www.FamilyEntertainer.com  Joe Gandelman

      The Moderate Voice

A political independent and moderate's irreverent comments,
     analysis and links on important stories in the news.
      Written by veteran journalist
- Joe Gandelman -
    who is now a fulltime ventriloquist.

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Saturday, January 31, 2004  

Yahoo! News - New York state jail employee busted for stealing prisoners' underwear

News BRIEFS: New York State Jail Employee Busted For Stealing Prisoners' Underwear:, His supervisors want to claim credit and they're JOCKEYING for position....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:23 PM


THE AILING POLITICAL CENTER: Senator Joe Lieberman's weak showing in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary is a wake up call to the Democratic Party, according to former Clinton Secretary Robert Reich. He argues in the New York Times that the real battle is "between those who want only to win back the White House and those who also want to build a new political movement -- one that rivals the conservative movement that has given Republicans their dominant position in American politics."
Reich's key points:
--Lieberman and the Democratic Leadership Council, which helped spawn the Clinton presidency, have promoted "me too" centrist stances that parrot Republican policies.
--This ignores the Republicans' impressive "movement" political structure. For the Republicans, the issue hasn't just been winning elections but ceaselessly promoting and spreading ideas whether there's an election or not. This includes raising money, focusing on ideas and mechanisms to constantly to get their message out and developing catch phrases to communicate positions.
-- Some candidates such as Howard Dean and John Edwards have elements of movement politics in their campaigns but the party does NOT have a movement structure that matches the GOP's. So Democrats unite for elections then "go back to whatever they were doing before" -- while the Republicans keep working and staying on message.
--Democrats are lacking on almost all fronts, including strong ideas. Conservatives filled a void in recent years..
--Bill Clinton didn't help the party in the long run. His main impact on the party was to "blur rather than to clarify what Democrats stand for" and he had no movement behind him to stand up to the GOP when they battled him.
--The Democrats must embrace movement politics not only to win elections but to effectively govern and restore a healthy two-party system.
Reich has a point -- indeed, the Democrats have been struggling for 40 years. It has been a party in search of a political movement. First came the Kennedys; then Nov. 22. Then the Kennedy "restoration"; and RFK died. Then the McGovernites: repudiated in a landslide. Carter was the anti-Nixon; the main idea behind Bill Clinton was regaining power by co-opting some Republican themes and constituencies. So while the modern Republican party is deeply rooted in the decades-old Goldwater-Reagan political movement, the Democratic Party remains a hybrid, in search of a movement and even a cohesive philosphy. If there is a philosphy that truly unites the party this year it is "beat Bush," as political expert Larry Sabato has noted.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:56 PM


Yahoo! News - Bush May Back Iraq Intelligence Panel

Smart move since it would a)get to the bottom of what happened to ensure the U.S. intelligence information is better in the future, b)maintain credibility if there is another crisis and intelligence is sited, c)defuse a potentially potent Democratic campaign issue. Quoting government sources, the AP story says "a statement of support from the White House could come this week."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:00 PM


NOW YOU CAN COMMENT ON HOW MUCH YOU HATE US: Note that we have new comment boxes under each entry. We have already gotten a few choice words so here's our first "THANK YEW" and pithy response entry:
--To the reader who (sarcastically) said Joe Gandelman thinks he has the whole election figured out so maybe HE should run for President (definitely sounds like the words of a close relative): Well, there IS a parallel between ventriloquists and their dummies and political consultants and their clients, but I'll sit this one out (enough ventriloquists and dummies running around in the primaries).
--To the reader who said that independent investigations in U.S. history have invariably been politically tainted and suggesting one is either a sign of being naive or political posturing: GOOD POINT. From the Warren Commission, to the Starr Commission, etc. in the end they seemed to spark as much controversy as they settled. My point, though, is this: if you look at the figures Republicans and Democrats are evenly divided. The party that woos and captures the independents will capture the White House in 2004. Discounting an independent investigation on intelligence failures and balking at extending the 911 inquiry makes the administration look as if it has something to hide -- which won't help.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:06 AM


Robert Novak: Kerry worries GOP

ROBERT NOVAK SAYS JOHN KERRY WORRIES GOP: As they say, "it ain't over till it's over" but if Feb. 3 goes even partly the way political pundits are predicting, a lot of it will be over. And if that is the case, John Kerry will likely wind up the nominee....something that worries the G.O.P., according to columnist Robert Novak. In his syndicated column (linked above) Novak says that the morning after New Hampshire some GOP operatives conferred in a concerned phone call. Their fears:
1. Kerry poses a bigger challenge to President George Bush's re-relection campaign that Howard Dean.
2. He's running a skillful campaign that presents him to the nation as a centrist and a moderate.
3. Coming up with a strategy for battling Kerry. Some want to focus on his record. Others believe the focus should be on the present, not the past.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:48 AM


Jack Bog's Blog

BLOG OF THE DAY: I laughed out loud the song parodies, photos and other material on Jack Bog's Blog which is linked above. People who have a sense of humor can't help but belly-laugh...and it doesn't matter who you support. He also has serious opinion pieces. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:32 AM


The Village Voice: Features: Richard Goldstein: Who the Man? by Richard Goldstein

IS THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY ALL ABOUT FINDING THE ALPHA MALE?: Richard Goldstein, writing in the Village Voice, flatly predicts: "The race belongs to the red-meat man. That's the test a Democratic candidate must pass this year—for better or worse." He contends that talk about "electability" really means " a tough-as-nails political macho.
"Give-'em-hell Howard Dean might have met that need, but then came his primal scream. As an emblematic error, it ranks with Michael Dukakis's tank trauma, Ed Muskie's unseemly tears, and the rabbit attack on Jimmy Carter.," he writes. Dean's dorky scream was as if Dean was "losing his grip," one of the few accusations seldom hurled at President George Bush.
Goldstein recounts a host of factors that contributed to John Kerry broadening his appeal so it "crossed gender lines" and conquered the "mastery of male aura." A key one, he says, was hiring a new feminist campaign manager who, among other things, had the leather-clad Kerry him drive onto Jay Leno's Tonight Show on a motorcycle, and provide New Hampshire photo ops of him playing hockey. He points to Kerry adopting some of GWB's in-your-face lingo including the phrase "bring it on."
But what about that other general, Wesley Clark? He wore that hideous sweater that made him look more like Jimmy Carter than Teddy Roosevelt.
"You'd think being endorsed by Madonna and Michael Moore would loosen Clark's image up, but they make him look like Sammy Davis Jr. in a Nehru jacket. This guy actually needs a babe crisis,' he writes.
After making fun of Clark he uses that as an example of how EASY it is to poke fun at a candidate directly or indirectly for not being macho enough since there's "no such thing as too much machismo in a pol."
He concludes:" We are trusting our very lives to the man who makes the best action figure. That's a lot scarier than Howard Dean at his screamiest."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:06 AM


Daily Kos :: Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.

IS THE MEDIA FAILING IT'S JOB -- AND IS THIS GOOD? One of my favorite blogs, Daily Kos (article linked above) thinks so. Kos does something a mite impolite: he goes back and recounts some of the flawed conventional wisdom the news media used -- conventional wisdom quickly swept under the carpet once proven wrong.
He notes the media's job is to help "whittle the field." For several decades the media "had the power to drive candidates out of the race by simply ignoring them, by pulling coverage and by showering attention on the perceived front-runners."
This time, Kos notes, it's different. The candidates that should be pulling out because of lack of coverage aren't taking the hint and are raising money from online supporters. So they're staying in the race, despite pronoucements from journalistic scribes and talking heads that they're history.
"Ultimately, anything that takes power away from the mass media and its shameful coverage of the race (e.g. Dean's scream, Kerry's botox, etc) is a powerful victory for democracy," he writes.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:36 AM


Tijuana to target all-you-can-drink specials at bars:

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:11 AM


Interest!ALERT: Quality Content

US civil administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer said Saturday that deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "is neither collaborating nor quarreling and has not given any important or useful information so far."
Make him listen to three hours of Dennis Kucinich speeches. He'll confess to anything.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:56 AM


FOXNews.com - Top Stories - Seven Flights Between Europe and U.S. Canceled

Seven Flights Between Europe and U.S. Canceled:
Terrorism concerns on this Superbowl Weekend due to an Al Qaeda threat.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:45 AM

Friday, January 30, 2004  

Yahoo! News - Cannibal Spared Life Sentence in Gory Trial

Cannibal Spared Life Sentence in Gory Trial: NEWS FLASH! Reports say he just ate Andy Rooney. He took a bite and said: "Let me guess...This is something stale..."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:02 PM


