Saturday, October 02, 2004

Fox News: They Report and They Decide.

Fox News apologized Friday for posting phony quotes from Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on its Web site. Carl Cameron, a Fox reporter who covers the Kerry campaign, wrote an item that looked like a news story with made-up Kerry quotes.

"'Didn't my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!' Kerry said Friday.

"With the foreign-policy debate in the history books, Kerry hopes to keep the pressure on and the sense of traction going.

"Aides say he will step up attacks on the president in the next few days, and pivot somewhat to the domestic agenda, with a focus on women and abortion rights.

"'It's about the Supreme Court. Women should like me! I do manicures,' Kerry said."

The item also quoted Kerry as saying of himself and President Bush: "I'm metrosexual — he's a cowboy."

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Consumerman?

"If I could only go through the ducts and leap out onstage in a cape - that's my dream," said Nader, who enjoyed a dinner at the school's faculty club as he pondered ways to liven up what he called "a presidential puppet show, a presidential charade" governed by preset rules agreed on by the Bush and Kerry campaigns.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Reinhard Mueller: Man of Mystery, and Idiocy.

An Edmonto man who claims he is linked to extraterrestrials and is working to bring the planet under the United Federation of Planets has been banned by a judge from using the Interweb. Reinhard Mueller, 61, who also goes by the handle of Reni Sentana-Ries, Grand World Councillor, Lion of Judah and guardian of the Arab Prophetess Uthrania Seila is charged with hate crimes.

Mueller, who claims he is of Ancient Egyptian stature, ran a web site which prosecutors claim promotes race hatred against the Jewish People. The site was found by Canadian cyber plods, who showed up to ask the prophet a few questions about his views and take his hard drive away for vigorous probing.

They say that there were a few writings from the Great Prophet that were not exactly conventional Star Trek wisdom and were quite possibly illegal.

Mueller’s defence is original. According to court documents Mueller will claim that there was no problem with his site until he demanded the removal of the monetary system and insisted people comply with the universal order of stellar economics.

In another excerpt, Mueller warns that if the new economic world order isn't implemented will earn judgment from the Starfleet Commanders on your leadership heads!

Maybe making "Passion of the Christ" wasn't such a great idea.

Gibson said Sinclair came to his Malibu home on two consecutive days last month and "demanded to see me, saying that he wanted to pray with me."

After he was "told to leave and not return," Sinclair showed up at Gibson's church the following day and "approached me, interrupted my worship, stood extremely close (approximately six inches) from me and demanded that I pray with him," Gibson said in the statement.

A Muslim girl shows just how nuts she has become.

A Muslim schoolgirl has bowed to France's ban on Islamic headscarves in state schools by returning to class and removing her veil to reveal a head shaved bald in protest.

"I will respect both French law and Muslim law by taking off what I have on my head and not showing my hair," Cennet Doganay, 15, said outside her high school in Strasbourg, eastern France. "I respect the law but the law doesn't respect me."

Justice Scalia signs his career away.

"Let me make it clear that the problem I am addressing is not the social evil of the judicial dispositions I have described. I accept, for the sake of argument, for example, that sexual orgies eliminate social tension and ought to be encouraged," Scalia said with a smile.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Number 1

Overall score: a soft Kerry win. The first half-hour was clearly all Bush, and the fifteen minutes following that were pretty clearly Kerry. Nothing much shifted after that, and while Bush won a moral victory in not tanking, I'd give it to Kerry overall. Some notes:


