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.

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More

   LEFT - Links

Al Franken
Atrios Blog
The Talking Dog
American Prospect
Max Speak
Drudge Retort
Pragmatic - Progressive
Donkey Rising
Skippy The Bush Kangaroo
Democratic Veteran
The Left Coaster
The Raw Story


-CENTER - Links

Andrew Sullivan
Dem Watch
Dean's World
Peoria Pundit
Staunch Moderate
Winds of Change
NewsFly Org


  This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Sunday, February 29, 2004  

SURVEY #3: Latest political jokes (doesn't matter who it disses). (Fill in COMMENT BOX)
 .... e-mail address not required.
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)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:08 PM


SURVEY #1: Answer this question: Who do you want for President and why? (Fill in COMMENT BOX)
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.....
 .... e-mail address not required.
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..."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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!).
 .... e-mail address not required.
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..."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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).
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
--- --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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:33 PM


Big mystery in Wyoming, where hundreds of elk are dying. Other species seem unaffected....
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:11 PM


: 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.....
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.......
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.'"
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."

 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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........
 .... e-mail address not required.
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

 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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?
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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....
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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?
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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...
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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...
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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....
 .... e-mail address not required.
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..)
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:14 PM


"THE PASSION" GETS PASSSIONATE REVIEWS (good and bad): Excerpts of reviews courtesy USA Today.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:33 PM


HERE'S AN IDEA FOR CLEAR CHANNEL: Replace Howard Stern with The Janet Jackson Show.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:04 PM


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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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).
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:52 PM


NOW AL GORE CAN DEEP KISS A CAT: Cat saliva is cleaner than dog drool.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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..
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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...
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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....
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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. "
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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).
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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. .
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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...
 .... e-mail address not required.
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."
 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:29 PM


 .... e-mail address not required.
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.
 .... e-mail address not required.
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).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:15 PM


WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN DEPARTMENT: Education Secretary Rod Paige called the nation's largest teachers union a 'terrorist organization' during a private White House meeting with governors on Monday. Both Democrats and Republicans say it was a joke -- but the words will probably come back to haunt him and the administration. Why? It's an e-l-e-c-t-i-o-n y-e-a-r.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:21 PM


The American Thinker thinks Ralph Nader will be a big problem for John Kerry, constituting Howard Dean's Revenge: Dean's leftist supporters will turn towards Nader, creating strategical dilemmas for Kerry's general election campaign.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:11 AM


WHY THIRD PARTY HOPES FADE: In light of Ralph Nader's decision to run in the 2004 Presidential election, Max Sawicky, writing in MaxSpeak, declares "No Thanks Ralph" and outlines the big flaw in most third party runs that generally impact who eventually wins and loses more than the people who voted for them seeking another long-term party option:
--- "What do Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson, and Pat Buchanan have in common?" he writes. "They have all exploited and stoked anti-establishment sentiment, and they have all steadfastly refused to create democratic organization that would amplify and sustain such sentiment. By contrast, Barry Commoner in 1980 and Ross Perot in the 90s created real and open organizations. Nader has had eight years to create something beyond a personal PR machine to show for his efforts. We know he has organizational skills because he has started up a raft of useful Washington advocacy groups."
--- He details how recent third party and insurgents fared, especially criticizing Pat Buchanan for essentially helping deflate the promising Perot organization with his third party run. And as for Nader in 2000 and 2004?
--- "I do not buy the excuse of the Dems that Nader cost them the 2000 election. I like everyone I've met who has supported Nader in the past. I want no part of any personal vilification of any of them. I doubt Nader will have much impact in this election," he writes. "His campaign is a mistake and an unfortunate sink for progressive energies. We should be able to do much better.... What did you get from Nader after the 2000 election?"
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:39 AM


QUOTATIONS ABOUT NADER RUN: The San Francisco Chronicle ran a wrap up of quotations on the decision by Ralph Nader to run on a third party ticket in the 2004 presidential election campaign against President George Bush and the Democratic nominee. If you look at the slightly-edited-down-by-me quotes below you can see that Democrats are upset and angry, Republicans are absolutely gleeful and environmentalists are furious:
--- --Florida Democratic Party Chairman Scott Maddox: "(Ralph Nader) is proving that the only master that he serves is his enormous ego."
--- -- Iowa Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack: "People who voted for him the last time recognize they made a mistake, and they won't do it again."
--- --Democrat Al Sharpton: "I'm going on a national crusade to stop Nader. This is only going to help Bush."
--- --Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "Republicans love Ralph Nader!"
--- --Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huck:"We're happy that Ralph Nader's joined the fray... Maybe Jesse Jackson can run, and Justin Timberlake will get on the ballot. Who knows? Bring in all of them ... because we're solidly united behind George Bush."
--- --Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund: "It is monumentally irresponsible for Ralph Nader, who professes a reverence for our natural environment, to take any step that aids the president's re-election bid."
--- --Pat Lamarche, Green Party candidate for Maine governor in 1996 (who calls for his party not to field any presidential candidate this year):"It's of absolute, utmost importance that George Bush is not re-elected."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:12 AM


RALPH NADER'S RUN CLARIFIES SOME MORE: More details emerging about Ralph Nader and his run for President as a third party candidate against President George Bush and the Democratic nominee:
--- 1.He vows to do it even if the race is a dead heat.
--- 2. He's vowing to put the focus more this time on President George Bush: "I'd go after Bush even more vigorously as we are in the next few months in ways that the Democrats can't possibly do because they're too cautious and too unimaginative, but they can pick up the vulnerabilities and the failures of the Bush administration that we point out," he told ABC's "Good Morning America."
--- 3. Democrats say he has promised not to criticize the Democratic nominee put aim his fire at the Bush administration. He says he intends to do just that unless the Democrats go after him.
--- 4. He still says both parties are dominated by "corporate" interests and that's why he's going to run to give people a choice.
--- 5. Democrats are not happy and even those who've been sympathetic to him think it's an unfortunate decision since it could throw the election to GWB and damage Nader's legacy.
--- 6. Most experts, analysts, etc think he'll have trouble getting on the ballot but Nader intends to use the same funding and organizing approaches as Howard Dead did. Many of these are internet based and involve small contributions. A quote in a recent Newsweek indicates Nader got lots of emails from Dean supporters after their candidate fizzled, asking him to run -- some as "payback" to John Kerry.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:20 AM

Sunday, February 22, 2004  

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told national TV audiences that he really means it when he says he fears serious civil unrest unless same-sex marriages are halted at San Francisco's City Hall. The Gov also told one interviewer that he thinks foreign-born citizens who've been in the U.S. for years and contributed to the country should be able to run for President. But he is NOT thinking about running, mind you...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:34 PM


FASTEN YOUR POLITICAL SAFETY BELTS: A Sacramento Bee article predicts the 2004 Presidential election campaign could be one of the most bitter, ugly, and hotly contested since the 19th century. Just read the quotes from each side and you'll agree....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:27 PM


MAN ARRESTED FOR DRIVING WHILE WATCHING PORN MOVIE IN NEW YORK:The guy was charged with a public display of offensive material, driving with a suspended license and driving while watching a television. I wonder if it's the movie I saw years ago, that Jewish porn movie: "Debbie Does Nordstrom's."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:09 PM


BLOG OF THE DAY: Some lesser-known weblogs (like the one you're reading) are wordy. Some highly popular blogs (like the most popular weblog, InstaPundit) are succinct. Most blogs deal with an issue and give an opinion. But there are sites comprised almost entirely of links, like that blogging pioneer The Drudge Report which also does some original (and not-always-accurate) reporting. Drudge is identified with the right...but there are some link-type blogs on the left as well.
--- One of the best: Mostly Links. And that's exactly what it is. Mostly links. Just that.
--- Mostly links is a little jewel of a liberal site.. Well-laid-out, tastefully and colorfully designed, Mostly Links is and easy to navigate. It contains some links each day for important articles, most of them from a left or Democratic perspective. Recent articles included pieces on President's Bush's credibility, his plans to appoint conservative judges, GWB and John Kerry's membership in the secret Yale Skull and Bones Society, homeland security, Cuba and more.
--- But what's great about Mostly Links is that it is also a treasure's chest of other vital links: to news organizations, candidates, blogs, political sites, opinion sites, so-called "Required Reading" (liberal sites), humor sites, various blogs and so-called "Evil Heathens" (conservative sites). It really doesn't matter WHERE you stand politically -- Mostly Links is a resource for EVERYONE.
--- There isn't a lot of writing when you get to the homepage because this site is just what it advertises itself to be: Mostly Links, so it lives up to its advertising and fulfills its mission perfectly. For its offerings of political writings, its exhaustive collection of links, its tasteful design, friendly coloring and for delivering exactly what it promises...we are proud to name Mostly Links our Blog of the day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:48 PM


A BLOGGER'S SURPRISE MEETING AND INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: The full account of blogger Rex Hammock's meeting with GWB. One impression:"He is definitely not a wonk, but he knows clearly what he believes needs to happen for the country and its economy to prosper. I don't think the circular arguments regarding "what ifs" and "what abouts" interest him. Nor me, for that matter." Go to this link for the full account.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:13 PM


The Weekly Standard's wrap-up of Ralph Nader's announcement that he'll run as an independent candidate underlines how Nader is now especially irked at liberals and the Democratic party in general.
--- Nader feels the libs and Demmies have sold out to special interests: "Sounding a lot like, well, a conservative, he said that those urging him not to run--a motley crew that includes the editors of the Nation magazine, ice-cream magnate Ben Cohen, and an assortment of websites such as Ralphdontrun.net and NoNader.org--were all members of the 'liberal intelligentsia,'" the magazine reports, noting that Democrats fear Nader will indeed siphon away sorely needed votes in a close election. Nader clearly doesn't care because he feels the party doesn't stand for anything (and then there is the ego factor).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:45 PM


Shameless Self-Promotion AD

www.FamilyEntertainer.com  Joe Gandelman
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:42 PM


JOURNALISTIC NO-NO: It certainly looks as if InstaPundit Glenn Reynolds caught the already-battered New York Times in a case of quote re-run-itus or, at the very least, a desperate need to expand its sources-on-our-Rolodex file. He turns up a quote that looks recycled, at the very least. (CONSOLATION TO THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, at least in this case the quote wasn't made up....)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:28 AM


GREAT POLITICAL SONG PARODIES: Just click on this link and sample The Capitol Steps. Their site has some new ones including "Shout" (Howard Dean) and a Democratic primary medley, plus their classic We Arm The World (We Are The World) and Condoleeza (to the tune of Mona Lisa). These folks started out as Republican pages doing satire for a hobby under President Gerald Ford and are now fulltime satirists beloved by politicos of both parties on Capitol Hill (although Bob Dole was reportedy extremely unhappy with their parody of him singing "Viagra" to the tune of West Side Story's "Maria")
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:15 AM


If you've been living on Jupiter, here is news you may have missed: as of this morning Ralph Nader is officially in and will run as a third party candidate for President. He argues that Washington has become “corporate occupied territory” and that there there is too little difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. The question: will he be siphoning off needed Howard Dean voters from the Democratic Party? Right now both parties are publically discounting Nader's significance: the Democrats saying it won't matter because they'll get former Nader voters; the Republicans saying it won't matter because Bush will win anyway no matter what.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:29 AM


It was a recipe for controversy: the Girl Scouts in Waco, Texas sponsored Planned Parenthood's "Nobody's Fool Conference" and it honor Planned Parenthood's executive director. So now some parents are boycotting the cookies, and cancelling orders while other parents are buying more cookies than planned and increasing their orders. Truly a crummy issue........
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:15 AM


A company that makes guacamole for Whole Foods and Trader Joe's is recalling its chip dips to stores in southern California, Arizona and Nevada because they are potentially contaminated with a food pathogen that could cause illnesses including nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. There's a real run on this product.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:19 AM


EDITOR'S NOTE: A British newspaper reports Osma bin Laden has been surrounded and it's only a matter of time before he is captured. However, The Moderate Voice checked with its impeccable intelligence sources and they provided us with this alternative list. (These are EXCELLENT sources; they recently gave Drudge a scoop about a Kerry affair..) ...SO WHERE IS OSMA BIN LADEN?
1. Hiding under Joan Rivers' new face.
2. Drinking whiskey in a cave -- in other words bombed back to the stone age.
3. Modeling for a New Jersey thong company.
4. Working on a new show for ABC, "Who Wants To Be A Millionarie Terrorist"
5. Been hired to do a reaaally hostile takeover of Disney...
6. Duck hunting with Vice President Dick Cheney and Supreme Court
...Justice Antonin Scalia (but they say there's no conflict of interest).
7. Baking bagels in Connecticut, but no one recognizes him (he gained 60 lbs
...by eating tons of beef on the Atkins diet).
8. Hired for a hush-hush Mission Impossible job: secretly developing eyebrows
...for Dick Gephardt.
9. Walking from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia (he's afraid to fly since airplanes are unsafe).
10. Working on plan to outsource threats of the West's total destruction
....to telephone operators in India.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:56 AM


CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL DOESN'T LIKE ARNOLD MUSCLING IN ON HIS TURF: That's what it sounds like here in CA, where Attorney General Bill Lockyer made it clear that he doesn't like The Gov's strongly worded comments panning San Francisco's defiant action on gay marriages. The AG is going to defend the state against the city's legal action which is trying to overturn family code sections that stipulate marriage in California must be between a man and a woman.
--- The AG was not pleased when Arnold called the city's action ``an imminent risk to civil order'" and ordered him to battle the issue in court: "I sort of resent it when Arnold plays Conan the Barbarian for the right wing and directs me to do something. He doesn't have the authority to do that,'' Lockyer said.
--- PS: Could you have guessed that Lockyer has been mentioned as a possible opponent who'd run against Schwarzenegger next time?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:26 AM


RAGE AND OUTRAGE EVERYWHERE: And, no, this time it is not about Janet Jackson's breast..........
--- Anger is the motif of the day. The points are often well-taken, criticisms often deserved, yet we almost seem in an era of political road outrage. Go to the links to get more details but we'll try to condense it:
--- JOHN KERRY GOES BALLISTIC (or does he?): In a letter to President Bush John Kerry accused him of using surrogates to attack his military service in Vietnam and his anti-war activism as a youth. Kerry wrote: "As you well know, Vietnam was a very difficult and painful period in our nation's history, and the struggle for our veterans continues. So, it has been hard to believe that you would choose to reopen these wounds for your personal political gain. But, that is what you have chosen to do."
--- Kerry was reacting to Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss saying during a conference call arranged by the Bush campaign that Kerry has a "32-year history of voting to cut defense programs and cut defense systems."
--- Kerry went onto say that Bush used the same strategic technique of questioning Senator John McCain's commitment to defense in the 2000 race for the Republican presidential nomination, and during the Chambliss's race to unseat Vietnam Veteran Max Cleland. In both cases it worked.
--- But Kerry delivered his biggest zinger on ABC: "I don't know what it is that all these Republicans who didn't serve in Vietnam are fighting a war against those of us who did.."
--- Meanwhile, Cleland delivered this low-key olive branch to the man who defeated him in his Senate race:""For Saxby Chambliss, who got out of going to Vietnam because of a trick knee, to attack John Kerry as weak on the defense of our nation is like a mackerel in the moonlight that both shines and stinks."
--- WHAT THIS LOFTY LANGUAGE MEANS: Putting aside partisan adjectives mocking or defending Kerry's "you-hurt-my-feelings" stance, what Kerry is doing is indicating he won't allow attacks to go unanswered or the surrogate technique (used by all sides in recent years) to be used without pointing to the purported originating source. It means the GOP faces a MUCH tougher opponent in Kerry than many originally thought.
--- A WALL STREET JOURNAL COLUMNIST LAMBASTS DEMOCRATS: Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, blasts the Democrats in a column for personalizing the Iraq issue via accusing President Bush of lying instead of simply making a judgment call about which Democrats disagree..
--- The crux of it, is that he says the Democrats can if they wish "sustain a strategy to dismantle and demolish the authority of an American president. But it may not be in the country's interest to do so, and given what we now know about rogue nations seeking rogue weapons, it is dangerous to do so. It allows the believers in presidential mendacity--an increasing share of the electorate, which is the purpose of the Edwards-like charges--to become convinced that Iraq was never a serious player in the nuclear-bomb game. If you can talk yourself into believing Iraq was not a threat, you can, as easily, minimize the importance of other real threats."
--- THE MEANING: That, in fact, is a valid point. Where Henninger falls short, as Salon's Scott Rosenberg points out, is in suggesting that questioning a President' integrity in a massive way is at all new. It is the new modus operandi and the GOP has indulged in it, too. The University of Virginia's Larry Sabato has pointed out that Bush hatred mirrors Clinton-Nixon hatred. Accusational overkill during campaigns (and during non-campaigns) is not unusual in politics these days. Henninger's outrage over the message it might send to rogue nations is valid but it doesn't trump election year freedom of speech. Presidents have been skewered throughout history and even a terrorist threat won't short circuit the centuries old, unseemly American-style of Democracy.
--- PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER ASKS DEMOCRATS TO TELL HIM SOMETHING NEW: Kevin Ferris, a member of The Inquirer Editorial Board, lowers the anger level and raises the rationality level in asking Democrats to scrap what he considers tired old 2000 charge retreads about President Bush (the National Guard, etc) and asks them to answer some specific questions. His column counters Bush administration flaws with trade-off strengths. Some points are weaker than others, but he makes a good case -- then takes the Demmies to task for being stuck in a time-warp on old issues. He writes:
--- "Democrats need to tell me something I don't already know. How (or will) the war on terrorism continue under a Democratic administration? What parts have gone right? What needs to change? When do you look for broad international coalitions, and when do you go alone? Can you withstand the international condemnation that can come with going alone? What will your policy of preemption look like? What will you do differently to keep places such as Iran and North Korea free of nuclear weapons? Will foreign leaders - allies and foes - believe you when you threaten to use force?
--- "We know how Bush will act. That's his burden - or strength. It's what he's done lately that will make a difference. Not reruns from campaign 2000."
--- MEANING: Superb questions. Still, both parties have indulged in digging up old issues histories, scandals, etc in recent years. The reality is: both parties (and their partisans) use whatever they POSSIBLY CAN to boost their candidate and undercut the other candidate. Can we get both parties to sign a cease fire and only debate current problems and challenges (yeah, RIGHT!)?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:47 AM

Saturday, February 21, 2004  

BLOG OF THE DAY: It was pretty clear from the start that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to make lots of news. After all, here was a self-declared non-politico politico who was all over the place politically, an actor whose movies were still being shown on cable and still appealed to modern audiences(for some strange reason Ronald Reagan's classic Bedtime for Bonzo and his other films were not aired that much when he was President), plus he could also have an impact on the 2004 presidential race -- and then there was his Kennedy clan-linked wife.
--- Now, add to this exotic stew the polarizing gay marriage issue..and guess who is smack dab in the middle of it? So more than ever "Arnold" (this first name recognition makes him the California equivalent of New York's beloved "Hillary") is BIG news.
--- And here is the bottom line: if you want to follow Arnold and California you MUST visit and bookmark California Insider.
--- California Insider is Daniel Weintraub, the public affairs columnist for the editorial pages of the Sacramento Bee. This web log is part of the Bee, one of California's best newspapers. And Weintraub is one of the state's best columnists. In fact, on state matters he is virtually unsurpassed.
--- California Insider has updated items, but it also offers you a link to Weintraub's solid columns. His blog entries are of varying lengths, are always are informative and often put things perfectly into perspective. You'll get tidbits about the budget, how "Arnold" schmoozes and charms legislators (the emotional marriage issue may sour that a bit), opinion polls -- a wide variety of topics with no wasted words.
--- You simply cannot understand California or truly follow The Gov without reading California Insder, a blog written by a highly informed professional journalist who is not pushing any partisan or ideological line. I suspect we're going to see a LOT of California's new Governor in the future which is all the more reason to check up on California Insider.
--- For its variety, utmost professionalism, timeliness and consistent quality...we are pleased to name California Insider our Blog of the Day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:38 PM


IS OSAMA BIN LADEN NOW BOXED IN? The San Jose Mercury-News has a report that a British newspaper will run a story by British investigative journalist and author Gordon Thomas indicating Osama is trapped -- and all that's needed now is an order to get him.
--- Here is the key excerpt:
--- "The US special forces are "absolutely confident" there is no escape for bin Laden and are waiting for the order to snatch the shadowy terrorist leader. The timing of that order will ultimately depend on President George Bush, the report says. 'Capturing bin Laden will certainly be a huge help for him as he gets ready for the election. It will be an even bigger bonus than getting Saddam.' The article goes on to say bin Laden's movements are continually monitored by a US National Security Agency satellite positioned over the land in which the wealthy Saudi is trapped."
--- UPDATE: The paper that published the report is the Sunday Telegraph. See link for full story:
--- "The paper claims he is in a mountainous area to the north of the Pakistani city of Quetta. The region is said to be peopled with bin Laden supporters and the terrorist leader is estimated to also have 50 of his fanatical bodyguards with him.
--- The claim is attributed to "a well-placed intelligence source" in Washington, who is quoted as saying: "He (bin Laden) is boxed in.'"
--- And the Israeli newspaper Haartez adds this about a report in another British newspaper, the Independent:Another British newspaper, The Independent, on Sunday quoted Pakistani military and intelligence sources as saying that Pakistan will mount new operations on its Afghan border aimed at cornering Al-Qaida terrorists in the area where Osama bin Laden may be hiding."
--- The Indepedent points to the Express' report citing "two senior American sources" - a senior Republican and an intelligence source saying bin Laden is within a 10 mile by 10 mile area being monitored by an American spy satellite.
--- "But, The Independent continued, Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that to his knowledge bin Laden has not been 'boxed in,'" Haaretz reports.
--- PoliBlogger's Steven Taylor believes the reports should be taken with a huge chunk of salt since "if any responsible journalist in the US had hard evidence that Bush could have bin Laden today, but is simply waiting for the appropriate timing, then it would be all over the tv...It is news pieces like this one that make me always dubious about amazing stories from the British press."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:08 AM


NADER THE POLITICAL TRAITOR? Ralph Nader will announce this weekend that he's going to run but a Salon article indicates he's burning his bridges and may be reviled by former allies.
--- President Bush's opponents are above all looking for someone who's electible...to get GWB out. Salon's article quotes one-time Nader allies as saying things such as: "It's hypocrisy of the highest level..egotism of the highest level...dishonesty of the highest level to say 'I'm running as an independent,' when he's...nothing but a shill for George Bush. A shill, period." OR "His candidacy will tarnish his image and help the president. In my view that's unhealthy."
--- The Green Party candidate for California's U.S. Senate seat gives another indication that this time Nader's biggest supporters (and I bet in the end contributors) will be Republicans: "I love and appreciate him, but I definitely want to get Bush out of office, so I won't vote for him, which would be a first for me," says Medea Benjamin.
--- Citizen Smash also has some GREAT reaction quotes on Nader's soon-to-be-announced and denounced entrance.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:44 AM


