slam Edwards on tax dodging. To which Edwards came right back with more about Halliburton. Cheney kept Edwards extremely busy during the debate, and in many ways I think it reflected well on Edwards.He was able to go toe to toe with a veteran and hold his own. Despite Edwards’ long experience speaking, this was his first one-on-one political debate, if I understand correctly and he looked like a pro.
Of course, the credibility issue did come up with respect to both Iraq and the economy. Edwards appealed to people to trust their eyes, not the administration’s rhetoric.
Now, I know that the vice president and the president don’t see it, but you do.
It’s a potentially strong message, because credibility has many implications in this election, With the fear that is in the air both from terrorism and economic issues, people are craving credible leadership. I think it helps Kerry/Edwards to have had this issue raised here, but I don’t think it was driven home. At best they can hope to make the same case even stronger in a future debate.
Nothing To Be Ashamed Of
Cheney did nothing to wound Edwards, and therefore gave no reason for Kerry not to refer back to Edwards’ performance in this debate. I predict you’ll hear Kerry saying things like “You heard my partner, John Edwards say…” So he definitely gains something from Edwards’ strong showing.
Little Immediate Effect
In the balance, I can’t really say this debate itself will have much of an effect on the election. I think it will neither enhance or slow down the momentum Kerry gained from the first debate, though it could be used by both sides to pull out specific quotes for throwing words back at opponents in a future debate. I’ll leave the specific policy analysis to others. If either side can make something of the debate in the coming days, they may yet be able to leverage it to their advantage.
Chuck has posted his response to the debate on Unbecoming Levity, along with our running commentary. He’s formatted it prettier than I did on my previous post, and interspersed it with snippets from the debate transcript.
In the extended text, Chuck and I blogged the debate. Unedited, at the moment. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll format it further. I need to think a bit about my response. But you can get our minute-by-minute thoughts here for now.Dr Momentum (8:57:26 PM): Here we go
I will not be posting directly to the blog during the debate, however I will be writing comments while it is going on. And immediately after the debate, you can look here for a running commentary. Chuck and I will be in chat, collaborating on a post of our blow-by-blow comments.
Since I will have the laptop handy, will be in front of the TV, and will have AOLIM on, any friends can feel free to drop me an instant message if they feel the need to say something out of frustration or excitement. I'll be listening and will probably respond. But I will also be typing furiously for the commentary post.So don't be surprised if I'm slow to respond.
There has been a lot of police activity in the office recently. And what’s with all that riot gear? And how many cruisers does it take to question a student who drives over the grass? All will be revealed. Read on.
The campus police here use our office conference room for their meetings. I’m not completely certain why, because it’s a big campus and we’re off campus. I have to conclude that it is because of the “secret” nature of their meetings.They meet to discuss what they see as a preeminent campus problem.
That problem is the excitement surrounding the Red Sox.
Last year there were problems when the Sox beat Oakland in the playoffs. Riots, actually, here on campus.
This year, the police plan to be ready. They have all sorts of protocols in place. They’re calling the local package stores to sniff out any large purchases of alcohol. They’re going to meet in a particular parking lot just before the game. They’ve been seen streaming out of the local state police barracks at about 3:20 PM, presumably headed this way.
The other day they were out behind our building (a couple of feet from my window) shooting off some sort of air rifle that sounded like a paint ball gun.I hear it may be a projectile gun that disperses a pepper-spray-like substance.And UMD is now the proud owner of a riot wagon, a la Grand Theft Auto 3 when you have 4 APBs.Except in addition to riot gear and guns, they also use trained dogs.
I can understand the interest in preventing a riot, but I have to say that when I think of our campus police, I don’t think or appropriate action. I think of overreaction.
Take this recent incident for example.
A student who works on the project was with a couple of friends on Saturday night, driving down the access road to our offices on Chase Road in Dartmouth. This is sort of a back way out of the campus. However, a few years ago they chained off the end of the access road so you could no longer drive through from the main campus to our parking lot. The actual reason for doing this has never been very clear. Various half-reasons have been offered, none of which seem justifiable.
As anyone knows, when you close off one route people ar eused to using, they usually take the path of least resistance, like water flowing around a stone. In this case, people here at our office often drive over the grass, up the hill and on to the road to campus. The police do it regularly. The people who deliver our mail from the campus do it regularly. And we do it, of course, because they all do.
Lately, the campus police had been harassing people for driving on the makeshift path. They even tried using police tape to block the path, but as you can see from my image (click for larger) they only blocked off one way through. There is still a path which crosses a handicapped parking spot.