MSNBC - Bush declines to endorse outside intelligence inquiry��

BUSH NIXES INDEPENDENT INTELLIGENCE INQUIRY: Good bye independent voters. Polls show most Americans BACK the war and feel it was worthwhile. But that's a separate issue from the administration's credibility --which it is undermining each day with its refusal to endorse the idea of an independent inquiry looking into the bad intelligence on Iraq. According to estimates it would take at least A YEAR so the results won't be known in time for the election anyway.....
President George Bush won the presidency -- and war support -- by winning the support of many independent voters who trusted him. Now that some Republicans, including Arizona Senator John McCain, call for an independent investigation as well it's not going to look good for this administration refusing to let outside investigators look into the problem.
Just close your eyes and consider how THIS appears to the average person who is not a Rush Limbaugh fan or foe:
"WASHINGTON - President Bush said Friday he wants "to know the facts about any intelligence failures concerning Saddam Hussein's alleged cache of forbidden weapons of mass destruction, but he declined to endorse calls for an independent investigation."
So why is this investigation important? The U.S. needs to:
--Find out what intelligence the president got.
--Find out what the actual situation was.
--See where what weak links created the erroneous information feed.
--Fix the links so it doesn't happen again.
--Look into this in a way that lays the issue more or less to rest so that if there is a future terrorist attack or a need to intervene in some part of the world it won't be dismissed as political, or based on intelligence incompetence.
The last point is the most important. If Bush refuses to cooperate with an independent commission his word and his administration's word will be forever suspect and he will have personally handed the Democrats a campaign issue that will not win them the election but will attract a chunk of independent voters who feel snookered. Each day this administration makes it worse for itself with its refusal. Not allowing an independent investigation (or an extension of the 911's commission timetable) will not silence GWB's critics but greatly energize and seemingly justify them.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:40 PM


MSNBC - Kerry holds big leads in key primary states

KERRY HAS A BIG LEAD IN ARIZONA AND MISSOURI AND ARIZONA: The increasingly on-the-dime Zogby poll puts John Kerry way ahead in these two states, two of the largest 7 states that will be voting in the coast-to-coast Democratic primary marathon on Feb. 3. Even more interesting is that Kerry is tying John Edwards in Edwards' home state of South Carolina, polls say. If these numbers hold up through Tuesday it could be all over but the infighting: Kerry will clinch it but the hangers' on (like Dean and Lieberman) will battle to the end.
Also verrrrry interesting is this passage in the MSNBC report:"The Associated Press reported Friday that Dean’s campaign fund has reserves have gone from $41 million to $5 million?
Dean's money has gone from $41 million to $5 million??? Who does he think he is -- the federal government?

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:13 PM


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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:42 AM


What's Happening To Rush Should Worry Us All: From The Tampa Tribune

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOULD WORRY US ALL Tampa Tribune editorial makes the case quite strongly that the way prosecutors are handling the Rush Limbaugh case is a cause for concern even for those who can't stand listening to the conservative talk show giant.
"Whether you love him or hate him, what's happening to Limbaugh is scary. Negotiations for a possible plea agreement are generally thought to be confidential. And they should be. Without a good-faith belief that such preliminary conversations will remain confidential, no defendant would engage in them and the justice system would slow to a crawl," the editorial says.
"Think, too, of how such information could taint prospective jurors: If they hear that someone considered a plea bargain, they may well begin their deliberations with a presumption of guilt, not innocence."
Note that the ACLU has been concerned enough that they are backing Limbaugh.

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:38 AM

Thursday, January 29, 2004  

Gulf Daily News

CHILDREN SWALLOWING COINS IN VIETNAM: "Over the past week, seven children aged between two and six have been hospitalised after swallowing newly minted coins.."
How are the kids who swallowed the coins doing? No change yet.....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:12 PM


Yahoo! News - City Seeks to Curb Sidewalk Pit Stops

PISSED OFF IN MINNEAPOLIS: "Go before you go." That's the slogan under consideration for a new campaign in Minneapolis to combat public urination. I have a better slogan: "Look out for Number One."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:48 PM


Yahoo! News - Teen Called Weakling; Saves Man From Pond

HEARTWARMING STORY OF THE YEAR (NO JOKE): A teen who had just left school after being teased and called a weakling by other kids on the football team jumped into a pond and saved a man whose car had veered off the road. Heroism is strength inside....not on biceps.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:44 PM


My Way News

McCain Calls for Intelligence Error Probe: Arizona Sen. John McCain, has called for an independent commission to take a look at recent intelligence failures. The Bush administration is against the idea, saying a review is the CIA's business and that the search for weapons isn't over. It is also opposing calls to extend the investigation into the 911 terrorist attacks on the grounds that additional time could drag the inquiry into an election year and become politically tainted.
"In an interview with The Associated Press, McCain said he believes the public needs an assessment that won't be clouded by partisan division," the press report linked above says.
Even though he is a maverick, McCain's military affairs interest, credibility as a straight-shooter, and blunt assessments mean this issue will not go away. It will also be harder to label those raising questions partisans strictly out to score points in an election year. McCain says the investigation is needed "to know what steps are necessary to prevent the United States from ever being misinformed again."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:57 PM


Computer animation giant Pixar ends Disney distribution deal, saying time to move on - Jan. 29, 2004

DISNEY LOSES STAR IT WISHED UPON: Computer animation giant Pixar, which revolutionized mass-audience computer cartoons with Toy Story and Finding Nemo, has dumped its distributor, Disney. This all comes when Disney CEO Michael Eisner has been in a sense vindicated with great grosses for the company amid a rebellion headed by the last prominent active Disney family member, Roy Disney, who left the company and had been instrumental in bringing Eisner on board.
Expect the Disney drama to heighten: Disney recently shut down its traditional animation studio on Florida and had been banking on computer animation. Now Disney will go it alone.......and some other studio will jump at the chance to share the millions with Steve Jobs' innovative company. The Disney battle will continue to be a big story in 2004.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:27 PM


ABCNEWS.com : Dean: Doesn't Need to Win Any State Tues.

HOWARD DEAN: NO MORE MR. NICE GUY: One day after replacing his Internet-oriented campaign manager for an experienced Washington insider with strong ties to Al Gore, Howard Dean announced a new modus operendi.
"We're going to have to win eventually," Dean said. "But the question was do we have to win on February 3. Of course we want to, but we don't have to. We need to amass as many delegates as we can."
From now on, the ABC News report says, he won't simply focus on state to state victories but go after sheer numbers -- trying to nail down as many delegates possible.
Anyone expecting an imminent coronation of John Kerry as nominee will have a long wait. Dean pointedly made these remarks from Michigan, where 128 delegates are in play, the largest number of delegates in the 7 states voting on Tuesday. ABC notes that it's a risky stategy and Dean could be pressured by party leaders to pull out if he doesn't win some votes. Even some of his own backers have their doubts.
Look for a rough contest. Kerry better brace himself.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:19 PM



: Clearcut confirmation of University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball analysis (see previous post) of GWB's political challenges is seen in the lively liberal weblog Demagogue. If you go to the linke, you can scroll down and look at two items in particular:
1. The comments on and link to an article by Ruy Teixeira, a Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation and the Center for American Progress, and co-author of The Emerging Democratic Majority, on GWB's polling numbers. Polls strongly suggest Bush has lost the "swing voters" who gave him his narrow 2000 win and that overall more people now want Bush to lose than win. And pure partisans will not be enough for the GOP (or Democrats) to win.
2. A passage a bit further down, where Arnold P. California, mourning his man Howard Dean's loss, totally confirms Sabato's thesis that this time Democrats are not only angry but intend and will likely be united in the goal of ousting Bush.
Arnold writes that "the anti-Bush energy is palpable and growing....If my guy loses, I'm not coming out of the nomination fight bitter towards the winner, and I don't think the supporters of other candidates will feel anything different. We're all working for the same thing, and the energy (and money, and volunteer time) will fall behind whoever is nominated."
.".Bush's approval ratings are continuing to sag, though the free-fall of last summer ended a few months back; but the bigger point is that his disapproval ratings are higher than any President's since Carter at this point in the first term."
GWB is trying to keep his base but in doing so he's losing independent swing voters who helped him get in, but started leaving him...until 911 re-rallied them (and others) to his side. They started to peeling off with the Iraq war. Even if there was another horrorific event in this country, it seems independents are up for grabs. But if Bush grabs for them he can lose his base.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:40 PM


BBC NEWS | Africa | Mauritania's 'wife-fattening' farm: "Mauritania's 'wife-fattening' farm"

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:54 PM



BBC Chair Apologizes for Errors Contained in Iraq Broadcast: The chair apologizes but the love seat remains silent.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:43 PM


Yahoo! News - Decomposing Whale Explodes on Street

Decomposing Whale Explodes on Street: At first I thought it was a story about Marlon Brando. But it's actually a true, sad story...so sad you'll want to blubber..