GAY MARRIAGE: THE WEDGE ISSUE IS NOW HERE: In this case the Right, the White House and the California's Governor's office clearly can't be accurately blamed for creating an emotional "wedge" issue at election time. The issue of gay marriage is so dominating the news now that it's going to HAVE to be a 2004 campaign issue. But perhaps proponents (who can't read polls) want it that way.
--- And if an item on California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's website is any indication, those who've pressed this issue in California -- forcing each political party to get ready to take a stand on it (and guess which party can take a stronger stand and still keep its base?) -- were not acting because the wording on the marriage application was vague.
--- Here is the relevant fact from CNN:
"Schwarzenegger posted a statement Thursday on his Web site saying that the marriage certificates issued to same-sex couples do not meet state legal standards that require that a marriage be between a man and a woman. The certificates were changed to read "first applicant" and "second applicant" instead of 'bride' and 'groom.'"
--- So in order to marry same-sex couples wording on these applications had to be CHANGED by hand. Even a 9 year old knows that if you change a classification on a piece of paper you are CHANGING what's on the paper. If you had to cross it out and change it, how could you argue it had been "vague?"
--- "The attorney general has assured me that he will vigorously defend the constitutionality of the law in the case brought against the state by San Francisco," the governor's statement said.
--- This is confirmation (as if there were any doubt) that San Francisco officials allowing and encouraging the marriages to go through are indeed actively seeking.. legal confrontation on this issue right now...which means clarification and polarization (my apologies to Jesse Jackson). Now other officials elsewhere, such as in New Mexico, are following suit.
--- "It's going to be across the country and so we wanted to be ahead of the curve,'' New Mexico's Sandoval County County Clerk Victoria Dunlap said as she allowed gay couples to marry there as well. She also contends New Mexico state law is gender vague.
--- Suddenly, this issue has popped up. It has been pitchforked into national headlines, led to Evangelical pressure on the White House for action, and generally divided this country along these two lines: a)the state must "protect" and defend marriage because it's meant to be between a man and a woman, b)it isn't the state's business and most laws don't really restrict it to a man and a woman -- laws are blurry as to genders.
--- But a larger, less lofty issue is this: precisely why has this issue popped up RIGHT NOW (and not created by conservatives) and what was the intent in pressing it RIGHT NOW? Aren't there other high-stakes issues on this country's plate that need to be seriously addressed during the campaign? Remember: the media is like an attention deficit kid who has trouble focusing on too many issues at the same time.
--- Opinion and blogs are divided on this issue. A quickie sample of a just a few:
--- Selling Waves offers some out-of-the-box quotes on the issue, plus a list of politicos who back it and notes that students across the country are comparing it to the 1940s debate of interracial marriage.
--- Left Coast Conservative expressed disgust over the issue, saying who marries who is not a concern and the two parties "spend all their time poking each other's eyes out, instead of working together when our State and more importantly country are in a War of the ages against Terrorism...Are you telling me this country is going to debate Gay marriage this Election Season! We are at WAR... You just Don't get it."
---Wherever You Are, quoting Arnold's statement that the marriages are "an imminent risk to civil order" declares:"Man the barricades, all you decent, upstanding folk! Truly, society is plummeting remorselessly towards sick depravity! Same-sex couples are getting married!"
--- Right Thinking From the Left Coast says The Gov is right:"If San Francisco disagrees with the law against gay marriages, then it should spearhead a movement to change the California law, not to subvert it. ...SF Mayor Gavin Newsome should be prosecuted if he continues, but I simply don't see our illustrious (attorney general) doing anything about it."
--- Noting that gay couples split up less frequently, on her-his-its-own wavelength Ayn Clouter (is it serious or a satire?) adds this unusual twist:"Obviously, if married gay couples would divorce less, there would be less money for divorce lawyers. Clearly Bush should be able to squeeze contributions from them like a sponge by pointing this out. This also gives him a way to begin splitting up the united front of anti-Republican trial lawyers. Go for it, George!"
--- Andrew Sullivan: "Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. But he was adamant about the impermissibility of divorce. How can the Protestant right ignore his direct teachings on one and yet demand Constitutional action against the other? On their own Biblically inerrant terms? Can someone clue me in here."
--- One Hand Clapping's Donald Sensing's writings: Truly the most exhaustive and thoughtful exploration of philosophical, religious and legal issues around from a conservative with a strong military background who is now a pastor. Unsurpassed, even if you disagree with him.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:42 AM

Friday, February 20, 2004  

"LET'S MOOFF...": California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered California's attorney general Friday to take legal action to terminate San Francisco from granting marriage licenses to gay couples. We're witnessing the creation of a huge wedge issue BY THE LEFT (activists and sympathetic government officials in various states) at a time when the reaction it'll cause is most likely to backfire on them (election time: polls show most Americans aren't sympathetic).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:43 PM


BLOG OF THE DAY: I've gotten some emails from several folks who say: "Enough of this 'moderate' garbage! Moderates don't exist anymore!" Well, actually, they do...and there are even some great web logs that reflect the (seemingly shrinking) centrist element in 21st century America's politics.
--- Centerfield is home central to centrists on the web. Why? It contains long and thoughtfully written posts from a centrist's standpoint on issues such as the Presidential race, where the center is in American politics, rough campaign tactics, gay marriage, preventive strikes, the war on terrorism, Iraq -- you name it. These posts don't pull their punches but they don't hurl adjectives around or indulge in name calling. If you're really interested in ISSUES Centerfield adds a bit of balance to think about in an increasingly polarized world (and web). So you could proclaim it a topnotch site just by the articles alone -- but it has MUCH MORE.
--- It's a blog that always welcomes contributors, and it says so on the site. Plus, it has a nice menu of some 22 centrist websites (so you see centrists do exist)...and one of my favorites features, a little box that says this: "For a balanced diet of liberal and conservative blogs, updated hourly, check out the SoftPolitics Aggregator." This truly cool link lets you click on it and see a constantly updated distillation of what various blogs are writing about. So although I only just discovered this site I'll be returning to it each day for the great postings, links and the aggregator which is habit-forming.
--- For its attempt to cool passions a bit, thoughtful articles, superb collection of links and My New Toy (the aggregator)...we are proud to name Centerfield our Blog of the Day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:37 PM


AS THE GAY MARRIAGE CONTROVERSY RAGES DO THIS: If you want to fill your brain with a LOT of info and issues involved in the gay marriage controversy go to this link for Donald Sensing's posts on the subject. They're very detailed and he's writing partially from his perspective as a pastor. His One Hand Clapping is one of the most thoughtful conservative web logs and his collection on this issue is exhaustive. No matter what your view, it's definitely worth a careful read. He's not just throwing around pro or con adjectives or cliches.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:03 PM


"GIVE 'EM HELL GEORGE" or another "YOU-KNOW-WHO"?? Is President George Bush becoming the conservative Republican version of the let-the-chips-fall where they may Harry Truman? Or is he really becoming the Republican Bill Clinton in terms of arousing intense antipathy? The jury is still out (we will know more after this election and years from now, once historians pick him apart).
--- What's certain is this: he continues to arouse passions and continues to throw down the gauntlet. You can see it in two items today:
--- --Arousing Passions: Andrew Sullivan points to the latest Pew Poll on Bush's popularity, and offers this quote from the poll:" "The level of polarization in the president's favorability exceeds that for President Clinton in September 1998, during the impeachment battle." So the conservatives are right: Bush hatred IS exceeding Clinton hatred at this point.
--- --Throwing Down the Gauntlet: President Bush Friday installed Alabama Attorney General William Pryor on an Atlanta appeals court, the second time this year he has bypassed Congress on a judicial selection. Pryor, an outspoken foe of abortion rights, was blocked by Democrats when Bush first nominated him 10 months ago. But the president used a "recess appointment" -- naming him while Congress was on a five-day break -- to circumvent Senate approval, Reuters reports. Democrats are livid and point to it as Bush trying to pack the courts; Republicans are delighted feeling the nominations were unjustly stalled by partisan Democrats.
--- Now mix into this Ralph Nader. Amid the passions and defiance will he siphon votes off this time...or be negligible given the bitterness of the country's divisions...that could make this more than ever a vote of confidence in the Country's Chief Executive?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:48 PM


HERE'S DEFINITIVE PROOF THAT PRAYER WORKS: Fox News reports (echoing an earlier report we posted below) that former Green Party candidate Ralph Nader is "in." Karl Rove's prayers have been answered. It's going to mean the Democrats are going to have to scramble to accomodate and/or go after Nader's prospective voters. As everyone who wasn't on Mars (that lets Dennis Kucinich out) knows, many believe Nader helped President George Bush win a close election, just as Ross Perot helped Bill Clinton beat George Bush, Sr.. And we may see a rerun of Ross Perot II: the second time around, Perot's influence had waned. Will environmentalists truly feel there's little difference between the two parties this time? Or is "Bush hatred" so intense that it will trump environmental ideals? My prediction: Nader won't do as well and his getting in may actually force the Democrats to redouble their efforts in swing precincts.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:46 PM


Are you making phone calls over the Internet? You should feel FLATTERED, then, because the FBI and the Justice Department are battling over YOU. According to Slate, the two agencies are "at loggerheads over a new problem in the war on terror: how to listen in on Internet phone calls."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:21 PM


TROUBLE IN ARNOLDLAND: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's centerpiece proposed $15 billion bond, touted as the way for California to avoid a (further) financial meltdown may be in trouble. But so far in his young term the new governor has shown that if he puts his considerable clout on the line he usually gets his way.
--- According a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California 38 percent approve of the measure and 41 percent oppose it. Not good news for The Gov, even though he has gotten bipartisan support (from Democrats such as state Controller Steve Westly and Sen. Dianne Feinstein) for it. Schwarzenegger has argued voters must pass this measure on March 2 so he can pay off short-term loans due in June and help close the upcoming year's budget gap. Otherwise, he says, catastrophic deep cuts will be necessary.
--- California Insider Daniel Weintraub points out that other private polls "including surveys done for the campaign, are said to show the measure doing better than that, hovering above and below the 50-percent mark depending on the day. Schwarzenegger plans an all-out push for the measure in the final five days before the election."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:00 AM


A lot of the political handicapping, citing of polls showing President George Bush lagging behind Democratic challengers etc. forgets a central point: GWB is attracting more bucks than a grown up Bambi. Some $150 million since his campaign official began in May and $12 miillion last month alone, according to a campaign finance report filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission. The Democrats are not on a level playing field...and use of GOP media blitz money has yet to start.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:13 AM


GIBSON GAB GENERATES: All the talk, praise and screeching surrounding Mel Gibson's soon-to-be-released controversial Christ crucifixition film The Passion has created GREAT financial buzz. World Magazine Blog notes that despite this film being shunned by Hollywood bigwigs some 2,800 theaters want the flick so Gibson's production company is going to have to send out nearly twice as many copies of the film as originally planned. This puts the move in the league of big mainline blockbusters.
--- If it's a hit will there be a sequel?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:41 AM


SIERRA CLUB FACES HOSTILE TAKEOVER: Disney is not the only embattled organization. According to a story in the Christian Science Monitor the environmentalist Sierra Club is facing a hostile takeover by a "combination of animal-rights and anti-immigrant activists" who seek to "take control of the organization - and change its philosophy and direction - by getting their slate of candidates elected to the group's board of directors."
--- The key issues:
--- --IMMIGRATION: Some feel population growth contributes to economic degradation...but others feel there is huge political risk in coming out against immigrants since it'll turn off some progressives.
--- --ANIMAL RIGHTS: Are the rights of animals on farms or in the wild as important as preserving the wilderness? "To answer 'yes' would alienate 'hook and bullet' organizations, hunters and fishermen who often ally with environmentalists on issues like forest and wetland conservation, " the story says.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:29 AM


KERRY'S DANGEROUS "WOODENNESS" RETURNING? I'm the last one (well, maybe the first one) to make jokes about "woodeness" but the Boston Globe focuses on how John Kerry seems to be negatively impacted by being a front runner (DEMOCRATS: DANGER SIGN FOR THE GENERAL ELECTION).
--- Its crux: "Kerry's punchy side, so evident as he battled from behind to win Iowa and New Hampshire in January, has been far less visible since he became the party's front-runner. Instead, political analysts say, a certain woodenness in Kerry's public presentation returned this month, reminiscent of his style a year ago when he was the race's early favorite in the polls."
--- This same article has one eye-opening passage that InstaPundit, aka Glenn Reynolds, and Micky Kraus point to: where a CBS news producer lets Kerry do a second take on a sound bite, seemingly giving Kerry (Reynolds' apt phrase) "a Mulligan." (Both InstaPundit and Kraus joke that maybe this is a new Kerry strategy). I can tell you this: I haven't heard too many instances of a reporter letting a candidate restate an answer being taped so it makes them look better (even though the CBS producer was clearly looking for a catchier and shorter phrase to use on the air).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:05 AM


John Kerry is way ahead in a pre-Super Tuesday New York Primary poll. The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion poll shows him with 66 percent and John Edwards with 14 percent -- and 36 percent saying they were most interested in selecting a candidate who could beat President George W. Bush.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:53 AM


Fred Kaplan in Slate writes on "The Tragedy of Colin Powell - How the Bush presidency destroyed him." His key point is:"The decline of Powell's fortunes is a tragic tale of politics: so much ambition derailed, so much accomplishment nullified." Kaplan details the internal administration battles Powell fought (and mostly lost), his successful and unsuccessful policy contributions and what has seemed like his effort to "rehabilitate" himself before he leaves the administration (he is not expected to be back Bush''s second term, if there is one).
--- He writes: "Powell's best option, after January, may be to abandon his ambitions for further public office, nab a lucrative job in the private sector, and write the most outrageous kiss-and-tell political memoir that the world has ever seen."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:40 AM


SHE DOESN'T MINCE WORDS: John Kerry's daughter Venassa Kerry was blunt when asked about Internet allegations that her dad had an affairs with a 27-year-old intern (who turned out to be a freelance writer and not an intern):"It's absolute crap. Crap from start to finish," the 26-year-old Harvard Medical School student told the paper. "I read it on the Drudge Report and I died laughing."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:12 AM

Thursday, February 19, 2004  

Dental hygiene video includes naked woman
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:49 PM


BLOG OF THE DAY: Every day I wake up very early and turn on my computer...and there IT is (or, rather are): SPAM. I always get several on "enlargements" and am temped to send them to friends with a note "Hi! I thought you might need this more than I do..." But I don't. I just get angry and I delete them.
--- Kristen Thomas doesn't get mad. She gets poetic. And she writes poetry. Out of spam.
--- Yes...poetry...and she has a whole blog called Kristin Thomas Spam Poetry devoted to her beautiful poems written from lines of spam. Some are adult oriented but here are a few lofty lines:

--- "Quality ink up to 80% off.
--- Answers Now on the Distortion of Evidence;
--- Clean your colon.
--- Improve sense of well being.

--- Uncover what other's don't want you to know -
--- Check it out, man -
--- Success, guaranteed"

--- What more can I say? Who'd ever think that Spam could bring a tear to your eye?
--- For incredible creativity and talent in making poetry and artistic sense out of messages 99.999 percent of other computer users despise....we are proud to name Kristin Thomas Spam Poetry our Blog of the Day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:25 PM


RESTRAINT OR BIAS? Media watchdogs are for once praising the national media's behavior during a political campaign. They give the national media high marks for not breathlessly rushing into Matt Drudge's since-deflated world exclusive alleging John Kerry's affair (categorically denied by both sides) with an intern (who it turns out wasn't an intern). Rush Limbaugh and Drudge contend the national media's behavior reflects a liberal bias.
--- As someone who worked nearly 20 years in the media I truly think it was this: the national media simply could not run with a story about a rumor about press outlets getting ready to run a story about a rumor. This didn't involve wiretaps, dresses and sworn statements -- just reports about something that was going to break and unnamed sources reporting it all. No paper I ever worked with or contributed to would have done much with it: lack of any kind of confirmation kept it in the realm of fascinating gossip.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:03 PM


MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME: This is NOT a criticism, by the way:
--- After years of being quite diplomatic and above the fray it sounds like First Lady Laura Bush is getting ready to be a lot more outspoken during her husband's re-election campaign. First Lady attitudes towards politics have widely varied over the years from the highly political (Eleanor Roosevelt; Hillary Clinton), to the behind-the-scenes quiet influence on The Leader (Nancy Reagan) to the seemingly apolitical (Jackie Kennedy and to a lesser extent Laura Bush).
--- However, Mrs. Bush now shows a willingness to tip-toe out into speaking out in public, in a fascinating interview with the Associated Press.
--- In this interview, she called gay marriage "a very, very shocking issue" for some people, a subject that should be debated by Americans rather than settled by a Massachusetts court or the mayor of San Francisco. She also adamantly defended her husband's National Guard Service amid continuing questions from Democrats:"I think it's a political, you know, witch hunt, actually, on the part of Democrats." She also discussed other topics. One of them: endorsing sexual abstinence programs for teens.
--- What it foreshadows: a heavy emphasis on social issues in GWB's re-election campaign.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:38 PM


BUSH WILL SOON COME OUT (AND FIGHT) FOR CONSTITUTIONAL BAN ON GAY MARRIAGE: We've long predicted it here since it's the ultimate "wedge" issue. Gay marriage is opposed by some 60 percent of the electorate. Yet, with political acumen that only the late Jim Jones would admire, the left has persisted in pressing this issue right at election time -- precisely at the time when polls show President George Bush is in some political hot water over a variety of issues.
--- Now, Reuters reports that Bay Bay Buchanan, sister of former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, said she was one of several conservatives told by Karl Rove two weeks ago that "the president would support the constitutional amendment -- not just that he would endorse it but also that he would fight for it."
--- She said Rove told the Arlington Group in a telephone conversation that Bush would back the amendment being put forward by Colorado Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and that his statement would come "sooner rather than later." This amendment would specify marriages are only for "unions between a man and a woman" -- and would allow state voters and legislatures to determine if they want to legalize civil unions between same-sex couples but would state that no court can require states to accept such civil unions.
--- What does it mean? The other domestic and foreign policy issues may be thorny for the GOP but this will be a religious and emotional issue for many Americans who oppose it. Will it be enough to trump the other issues? It will essentially be the Willy Horton issue of 2004. You not only heard it here first but you heard it here since this blog started (in December). The irony remains: the left is absolutely determined to give the GOP this issue at election time when passions tend to be higher and low-key deliberation is always at its lowest.
--- Two things: GWB has been insisting he hasn't made up his mind yet (not quite accurate). And the Democrats: are they prepared to be hit with this wedge issue that could tilt who wins the Presidency if it's a tight race?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:06 PM

Wednesday, February 18, 2004  

POLITICAL EXPERT LARRY SABATO'S LATEST TAKE: Presidential Swimming in the Veep End: This week's highly-readable issue of University of Virginia Center for Politics director Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball is out. If you want more details than in this summary (we recommend you read the original in full) click on the link above, or better yet get it free via email.
--- On the Wisconsin primary, Sabato says Edwards' second place means the race "is not one-on-one, but a one-and-a-half candidate finale. And the whole almost always beats the half."
--- But most of this week's lively edition focuses on both parties' Vice Presidential options.
--- In a nutshell (see link for more):
--- 1. BUSH-CHANEY: George Bush tried to get Poppy Bush to put Coliln Powell on the ticket and dump deadweight Dan Quayle in 1992 but failed. Is Junior Bush facing something of the same dilemma? Sabato thinks so -- but thinks the Bush's deeply ingrained sense of loyalty means Cheney can stay...if he wants.
--- Cheney, Sabato writes, added "reassurance, experience and maturity to the untested GOP nominee" in 2000. But now Bush faces a Democrat who can add a V.P. who ADDS some electoral votes to the Demmie side.
--- "It is immediately clear that, once again, Dick Cheney adds not a single Electoral Vote. (Wyoming would vote GOP for a comatose nominee.) In addition (or is that subtraction?), Cheney has become a serious liability," he writes. "Cheney is seen by most Americans as a secretive corporate executive with no common touch--someone unlikely to help convince the voters that Bush cares about them and deserves a second term."
--- "Will Bush now heed the advice he once gave to his father?" he asks, going through various cabinet and other politicos who might add electoral votes. He thinks "only a landslide" would help Bush win in Wisconsin and New York so that lets those politicos out (including New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani."
Among the prospects he mentions would be Powell or "right-wing favorite National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice" but he adds: "WARNING: Rice has never truly been vetted by the press. "
--- He thinks GWB will stick with Cheney due to "the loyalty gene" but if Cheney himself steps aside that could change the picture.
--- 2. THE DEMOCRATS: A fascinating prediction for a new frontrunner: former Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, "who has campaigned by Kerry's side and shares the special bond of the band of Vietnam War brothers. Cleland, the longtime Peach State politician would make Kerry at least competitive in Georgia (though he lost his own seat in 2002); and as a Vietnam quadriplegic, Cleland has a matching story of heroism and sacrifice that would reinforce Kerry's own (pre-Jane Fonda, at least) and make this ticket potentially attractive to many veterans."
--- Other key prospects include: Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Bob Graham of Florida.
--- "The Sunshine State may be a mighty tempting target for Kerry, not just because of 2000 but also because a real challenge to Bush there simply cannot be ignored by the skittish Bush team and will tie up millions in GOP resources," he writes.
--- Sabato says John Edwards remains on the list but Wesley Clark's standing has taken a nosedive due to his gaffes, attack on Kerry's lower military status and role in spreading rumors about Kerry. Hillary Clinton is unlikely, too, since that ticket would be " too liberal, too Northeast..and too controversial."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:27 AM


BASQUE SEPARATIST ETA DECLARES LIMITED CEASE FIRE (a lesson to learned on terrorism): In Spain, the Basque separatist group ETA has declared a limited cease-fire ahead of next month's Spanish elections.
--- Do you want to know how long this issue has been going on? At a conservative estimate some 35 years. When I was in Madrid, Spain writing as "Special Correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor" from 1975-1978 this issue was raging, first under the Franco government as it slowly died, then during the immediate post-Franco government era -- and then (after I left) after the country's first free post-Franco Democratic elections. My specialty in Spain had been the Basque Country and I had done many stories on the separatists, Basque language schools, etc. and spent lots of time in Bilbao and San Sebastian.
Spain's problem with the Basques is a constant reminder of this: a terrorist threat is not solved overnight. If we use 911 as the formal beginning (even though the U.S. suffered terrorist blows way before that) it's likely the U.S. is now at a very early stage in what is likely to be a long and grim high-stakes game. People often mention Israel in this regard, but Spain is a classic case of a country that has adjusted to living with a longstanding terrorist threat.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:59 AM