So they were starting to register some displeasure that folks were driving over the grass. But I was informed that the man who runs the other organization we share our offices with (a man who also uses the grass path all the time) had spoken to the Chancellor about the activity. The word was that since the road was blocked off and since they had helped to pay for that road but could no longer use it, it would be OK to use the grass path.
The police even moved their cars the other day (grudgingly) after my boss requested to drive through the grass to get to campus one day last week. So things seemed to have been straightened out. WRONG. Little did I know, the fact that the police didn’t actually make the rules was rankling them.
To return to last Saturday around midnight, the student (whom we will call “Derek”) urged his friend to go ahead and drive over the grass because it was the quickest way through to the road. It’s a couple of miles back to campus and around on Old Westport Road if you go the long way.
Well, when he got to the road a campus cruiser sped out at him from the parking lot followed by a voice “Don’t you fucking move!”
The cruiser swung around and Derek’s friend pulled over. The officer accused him of driving over someone’s lawn, and Derek correctly pointed out that it wasn’t a residential lawn, it was the office where he worked. The office replied that he didn’t care if Derek was the “fucking chancellor.” These must be the language and public relations skills that they are studying hour after hour while they’re sitting in meetings here in the conference room.
Soon, an assortment of 6 cruisers converged on the scene including vehicles from the campus police, Dartmouth police,
State Police and New Bedford Police. I understand the New Bedford police were the first to depart, to their credit.1 However, Derek and his friends were detained for 40 minutes while their information was reviewed and while they tried to determine whether the driver had been drinking (he hadn’t). There was alcohol in the car, and the person in the back had been drinking. But this passed muster, apparently.
After the 40 minutes, Derek’s friend was issued a citation to appear in New Bedford traffic court (because it was a moving violation) with a fine of $100. The reason? Driving in a restricted area or some such.
Does this sound like an appropriately measured reaction to a sober college student driving over an informal path that is in regular use by both police and employees of the university and offices?
This is what has me worried. If this is how they respond to some harmless students driving over some grass, how much overreaction are you going to see when there is actual mayhem in the equation? The mind boggles.
For your further reading, here is a previous post from last year on the riot: Sox Fans at UMD. It’s also interesting to just scroll back and forth at the other posts in October of last year. Interesting month.
1 I misunderstood. All 6 cruisers were from Dartmouth and Campus police.
Just got back from a screening of Shaun of the Dead - A zombie film that breaks the mold. In a good way.
By “screening” I mean I went to the movie theatre, payed $9 for the 10:00 PM show and they projected it on a screen so I could watch it.
It’s a slightly pretentious way of saying “I went to the movies and I saw Shaun of the Dead. But I don’t mean to put on pretense. It just seems quicker to say “I went to a screening” that it does to say “I dragged my arse to the movie theatre.” I also don’t mean to be pretentious by saying “arse” and “theatre.” I know they’re British spellings of the words “ass” and “theater” but:
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, a quick review of the film. It was quite good. I’ve seen 3 decent zombie films in the last year and a half or so and this is easily the best of the lot. While the remake of “Dawn of the Dead” (see my review) had a lot going for it, it didn’t bring anything really new to the genre except running zombies. And I’d put 28 Days Later at the bottom of my “last 3 zombie list.”
Nothing wrong with that film, but it didn’t really get me going.
Shaun of the Dead is different. It’s a slightly less serious look at the zombie film genre. It’s not exactly a parody. Rather, it is a retelling of the same basic story, but with characters who do not suddenly change their personalities to become extremely serious when the undead attack. The characters approach the zombies with basically the same attitude they approached the rest of their lives, save a little extra motivation fueled by the life-or-death struggle.
As the film begins, we meet Shaun. He’s trapped in the same world you and I live in, the world filled with your normal, everyday, non-supernatural zombies. People are shuffling through life every day (including him), which causes some initial confusion when the real zombie infection hits the streets.
Don’t go to this film expecting Scary Movie 4. I said earlier that it’s not exactly a parody. What I meant was that it’s not a parody of zombie films. Instead, it is a zombie film wrapped around a parody of the lives of aimless people like the 29-year-old Shaun and his unemployed, shiftless, but well-meaning ape of a roommate, Ed.
This is why the film succeeds. Because we can sympathize enough with Shaun that we know our lives are filled with far more comic fodder than zombie films have to offer.