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:43 PM


Bush Aide Leads White House Offensive on Iraqi Weapons

CONDOLEEZZA RICE BRUSHES ASIDE FORMER WEAPONS INSPECTOR'S CALL FOR AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO PRE-WAR INTELLIGENCE: The President's top national security advisor clearly doesn't want the outside commission that former chief weapons inspector David Kay called for in testimony yesterday before Congress. This means this administration opposes an independent investivation on pre-war intelligence AND an extension of the inquiry into 911....all at the time it plans to run on national security being its strong point. It's handing the opposition an issue that won't help the White House with all-crucial independent voters.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:34 PM


Reuters News Article

IRAQ'S FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS THE WEAPONS EXIST BUT ARE HIDDEN: He says the "system of hiding was very sophisticated." Even so, the issue will not be settled unless they are f-o-u-n-d. Many Democrats and independents, especially those who backed the war in Iraq, won't accept the argument that he had them but they're hidden so we'll never find them.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:41 AM


Blair's Vindication Provokes Media Backlash (washingtonpost.com):

BACKLASH AGAINST THE PRESS IN GREAT BRITAIN: If American journalists are smart they will read and ponder the case of the BBC's being raked over the coals in England -- and the resulting backlash against the media.
The immediate result: a key BBC bigwig resigning and the once-unshakeable BBC's credibility taking a nosedive.
And today, a wiser, more contrite, perhaps more quality-control oriented BBC gave Prime Minister Tony Blair what he had demanded in the face of an independent judge's virtual censure of the British broadcasting institution: an unreserved apology over the way it handled the government's complaint about the offending news story.
At issue is the end of the 6-month-long investigation by Lord Hutton. It cleared Prime Minster Tony Blair in dramatic events pitchforked into world headlines by the suicide of David Kelly, a British intelligence expert on Iraq.
Hutton strongly blasted the BBC's reporting on a story alleging that Blair and his aides 'sexed up' (that phrase conjures images of what Bill Clinton did to the Oval Office) a pre-war intelligence report on Iraq's ability to deploy weapons of mass destruction.
After the humiliating and devastating verdict BBC chairman Gavyn Davies and general manager Greg Dyke quit. Even before the Hutton report, Alastair Campbell, a Blair media chief accused of exaggerating the Iraqi threat, resigned. The Hutton report blasted the BBC journalist who did the controversial story, too.
Worldwide, the mainstream media's journalism standards have plummeted with the tabloidization of news outlets -- and this is just one more sign. A HUGE sign that says to mainstream journalists: ACCURACY COMES FIRST.
Meanwhile many British journalists contend the Hutton report doesn't answer key questions about the validity of Blair's justification for going to war...about whether weapons of mass destruction existed ...or whether intelligence was good or not.
So Blair like U.S. President George Bush, faces the steady drip-drip-drip of daily news report questions about the weapons plus the growing mobilization of anti-war forces feeling vindicated and strengthened by the failure to find any WMD.
The article linked above quotes the Financial Time's senior correspondent as saying the Hutton report didn't answer questions such as: "Did Tony Blair make the right strategic and moral decisions in backing George W. Bush's push for war?...Did the prime minister set out to distort the evidence in the pursuit of his goal?......Whether or not it was exaggerated by Downing Street, why was the intelligence analysis of Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes so badly flawed?"
So the debate rages on........on both sides of the ocean...

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:15 AM


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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:50 AM

Wednesday, January 28, 2004  

NewsMaxStore.com: Browsing Ann Coulter Talking Action Figure

ANN COULTER TALKING ACTION FIGURE: An authentic talking doll depicting the conservative lawyer and author with phases such as "Liberals hate America, they hate flag-wavers..."
Doesn't show her Adams Apple. Not life like.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:55 PM


Lodinews.com Archives

WOMAN MAKES SCULPTURES OUT OF HORSE MANURE: According to the article: "She has sold almost 200 so far and people have been paying $20 a pop, or should we say poop.'
She should create horse manure figures of both parties' 2004 Presidential candidates. Life like.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:42 PM


Drew Curtis' FARK.com -- This week's archives
COW ATTACKS JOGGER IN PARK: Rosie has been in a bad mood since her magazine folded.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:34 PM


Ex-inspector blames Iraq claims on intelligence / Kay says Bush team didn't push analysts

FORMER TOP US WEAPONS INSPECTOR SAYS BUSHIES DIDN'T PUSH ANALYSTS TO TAKE A CERTAIN POSITION: David Kay told a Senate committee that it was strictly a case of rotten intelligence.
Wouldn't this administration save itself a lot of grief if it just said this: "Yes. We did say a key reason needed to take military action against Iraq was to remove weapons of mass destruction that we said Iraq had. We said they had them because we had gotten bad intelligence. But the world and Iraq are better off today, even though we made wrong statements based on faulty intelligence. We are working to correct the intelligence failures so they will not happen again." That would be the SMART way to handle it; instead administration officials try to slowly inch away from past statements, never admitting the mistake. Net result: growing credibility problems that give ammunition to Democratic and European critics.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:22 PM


ANALYSIS: NEW HAMPSHIRE AND BEYOND: In Tuesday night’s political shootout, one gunslinger won, leaving some rivals wounded but no dead bodies. In a struggle to survive, they all did (but some barely).
The true test of national appeal comes in the Feb. 3 seven-state string of
coast-to-coast primaries. New Hampshire showed that single-issue voters will
hold their noses and vote for Ambition (Kerry -- most likely to beat Bush) over
Ideal (Dean -- the one some of them actually agreed with and loved). Kerry
proved his Iowa win was no fluke. Howard Dean proved he was still in the race
and can make a heart-felt versus ear-shattering concession speech.
Kerry and Dean proved likable. John Edwards continued polishing his
reputation as among his generation’s best campaigners...someone for the future. Lieberman proved that for some silly reason Democrats were not swayed by endorsements from the conservative website NewsMax.com or from the conservative Manchester Union Leader. Al Sharpton proved he can score political points through humor. And Dennis Kucinich proved....well, I’ll try to come up with something later..
Candidate standings now:
--KERRY: From his suddenly younger appearance (send me a case of what HE
has been using), to his delivery, Kerry was energized and reinvorgated.
Will his Iraq war vote hurt or help him? Depends on how much Democrats, independents and former Nader voters want to win. Does he have the fire in his stomach -- and is he tough enough? Yes. Clearly, Kerry’s campaign reeks of ambition. One Massachusetts official even reportedly said "JFK" stood for "Just for Kerry."
The Republicans will go after Kerry’s voting record. The GOP will say he isn’t
as proven to handle terrorism or foreign affairs as Bush but that’s risky since
some independents aren’t totally happy with Bush’s performance. Republicans
will blast him on his flip flops on major issues and his Americans for Democratic
Action liberal rating, which is higher than Ted Kennedy’s. The question is: how
hard is Dean willing to hit Kerry?
--DEAN: He just dumped his campaign manager, but earlier in New Hampshire
Dean lowered his heat level, reduced his attacks and delivered a moving, sincere concession speech. Still, his weak finish meant he came out of New
Hampshire as not the “Comeback Kid” but the “Life-Support Patient.” He has
money and organization to keep going. But although many old-hat Democrats
endorsed him, part of the Democratic establishment loathes and fears him. If he
is nominated Santa Claus will have answered Karl Rove’s letter (but Karl has
been a bad boy so he may get coal).
On his website (see website link) conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt
predicts Dean will stay in at least through California: “Does (Democratic chairman) Terry MacAuliffe really expect the Dean Dongs to say OK, we'll leave now because Hillary's hand-picked, disastrous-for-the -party, stooge-of-a-chairman wants us to?” Hewitt writes. “They'll max out the Visa and sleep in tents to get to the Golden State. Dean's not going anywhere."
--JOHN EDWARDS: Needs more than just a win in his home state of South Carolina. If he does well expect the Republicans to go after him for being a millionaire trial lawyer (because as all we know Republicans are never millionaires or lawyers...)
--JOE LIEBERMAN: I’m from Connecticut and it’s sad to watch Lieberman. He is
so overcome by ambition and Oval Office dreams that he doesn’t realize
a)he isn’t catching on b)he is not in step with the majority of his party’s activists, c) (I am Jewish so I will bluntly say it) his religion would hurt him more running for President than it did as Vice President (and he lost that). His chances for being elected to the Oval Office are as great as Rush Limbaugh’s being elected Sierra Club president.
--AL SHARPTON: Wants to be taken seriously and provides witting comic
--DENNIS KUCINICH: Wants to be taken seriously and provides unwitting comic
--GEORGE BUSH: Won the Republican primary but some 2,500 Republicans
wrote in the names of Democrats on their ballots. He is hemmed in by political
pincers on several fronts.......and faces tough choices.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:01 PM


NEWS.com.au | Bin Laden in custody by Christmas (January 29, 2004)

US OFFICIAL SAYS BIN LADEN WILL BE IN CUSTODY BY CHRISTMAS: The GOOD NEWS will be that he is off the streets (or rather out of the caves). The BAD NEWS is that if this happens too close to the presidential election conspiracy theories will abound as to the timing, no matter what officials say. The BEST NEWS for the USA and GWB would be if he's caught by spring or summer.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:06 PM


NewsMax.com: Inside Cover Story

WHITE HOUSE SQUELCHES TALK OF A BUSH-GUILIANI TICKET TO NEWSMAX COM: Ealier today, MSNBC.COM columnist Jeannette Walls carried an item saying a source predicted Vice President Dick Cheney would be dumped in favor of 911 hero Rudy Guiliani. But NewsMax, quoting a "White House official" said it ain't gonna happen.
"Let's think about this," said the official. "The president is going to shore up his conservative base by dumping a guy who's wildly popular with the base and replacing him with a guy who's pro-choice, a loose cannon and has no foreign policy experience?"
Makes sense...why would the White House do ANYTHING to upset its base after the firestorm over the amnesty for illegal immigrants proposal? But will GWB really stick with Cheney, given the Veep's growing national negatives?
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:41 PM


Yahoo! News - Howard Dean Replaces His Campaign Manager

HOWARD DEAN REPLACES CAMPAIGN MANAGER WITH AL GORE ASSOCIATE: Joe Trippi, who helped Dean pioneer use of the internet to build a huge volunteer and contributor base, is out...and Roy Neel, Gore's former Senatorial Chief of Staff is in. Not the sign of a confident, trouble-free campaign. Kerry did the same kind of shake up a few months ago -- and it worked.
"I'm out of the campaign, but I'm not out of the fight. We need to change America," Trippi told reporters as he fell on his sword.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:26 PM


Yahoo! News - Search is on for Miss Backpacker

Search is on for Miss Backpacker: I'd rather see Miss Fannypack.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:41 PM


WFTV.com - News - Florida Leads World In 2003 Shark Attacks

FLORIDA LEADS THE WORLD IN 2003 SHARK ATTACKS: Message to Mom and Dad: Don't go in the water (unless the sharks don't like Jewish food)......
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:33 PM


MSNBC - Will Giuliani replace Cheney in �04?