HOWARD DEAN'S DEMISE: The AP reports that Dean will end his campaign but work to keep his issues alive.
--- "The sources said the shape of the new effort is still to be determined but that Dean would eventually support the Democratic Party's nominee. One official said Dean would help elect Democrats to Congress in the fall. Dean was mulling whether to endorse one of his rivals."
--- It's a smart move: he had originally promised Wisconsin would be his last formal stand, and this lets him put a "fin" to his candidacy in a way that shows he is a person of his word. Also, while his final vote tally didn't quite put him in Dennis Kucinichland (or, rather, out there in Dennis Kucinich Outer Space) it looked as if what would have come next could have been even more humiliating for someone who was once widely deemed The Man To Beat.
--- Meanwhile, Dean is widely credited with making it acceptable for other Democratic candidates (like John Kerry) to have the same kind of guts in talking about the White House and GOP that the White House and GOP have in talking about the Democrats.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:42 AM


IT AIN'T OVER TILL IT'S OVER?? Are Democratic voters showing “voters remorse” about John Kerry? It may be hard to completely decipher, since Republicans and independents could vote in yesterday’s Wisconsin primary -- but something clearly SEEMS afoot.
--- Results showed John Kerry got 40 percent of the vote; John Edwards a surprisingly strong (according to the conventional widsom) 34 percent, Howard Dean 18 percent and Dennis Kucinich 3 percent. Dean has vowed to fight on but the big story of the night became less Kerry’s win (even though he insisted “a win is a win”) than Edwards’ strong showing.
--- Now the big showdown becomes March 2's Super Tuesday primaries in 10 states. Will voters continue to defect from the front-runner?
--- What seems to be happening is this: the more voters see of Edwards, the more they seem to like him. This is shown not only in the voting but in exit polling, such as CBS News exit polls showing Edwards did better among males than Kerry. Is it strictly because of Edwards' savvy campaigning, positive tone, status as a new political face -- or is it because there's a genuine undercurrent of caution?
--- "The voters of Wisconsin sent a clear message," Edwards said. "The message was this: Objects in your mirror may be closer than they appear."
--- Indeed, there could be some gathering clouds as Kerry tries to wrap up the nomination. Such as:
--- Edwards and his wife Elizabeth have long contended that the more voters see him, the more voters like him. The vote seems to confirm this. In Wisconsin, the new JFK's Wisconsin debate performance wasn't considered a shining moment. The Boston Globe thought Kerry hovered dangerously close to front-runner-itus and illustrated his troubling "penchant for equivocation." Reminder: Kerry began zooming as Howard Dean began plummeting and Kerry suddenly became a more blunt-spoken, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may stump speaker. That New Kerry (like the many old Al Gores) seemed absent to some during the debate and it apparently hurt him.
--- According to CNN: "Exit polling found that nearly 60 percent of Wisconsin voters made up their minds in the last week, and Edwards beat Kerry by 16 points among those voters. But among voters who made up their minds more than a week ago, Kerry led by more than 30 points."
--- In the New York Post, former Clinton advisor turned Clinton critic Dick Morris makes the case for President George Bush to go after Kerry now, to define him in voters' minds, since he is such a new national figure and vulerable between now and Super Tuesday:
"Right now, Kerry can't answer in paid advertising, no matter how much he wants to. His resources are fully engaged with the primaries. But he'll soon be free for the combat. Bush must strike now, while Kerry's planes are still on the ground or otherwise occupied," Morris writes. "If Bush fails in this effort, we'll be in for a see-saw battle and another photo finish.
--- Morris contends the alleged Kerry sex scandal that fizzled likely won't have any impact. But InstaPundit links to an MSNBC story and wonders if this issue mght be the possible bump in the road that some fear (and hope) could derail a Kerry candidacy:
--- The story begins: "Senator John Kerry, D-MA, unwittingly tried to help a Chinese espionage agent and arms dealer in 1996 in return for campaign contributions for his Senate reelection campaign, according to congressional and other documents, interviews, and photographs."
--- And, the BBC notes: "Americans like to elect people they inherently like, people they could have a beer with, for instance...These Democrats think that John Edwards would compete better on likeability with George Bush." Edwards is also "helped in that he does not have a four-term voting record in the Senate like Mr Kerry, " the BBC said.
--- Our conclusion? It is going to be a verrrrrrry lively week between now and March 2....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:43 AM

Tuesday, February 17, 2004  

BLOG OF THE DAY: Take three Oxford students, have them collaborate on a weblog seriously writing about world, domestic and political events and you get Oxblog. --- OxBlog is often quoted and linked because these writers often examine things from the perspective of truly serious policy versus win or lose partisan politics. In general, there's a respectful tone when you read OxBlog. What it lacks in typical blog partisan adjectives and invective (it has none) it makes up for in rock-solid analysis and arguments. And, not unimportantly, it's a smooth, logical read.
--- Scroll down and you see tightly-written long and short items on a wide variety of news and overall topics: revisionism in U.S. foreign policy, Iraq, free trade deficit, cloning, allegations of sexual molestation by Catholic priests, a linked web log's analysis of President George Bush's National Guard service record controversy -- even entries on one of the writers' work on his dissertation.
--- Everything is peppered with excellent links so it's a major writing/reading/argument-building resource. In fact, one of the most interesting entries is a few paragraphs with a "reading list" of links: it packs an enormous number of links to other articles and web logs into a very short space. OxBlog is a place for serious analysis versus rants.
--- For its seriousness, thoughtful analysis, great links, dignity, and easy to read style...we are proud to name OxBlog our Blog of the Day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:33 PM


My Way News

Our analysis will appear late tonight or early tomorrow. But Edwards is showing a lot of strength and as above linked article notes, he's picking up a lot of the late breakers...people who saw the debate. It still seems unlikely Kerry could be stopped but if he fumbles Edwards is clearly the candidate who will pick up the pieces.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:33 PM


THE MARRIAGE ISSUE: If you are trying to figure out all the pro and con arguments in the raging gay marriage issue (to arm yourself with arguments in favor of your position, or just to find out), Donald Sensing of the conservative website One Hand Clapping has a highly detailed essay on this issue:"The walls of traditional marriage were breached 40 years ago; what we are witnessing now is the storming of the last bastion," he writes. Sensing, who is a pastor, headlines his piece:"The "gay marriage" controversy... Traditionalists need to get a clue - we lost this fight 40 years ago" Very thought-provoking...but in political terms I still think those who are pushing this have made a HUGE mistake by pressing it during election year.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:56 PM


Talking Points' Joshua Marshall blasts President George Bush today for saying the Democrats would endanger the country's "fiscal health" by raising taxes. "When the president came into office the budget surplus was over $200 billion. Now the deficit is over $500 billion," he writes. "....And he says the Democrats are a danger to the nation's fiscal health?...This is the arsonist in your house telling you that stranger outside with the hose can't be trusted."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:46 PM


KERRY IS AHEAD IN WISCONSIN BUT BY HOW MUCH? That's the question that's going to rage all night until the votes are counted. The Drudge Report says exit polls show John Edwards running a strong race against John Kerry with Howard Dean an also-ran. Journalist blogger Andrew Sullivan writes:
--- "You can feel the support for Kerry ebbing out there, especially given his awful debate performance. And voters in later primaries will feel the need to prove they're still relevant." So, Sullivan writes, it ain't over till its over -- but right now I'd guess that in the end it'll still be Kerry. The only question will be: will John Edwards be willing to run as Kerry's Vice President if asked? Edward's wife Elizabeth (who is involved in the campaign) was on KNX News Radio in Los Angeles this morning and she didn't rule it out -- answering with a well-worded sentence about how John Edwards will do whatever he can to help the ticket win in November.
--- If the end result is a Kerry-Edwards ticket it would be strong with the Democratic base...and the independent "swing" voters would be more important than ever, since the GOP base will be fired up (with the help of talk radio) to keep their candidate in office.
--- (NOTE: Our Wisconsin primary analysis will appear late tonight or early tomorrow morning).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:10 PM


CAMBODIANS RESORT TO EATING RATS:From the AP:"Fear of catching bird flu from eating chicken has prompted some people in northwest Cambodia to resort to eating rats.."
--- In this country, that would wipe out the political class....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:45 PM


WHY THE US FALL ELECTION MAY BE TART: Superb analysis article in the Christian Science Monitor (the paper I wrote for in Madrid for 4 years) on why "from war records to lobbyist ties, GOP and Democratic exchanges are getting nasty early." Reporter Linda Feldmann's points include these:
--- 1)It's beginning early and it's front loaded -- but a vicious campaign is not unprecedented. John White, a Catholic University political scientists, tells the paper:"You can make the argument that this country is not just evenly divided, it's intensely divided. That's not altogether dissimilar to the period post-Civil War to roughly 1896."
--- 2) Because President George Bush's poll numbers have sagged, the GOP has had to start fighting back earlier than normal, rather than just wait until a Democratic nominee is formally anointed this summer.
--- 3)The Internet now plays a role. People can circulate whatever they want now "baseless or otherwise."
--- 4)Both sides are battling demons of the past.
--- "For President Bush, one driving animus is to avoid the fate of his father, the 41st president, who was slow to rebut Democratic charges and lost his 1992 reelection bid," she writes. "For presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry, the lessons come from 1988, when another Massachusetts liberal, Michael Dukakis, appeared passive in the face of Republican characterizations and lost the election."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:34 PM


DOES THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S NOMINATION RACE REALLY END TODAY? Today is primary day in Wisconsin -- a race that could shove John Kerry into the unbeatable front-runner slot and wipe out his opponents. Kerry headed into the Wisconsin primary with a solid lead in state polls and 14 victories in 16 state nominating contests. Meanwhile, Howard Dean's campaign looked more chaotic than ever yesterday when Dean's campaign chairman Steve Grossman abruptly left the sinking ship after telling a reporter that if Dean lost he'd reach out to Kerry. Stay tuned......
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:41 AM

Monday, February 16, 2004  

Do You Know What Fish DO In Water? A new report from the Institute of Medicine says you might not have to drink 8 glasses of water after all to be well hydrated -- and you can count caffeinated beverages in your total water intake. The Institute sets desirable levels of nutrient intake for Americans of all ages.
--- So the five Slurpees I had yesterday count? COOL!
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:22 PM


MORE PRESIDENTIAL SCANDALS!!!!! Cormac O'Brien's new book "Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents: What Your Teachers Never Told You About the Men of the White House" reveals George Washington spent 7 percent of his presidential salary on booze...John Quincy Adams skinny dipped in the Potomac...and Warren G. Harding once lost a box of White House china in a poker game.
--- But you'll have to read Drudge's upcoming history book to find out who their finance chiefs dated.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:29 PM


BLOG OF THE DAY: Take the sharpest writing you can find, mix it with political and social issues, add the bluntness of conservative columnist Ann Coulter, then multiply Maureen Dowd's wit and razor-sharp sarcasm by 100 -- and you get Ayn Clouter's Blog.
--- Ayn Clouter's Blog almost defies description, because the writing quality is in a world -- let alone class -- by itself. Just check out for yourself the latest long-ish column, a memo to Karl Rove at the White house, touching on Matt Drudge's "world exclusive" about the John Kerry affair (which has since been -- no pun intended -- hotly denied by the woman alleged to have been involved) and various attempts to undermine the Democrats. No matter what your political affiliation -- how can you read that and NOT want to scream (with laughter, not Howard Dean style)?
--- You HAVE to check this out FOR YOURSELF and even if he/she/it says things at odds with your politics, you have to admire the unparalleled style.
--- Just who is Ayn Clouter? Some bloggers email me that they simply don't know. It sounds like a take-off on Ann Coulter, the take-no-prisoners conservative pundit (who recently poked fun at Vietnam veteran Democrat Max Cleeland's loss of three limbs). Is this AC a man, woman, or what? Is Ayn Clouter a liberal or a conservative who IS serious but not that serious?
--- Let's face it: blogs may come and go but there is only ONE Ayn Clouter and Ayn Clouter's blog should be read by anyone interested in great commentary, by students of satire, students of journalism -- and definitely by Karl Rove.
--- For her/his/it's inimitable wit (we think), unsurpassed writing, incredible creativity and guts...we proudly name Ayn Clouter's Blog our Blog of the Day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:58 PM


HI HO, HI HO, YO MAMA'S JUST A 'HO: Disney gave a thumbs down on an unsolicited $48.95 billion takeover offer from cable television company Comcast Corp. Mickey Mouse's board expressed its full confidence in CEO Michael Eisner...but this saga ain't over yet...and if you think it is you're living in Fantasyland (better to live in Gandelmanland).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:25 PM


The spiffy Chicago Report website's Michael Van Winkle poses some intriguing questions about precisely what the 911 commission hopes to find. Then he writes:"We already know that the government failed to connect dots that MIGHT have been connected. The real shame is that the question that isn't being asked and won't be asked by the commission is this: could it be that the federal government has become so large and so involved in domestic life that it can no longer perform even its most basic functions (i.e. defense) efficiently?" Great website; great postings..
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:23 PM


DEAN POLITICAL DEATH WATCH PART ONE: Howard Dean today announced his campaign chairman has left the building (and the campaign).
--- This came shortly after news reports had indicated campaign chairman Steve Grossman had a)urged his candidate to drop out if he loses in Wisconsin, b)said he would probably quit and work for John Kerry if Dean lost in Wisconsin.
--- Grossman's departure comes a few weeks after Dean axed campaign manager Joe Trippi, following disappointing losses in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.
--- Right now polls predict Tuesday will not be a happy one for Dean: Kerry is likely to win -- and win big. According to the AP:"Advisers to Dean are urging him to abandon the race if he loses Wisconsin and consider several options, including dropping from the race outright, suspending his campaign or at least acknowledging Kerry's accomplishment and redirect his own efforts. They said Dean was all but certain to effectively bow out in some way."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:23 PM


"INTERN" DENIES SHE HAD A KERRY AFFAIR AND THAT SHE WAS EVER AN INTERN: It sounds like the John Kerry sex scandal has now deflated...or has it?
--- Earlier today The Drudge Report carried a big headline saying "Not me," linking to an Associated Press story in which the alleged "intern" who had an alleged affair with Senator John Kerry categorically denied the whole thing. And so did her irate parents -- who now say they'll vote for Kerry.
--- Even so, hours after this came out, Drudge replaced that headline with a new screaming one:"A woman at the center of John Kerry intrigue dated longtime Kerry fundraiser Peter Maroney sources tell the Drudge Report....KERRY MYSTERY WOMAN DATED CAMPAIGN FINANCE CHIEF." This time Drudge names names of some top media outlets and reporters who he says are working on the Kerry story.
--- The Drudge reports' sources really seem to want to keep this story alive, minutes after it seemed totally discredited by an Associated Press story.
--- Last week Drudge carried a story about this alleged affair and predicted it could cause the Kerry campaign to "implode." Yesterday it and various other websites carried a British newspaper report alleging a journalist had interviewed Alexandra Polier, the person named as the woman in question in various blind-source news stories. It said she wanted to talk, her interview was on tape (the British story named the name of the journalist who had talked to her) and it was now in the hands of an unnamed U.S. network which was holding on to it for later release.
--- Polier has now issued an emphatic denial to the AP: "I have never had a relationship with Senator Kerry, and the rumors in the press are completely false....Whoever is spreading these rumors and allegations does not know me." She also denied reports calling her as a former Kerry intern -- in other words, THAT PART of the now-it-can-be-told report was WRONG, too.
--- "I never interned or worked for John Kerry," she said.
--- Her parents called the reports "completely false and unsubstantiated" and also gave Kerry a free political campaign ad: "We appreciate the way Senator Kerry has handled the situation, and intend on voting for him for president of the United States."
--- Before the AP denial broke, a British newspaper reported that her parents had labeled Kerry a "sleazeball."
--- Why didn't the American media run with THAT? Washington Post London Correspondent Glen Frankel told the BBC before the AP story broke:"All we have at the moment is that the woman's parents, who are republicans, don't like Senator Kerry...In any case, nobody would be too shocked if Kerry lied about an affair. Even if someone came to us with photographs we still wouldn't run it. Lying to Don Imus [the radio host to whom Kerry gave his initial denial] is not a federal offence."
--- What can we make of this and what does it say? Many of us in and out of the news media should start taking politically motivated reports with not only a grain of salt but all of the salt in a dehydrated Dead Sea (no matter WHO we support).
--- When I was a reporter, an editor once told me:"If someone comes to you and breathlessly says 'I've got a story that'll bust this town wide open!!' it usually means it won't."
--- The Kerry affair had been covered extensively in parts of the British press, taken up hours on radio and cable talk shows as if its veracity had already been firmly established -- yet mainstream media largely held its fire. In this case (unless something ELSE comes up) they were proven to be correct in not running with it unless they had confirmation.
--- What's TRULY INCREDIBLE is how emphatic these reports (Drudge's and the ones in the British press) were about the certainty that this happened and was going to break (especially the British one about at tape supposedly existing) and destroy Kerry's campaign.
--- So:
--- --Were these stories put out by the prime story source to raise Kerry's negatives?
--- --Or to panic Democrats into nixing him from the top of the ticket?
--- I increasingly believe it was to make Democratic voters think twice and balk at nominating him.
--- Right now, unless something SOLID surfaces, it looks like all the discredited affair story produced was John Kerry getting a free endorsement carried via the AP for his campaign from the apparently-wronged non-intern's upset parents, tons of publicity saying he did not have an affair -- and some news sources that have lost some very-hard-to-regain credibility.
--- And in the meantime, we may be treated to stories about the dating habits of Kerry staffers, more stories predicting a massive story to come, and stories and talk show talk aimed at discrediting the accused "intern" who just last week before her denial had been portrayed as a sympathetic victim.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:12 AM


Honolulu Star-Bulletin Hawaii News
GENEALOGISTS CALL BUSH AND KERRY KIN: This is what happens when cousins marry....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:07 AM


THIS JUST IN!! Dennis Kucinich has experienced a surge. His radio fell in his bathtub.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:31 AM


THE DEMOCRATIC LOOOOOOOOOVE BOAT: The surviving Democratic candidates had their less-than-big debate last night in Wisconsin.
--- Although there were some minor differences displayed, in overall tone it most resembled Al Gore's deep kiss of Tipper Gore (with perhaps a little more distance).
--- But that was when they related to each other.
--- When they talked about President Bush, in overall tone it most resembled Bill and Hillary Clinton's marriage.
--- Read the text about the genteel exchanges between Democrats....which is good news for Democrats since the tone signals a willingness to set focus on the main target -- GWB.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:11 AM


--- The two brilliant political columns (read them and you'll agree):
Joel Connelly in the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Headline: "Indications point to down & dirty campaign tactics"
Stephen Robinson in London's Telegraph. Headline: "America's election is getting dirty because it's getting serious"
--- Robinson hits the bullseye when he writes:"This year's US presidential election is getting dirty precisely because it is getting serious, and the rest of us should be celebrating because we are in for a classic spectacle....For the price of making a single Hollywood blockbuster, the US presidential elections offer a year's worth of human drama, with some serious political debate thrown in."
--- The PI's Connelly notes that despite basically owning all three branches of the government, the GOP is running scared. He points to the foreshadowing of what could be one of the filththiest campaigns in history and adds this:
--- "I've just finished a fine biography -- Lou Cannon's "Governor Reagan" -- that shows that a talented politician can stay out of the mud. The vicious hits in his campaigns were directed at Reagan. California Gov. Edmund "Pat" Brown was shown in a TV spot telling a little girl, "Remember, an actor shot Abraham Lincoln."...
--- He says the Bushes have never had a problem getting rough if they're cornered. "Democrats have also directed kicks at the groin -- witness the Bush National Guard controversy. Still, they're neophytes compared with a Republican operation that's been perfecting the style since 1988," he writes.
--- If you read the two pieces you see how they both spot some of the same things. They may differ on details but they articulate what we've begun to sadly conclude: fasten your safety belts......we're in for a loooooonnnnnnng, dusty, and dirty campaign (on both sides).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:52 AM

Sunday, February 15, 2004  

Just got an email from a friend telling me The Moderate Voice has been named Website of the Day on one of our favorite conservative websites, Right Wing News. If you click on the link and go all the way down to the bottom of the news bulletin panel, on the right side, you'll see the Website of the Day link...which will return you here. Many THANKS to Right Wing News, which is always on our "daily read" schedule.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:55 PM


BLOG OF THE DAY: Always Right is blog written by a young conservative law student, Stuart Sims, and it's been around since December. It deals with legal, political, social and economic issues. And if you sift through the archieves you'll be amazed at how much ground Sims has covered in less than two months (he even has some great postings about college life). Always Right has short entries with links, longer entries with quotations from news sources, and well-thought-out original analysis. The great thing about Always Right is it's so new, good, informative, and fun that you know you're going to hear a LOT about it in the future. So you want to book mark it and start following it NOW.
I especially loved Sims' comment on Wesley Clark's withdrawal from the Democratic nomination sweepstakes: "I doubt he'll be missed by many Democrats, mainly because he's only been one for a few months. Let's pray that he doesn't change his mind and decide that he's a Republican after all. The Dems can have him..."
And, further down in the archives, in an absolutely CLASSIC entry about student exams:
"Procrastination is an art, practiced by many, mastered by few. This explains the mad rush to get into the library. The usual civility is replaced by a tense competitiveness. I love it. Students bump others out of the way to get prime study spaces. Lack of sleep becomes the yard stick against which others are measured. It's a wonderful time. It makes me appreciate my undergrad experience all the more."
Too often when people look at web logs they look for the ones that get all the publicity or have been around for many years. There's nothing wrong with that. But there are some exciting things happening with people who've just entered blog-dom. And Always Right is a prime example. For its content, humor, willingness to take strong stands, diversity of subjects and enormous potential...we are proud to name Always Right our Blog of the Day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:09 PM


HOWARD DEAN'S STAFF WANTS TO SCREAM: The Washington Post has run what is essentially the pre-death political obituary of Howard Dean. Read it, and it's not a pretty picture. It paints a portrait of a candidate whose own campaign manager is having trouble getting the candidate to face realities and even stick with a basic strategical move (getting out of the race). The candidate, the article says, does his own makeshift strategy sessions...on television...talking to interviewers, taking positions opposite ones agreed to with advisors. Aside from the theory that Dean is hanging in there because he truly believes John Kerry will implode from an alleged sex scandal that has not yet flowered, why IS Howard Dean not giving up the ghost? The Post offers this:
--- "The sudden adjustment to reality would be hard enough, but it has been made harder by the candidate's feelings toward Kerry. Dean's public comments -- decrying the senator as a captive of special interests and mocking him for rumors that he may take Botox injections for his wrinkles -- hint at a more deeply held disdain that he has expressed privately.
--- "While Dean views himself as a kind of truth-telling anti-politician, free of artifice, he views Kerry as a virtual stereotype of a vain and calculating office-seeker. 'He thinks Kerry's a phony,' said a top campaign official, and doubts that Dean's supporters, many of them young and previously uninvolved in politics, would back such a conventional figure."
--- But there truly is the ego factor for a candidate: just months ago he was on all the magazines as front runner. Then some slips of the mouth, some electoral defeats, a guttoral roar, and it vanished almost as quickly as it appeared. Winning trumps all. But ego trumps winning -- or facing cold, hard political reality.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:03 PM


