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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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Sunday, February 29, 2004  

SURVEY #3: Latest political jokes (doesn't matter who it disses). (Fill in COMMENT BOX)
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:09 PM


 

SURVEY #2: Answer this question: What will happen to Osama bin Laden, when will it happen and why? (Fill in COMMENT BOX)
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:08 PM


 

SURVEY #1: Answer this question: Who do you want for President and why? (Fill in COMMENT BOX)
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:07 PM


 

WONKETTE WHOMPS WANNABIES: A screamingly funny account of the Democratic debate and press arrogance at work is provided by Wonkette (and we say "Gracias!" in California's official language to InstaPundit for the tip). Our favorite passage:"We wish the New York Time's Elisabeth Bumiller was running for president, just so that we could vote against her. She just turned in what may be the worst debate performance since Nixon sweated through his makeup. It's the journalism equivalent of the Dean Scream, and if there was any justice in the blogosphere, someone would Photoshop a picture to show her strangling a kitten. Or, at the very least, hounding a kitten to death with idiotic questions and arrogant assumptions."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:00 PM


 

ARE YOU TIRED OF BAD NEWS? Then check out Goodle Good News which looks JUST like Google but shows you what a page would look like if ALL the news was happiness and love. Headlines such as "Economists Retire..." and "George Lucas to re-film all three Star Wars prequels..." and "Bush takes XTC, goes to rave." and more. The big headline is World Peace Sparks Ourpouring of Joy other with other "stories" on this "story" such as "Only nice people wearing flowing robes to rule the world." But my favorite is: "Spam dries up."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:37 PM


 

Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is now officially a blockbuster, taking in $117.5 million in its first five days.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:11 PM


 

BLOG OF THE DAY: Power Line is a powerful conservative weblog written by three lawyers who know more than just their legal stuff. If you're interested in politics (no matter what party you support) you'll want to read Power Line because of the way it tackles the issues...and gives carefully laid out arguments.
--- Power Line let's you know who and what it supports but it does so in the best web log spirit by giving you a meaty quote, a link, then giving you a view that usually stems from the material presented. And it may not be a lock-step-I-support-whatever-my-party-is-doing-or-saying view either.
--- For instance, one of the day's most intriguing stories, Matt Drudge's recap of a Time piece that tells of GOP plans to launch its counter assault against the Democrats, is presented in some detail with a good-sized quote. But then there's this warning:"If they really intend to 'correct everything that's been said about the President,' they'd better get going. They only have until November."
--- Whether it's a posting on Democrats blaming the White House for the situation in Haiti, a post that points you to a fascinating article on corruption in the UN's food-for-peace program, the Middle East, etc. Power Line presents some facts, then clearly gives you its point of view. It's honest with readers: for instance they give readers an advisory on an upcoming report, noting that the author has had some questionable accuracy problems in the past.
--- A key to Power Line's quality -- showing you that they will go that extra mile for their readers (and themselves) -- can be seen in a posting on New York Times article that had an inaccuracy about Abraham Lincoln's relationship with his generals. Power Line not only gives you the info on the Times error and the correction -- but it gives you quotes from Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's bio to further get at the truth. Their headline and opening paragraph on this item make a political point:"Slandering Republican Presidents (headline): It's the New York Times' favorite pastime. But Abraham Lincoln? Alas, not even Lincoln is exempt from the Times' overriding editorial imperative."
--- Power Line has some powerful opinion and writing, presents some original reseach and lives up to its name...which is why we're proud to name it our Blog of the Day.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:37 AM


 

TODAY THE WHITE HOUSE TOMORROW THE INTERNET: Blogroll for Bush now has more than 300 blogs on board since they launched their website in November. Sounds like a potent opinion shaping presence is emerging right under our keyboard fingertips.....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:21 AM


 

IT'S STILL UP FOR GRABS DEPARTMENT (and this doesn't refer to Janet Jackson): A $10,000 reward offered by the "Doonesbury" comic strip creator Garry Trudeau for proof that President Bush served in the Alabama National Guard has elicited over 1,300 responses but turned up no credible evidence so far, the cartoonist says. He'll give the money if someone "can establish Bush's presence at Dannelly Base beyond a reasonable doubt..."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:16 AM


 

TEMPER, TEMPER...The debate in New York between the four surviving Democratic presidential candidates 48 hours before the Super Tuesday vote got testy at times. Can't we all get along? Al Sharpton was irked because he detected moderator Dan Rather didn't treat him and Dennis Kucinich as full-fledged, serious candidates (duhhhhhhh!).
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:38 AM


 

MORE 911 FALLOUT: CalPundit aka Kevin Drum believes what we're seeing now in all the news reports about the accelerated drive by U.S. forces to capture Osama bin Laden shows the Iraq war was indeed a distraction from the war to get the culprits behind 911. He also think that when all the information comes in on 911 "I suspect that history's judgment of the Bush administration will not be kind."
UPDATE: New York Times' columnist Maureen Dowd is blunter: "But no one has lost a job over the intelligence failures that led to 9/11..... In fact, the only people the president and vice president are trying to put out of business are the members of the commission charged with figuring out how 9/11 happened and how to prevent another one. ..The White House seems more worried about the public's finding out how much it knew and how little it did before 9/11 than it does about identifying and fixing security weaknesses..."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:31 AM


 

Andrew Sullivan is alienating many of his conservative alllies for the way he's handling the gay marriage issue. The New Republic writer has one of the best and most visited blogs on the internet, is a solid talking head on TV, and has been President George Bush's most prominent gay supporter. So when GWB endorsed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and Sullivan wrote "WAR IS DECLARED" he and his blog were widely quoted.
--- Since then he has run a slew of emails and quotes mostly blasting the controversial Bush stance, plus fiery columns declaring his break with Bush and detailing precisely why. Various conservative websites have expressed dismay (just visit a few, scroll down and you'll see). At least one up and coming blog has dropped him as a link.
--- Right Thinking from the Left Coast relfects the reaction today in a detailed post which notes that their extremely lively web log basically agrees with most of Sullivan's positions, but can't believe the way he's laying his case out on this issue:
--- "Andrew Sullivan has lost his mind," Lee writes. "Let's not forget that Sullivan has a PhD from Harvard, so he's not a stupid man by any means. But he's so blinded by the marriage issue that he posts quotes....which are taken completely out of context, and doesn't see just how detrimental it is to his own positions."
--- Conservatives are not 100 percent behind Bush's stance but this issue is so highly emotional that it even can polarize segments of an ideology or party. It could be a double-edge sword if it is as widely used in the election as expected. (There is more to write on Sullivan and his break in the future because it is such a fascinating journalistic story).
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:04 AM


 

Aristide Flees Haiti; Judge Claims Power: That's how a British paper headlined an AP story, which comes to us via Glenn Reynolds aka InstaPundit, who writes:"Given that the only period of (relatively) good governance Haiti has enjoyed was when it was under the control of the United States, it's hard for me to be optimistic about its long-term prospects, but this is at least a short-term improvement and it was a necessary precondition to any long-term improvement."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:40 AM


 

Spain has a lot of experience fighting terrorists. USA TODAY reports: "For the second time in just more than two months, Spain on Sunday averted a bombing by the Basque separatist group ETA after the Civil Guard stopped a small truck." I covered Spain as Special Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor in the post-Franco era from the time of the dictator's death up until the elections. Spain has been battling the separatists for several decades.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:29 AM


 

BUSH IS CONFIDENT HE'LL WIN IN THE END AND HERE'S WHY: The real Republican counterattack is about to begin. The GOP will first correct what they consider to be mistruths about President George Bush, then get the message out about they feel is the "real" John Kerry. All of this is what comes via Time carried by the Drudge Report.
--- But when you read the linked story the MOST IMPORTANT fact is at the end: The Republicans have been working on an unprecedented ground organization campaign, as already reported by the Los Angeles Times. It's goal is to ensure the President's election by getting out every single Republican vote -- so that even if independents nix GWB he wins. It is massive, it is intricate, it is highly organized -- and the GOP has indicated in the past they believe it will trump anything the Democrats try to do.....and in the end, they believe, it will ensure four more years of Bush in the White House.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:01 AM


 

POLL PREDICTS PROBLEMS FOR PRESIDENT: The latest CBS News poll only has a shred of good news for President Bush. Of course, even though papers (and we) cite them polls mean LITTLE right now since things change once both parties' conventions are over. But the new poll shows:
--- --HIS APPROVAL RATING CONTINUES GOING DOWN: Some 47% of Americans now approve of the way the President is handling his job, while 44% disapprove.
--- --A JOHN KERRY/JOHN EDWARDS TICKET WOULD BE STRONG: It would beat one headed by Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in the fall election, by a margin of 50 percent to 42 percent.
--- --EACH DEMMIE COULD RUN A GOOD RACE ON THEIR OWN.
--- --IRAQ WAR NOT A SLAM-DUNK SELLING POINT: Doubts continue to grow.
--- --BUT PEOPLE STILL THINK BUSH WILL WIN IN THE END:Even if the two Johns ran without each other against the GOP ticket they would run about even. "Now, 48% expect Mr. Bush to win, and 42% see a Democrat winning the presidency. In January, 55% expected the president to be re-elected, and just 31% thought the Democratic candidate could prevail," the CBS report said.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:48 AM