See our earlier item on Cheney becoming a liability. MSNBC in it's "gossip" section quotes a "well-placed source" as saying the president will "most likely" drop Cheney and replace him with the former New York mayor and hero of 911.
According to Janette Walls, the Veep's health would be the stated reason. But, she notes, GWB's more conservative advisors could nix the pick due to Rudy's pro-life, pro-gay stances. If that happened Rudy would get a nice "consolation prize" job, she says.
This makes sense: a)Cheney at this point is adding nothing but liabilities (hates to talk in public; doesn't work events where everyday people are...only official functions and fatcat fundraisers...persists on talking about weapons of mass destructions' existence...he takes a Supreme Court justice, who is going to try a case involving him, duck hunting and ignites a clamor in Congress..his ties to his former company which has made big bux on Iraqi reconstruction) and b)Rudy would add a lot (his role and image of 911 would help GWB's desire to remind voters of his administration's response to the attacks...Guliani would win over some independents). On the other hand, Democrats' desire to boot Bush may be so strong that even a new choice won't convert many doubters. And Bush may be unwilling to risk his base given the firestorm over his immigration proposal.
Bottom line: Cheney does seem on shaky ground, even if these are just rumors. If he's on the ticket he makes it easier for Democrats.

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:31 AM



HAS JOHN KERRY DONE SOMETHING TO HIS FACE??: The Drudge Report has photos on its CURRENT page (see the above link but if you don't check soon the page may be changed and the photos won't be there) showing how Kerry has gotten seemingly younger. Did he use drugs on his face? Did he have a face lift?
What's the big deal? Some folks could actually BENEFIT from changes or lifts. Dick Gephardt needs an eyebrow lift. Dan Quayle needed a brain lift. George Bush needs a tongue lift (only when he says "nuclear.). And I'm five foot one: I need a lift.....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:50 AM


Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball

HATE: The Common DEMnominator: University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato, one of the most savvy in the country, now makes it official: "No one yet has seriously mentioned impeachment for George W. Bush, but he has won admittance to the Nixon-Clinton category of hated Presidents."
In his weekly Crystal Ball column linked above, Sabato offers an analytical treasure's chest. A few key points:
1. A president gets into the polarizing club by having "personal characteristics that inflame the opposition: Nixon's untrustworthiness, Clinton's sleaziness, and Bush's cocksure arrogance (as perceived--real or not--by the President's enemies)."
2. In the past Democrats and Republicans who hated a President nominated someone from their party who couldn't win.
3.What's NEW this time: unlike in the past, party activists seem intent on putting aside some principles and dumping their first choice to go with someone they think CAN WIN.
"Thus, the Democrats of 2004 may accomplish a feat that eluded the Democrats of 1972 and the Republicans of 1996," he writes, adding that this "assumes that Democrats are actually picking the most electable candidate" given some of Kerry's baggage.
He gives thumbnail predictions/analyses of where each candidate goes from here. Super-abbreviated highlights (read linked article for more details). KERRY has the Big Mo but he better watch his back since the press will focus on him.; HOWARD DEAN's tepid placing means he can't claim to be the Comeback Kid; WESLEY CLARK hurt himself with gaffes and conspiracy theories -- and Sabato agrees with Yours Truly that pulling military rank on Kerry rankled voters; JOHN EDWARDS: Faces a tough road; JOE LIEBERMAN: "fails to realize he's lying on the mat"; AL SHAPRTON AND DENNIS KUCINICH: "As our mothers told us, if we have nothing good to say, say nothing at all." (We do not follow THAT rule on this blog...)
P.S. Sabato's Crystal Ball is available free via email. It's topnotch.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:26 AM


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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:47 AM


The Miami Herald | 01/28/2004 | TV host 'invented' talk shows:

MORE ON HOW TALK SHOWS WERE INVENTED: Miami Herald obit on former NBC-TV late night host Jack Parr details how he veered a vaudeville-variety structured show to a show peppered with serious talk -- and not just with celebrities but with politicos such as Bobby Kennedy and Cuba's Fidel Castro.
Glenn Garvin writes: "Every TV talk-show host, from Oprah Winfrey to David Letterman, uses elements introduced by Paar, the first TV host to understand that he wasn't standing on a vaudeville stage but chatting intimately with Americans in their living rooms."
This obit is a MUST for entertainment/talk show fans, detailing how Parr changed the show's format -- and broadcasting history. In his memoirs Parr wrote that it felt ''like being chosen as a kamikaze pilot...But I felt sure that people would enjoy good, frank and amusing talk.''
This is especially timely as we get into election year where now the late night talk shows are also perceived as information sources on NEWS and POLITICS by many young people who are turned off by the monotone tone of news or screaming ideologues (several young folks have told me that TV talking-head partisans need to "get a life"...or need to get something else that we will not specify here). Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, and David Letterman solidified Parr's talk and entertainment formula, but the talk because less serious with he influence of comedy club humor, exploding celebrity marketing and calculated image building by political consultant. Read the Parr obit and you know it truly was a simpler, more "organic" time...now it's a lot more calculated. But he helped give us mainstream televised talk and we are grateful for that (though Jerry Springer makes us wonder sometimes....)
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:44 AM

Tuesday, January 27, 2004  

www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish..

IS BUSH IN "DEEP TROUBLE"??? Pro-Bush journalist Andrew Sullivan thinks so. Sullivan sites a slew of factors including the "The huge turn-out in New Hampshire; the electability factor for Kerry; the passion of the Dean people" and energized Democrats determined to claw their way back to the White House. In Sullivan's view, running on 9/11 is a mistake.
He sees Bush's coalition as splintering, the immigration policy as having sparked backlash offsetting any votes gained, spending upsetting independents, Iraq uncertainties, plus "the religious right wants him to attack gay couples in the Constitution - which will lose him the center. More worrying: I'm not sure he even knows he's in trouble."
I suggest some additional factors: a)national polarization due to the administration's strategy of governing from January 2001 on as if it had a mandate, versus a win in a tightly contested and hotly disputed election (GWB governed differently as Governor of Texas), b)lingering Democratic anger over the pre-Nov. 2002 Iraq war congressional resolution being used by the White House as a sledge-hammer against Democrats in that year's elections, leading to Democratic losses, c) remorse on the part of some Nader voters, who couldn't believe there was much difference between Bush's and Gore's environmental policies(but changed their minds after the election). This does NOT mean Bush will lose; but he has his work cut out for him since "compassionate conservative" won't sell among some voters this time.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:37 PM


Daily Kos :: Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.:

DID THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY IN NEW HAMPSHIRE SEND GWB A MESSAGE? Kos in the great blog Daily Kos thinks so. He says the "best story of the night..." can be found in these voting results from the Republican primary last night:
Bush 57,670
Kerry 835
Dean 633
Clark 545
Edwards 541
That's over 2,500 registered Republicans who wrote in a Democrat in their ballot," he writes.
A certain percentage of those may be folks trying to get a candidate they felt would be "weak" against GWB -- but not all of them. Kos may be right when he concludes: "That's got to scare the (EXPLETIVE DELETED BY JOE) out of Rove."