Glen Reynolds, aka InstaPundit (the most widely read blog on the Internet), today had a comment reflecting the plummeting of Al Gore's political stock.
--- Noting that Gore has suggested terrorism is not that great of a threat, Reynolds writes: "I was once pretty high on Gore -- I worked in his 1988 campaign -- but he's been a complete disappointment. And now he's not just a guy who lost an election. He's a become a loser, and that transformation has been entirely his own work. And those of us who were relieved on September 11 that Al Gore wasn't the President are reminded, yet again, just why we were relieved. He's too small a man for a job that big."
---Gore's problem, if he truly has any lingering political aspirations, is that he doesn't seem to have expanded on his base vote...if anything he probably has lost some of it. He has had more incarnations than Shirley McClain has had lives. So if there is that highly-touted showdown between him and Hillary in 2008 (presuming Kerry doesn't get The Big Prize) I will GLADLY take bets on who will NOT win. A joke I heard today was this:
--- How can the Democrats beat George Bush? Have Al Gore endorse him.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:49 PM


PHOTO SHOWING KERRY WITH JANE FONDA WAS DOCTORED: A photo showing John Kerry was doctored, according to a Newsday story with the person who took that 1971 photo. This faked photo showing Fonda next to Kerry at a podium during an anti-war rally was placed on the Internet then talked about on cable and radio talk shows, where it became "proof" that Kerry worked side-by-side with the militantly anti-war actress.
----This isn't the photo showing Fonda with Kerry in the background at a big rally -- that is legit. This is the one that showed Fonda next to him while he was speaking. In fact, she wasn't even AT that rally.
----"I'm horrified," said Ken Light, 52, who took the photo of Kerry ALONE at a podim, told Newsday. Light, who now heads the graduate photojournalism program at the University of California at Berkeley, went on to say: "I think this kind of alteration is probably one of the scariest forms of trickery, particularly when it's done against a political candidate."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:31 AM


THE SEGEWAY: The invention that bored the world? Dean Kamen said his futuristic upright $4,000 scooter The Segway would change the world. But now he has to find a way to keep his company upright...since only about 6,000 scooters were sold. How boring were they? They made Dick Gephardt look exciting.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:15 AM


IRAQI POLICE TAKE A BAATH: Iraqi police got a bigger "get" than Katie Couric ever got by capturing a top pro-Sadaam Baath Party official who was on the U.S. military's most-wanted list. The crumbling of the regime continues inexorably.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:06 AM


First the French government denounced NBC late nite comedian Conan O'Brien for the show he broadcast from Canada, bankrolled by Canadian money to have him broadcast from there. Now the Toronto Star has published a stinging editorial lambasting the comedian for what they labelled a "mean-spirited" show. They especially are irked over anti-French jokes. "Taxpayers chipped in $1 million to bring the show here," the paper declares. "We welcomed O'Brien to our turf and fawned over him. In return, we were repaid with ill-mannered conduct. Goodbye, Conan. Don't come back soon."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:00 AM

Saturday, February 14, 2004  

THE SUPREME COURT MIGHT AS WELL SET ITS MEETING ON THE ELECTION RIGHT NOW: According to Knight-Ridder, Ralph Nader is planning to run again. Santa Claus is giving Karl Rove his Christmas present and the Democrats a big, fat headache.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:14 PM


THE PUKE BOAT: AP reports: "A Carnival Cruise Lines ship returned from a five-day cruise to Mexico on Saturday with more than 300 people sick with a gastrointestinal illness." Predominant symptoms were "vomiting and diarrhea." I'll bet Kathy Lee Gifford was singing.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:05 PM


BLOG OF THE DAY: Take a bit of the heavy-with-the-links style of the Drudge Report, mix in some of the best style of opinion bloggers (a link from a story, a meaty quote, then a personal opinion and/or analysis) then add a dash of liberal viewpoint and you have one of the most informative liberal blogs on the Internet -- The Hamster. It was one of the first web logs I read when I started blogging (not too long ago) and I'm still hugely impressed with its carefully-thought-out collection of daily news links of magazine analysis pieces as well as breaking news stories. It also boasts Stupid Quote Saturday (not surprisingly conservative commentator Ann Coulter, one of the most polarizing commentators in modern day America, is on this week's list), an extensive and solid list of blog links, candidate links -- not to mention a tidy, colorful and comfortable look. Another resource is the Hamster's booklist of top liberal books by liberal authors (you can order them from the site). Each day we profile a liberal or conservative site and consider The Hamster one of the most complete liberal blogs around. Science may one day clone a hamster...but The Hamster blog is inimitable. Because of its content, quality, resource information and cheery layout...we are proud to name The Hamster as our Blog of the Day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:42 PM


Canada's government has condemned the Conan O'Brien Show for insulting people in Bow Wow FrenchieFrench-speaking Quebec and seemingly suggesting that everyone in the province was homosexual. Ottawa and Ontario province had paid $760,000 for O'Brien to do his show from there. One politico called the show "utterly vile."
You sure he wasn't watching news of the unfolding U.S. 2004 Presidential campaign?

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:21 PM


Moscow Zoo to Have TV Sets in Cages: Pravada says they're going to give TVs to the gorillas so they think more "and pick their noses less." It'snot going to work...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:58 PM


AUTHOR OF PROPOSED DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT BEING INVESTIGATED ON A SEXUAL BATTERY COMPLAINT: Kansas Rep. Mike O’Neal, author of “Defense of Marriage Act,” legislation that proposes a referendum on a constitutional amendment that would define a marriage as a union between one man and one woman, is reportedly being investigated on a sexual battery complaint, according to a Kansas newspaper. We'll let you choose whether you want to read the sordid details on the allegations yourself.
---This will be genereate another personality/scandal story (this time it'll be used by the left against the right) that will enter our political debate over what should seemingly be an up-or-down debate on an ISSUE.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:42 PM


DRUDGE'S CREDIBILITY (for now) TAKES SLIGHT NOSEDIVE ON KERRY: It's intriguing how many pundits and blog sites on the right begged off the Drudge Report's allegations of John Kerry having an affair with an intern. I was surprised to even hear Paul Harvey on the radio seemingly expressing skeptism at the source. John Hawkins, of the lively blog Right Wing News, seems to express this feeling when he writes:
"As far as I'm concerned, if that 'he said /she said' bag of nothing is all there is to the story, then I don't think it merited being reported AT ALL. Moreover, for Drudge to treat this as some kind of big scandal -- if this is all there is to it -- is positively sleazy in my view and totally unfair to Kerry....John Kerry is handing out a flat denial of Drudge's charges, 'I just deny it categorically. It's rumor. It's untrue. Period.' As far as I'm concerned, it'll be embarassing for Drudge if nothing else of significance comes out on this story."
As someone who was in the news biz for some 20 years I will say this: credibility is something like money in a savings account. If it goes out you have to replace it or there's less of it.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:02 PM


Mel Gibson energetically and rather completely defends both his controversial film The Passion and himself in an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC slated for Monday night. He reportedly scores well in his insistance that he isn't anti-semetic, that his film isn't anti-semetic and, yes, he does believe the Holocaust took place. This may ease some of his religious critics but likely won't stop his political critics -- and a lot hinges on what the actual reviews say when the film comes out (I will decide when I see it).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:23 PM


CBS STRIKES AGAIN: CBS has nixed YET ANOTHER ad -- this time an administration ad on medicare for the new Medicare prescription drug law. CBS, which is pulling the ad while Congress investigates its accuracy, was recently under fire for refusing to run an ad by the liberal advocacy group Move On.org on the grounds that it was "'too controversial."
Well, at least CBS is showing some evenhandedness -- censorship applied to both sides. But that seems to be lost on some:"This is a political decision," said John P. Feehery, a spokesman for Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois. If the issue is political censorship and the right to advertise a political belief, why didn't the spokesman make a big fuss over the moveon.org ad (which I saw on their website and thought was incredibly tame)? CBS has finally done it: offended BOTH SIDES on their ad censorship policy -- and anyone with good taste on their noncensorship of the national unveiling of Janet Jackson's breast during the Superbowl halftime show.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:06 PM


Cypriot leaders accept U.N. proposal: It looks like the Cyprus issue has been settled. Many Americans will say "HUH? What's this all stuff about trees?" But the Cypress conflict has been one of the longest running international problems. Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders on Friday accepted U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan's plan for ending Cyprus' decades-long of division. The impetus: reunifying (they hope) by May 1 so the beautiful island can enter into the European Union.
I'm posting this due to a personal connection (which will surely date me despite my thorough immaturity and younger-than-reality looks): in 1975, after leaving my freelance India post and en route to set up a new freelance base in Madrid, Spain(I was there for four years, writing for the Christian Science Monitor) I stopped in Cypress and did a story for the now-defunct Chicago Daily News. I was awestruck by this stunningly beautiful island, with wonderful people (and wonderful FOOD)...with barracades everywhere... seemingly HOPELESSLY divided since 1974 due to Greece-Turkey problems. The agreement seemingly shows that persistance pays off.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:45 AM


WE'LL JUST GIVE THEM A POLITICAL GUN LOADED WITH BULLETS AND WE'LL PULL THE TRIGGER FOR 'EM! I continue to be amazed at how the left (fortunately I am one of those folks accused in emails of being a wuss because I'm in the middle) is literally handing its foes their dream "wedge" issue -- right at election time. It's Valentines Day (duhh!) so what better Valentine's Day story than about a huge influx of gay and lesbian couples in San Francisco asking to get formally married, with city officials defying state law and issuing marriage licenses, thus forcing this issue?
"The nationally unprecedented wedding march began Thursday morning and by late Friday, 665 same-sex couples had been wed," CBS reports.
The activists seemingly believe that by pressing this around election time (in several states) they can make some gains. N-o: just read the p-o-l-l-s -- and you'll see 60 percent of Americans oppose formal marriages.
PREDICTION: When the GOP makes it an (effective) issue, then these same folks will be labeling the GOP bigoted opportunists...but they are the ones literally forcing an opportunity, by pushing the issue into the national debate at a highly emotional time (election year). Sometimes you get what you ask for -- especially if you use dumb timing, choosing a time when passions are greater than thoughtful analysis... and the end result is your issue hurts the candidate more sympathetic to you.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:06 AM


YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST (IF YOU WERE HERE): We earlier said in one of our immortal postings that this election may boil down to The Hippy VS the Preppie. Now Howie Carr, a Boston Herald columnist and syndicated talk-radio host, who has been covering John Kerry for 25 years, suggests the same thing. His column deals with an detailed anti-war book Kerry wrote years ago that has suddenly disappeared from circulation...with one of the last copies recently selling for big bucks on EBay:
"No wonder someone seems so anxious to buy up all the remaining copies of 'The New Soldier'" he writes."Even at $849.95, it's a bargain to get them out of circulation. Especially if you're an ex-hippie running for president."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:16 AM


There are various reports of stem cell research and researchers moving moving to a "COME ON DOWN!" South Korea due to U .S. restrictions on it here. Here's one link but I also heard several moderate to conservative talk show hosts noting the same news reports.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:55 AM


DEAN WINDS DOWN (OR DOES HE?): The Boston Globe has a story today about Howard Dean's fizzling campaign. It goes into all the signs that the campaign is ending: staffers not signing contracts for more air charters; a calender unbooked beyond Wednesday ( primaries are Tuesday), and Dean himself being cagey about what comes next. He has even gotten to mocking his suicidal full-throated concession speech in Iowa. BUT, the article notes, his campaign is still getting money and still has some money left -- and he's kept the door open that'll he'll remain leader of a political movement rather than the party. If it goes bad for him Tuesday (want to guess whether it will?) and he stays in his career will be over as a serious candidate since he will have "Jumped the Shark," which he actually already has. (Jumped the Shark refers to when TV shows go bad and pass a threshold where they're never never as good as before. It was penned by a great website that created it to refer to TV but broadened its listings.) Will Dean make the leap from (now weak) contender to gadfly and possible spoiler?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:47 AM

Friday, February 13, 2004  

BLOG OF THE DAY: Are you sick and tired of personalities and attacks dominating our politics (regardless of what party you belong to)? Do you crave a site linked to a political party that truly focuses on issues, solutions, and policy? If your answers are yes then there's a blog for you, regardless of your political party. The web log is The Bully Pulpit, a blog described to me as "the official blog of Bull Moose Republicans, a national political advocacy group working to build a more diverse and modern Republican party."
Don't expect to see a site packed with items about war records, affairs with interns, or adjectives hurled at opponents. This site, written and designed by some folks who graduated from colleges and law schools in the late 90s and early 2000s, is about challenges and policy solutions. For instance, they tackle issues such as telcom reform, outsourcing (they call for better education and training, not protectionism which the site describes as "like a fat man responding to his life-threatening obesity by canceling his gym membership. We must not fear to compete, but rather should rise to the challenge.")
Among the many serious issues thoughtfully analyzed: immigration reform, the budget and the Democratic primaries (no name calling here). The Bully Pulpit is great because its approach is hopeful and positive -- and these young Republicans are determined to focus on issues and problem-solving. It's a treasure-chest of info and thought-food for Republicans, Democrats and independents. Another great thing is its clean, bright look. It was designed by Bull Moose team member Jason Clarke (I checked the bios), who developed the blogging software used on their site. So for its hopeful approach, it's well-written, solution-seeking, thoughtful articles and its cool look.....we proudly name The Bully Pulpit our Blog of the Day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:22 PM


HELEN THOMAS GETS DISSED: Normally sedate White House spokesman Scott McClellan finally lost it with Hearst columnist Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since Ike Eisenhower.
Thomas is either the Grand Dame or the Grand Damn of White House journalism, depending on your viewpoint.
So when President George Bush released his National Guard records she asked the spokesman about the accuracy of a tip she got that Bush might have been absent from his Alabama duty due to having to do court-ordered community service in Texas. McClellan reportedly turned red and labelled the question "gutter politics."
Indeed, it would seem Thomas' tip at this point seems as unproven as Drudge's Kerry-love-affair tip. In both cases, raising the question creates an implication that hangs there..Even so, McClellan told the Washingtonian he is going to "keep a smile on my face" next time...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:42 PM


BUSH RELEASES ALL OF HIS VIET-NAM ERA MILITARY RECORDS: The release is to counter Democrats' suggestions that he didn't do all his duties in the Texas Air National Guard. Extremely smart move: they were released Friday, during one of the weekly news cycle's most difficult times. Time and time again history has shown that dragging out a controversy only makes it worse. Moving swiftly defuses the political damage. Dental records were released previously. What next: a proctological report? And will it reveal Karl Rove?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:06 PM


WESLEY CLARK'S NEW CAMPAIGN? What is going ON with Wesley Clark? His embrace of John Kerry today, while not quite as passionate as Al Gore's of Tipper Gore at the last Democratic Convention (THANK GOD for that), is a classic case of an abrupt political turn around. There have been all kinds of theories voiced and written the past week: Clark is still a relatively young man, and he wants to run for President or some other office; Clark wants to run for Vice President with Kerry.
However, Donald Sensing, at the lively conservative blog One Hand Clapping, has a more logical theory: he thinks Clark is angling for Secretary of Defense:" That's what I think Wesley Clark is doing by literally embracing John Kerry today. I expect to see Clark campaigning for Kerry before long, for sure after Kerry is nominated."
What's certain about Clark is this: he started out (honestly) as a cut-below-hideous candidate and ended up a lot more polished. This guy is a fast-learner. And if, as Sensing predicts (and he makes pretty good predictions), Clark is out there in the hustings Klamoring for Kerry he's going to polish his skills...and make needed brownie points with Kerry and other Democrats. His prize COULD well be Secretary of State if a President Kerry indeed materializes.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:45 PM


Kevin Drum, aka Calpundit, raises the question whether the mainstream media should be covering Drudge's unsubstantiated report of John Kerry having an affair with an intern. He says probably not...but in the world of blogs...maybe...and then he points to coverage in the British press of the issue plus coverage of the British press covering talk of the report on American talk radio.
He concludes:"OK then. Score so far: no evidence for this (affair) whatsoever. Perhaps this weekend we will learn that Kerry and George Bush had a gay affair in 1972 in Alabama. And then we'll spend the rest of the week discussing which candidate is hurt the worst by this."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:56 PM


Former CBS News Icon Walter Cronkite praised Tim Russert's handling of last Sunday's widely hyped Meet the Press interview with President George Bush. He also sees parallels between Vietnam and Iraq. He made the comments from his New York office in an hour long phone interview with Thomas College journalism students in Maine.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:21 PM


KERRY GARNERS MORE ENDORSEMENTS: The biggie politico was the endorsement of former rival retired General Wesley Clark, with both of them playing up ad nausem their military backtrounds. (Some Democrats drool at the possiblity of a Kerry-Clark ticket and some Republican strategists salivate too, but for different reasons). And then Kerry won the promise of an endorsement by one of the country's most powerful unions, the 13-million member AFL-CIO. In moving swiftly and endorsing Kerry, the AFL-CIO will help move to quickly unify the party...and begin its own beat-Bush fundraising efforts ASAP.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:11 PM


RUN RALPH RUN? Dick Meyer, the Editorial Director of CBSNews.com, has had a long talk with Ralph Nader, and believes he WANTS to run. And Meyer hopes he does. He argues that Nader got a bum rap -- that it wasn't his fault Al Gore ran such an incompetent campaign (and let's face it Democrats and Republicans he truly DID).
According to Meyer, Nader says he'll decide by the end of February. "He won't hook up with the Green Party this time, he writes. "The key factors in his decision are whether he thinks he can get the volunteers and money to mount a 50 state campaign. 'The money is a problem,' he said. Backers in 2000 have abandoned him, with a vengeance."
Meyer argues third parties play an important role, concluding:"I hope Nader runs. I hope someone to the right of Bush runs too. More is better. Run, Ralph, Run."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:44 PM


"NO": John Kerry issued about as strong a denial as you can issue on Don Imus' radio show this morning regarding Matt Drudge's report of media looking into an alleged affair he had with an unnamed intern. Even though I was stuck in traffic in LA, I couldn't get his show on my radio...but blogger Wonkette and the Drudge Report both give good accounts.
Kerry firmly dismissed it: "There's nothing to report, there's nothing to talk about, I'm not going to talk about it...The answer is no."
Kerry also told Imus the Republicans "will want to try to do everything to change the subject." The Washington Times reported that Kerry's answer this morning was not a flat out denial, and quoted a smiling "senior White House aide" as saying:""It was an interesting choice of words."
.Right now there doesn't seem to be any confirmation of this story -- nothing except Drudge's report that major news organizations are working on it. So either it's laid to rest or, if it turns out to be true, we will see Gary Hart Act II. NOTE: If you go to Drudge notice how the story is now played WAY down, which is unusual for a story that was viewed as so huge yesterday on his site and on talk shows.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:32 PM

Thursday, February 12, 2004  

BLOG OF THE DAY: We feature liberal blogs and we feature conservative blogs (we recently also featured a libertarian blog). But you can't say you're seriously featuring blogs if you don't mention the liberal blog Calpundit.
Calpundit was recently pitchforked into the headlines because it became the connect-the-dots blog on questions surrounding President George Bush's National Guard service. Kevin Drum has pursued this story with such persistence that he has emerged as kind of meticulous cyberspace investigator cut from the same relentless cloth as the investigators on CSI.
Reading his blog, at times he comes across as a Woodward/Bernstein of 21st Century journalism...only on the Internet. Whether it's the latest political polls, National Guard controversy documents, bluntly giving his views about what the White House stance on marriage is really all about....Calpundit is of exceptional reporting quality. It has old fashioned "enterprise reporting" on a highly accessible weblog....and is a MUST to bookmark...which is why we are proud to name it our Blog of the Day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:49 PM


WATCH OUT! JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE IS STANDING NEXT TO HER! In Rome, police want to bust an Italian woman who had her breasts enlarged with with the biggest silicone implants available. She is being hunted by police after she skipped out on the 7,500 euro ($9,500) plastic surgery bill.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:48 PM


Guardian Unlimited | Arts news | Jackson in crisis over $70m bank loan

WE'LL SUE YOU YEAH YEAH YEAH: Michael Jackson may have ANOTHER crisis and this one doesn't involve sleepovers or a sister with clothes that easily tear. On Tuesday he has to repay a $70 million bank loan. But according to The Guardian, the problem is this: he spending a bit of money...about $2 million a month...that's more than the monthly allowance ($1.5 million a month) creditor Bank of American imposed on him. Jackson's spokespeople denied the Guardian report, but if things go poorly Jackson could lose the whopping song catalogue he owns, which include the Beatles songs.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:25 PM


MORE THEORIES ON WHAT'S BEHIND TIMING OF KERRY STORY: On the Drudge Report's story about a John Kerry infidelity scandal, the Telegraph in England says Democrats blamed it on Republican "dirty tricks" and added this: "Drudge claimed that several prominent news organisations in Washington have been investigating the rumours. But some of those named denied this.'
That will be one test as to this allegation's credibility.
Drudge has this quote in one of his stories on this issue:"'There is no lawsuit testimony this time [like Clinton with Paula Jones],' a top source said Thursday night. 'It is hard to prove.'"
Which party does this "top source" belong to (and does that quote mean that even if this can't be pinned down with proof it's going to be what is repeated over and over again as if it is fact)?
Are other media indeed investigating this allegation? Or was the item planted to make the mainstream media start investigating it?
So you have three theories: it came from the Republicans, it came from Wesley Clark operatives or even, by one theory, from Kerry's camp.
But now there is a FOURTH THEORY, as Seth Farber of the liberal blog The Talking Dog points out: some conservative websites suggest the Kerry allegations are actually the behind-the-scenes handiwork of Hillary Clinton, who (they believe)was the real puppeteer pulling marionette Clark's strings. Under this scenario, Hillary would emerge out of the nominating chaos to save the party.
In any event, Farber writes, "it's probably a significant test for Kerry. He may score points with a lot of doubters... if he handles it well..."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:03 PM


"So my working theory at the moment is that it's actually the Kerry campaign who leaked this story. DC commentator extraordinaire Craig Crawford has said that the Kerry camp has long expected to deal with this, and have assured party leaders they can handle it.' So what's stopping the Kerry campaign from leaking the story to quash it long before November? Leak it, deny it, produce the alibi, end it, and deny Rove & Co. a possible October surprise."
DemWatch's theory is that if this alleged scandal was to have true impact, it would have been leaked at the very last moment, right before the November elections. But we ask this: what if the INTENT was to undermine Kerry, perceived as the strongest candidate...and knock him out of the race so the nominee could be another surging candidate (Dennis Kucinich...).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:12 PM


HILLARY CLINTON GETS ON TOUGH GUY'S LIST: Men's Journal put her at number 25 on the its annual "The 25 Toughest Guys in America" list. And if you bug her about it she'll give you a fat lip (like she gave Bill).....THIS JUST IN!!! Janet Reno is jealous.....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:31 PM