Out of this formula, a strange phenomenon develops. This may be the most realistic and sneakily frightening “Dead” film of all. The movie does not launch right into the zombies. Because Shawn and his life are screenworthy all on their own, we’re given time to get to know him. We’re become more invested in Shaun than in the shallow, boring characters which inhabit the average horror film. Usual genre films could not pull off such a long introduction because they have too little to say about real life.
This will confuse some people who came to see a comedy, and some people who came to see a zombie film. It’s both of those, but it’s really better if you don’t try to categorize it like that. Go to the film to see Shaun — a regular guy like you, or someone you might know. Commiserate with his problems. Laugh at and with him when the moments arise. And then just put your seat belts on when the undead come after him.
(P.S. The spell checker flagged “pretence” (the American spelling) and advised me to use “pretence” which is the Brit version. Go figure.)
(P.P.S In the first version of this piece. I misspelled “Shaun as “Shawn.” Inexcusable.)
As town reels, 3 victims improve (Boston.com)
Among the injured are a 5-year-old boy who has had a leg amputated and a 6-year-old boy who has had reconstructive leg surgery, doctors and relatives said.
Police are trying to determine how Caruso, who uses a prosthetic leg, happened to drive his blue Chevrolet Corsica onto a crowded sidewalk, injuring 12 children and adults, before crashing into a wall just after school had let out about 2:15 p.m. Friday.
That was in Stoneham. How do you live with something like that afterward? Horrible. Simply horrible all around. Those poor children.
Here’s the Obligatory Weekend Post. Condensed version.
Grabbed 4 caches over the course of the weekend, starting with one on Horseneck Beach on Friday evening. The Horseneck Beach cache was among the sand dunes in an extremely peaceful spot that made me want to linger. It also made me wish I could find a cache location like that. I (thus far) have not found a place that I’m happy with.
I’d like to start out with a simple cache, but I have a few ideas for puzzle caches that I’d really like to develop, but they would take some time. But I need a location worthy of a difficult cache. I just haven’t found such a place yet.
On Saturday, Chuck, Patty and ‘Neya came by and we went caching down Aquidneck Island way. Those Rhode Island caches are a lot of fun. We hit Albro Woods and Oakland Forest, two wooded areas nestled among the homes in developed residential areas.
The Oakland Forest multi-cache was a pleasant walk through an old-growth beech woods where some of the beeches were estimated at 300 years of age. An odd feature of this little woods was a swath of rhododendrons bisecting the area. Chuck caught a picture of me sneaking through the rhododendrons at one point. You can see from the satellite picture that the rhododendrons were planted as the arrangement is quite intentional. It’s that dark north-south band, slightly hooked at the north end.
Another interesting feature at the second cache was a mysterious vault built into the side of a hill. I don’t know what its purpose is, but it appears to have been there for a very long time and is complerely covered with vegetation.
Both Saturday cache locations featured Touch-Me-Nots that were covered with ripe seed pods. The children delighted in springing them, and the adults had their share of fun as well.
Back at the Burke ranch we met with Julie, had dinner and hung out for games and apple pie. I was a bit worried about the pie, which I’d baked that morning. I’d forgotten the salt in the pie crust. But the filling made up for the lack of salt in the crust. (The secret is the butter.)
We saw the first SNL of the season, and they tore into the Presidential Debate. GWB comes off as a whiny kid. No wait - that was the actual Presidential Debate I was thinking of.
On Sunday, Maggie went to see The Producers in Providence. I took the kids to Attleboro where we picked up a cache and attempted a micro that was crawling with non-geocaching folk. We had to call off the search, but it was just as well because I had birthday shopping to do (Tuesday is Maggie’s b-day)
Ah, the challenge of writing up the weekend without going into tedious detail! I’m still working on my technique.
President Bush has some new troops in his crusade to promote “healthy marriage” and teen celibacy with federal funds — followers of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial Korean evangelist and self-proclaimed new world messiah.
At least four longtime operatives of Moon’s Unification Church are on the federal payroll or getting government grants in the administration’s Healthy Marriage Initiative and other “faith-based” programs.
The Bush administration has enlisted with the “Moonies” to bring us a better understanding of marriage through faith-based initiatives. I hope you enjoy the agenda their pushing, we paid for it.
“Moon has been a big backer of the faith-based initiative,” said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. “But it’s beyond belief that you can have the University of Bridgeport issuing marriage education certificates and claim that is secular.”
Lynn said the Oakland program also shows how “there is virtually no monitoring of where this money is going.”