Saturday, February 28, 2004  

BLOG OF THE DAY: It's election year and sometimes it wears you down. All the screaming. All the controversy. All the arguing. All the name-calling. But enough about the Clintons' marriage....
--- Sometimes, just for a minute, you want to put aside the tiny issues of the day, and focus on something far-reaching, something with enormous impact, something that's on everyone's mind. But enough about Janet Jackson's breast reveal...
--- There is much better satire than THAT on Scrappleface, a satirical blog that has become something of an Internet institution. You almost demean Scrappleface by attempting to describe it because you have to GO to the site to fully appreciate it. It's a combination blog and satire website since it has lots of satirical news stories (which are written better than what passes for "real" journalism these days) plus a long resource list of other blogs. Scrappleface makes its political points with a smile and with such class that it really doesn't matter if you agree with the political point of view behind the humoristic news-story dagger. I personally LOVE THIS SITE because I used to write these kinds of satires for newspapers, did it for a while on another site I had, and will be doing a little of it (sparingly) on this site. So I read lots of satire...and Scrappleface is g-r-e-a-t.
--- Some fake news stories you'll see now include "Kerry: Same-Sex Couples Solve Abortion Problem" or one on John Edwards that reads, in part:
--- "Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards today called on President George Bush to make "thinly-veiled snide remarks" about him like the one he made about Sen. John Forbes Kerry recently.
--- "Sen. Edwards, who yesterday finished a respectable third-place behind Dennis Kucinich in the Hawaii caucuses, said Mr. Bush's failure to insult him was more evidence that "we live in two Americas."
--- OR this:
--- "President George W. Bush this morning made a long-awaited statement backing a constitutional amendment narrowly defining 'mayor' as 'a political relationship between one elected official and one specific city.' The president said the amendment was needed to 'prevent the meaning of mayor from being changed forever.''
--- It's original, often-laugh out loud, not totally slanted towards one political party, humor -- a news story structure being skillfully used to lampoon the news, and it's updated so it's timely. And it has that big list of blog links. So we're definitely not joking when we say that for all of this...we are proud to name Scrappleface our Blog of the Day.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:48 PM


 

With only days until the election, the Sacramento Bee reports that "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to borrow $15 billion to deal with the state's budget deficit is getting broad but often reluctant support from many of California's major newspapers." Polls show this measure is gaining support after starting out slow ("Arnold" is still barnstorming the state promoting the measure -- and when he goes somewhere he has an impact).
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:33 PM


 

Big mystery in Wyoming, where hundreds of elk are dying. Other species seem unaffected....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:28 PM


 

HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD SATIRE SONG: For my conservative friends. "Doug from Upland" posted this on the Free Republic website...a hilarious song parody he did on Hollywood and the culture war...complete with Midi link so you can sing along.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:11 PM


 


HE'LL MAKE A TON OF MONEY IN THE END
: Jayson Blair, who brought disgrace to the New York Times with his invented stories, is going to have his 300-page memoir "Burning Down My Masters' House" released next month. His printed journalistic fabrications led to the resignation of the Times' two top-editors. Already stories leaking out are setting the ground work for multi-media hype of a dramatically written saga in a biography loaded with tales of betrayal, remorse...that of course Americans can find out about only if they buy this book, which they will. And that will enrich Blair. I'm sure we'll see a t.v. or theater movie about it one day.
--- The bottom line is this: we have plummeting standards in the U.S. today and violations of once-cherished values are now seemingly rewarded by fame and fortune. Blair, in the end, will have gained both. Quoting Daffy Duck: "Consequences, schmonsequences..."
--- Would he have gained the exposure he's about to get on news, TV, and talk shows and the big bucks he's about to make if he had been a mere do-your-job-accurately reporter? I don't think so.....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:42 AM


 

VOA OFFICIAL PREDICTS BIN LADEN WILL BE CAPTURED SOON: Earlier today Glenn Reynolds, aka InstaPundit, carried an item about an Iranian radio broadcast that claimed bin Laden was captured in a tribal area in Pakistan. As Reynolds noted in updates, the report was denied by the Pentagon and Pakistani government. Even so, there seem to be accelerating predictions of bin Laden's imminent capture -- and some are coming from U.S. officials.
--- The latest comes from Ambassador J. Cofer Black, coordinator for the State Department counter-terrorism office, who told the Voice of America: "I feel confident that it will be sooner rather than later, although I'm not going to speculate on the exact date," he said. According to Black, bin Laden is still in contact with other al-Qaida leaders, though on a limited basis. "[The contacts are] infrequent, imperfect, but he still has contact. He has some limited form of contact," he said. Black was in Islamabad Saturday, meeting with Pakistani counterparts to discuss anti-terrorism issues.
--- WHAT IT MEANS: It certainly sounds as if something is going to happen soon -- that if he is not captured (and earlier reports were denied) they're hot on his trail.
--- UPDATE:The New York Times now reports that there is indeed a new, stepped-up effort to get bin Laden. Key parts of this story:
--- 1.President Bush has approved a plan to accelerate the effort to get or kill OBL, senior administration and military officials say, "as a combination of better intelligence, improving weather and a refocusing of resources away from Iraq has reinvigorated the hunt along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan."
--- 2. "Senior officials" the paper interviewed in Washington and Afghanistan" indicate the new push will apply both new forces and new tactics. At the center is Task Force 121, a covert commando team of Special Operations forces and Central Intelligence Agency officers. This team, involved in Saddam Hussein's capture, is shifting forces to Afghanistan to help intensify the search for Mr. bin Laden and former Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar.
--- 3. President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan now seems to to be "far more seriously committed to tracking down Al Qaeda and Taliban militants along the semiautonomous border region,' the paper reports. It quotes an official as saying:""Two assassination attempts close together tends to be life-focusing," , referring to attacks on Musharraf in December. Many believe bin Laden's supporters were behind the attacks (one longtime theory is that they have wanted to wipe the General out so their supporters within the Pakistani military and/or police could have a stronger hand and even possibly seize control).
--- 4. U.S. officials say they are applying lessons they used in the successful hunt for Sadaam Hussein in the hunt for bin Laden & Company.
For instance, the Associated Press reports: "The United States is rounding up and questioning the relatives of fugitive al-Qaida leaders to generate information on the possible whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and his top deputies. This tactic helped lead to Saddam Hussein's capture."
--- CONCLUSION: The earlier reports could be inaccurate, or could be planted for international or other political reasons -- but they come at a time when there is an admitted acceleration in the hunt for bin Laden plus a top American anti-terrorism bigwig visiting Pakistan. Many related strands can be seen at the same time.......
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:18 AM


 

FLORIDA MACHINATIONS: Democrats in Florida and Washington have put on their thinking caps to try and come up with a strategy to undercut the GOP's Hispanic support, the Miami Herald says. They're hoping to hoping to exploit a rift between President Bush and some exile leaders who feel the administration didn't deliver on campaign promises to the Hispanic community there.
--- "We think the president has taken that community for granted,'' Nelson Reyneri, a senior DNC strategist and the party's point man on Hispanic outreach, told the paper. ``If we peel off even a small amount of the Cuban-American vote, we win."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:01 AM


 

"THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST" GUEST MOVIE REVIEW: William Drury is a New Jersey-based airline pilot. Last night he and his wife went to see Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." Here is his guest review:
--- Tracy and I just returned from seeing "The Passion of the Christ". I thought it was an accurate representation of the Gospels. Obviously, there needs to be some artistic license when you reduce 12 hours into two. But, after all the controversy and debate over this movie, I am at a loss as to what the fuss is all about.
--- Yes, it is violent. But no more violent than "Saving Private Ryan" or "Shindler's List". In fact, Gibson provides breaks from the violence in the form of flashbacks that help explain why the violence is occurring. This did not happen in "Saving Private Ryan" during the invasion scene. So if you feel your children can't handle Ryan or Shindler DO NOT take them to the Passion.
--- I have read many commentaries concerning the last hours of Jesus' life. They have described the horror of the beating and crucifixion. So I was prepared for what I was about to see. Obviously from the gasps from some in the audience they were not.
--- There have been some that are critical of the character development in the movie. Two hours is hardly enough time to do character development correctly but when does a movie truly do justice to character development especially the classics. Given the limitations, Pilate, Herod, Mary, Peter and others are well developed and follow many of the commentaries to the Bible. Judas is a work of art. Simon is another character who comes to life as never before. But the best is Jesus. Gibson does not give the viewer the normal wimpy Jesus. Jesus is presented as a man of strength and power. He is not a victim. Jesus' suffering is a willful obedience to the Father.
--- The best touch in this movie is Gibson's use of the flashback. The flashback shows Jesus' humanity and his reasons for going through such suffering. In one flashback, Jesus is building a table for a rich man. The table will require chairs. This is not the norm in 20AD and Mary makes the comment that it will never catch on. The flashback to the Last Supper gives a visual dimension that will forever change the way one goes to communion. For me, the flashback that drew a tear was when Mary watches Jesus fall while carrying the cross and she remembers when Jesus fell as a little boy. Very moving.
--- I did not feel that there was anti-Semitism in this movie. There is more than one time when the fact most of the characters including Jesus are Jewish is made. The Romans do not look like good guys. The reason for Jesus suffering this fate is made more than once and anti-Semitism is not the reason.
--- As I said before, I really don't know what the fuss is all about. I have heard sermons that moved me just as much as this movie. Most people who have a problem with the Passion already have a problem with the Gospel. I really don't think this movie is going to bring masses of people to a knowledge of Christ as Savior. It will help those who learn visually to understand the suffering better. As for Christians, I wonder if this movie will help them draw closer. Only time will tell.
--- I left the theater with the same question I had when I first became a Christian: What are you going to do now? Knowing the price Christ paid for my salvation, how am I going to respond? Am I going to love my neighbor more? Am I going to pray for and love my enemies? Am I going to serve as Christ has served? Or am I going to simply become churchy and try to look good? I'm afraid that in all the discussion about this movie, how we respond will be missed.
--William Drury
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:16 AM


 

UNCONFIRMED DENIED REPORT CLAIMS BIN LADEN CAPTURE: InstaPundit aka Glenn Reynolds notes today an Iranian radio report that bin Laden has been captured. The Iranian state radio report claims Osama bin Laden was captured in Pakistan’s border region with Afghanistan “a long time ago.” Reynolds writes: "I'm skeptical but we'll see.."
--- Reynolds also links to this strong Pentagon denial via Reuters of that radio report about a "a very reliable source" as saying bin Laden had been captured in a tribal area. A Pentagon official called it "another piece of stray voltage that's passing around out there." And Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri said he knew about the report and added: "We cannot confirm it at all.'
--- The Foreign Minister's comment sounds like less than a 100 percent, flat-out denial -- but state-run Iranian radio is not exactly Your Most Trusted News Source.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:15 AM


 

ANOTHER FACTOID BOOSTS RONALD REAGAN'S IMAGE: A new book further bolsters the legacy of Ronald Reagan, an actor who was ridiculed when he first ran for public office.
--- Most Presidents come into office with a semblance of good will and a decent image which is sort of like an empty slate, slowly filled in by events beyond their control, their style and their policies. Some have left office reviled, broken, diminished, or with zero credibility. Some have not been treated well by history or by their contemporaries who wrote blab-all books that revealed all too well how The Great Leader was human.
--- But every once in a while you get a President that leaves office and info that comes out about him enhances his image.
--- And that's Ronald Reagan.
--- There was a REASON why Reagan siphoned off so many Democrats that they were given the name Reagan Democrats (you do hear about Schwarzenneger Democrats in California but you don't hear much about Bush Democrats, except for Zell Miller). It was his optimism -- but more and more evidence is coming out that in the policy department he was no slouch. From continued evidence that it was his policies and decisions that led to the chain-reaction that won the cold war, to the release of his personal letters (showing that he was not a "dunce" at all but quite a political thinker) Reagan's stature grows.
--- Now a new book by a Reagan White House official, Thomas Reed, says that in January 1982, President Ronald Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions. This included software that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural gas pipeline, according to a the memoir by Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the National Security Council at the time.
--- Writes Seattle's Greg Piper:"Hopefully this will give some more credence to the still-unpopular assertion that Reagan's strong defense policies and intelligence initiatives broke the back of the Soviets, instead of Gorbachev's late-breaking 'revolutionary policies.'"
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:19 AM


 

HOWARD STERN WARNS THAT HE MAY BE NATIONAL TOAST: Howard Stern, "suspended" by Clear Channel stations, used his show on his non-Clear Channel stations yesterday to predict he may soon be totally out of ALL his stations -- and to rip into President Bush. According to the New York Post he said: "I might be taken off all the stations very soon, and my last words to you are 'G.W.B'...Get him out of office. I'm tellin' you, man, he's in dangerous territory [with] a religious agenda and you gotta vote him out - anyone but Bush."

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:57 AM


 

If you want to read a Pastor's-eye-view of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" go to this link and read the detailed reaction of Donald Sensing, who has the blog One Hand Clapping. Sensing dissects the film in great detail (he has also written some of the best material on the web on the marriage issue). His site was one of our Blogs of the Day and each day he shows precisely why.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:12 AM


Friday, February 27, 2004  

BLOG OF THE DAY: America in 2004 is definitely divided. One expert said the country is more evenly divided than at any time since the Civil War. So how can a website or blog not turn off a large segment of visitors? Democrats balk at Republican websites. Republicans usually don't like Democratic websites. And those of us in the middle run the risk of being disliked by both sides.
--- Well, there IS a web log that successfully tries to offer all things to everyone. And the idea is a master stroke.
--- Enter WatchBlog: a web log divided right down the line into three separate miniblogs: Democrat, Republican and Independent. Each has its own perspective, each has its own editor (Blue for Democrats & Liberals; Green for Third Parties and Independents; and Red for Republicans and Conservatives). The postings for each of these three separate blogs within a blog are tightly-written, well-linked and the fact that you have three blogs side-by-side is a great help if you are someone who likes to read all sides. And, of course, for the partisan true believers, there is the one True Side to be read.
--- An ingenious idea, perfectly designed, perfectly executed, very well-written with tons of useful and intriguing content...which is why we are proud to name Watch Blog our Blog of the Day.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:45 PM


 

Watchblog reports that a "GOP insider" says President George Bush well may be giving his acceptance speech during the 2004 Republican Convention at Ground Zero.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:30 PM


 

CA COURT INACTION MEANS STAGE IS SET FOR ACCELERATING POLITICAL CONFLICT OVER GAY MARRIAGE: Get ready to see and hear a lot more on the political front now that California Supreme Court has declined a request by the state attorney general to immediately shut down San Francisco's gay weddings frenzy. So far nearly 3,500 marriages have been performed - -- and the court's inaction means they still stand.
--- It also means conservatives who seek to put a halt to the exploding gay marriage movement are likely to a)accelerate their efforts to do whatever it takes to take the issue all the way up to the Supreme Court, b)press for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage if the courts aren't perceived as responsive. And all of this will, of course, occur against the backdrop of an election year where differences are magnified due to political jockeying.
--- The significance has profound implications for the 2004 Presidential election campaign, since President George Bush has endorsed the amendment and his endorsement seemingly united the remaining Democratic candidates against the President -- setting the stage for a highly polarizing and emotional campaign.
--- Indeed, there truly seems to be a "bring it on!" attitude on BOTH SIDES of this issue and a demand that those on the fence get off it and step firmly on one side or another.
--- Today, the California Supreme Court decided not to tip-toe down.
--- Not yet.
--- The issue came before the California court at the urging of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Attorney General Bill Lockyer asked the justices to intervene but the justices refused, telling the city and a conservative group that opposes gay marriages to file new legal briefs by March 5. But this combination of the issue of gay marriage being thrust into the court, highly publicized gay marriages in cities on both coasts, plus the election campaign seem to ensure it's going to be a huge issue in 2004 on several fronts. And even though it is going to be a huge issue, that doesn't mean it's going to be a thoughtfully discussed (or debated) issue.
--- There are two ways of looking at this issue right now:
--- 1)President Bush is using it as a "wedge issue" to consolidate his wavering conservative base and divide the country to win votes. In this view, calling for a constitutional amendment is a cynical political ploy.
--- 2)President Bush is being forced into using this issue due to the way the gay marriage issue as exploded in Massachusetts, California and New Mexico. Seen this way, calling for a constitutional amendment is strictly to protect the way marriage has been viewed and practiced for many generations until activists began unilaterally changing the definition by conducting public same-sex marriages.
--- Attorney Paul "Deacon" Mirengoff, writing in PowerLine, points to several columnists and editorials that he feels make the case that Bush is not using gay marriage as a wedge issue but has had it thrust upon him. He says it's laughable that anyone can accuse Bush of using it as a wedge issue. The next logical step, he argues, is to protect marriage via the constitution. It can be argued, he writes, "that the constitution should be about how we constitute' ourselves as a society. Viewed in this light, provisions about central societal issues such as marriage are not necessarily out of place in the constitution. If it is surprising to see the issue there, this is probably because it is (or until recently would have been) surprising to see the definition of this core institution being changed.'
--- To others like Sean Kirby "it seems awful suspicious that the solution to supposed judicial tyranny is to amend the constitution permanently in order to protect a position that is losing ground every day in the court of public opinion. That doesn't just restrict the ability of 'activist' judges to make sweeping rulings, but makes the decision for them. If the amendment passed, it would be an instance of the majority imposing their will on the minority, but blaming the courts for exercising their intended role. No matter what future generations want, same-sex marriage will be banned in such a way that it will be nearly impossible to reverse. The decision will be set - here, now and forever. Now thats tyranny."
--- The debate will rage on........
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:33 PM