BEST COMMENT YET ON THE ALLEGED KERRY SEX SCANDAL: From the always classy, issue-oriented conservative website Citizen Smash:
"I'M GOING TO MAKE AN EFFORT to discuss relevant issues on this website -- but the current political atmosphere is making this very difficult. Matt Drudge is reporting on a scandal involving Kerry and an intern. Go read it if that sort of thing interests you.
But please keep that garbage off my site. Thank you."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:18 PM


JOHN KERRY SEX SCANDAL? WILL HIS CAMPAIGN IMPLODE? The Drudge Report (above) has huge headlines about Kerry being involved in an infidelity scandal a la Bill Clinton that could cause his campaign to implode.
The Daily Kos contends the story was first spread by Wesley Clark (Drudge's item seems to confirm this) and, he says, "it's a bullshit story. Kerry had an active and public romantic life in between his first wife and Theresa. I remember reading about his wild days in the Senate somewhere. But he was single (or at worst legally separated), and darn it, being single and having sex is a good thing. And the dalliances weren't even with his interns."
Kos speculates the story was spread by topranking political operatives of either President Bush or Clark (who withdrew today). According to Drudge, this allegedly simmering issue is why Howard Dean not only didn't drop out of the race but has become more aggressive towards Kerry.
Will it be the end of John Kerry's chances? Will he wind up like a Gary Hart -- the seeming nominee, only to disappear as quickly as he rose? For one thing, details actually don't matter THAT much anymore. It's the cable news, newspaper, broadcast news, and talk show news cycle. It's what the late night comedians do with it.
Will it take the heat off the White House on other issues such as weapons of mass destruction and the controversy over GWB's military service? Do these controversies have anything to do with the timing of this story NOW?
Consider the media like an attention deficit school kid. It has trouble concentrating on too many things at once. As details trickle out, starting with the Drudge report, it can dominate the whole news cycle. Is Kerry doomed? Not necessarily. Is he wounded? Yep....Unless he uses it as a "peg" to batter it down, denounce it, or plead it was a past indiscretion (if it happened as reported). No matter what, a perception will be out there.
Someone succeeded in getting info out to raise Kerry's negatives.
Will the media care to find out who leaked the story? Probably not...If the (Democratic or Republican) source is uncovered it would be useful. Remember the saying: "Consider the source."
If a Democrat is behind it, it proves the relatively lofty primary campaign was a lot filthier than anyone thought. And, writes Andrew Sullivan, " If the Republicans are behind this, they deserve to be trashed. This is absolutely not something that deserves to be a factor in our current debate."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:07 PM


GOOD OP-RESEARCH: In the Weekly Standard conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt introduces what promises to be the first in a series of The Kerry Files memos. The long list has specific talking points for Republicans to use against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry -- from specific votes, to published quotes, to his personality to the buzz on Capital Hill about what he's really like. Writes Hewett:"Against this hour's work the Democrats have Ambassador Joe Wilson, their feverish attempt to distort the president's national guard service, and the possibility that Saddam fooled the world into believing he had WMD. No wonder liberal talk radio can't succeed. Those hosts have no ammunition." Well, comedian and upcoming liberal talk show host Al Franken MIGHT disagree about that...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:04 AM


ARNOLD POWER: California Insider Dan Weintraub notes that Top Democrats are now "flocking" to support Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's ballot measures. This includes Democratic Chairman Art Toress, and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (Weintraub's column is a MUST if you are following Arnold's new career). The Governor's clout increases..
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:31 AM


David Horowitz argues in Front Page magazine that the Democrat's energetic attack on President George Bush coming at a time when we're still at war is "a stab in the back not only of the President but of the nation he serves and which he is sworn to protect."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:23 AM


THE UNITED STATES PRESENTS "CALIFORNIA" STARRING ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGAR: Hey, the mega-star ALWAYS gets top billing. Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub reports: "Arnold Schwarzenegger has just emblazoned his name in gold letters above the word 'Governor' that has long been the only identification outside the chief executive's office in the Capitol." Click on the link and you can see the photo. Officials insist it isn't part of the cult of personality, Weintraub reports, but a favor to picture-taking tourists. It cost $80 to do. "What -- no LIGHTS???"
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:36 AM

Wednesday, February 11, 2004  

CLOSED TOTALLY FOR THE HEARING IMPAIRED: A Palm Beach Post editorial lambasts the Bush administration for deciding that 200 television programs are off limits for the hearing-impaired on the grounds that they can be harmful. It says a five-member panel empowered by the US Department of Education is denying grants to close caption them. Some of the ones that are off limits are Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie on the grounds that the hearing impaired "could fall prey to witchcraft," according to Palm Beach Post editorial writer Dan Moffett. And many others including Law & Order and Power Rangers (too intense).
Others that have been deemed inappropriate for close captioning are Sanford and Son, Loretta Young, and Judge Wapner's Animal Court (a VERY corrupting show)...plus a slew of others.
The paper reports that Kelby Brick, director of the National Association of the Deaf's center accuses the government of only wanting to caption "puritan shows."
"The education department makes promises about No Child Left Behind,' but it didn't say anything about leaving behind people with bad hearing. Maybe they should have seen this coming," Moffett writes.
But there could be some cases where everyone agrees: like banning any reappearance of Kathy Lee Gifford, on the grounds of severe stomach cramps....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:16 PM


The White House has (no joke) released President Bush's 1973 dental exams to bolster his insistance that his Vietnam-era National Guard service was properly completed. We think this is UNFAIR to single him out in revealing health data. Doctors should X-ray the heads of ALL politicos who are running for President. They'd find nothing.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:44 PM


BOTH CANDIDATES DIMINISHED BY MORE MILITARY SERVICE QUESTIONS: It looks as if both candidates are now taking more hits on their military service history than Liza Minelli's husband took during their marriage.
--- According to USA Today:"As Texas Gov. George W. Bush prepared to run for president in the late 1990s, top-ranking Texas National Guard officers and Bush advisers discussed ways to limit the release of potentially embarrassing details from Bush's military records, a former senior officer of the Texas Guard said Wednesday."
The story alleges key portions on the records were blackened out to remove information on possible Bush arrests.
Meanwhile, the lively weblog Citizen Smash has an item about how Secretary of State Colin Powell angrily came to GWB's defense after an Ohio Congressman contrasted Powell's military record, suggesting the President had gone AWOL from the National Guard. "I won't dignify your comments about the president because you don't know what you are talking about," Powell snapped.
---John Kerry has been hit by a slew of photographs and news stories (no link needed here: just check ANYWHERE on the Internet) focusing on his years as an anti-war Vietnam veteran. The photos include him with such anti-war symbols as Jane Fonda; the stories recount his comments against the Vietnam war, CIA, and the era's US foreign policy in general.
Basically, Kerry's hair isn't terribly long but all the material being belched up from the archives creates the image of a young short-haired hippy (that's what they were called in that era: 'hippy" is what they called me this summer after I went on the beach after eating a triple-cheese pizza).
SO THE CONTEST BECOMES: the 1970s Preppy VERSUS the 1970s Hippy.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:17 PM


CNN.com - Driving bin Laden just a job - Feb. 11, 2004

THIS JUST IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The military lawyer for one of the men held as a suspected terrorist in Cuba says his client was a driver for terrorist- mastermind Osama bin Laden. The Moderate Voice has obtained an exclusive interview with bin Laden's driver who gave us this list:
What It Was Like To Drive The Most Wanted Man In The World:
1. It's tough parking an SUV in a cave.
2. He doesn't attend many bar mitzvahs.
3. He doesn't spend much on shaving cream and razor blades.
4. Constantly re-ran video of Janet Jackson's breast reveal during the Superbowl Halftime show.
5. He thinks Simon on American Idol is mean.
6. He's hoping the Democrats and Republicans don't press him to explain his military service during Vietnam.
7. Boxers or briefs? Sheets.
8. Impossible to get insurance when your car carries so many bombs.
9. He thinks Dennis Kucinich is way out there.
10. His group now runs a chain of spider hole time-shares.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:50 PM


Provocative Bush Painting Causes Debate: Fox News reports: "An image of President Bush groping the breast of a barely dressed woman in a painting at Lehigh University (search) has sparked debate over the propriety of hanging such a picture in the school's supposedly non-partisan political science department."
So it was HIM and NOT Justin Timberlake who was standing next to Janet Jackson at the Superbowl halftime show...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:34 PM


THE ISSUE THAT COULD SINK THE DEMOCRATS RAGES: Events in Democratic Presidential candidate front-runner John Kerry's home state of Massachusetts continue unfolding in a way that foreshadows big problems for the Democratic Party. If the Democrats don't have a strategy on how to deal with it ready, they better get one.....fast. Polls show some 60 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage.
Two news reports tell it all, one on the overall issue:
"For the second time today, Massachusetts lawmakers have rejected a proposal to ban gay marriage but allow civil unions. The vote came during a historic constitutional convention at the Statehouse in Boston. It leaves open the possibility of either an outright ban without any benefits for same-sex couples or letting the state's constitution remain intact."
And then there's this, the first of what is sure to be many tidbits unearthed about Kerry's past:
"WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry, who opposes gay marriage and hints he might support a limited ban, just two years ago signed a letter with other congressional colleagues urging the Massachusetts legislature to drop a constitutional amendment outlawing homosexual nuptials.
And when Kerry opposed federal legislation in 1996 that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, he compared the law to 1960s efforts in the South to criminalize interracial marriages and accused his supporters of engaging in the "politics of division."
Yes, Kerry is for civil unions, not gay marriage...but that distinction may not be completely understood or accepted by the person my old editors at the Christian Science Monitor used to call "Mrs. Smith in Peoria." The marriage issue is a classic wedge issue.....and the GOP could use its war chest to make it THE issue. Of course, a win based mainly on exploiting an emotional wedge issue would mean a more polarized country...but political parties don't think about national mental health during election campaigns but something else (PSST!! It's called WINNING...)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:11 PM


BLOG OF THE DAY: In an election year, interest in politics reaches a fever pitch but the question becomes: how do you find a readable, solid, and reliable site (BESIDES VISITING OUR SITE...subtle commercial sponsored by Friends of The Moderate Voice)?
Here's one of the BEST political weblogs....PoliBlogger, written by Steven Taylor, an occasional columnist and more-than occasional Assistant Professor of Political Science at Troy State University in Alabama.
PoliBlogger offers short comments with great links to timely stories, but it also offers' Taylor's comprehensive analysis of an issue. For instance, he offers one of the best analyses yet on why the furor over President George Bush's military record could backfire on the Democrats -- basing his analysis not on angry ideology but on a clinical evaluation of possible political consequences. And if you want a little more than politics, he has a superb essay, responding to a discouraged student, on why it's important to go to college.
PoliBlogger is well-thought out, well-written and well-designed. If you visit it you're going to bookmark it..which is why we're pleased to name it as our Blog of the Day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:59 PM


ANALYST LARRY SABATO'S Three Laws of Political Motion:
As Candidates Fall Faster than Newton's Apple
: It's going to take a lot to deny John Kerry the nomination...but don't plan the Kerry inauguration yet. Those are among the key conclusions this week from the University of Virginia's expert analyst and prognosticator Larry Sabato. They're contained in this week's Sabato's Crystal Ball, which you can get FREE via email. Boiling down his key points (for more details go to the link or better yet subscribe):
1. KERRY LOOKS LIKE THE ONE: And "the remaining candidates are having a difficult time making their case without looking for all the world like yesterday's news or a ripe target for the late-night comedy shows."
2. BUSH IS IN REAL TROUBLE: He lists an exhaustive list of reasons "that have put this Bush behind the eight ball going into his reelection year -- not unlike the last Bush." About Bush's Meet the Press appearance he notes: "That was not a confident Chief Executive we saw...it was a president clearly on the defensive..."
3. KERRY WOULD DEFEAT BUSH IF THE ELECTION WERE HELD NOW: He shows how this is not merely in polls but if you add up likely electoral votes. If you add Gore's states Kerry would get a winning 295 votes. And if Kerry runs with John Edwards he can add the votes of a Republican state.
4. BUT THE ELECTION IS NOT BEING HELD NOW: So, he predicts, it is going to be a "close, competitive one."
Sabato also lists three ironies for Bush (summarized briefly here -- see link or subscribe for more). IRONY ONE: if Bush loses because business won't hire Americans despite an improving economy under a pro-business administration. IRONY TWO: Will he have the same bad timing as Poppy Bush did with the economic cycle? IRONY THREE: "Perhaps the President who thought that a tax-cut refreshed economy, plus big victories in the national security arena, would be his strong suit in 2004 will now have to rely on hot-button value issues like gay marriage to get re-elected."
On Bush's military record, Sabato notes that the Democrats are luring the GOP into a game of "negative one-upsmanship" and are scoring now BUT "Kerry is very vulnerable ideologically. It is simply undeniable that his voting record is quite liberal, well to the left of the American mainstream."
And, Sabato notes, the ongoing controversy in Kerry's home state of Massachusetts over gay marriage is "a godsend to the GOP," especially given Kerry's votes on the issue.
The outlook? A mean campaign: "Squeamish citizens should thus be warned: This may be the year to reduce your media consumption."
Meanwhile, Sabato warns of the "fork in the road" which could come in the form of a vicious remaining few primary months, buyer's remorse over Kerry, or Kerry's having money or health problems.
The weekly Crystal Ball is always fun -- and SOLID -- political reading, which is why we summarize it here each week. But you can go on line and read it yourself or, even easier, subscribe to it at the above link.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:15 PM


THE KERRY DOSSIER: The lively conservative news site/news forum Free Republic has started The Kerry Dossier page for readers to post anything negative they have on the presumptive Democratic Party Presidential nominee John Kerry. So far it looks like it's getting a lot of stuff: circa 1970s John Kerry in the background of pictures with anti-war luminaries such as Jane Fonda, John Lennon, and (it looked like) Ramsey Clark. If you're a Republican you'll want to book mark it and contribute. If you're a Democrat you'll want to look at it and be prepared for the onslaught.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:37 PM


DWARF DATE: A new show in London is a dating show for dwarves. (Note to my friends who will email me one liners. I'm five foot one so I'm TOO TALL to be on this show. So there..)
The This is London report says "the show, from Fox network, has already run into trouble with the critics. Reality TV pundit Steve Rogers accused the broadcaster of ' sinking low' with the project. The New York Daily News added: 'Think you've seen it all with reality shows? Wait until The Littlest Groom. This show gives new meaning to a mini-series.' "
And YES it is slated to air on Fox in the U.S. within the next two weeks.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:28 PM


IS DISNEY UP FOR SALE? Maybe, reports the AP: "In a stunning move, cable TV giant Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) proposed Wednesday to buy Walt Disney Co. for stock valued at about $54 billion. The Disney board said it would study the offer, which would create the world's largest communications company"
Comcast is the nation's largest cable system. This comes amid a no-holds-barred battle between Disney bigwig Michael Eisner and Walt Disney's nephew, Roy Disney, who years ago recruited Eisner to save the then-sagging company.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:59 AM


Mass. Convention to Debate Gay Marriage: The AP reports: "Activists from all sides descended on the Statehouse on the eve of Massachusetts' constitutional convention that includes on its agenda a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The convention opens Wednesday." This is the issue Republicans can (and likely will) try to use to defeat John Kerry.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:28 AM


TROLLING: President Bush's spokesman said Wednesday that Democrats who continue to demand more proof that the president reported for National Guard duty in Alabama are "trolling for trash." I thought that's what Bill Clinton does when Hillary's not around....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:41 AM


A photo of John Kerry with actress and then-militant anti-war activist Jane Fonda continues to enrage some veterans as the Washington Times reports.. Like any other group of that era, groups aren't monolithic. Kerry travels with veterans who applaud him but there are others who most decidely do not.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:35 AM


Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warns that soaring deficits must be addressed soon to avoid the threat of "serious longer-term fiscal difficulties." But he also says the economy has made "impressive gains" since last summer. The jobs market? He thinks it should be improving later this year.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:29 AM


KERRY GOOD -- KERRY BAD...KAMPAIGN KERRIES ON: The good news this morning for John Kerry, and the bad news.
THE GOOD NEWS: He won so convincingly in the South that talk of him being in trouble in the South in the general election has a least eased and overall, the USA Today's super-political-columnist Walter Shapiro says, "Kerry has come close to having the best month of any presidential candidate since George Washington ran unopposed."
Shapiro has an excellent track record of explaining and predicting trends (with welcome humor). He explains the rise of Kerry, who looked like a dead-duck just months ago, as being due to war receeding as the vital litmus test and the campaign shifting into one of competing resumes. Now, Shapiro writes, "the remaining challengers appear to have been diminished to mere sparring partners for the eventual Democratic nominee."
THE BAD NEWS: The vetting and battering has begun. The Drudge Report today linked a Harvard Crimson story recounting a 1970 interview in which Kerry, as an underdog in a Democratic primary, expressed his views a la 1970. Even though Crimson said these views "vastly diverge" from his present views that is unlikely to matter to talk radio hosts or GOP campaign strategists. In this 1970 interview Kerry said he wanted to "almost eliminate CIA activity" and have US troops "dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations." Expect more unearthing of info about Kerry's more radical past.
Stay tuned....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:44 AM

Tuesday, February 10, 2004  

Democratic race isn't over now, then this promises to be one of the most topsy-turvy years in political history.
Southern voters helped John Kerry backhand his Democratic opponents yesterday in
primaries in the conservative South -- increasing his aura of electability at the precise time when MSNBC exit polls showed Democratic voters are angry and embraced the slogan: Anybody But Bush (ABB).
The depth of Kerry's Tennessee and Virginia wins was so convincing that campaign late-comer Wesley Clark decided to withdraw. John Edwards suffered near-humiliation in his own backyard, while Howard Dean and (naturally) Dennis Kucinich wound up single digit afterthoughts. The remaining three candidates vowed to remain in the race anyway but it truly seems over: in Virginia, Kerry got half the vote with Edwards a poor second, and Clark third. Kerry crushed Edwards and Clark in Tennessee. And Howard Dean? Don't ask...it's enough to make a candidate scream.
Kerry celebrated the twin-pronged victories to the tune of James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and for good reason: barring a catastrophe he'll emerge as a candidate who not only won the nomination but came out of the primaries vastly improved in focus and in his ability as a powerful partisan speaker. Now the pressure is on remaining candidates to take their bows and let Kerry focus on the ABB target.
Former Clinton Chief of Staff Leon Pannetta told MSNBC:"I think Democrats need
to unify behind John Kerry and refocus on winning in November. I think it is obvious from the results of these primaries as to what the handwriting on the wall is."
Southern-rooted Clark, who finished third in both races, did not pass easily into the political night, according to the AP:"Virtually all of Clark's advisers urged him to quit the race, but Clark and his family members resisted, said a Democratic source speaking on condition of anonymity."
Electabilty was a monster issue. CNN exit polls in Virginia found nearly 90 percent of that state's exit respondents felt Kerry could beat Bush. Among the nearly four in 10 respondents in both states who thought "electability" was more important than a candidate's stance on particular issues, Kerry was the choice by a greater than 3-2 margin.
How could a Massachusetts liberal conquer the South? According to CBS News Political Consultant Monika L. McDermott, Kerry was strong among black voters, lower income voters, older voters, and ideologically moderate and liberal voters....in other words, among some of the vital swing voters that a party must garner in order to win (FOOTNOTE: The LA Times said several weeks ago GOP operatives nationwide will implement a massive get-out-the-partisan-vote so Bush can win even if he loses independent voters....)
Significantly, the top votegetters are Kerry and Edwards -- candidates voters happily voted FOR, rather voted for to vote against someone else. The Newhouse News Service's Mike Benson sees an underlying message in Democratic political developments: "The Democratic Party of John Kerry and John Edwards is transforming itself in ways that ultimately will leave Bill Clinton and Al Gore on the outside looking in." And what about Hillary??
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:26 PM



GRADE JOHN KERRY AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's right! You can actually give Kerry a letter grade by clicking on the link above and going to this Florida newspaper's website and participating in their poll! No "incompletes" are allowed. If Johnnie gets an "F" he will be punished (he will have to listen to two hours of Dennis Kucinich speeches).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:56 PM


RollingStone.com: News: Jackson Suit Dropped:

"Jackson Suit Dropped": Uh, oh...Was a kid there?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:49 PM


Moose and Hamster: Fox News Producer Reportedly Wrote Porno Script

Fox News Producer Reportedly Wrote Porno Script: I thought they already showed some porn -- Geraldo's reporting on the war with Iraq...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:28 PM


BLOG OF THE DAY: If you surf the Internet you know there are plenty of Democratic, Republican, liberal and conservative websites. Even an occasional independent website (like this). But I sometimes get the question: aren't there LIBERTARIAN websites? The answer is yes: and Old Whig's Brain Dump is one of our favorites. Old Whig (which doesn't refer to William Shatner's hairpiece) is vintage Libertarian in that you may find things that compliment either party, or blast either party. It's independent, but with a philosophy. And author Al Erkkila also peppers it with some cool nuggets of wisdom on Buddhism as well. It's done with a large type font, so it's easy on the eyes. Postings are on diverse topics so be sure to go into the archives. Entries are quite unpredictable. It's always a joy to find a site that has insightful political AND spiritual tidbits sprinkled throughout it. So you want a break from Limbaugh, Franken, Bush and Kerry visit Old Whig's Brain Dump. It'll dump some challenging things into your brain...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:30 PM


A GENERATION X CONSERVATIVE BLOGGER'S REQUEST FOR BOTH SIDES TO GET BACK TO THE 21ST CENTURY: One of our favorite, most solid conservative weblogs, Citizen Smash, has a message for Democrats and Republicans (one that I'm sure they will not heed). It is this: get the campaign out of the 70s and back to the year 2004. In a highly thoughtful and eloquent post he firmly requests BOTH parties drop the debate over lingering questions about President George Bush's military service and John Kerry's Vietnam ties to anti-war protesters.
"CAN WE GET BACK to the issues at hand now?" Citizen Smash asks. " I have to say, as a member of 'Generation X,' that this constant replay of the hot-button issues from the early 1970's is getting very tiresome. For me, the most important issues of the time were diaper training and learning to tie my shoes. So you want to talk about military policy? Let's talk."
You'll have to read it yourself to get all of the details in this supremely well-thought out essay. Citizen Smash, it turns out, is himself a reservist and he also missed and made up some days. So he thinks the Democrats are blowing out of proportion this press-and-campaign-fueled controversy...but he also feels the Republicans are doing the same thing on his side. And he tells you why, in each instance, the charges are bloated.
Then, with a final graceful blow, like a champion boxer, he poses a series of specific military related questions based on TODAY...THE YEAR 2004...that he'd like to have answered by BOTH candidates.
"These are real issues," he writes, "forget that 1970s crap."
Read it yourself. It's a piece worthy of publication in on any major newspaper's op-ed page or in any major newspaper or magazine. Citizen Smash's take on The Great 1970s 2004 Military Debate is a smash.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:12 PM


