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October 16, 2004

Quick notes from the road

--What he said. I meant to write up something very similar to this, but now I don't have to.

--Bob's got his own blog. Go visit.


October 15, 2004


Image via Robert Spychala.* You can get your own Smirky/Snarly shirt here.

I'm off to Ohio. I'll probably see some of you there.

* On my system, this site comes up as gibberish in Explorer but works in Safari. I only note this to spare myself an otherwise inevitable barrage of confused email. Assuming this is not a glitch specific to my own computer.

A manufactured controversy

The only cheap and tawdry political trick here is pretending that John Kerry's mention of Mary Cheney was somehow a cheap and tawdry trick. It's just something for conservatives to pretend to be outraged by. Mary Cheney has been out for a long time. Kerry's remark was simply a way of humanizing the question--pointing out that gayness is not a liberal or conservative issue, any more than skin color or gender. Anyone can be gay--even the daughter of the Republican Vice President. This is only cause for outrage, as I mentioned before, if you think homosexuality is cause for shame. But this is how it's going to be for the next couple of weeks. If John Kerry says "have a nice day," Republicans will accuse him of disrespecting night shift workers.

They know they're losing, and they're desperate.


October 14, 2004

The home stretch

This is where it starts getting really stupid.

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa., Oct. 13 -- Lynne V. Cheney, wife of Vice President Cheney, accused John F. Kerry on Wednesday night of "a cheap and tawdry political trick" and said he "is not a good man" after he brought up their daughter's homosexuality at the final presidential debate.

Mary Cheney, one of the vice president's two daughters and an official of the Bush-Cheney campaign, has been open about her lesbian status. The candidates were asked if they believe homosexuality is a choice, and President Bush did not mention Mary Cheney. Then Kerry said, "If you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."

That's only a "tawdry political trick" if you think that homosexuality is something to be ashamed of.

You'd expect better from the author of this timeless prose:

Let us go away together, away from the anger and imperatives of men. There will be only the two of us, and we shall linger through long afternoons of sweet retirement. In the evenings I shall read to you while you work your cross-stitch in the firelight. And then we shall go to bed, our bed, my dearest girl.

(More here.)


October 13, 2004


From the very first question: will we ever have a world as safe as the world we grew up in? You know, the world in which schoolchildren practiced "duck and cover" drills as a response to the threat of complete global annihilation? Yeah, that world was really safe, Bob. If only we could be that safe again.

Aside from the terrible moderator: did Bush's people tell him that what the American people really want to see in a president is a sniggering frat boy?

Bush's bulge

Paula Zahn is polling CNN viewers about it. Go tell her what you think it was.

RNC funded voter suppression

Kos has much more on that story I mentioned a few posts back. Predictably, it turns not to be limited to Las Vegas. This is a huge, huge scandal, and I hope it's one of those stories that the blogs focus on until the mainstream media is forced to take notice.


From the Smoking Gun:

OCTOBER 13--Hours after Bill O'Reilly accused her of a multimillion dollar shakedown attempt, a female Fox News producer fired back at the TV star today, filing a lawsuit claiming that he subjected her to repeated instances of sexual harassment and spoke often, and explicitly, to her about phone sex, vibrators, threesomes, masturbation, the loss of his virginity, and sexual fantasies. Below you'll find a copy of Andrea Mackris's complaint, an incredible page-turner that quotes O'Reilly, 55, on all sorts of lewd matters. Based on the extensive quotations cited in the complaint, it appears a safe bet that Mackris, 33, recorded some of O'Reilly's more steamy soliloquies.

We report, you decide.

That thing on Bush's back?

Maybe it's one of these.

Just a thought.

Oh for god's sake, just stop

The networks assure us that their new exit polling system will work ever so much better than the old one.

The six news organizations that have formed the National Election Pool — ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and the AP — say they're confident things will go better this time, based on test runs and the experience of people involved.

Still, the TV networks said they would be careful projecting winners after prematurely declaring Florida, and the 2000 election, for George W. Bush. (The AP did not declare Bush the winner on election night). The election wasn't ultimately determined for weeks after vote recounts and court fights.

Memo to network executives: we don't need your exit polling or your projected winners, because we've already got a system in place to determine the outcome of the election.

It's called voting.

See, what you do is, you shut up and wait until the votes are counted and--voila--you find out who won. It's just that simple.

"We'll take care of the counting", cont'd.

Indeed they will:

Employees of a private voter registration company allege that hundreds, perhaps thousands of voters who may think they are registered will be rudely surprised on election day. The company claims hundreds of registration forms were thrown in the trash.