 

THE PASSION OF CHRIST'S TITLE: Mel Gibson's movie is doing great business and some already wonder if he's going to do a sequel...But The Moderate Voice has done a marketing analysis and has concluded THE MOVIE'S TITLE has a lot to do with it. It sounds so dignified and noble. So here are a few titles of suggested movies that could be marketed, using the same title technique:
The Appetite of Marlon Brando
The Breast Reveal of Janet Jackson
The Bad Hairpiece of William Shatner
The Looniness of Dennis Kucinich
The Tongue of Howard Stern
The Crashing of Anything Made By Microsoft
The Personnas of Al Gore
The Lifetime Ketchup Supply of John Kerry
The Sex Appeal of Janet Reno
The Unfunny Posting of Joe Gandelman

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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:51 PM


 

HOUSE SPEAKER AGREES TO LET 911 PANEL HAVE MORE TIME: An intense congressional political battle came top an end on Friday when House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed to give the independent panel investigating the largest terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland two months more to finish its report. It came after a major battle involving a top Democrat and one of President George Bush's former presidential nomination opponents tying up legislation until the extension was granted.
--- Once again the thorn in the side of the official (Hastert) and some allege unofficial (White House) line was Arizona Senator John McCain, this time joined by Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. McCain and Lieberman led efforts to give the commission extra time to finish its work and demanded that the House act on a bill the Senate passed to allow the extension by next week.
--- They ran into a roadblock from House GOP leaders. And although the White House publicly endorsed the extension, many believed it was behind the hold-up since few believe Hastert would defy the White House's wishes on such an important issue. In fact, many analysts believed if anything he would follow White House marching orders.
--- So, McCain and Lieberman held up a vote on a highway bill needed to prevent the furlough on Monday of some 5,000 federal workers and a cutoff of highway money.
--- White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Bush aides had been in contact with Hastert's office throughout the week stressing he wanted an extension: "We are pleased that everybody seems to support an extension," he said.
--- WHAT IT MEANS: The Democrats nearly had a major issue handed to them on a silver platter. If you give the White House the benefit of the doubt, then some there have a tin political ear. In the end, even if GWB had indeed been unable to get loyal-party-man Hastert to do his bidding, the GOP including the White House would have been blamed for basically trying to keep all the facts from becoming known. Add to that Bush's decision to refuse to meet with all 911 commission members and only giving the commission one hour of his time on 911 and it looked terrible on paper. Hastert's decision cools down the subject as a campaign issue.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:29 PM


 

AND NOW MARTHA STEWART WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO MAKE LOVELY WALLPAPER OUT OF A PIECE OF PAPER WITH ONE OF THE COUNTS AGAINST HER: The AP: A federal judge on Friday tossed out the most serious charge against Martha Stewart, a count alleging she deceived investors in her company when she publicly declared her innocence in the ImClone stock trading scandal. See what happens when you focus on your salad?
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:29 PM


 

THIS JUST IN!!!!!!!!!!!! "Police in Fredericksburg have charged Rodney Prophitt, 27, with pulling off his neighbor's prosthetic limb and then striking him with it, reports The Free Lance-Star. " Only a heel would hit someone with a pulled-off leg. Police rushed to the scene and were stumped.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:23 PM


 

ATTENTION WORLD TRAVELERS! Saudia Arabia is now open for tourists! But don't apply if you're Jewish, an Israeli, a drunk or not a devout Muslim....World Net Daily says this original info on a website was later edited down and softened. So remember: if you're an Isaeli who is half-Jewish, half-but-not-devout-Muslim and plotzed don't even THINK of applying....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:29 PM


 

KERRY PRESENTS AN ANTITERRORISM PLAN: John Kerry has decided there'll be no more Mr. Nice Guy. Clearly sick of being attacked by the GOP for being soft on national security, he outlined his plan to combat terrorism. It would rely on stronger intelligence-gathering and law enforcement and international alliances. He also:
--Said Bush has "no comprehensive strategy for victory in the war on terror."
--Accused the President and "his armchair hawks" of weakening the U.S. military by failing to provide proper equipment.
--Said his administration would protect chemical and nuclear facilities, increase security at ports and airports, restore cut federal funding for 100,000 police officers and add 100,000 firefighters across the country.
--Lambasted Bush for "stonewalling" the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks. See our previous items. The administration is virtually gifting Kerry an issue on this one. If the 911 families who have clamored for answers get involved the White House may find it pitted against Kerry and the 911 families.
--- Bush's campaign manager has blasted Kerry's policies, saying they would weaken the U.S.A's ability to battle terrorism: "If John Kerry's wrong ideas had been implemented during the last 30 years, the world today would be more dangerous and the United States would be less secure," Racicot said.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:37 AM


 

HE'LL GIVE THEM ONE HOUR TO DISCUSS 911: President George Bush will give the panel investigating the 911 attacks just one hour to ask him what he knew about the events leading to the biggest terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland in history.
--- The news report adds this:"U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert has been opposed to granting the panel's request for a 60-day extension on the grounds that the report would be issued at the height of the U.S. presidential campaign, potentially politicizing its findings.
--- "Some Democrats in Congress have accused the White House of only half-heartedly backing the commission's request for an extension. But (White House press spokesman Scott) McClellan called such accusations "silly."
--- Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney refused to meet with all of the panel members and agreed to meet privately with its chairman, Thomas Kean, and the vice chairman, Lee Hamilton.
--- QUESTIONS: (and do answer in the comment box): Even though this is an election year how can this be possibly explained as trying to get to the bottom of how 911 happened? How can THIS be explained as fully cooperating with the bipartisan inquiry? And, even though this is an election year, isn't this short-sighted given the fact that it is already established via newspaper reports and various books (some by strong supporters of the administration) that bungling by the FBI and CIA over the course of SEVERAL administrations contributed to 911? How can anyone, even someone trying to give the administration the benefit of the doubt, not but conclude that this administration doesn't want to get a complete report and is going through pro forma motions to get it over and done with?
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:52 AM


 

ARNOLD TAKES NO POLITICAL PRISIONERS AS HE SMILES AND UTTERS HIS FAVORITE WORD: Governor Schwarzenegger, whose favorite word (news reports say) is "fantastic" uttered with a smile, is big B.O. (box office, that is) in California's political world.
--- A poll shows the crucial bond measures he's pushing that were once in trouble are now gathering solid support as he barnstorms the state. It also indicates people like him and trust him and his approval numbers are rising (it seems the mirror image of what's happening to President Bush these days).
--- Daniel Weintraub, aka California Insider notes:"61 percent say Schwarzenegger does 'what he believes is right' when making important decisions, while 28 percent say he does what is politically popular. Two years ago, 33 percent thought former Gov. Gray Davis did what he thought was right, while 57 percent thought he did what was politically popular."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:10 AM


 

KERRY'S PROTESTING PAST CAN HURT HIM: Conservative writer, professor and talk show host Hugh Hewitt argues in Part III of The Kerry Files (he is laying out the case against John Kerry in The Weekly Standard) that Kerry's anti-Vietnam stance will in fact be a vote-loser and should be brought out in the campaign:" The number of Americans directly impacted by Vietnam must number over 10,000,000. In American politics, that's a significant number. Then there the current members of the military, their families, and their supporters. Does Kerry's history matter to them? There is no way to know for sure, but any reasonable observer has to admit that a close election will make this issue among these voters a salient topic," he writes.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:47 AM


 

GOVERNMENT PROFESSOR PREDICTS BUSH TEAM WILL USE GAY MARRIAGE LIKE WILLY HORTON IN TV ADS: "Don't expect to see the revolving prison doors in political TV ads this fall," George Grayson, of the College of William & Mary writes in the Baltimore Sun. "Instead, look for scenes of same-sex couples kissing at the altar while a deep-throated announcer intones: "Unlike John Kerry, President Bush wants to restore marriage as our parents knew it, even if it means changing the Constitution."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:40 AM


 