  • Kerry wanted several followups, and kept getting shut down, but Bush got one every time he twitched his hand. Where's the liberal media now?
  • Kerry chose the gray suit with the red tie on the blue background; Bush chose the blue suit and the blue tie on the blue background. I'd have to give that battle to Bush.
  • Bush actually looked tanner than Kerry, who seems to have ditched his ultratan overnight. What was that all about? (Maybe it was because Bush was so much closer to the reflection of that podium...)
  • Very few Bushisms, unfortunately. Three "nuculars," by my count, and a few other minor flubs ("Of course we're after Saddam Hussei- I mean, bin Laden," "...the neighborhood countries," and my favorite, "Proliferation is the centerpiece of a multi-pronged strategy to keep the nation safer."), but nothing serious. The best mispronunciation: "vercifously" (about seven minutes in). Viciously? Vociferously? Couldn't even say.
During the debate:
  • 10th minute:
    Lehrer: "Colossal misjudgments. What colossal misjudgments has the president made?"
    Kerry: "Well where do you want to begin?" Score!
  • 28th minute:
    Kerry: "Bush's father, in his book, wrote that he stayed out of Baghdad because there was no viable exit strategy." That's a great grab.
  • 29th minute:
    Kerry: "I made a mistake in how I talk about the war. The President made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse?" Woo-hoo!
  • 35th minute:
    Bush: "We thought we'd whip more of 'em [Saddam loyalists] going in." Ah. Shrewd military strategy.
  • 40th minute:
    Did Kerry really say that he was planning to follow in Reagan's footsteps?
  • 44th minute:
    Bush (referring to a soldier's wife): "It's hard work, but I just have to love her as hard as I can." Eh? Actually, other than this weird little bit, this was the answer where I tipped it back from Strong Kerry to Weak Kerry. Another one of these and Bush would have taken the lead.
  • 46th minute:
    Kerry (still stumbling from Bush's last answer, I guess): "I will never let those troops down. [Pause] And we'll hunt and kill the terrorists!"
  • 71st minute:
    The Love Fest begins! Bush loves Kerry and Kerry loves Bush!
  • 73rd minute:
    Most Surreal Exchange of the Entire Debate:
    Bush, on the twins: "I'm trying to put a leash on them."
    Kerry: "I've learned not to do that."
  • 74th minute:
    Bush: "I fully believe that we should change tactics." So long as it's nothing that could be called a "flip-flop."
  • 83rd minute:
    Kerry: "This is the same president who said that there were weapons of mass destruction, who said 'Mission Accomplished.' Just because he says the North Korea talks will fail doesn't mean it's true." The gloves are pretty much off at this point, I guess.
  • 88th minute:
    Bush: "I believe in the transformational power of liberty." Nice! A strong finish.
    Bush, twelve seconds later: "We have climbed the mighty mountain." So much for that.

Last minute debate odds (payoff/stake). Odds that...

...wears cowboy boots: 2/1
...mispronounces "nuclear": 1/3
...stifles a yawn during a Kerry offroad: 3/1
...tries to look politely puzzled, but seems to be smirking: 1/1

...breaks a camera with his tan: 6/1
...grins awkwardly: 1/1
...makes a disparaging comment about Bush's "work" on the ranch: 4/1
...sweats visibly enough that his mascara runs: 3/2

...We hear about anyone's father working in a mill: 17/2
...Either candidate gets the hiccups: 4/1
...Either candidate rolls his eyes: 1/3
...Jim Lehrer rolls his eyes: 2/1

Six minutes to go before the first debate starts, and I'm ready to kill Jim Lehrer. They get it, Jim! They understand the "silence" thing!

Twenty minutes to go before the first debate starts, and I've already got an ultimatum: if Wolf Blitzer makes one more comment about "watching history," so help me God, I'm switching to MSNBC.

This is a little racy, but highly amusing (and quite real): Porn for Progress. The four-part disclaimer on the front page:

1) I am an open minded, intelligent, and forward thinking individual.

2) I believe that the United States deserves a government that makes smart and pragmatic decisions that serve the best interests of its people.

3) I am of legal age to view adult material in my area.

4) I want to contribute to the democratic process by watching the HOTTEST politically charged adult action ever to hit the net!

Dubya spews some of that disarming, deer-in-the-headlights ignorance that he's gotten so good at:

President Bush said in a television interview he does not think he received favorable treatment that allowed him to get into the Texas Air National Guard while many of his peers were drafted to fight in Vietnam. "No. I don't... I'm not aware of it," Bush said in the interview broadcast yesterday when asked whether family connections had helped him get a coveted place in the Guard.

The Christian Science Monitor poses twelve questions that ought to come up in the debates. Some interesting ones:

Q: Could you not find one woman or one minority who could qualify to be your vice-presidential nominee?
Why it matters: Many other democracies have already crossed this threshold. Bold leadership in the White House begins with bold leadership in picking a running mate.

Q: Yusuf Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, was recently refused entry to the US. He says he was a victim of "profiling." In general, do you support some infringement of civil liberties in order to protect the public?
Why it matters: The questioning and detaining of people based on criteria like religion and race can easily be taken too far during a time of war.

Tony Blankley non-sequiters his way into explaining an awful lot about why he's such a miserable loser:

No clever, last-minute words can change that national judgment, any more than a woman can be persuaded by strict logical argument to fall in love. It is not open to debate.
Sounds like the voice of arduous experience. Keep your chin up, Tony. There are plenty of illogical fish in the Republican sea.

The Washington Post reports on an issue sure to send Republicans into apoplectic fits: the foreign vote.

"If foreigners could vote, there's no question what the result would be," said Guillaume Parmentier, director of the French Center on the United States. "Bush's image, even before the war in Iraq, was not good. The way he comports himself, the vocabulary he uses - good versus evil, God and all that - even his body language, most people think is not presidential." He added, "I've never seen such hostility."
Rock on, Frenchie!