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:03 PM


9/11 Hijackers Used Mace And Knives, Panel Reports (washingtonpost.com)

INSIDE THE 911 AIRPLANES OF TERROR:They used knives, pepper spray and mace to take over the aircrafts. The story linked above also includes a blood-curdling transcript of American Airlines flight attendant Betty Ong's emergency call to officials on the ground after hijackers stabbed two crew members.
This Washington Post report notes: "The commission, which has been hampered by obstacles since its creation in late 2002, announced yesterday that it will publicly press for a two-month extension of its statutory deadline, May 27. Any extension, which must be approved by Congress and the White House, would push the commission's work further into the presidential campaign. The White House and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) have said they would oppose any extension."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:26 PM


SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Politics -- Analysis: Kerry's victory impressive, but not a knockout

SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE ANALYSIS: Analysis: Kerry's victory impressive, but not a knockout: One of the first detailed newspaper analyses, from my alma mater, gets to the crux of it:
Howard Dean's candidacy, and Howard Dean as a candidate, are still alive. I watched Dean's speech on TV a few minutes ago and it's clear the process has transformed him; he spoke more like a person who speaking from his soul. Meanwhile, John Kerry also seems transformed -- actually dynamic, not wooden. Some of Copley News Service reporter George Condon's key points in his excellent quickie analysis linked above:
1. Kerry's advance was impressive "but still was not enough to knock any of his major rivals out of the Democratic presidential race or to give him an unimpeded path to the nomination."
2. Kerry "failed to drive a stake through the heart of Howard Dean's campaign" since after Dean's national humiliation over his off-the-wall Iowa concession screech Dean "managed to regain his footing and avert a more embarrassing finish."
3. Dean's campaign is now on "life support." Dean strategists originally envisioned him as a winner, zipping out of Iowa and New Hampshire, then going into the big Feb. 3 primary marathon. But, now, Condon points out, Dean is heading onto unfriendlier political and geographical turf.
4. He quotes Northeastern University political science professor William G. Mayer as nothing that "New Hampshire was the last bit of retail politicking these guys will do" because now, with the large numbers of primaries in so little time, it switches to a media campaign where they meet few voters face-to-face.
5. Kerry has been strong on television advertising, which is what will be needed now, points out Republican pollster Frank Luntz.
6. The outlook looks worst for Joe Lieberman and Wesley Clark, while John Edwards has bolstered his reputation, even though he hasn't garnered the highest number of votes.
(Joe's personal analysis will be posted on this site tomorrow)
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:11 PM


MSNBC - NBC: Kerry wins New Hampshire; Dean trails in 2nd

JOHN KERRY WINS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE...HOWARD DEAN IS SECOND: NBC and CNN have projected Kerry the winner of this primary, which is important but is not always a sure sign of who will be the next president.
Significantly, Kerry did what Democratic operative and ex-Clinton political maven James Carville earlier told CNN Kerry had to do: win at least 35 percent to become a convincing Democratic nomination frontrunner. So far projections give Kerry 39 percent of the vote..
Numerous reports citing voters say many Democrats were torn on how to vote but it boiled down to 'electibility': George W. Bush has fostered in Democrats the same gut-reaction feelings that Bill Clinton fostered among Republicans...and Democrats want someone who will beat Bush. Perhaps last weekend's highly touted Newsweek poll showing that Kerry could defeat Bush in the presidential race had something to do with it..
It's not over until the bulk of the votes are counted...concession speeches are made (Howard Dean certainly found that out last week)..and which candidate triumphs in the imposing its own "spin" on the media's conventional wisdom. Last week's Iowa primary indicated Dean was no longer the "Teflon candidate" or front-runner. New Hampshire ratifies it.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:18 PM


Yahoo! News - Bush Defends War Decision With Iraq

SURPRISINGLY, PRESIDENT BUSH WEAKENS HIS OWN CASE ON IRAQ: He's no longer sticking to his guns; he has abandoned them. Today, in defending his decision to go to war against Iraq, he further shunted aside what WAS a key rationale -- Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction.
His damaging comments can be found in this part of the report linked above:
"Bush said he had 'great confidence' in the intelligence community, which had provided prewar estimates about what Saddam had in his arsenal. But Bush refrained from saying as he once did that weapons of mass destruction would be discovered eventually. Bush had cited Saddam's alleged weapons as justification for the war.
'There is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a gathering threat to America and others. That's what we know.... We know he was a dangerous man in a dangerous part of the world."
That is NOT the way he framed the issue to Congress, when right before pivotal Congressional elections he boxed Democrats into either voting for him on Iraq or voting against him and running the risk of seeming weak on terrorism. They were in a bind since he had linked WMD's existence with the possibility that Sadaam might give the weapons to terroriststs. Y-e-s: GWB had indeed suggested the weapons posed an imminent threat to America -- and finding them and removing them was a key reason why we needed to go to war.
Any thoughtful Republican who values truth knows that as well. If he had gone before Congress or the U.N and sought a war because Sadaam was just "a gathering threat" or a "dangerous man" he would never have gotten anywhere. Any thinking Republican, independent or Democrat knows that what's happening now is that is because the weapons have not been found the administration is trying to erase its own verbal history. FOOTNOTE: Sadaam WAS dangerous and Iraq IS better off. And the administration may have been a victim of lousy intelligence. Yet, rather than stress these strong points they're destroying their credibility in trying to defuse a political issue.

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:18 PM


Former 'Tonight Show' Host Jack Paar Dies

JACK PARR DIES: To young people (to me these days everyone is young), Jack Parr, an early host of the "Tonight Show" set the stage and style for the later Jay Leno and David Letterman talk shows. For baby boomers like me, he inherted Steve Allen's wonderful variety-rooted "Tonight Show" and injected more late night talk. When Parr retired at the young age of 47, Johnny Carson took it over and veered it a bit more towards comedy, turning it into a graduation ceremony for comedy club comedians. But the tempestuous, emotional, unpredictable Jack Parr is who helped shove "Tonight" and its many incarnations and imitators into the realm of highly touted talk as entertainment in itself. He worked in the days of broadcasting; today we're in the era of narrowcasting. The bio above explains all.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:55 AM


the talking dog

DON'T COUNT DEAN OUT? Lots of good analysis and info from Seth Farber of The Talking Dog blog. Don't count Dean out (yet), he warns, since "barring another catastrophic wipeout like Iowa in New Hampshire, Dean has the money and the people to pick up a lot of delegates in next week's six state primaries and ND caucuses. If he's wiped out in his backyard, however, he's probably dead." Meanwhile, he also notes, the college paper in Hanover, The Dartmouth Online, indicates Dean leads in a student poll.
Farber has a valid point. As someone who has worked in the media I can safely say that the media are quick to make definitive statements that become conventional wisdom, then quickly discard them and make new statements. Kerry could win here and Dean could still get the nomination due to a strong organization and bankroll. Then some pundits who earlier pronounced him dead would say signs were always clear that he'd get the nomination. My bet: in the end voters will go for the candidate perceived as more electible. (OH: and if it is Howard Dean, I will deny I ever wrote this.....)
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:13 AM



DON'T BET THE FARM ON NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS: Scott Sheilds at DemWatch (linked above) deals with the issue of untrustworthy New Hampshire polls (versus untrustworthy New Hampshire pols): "But New Hampshire is also a state that likes bucking the polls. As Richard Morin and Claudia Deane pointed out in The Washington Post, past polling in NH has been wildly off the mark, predicting a tight race in 2000 between Bush and McCain (McCain won in a romp) and a Dole win over Buchanan in 1996 (when, in fact, just the opposite happened)."
He also further explains that final polls seemingly suggest late breaking undecideds were going for John Kerry -- and Clark's numbers were falling. FOOTNOTE: Keep in mind James Carville's prediction that unless Kerry gets 35 percent this race is far from over.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:55 AM


USATODAY.com - Amazon.com's latest product category: politicians

AMAZON.COM NOW LET'S YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY ON PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: You can now click and give up to $200 for the candidate of your choice.
Given the quality of candidates, I'd rather spend my money on a Kathy Lee Griffin CD....And what is the BIG DEAL? People have been buying candidates for years......
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:43 AM


Cheney 'Waged War' on Blair Iraq Strategy

Cheney 'Waged War' on Blair Iraq Strategy: You definitely get a feeling these days that Vice President Dick Cheney, though still highly popular with conservatives, is getting to be a liability.
For one thing (see posting earlier regarding blogger Andrew Sullivan and go to his site) Cheney's negatives are way up. For another, most information seeping out about the highly competent former Ford and Bush One administrations' official is almost never positive. He increasingly seems at the center of controversies, such as his hunting trip with Supreme Court Justice Scalia...who just happens to be ruling on a case involving the Veep (but that will have no impact at all on the ruling).
Now we see this Financial Times report linked above on a new book about British Prime Minister Tony Blair (himself under growing fire). It paints a portrait of an someone seemingly cemented into a point of view on Iraq and actively working to undermine opposing arguments. If true, it suggests President George Bush wasn't simply getting all of the options and all of the possible policy consequences but a constant clamoring in favor of one strategical approach.
According to the Times' report on the book, Cheney ""waged a guerrilla war" against Blair's attempt to get UN backing for the Iraq invasion and was "implacably opposed to the (Blair) strategy" even after GWB addressed the UN on the importance of a multilateralist approach.
The Times says the book reveals "a string of acid interventions" by Mr Cheney during critical talks between GWB and Blair at at Camp David in September 2002. Once, the Times reports, he directly rebuked Blair's communications director. And Scooter Libby, the vice-president's chief of staff, made little secret of his boss's scorn for multilateralism, once telling a British official: "Oh dear, we'd better not do that or we might upset the prime minister."
If Cheney's negatives continue to go up and more negative info comes out look for someone else to run with Bush as Vice President. There will be all kinds of explanations to save face, but if the race looks close and Cheney is a liability a younger person with lower negatives will be on the ticket. Winning is, after all, the bottom line. (HEY: here's an idea! How about Dan Quayle?)
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:59 AM


CNN.com - Carville: Kerry needs big win to solidify position - Jan. 27, 2004
Carville: Kerry needs big win to solidify position: When Clinton political guru and CNN Crossfire co-host James Carville talks, everyone should listen...even if you don't agree with his clients or political preferences. Carville is still a bigger than life, no-nonsense, hard-nosed political consultant and in the CNN interview transcript linked above he makes some fascinating points. Among them:
1. If John Kerry gets less than 35 percent it's bad news for him.
"If John Kerry doesn't win big, it gives new life into Howard Dean's campaign, which didn't have a whole lot of life on Wednesday," he said.
2. John Edwards has to come close to Dean's vote total.
3. Dean can't face another electoral wipe-out or he's in serious trouble for the rest of the race.
4. Democrats are looking for someone around whom to unite:"And there's a great sense among everyday rank-and-file Democrats, "Hey, if somebody does really well here, let's get, all get behind them and make this person nominee."