WHITE HOUSE RELEASES SOME KEY BUSH MILITARY RECORDS: The White House released material that included annual retirement point summaries and pay records that the White House said proved that Bush served in the National Guard. The press continues to pepper White House officials for more info but its spokesman believes this answers many of the lingering questions -- although it may not stop politics.
"When you serve, you are paid for that service. These documents outline the days on which he was paid. That means he served. And these documents also show he met his requirements," press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters. "And it's just really a shame that people are continuing to bring this up."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:28 PM


CREDIBILITY? Ruy Teixiera analyzes the latest Time/CNN poll and concludes that credibility is now an issue. The trust-meter gap widens most among political independents. Poll respondents, meanwhile, view Kerry as someone who cares. He concludes: "So, the public doesn't trust Bush much anymore and doesn't have the warm personal regard for him they once did. That means he'll increasingly have to sell his policies to the American public on their merits."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:31 PM


BILL O'REILLY APOLOGIZES FOR NOT BEING SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION: When the build up to the Iraq war came, O'Reilly backed the administration and said he'd put his personal credibility on the line -- and that if that if no weapons were found he would personally apologize to the country.
So, in an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America," he DID. He apologized.
He said he was sorry he gave the administration the benefit of the doubt that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's weapons program poised an imminent threat: "I was wrong. I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this," O'Reilly said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America."What do you want me to do, go over and kiss the camera?"
O'Reilly said he was "much more skeptical about the Bush administration now" after former weapons inspector David Kay said he didn't think Saddam had any weapons of mass destruction.
Is this equivilent to Walter Cronkite breaking with LBJ on Vietnam? Even if it isn't, the Fox radio/TV talk show star did something almost unprecedented in the world of politics or entertainment: He kept his word by apologizing when he felt he was wrong -- and enhanced his credibility by keeping it.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:59 AM


CBS News | Report: Atkins Qualified As Obese | February 10, 2004�13:04:42

DR. ATKINS DIED A FATTY: But he had so much culinary FUN. This story quotes a Wall Street Journal report noting that Dr. Robert Atkins, whose popular Atkins Diet stresses protein-rich meat and cheese over carbohydrates, weighed 258 pounds at his death and had a history of heart disease.
His wife insists the diet had absolutely nothing to do with his death, which occurred when he fell on an icy street (there were rumors, though, of an earthquake in the area around the time he fell). She said "shameless" individuals released the information, which would not be inspiring to those wanting to go on the Atkins diet. Some medical experts have have contended the diet is unwise and dangerous, but Atkins -- backed by some recent medical research -- insisted it was sound, safe and effective.'
But the debate over Dr. Atkins' Big Eats is not over.
A group charged that the information about Atkins weight at death stems from a group of doctors associated with the animal rights group PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- and that PETA clamored against the diet because it encourages eating lots of meat. This group, the Center for Consumer Freedom , describes itself as "a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices."
So, in the end, it seemingly comes down to a battle over meat sales, versus diets. If you're on the Atkins diet, think about it while finishing off a pound or two of pot roast..
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:27 AM


Yahoo! News - Catholic Backlash Over Pope on a Pogo-Stick:

Catholic Backlash Over Pope on a Pogo-Stick: In London: "Thousands of angry Roman Catholics have written to Britain's BBC complaining about a planned cartoon show mocking the Pope as a puerile preacher on a pogo-stick." The producers will follow that up with Rabbi on a Bungee Jump.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:01 AM


Bush report: Sending jobs overseas helps U.S. The administration report defends outsourcing, according to this story:"The movement of American factory jobs and white-collar work to other countries is part of a positive transformation that will enrich the U.S. economy over time, even if it causes short-term pain and dislocation, the Bush administration said yesterday." Oh.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:22 AM


The Register:

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:04 AM


In his most combative language yet, former Vice President Al Gore came out fighting and blasted President George Bush for having "betrayed" Americans.
Fresh from having so impacted the Democratic primaries with his dramatic endorsement of Howard Dean (even Dean thinks it killed Dean), Gore told Tennessee Democrats that Bush "took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure, dangerous to our troops, that was preordained and planned before 9-11."
He said he had shoved partisanship aside after 911 and wanted Bush to lead the nation but Bush "betrayed us.' Then he articulated the so-called "Bush-hatred" that many armchair pundits, TV pundits, and experts such as the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato have noted -- a hatred aroused only by a few presidents such as Richard Nixon.
Gore said:"Nixon was no more committed to principle than the man on the moon...He cared as little about what it means to be conservative as George Bush does about imposing ... budget deficits. It has nothing to do with conservatism and everything to do with his efforts to get re-elected."
Is Gore on the cutting edge of new outrage on the part of GWB's increasingly vocal critics? No, it seems once again that Al Gore is several beats behind where the country may actually be. The most precise diagnosis of what may be going on comes from Andrew Sullivan who, describing Gore's comments as a "deranged rant," writes in his great webblog:
"Gore is always a very good indicator of where the country isn't. Bush-hatred, in other words, may have peaked. Bush-skepticism may be rising. Dean didn't win. Kerry did. And the skepticism may be more deadly."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:34 AM


Boston.com / News / Nation / Bush credited for Guard drills]

BUSH CREDITED FOR NATIONAL GUARD DRILLS: The Boston Globe, which did a lot of work on the re-raging issue about questions about President George Bush's military record, has a story today saying: "President Bush received credit for attending Air National Guard drills in the fall of 1972 and spring of 1973 -- a period when his commanders have said he did not appear for duty at bases in Montgomery, Ala., and Houston."
The Globe goes on to say:"The personnel records, covering Bush's Guard service between May 1972 and May 1973, constitute the first evidence that Bush appeared for any duty during the first 11 months of that 12-month period. Bush is recorded as having served the minimum number of days expected of Guard members in that 12 months of service time.
But Talking Points blogster Joshua Marshall says the issue is "this is still the White House selectively releasing records. As nearly as I can tell the president is still refusing to waive his Privacy Act rights and allow the government to release all his military service records to the press, without having them filtered through the White House."
He points us to Richard Cohen's column in the Washington Post on this issue, saying that Bush should own up to his military service being the "rich kid's" way out of the draft. Cohen says the issue is owning up to what you really did -- which Clinton did not. Cohen seems especially irked about Bush suggesting that raising questions about him fulfilling the military service is attacking the National Guard.
Cohen writes: "When Bush attempts to drape the flag of today's Guard over the one he was in so long ago, when he warns his critics to remember that "there are a lot of really fine people who have served in the National Guard and who are serving in the National Guard today in Iraq," then he is doing now what he was doing then: hiding behind the ones who were really doing the fighting. It's about time he grew up."
Why is the issue coming up now? Many analysts (like Cohen) contend its because Bush will run against someone with a highly touted military record and because the administration is going to make national security and military expertise key campaign issues.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:31 AM


BUSH POLL NUMBERS UP: Once again we see the see-saw nature of modern politics, with polls akin to a nurse sitting next to a patient, taking his pulse nonstop and saying, "Oh no! He's sick! But wait! He's getting better, he's well! Oh no! he sick!...But wait!..." Etc.
Now, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken over the weekend shows Bush's job approval came back from his all-time low of 49% a week ago to 52% now. And if voters went to the polls today Bush would win in a statistical tie, 49% to 48% over John Kerry. The poll shows 'very evenly divided country,' says Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report, a non-partisan political newsletter. Once again: watch the independents.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:10 AM

Monday, February 09, 2004  

MODERATE VOICE (not real) NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Transcript of interview with Peggy Ninny:
Editor's Note: From time to time The Moderate Voice will present exclusive (not real) news interviews, news stories and transcripts. They will focus on ALL parties and ALL viewpoints and NOT just on one. The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan (who is actually one of our favorite writers) recently panned -- but not quite - GWB's Meet the Press appearance. See our entry on Noonan's piece below. So, in honor of her logic and consistency, and since we don't belong to any political party, we offer you THIS:
TS: Hello. This is Tony Shmoe for the Moderate Voice News. Today our special guest is Peggy Ninny, columnist for the Wall Street Girdle.
Miss Ninny is a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan who recently raised eyebrows when she wrote a column highly critical of President George Bush's performance on Meet the Press when he was interviewed by Tim Custard.
But, Miss Ninny, later on in your column you said none of that mattered. So let's get down to brass tacks...
PN: Sure. OWWW!! I think I found them...(tosses tacks off her seat). Hillary did that!
TS: First, Miss Ninny, I want to let you know that I'm sure viewers greatly appreciate watching a show where they can see someone so well groomed, someone with every hair perfectly in place, someone who has a hairdo that's a work of the stylist's art, a do that oozes precision, taste and utter sexuality.
PN: Thank you, Tony for your comments about me.
TS: Who's talking about you? I was talking about ME...
PN. Oh..........
TS: We don't have much time. Now, you wrote a fairly long piece in the paper going into great detail into why you think George Bush didn't do well in the interview....
PN. And I had a lot more but couldn't fit it in. After all, space is tight in the Girldle.
TS: By the way, it says here you wrote one of Ronald Reagan's most famous catchphrases.
PN: Yes I did.
TS: Was it "a shining city on the hill?"
PN: No.
TS: Was it "the evil empire?"
PN: No.
TS: What was it?
PN: It was: "Well...." He loved that piece. I wrote it in one day and it took sixteen drafts...
TS: In your column you suggested that President Bush was unsure of himself, uninspiring, and detatched. Then you said it's a good thing because it shows Republicans care about philosophy, not policy.
PN: That's true. Democratic Presidents such as FDR, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Democratic candidates like Walter Mondale, and John Kerry, only cared about reciting talking points and cared about policy and that's not what matters.
TS: It's bad if they care about policy?
PN: Republicans are bored with policy and care about philosophy -- firm, ENDURING principles. That's why the President is proposing an illegal immigration amnesty, a comprehensive prescription drug program that will be worth every cent of the 20 trillion dollars we spend on it, and the first budget earmarked to go into infinity. We Republicans believe in smaller government...
TS: But the Democrats call it...
PN: The Democrats!! All they do is negative campaigning and name calling. Republicans don't do those things. We didn't even do it when we had as President that skirt-chasing, Monica-Lewinsky-perjuring, didn't-inhaling, Vince-Foster-killing, carb-devouring, Elvis-wanna-be, accused rapist who has a wife of questionable sexuality. We would never do name calling when we campaign, even when our President was that draft dodging Bill Clinton, a man who had no character.
TS: The Democrats have raised questions about the President Bush's military record...
PN: See how they operate? We Republicans care about NOW. The issue is quality of mind. Our President's military service was in the past, for God's sakes. It old history. It's ridiculous to harp on a military record. By the way, did you know that John Kerry was in cahoots with Jane Fonda during Vietnam?
TS: We've run out of time....
PN: Well, thanks for inviting me....
TS: I have to say, it's a real service to viewers to do a show where they can see someone who is highly intelligent, someone who makes consistent and logical arguments and has total credibility for standing on solid principles.
PN: Thank you very much for your kind words about me.
TS: You? I was talking about ME. For The Moderate Voice News, this is Tony Shmoe...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:11 PM


Seized Letter Makes Appeal To Al Qaeda (washingtonpost.com)

SEIZED LETTER MAKES APPEAL TO AL QAEDA:The 17 page letter on a compact disc expresses "frustration with the insurgency's failure to force out U.S. and allied troops," the Washington Post report says. So the Jordian guerilla leader "asks for assistance from al Qaeda to accelerate the guerrillas' activities. " BOTTOM LINE: The letter indicates the U.S. military and Bush administration policy of holding firm is indeed working.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said the document shows insurgents' weaknesses "in their efforts to undercut the coalition's efforts, but at the same time it shows they haven't given up. They're trying to get more terrorists into Iraq, and they're trying to create more terrorist organizations to try to defeat our purposes. But they will not succeed."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:45 PM


PRESIDENT BUSH: FORCEFULLY OUT ON THE HUSTINGS: It's here. It's now. Forget all the talk about it really starting after the conventions. We are now in full campaign mode. The Democrats had to be in it due the primaries, but with sinking polls (one poll today showed George Bush's numbers going up a bit) the White House is quickly pushing the throttle to put the campaign unofficially underway.
In stark contrast to what some (even some supporters) called an anemic performance on Meet the Press, the President in Missouri energetically and staunchly defended his tax cuts:"There are some in Washington that are going to say, 'Let's not make the tax cuts permanent.' That means he's going to raise your taxes," Bush said. "When you hear people say, 'We're not going to make this permanent,' that means tax increases."
OUTLOOK: Lots of forceful campaigning on both sides. The White House has to triple its efforts now that they see a nearly united Democratic Party and the demise of their favorite candidate, Howard Dean. The White House and talking-points-talk-show hosts will try to raise John Kerry's negatives; Kerry and the Democrats will try to raise Bush's negatives. Both sides know you lose votes if you don't respond or go on the offensive. Politicians will sweat; journalists -- and bloggers -- will have a ball....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:12 PM


ANOTHER BAD REVIEW FROM A SUPPORTER FOR BUSH ON MEET THE PRESS: The great journalist and blogger Andrew Sullivan (his blog is linked on our site) has been inching away from his staunch support of President Bush recently. And his New Republic piece on the Meet the Press interview is not complimentary.
He clearly disagrees with the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan (see item below) who wrote a virtual laundry list of what she described as Bush failures during the interview, and then said they were actually good things and that people who do well in interviews merely reguritate talking points.
" I felt his answers on the war and its general rationale, his willingness to concede errors, and his demeanor were strong and appealing to those who aren't already turned off by this president's character and personality," he wrote.
But Sulllivan clearly breaks with Bush over the economy and seems nearly stunned. Read his detailed analysis and questioning for yourself (Sullivan is clearly no unquestioning partisan).
His most devastating (to Bush) comments come at the end:
"I still believe he did a great and important thing in liberating Iraq (although we have much, much more to do). But, if this is the level of coherence, grasp of reality, and honesty that is really at work in his understanding of domestic fiscal policy, then we are in even worse trouble than we thought. We have a captain on the fiscal Titanic who thinks he's in the Caribbean."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:59 PM


The Sun Newspaper Online - UK's biggest selling newspaper

Kids told: Be a suicide bomber: Young kids as young as 10 were told in London that they must “kill and be killed” for Islam. According to the news report linked above, Muslim extremlist Omar Bakri said kids who participate in "self-sacrifice operations" were assured a place in paradise. He told a cheering audience of cheering adults and kids that a good example would be crashing a plane into the White House or Prime Minister's residence. This shows you the cultural differences: I didn't get bombed until I was in college.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:42 PM


ABCNEWS.com : 'NYPD Blue' to Return for One Last Season

Good news (and NOT because of the statement in the headline) for lovers of GREAT TV drama: NYPD will return for a final season. One of the best TV shows ever, with various incarnations of superb cast members.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:53 PM


Israeli military secrets posted on web

ISRAELI SECRETS POSTED ON THE WEB: But they didn't post the URL. The theory is that the documents put on the web may have been placed on a personal website by an Israeli military official who believed them to be secure.The website also contained one of the most sensitive, highly-sought after pieces of information in Israel: the recipe for making PERFECT chopped liver. If convicted, the person who posted the secrets can go to jail. The judge would say: "It's normally life...but for YOU......20 years.."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:46 PM


IS HOWARD DEAN GETTING READY TO RUN AS THE GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE? The conservative magazine The American Spectator thinks so. (See item above). It contains this quote:
"This isn't a ploy to get Democrats to pay attention to us," says a Deaniac in Washington. "This is about ensuring that our man's views and this supporters' views get carried into the fall campaign. A Green Party bid puts him in the debates with Bush and whomever the Democrats nominate. It keeps us viable."
This item was posted on the great conservative website Free Republic, where the idea of Dean running as a Green Party candidate was enthusiastically received. Comments from Republicans posting include: "Go Dean!!...Pull that trigger, Howie!.. The sky's not as big as my grin right now..." But then one person threw cold-water on the Screams for Dean: "This is bogus. Dean said just this weekend that he would support the Democratic nominee." Whatever...and NO MATTER: Free Republic is still one of the liveliest and most informative websites around...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:13 PM


Yahoo! News - Okay, You Be the Look-Out...:

"Okay, You Be the Look-Out": "Police in the central Argentine city of Cordoba foiled a predawn street hold-up on Thursday -- and were staggered to find one of the assailants was blind."
What they don't tell you is the blind guy used to be an accountant for Enron.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:33 AM


THE ISSUE OVER BUSH'S MILITARY RECORD CONTINUES TO RAGE: And there are no signs of it abating as three things happen:
1. John Kerry continues to make it an issue,
2. More documents surrounding questions about President Bush's Vietnam era National Guard service continue to surface. The latest is a seemingly official document posted on Calpundit's blogsite that continues the mystery regarding the time Bush didn't show up for service. Go to the link, look at it yourself and make your own decision.
3. Republicans believe GWB's role as a war president, during a time of continued terrorism threats here and abroad, is a strong re-election argument. Hugh Hewitt states his case quite well.
Expect more verbal jabs -- and possibly more documents -- on this issue as the campaign progresses. What puzzles me is how principled conservatives can say questions about doing military service do not really matter and are old hat in reference to President Bush when it was (and still is) a huge point made about the very real flaws in Bill Clinton's so-called character. Bill Bennett used to say character counts but I'll bet Bill five to one that he isn't using that theme anymore...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:42 AM


DOES THE BUSH ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT AMNESTY PROPOSAL HAVE A HIDDEN COST? A solid story written by the Copley News Service's Jerry Kammer suggests it may. Kammer's story has great real-life examples of illegal immigrants but the key point he makes is this:"Many of the millions of immigrants who would get temporary work visas under the plan would bring their children, causing added strains on schools, community health agencies and housing."
And, he goes on to say this: "Although nobody knows for certain how many illegal immigrants have children in their native countries, (one expert) estimates there are already 1.6 million undocumented immigrant children in the United States and 3 million U.S.-born children of undocumented parents."
GWB's proposal has already encountered opposition from both his conservative base, which feels it is too much, and many on the left, who feel it is not enough. The issue raised in this story will likely be part of the raging debate.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:49 AM


BLOG OF THE DAY: I'm relatively new to "blogging" and it took me a while (really) to learn that "blog" is a derivative of "web log" which in concept referred to almost a diary. Some blogs are news oriented, some ideologically oriented, some more like diaries with personal items shared with readers.
Right Thinking from the Left Coast is a great conservative blog because its author not only shares his politics but shares his daily life. Specifically, it recently has featured a series of poignant entries about his father's battle with heart problems. Yes, the political stuff and no-holds-barred personal opinion is there too (he has often invited readers to fill in the comments section with their views on dumb liberals, Michael Jackson and asked for tasteless jokes -- getting more than 200 entries), but he proves that there is a life for all of us beyond parties, ideology and news.
For its genuine variety,honesty, and poignancy we proudly offer Right Thinking from the Left Coast as our Blog of the day.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:18 AM


AL FRANKEN TAKES ON THE NEW YORK POST AND THE ACCURACY OF TALK RADIO HOSTS: The author, comedian, soon-to-be-talk-show host and bitter nemisis of top-rated radio/tv host Bill O'Reilly says accounts of him jumping and body-slamming a protester are wrong. He says it started with a New York Post account and that the paper has not completely run his account of events.
Here is the important section of the New York Daily News account Franken gives in which he questions the accuracy of the initial story in Rupert Murdoch's New York newspaper, an account picked up and broadcast by talk show hosts on the assumption that it was accurate:
Franken told Lloyd Grove: "I didn't body-slam anyone to the floor. The Post's story makes me look like a nut, and it has been circulated all over the world by the right-wing echo chamber."
He told the columnist that Howard Dean's aides and security staffers accepted his offer to help subdue the screaming protester after nearly 10 minutes of disruption.
"Three of us grabbed the man's shoulders to restrain him...We tried to pull him back, but he grabbed onto a railing. I then drew on my experience as a mediocre high-school wrestler to suggest we lift the man's legs off the floor [so that he] could be safely taken away. ... There was no danger that he would fall to the floor."
Go to the link to read more specifics on what Franken says was the inaccuracy of the widely-circulated Post story, how his clarification was apparently not run in full, and how the News columnist didn't get any response from the Post (which is really NOT surprising since the two papers are bitter competitors).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:51 AM


Terrorists still trying to get dirty bomb - PittsburghLIVE.com

The State Department's top anti-terror official tells the AP that terrorists have the will and some of the expertise to make a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapon, and are "doing everything they can" to acquire the materials.
Speaking at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Jakarta on Saturday, AP says, Cofer Black, U.S. ambassador at large for anti-terrorism, "said he and other U.S. officials are 'killing ourselves' to make sure terrorists don't get a so-called "dirty bomb" or other unconventional weapons, but the threat remains."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:40 AM


20 clowns surprise BART riders and a train becomes a fun house / Red-nosed activists turn one trip into political theater

PROTESTING CLOWNS INVADE SAN FRANCISCO TRAIN: No, it wasn't Lyndon LaRouche supporters this time (though it was hard to tell the difference) but REAL card-carrying clowns. Unlike the LaRouche supporters who noisily disrupted various Democratic primary events, these clowns were card-carrying clowns and intentionally wore funny make-up and intentionally acted silly and dumb to make their point. The clowns were dressed as President Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft and a porn star.
But, the story says, passengers weren't upset and actually loved this new form of protest because these protesters, members of a group called Clownarchy, used humor versus anger and disruption to make a point. No, THESE clowns weren't running in the Democratic primary, protesting one, or giving interviews to Presidents or answering questions from Tim Russert.
Statements from these REAL clowns included "The world has become a circus....Someone needs to pull the pants down on our leaders (JOE'S comment: I thought Monica Lewinsky already did..)..." One clown proclaimed the protests' aim was to "cultivate peace, harmony and throw the bums out of office.'' Another one complained: "Bush is giving clowning a bad name."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:00 AM


INTERNET REACTION TO PRESIDENT BUSH ON MEET THE PRESS: We've already posted for you the transcript to the interview, so you could read it for yourself. And we brought to your attention the truly incredible Peggy Noonan piece and given you the origiinal link on that. But, in fact, there are those who thought the President didn't do badly at all. You can find a comprehensive sampling of weblog and other opinion links on the President's appearance by going to the popular conservative website InstaPundit.
But my favorite quote on how people will view GWB's appearance though the prism of their own partisanship is this deliciously outrageous quote from The Talking Dog who writes that " those of us, like myself and apparently Pat Buchanan who believe that the almost irrational hatred of Bush is based upon the illegitimacy of his obtaining the office will continue to believe that the Dauphin stole the election and shouldn't be there; loyal Republicans would, as I have said before, defend the man to the death if he were observed knife-raping a nun live on national television."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:39 AM