Business Week reports on multi-media pundit Bill O'Reilly's $60 million a year empire. What next for Bill O'Reilly? You guessed it! A children's book...
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:29 AM


 

HOWIE STERN IS OUT BIG BUCKS: His suspension will cost him $1 million, according to the New York Post. No wonder he wasn't in a happy mood yesterday. Meanwhile, a ralk show host fired by Clear Channel says radio-veteran Stern is the political sacrificial lamb (duhhhh!) suspended to appease Congressional critics as hearings in Washington over indecency begin:""Anybody who believes this wasn't partially staged must also believe that Justin Timberlake was honestly shocked when he saw Janet Jackson's nipple at halftime of the Super Bowl, " who had been fired by a Clear Channel station in Sacramento, then rehired by a Clear Channel station in L.a. Rick Aristolte Munarriz thinks all this is going to greatly help satillite radio.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:34 AM


 

BIOLOGY IS HIGHLY POPULAR ON CAMPUSES: As the election-year culture war rages over Janet Jackson's breast, Howard Stern's mouth, and gay marriages, students at several colleges are publishing sexy magazines, complete with authentic student poses. One expert says it's backlash against political correctness.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:31 AM


 

THIS JUST IN!!!!!!!!!! Four men have been fined $300 each in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court for removing testicles from a bull statue in the beef capital. They had a lot of balls...
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:17 AM


Thursday, February 26, 2004  

Howard Stern was not a happy camper today on his show that aired on his remaining syndicated stations after being suspended by Clear Channel from their big-market stations. Reports say he ranted and complained and at one point even suggested he was being perscuted like Jesus. Then he- talked with his girlfriend on the air about their sexual encounter the night before. Meanwhile, World Net Daily columnist Joseph Farah declares "Good riddance to Stern," calling the shock jock "a filthy, profane, vulgar, obscene disgusting pig. He shouldn't be on the radio. He should be in the zoo."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:59 PM


 

TODAY IS AN IMPORTANT DAY!!! It's the 20th anniversary of the airing of the very first infomercial! It is truly a joyous occasion! I wouldn't draw all the compliments I do if I hadn't ordered a Thigh Master....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:55 PM


 

A German man who failed to settle a gambling debt called police after his dentures were seized as collateral, police said on Thursday. He reportedly won't get his teeth back until he's made SEVERAL payments -- and made a Polident in the debt. Police have sent out CHOPPERS to investigate. A dentist was called in to help: he knows the drill....(These are the jokes folks and they're free so don't complain..)
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:41 PM


 

BLOG OF THE DAY: Hey, we look at 'em on the right, on the left, and will even look at an anarchist blog (which we assume will have no margins, indentations, or spell check -- hey, WAIT: that's like The Moderate Voice!). Here at The Moderate Voice we attempt to find a counter blog for every kind of blog...so it's only fitting that if everyone knows the venerable Drudge Report on the right we would find the Drudge Retort on the left.
--- Somehow Matt Drudge didn't lock in www.drudge.com which takes you to the Drudge Retort. It's a scream because it's set up exactly like the Drudge Report, with the same fonts, same format, except stories are posted from a leftist standpoint, and listed news sources are liberal news sites and blogs. It also has good original stories, again posted quite simply, with the same Drudge Report style font and links. There is a LOT of information on this site -- just as on the Drudge Report, although perhaps a slightly less in the breaking news department. It's a great resource exactly (in look too) as the original Drudge Report is.
--- Let's face it. There is and will only be one Drudge Report with zillions of hits because Matt Drudge pioneered this format first and updates his site constantly all day. Even people who disagree with his personal politics visit his site often. The Drudge Retort is a bit closer to a more typical blog versus just news links but set up in Drudge style. You might want to book mark it and visit it each time you visit the other Drudge. For its healthy portions of original posts, great breaking news and news story links, liberal news site and liberal blogs links, and its extremely clever copy-cat look...we are proud to name the Drudge Retort our blog of the day.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:42 PM


 

Mel Gibson's new movie "The Passion" may be drawing huge crowds but behind the scenes in Hollywood some studio bigwigs are furious over what they consider tinges of antisemitism in the film and in statements by the actor's father, the New York Times reports. And, the Times says, it could impact Gibson's career.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:14 PM


 

"THE PASSION" GETS PASSSIONATE REVIEWS (good and bad): Excerpts of reviews courtesy USA Today.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:33 PM


 

HERE'S AN IDEA FOR CLEAR CHANNEL: Replace Howard Stern with The Janet Jackson Show.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:14 PM


 

RUSH IS WORRIED: Radio talk show king Rush Limbaugh, quoted on The Drudge Report (link above), warns his listeners that although he doesn't listen to Howard Stern, he's worried about the federal government getting involved in policing speech on the airwaves (hearings are underway in Congress) because if the Democrats get in they could find a reason to go after conservative talk-show hosts. He notes that there's a difference between a company clamping down and a government clamping down.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:04 PM


 


IF YOU READ IT CLOSELY DID PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH COME OUT AGAINST ACTUALLY BANNING GAY MARRIAGE?:
Glenn Reynolds, aka, InstaPundit doesn't think so after looking at the statements and what's on the table so far. And his views are seconded, by the way, by two top-rated L.A. talk show hosts (see item below on the John and Ken Show) who blasted Bush on the issue (the radio hosts' theory is that the Prez is trying to shore up and actually deceive his base and suggested more than he is actually advocating).
--- Besides having the most heavily read weblog on the Internet, Reynolds is law professor at the University of Tennessee, where he teaches constitutional law, administrative law, and Internet law. So his extensive take on this issue comes from a legal perspective. Read the full piece linked above but here are some main points:
--- 1. If you read what Bush and his press secretary said the amendment doesn't sound like it limits states into taking their own stands. "There is some stuff about marriage being a union of a man and a woman, but it sounds like that doesn't limit the states, though I could be wrong. But I don't see how," he writes.
--- 2. If a constitutional amendment limits marriage to being between a man and a woman, federally-recognized marriage benefits might be stopped to gay couples but only until Congress decides to grant the same benefits to gay couples directly by statute. "That's a barrier, but not one that goes beyond the Defense of Marriage Act, which already does that, and which is subject to change by a later statute."
--- 3. The "current rule under DOMA can be defeated by a statute. And after an amendment, we'd have . . . a rule that can be defeated by a statute."
--- 4. He feels it's really "much ado about nothing" since states ALREADY don't have to recognize each other's marriages under the Full Faith and Credit clause AND the Defense of Marriage Act so "we're talking about a constitutional amendment to constitutionalize a statute that recognized the constitutional status quo."
--- 5. The net effect, he predicts: "States are still free to adopt gay marriage if they want, perhaps subject to the rule that they call it something else, officially. And they're still free to decide whether or not to recognize other states' gay marriages. I hope that they'll do both, but it's not clear to me that this amendment will make any difference."
--- 6. Reynolds is against any constitutional amendment (he also does not believe in amending the constitution easily) and also was against DOMA. "I don't understand how letting gay people get married threatens heterosexual marriage...I suspect that to the extent it makes any difference at all in the wider society, gay marriage will prove to be a fundamentally conservative institution, with married gays taking the role of solid citizens that married people have traditionally taken."
--- 7. He's puzzled because if you look at what was said (and any proposed amendment is still vague) "I wonder why there's so much confusion on this subject, when the real news here seems to be that Bush supports leaving things exactly as they are."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:27 AM


 

CROWDS FLOCK TO "THE PASSION": San Diego Union-Tribune religion writer Sandi Dolbee did a story that completely captures the spiritual-media-marketing phenomena created by Mel Gibson in his controversial new movie. This is the single best news story I've read on the film's opening and crowd reaction (pro and con) to it. (FOOTNOTE: Dolbee is one of the country's most dynamic religion writers. I've read her stuff for years -- and worked with her when she was an assistant city editor on the San Diego UT). MUST READING if you are interested in this film. (If you like religion stories you'll want to read all of her pieces, especially the longer big-issue ones).
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:26 AM


 

"JUST LET IT GO, RALPH": Superb analysis by Chicago Sun Times' Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet on Ralph Nader's decision to run as a third party candidate. The article traces how Nader evolved from being an idealistic Green Party candidate who ran wanting to make a real impact in 2000 (he did but, not in the way he had in mind) to now appearing to be an ordinary ego-driven political hack.
--- Its conclusion:"Nader may become with this run someone he detests: a professional politician. Only he will be a failed one, and the words before his name may be "perennial candidate'' rather than "consumer advocate."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:44 AM


 

JANET'S MULTI MILLION DOLLAR BOOB: A report says Janet Jackson's antics in baring her you-know-what "accidentally" during the Superbowl halftime show has literally cost her millions due to ABC firing her from the Lena Horne bio pic (at the legendary singer's insistence) AND plans also axed for her to record a CD tribute to Horne. It quotes a source saying: ""Baring her boob may have made headlines worldwide, but it's looking like a case of short-term gain - long-term pain."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:26 AM