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:51 AM


Yahoo! News - Kerry Tops Poll as Voting Begins in New Hampshire

JOHN KERRY STILL LEADS HOWARD DEAN BY 13 POINTS IN A NEW HAMPSHIRE POLL: But it could be Dennis Kucinich in a landslide (if he's out hiking).
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:19 AM


New York Post Online Edition: news

AL FRANKEN BODY-SLAMS ANTI-DEAN PROTESTER: The former high school wrestler, former Saturday Night Live writer, best-selling author (wait there's more) and future radio talk-show host body slammed a protester who tried to shout Howard Dean down. The protester was part of a group of supporters of perennial third party presidential candidate Lyndon Larouche. Larouche supporters are also the ones who disrupted one televised Democratic primary debate.
The article linked above says: "Franken said he's not backing Dean but merely wanted to protect the right of people to speak freely. 'I would have done it if he was a Dean supporter at a Kerry rally' he said. "I was a wrestler so I used a wrestling move."
Al Franken is planning a radio show to compete with Rush Limbaugh, but he probably should also do a television show to compete with Jerry Springer.....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:59 AM

Monday, January 26, 2004  

BBC NEWS | Technology | Boy swaps MikeRoweSoft for Xbox

NOT A BAD TRADE BUT WE WOULD HAVE LIKED IT IF HE DIDN'T YIELD TO MICROSOFT: Smart business decision for Mike Rowe, the teen who irked Microsoft by having a website www.mikerowesoft.com, sparking a warning from Microsoft's lawyers, near-universal denunciations for the mega-bux company, and encouraging cheers from Microsoft haters everywhere. But in the end Rowe accepted a deal where he'd give up his website for a slew of goodies including a highly coveted X-box game. He had asked for $10,000 to give up his site, and this is part of a settlement reached on Friday. Microsoft will invite the youth and his parents to their headquarters, re-direct web traffic to any new site he has, etc.
"We believe he's a bright young man with great potential," said Jim Desler, Microsoft spokesman.
Indeed: Microsoft originally offered him $10 to take down the site, he refused, their lawyers reminded us what looks good on a doberman (a lawyer)..he demanded $10,000...and he got all the goodies.
HE'S the guy George Bush should have sent to defend American interests at the United Nations....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:20 PM


CNN.com - Man sentenced for marrying his 15-year-old cousin - Jan. 26, 2004

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:01 PM


www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish..: "

"It's Kerry 35, Dean 28, Edwards 17. Percent, that is. All three survive. Of course, this is a bet. I don't know nothing."
If you scroll down you'll also see several items about Vice President Dick Cheney's negatives soaring, as the Veep seemingly launches his re-election campaign -- by going abroad:"He seems almost hostile to the general public - giving speeches to secluded or privileged groups or simply to fundraisers. None of this helps his public image," Sullivan writes.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:34 PM


Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Living / Arts / 'Mister Ed' star is still riding show's popularity

THE TRUTH ABOUT MR. ED: Ok, so I'm dating myself here (the good thing about dating yourself is you can't two-time yourself...and I do NOT use that rotten joke in my act...) But I LOVE the original Mr. Ed, a comedy series about a talking horse produced by the great comedian George Burns. (This is being posted because it's of special interest to entertainer Jim Calhoun who inspired me to unleash this blog on the world). The 40-year-old series has proven extremely popular on re-run and kids cable networks and a 20 episode set is now available on DVD.
In the Boston Globe article linked above, Alan "Wilbur" Young provides fascinating inside info about the classic show. But one of the BIGGEST SECRETS for years was that Ed's voice was done by Allan Rocky Lane, a popular star of B Westerns in the 40s. You can do an image search on Google and you'll get images of him (I did which shows what I do with my spare time). If you're interested in voice overs, cartoon voices, etc. (and I am because I do ventriloquism which makes me the only ADMITTED dummy writing a blog) you'll especially like passages on "Rocky" Lane such as:
"Because he had been a star at one time, Rocky didn't want his name to appear on the credits," Young said. "But after the first year, when the show had become a success, he went to the producers and said he would like a credit line....They told him no because kids in the audience were writing to Ed and thought the horse could really talk. They gave Rocky a nice raise instead, and he seemed to be happy with that."
During filming, Lane would stand just off camera and talk for Mr. Ed while Young and the horse were doing a scene together, the article notes.
'It really helped to do it like that,' Young said. "Having Rocky there made me feel sometimes like I really was talking to the horse."
If you're interested in comedy one thing you don't find in this article is this: European-born Young was a highly gifted comedian who had a show in the 50s on American television, and there was a Chaplin-esque quality to his comedy. If you watch the old Mr. Ed shows his comic timing is impeccable. His comedy holds up quite well.....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:09 PM


I See Dean People - Howard Dean's fatal echo chamber. By William�Saletan

I SEE DEAN PEOPLE - HOWARD DEAN'S FATAL ECHO CHAMBER: Slate's William Salentan completely dismembers Howard Dean and his followers using simple reporting and a dash of sarcasm. What does he do in the article linked above? He simply hangs out with them. He describes them. And the picture he shows hurts them.
Their sense of reality is having Martin Sheen, a fine actor, get up there and lend legitimacy to the Dean campaign due to his role as President in NBC's White House drama The West Wing.
So I guess this means Joe Lieberman can carry the Religious Right if he has Jim Carey get up and endorse him given Carey's God-like role in Bruce Almighty........
Most importantly, Salentan finds that Dean's supporters came together and receive their personal and political affirmation through the Internet (and all this time I thought the Internet was mostly about those ads I get each morning urging me to get an 'englargement").
"But the more (Dean suporters) affirmed each other, the more they lost touch with the rest of us," Salentan writes. "Even their first taste of reality, a third-place finish in Iowa, couldn't shake them."
They live, he concludes, in an "airbrushed, self-validating fantasy" world and nothing -- not a loss in Iowa, not ridicule over the scream (he quotes one Dean supporter saying the scream helped him "wake up") can shake their faith. After a moment of reality -- the appearance of the candidate's reality-centered wife Judy -- Dean speaks and describes what Salentan calls an "imaginary world" where Dean (Dean says) is the only candidate who stood up to GWB on the various issues.
He makes one point that guillotines Dean's credibility: "'I'm the only governor in the country who stood up for civil unions' for gay couples, says the man who signed Vermont's civil unions bill behind closed doors after his state's supreme court forced him to..."
Towards the end of this incredible word snap-shot of a political campaign, he shows a highly emotional Dean supporter, then concludes: "I don't know whether there are enough people like this guy to power Dean through tomorrow's primary. But I do know there aren't nearly enough of them to elect Dean president. I wonder whether Dean and his followers will ever wake up--and how many of the rest of us will have to run away before they do."
Slate is hardly considered the far right or the far left. What's happening here is that Dean has NOT closed the sale to centrists. If he gets the nomination there is always the chance a convergence of events could help him and his followers capture the White House -- but each day it seems more clear that if White House political brain Karl Rove is salivating each time he hears the name "Howard Dean" there may be a good reason why....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:32 PM


ABCNEWS.com : White House Retreats From Weapons Claims

Read the above story. What more can be said? It will be interesting to see how the talk show hosts who have labeled those who expressed doubts that Iraq had the weapons (and I was NOT rpt NOT one of them) people who "hated America" and/or somehow traitors will respond to this. Most likely, by ignoring it and talking about alleged or real failures of the Clinton administration. On the other hand, suppose WMD ARE found? Slam-dunk for the administration and political catastrophe for the Democratic Party.
This is a make-or-break week for Great Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair...and this won't make it any easier.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:56 PM


Yahoo! News - Bronx Neighborhood Declares War on Rats

Bronx Neighborhood Declares War on Rats: There goes the Democratic Presidential primary and the Republican National Convention......
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:57 AM


Yahoo! News - Cannibal Should Get Life in Jail-Prosecutors

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:55 AM


Yahoo! News - 'Cruel' Farmer Threw Lady Vet Into Manure?