(By the way, how has this escaped the Swifties' net? "A first cousin of Kerry's, Brice Lalonde, is a Green Party mayor of a small town in western France.")

Clever, pandering, exploitative bastards:

President Bush's campaign called on 6 million supporters nationwide Tuesday to "set partisanship aside" and contribute to hurricane relief in Florida as he and Democratic challenger John F. Kerry prepared to fly into the storm-ravaged swing state for the fall's first presidential debate.

The war on terror takes a field trip to 1937.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

To tan or not to tan, that is the question.

Responding to her comments, Kerry campaign spokesman Bill Burton said, "Is Mrs. Cheney jealous considering how hard it is to get sun in the undisclosed location with her husband Dick? Or is she distracted over how red-in-the-face George Bush should be considering his failed presidency?"

Kerry knows his campaign is in the crapper when he's asking for Jesse Jackson's advice. Oh no!

The Pew Research Center said Tuesday its latest poll showed 73 percent of blacks supporting Kerry compared to 12 percent supporting President Bush. In 2000, Al Gore won 90 percent of the black vote.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Thank you London-based privacy watchdog, but we'll handle our own security.

By subjecting most visitors to scans of their faces and fingers, the United States will this week expand a mass surveillance system that threatens freedom and race relations.

London-based rights group Privacy International said in a report on Wednesday that the scheme relied on flawed technology and opaque, error-strewn watch lists on which innocent people could find themselves wrongly identified as security threats.

"There is no end to the uses to which this sensitive information will be put, nor any meaningful borders or boundaries limiting the flow of this data," it said.

Number two on Letterman's Top Ten George W. Bush Debate Strategies, last night:

2. If Kerry makes a good point, distract him with some chaw spit in the eye.

Chris Heinz zings Bush with a line that was telegraphed fully 15 minutes before it came out of his mouth.

And when asked about Republican charges that Kerry changes his mind too frequently, Heinz said, "It's better to be a flip-flopper than a complete flop."

The Crawford, Texas, Lone Star Iconoclast endorses Kerry for president, brutally:

Few Americans would have voted for George W. Bush four years ago if he had promised that, as President, he would:
• Empty the Social Security trust fund by $507 billion to help offset fiscal irresponsibility and at the same time slash Social Security benefits.
• Cut Medicare by 17 percent and reduce veterans’ benefits and military pay.
• Eliminate overtime pay for millions of Americans and raise oil prices by 50 percent.
• Give tax cuts to businesses that sent American jobs overseas, and, in fact, by policy encourage their departure.
• Give away billions of tax dollars in government contracts without competitive bids.
• Involve this country in a deadly and highly questionable war, and
• Take a budget surplus and turn it into the worst deficit in the history of the United States, creating a debt in just four years that will take generations to repay.
Followup, 10/1: The editorial, it seems, was ill-advised: the Iconoclast now expects to go out of business.
As of Wednesday morning, more than a dozen readers had canceled their subscription and six advertisers had pulled their spots from the paper. [Publisher W. Leon] Smith expects there will be more, and he's preparing for the worst. "It will probably put us under," he said.

Amusing headline from the Daily Oakland Press:

"Cemetery hopes for Bush visit."

Alan Keyes' daughter, much like Mary Cheney, appears to be a selfish hedonist. (Or, as a blog called Jesus' General put it, "Lebanese.")

The RNC wastes some money.

(By the way: how great would it be if someone were to hack this site and remove all the second M's?)

Kerry ("a sweater") originally demanded that the debate hall be chilled to below 70 degrees:

Even as Kerry was turning the tables on Weld over the death penalty, he kept wiping a dribble of perspiration that was creeping from his right temple to his eye. "He's a sweater," chortles a G.O.P. official, "and women don't like sweaters." That's why Bush's team was happy to have the Kerry campaign climb down from its demand that the debate hall be chilled to below 70 degrees. The Jordan-Baker agreement stipulates that the debate commission use "best efforts to maintain an appropriate temperature according to industry standards." Whatever those are.
"Women don't like sweaters"? I'll bet that J. Crew would beg to differ, my Republican friend.

Kerry takes the horse-changing a step or two beyond funny:

Kerry told the town hall that voters shouldn't be wary of changing horses midstream when the horse is drowning. Kerry also poked fun at reports that the Bush campaign insisted that the debate podiums be set relatively far apart so Kerry's five-inch height advantage won't be so apparent.

"May I also suggest that we need a taller horse?" he said. "You can get through deeper waters that way."
"Furthermore," added Kerry, "the American people deserve a horse with nuanced positions on the issues. Like oats. If I'm eating oats, and they're bad oats, I'm not going to hang up a 'Mission Accomplished' banner, folks. I'm going to find some good oats. Because horses like oats."