Wednesday, February 25, 2004  

WILL THE 911 COMMISSION BECOME A CAMPAIGN ISSUE? It seems that way. Several developments today:
--- 1. House Speaker Dennis Hastert told President Bush on he would not bring up any legislation to authorize the 60-day extension proposed by the commission and publically endorsed by the White House. Hastert, his spokesman said, wanted to get problems fixed quickly and also avoid the commission becoming a political football. The problem: the White House originally didn't want the date extended so now Democrats will likely charge the White House was behind the delay.
--- 2. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice has declined the commission's request to testify at a public hearing next month. She has testified in private.
--- 3. Former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore have agreed to meet privately with all commission members. President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney want to be questioned only by the commission's chairman, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, a Republican, and its vice chairman, former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton, a Democrat.
--- WHAT IT MEANS: From all indications (press reports, the many books that came out, some written by administration supporters) the FBI and CIA seemingly fumbled the ball through several administrations. The Bush administration has had a credibility problem and all this taken together won't help. If the Democrats make a big issue out of it and/or if the press pursues it there could be more erosion. Throughout American history when an administration loses credibility it's tough to regain it. The issue is now indeed likely to become a political football.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:52 PM


 

NOW AL GORE CAN DEEP KISS A CAT: Cat saliva is cleaner than dog drool.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:11 PM


 

BLOG OF THE DAY: I'm relatively new to this web log business and since I am SUPPOSEDLY an obsessive-compulsive (several friends tell me that, but they're WRONG and I will spend tomorrow researching ALL DAY the phrase's meaning at the library, do a Google search, and call my university contacts throughout the country to prove it to them!) I take away my former book reading, TV and even sleep time looking at other "blogs."
--- So what's really great is when you can see someone who just started a blog who is not an old gaseous emission (politically correct phrase) like me. It was therefore exciting to find The Smoking Room, a blog by 24-year-old Seattle journalist Greg Piper. I found it when he linked to me, and I read his blog which is packed with content.
--- A graduate of Seattle Pacific University in 2001, Piper used to run an alternative newspaper at his alma mater called Punch, which later morphed off into The Punch Bowl blog...which eventually was ended in favor of The Smoking Room. He deals with tons of topics: from concert reviews, court decisions, political and social issues and he can write with a touch of humor. And, above all, he isn't afraid to take a position. His postings have nice links and he has an exclusive number of high-quality links on the side of his blog page. You'll note that the links embrace a spectrum of political thought and don't all entail politics (some good music and humor links).
--- Piper makes a lot of interesting points that you don't find elsewhere. For instance on President George Bush's endorsement of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage he says this:
--- "But I think the most overlooked factor in this debate is the demographic trends. Break down opposition to gay-empowering legislation by age group and you find the most opposition among the elderly and the least among my generation (20s). How do you reverse that trend if you think enacting gay marriage is wrong?..That's a really big hurdle for the amendment forces to overcome: how do you keep the generations growing up from overturning the amendment? Are we going to have 10 years of no gay marriage, then another Prohibition-style reversal?"
--- Piper is thoughtful yet blunt-spoken in his writing, which can be both serious and friendly-conversational, depending on the posting. We always knew Seattle had great newspapers; now we know they have great blogs. And since he's going to be around for a while The Moderate Voice bets we're going to hear a LOT about him (and his blog) in coming years...and that's why we're proud to name The Smoking Room our Blog of the Day..
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:23 PM


 

ALAN GREENSPAN USES DIRTY WORDS: Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan uttered words in Washington that politicos consider dirtier than any Howard Stern ever said -- or will ever say. In an appearance today he raised the possibility of cutting Social Security benefits, sparking a wave of horror among the up-for-re-election political class in both parties.
--- For a brief, shining moment, partisanship was thrust aside and unity and consensus prevailed as politicians everywhere scrambled quickly to throw so much cold water on the idea that toilets in Washington couldn't be flushed for an hour.
--- You could almost hear the loud "OH NOOOOOOOOOOOHHHH!!!!!" coming from White House political chief Karl Rove's office. And President George Bush quickly responded by saying "benefits should not be changed for people at or near retirement."
--- Bush urged Congress to pass his own budget which forecasts a 50 percent decline in the deficit level over five years, although critics say his numbers don't add up. What did Greenspan suggest that sparked such revulsion, recoiling and re-checking of the latest political polls? He suggested raising the retirement age and trimming future cost-of-living adjustments to address shortfalls in Social Security revenues that are expected after about 2018. No one wants to touch that issue, especially the White House which has not gotten a ton of good economic news lately.
--- Reaction on the web was one of surprise, too.
--- The liberal The Talking Dog said "AARP won't be too upset, of course, because Greenspan promised that the current group of people receiving benefits (who by and large paid a far lower percentage of their income in payroll tax than current workers) shouldn't be effected, whereas people nearing retirement" would be out of luck. Actually, The Talking Dog used a word stronger than "luck."
--- Eschaton said: "Now, however, there isn't 1 trillion dollars sitting there to be used to partially-sorta-privatize social security even a little bit. What Greenspan is advocating, literally, is robbing Al's Lock Box."
--- And Daniel Drezner wrote: " Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is a newsmaker -- whenever he opens his mouth, it makes the news. That said -- and I'll be willing to concede that this may be my imagination -- he seems to be opening his mouth quite a bit this week.... The more Greenspan clears his throat like this, the more the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is going to get nervous."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:01 PM


 

High profile FORMER Bush supporter Andrew Sullivan continues his break today, increasingly focusing in his writings on the religioius right. This link is to an item he has on a blatantly anti-semetic act in Colorado. He also links to this cartoon (which he admits is "crude"). Meanwhile, Bush's endorsement of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage has upset some Republicans.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:28 PM


 

IT WAS A TASTE MALFUNCTION: Shock Jock Howard Stern is off the air -- and for how long?
--- It could be for a while.
--- Clear Channel Radio has booted the broadcast of Viacom's Howard Stern Show citing its Responsible Broadcasting Initiative announced earlier today. Clear Channel's President and CEO John Hogan called the Stern broadcast "vulgar, offensive, and insulting, not just to women and African Americans but to anyone with a sense of common decency" -- and those are just the parts of the show he liked.
--- "We will not air Howard Stern on Clear Channel stations until we are assured that his show will conform to acceptable standards of responsible broadcasting," he said.
--- Clear Channel Communications, Inc. is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, and it's the Wal Mart of media and entertainment, with radio and television stations, outdoor advertising displays, and live entertainment venues in 65 countries around the world. It has been under fire in some quarters for being almost a monoploy, a charge its officials have rejected. Stern's show was carried in six markets, including Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida; Rochester, New York; Louisville, Kentucky; San Diego, and Pittsburgh. It is syndicated by Infinity Broadcasting, a unit of Viacom Inc.
--- WHAT IT MEANS: It sounds as if Stern pushed the envelope. What seems to be happening in the U.S. right now is one side pushing the envelope on accepted standards, defying the existing order, and the other side clamping down hard when it pushes back. This is seen on the gay marriage issue and on Stern. In the case of Stern, he could see the handwriting on the wall but wanted to see if the ink could be erased. It couldn't be and the wall came tumbling down on him.
--- He'll either stay off the air a long time in Clear Channel's markets and become a new cause to some or he'll have to curtail some of his let's-push-it-further schtick. But the incident says a lot about deepening divisions in 21st Century America.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:56 PM


 

The Smoking Gun has a document that shows the whopping number of drugs David Gest had to take during his marriage to Liza Minelli. Their marriage had more hits than InstaPundit's blog . Think of how many drugs all of us would have had to take if we had to have gone through four years of Al Gore speeches...
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:57 AM


 

Republicans in Congress are reportedly not solidly supportive of President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and some have deep reservations. Sounds like this is a highly emotional and polarizing issue that will help in campaign ads and sound bites but it may have little likelihood of actually becoming reality.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:44 AM


 

Hungarian TV Hostess Strips to Run for Office:"A Hungarian TV hostess sat naked Wednesday to announce she is running for a seat in the European Parliament as candidate of the upstart Union Party."
Message to Barbara Walters: PLEASE DON'T LET THIS GIVE YOU ANY IDEAS.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:22 AM


 

TERESA HEINZ KERRY TAKES STAND ON MARRIAGE ISSUE: John Kerry's wife Teresa Heinz Kerry made it clear that she doesn't agree with President George Bush (or Laura Bush) on the volatile gay marriage issue.
--- She was accepting an endorsement from California firefighters for her husband when she said:"I think culturally we're going through a huge change...I look at it in a human context because I have friends in those situations, and it's terrible. All we owe people is dignity, respect and civil rights. I think the country will evolve.''
--- Her husband, she predicted, would vote against an amendment and while he supports same-sex civil unions, Kerry believes defining marriage should be left to the states.
--- ``I think with time, and without a lot of politicization of this, we'll get there,'' Heinz Kerry said. ``I think our country is basically a tolerant country.''"
--- Heinz Kerry want to play ketchup on this issue....
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:01 AM