DUHHHHH! Columnist Robert Novak reports that "high ranking" John Kerry advisors say rival John Edwards must be considered for Veep. "While Kerry and Edwards battle each other in Democratic presidential primaries and publicly disagree over international trade, they also are pulling their punches against each other," he writes.
Novak also reports that Dick Gephardt's supporters are pushing for their man for that spot. Picking Gephardt would be a huge mistake; Gephardt is definitely old school and has a lot of baggage as opposed to new face Edwards who is also an excellent campaigner.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:02 AM

Sunday, February 08, 2004  

In this age of instant news, politics -- forever influenced by the impact of the legendary 1960 Nixon-Kennedy debates -- is more and more like stagecraft. "Reviews" center more on performance than content. And, using that measure, Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal columnist and former Ronald Reagan speech writer, found President George Bush's performance on Meet the Press "not impressive." But, being a partisan, she also manages to turn her thumbs down into a convulted argument that the performance will actually help GWB. The article linked above is the ULTIMATE spin piece, a marvel of rationalization made even more incredible because SHE IS THE ONE who is panning Bush in great detail to begin with.
She notes that GWB was actually given more advantageous circumstances than most (sometimes hapless) guests on Tim Russert's show: it was on Bush's turf (the White House) and taped versus aired live. Still, she writes, "six million people saw it, and many millions more will see pieces of it, and they will not be the pieces in which Mr. Bush looks good."
Indeed, Noonan let 'er rip in describing Bush-on-the-tube as seeming "tired, unsure and often bumbling" giving "repetitive" answers that he tried to clarify but made worse.
She also labeled him as not seeming "prepared" and actually seeming "in some way disconnected from the event." He was, she says, even seemingly detached when asked about his National Guard experience, a question he knew was coming.
And then Noonan dives into a truly STUNNING series of statements: that GWB's supporters don't really expect him to inspire or to be good presenting facts in interviews. He inspires in set speeches. The only ones a bad performance (the one SHE detailed not "them) will matter to, she suggests, is to pundits who don't like Bush anyway. So if he can endure a few days of "bad reviews," she writes, he'll be OK.
Besides, Noonan continues, George Bush like Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower simply isn't good at remembering his talking points. And, she goes on to say, that's a good thing -- and what separates Democrats from Republicans (so not doing well as SHE described.... is really doing well...get it?).
"He knows he has to hit every point smoothly, but self-consciousness keeps him from smoothness. In real life, in the office, Mr. Bush is not self-conscious. Nor was Mr. Reagan," she writes. "What we are looking at here is not quality of mind--Mr. Bush is as bright as John Kerry, just as Mr. Reagan was as bright as Walter Mondale, who was very good at talking points. They all are and were intelligent. "
And then comes the killer: John Kerry and -- yes -- Hillary Clinton (AHA!!), THEY are good at talking points. But Republicans are good at something more IMPORTANT:
"Republicans think politics is something you have to do and that policy is something you have to have to move things forward in line with a philosophy. They like philosophy. But they are bored by policy and hate having to memorize talking points."
So now you have it: Noonan rattled off a zillion reasons why she thought GBW's interview performance was lacking, but says his supporters didn't expect much because interviews only test talking points -- not philosophy. And Republicans are good at THAT, which is what really matters (implying that Democrats are only good at talking points and not philosophy).
In all, its an exercise in mental and political ju-jitsu that is as good an argument that I've ever seen in my entire life for not belonging to either political party and becoming a rationalization-seeking "true believer."
One parting HORRIBLE THOUGHT: if putting in a bad TV political performance means it was successful there may be hope for Al Gore and (YECHH!) Dennis Kucinich yet.....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:11 PM


MSNBC - Transcript for Feb. 8th

TRANSCRIPT OF PRESIDENT BUSH'S INTERVIEW WITH TIM RUSSERT ON MEET THE PRESS: Go to link above and read it for yourself without any liberal, conservative or moderate journalist or blogger picking out the important points. Remember, the REAL slogan should be: We ALL distort (some more intentionally than others) -- YOU READ and YOU decide..
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:01 PM


Did you see Disney On Ice?
Where are they storing him?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:09 AM


Yahoo! News - Wedding Guest Cow Wanders Into Bank

Wedding Guest Cow Wanders Into Bank: The bank manager had a beef with that...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:00 AM


Yahoo! News - Yoga Master in Court Battle Over Positions

YOGA MASTER IN COURT BATTLE OVER POSITIONS: Ommmmmmmmmmmmmm My God (well, I'm Jewish so it should really be written Ommmmmmmmmmmm My G-d). Reuters' Elinor Mills Abreu gets The Moderate Voice's award for her opening line:"Yoga master Bikram Choudhury is bent out of shape." He's being sued for claims he owns the copyright for a 26-posture series used in a form of yoga. Well, it's in court so a lot of lawyers will be posturing..
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:56 AM


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED? President George Bush pulled off his quickly slated and highly touted appearance on NBC's Meet the Press and from all accounts it was a mostly defensive interview. But that's what a recent account in the Los Angeles Times predicted it would be as part of an intentional two-pronged strategy:
1. The White House will clarify what they perceive to be their record.
2. Other Republicans will clarify what they perceive to be the record of John Kerry and the Democrats.
The BBC had the most interesting account, headlined:Bush sets case as 'war president." Its report said "US President George W Bush has issued an uncompromising message to voters in a rare extended television interview....Mr Bush said he was a 'war president' and the top issue for voters should be the use of American power in the world. He told NBC's Meet the Press that the US should accept greater spending because the nation was at war."
Bush said the Iraq war was "of necessity." And although he said he had never called Saddam an "imminent threat" waiting too long could have been perilous because Hussein was "a madman." So as President and he had to make a judgment call based on "the best possible evidence" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He also discounted criticism of his 1972 National Guard service. He defended his economic record said he would "perhaps" submit to questions from the commission reviewing the Sept. 11 attacks.
Overall, if you read various news accounts including MSNBC's, this was NOT an interview about positioning for elections (which was rather refreshing coming from a politician) but a reaffirmation of positions, especially when he was asked about the polls and replied:
"I'll tell you, though, I'm not going to change, see? I'm not trying to accommodate. I won't change my philosophy or my point of view. I believe I owe it to the American people to say what I'm going to do and do it, and to speak as clearly as I can, try to articulate as best I can why I make decisions I make, but I'm not going to change because of polls. That's just not my nature."
I didn't see the interview (up too late working on THIS BLOG after shows) and not too many blogs had entries right after the show. But the liberal and lively The Talking Dog blog did and felt Bush looked surprisingly "unprepared." As for Russert, the Talking Dog said the round-faced newsman sustained his reputation as a polite but tough interviewer. "As is de rigeur, few minds will be changed," the Talking Dog concluded.
Even if the GOP is launching an unprecedented get-out-the-partisans-to-vote drive they will need independents and it doesn't sound as if this appearance was a major breakthrough on that front.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:19 AM


FOXNews.com - Foxlife - Janet Rejects CBS Offer

LOVE (or at least a "wardrobe malfunction") IS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU'RE SORRY: Janet Jackson has reportedly rejected CBS' offer to lift her banishment on appearing on tonight's Grammy's on the condition that she go on camera and say she's sorry. According to Fox New's Roger Friedman, she felt she had said she was sorry enough (BULLETIN: Yet another report says she is still "considering" it).
And, Friedman reports, she got advice from that master of public relations who knows how to create solid images, her brother Michael. "I am told, she was advised by her brother Michael Jackson "to stop apologizing already,'" Friedman writes.
Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake, who ripped her clothes and has invented a new catchprase ("wardrobe malfunction") will reportedly apologize on the air and be on the show. Do you sense that CBS has a tiny bit of a problem dealing with the Jackson family? I wonder what business deals lurk in the future between CBS and the Jacksons (our guess: not many).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:56 AM


BLOGS OF THE WEEKEND: Yes, two great blogs were listed as the "BLOG OF THE DAY" yesterday, and we changed it so one read as the Blog of the Day for Sunday, but it still seems untidy. So we'll just steer you to both of them again here (if you want details look under Saturday's postings to find our descriptions of these great weblogs):
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:14 AM


BUSH WILL START FIGHTING BACK AGAINST THE DEMOCRATS TODAY: By all accounts, the White House and President George Bush have had it with Democratic verbal attacks -- and starting today they intend to do something about it.
The Los Angeles Times reports White House plans to launch strong counterattacks against the Democrats, who surprised them by uniting around a candidate far earlier than they thought and around a different candidate (John Kerry) then they had hoped (Howard Dean).
Technically, the opening salvo in this counter campaign was the President's appointment of a special bipartisan commission to look into intelligence failures on Iraq, but the fact that the highly respected Senator John McCain is on the commission gives the panel considerable respectability.
Even so, Joshua Marshall writes: "Well, the fix, as they say, is in." He argues that the
executive-order commission is set up so "Anything the White House did with those CIA analyses, any fisticuffs between the Veep's office and the CIA, anything stovepiped through Doug Feith's operation at the Pentagon, anything that made its way from to the the president's speechwriters -- that's all beyond (the commission's) brief." And, of course, its findings won't come out until the end of March 2005.
No, the real opening salvo comes this morning when Tim Russert interviews GWB on Meet the Press in an interview personally sought by a reportedly-campaign-itchy Bush. Russert is considered the best in the business by many pros...and by viewers, too, since his show's ratings have skyrocketed under his stewardship.
Why did Bush & Co want this interview? Bush's polls are falling, the Iraq intelligence
issue caused deep credibility wounds, his highly partisan State of the Union address generated shockingly little "bump" in the polls, and the whopping budget and illegal alien amnesty plan sparked uproars among some in Congress and in segments of the GOP that cling to something called conservative principles.
Meanwhile, there has been a slow but steady desertion of support from independents as GWB focused on holding onto his conservative base. Ruy Teixeira writes that polls indicate "political independents by 2:1 now say they will definitely vote against Bush, rather than for him." If this holds it could cost him the election. He's not going to win with just his base and Zell Miller.
Saturday's front page Los Angeles Times article by Maura Reynolds also quoted Gallup Poll Senior Editor David Moore as saying poll result breakdowns show that most of GWB's slippage does indeed come from Democrats and independents who previously had looked upon him favorably.
What's killing this administration? It's credibility. True believers (partisans) keep one view no matter what. Independent voters and potential party defectors are constantly re-evaluating. Bush is in danger of losing THEM.
Consider the most controversial issues:
Iraq (was the intelligence faulty and was the administration telling the truth), illegal immigration (the administration insists it is not an amnesty when it clearly fits the mold of an amnesty; avoiding the word doesn't void what the proposal is); prescription drugs and the budget (much higher numbers than the administration insisted they would be), the economy (talk of a recovery when many people still can't find jobs and many states such as California are financially reeling).
What will likely follow? According to the Times and other reports, the White House will strongly define it's own positions and have other Republicans try to define Kerry and the Democrats. Most likely, Kerry will be labeled a liberal and the word "marriage" will either be a code word for gay marriage or they'll let it all hang out (figuratively speaking) and the phrase "gay marriage" will be used. The marriage issue could be a potent one for the GOP. So the question is: are Kerry and the Democrats ready to meet this issue head on?
What's certain is this administration can't afford more damage to its credibility. Even with a huge get-out-the-base vote if they're facing angry independents and united and angry Democrats there may not be enough of a GOP base to keep GWB in power.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:54 AM


KERRY'S MERCILESS ADVANCE CONTINUES AS VOTERS (AND A UNION) CLINICALLY BEGIN REMOVING THE DEAN CANDIDACY: A long headline for a major watershed: John Kerry's easy wins in Michigan and Washington propel him waaaaaay beyond a front-runner to a nearly-there.
MSNBC's politics editor Mike Stucky writes: "The Massachusetts senator is now nine for 11 in caucuses and primaries and appears en route to clinching the nomination well before Democrats in many states make their presidential preferences known this spring."
The news hasn't been as good for other candidates, particularly the now-hapless Howard Dean. According to MSNBC, a Wisconsin poll shows Dean could finish as low as fourth in the Feb. 17 vote. Dean last week said he must win Wisconsin to remain in the race. In Washington, Kerry got about 49 percent and Dean 30 percent. And -- hold onto your seats -- Dennis Kucinich at this writing BEAT John Edwards and Wesley Clark in Washington (which proves a political campaign CAN be run from outer space).
Michigan was better than Washington for Kerry (50%) but not Dean (17 percent)...but better fo Edwards (14), whose star faded a bit in these two states. The Man With Great Promise suddenly looked like a Mere Also Ran.
But worse news for Howard Dean -- dooming his already-on-life-support-candidacy -- came when the 1.5 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees on Saturday withdrew its endorsement. What does all this mean? Most likely it shows:
--Democrats are determined to nominate someone they think can win.
--Democrats who flirted with the GOP over the past few years are angry now and returning to the party fold.
--Taken with the other votes, the Democratic party has clearly centered itself to center-left versus left (Dean) or right (Lieberman) or celestial (Kucinich). This will make it more attractive to independents.
Meanwhile, there's much talk among talking TV (air)heads and in respected papers such as the Los Angeles Times about the new Bush/GOP announced offensive to take the fight to the democrats and begin to use some of the mega-bucks GWB has worked hard to raise the past few years to try and stem his plummeting polls. But if Kerry is worried, he isn't show it. He has virtually thrown down the gauntlet:
"This week, George Bush and the Republican smear machine have trotted out the same old tired lines of attack that they've used before to divide this nation and to evade the real issues before us," news services quote him as saying. "They're extreme, we're mainstream and we're going to stand up and fight back."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:26 AM

Saturday, February 07, 2004  

MAJORITY LEADER TO REPLACE DICK CHENEY? U.S. News and World Report carries an item about the buzz in Tennessee : that Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Bush favorite, would the the one to step in if Veep Cheney jumps ship or is shoved from the ship.
Is this true? Frist couldn't be reached. He is in an undisclosed location....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:23 PM


RUMSFELD MAKES "IMPASSIONED" CASE FOR FIRST-STRIKE: In some ways he's the administrations worst spokesman. In other ways, he's the best. In Munich, he was reportedly among the best.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made what the Washington Post called an "impassioned" defense of the doctrine of pre-emptive strikes at a conference on U.S. and European security issues in Munich. The crux of his argument is that a first-strike may be crucial if it possibly entails a sitaution where a biological agent or some other kind of weapon of mass destruction could cause thousands of deaths. .
"The greater the risk and the danger, the lower the threshold for action," he said. Most of the other speakers kept their remarks low key and noncontroversial. Rumsfeld didn't.
Why has the U.S. image deteroriated? He blamed this partly on Arab television networks. "I know in my heart and brain that America ain't what's wrong with the world," he said, at one point loudly adding: "There were prominent people from representative countries in this room that opined that they really didn't think it made a hell of a lot of difference who won...Shocking. Absolutely shocking."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:12 PM


President Bush will be interviewed by Russert on the top-rated Sunday news show tomorrow. Russert has reportedly received more than 2,000 emails with proposed questions for the President. But too many are obvious ones. So journalists everywhere have asked Joe Gandelman to put his MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism to work to compile a list of unusual vital questions for Russert to ask. Here is his list:
(Ice breaking question first): Good morning Mr. President. I heard you like music. Have you heard Barbra Streisand's latest CD? She's the greatest. (Then go into these main questions):
1. Do you think it was an accident when Justin Timberlake reached over and ripped Janet Jackson's clothing, revealing her right breast?
2. Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh that Hillary Clinton was behind Justin Timberlake reaching over and and ripping Janet Jackson's clothing, revealing her right breast?
3. Do you think it's time that we protect our children from seeing something that would have a terrible impact on them, something that will scar their psyches for life, something horrible, something hideous -- William Shatner's toupee?
4. You have talked about launching a Mars program. Do you think there's intelligent life on Mars, or Dennis Kucinich?
5. Do you want to buy some Girl Scout cookies? (Kayla, 8, of San Diego asked me to ask you that)
6. If you could be a whale what kind of whale would you want to be? (Barbara Walters asked me to ask that)
7. Would you want to be a whale like Teddy Kennedy?
8. How do you feel? (Larry King asked me to ask you that)
9. Do you ever get in traffic snarls? (Steve of the San Diego Union-Tribune asked me to ask you that).
10. This one came from MTV but I may not have the wording exactly right: boxers or wrestlers?

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:04 PM


FOXNews.com - Foxlife - Janet, Justin Invited Back to Grammys

CONSEQUENCES SHMONSEQUENCES PART II: National Sex Education Teachers Janet Jackson (who is also a singer) and Justin Timberlake (who is also a singer and clothing remover) have been invited back to the Grammy Awards, Fox News reports. They can come back, the report says, if they apologize on screen for the "wardrobe malfunction" that occured when Timberlake's moving hand somehow tore cloth off of Jackson's fetish-shop purchased outfit, exposing her right breast to the G-rated broadcast's audience, at the precise moment when Timberlake was singing about getting her naked at the end of the song. There was a hue and cry with suggestions the two young biology instructors would pay a price.
Once again this illustrates that in modern American culture notority, attention and money trump all. How COULD the Grammy producers and CBS EVER do this broadcast without Jackson and Timberlake? After all, they will get r-a-t-i-n-g-s if people know they're on it and tune in to see what they do next.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:24 PM


BLOG OF THE DAY FOR SUNDAY: When you talk about a Conservative blog website with lots of "meat" and variety, you get One Hand Clapping. Written by Donald Sensing, this weblog has lots of material that doesn't just deal with politics: cool photos, short links that make political and other points, and breaking news. For instance, it shows a still from Fox News' tape of the surveillance camera showing 11-year-old kidnap victim Carlie Brucia's abductor (believed to be Joseph Smith, who is under arrest) leading her away. Brucia was later found dead. Sensing posted specific advice on what to teach little girls about strangers, based on what law enforcement officials advised him. Sensing is a pastor with a long military background. Before retiring he was a member of the Oklahoma City Bombing Investigation Task Force. One Hand Clapping (it is not named after my shows) is a conservative website that has garnered lots of deserved recognition. You'll like it and will visit it often.
(NOTE: This will officially be the blog of the day for SUNDAY. This is what happens when you get in around 2 am and work on a blog; I posted two blogs of the day on ONE day....the other listed below is the Talking Dog and...they're both great...so visit them both!)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:04 PM


The Contra Costa Times

TIT FOR TAT (or is it the other way around?): Janet "Breast Reveal" Jackson's boyfriend Jermaine Dupri, quit Friday as president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences, the organization that puts on the Grammy Awards. He was mad because her invitation to Sunday's big to-be-televised event was rescinded after Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" with fast-hands singer Justin Timberlake during the Super Bowl halftime show.
"I'm just resigning as of today because I feel like I don't want to be a part of something that's not treating musical people in the right light," Dupri said Friday at a news conference here. "And I feel like what's going on with Janet is very unfair right now."
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE FETISH SHOP, DeMask in New York City is angry at claims the costume tore...thus providing more damning evidence that the two singers may have been less than...ahem...candid about the "accidental" incident:
Manager Sam Hill said: "There's no way it would have ripped that way. We're known for putting together solid, long-lasting pieces."
"Solid, long lasting pieces"...is that a reference to Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Collins?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:28 AM


BUSH'S POLL NUMBERS CONTINUE TO SLIDE: Will Meet the Press appearance help reverse it? The just-out Newsweek polls show continued erosion in President George Bush's support and further indications that the 2004 presidential campaign will be a rough one. The poll shows:
--Bush's Approval Rating Slips to New Low (48%); Fifty Percent of Voters Say They Don't Want to See Him Re-Elected (45% Do);
--Kerry Strengthens Lead to 48 Percent, 35 Points Ahead of Nearest Rival Dean;
Wins in Match-Up With Bush (50% To 45%)
And here's the poll number that I am absolutely convinced is going to determine the GOP's election strategy, even though it would polarize the country and could even lose it staunch supporters such as legendary journalist/blogger and Bush supporter Andrew Sulllivan:
--Fifty-Eight Percent Say Gay Marriage Should Not Be Legal; Majority Says Issue of Gay Marriage Very Important (22%) or Somewhat Important (32%) in Determining Their Vote for President.
If you stand back and look at it from a strictly political -- in other words, number of VOTES -- standpoint this would be the issue the GOP will use one way or another. It may be via a firm call for a constitutional amendment, it may be massive use of the phrase "defend marriage." This would be a way to veer the debate away from other issues where the White House would be on the defensive and go on the defensive.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:03 AM


GET A LIFE CLUB: This is an occasional feature that will make us many enemies since we're not on anyone's ideological side. To enter into the Get A Life Club you have to make a big deal or political fuss over something not that horrorific. We'll do this sparingly, since there are enough examples to fill several blogs. Members of the Get A Life Club are inducted due to their reactions; we are not picking on their physical, racial, or ethnic characteristics, unsympathetic to their health problems etc. etc. but we DO marvel at their insistance on proper appearances -- and general silliness.
OUR FIRST ENTRY goes to the stink raised due to a joke made by Gov. Arnold Swarzenegger, chronicled in this NewsMax item:
Speaking to a group of top corporate executives in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Gov. Schwarzenegger said: "People are poor in this state now. With the economy going down, people have no clothes anymore. Look what happened to Janet Jackson."
According to NewsMax. there was some laughter (I have a rule against stealing jokes so I can't use it but wish I had come up with it to use in my adult show) but also some "murmurs of disapproval." The website's tidbit quotes one person as saying ...you guessed it..."he just does not get it" and the mother of a sick child who will be impacted by budget cuts as being shocked saying "oh My God...Does he just not understand or does he really not care?"
In other words, so if California is reeling from a bad economy and budget cuts are going to have to be done that impact people it automatically means you can't joke about the situation and/or it means it doesn't bother you to make those budget cuts. The melodramatic reaction reflects political correctness that should be purged from our culture -- or all our humor will sound as if it was written by Ralph Nader. To the people making the fuss: CONGRATULATIONS: you are now members of the Get A Life Club!
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:57 AM


IF BUSH WINS IS COLIN POWELL OUT AS SECRETARY OF STATE AND L. PAUL BREMER IN? The Washingtonian thinks so. It quotes "insiders" saying L. Paul Bremer, the 62-year-old civilian administrator in Iraq, bonded with Bush when he exercised with him in the White House. And it adds:"Like Bush, Bremer has a BA from Yale and a Harvard MBA. One Bush insider says Bremer is a George W. Bush discovery who is not from the “Cheney/ Rumsfeld/senior-Bush gang.”
With each passing day it seems as if Powell will abandon ship if Bush wins. By account of virtually every informed piece that has come out over the past few years, he has been at constant "war" (and largely lost) against hard-liners Veep Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. Powell was a mesmerizing motivational speaker before he joined Bush Jr's team (I know because I know people who attended one of the motivational type variety shows here in San Diego, which also featured Larry King -- who also was a huge hit) who received adulation, respect and made lots of $$.
He'll leave the administration with his American icon image tarnished after his stint of infighting, demonization by conservative talk show hosts, and now discredited (due to bad intelligence) speech to the United Nations. Meanwhile, he seems genuinely seems irked by the controversy in which he finds the administration over Iraq war intelligence on weapons of mass destruction.
Yesterday Powell said "no apologies" were needed for intelligence used to justify the Iraq war. And he told Fox News: "Yeah, it does get on your nerves when you see people trying to use this for straightforward political purposes."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:50 AM