“Money goes out and nobody knows how it’s used and nobody knows what it’s for,” he said.
Through such publications as the Washington Times, a church-financed, conservative daily newspaper in the nation’s capital, and through alliances with priests and pastors across the theological spectrum, Moon and company have spent a fortune courting the opinion-makers of church and state.
Bush. Making this possible by bringing Church and State eversomuch closer. Sir, I wish you a long and happy retirement.
Start here at the Talking points memo. Read the next few entries, if you haven’t heard about it already.
Fox has taken to making up unflattering Kerry quotes (quite a few of them) and putting them on the website. Not too surprising that there is this kind of desperation in the extended Bush campaign after that debate.
Interest has grown in the debates.
I’m enjoying this morning’s reaction all over the place. I listened to the local neocon talk show this morning and the Bush supporters were falling all over themselves to explain away what their eyes had told them last night. To their credit, they didn’t lie about the president’s pathetic appearance. But they kept saying things like “Kerry won the battle but lost the war last night.” They made excuses for Bush, as if his advisors didn’t know the significance of the debates or cannot effectively manage his time. Every attack of Kerry this morning contained more acknowledgment and admiration of him than I’ve ever heard from that camp. Even those asserting it was a tie were not happy with Bush’s performance. They know it went badly, and they know there will be repercussions in the coming days and weeks.
I urge you to listen carefully over the next day or so. You’ll hear it in their criticism of the debate. They won’t say Bush won. They’ll say “Bush didn’t lose.” Or, “Bush didn’t really lose.” Guess what that means in real terms? Bush didn’t win; he lost. Once that sinks in, they’ll simply return to the attacks on Kerry, many of which have lost some sting since last night. You will hear the defeatism that seems built into liberals, but it will be coming from them. Someone stuck a pin in their balloon, and the telltale hissing sound will be in the background for the rest of the campaign.
Among the neocons, one independent called in this morning. He said he was previously leaning toward Bush but was still unsure. After last night, he is still undecided but he has decided this: the debates are going to make up his mind. Kerry has leveraged the position of challenger. People are paying attention now and Bush’s failures will be under the microscope. Not from 30 years ago, from the last 4 years.
That rumble you felt just then was the political season shifting into high gear, and the turbo kicking in.
A few shotgun items in the post-debate afterglow. Of course I know Osama attacked us!!!!
Josh Marshall points out something that was bugging me last night. The president left the strong impression that it’s worse to say you’ve made mistakes than it is to actually make mistakes. He went after Kerry for criticizing him, tying it to his support of the troops.
And that’s the best he could come up with: say I’ve made a mistake in Iraq and you’re letting down the troops.
Notice the structure of the president’s thinking: The point isn’t whether he’s made mistakes or screwed things up. But saying he has is bad.
Our president is in denial, and it’s not by accident. It’s not even a strategy. It’s the way Bush conducts his life. It’s the way his brain works. There is no need to solve a problem if you can deny it. Can he deny all of this administrations problems for an entire additional term of four years? I hope we do not give him the chance. President of Denial.
Vitamin supplements may increase the chances of dying from cancer, a science review finds. And the studies, which compared the health of people who regularly took antioxidant pills with those who took dummy pills, suggest that combinations of beta-carotene with either vitamin A or vitamin E pose the most risk.
The findings, published in the Lancet medical journal, go far further than recent evidence that such pills do no good, and, if confirmed, could severely damage the vitamin industry worldwide.
I’ve said for a long time (and I’m getting this from experts) you should get your vitamins from a balanced diet, not from supplements. Supplement manufacturers (both of regular vitamins and goofy mumbo-jumbo like echinacea) are modern day snake oil salesman. For a long time I have merely considered them a harmless waste of money. But it may be that they’re worse than that.
In America, we have a huge variety in our food supply. Anyone who can afford food at all can afford a balanced diet because fruits and vegetables are available anywhere. So for Americans to be popping mega doses of antioxidants is needless. As the evidence mounts, it may even be harmful.
You may not think it is easy easy, but you can’t argue that it’s not simple. Engage in regular physical activity. Do whatever it is you like to do that gets your heart pumping. Eat a moderate diet without excessive fat or sugar. Include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If you can at least do that, you will be on the right track. No supplements are going to make up for bad habits. You have to have the basics covered before you worry about anything else.
And, unless you’re an alcoholic, throw a glass of wine in there from time to time. It may or may not be a health booster, but it’s the civilized thing to do.