 

McTERRORIST: CIA Director George J. Tenet warns that a wave of smaller, scattered terrorist organizations are now taking over where the badly damaged al-Qaida left off -- and that the terrorist network now resembles a network of small franchises. These small groups, he said, and pose the most serious threat to the United States and its allies and increasingly view Iraq as a 'golden opportunity' to rally to the cause.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:44 AM


 

EMINEM SUES APPLE:, They didn't have permission to use "Lose Yourself" so he's telling them "%@#& Yourself."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:07 AM


 

JOHN KERRY'S STRATEGY ON GAY MARRIAGE ISSUE: Kerry foreshadowed how he will deal with the volatile gay marriage issue today when he appeared on "Good Morning America." He'll deal with it head on: he'll say he opposes same sex marriage, then get back on campaign message by pointing to the issues that had been generally considered the ones year before President Bush yesterday announced he would back a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage -- and say Bush is trying to change the subject so issues damaging to him are minimized.
--- On ABC Kerry said he opposes gay marriage but favored allowing states to determine their own laws. IRONY: This means a Democrat is saying "leave it to the states" and the Republican is saying "lets get the federal government get involved." Kerry charged that Bush was using a 'wedge issue' to distract attention from jobs, education and other topics.
--- "I think he's a president in trouble and he's just looking for a political change of subject," Kerry told 'Good Morning America'. 'He doesn't want to talk about the real issues in front of the nation. "
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:22 AM


 

KERRY GETS THREE MORE PRIMARY VICTORIES: John Kerry triumphed, John Edwards didn't and (GULP) Dennis Kucinich took second place in Hawaii (but the islands are on THIS PLANET...how can it be???) Kerry won delegate elections in Utah, Idaho and Hawaii, earning 18 wins in 20 contests and denying rival John Edwards (news - web sites) another opportunity to add to his single win in the race for their party's nomination. Neither candidate campaigned in any of those states but have been focusing their attention on the 10-state Super Tuesday elections next week.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:13 AM


Tuesday, February 24, 2004  

German State Launches Market for Liquid Manure: From Reuters: "A German state said Tuesday it had set up the world's first centralized database to buy and sell liquid manure. "As far I know, this is the first manure market of its kind," Thomas Griese, deputy minister of the environment in North Rhine-Westphalia, told Reuters. "We are now waiting for our first customers." Sounds like a lot of b.s. to me.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:48 PM


 

In one of the most blunt reactions to President Bush's decision to back an amendment banning gay marriage, Discount Blogger predicts that rather than a political masterstroke to preserve his base GWB has just planted the seeds of a defeat come November by getting deeply involved in the bitter culture war.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:39 PM


 

A DANGER SIGN FOR PRESIDENT BUSH ON GAY MARRIAGE? John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou are the Kings of afternoon talk radio on L.A.'s KFI 640, the most popular talk radio station in the country. The John and Ken Show has been credited with helping the recall that installed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sacramento snowball into an electoral avalanche (Arnold even used them as emcees for some of his political events later on). They have also taken on the union in the never-ending Southern California grocer's strike and do whole shows poking holes in arguments by leading criminal attorneys in high-profile trials. And although they think many Democrats are Bozos they are not partisans and blasted President Bush on the proposed immigration amnesty.
--- GWB's decision to back a constitutional amendment on gay marriage generally got support from other conservative talk show hosts yesterday -- but if John and Ken represent the more independent voter then the President has to do a much better sales job.
--- Their drive-time afternoon show yesterday was peppered with their comments criticizing GWB's stand, callers breaking with the President -- plus Kobylt insisting that if you read the fine print of the bill the White House is supporting it doesn't ban gay marriage but bans forcing states to recognize gay marriages done in other states. Kobylt insisted GWB was trying to put one over on his evangelical backers.
--- They did two hours on the President's decision -- and most of it was critical. It suggested that while the White House may have solidified its restive base it has created unease among some other supporters.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:09 PM


 

CITIZEN SMASH'S SMASH TAKE ON MARRIAGE CONTROVERSY: I don't want to ruin it for you. Read it yourself. Not an analysis or diatribe. In a class by itself (like Citizen Smash).
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:33 PM


 

GAY MARRIAGE FIRESTORM: HOW WILL IT IMPACT THE CENTER? The firestorm over President Bush’s decision to back a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages has cheered the backbone of his conservative base but clearly angered or puzzled some supporters and left Democrats with a ticklish dilemma.
--- Now the looming question: how will this issue will play with swing voters? Will they feel an amendment is needed to protect marriage amid a seeming onslaught of its exclusive status in the courts and via city officials -- or will they view Bush’s statement as rolling out a highly emotional wedge issue during a time when the administration’s poll numbers (and good news stories) have been going down?
--- One of the most interesting reactions came from Glenn Reynolds, aka, InstaPundit: ‘I think that the SF marriages pushed him off the fence on this, and I think it's probably a bad thing for all concerned....Kerry and Edwards oppose gay marriage, but ...Machiavellian question -- is this why Bush made his statement right after Nader entered the race?”
--- Bush’s stance won him praise from political and religious group allies but it lost him the support of one of his highest-profile gay supporters, The New Republic’s Andrew Sullivan. In an item titled:”War Declared” Sullivan wrote:”Those of us who supported this president in 2000, who have backed him whole heartedly during the war, who have endured scorn from our peers as a result, who trusted that this president was indeed a uniter rather than a divider, now know the truth.”
--- And reservations about such a definitive stance came from the GOP camp, too: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said that while he appreciated Bush's "moral leadership" on the issue a decision shouldn't be made too fast on a constitutional amendment and he hasn't directly supported one. California Republican Reps. David Dreier and Jerry Lewis said a constitutional amendment might not even be necessary.
--- Bush's move was NOT unexpected: for weeks it has been slowly leaking out that the President would be coming out in favor of the ban. And this morning the Washington Post ran a story about thousands gay rights supporters “posting open letters on the Internet" urging the vice president's gay daughter Mary Cheney "to speak out against amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.”
--- Some critics suggest a piece of bad economic news signalled the timing of Bush’s annoucement: “Today, the Conference Board reported that consumer confidence plummeted in February, based on growing job fears, leading to a in the dollar. How does Bush respond? Well, it must be time for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, right? That will sure deal with the important issues facing consumers right now, won’t it?’ the weblog The Left Coaster said.
--- The bottom line: a highly emotional issue is now center-square in the middle of an election campaign originally slated to be fought over economic and national security issues. Now a highly polarizing year lies ahead -- one that could end in some re-alignment of parties due to this hot-button issue where middle ground is not enough for those with strong beliefs on both sides.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:08 PM


 

OH, NO! HOW CAN JANET JACKSON BE MADE TO SUFFER CONSEQUENCES??? Singer-actress Lena Horne has dumped Janet Jackson from being in her planned biopic due to her outrage over Jackson's "accidental" breast reveal during the Superbowl halftime show. This was clearly a move done on principle because the news report says it's questionable whether this project can now go foward. .
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:01 AM


 

A Los Angeles Times poll now finds that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed bond issues, in trouble just weeks ago, now would likely be passed. More signs of this new Governor's clout. The poll numbers have gone up dramatically as he has energetically barnstormed the state pressing for passage of these meaures. "Arnold" as he is called has said these measures were crucial to help get the state out of it's monster financial mess and he still enjoys considerable credibility.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:43 AM


 