Anyone who has recently registered or re-registered to vote outside a mall or grocery store or even government building may be affected.

The I-Team has obtained information about an alleged widespread pattern of potential registration fraud aimed at democrats. Thee 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.


The company has been largely, if not entirely funded, by the Republican National Committee. Similar complaints have been received in Reno where the registrar has asked the FBI to investigate.

"We'll take care of the counting"?

Email from a reader:

Have you heard about the HBO documentary Diary of a Political Tourist (Alexandra Pelosi)?  I've watched it twice now, and I need to share something with you.  In one scene, Pelosi asks NY Representative Peter King (Repub.) at a 2003 White House event whether he considers Bush a lock for re-election.  His response:   "It's all over but the counting, and we'll take care of the counting".   I feel close to 100% certain that was the quote, word for word, though I of course would love to have further verification.  I'm still absolutely floored by this. 

I haven't seen the documentary yet. Can anyone else confirm this?

Deck the halls

I'm going to be offering something different this Christmas for the TMW fan in your life: my friends at Great Lakes Science and Novelty will be producing a set of Sparky and Blinky Christmas tree ornaments. I just got some early production samples this morning and I have to say, they look really cool. We're still tweaking the designs slightly, but I'll be posting photos in a week or two.


October 12, 2004

Hearts and minds

Seymour Hersh, transcribed by Jonathan Schwarz:

I got a call last week from a soldier -- it's different now, a lot of communication, 800 numbers. He's an American officer and he was in a unit halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border. It's a place where we claim we've done great work at cleaning out the insurgency. He was a platoon commander. First lieutenant, ROTC guy.

It was a call about this. He had been bivouacing outside of town with his platoon. It was near, it was an agricultural area, and there was a granary around. And the guys that owned the granary, the Iraqis that owned the granary... It was an area that the insurgency had some control, but it was very quiet, it was not Fallujah. It was a town that was off the mainstream. Not much violence there. And his guys, the guys that owned the granary, had hired, my guess is from his language, I wasn't explicit -- we're talking not more than three dozen, thirty or so guards. Any kind of work people were dying to do. So Iraqis were guarding the granary. His troops were bivouaced, they were stationed there, they got to know everybody...

They were a couple weeks together, they knew each other. So orders came down from the generals in Baghdad, we want to clear the village, like in Samarra. And as he told the story, another platoon from his company came and executed all the guards, as his people were screaming, stop. And he said they just shot them one by one. He went nuts, and his soldiers went nuts. And he's hysterical. He's totally hysterical. And he went to the captain. He was a lieutenant, he went to the company captain. And the company captain said, "No, you don't understand. That's a kill. We got thirty-six insurgents."

You read those stories where the Americans, we take a city, we had a combat, a hundred and fifteen insurgents are killed. You read those stories. It's shades of Vietnam again, folks, body counts...

You know what I told him? I said, fella, I said: you've complained to the captain. He knows you think they committed murder. Your troops know their fellow soldiers committed murder. Shut up. Just shut up. Get through your tour and just shut up. You're going to get a bullet in the back. You don't need that. And that's where we are with this war.


October 11, 2004

Boycotting Sinclair

There's a lot of information here.

...more here and here. For more than that, check in with Kos--I don't really have time to become Sinclair Central.

...okay, one more.


October 10, 2004

The conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose television outlets reach nearly a quarter of the nation's homes with TV, is ordering its stations to preempt regular programming just days before the Nov. 2 election to air a film that attacks Sen. John F. Kerry's activism against the Vietnam War, network and station executives familiar with the plan said Friday.

Sinclair's programming plan, communicated to executives in recent days and coming in the thick of a close and intense presidential race, is highly unusual even in a political season that has been marked by media controversies.

Sinclair has told its stations — many of them in political swing states such as Ohio and Florida — to air "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," sources said. The film, funded by Pennsylvania veterans and produced by a veteran and former Washington Times reporter, features former POWs accusing Kerry — a decorated Navy veteran turned war protester — of worsening their ordeal by prolonging the war. Sinclair will preempt regular prime-time programming from the networks to show the film, which may be classified as news programming, according to TV executives familiar with the plan.


So they're basically ordering their stations to run a 90 minute Swift Boat ad. Those of you who have Sinclair Broadcasting Group stations in your area might want to start calling their advertisers and letting them know what you think.

...if anybody knows where to find a list of such advertisers, please let me know.


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