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:52 AM


Joe Lieberman Deserves Your Vote

See the link above for the entire well-written editorial. So should Lieberman thank NewsMax for the endorsement. WAIT... not yet!
I LOVE NewsMax com. It is one of the liveliest, most constantly updated, ahead-of-the-news websites on the web...but there is a hidden agenda here.
This editorial appeals to Democrats and Independents in the primary to vote for Joe Lieberman, because of his "integrity" and courageous stands on principle, sticking to his guns against a more leftist Democratic tide.
But why now? NewsMax has not been notable for praising Lieberman in the past, certainly not earlier in this campaign, certainly not when he was running for Vice President. NewsMax (again it is a GREAT site you should visit) doesn't generally praise any Democrats. But isn't this a real endorsement for Lieberman?
NO. Here is what this "endorsement" is really about. Read it and towards the end you'll find this: "His party appears to edging closer to selecting Sen. John Kerry. Time and again Kerry has demonstrated a far left political extremism that Howard Dean has only been accused of."
NewsMax is trying to siphon votes away from Kerry...who may be many things (including boring) but he is no clone of Howard Dean's. Why? The White House and Republicans want Dean to run against Bush and don't want Kerry (a Newsweek poll says Kerry could beat Bush). Joe Lieberman should say: "Thanks, NewsMax....I think..!"
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:39 AM


New Hampshire Polls: Kerry Widens Lead Over Dean

POLLS SHMOLLS II: If you read THESE polls Kerry is doing fine. Put all the polls on a dartboard, close your eyes, throw a dart -- and cite that poll number when you talk to your friends........
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:29 AM


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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:08 AM


New York Daily News - Daily Dish & Gossip - Titillating titles for Bill's book

SUGGESTED TITLES FOR BILL CLINTON'S UPCOMING BOOK: The New York Daily News asked readers for suggestions for a title for the former President's $10 million-advance book. They got some serious and some not-serious ones and, being warped, I liked these:
--'From Hope to Grope'
--'Tuesday's With Monica'
-- 'Crouching Intern, Hidden Cigar.'
-- 'Willie Wonka and the Pardon Factory.'
-- 'Waiting to Inhale'
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:42 AM


My Way - News

HE MAY BE BACK! "YEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHR!": This just in!!! The latest Zobgy (highly reliable) poll shows Dean is recouping strength and is within 3 points of John Kerry in New Hampshire.
Suggestion to White House political advisor Karl Rove and comedians everywhere: get your champagne bottles ready, just in case. FOOTNOTE: Latest Newsweek poll shows Kerry could actually beat Bush and Dean wouldn't.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:15 AM


One Democrat unmoved by Bush

ARNOLD RANKLES HARD LINE CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS: Even as the most partisan Democrats go after Governor Arnold Swarzenegger the most partisan Republicans are upset, too. Columnist Bob Novak offers this tidbit: "Arnold Schwarzenegger's honeymoon with California's anti-tax activists has ended quickly, with the new Republican governor abandoning his campaign promise to install tight caps on spending. In a major test of strength with the legislature, Schwarzenegger accepted a bipartisan compromise calling for a referendum to mandate a balanced budget. That might force tax increases that the body builder-movie star campaigned against."
So some of these groups that were behind the recall are going to try to put a strict spending cap on the November ballot, despite the Governor's compromise with Democrats.
Hard-liners in both parties resist compromise and even open-minded dialogue, which is what Swarzenegger seems to be all about. A true test will come on the environment, where Bush administration policies and philosophies seemingly clash with the stated environmental values of Arnold and his Kennedy-clan wife Maria Shriver.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:51 AM

Sunday, January 25, 2004  

The Sun Newspaper Online - UK's biggest selling newspaper

BILL GATES: I'LL KILL SPAM: Yesss! In a speech to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland Gates vowed to wipe out Spam within two years. But how will I live without all those "enlargement" ads and requests to send my bank account number so I can receive $1 million from a company in Upper Volta?
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:54 PM


Yahoo! News - Kay Asks Why U.S. Thought Iraq Had WMD

MORE DAMAGING QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS FOR THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION (AND INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY) FROM FORMER WEAPONS INSPECTOR: David Kay, the foreign chief US weapons inspector who resigned on Friday, has dumped more gasoline on the Where-Are-The-Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction fire.
According to the article linked labove, Kay told National Public Radio "his predictions were not 'coming back to haunt me in the sense that I am embarrassed. They are coming back to haunt me in the sense of `Why could we all be so wrong?'"
Kay said the issue was "of the capabilities of one's intelligence service to collect valid, truthful information...I actually think the intelligence community owes the president, rather than the president owing the American people (an explanation for the gap between Bush's warnings and Kay's actual findings)."
Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry siezed on the issue earlier today on Fox News Sunday: "It confirms what I have said for a long period of time, that we were misled — misled not only in the intelligence, but misled in the way that the president took us to war....I think there's been an enormous amount of exaggeration, stretching, deception."
Over the past week there has been little good news for the administration on this issue. Each day its political foes seem to get more and more ammunition.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:44 PM


Entertainment News - Film records effects of eating only McDonald's for a month:

Film records effects of eating only McDonald's for a month: The darling of this year's Sundance Film Festival is called Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Portions. New Yorker Morgan Spurlock ate only McDonald's for a month. The result: a fat-overwhelmed liver, vomiting, headaches, depression -- and his sex drive vanished. It's not good p.r. when someone contends your food kills a guy's sex drive. McDonald's should offer a Viagra Burger to straighten it out.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:24 PM


USATODAY.com - Own missteps, Iowa results hurting Clark

WESLEY CLARK SHOOTS DOWN WESLEY CLARK: The old cliche is accurate: EXPERIENCE COUNTS. Wesley Clark may be a quick study but, as USA Today notes in this article above, his study hall is too short to prepare him for the weekly test...let alone the final exam.
USA Today points out that "Clark's struggle is due in part to his own missteps on issues as basic as abortion and the Iraq war. He also has fumbled routine tasks such as making sure introductions of him aren't embarrassing."
Someone a bit more schooled in politics at ANY level would have avoided some of these flubs. Clark wasn't; Clark didn't.
The linked story goes through a laundry list of reasons why Clark is a distant third in New Hampshire, bungled the debate (constantly on the defensive about various things, especially whether he is actually a Democrat or someone who merely jumped into the Democraty Party to try and get the nomination). But let's face it: every candidacy seems to have a (HATE this phrase!) "defining moment" when it can go foward or wither.
Al Gore's constant sighing during the debates plus his Bozo-the-Clown like make-up did him in. We all know about you-know-who's recent scream in Iowa. Ronald Reagan demanded the microphone in a debate, and it spurred on his nomination. George Bush Sr didn't want to let other candidates in on that debate and looked petty and he lost support.
Bill Clinton went on 60 Minutes with non-cookie-baking wife Hillary at his side to INSIST he was a good husband and would remain faithful (well, defining moments don't always mean the moment lasts forever). Ross Perot quit the 1992 race (some say he could have won) citing insidious plans to disrupt his daughter's wedding; he acquired the image of a flake.
Clark's defining moment came last weekend and it has slowy dripped away on his head like Chinese water torture: it's when he smugly discounted John Kerry's military experience and pulled rank, noting that HE had been a general. It didn't play well and was became the flip side of Ross Perot's original Everyman appeal.
Here is the passage in the USA Today story about that moment -- which may prove to be pivotal in Clark's campaign:"Last week, Clark compared his rank (four-star Army general) to Kerry's (Navy lieutenant when he was in Vietnam). 'It's one thing to be a hero as a junior officer ... but I've got the military experience at the top as well as at the bottom,' Clark said on caucus night. For the next few days, he denied he had tried to pull rank."
Can he get the nomination? Each day it looks less likely. His self-inflicted damage, like you-know-who's, makes him damaged goods. Candidates who so far have their images intact: John Kerry, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman. Oh, Dennis Kucinich's image (Mr. Spaceman) remains the same. Al Sharpton's one-liners have enhanced his image from years ago.
Likely ticket if this holds up: Kerry-Edwards most likely. Possibly Kerry-Clark (less likely).

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:55 PM


It's a race: Voters reject Democratic tilt to left

ANOTHER EXPLANATION FOR DEAN'S APPARENT DECLINE: Robert Caldwell, the veteran journalist and editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune's Insight section, dissects the Dean implosion and attributes it to a lot more than just silliness and a primal political scream.
It's worth reading the entire analysis above. Some key points (with my pithy observations):
1. Why did Dean's numbers plummet? "The short answer is that Democrats, prodded by Dean's rivals, are coming to their senses....However satisfying to liberal true believers, leftward lurches have repeatedly proved a strategy for Democratic disasters in November. Prudent Democrats remember George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis."
Precisely: it's clear Democrats this year want to run a competitve race for two reasons: they want to win, and many of them simply cannot stomach George Bush, who is still viewed by many Democrats as lacking total legitimacy due to the controversial Florida vote mess and Supreme Court ruling.
2. "Compounding this sense of strategic unease, Dean's belligerent, loose-cannon demeanor also rankles.
The closer many Democrats look at Dean, the less they like him."
Dean was tip-toeing on thin ice before the I Have A Scream speech. He stripped himself of dignity then, sort of like a candidate for a job interview who says: "Hey, do you like my toupee? I got it through Hair Club for Men! YEAAAHHHHHHHR!"
3. "The opposite might be said, at least by comparison and in recent weeks, for John Kerry, the four-term Massachusetts senator and Vietnam veteran who won big in Iowa and leads in New Hampshire."
Yep. Kerry may be so wooden that he makes loggers drool, but he comes across as a substantive, serious and more thoughtful candidate. And the Newsweek polls suggesting he could beat Bush probably won't hurt.
4. Caldwell notes how Dean's "big name" endorsements didn't help, and how labor utterly flopped in saving him and Dick Gephardt.
He concludes: "Heavyweight Democratic Party endorsements and labor's official recommendations largely ignored by discriminating Democratic voters? The same Democratic voters carefully selecting experience and plausible presidential stature over the siren appeal of ideological zealotry? Score that as good political news for the country."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:35 PM