I'm no handwriting expert, but the more I look at this Traficant letter, the more convinced I become that it doesn't say "Bush is answer for America." The first letter of the third word, for instance, looks an awful lot like a B. Either way, it does seem to be an endorsement of Bush, but it may not be the exact endorsement of Bush that everyone's thinking it is. My guess: "Bush is better for America."

Meanwhile, in ways-we-could-hold-the-election-without-actually-having-to-vote news... Sales figures for Vietti Foods' "political" baked beans predict that Bush will win a close one. On the other hand, Sylvester Stallone's mom's dogs are predicting a Bush landslide. Smells like a recount to me. (Though that could just be the dogs and the beans...)

Monday, September 27, 2004

Seems that popular Yale oratory professor Rollin Osterweis taught both Kerry and Bush. Topics covered apparently included the term "peroration," but not the term "nuclear."

Ms. Hughes writes that she was once so frustrated that she asked Mr. Bush how a speech should be written. He scrawled out for her, she recounts, that it should have "an introduction, three major points, then a peroration - a call to arms, tugs on the heartstrings," then a conclusion, which "is different from a peroration." When Ms. Hughes asked how he knew all that, Mr. Bush replied, "The History of American Oratory, at Yale."

Kerry is scary, but this Web site is hilarious.

World Net Daily reports Al Qaeda's No. 2 man captured in Pakistan.

Osama bin Laden's top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been captured in Pakistan, according to a report quoted by Israel Radio today.

The Jerusalem Post says Pakistani forces operating against al Qaida strongholds in the country report capturing the Egyptian national, who was formerly the head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which operated in the past against the Cairo regime.

Take the Bill O'Reilly O'Quiz and see what an O'Idiot he can be.

I believe Jack Straw is a little in the dark.

Jack Straw said yesterday that he had shaken hands with President Robert Mugabe because it was "dark" and he did not realise he was greeting the Zimbabwean leader.

The Foreign Secretary, who had described Mr Mugabe's last election victory as a "tragedy" for the people of Zimbabwe, met him last week at a reception in New York. It came just after President Mugabe had attacked Tony Blair and George Bush at the United Nations for "raining bombs and hellfire on innocent Iraqis, purportedly in the name of democracy".

This is amusing, and I missed it when it happened, so I'll link it now. Pedro Martinez, after his Friday drubbing:

"What can I say? I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy."

Bush picks up a key celebrity endorsement:

President Bush appears to have the support of one of Ohio's more controversial political figures - former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant, aka federal prison inmate No. 31213-060 in Ray Brook, N.Y.

The second congressman since the Civil War to be stripped of his position appears to have written in a recent letter that "Bush is answer (sic) for America!! You're on the right track!!"
"Bush is answer for America!!" Take that, Kerry!

I'm not sure which part of this article is funnier:

  • 1. The fact that Fox News actually refused to release a transcript to the New York Times: "In Wisconsin on Sunday, Mr. Kerry seized on reports of an interview the president gave to Bill O'Reilly on Fox News in which he said he had no regrets about donning a flight suit to give his 'Mission Accomplished' speech on Iraq in May 2003 and that he would do it all over again if given the chance, according to a partial transcript of the interview released to the Reuters news service. (Fox News and the White House declined to provide the excerpts to The New York Times)."
  • 2. The fact that Dan Bartlett is operating under the assumption that Bush is going to say something stupid during the debates: "'Will President Bush step on his own line and maybe not pronounce a word right?' Mr. Bartlett said. 'I bet he will.'"
Probably Number 2.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

New poll compilation for the major polls taken through September 26, 2004 (the most recent polls that I included - AP, CBS, and FOX - came out of the field on the 22nd). I split them into two groups, to reflect the differences evident in the polls that have been coming out in the last week and a half:

  • (1) All polls within a week of the most recent one (i.e., September 15-22, for a total of six polls).
  • (2) Everything before (which came out of September 5-14, for a total of eight polls).
My calculations give me this (with a slightly different format than before):
Bush Kerry Nader Undec.
June 23, 200444.0044.335.33
July 25, 200444.1746.253.33
August 30, 200445.0046.222.78
September 14, 200448.7543.882.254.25
September 26, 200447.5042.002.177.00
(Most recent sources: AP, CBS, FOXNews, Gallup, TIPP, and Zogby.)

So Bush has picked up a bit (2-3 points, probably), and Kerry's dropping hard. The one saving grace for Kerry fans could be the 7% who continue to describe themselves as undecided. Either way, the debates are going to be good.

It's worth noting that of the 14 polls used here, Kerry led in only one (the Harris poll), which came out of the field on 9/13.