GAY MARRIAGE IS NOW A MASSIVE CAMPAIGN ISSUE: President George Bush announced he supports a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage -- formally injecting a potentially potent social "wedge issue" into the 2004 campaign just as it is becoming a red-hot issue on the legal front.
--- The issue was actually injected into the campaign earlier by proponents of same sex marriages, who conducted a slew of marriages in various cities including a huge number in San Francisco. This shoved the issue centerstage via media coverage and created political pressures apart from judicial challenges. The result: the issue's formal debut in Bush's comments today.
--- The President called on Congress to "promptly pass and to send to the states for ratification an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as the union of a man and woman as husband and wife." He also said:
--- --The amendment should fully protect marriage while leaving state legislatures free to "make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage."
--- --Not allowing formal gay marriage doesn't mean freedoms are being restricted: "America is a free society, which limits the role of government in the lives of our citizens...This commitment of freedom, however, does not require the redefining of one of our most basic social institutions. Our government should respect every person and respect the institution of marriage...There is no contradiction between these responsibilities."
--- His annoucement was foreshadowed earlier comments by White House Press Secretary Scott McClleland who noted that Bush has always strongly believed that marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman." He said the president wants to end "growing confusion" that has arisen from court decisions in Massachusetts, and San Francisco's permitting more than 3,000 same sex unions.
--- Bush's annoucement, following weeks of demands from supporters that he take a crystal-clear stand and hints that he needed little persuading, now puts the focus squarely on the Democrats to take a firm stand. Emotions run so high on both sides on this issue that it has the potential of being one of the dominating issues of the 2004 Presidential election campaign.
But it has been the proponents of this issue who have
--- Meanwhile. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom invited Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Monday to visit San Francisco so he can see for himself how the same-sex weddings at City Hall have been peacefully accepted, rejecting the Governor's contention that such marriages can lead to civil unrest.
--- But a key catalyst for this issue's development and how energetically both sides in this polarizing issue react to efforts to pass a constitutional amendment will be the courts. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer plans to ask the state Supreme Court on Friday whether San Francisco's approval of same-sex marriages violates state law. Lockyer's announcement followed the city of San Francisco filing a constitutional challenge of California's prohibitions on same-sex marriages.
--- According to World Net Daily, in the case of San Francisco's lawsuit "the city is pressing for San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren, the grandson of famed U.S. Supreme Court Judge Earl Warren and a homosexual who was "outed" by San Francisco Magazine in June 2002. Although they won't divulge their reasons, the opponents of same-sex marriage are adamant about not arguing their case before Warren."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:35 AM


 

IMMIGRATION REFORM UPSETS BORDER PATROL: Border Patrol agents feel betrayed by the administrations' proposed immigration amnesty plan. The plan has run into problems with Republicans in Congress who are getting angry feedback from constituents -- but opposition to it is especially seen out in the field where Border Patrol agents feel they're getting mixed signals and are frustrated, as the Christian Science Monitor reports.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:49 AM


 

BRITISH KIDS ARE BROADENING THEIR HORIZONS: "LONDON - Children's average waistlines have expanded by about two clothing sizes in the past 20 years in what scientists said on Tuesday is further proof of the growing problem of obesity in the young. In a study of nearly 350 children aged 12-14, researchers at the East Leeds Primary Care Trust in England found that waistlines were four cm (1.6 inches) bigger than those of youngsters two decades ago."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:28 AM


Monday, February 23, 2004  

Protesters are reportedly gearing up to try to get from 500,000 to a million people out on the streets during this summer's Republican convention. And officials will make one thing very clear to them: New York's Mayor says NO SMOKING...
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:24 PM


 

WHO WANTS TO BE REGIS PHILBIN: ABC has a monster hit in the revamped return of the game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," the five-episode "Super Millionaire." It's such a big hit it might stave off a new corporate game show, "Who Wants To Be Disney's CEO."
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:35 PM


 

BLOG OF THE DAY:Outside the Beltway is another highly popular content-packed conservative weblog -- popular because of the way it's written, displayed, and the way it's creator James Joyner thinks.
--- Ideological classification aside (these days you MUST say where it falls) it's a place to consider and learn about issues and read well-excerpted original source material that is skillfully displayed. If you want a website filled with adjectives, insults and names hurled at other politicos or parties, Outside the Beltway is usually not it. OTB has dignity and you leave it better informed than when you arrived.
--- Joyner's site is endearing, no matter what your beliefs, and proof is seen in all the notices on weblogs about him having to look for a new job (he has gotten lots of suggestions). Here are several reasons why you need to explore and bookmark the site:
--- 1)Its layout. From the colorful Interstate Highway emblem on top, to the individual postings, it has a tidy, attractive look. Postings are in the form of news stories, blocked out in news article form. Joyner's comments are in between or after each "article" which makes you feel as if he's next to your side commenting on them as you're reading them.
--- 2)Joyner's comments are conversational but highly insightful and concise. It isn't talk-radio style rage or anger but issue discussion and dissection (which makes him persuasive to those who still have an open mind on an issue).
--- Still, when he's flabbergasted he bluntly lets you know, as when he looked at California's latest crisis over gay marriage:"Amazing. California is in danger of becoming a Third World political system. Between the farcical recall procedure they just went through, a mayor openly flouting the law, the courts refusing to enforce the law, and the attorney general and a mayor simply ignoring executive orders, the state is in virtual anarchy."
--- 3)Content: Everything from breaking stories such as the Marines landing, to a media critic exploring the press coverage, to a "linkfest" which he lists a bunch of topics taken up by various weblogs and gives their links.
--- In short: Outside the Beltway is crammed with content, beautifully designed, and brimming with links and honesty... which is why we proudly name Outside the Beltway our Blog of the Day.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:29 PM


 

ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTERS NEED MORE WORK TO DO: Read this story and see why.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:26 PM


 

A NEW FORM OF JOURNALISM: The Moderate Voice has gotten several phone calls from friends (we do have them) asking "What is a blog?" Sadly, they asked that after reading this blog...(a joke..I HOPE).
--- We've (seriously) explained to them a "blog" is a weblog and it's basically a new and growing free-for-all-on-the-Internet format for opinion and journalism -- without any editors. So the question then becomes: if it's so terrific why doesn't it have any impact on the mainstream news media? I tell them it does: you can see it the pioneering Drudge Report's impact, although the accuracy record there is not stellar.
--- But today there was another MAJOR example, when CNN took up a piece by Centerfield's Rick Heller (who I recently "met" by email) on how George Steinbrenner was funding anti-Dean Ads. Go to the two links and read his two posts on this subject. (Also, note that when he gives thanks to the Drudge Retort that is the leftist-Drudge Retort, not to be confused with the rightist Drudge Report.) The Drudge Report and Heller prove that weblogs can impact mainstream news coverage.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:13 PM


 

NOT OFF TO A PERFECT START: President George Bush unofficially launched his Presidential re-election campaign but it seemed to get off to a slightly bumpy start. The reasons it didn't seem like a smooth take-off:
--- 1. THE CAMPAIGN THEME: In a speech before Republican governors, he told them: "So far, all we hear (from Democrats) is a lot of old bitterness and partisan anger."
--- The problem: Partisan anger and bitterness has been the norm in recent years. In fact, historians can (and do) argue it has been the norm during political cycles for centuries here. Partisan anger and bitterness (plus incredible incompetence as a campaigner) is what swept Al Gore (or, rather, the many versions of Al Gore) away in 2000. It's what swept out a Democratic Congress in 1994. It's what led to some Republican losses, helped lead to Gerald Ford's defeat, ETC. The University of Virginia's Larry Sabato has noted how certain characteristics and personality traits in a select group of Presidents (and Bush has been ONE of them) have aroused great antipathy.
--- So this argument will firm up his GOP base but won't win over any independents or Democrats. Bush did much better when he declared: "Our opponents have not offered much in the way of strategies to win the war, or policies to expand our economy" and said his administration was taking on the big issues "with strength and resolve and determination." That is the kind of message that might help him convince open-minded independents and non-partisans. It's basically "put up or shut up" for the Demmies. Can the Demmies put up?
--- 2. THE MILITARY SERVICE ISSUE REVIVED BY HIS CAMP: Just when it SEEMED like the fuss over President Bush's National Guard military service record had begun to subside, his campaign chairman revived it in a way that is almost the equivalent of Sen. Gary Hart's infamous invitation to the press to "follow me around." Joshua Marshall writes that
Marc Racicot claimed President Bush had volunteered for service in Vietnam, but hadn't been 'selected' -- a statement flatly contradicting SEVERAL of GWB's own statements to reporters. Marshall documents what the President said and what his campaign chairman said. UPDATE: He later posted excerpts from an older Bush interview that could be construed as supporting his campaign chair, but would still open the door ajar to heated debate and controversy since it wasn't quite definitive and still clashed with Bush's more recent comments to reporters such as NBC's Tim Russert.
--- The problem: the White House has been slowly -- too slowly for many GOP activists -- digging itself out of a growing credibility gap.
--- This gap (as in the case of Vietnam) begins with press reports, festers unless it it rebutted, and spreads to the general population, is picked up in polls, becomes part of the conventional wisdom...and is then cited by the press, pointing to the polls that press skepticism helped foster.
--- All that GWB's main man did was to defy the press to dig further, run the conflicting quotes...thus running the danger that it becomes a Democratic campaign issue, is reflected in the polls, spreads to press reports. Etc.
--- Our friendly advice: Mr. President buy your campaign chairman a nice, big roll of duct tape or get ready to explain why you said what you said on the record.
--- OVERALL OUTLOOK: Accusations of Democrats being partisan won't gain votes from those who are open-minded. Put up or shut up WILL -- and Bush's campaign chairman should shut up on the military service issue (unless he wants the controversy to start up again).
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:15 PM