MSNBC - Latest N.H. poll holds hope�for Dean

POLLS SHMOLLS: Lastest Zogby New Hampshire poll has it closer than Gallup: a statistical dead heat with 28 percent for Kerry and 25 percent for Dean. So you can a)pick the one you choose to believe, b)consider it all a crapshoot and ignore both. However, Zogby is one of the most accurate pollsters. If Dean wins Kerry may get up and yell: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEERR!
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:44 PM


Gallup Poll Analyses - Kerry Maintains Lead in New Hampshire; Dean Second

KERRY'S LEAD HOLDS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: It looks as if Dean's scream made voters scram. If this holds up, the "YEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHR!" will go down in political history as one of the silliest acts of image suicide since comedianne Rosanne Barr sang the Star Spangled Banner in San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium clutching her crotch.
The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup New Hampshire tracking poll finds::
--Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry maintains a stable lead over former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean by 13 points among likely primary voters in that state, 38% to 25%. Could this be partly influenced by the news that a new poll for Newsweek shows Kerry beating Bush? Electability is the number one issue for many Democrats; better someone a bit more boring that someone who boosts the ratings of late night comedians' opening monologues.
--At least 10 percentage points have separated the two front-running candidates since the Iowa caucuses. Remember that Dean was leading in that state until he decided to inspire music remixers everywhere.
--Most movement is in lower-rung candidates. Clark is beginning to fall in the polls. Can it be because he suddenly began acting like a dominant general, pulling rank on Kerry, and echoing unproven (and some say refuted by the New York Times in 2000) allegations that President George Bush is a military deserter?
According to the poll: "10% of likely New Hampshire primary voters now say they intend to vote for retired Gen. Wesley Clark, down from 21% in the initial tracking poll on Jan. 17-19. '
--Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman has seen a slight increase in support in recent days, and now 12% of likely primary voters say they intend to vote for him. Lieberman now seems more propelled by ego than realistically assessing his chances of winning.
-- After a small increase in support following a strong showing in Iowa, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards stands at 9% in the latest poll. Not a barn-burner. Sounds like he's destined to be a vice presidential candidate.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:49 PM


Yahoo! News - Oldest U.S. Bank Robber Gets 12 Years in Prison

12 Year Prison Sentence for Oldest U.S. Bank Robber: He's 92-years-old. His babysitter was Mick Jagger.......
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:19 PM


SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Metro -- Celebrations around San Diego greet Asian Year of the Monkey

ASIAN YEAR OF THE MONKEY CELEBRATIONS ALL AROUND SAN DIEGO: Now a lot of other cities want to ape this celebration....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:33 AM


Yahoo! News - 672 Skydivers Set Mass Free-Fall Record

672 Skydivers Set Mass Free-Fall Record: The biggest free-fall since Dick Gephardt oversaw Democratic Congressional election strategy.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:05 AM


Liberals turn to entertainment to batter the 'House of Bush' / Stage shows, music, books being used to reach voters

So now they've taken the show on the road: the San Francisco Chronicle reports on the sold-out "Rolling Thunder" tour prototype political show tested in Berkeley, California (one hint to the producers: not to belittle Berkeley, but it isn't Peoria and doesn't have as many swing voters as many cities). Bookers in L.A. and Chicago, the report says, are "gauging the reception of the unorthodox concept -- three disparate authors, fronted by three different publishers, united only by their common pounding of the leader of the free world -- before scheduling local versions."
The three: best-selling author, comedian and soon-to-be-liberal-talk-show-host Al Franken; economist Paul Krugman; and ex-Nixon strategist Kevin Phillips.
What the story doesn't say is that this is quite similar to the sold-out stage programs a then very-heavy Rush Limbaugh used to do before he became the King of national radio talk show hosts. These programs rallied the faithful, solidified his marketing concept (the angry conservative), and helped spread the word about his ideas and increased his fan base.
Even so, the performers (although they would probably not prefer that term) are preaching to the choir at events like this.....yet, it does fire up followers to go out there and become involved in the cause. Just as in Limbaugh's live shows (I used to have a tape of one) the rhetoric is pretty tough. For instance, at this event, the article says:
"The audience jeered mentions of Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly and Nixon attorney general John Mitchell and cheered nods to filmmaker Moore.
"Confident his audience was conversant with the new book by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, which compared Bush to a 'blind man in a roomful of deaf people' during cabinet meetings, Franken opened by saying O'Neill 'was going to come on as a surprise guest. But earlier today, he was murdered.'"
It won't win over independents, but it will do what conservatives have done so well over the past 10 years: rally, solidify and motivate their ideological troops. The left has ceded the war of ideas and the war strategy of mixing ideas with entertainment totally to the right -- but with this tour and Franken's upcoming liberal radio talk show that may be changing.

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:14 AM


Wired News | Kerry Holds Seven-Point Lead in New Hampshire

This is the Zogby poll which in recent years has shaped up as one of the most accurate. In the latest three day tracking polll Kerry led Dean 30 percent to 23 percent, with Wesley Clark dropping one percentage point to 13 percent and John Edwards and Joseph Lieberman both gaining on Clark at 9 percent.
John Zogby said this: "Dean had another good polling day, actually bouncing back to 25 points Saturday compared to Kerry's 28 .The race looks as though it is tightening, however, it is Kerry's to lose at this point."

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:38 AM

Saturday, January 24, 2004  

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Reviews of New Food

NEW OSTRICH MEAT ON A STICK NOW AVAILABLE!! "Combining the power of ostriches with a healthy dose of Dada, Ostrim is "America's #1 Sports Nutrition Meat Stick."
I don't know if most people want to eat something that tastes like Ostrich and their Dada.
I did try a bite and afterwards had a strong desire to stick my head in the sand. And when I flapped my wings I couldn't fly...

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:10 PM


News Of the World - Online Edition

MICHAEL JACKSON'S KIDS ARE THE PRODUCT OF A SPERM DONOR: A British tabloid says this fact is revealed by mother Debbie Rowe in a legal dossier she will use to get the kids away from Jackson as he heads into his child molestation trial. She fears Jackson will have his powerful friends whisk the kids out of the U.S. and she is alarmed by the influence of the Nation of Islam on Jackson.
Let's face it: this is a much more compelling story than Howard Dean's scream, John Kerry's military service, or John Edward's hair.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:50 PM


Cheney Reaches Out To Iraq War Critics (washingtonpost.com)

SIGNIFICANT OLIVE BRANCH TO EUROPE FROM BUSH ADMINISTRATION: According to the Washington Post article linked above, Vice President Cheney, speaking at a conference in Switzerland, made a significant effort to mend fences with American allies still wounded over what European critics call U.S. unilateralism in Iraq.
Among other things, he called on a global approach to battle terrorism. A a senior U.S. official, the paper reports, "said the administration envisioned what Cheney considers "a pretty significant role" for the United Nations in Iraq in coming months....In addition, the official said the United States would be willing to commit resources to help alleviate the security concerns of U.N. officials."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:39 PM


Sun-Sentinel: South Florida news:

Prosecutors refuse rehab deal for radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, insist on guilty plea: "Prosecutors say they think they have evidence that Limbaugh committed at least 10 felonies by illegally obtaining overlapping drug prescriptions, according to documents released to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Thursday. They offered to end the investigation if Limbaugh pleaded guilty to a single felony for "doctor shopping" and agreed to a three-year term of probation, a deal that Limbaugh's Miami attorney Roy Black called "preposterous" on Thursday."
Regardless of what the actual facts turn out to be, Rush will soon be saying the Clintons are behind it.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:36 PM


Yahoo! News - Citing Fire Risk, U.S. to Expand California Logging

US OFFICIALS SAY DUE TO CALIFORNIA FIRES THEY'RE GOING TO EXPAND LOGGING ALLOWED IN CALIFORNIA: When California's infamous October fires broke out three pro-environment friends warned me the Bush administration would eventually go beyond calls for carefully pruning forests here and use the tragedy to open up the state to the logging industry. They predicted the administration would give big business logging friends lots of leeyway under the guise of protecting California.
I was polite but didn't quite believe it. Now I tend to believe it after reading the story linked above.
The gist: "U.S. forestry officials announced on Thursday that they would significantly expand the amount of logging allowed in California's Sierra Nevada mountains in what they described as an effort to curb wildfires. Environmental groups and a California state official attacked the plan as showing disregard for the environment."
The Forest Service says this needs to be done to prevent future fires. But, as the article points out, environmental groups and California's Democratic State Attorney General Bill Lockyer see it differently.
"Once again, the Bush White House has demonstrated its continued disregard for the environment and willingness to sacrifice natural resources Californians cherish," Lockyer said. "Under the guise of addressing fire risk, the revised framework will substantially increase commercial logging, endanger wildlife habitats and weaken water quality protections and grazing limitations."
Could Washington be genuinely acting out of fear of future fires? Perhaps. But on most environmental issues this administration acts squarely -- and predictably-- on the side of those seeking to loosen laws and environmental protections. There IS a PATTERN and it is heavily documented by environmental groups (that will happily send you detailed info if you ask). A Sierra Club administration, this ain't.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:04 PM