BLOG OF THE DAY: I'm relatively new (not even two months) to "blogging" (writing a daily-updated weblob) and one of the FIRST I instantly loved and respected was (and is) The Talking Dog. The Talking Dog's is a liberal Democrat blog done by Brooklyn attorney Seth Farber and it entails all the characteristics of what essays on "blogs" say a good blog should have.
TTD has analysis on events, often blunt language, is not afraid to take a strong position, -- and clearly a great deal of thought went into what is being put on the site. During the big primary dates TTD had "blogbursts" where it drew on contributions from other blogs (we were included) so you could read in one spot what a lot of other webloggers were writing.
You sometimes see blogs that are all reporting and analysis, or all opinion with little evidence done of hard work compiling and working with facts. TTD has the info, thoughtful opinion, and good fact-based writing. And it also let's you comment on the entries. Highly recommended -- and an absolute during must this election year, no matter what your political persuasion.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:26 AM



IS GREAT BRITIAN'S TONY BLAIR IN SEVERE TROUBLE? A poll for The Independent suggests he is. According to an article in The Indepedent:"Tony Blair's loss of public trust after the war on Iraq and the Hutton report is underlined today by a poll for The Independent showing more than half of voters want him to resign. The NOP poll, conducted this week, shows that 51 per cent want the Prime Minister to quit and 54 per cent believe he lied to the nation over the threat posed by Saddam Hussein."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:15 AM


(Joe was in LA yesterday doing shows and didn't get back until 1:30 am)

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:11 AM

Friday, February 06, 2004  

BUSH HAS BIG BUCKS (and we don't mean deer): All the breathless news reports about GWB falling behind in the polls suggesting it might mean the Democrats will have an easier time than expected in the 2004 Presidential race continue to ignore one teeny, weeny thing: the GOP as an unprecedented amount of money for this campaign. And the President and his associates continue raising it.
The Washington Post reports: "The Bush-Cheney reelection team is on track toward its goal of raising $170 million by early spring. What the impact of that money will be, and when it will start to be felt, looms as one of the largest unknowns of this election cycle. Current plans call for the campaign's heavy advertising to start in March or April, a GOP source said, adding that the Republican National Committee may sponsor some ads before then. There is some second-guessing about this in Republican circles, where some wonder whether the White House-run reelection team is being complacent in the face of serious peril."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:41 AM


My Way News

Jobless Rate Drops; 112,000 Jobs Added: AP story says in part:
"Employers added new jobs last month at a pace not seen in three years. The last time payrolls expanded more than 112,000 was in December 2000, when companies added 124,000 positions.b But economists were disappointed, saying they had expected a larger increase of 150,000 new jobs or more." It still is a notable improvement...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:20 AM


BLOG OF THE DAY: One of the best conservative weblogs belongs to radio talk show host, author and law professor Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt doesn't mince words whether he's making the case for the GOP, aiming a zinger at Democrats or poking holes in a columnists' doomsday prediction about the GOP. If you like blunt, well thought-out politics it's the place to be. Hewitt does the blog himself and updates it often. If you're a Republican it is a must. If you're a Democrat you really should read it as well, but if you're a strict partisan you may put your foot through your computer monitor. If you're a nonpartisan it should be on your daily menu. If you just like blunt and intelligent opinions (even if you disagree) Hugh has it.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:10 AM


I'LL HAVE WHAT DENNIS IS DRINKING: One of my favorite blogs, DemWatch, has the following item (and it is no joke) about Dennis Kucinich:
"Dennis Kucinich is now claiming--with his delegate count of 2--that he will win the nomination at the Democratic convention in Boston. 'The race for the nomination will go all the way to the convention... where I will win the nomination, based on the emergence of Iraq as the defining issue.' I am rendered absolutely speechless."
....................(that's all I'm able to say as well)

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:53 AM


DOES THE WHITE HOUSE FEEL BUSH IS IN TROUBLE? Apparently so. The signs are all over. Here are a few:
--SUDDENLY GEORGE BUSH FEELS "IF IT'S SUNDAY IT'S 'MEET THE PRESS'": He'll appear Sunday on NBC's top-rated morning news show 'Meet the Press" and be interviewed by Tim Russert.
Speculation centers on this as the start of damage control on Iraq policy and the non-discovered weapons of mass destruction. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reports that GWB himself asked staffers to set up the NBC interview so he could talk about terrorism and Iraq after weeks of getting verbally beaten up by Democratic presidential wannabies.
But: anyone who has talked to anyone around Bush or read anything about him knows he would not seek this interview unless there was concern about getting his message out. GWB doesn't like to just get on TV and shmooze.
--RUMBLINGS FROM HIS OWN PARTY: Republicans suddenly peppering news stories as unnamed sources are expressing concern about Bush's strength due to Democrat John Kerry's surge in the polls -- and Bush's decline in the polls.
Meanwhile, there is backlash from his conservative base over the administration's whopping budget, general spending policies, and the proposed amnesty for illegal immigrants. House lawmakers gave Karl Rove an earful of bad news about constituent complaints at a Republican retreat in Philadelphia.
--A new AP poll indicates Bush's public support plummeted over the past month,
especially among older voters, political independents and people in the Midwest, For the first time since this poll started tracking voters two years ago, more voters want Bush out than in. A USA Today poll also had Bush at an all time low.
--BUSH HITS BACK: Bush began taking advice from Republicans to go after the Democrats. Yesterday he strongly defended the Iraq war:" "If some politicians in Washington had their way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power," ' he said.
--SHIFTS IN COMMISSION POLICIES: He is naming a commission to look into intelligence failures involving the war with Iraq. Arizona Senator John McCain is likely to be on the committee. White House plans are for the report to come out after the election. The administration also shifted positions on the 911 commission, allowing it more time; commission members and families chargedr that getting information from the administration is like pulling teeth.
--CONSERVATIVE COLUMNISTS EXPRESS FEARS: Robert Novak writes about fears GWB will follow in his dad's footsteps as a one-termer due to credibility problems. He sites several factors that hurt Bush: the failure to find weapons of mass destruction, the whopping revised cost of the administration's Medicare plan, and having delivered " the most ineffective State of the Union address in recent years."
"Because nobody wants to say the emperor wears no clothes, worried Republican operatives talk not about raising up Bush but bringing Kerry down," Novak writes.
Conservative talk show host Michael Medved said on his show this week that he talked with conservative radio host counterpart Tony Snow and that Snow is starting to believe Bush will be a one-termer due to credibility.
Columnist Charles Krauthammer (normally a Bush supporter) believes that with Kerry as their presumptive candidate "the Democrats may have won the war issue."
His argument: "War is more a visceral than an intellectual issue. Kerry holds the trump card. He's fought in battle. And acted heroically....(Bush)spent his post-9/11 and post-Afghanistan popularity on Iraq. The big political beneficiary of 9/11 turns out to be Kerry."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:56 AM

Thursday, February 05, 2004  

WOMAN SUES JANET JACKSON AND JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FOR MAKING BOOBS OF VIEWERS DURING SUPERBOWL HALFTIME SHOW: E-online reports:"Terri Carlin filed her suit 'on behalf of all Americans who watched the Super Bowl,' blaming Jackson and Timberlake for causing her and millions of other unsuspecting viewers "to suffer outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury."
(Funny, a 12-year-old boy at a San Diego middle school told me his friends didn't react THAT way at all...They experienced other strong feelings.....)
The ourtraged Tennessee woman filed a proposed class action suit Wednesday, naming Jackson, Timberlake, MTV, CBS and Viacom as defendants.
To see the legal document go to The Smoking Gun.
Maybe Timberlake will make this comment: "I will not give her one nipple...I mean NICKLE!"
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:41 PM


Cheney's Staff Focus of Probe: On Insight Magazine's website, UPI intelligence correspondent Richard Sale reports: "Federal law-enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of a CIA officer's identity last year. The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said."
The report says sources identify the two Cheney employees as John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
The CIA agent was the wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who the Bush administration used to check on an allegation President Bush made in a speech about Iraq trying to get uranium from Niger. Wilson couldn't find proof and then was suspected as being the leaker for a news story suggesting the administration exaggerated the claim. Then Wilson did a signed Washington Post op-ed article saying the administration "misrepresented" the uranium issue, asking: "What else are they lying about?"
According to Sale, the name of Wilson's still-active CIA agent wife was then leaked to discredit Wilson and wound up in columnist Robert Novak's column. Novak later refused to reveal his sources.
CONCLUSION: Still more negatives surrounding Cheney's office. Yes, he excites the GOP base, but he's going to cost GWB independent voters' votes. Cheney is a huge luggage bag filled with negatives.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:06 PM


Yahoo! News - School Cans MTV Show Due to Super Bowl

LAGUNA BEACH HIGH SCHOOL FIRES MTV OVER JANET JACKSON BREAST REVEAL: Yep, it's true (see link above). MTV was all set with a signed contract and lucrative planned payment to the school to tape a reality show at the school. But feedback from parents outraged by the peep show otherwise known as the Superbowl Halftime show emboldened the board to tell MTV to take its promised $12,000 to $14,000 and take a hike.
Who says communities don't have principles these days?
See AP article above. An even more extensive Los Angeles Times article notes that some students weren't too happy about having MTV on campus:
"As they left school for the day, students expressed mixed feelings about having MTV on campus. Some welcomed the chance to display the school, while others worried the program would present an unrealistic but stereotypical image of a coastal, Southern California school.
'I think it's a stupid idea,' said sophomore Lauren Unger, 15. 'It's going to create more drama at our school.'"
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:00 PM


POLITICAL KNOCK KNOCK: (Joe Gandelman is responsible for these original rotten jokes):
Who's there?
Howard who?
Who's there?
Dennis who?
Sorry, wrong planet.
Who's there?
George Bush who?

(To be continued at some later date if inspiration hits.)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:45 PM


Yahoo! News - Couples Pucker Up for World Kissing Record:

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:49 PM


Herald.com: Miami & Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Dolphins & More

FATHER OF SUPERBOWL HALF-TIME SHOW STAR JANET JACKSON OPENS WEST HOLLYWOOD RESTAURANT: Let me guess: it's in a strip mall and serves chicken breasts....No, actually it showcases cooking such as collard greens and catfish. Michael and Janet were not there for the grand opening. Michael was busy dancing atop a van; Janet was busy dancing around an explanation.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:08 AM


SavannahNOW | Local News Superintendent calls Hooters inappropriate for high school student's work study 02/04/04:

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:56 AM


MSNBC - CIA chief defends intelligence gathering ahead of Iraq war

CIA CHIEF GEORGE TENET MAKES HIS CASE: In a Georgetown University speech Tenet said CIA analysts never said Iraq posed an imminent threat but ""painted an objective assessment for our policy makers of a brutal dictator who was continuing his efforts to deceive and build programs that might constantly surprise us and threaten our interests.." And, in a swipe at former chief weapons inspector David Kaye, he insisted the U.S. is "nowhere near 85 percent finished" in the search for weapons of mass destruction.
The AP story notes that with Iraqi intelligence a potentially red-hot campaign issue "both parties have political incentives to keep Tenet: Democrats say the CIA alone doesn't bear the blame for intelligence failures in Iraq. They suspect the Bush administration manipulated prewar intelligence and don't want Tenet used as a fall guy. For Republicans, Tenet's dismissal could be seen as blunt acknowledgment that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction in recent years."
The Talking Dog blog concludes:"Bush himself is probably blameless-- it goes with being clueless...."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:31 AM


MORE SCALIA-SCANDAL: It certainly looks as if Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Vice President Dick Cheney are inching closer to a full-fledged scandal. No, Cheney didn't reach over to Scalia's chest, and rip his clothes off, revealing his right breast covered by a nipple ring...
But new details from the Los Angeles Times now call into question initial protestations that when the Veep and the Judge went duck hunting together it was in no way, shape or form done in a way that might possibly interfere with Scalia's upcoming judgment in a case before him.
According to the Times, Scalia traveled as Cheney's official guest on a small government jet that served as Air Force Two when the pair came went duck hunting in Louisiana last month. "The revelation cast further doubts about whether Scalia can be an impartial judge in Cheney's upcoming case before the Supreme Court, legal ethics experts said."
The reason: this hunting trip took place just weeks after the court agreed to take up Cheney's bid to keep secret the details of his energy policy task force. Even before this revelation, and protestations from the Veep's office and Judge that it would be outrageous thinking this was using influence and could impact the judgment, the two were being accused of being politically deaf. Some Democrats were demanding Scalia remove himself from the case.
The Times' new detail makes it look worse and makes them, at best, look ethically blind. But maybe as singer Justin Timberlake would say it's merely a case of "ethics malfunction."

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:46 AM


HOWARD DEAN GETS READY TO BOOG: Dean has told supporters that if he doesn't win the Wisconsin primary he'll drop out of the race. That'll should give even more momentum to the steamroller campaign of Dennis Kucinich.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:17 AM


BLOG OF THE DAY: Tapped is always on the lists of the best liberal web logs for a good reason: it's brought to you by American Prospect online. Entries are timely, crammed with content and exceedingly well-written. Reading Tapped is reading the best (one of the best weblogs) from one of the best (one of the best liberal magazines). Great links, too. No matter what your personal political persuasion, reading Tapped is always an eye-opening- - and mind-enhancing -- experience.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:05 AM


World Tribune.com--Front Page

New Al Qaeda statement warns of major attack on U.S.:""A major strike, a big event will take place in America soon," an Al Qaeda statement made to a political party in Yemen says. See link for more details.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:30 AM


Janet's breast sets Web search record: More interest seen than on 9/11. Toronto Star reporter says it all:"First they ogled, then they Googled."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:25 AM

Wednesday, February 04, 2004  

CONSEQUENCES: JANET OFF GRAMMIES -- AND JANET AND JUSTIN FEEL LIKE BOOBS: Bad day for Janet Jackson and her fellow musical artist and disrober Justin Timberlake. Three days after The Wardrobe Malfunction That Shook The World (or at least CBS, MTV and the NFL -- teenage boys shook in other ways) resulted in Timberlake "accidentally" ripping off part of Jackson's clothes and broadcasting her right breast into living rooms, the two Partners In A Biology Lesson were bothered with having to explain and apologize and maybe even face some consequences.
Janet had immediate consequences due to the duo's artistic expression at the Superbowl halftime show. Cut away all the p.r. baloney and cover stories and you get down to what Access Hollywood reports: CBS rescinded the invitation for Jackson to appear on the Grammy Awards show. Maybe a full moon is slated for Sunday and CBS bigwigs didn't want to take any chances on what that might inspire.
In an earlier apology, Jackson insisted it was an innocent accident -- that neither CBS, NBC or the NFL knew what was going to happen, but a red cloth was to be exposed, not one of the three most favorite female bodyparts of teenage boys and male football fans everywhere.
Timberlake, for his part, told ABC even his own family was shocked. He insisted a red bustier was supposed to be underneath the torn clothing, and that he simply didn't have time to rehearse his and Jackson's last minute classy, artistic, uncleared and unannounced addition to the act producers thought they had already seen and approved.
So when he ripped off the clothes and Jackson's right breast clad in a sun-shaped "nipple shield" was exposed to some 89 million viewers he was (he says) stunned:"I mean, I was completely shocked and appalled, and all I could say was "Oh my God, Oh my God..."'
I don't care what Timberlake worships, but do I feel very sorry for these two extremely wealthy young role models having to have such a trying day in front of the media. I especially feel sorry for Janet Jackson for losing the Grammy's gig.
But she can always get a job as spokeswoman for Wendy's Chicken Breast sandwich.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:41 PM


In a historic ruling, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has given the green light to gays having the right to full marriages in that state -- and although the first inclination is to say "here comes the PERFECT wedge issue for what will be a perfectly ugly campaign" it may be a mite more complex than that.
Legislators had asked for an advisory opinion and the bottom line is that although the court left open the possibility of civil unions they made it clear that they believe only marriage is constitutional.
President George Bush immediately issued a statement calling the ruling "deeply troubling," and groups opposed to the ruling reportedly told reporters they were confident GWB would jump on board efforts to get a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. The court's action means gays can get married in Massachusetts by spring -- and it gave impetus to those in Georgia pressing hard for a proposed ban on same sex marriages in that state.
It also would seem to suggest that those who've sought this legal change have gifted the GOP a potent wedge issue that, if used effectively, can dominate the campaign and possibly defeat any Democratic nominee. Polls show most American oppose formal gay marriages. And if John Kerry is indeed the nominee the ruling would seem to be the answer to Karl Rove's prayers: a ruling allowing gay marriages...in Massachusetts...which John Kerry represents...and Ted Kennedy represents...Massachusetts/liberals/gays/culture war. Perfect symbolic political linkages.
But is it that easy? Andrew Sullivan writes that "the White House is smart enough to know that this issue is dangerous for all involved." The reason, he says, is that Kerry won't let Bush club him with this issue, since he also opposes gay marriages.
So the issue, Sullivan says, becomes whether "you support Bush who wants to amend the constitution to strip gay couples of marriage rights, civil unions, domestic partnerships and any civil recognition at all; or do you support a man who opposes gay marriage but backs civil unions for gays, a state-by-state solution, and no constitutional amendment? Not such a slam dunk for Bush."
Perhaps. But it's hard to imagine how the GOP can resist pressing a red-hot button on this issue to solidify its base and, not coincidentally, hammer an issue that has absolutely nothing to do with Iraq, weapons of mass destruction or the economy. Will this become the Willy Horton issue of 2004? Stay tuned.........
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:43 PM


Bush decides to grant plea by 9/11 commission for more time to finish its work:

"Bush decides to grant plea by 9/11 commission for more time to finish its work": A very smart move. GWB and his administration have been accused of dragging their feet in providing this commission with documents, then refusing to extend its lifespan in order to complete its investigation. Just a week ago the administration had been avoiding an independent investigation into the faulty intelligence on the Iraq war AND extending the timeframe of the 911 commission. As a result it was facing a growing credibility crisis. Cooperating with these two panels will help stem the political bleeding.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:47 PM


Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball

EXPERT PREDICTS 2004 WILL BE MORE LIKE 1988 OR 1992 THAN CLIFFHANGER 2000: University of Virginia Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato's latest issue of his weekly Crystal Ball (a FREE email that any political junkie MUST get) discusses "The Mesmerizing Dance of 'Mr. Mo Mentum'". A thumbnail summary of his conclusions (read linked article above for more details):
1. The 2004 Democratic primaries prove once and for all that Americans love winners.
2. John Kerry arose from the political grave due to LUCK as does every candidate "plucked out of 281 million people to win the White House lottery..."
3. Expect Kerry's poll numbers over Bush in coming weeks to increase. "Almost everything is going right for Kerry. Almost everything is going wrong for Bush." He believes this could either be a re-run of 1988 when George Bush, Sr.'s polls were down but he beat liberal candidate Michael Dukakis in a near landslide -- or 1992 when "Poppy" Bush became a one-term president. Sabato doesn't expect another 2000 cliffhanger.
Sabato also gives his quickie candidate analysis (which we have boiled down even more here).
-KERRY: The "substantial front runner" but the press and pundits don't want the storyline over yet and maybe voters don't, either.
----JOHN EDWARDS: The clear runner-up but doesn't have much of a chance to be nominated.
-WESLEY CLARK: He did "poorly" on Feb. 3 and his chances are "quite small."
--HOWARD DEAN: Seems to want to hold out until he runs out of money and has no credible winning strategy.
--AL SHARPTON: Didn't do well in South Carolina. Little chance for impact.
--JOE LIEBERMAN: Left with "grace and dignity," a man who "has given his nation much over many years."
--DENNIS KUCINICH: Notes that "Kucinich's votes on Feb. 3rd were more rare than the meat served at a cannibal convention."
For the more details read the full analysis linked above. Or, better yet, subscribe to this true -- and FREE -- weekly joy to anyone who enjoys politics or lively writing.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:57 AM


BUSH ONLY GOT 78 PERCENT OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY VOTE: The Nation's John Nichols reports that when Republican officials said GWB got 94 percent of the GOP primary vote they were wrong. The final tally released on Monday by New Hampshire Secretary of State's office showed "only 78 percent of New Hampshire voters who took Republican ballots marked them for Bush." Some 22 percent, he writes, wrote in the names of other candidates. With small percentages of those (4 to 2 percent) going to various Democrats, John Kerry receiving the highest. According to Nichols, the Bush vote is lower than incumbent presidents Dwight Eisenhower's, Lyndon Johnson's (in 1964), Ronald Reagan's or Bill Clinton's.
"Considering President Bush's less-than-stellar showing in New Hampshire, it should come as little surprise that Republicans in some states have decided to cancel their primaries," he writes.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:18 AM


BLOG OF THE DAY: A website that is often listed as among the best conservative weblogs (and it should be listed among the best in any category) is Citizen Smash. Witty, and often giving news from a well-articulated military viewpoint, Citizen Smash also has a long list of highly useful links. This site (like ours) allows readers to comment on individual postings and the comments are worth a trip to the site alone. Solid content. You'll want to bookmark it and visit it often.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:56 AM


The Globe and Mail

Maybe they just forgot or it was an "invitation malfunction:" Thousands of Canadians have been invited to preview Mel Gibson's controversial upcoming film "The Passion" but no official repesentatives from Jewish groups were.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:41 AM


New York Daily News - Politics - Attack mode in GOP's game plan

GOP PREPARES TO GO AFTER KERRY: John Kerry is now firmly in the White House's sights since, barring unforseen circumstances, he is the likely Democratic nominee. Key areas they'll attack: his flip-flop record and his being a Massachusetts liberal. PREDICTION: The Massachusetts liberal theme won't play as well as it did in 1988 when George Bush Sr. used it successfuly against Mike "Hey-look-guys-I'm-Snoopy-in-a-tank" Dukakis. Changing positions will be more effective, but the Democrats can counter with specifics on President Bush's position changes as well. This year the GOP will have the money and the Democrats the festingering activists' anger.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:24 AM


PRIMARY VOTE ANALYSIS: Kerry Cooks, Edwards Enhances, Lieberman Leaves and Dean Destructs: Yesterday's seven scattered contests in three times zones didn't result in a Kerry landslide or a Kerry shrinkage but in an impressive showing. Democratic voters gave their party a clear front-runner plus escape-hatch leeway for other choices should they experience another bout of "buyer's remorse" similar to what toppled former front-runner Howard Dean. Various exit polls showed voters were preoccupied about economy -- and finding a candidate strong enough to send George Bush back to Texas.
The view from here:
THE BIGGEST WINNER WAS JOHN KERRY: So what if he still has a stilted traditional politico style and veers hideously close to Al Gore's unsuccessful neo-populism, Democratic voters envisioned him running against George Bush...and even winning. Even more exciting, for Democrats: several respected polls envisioned it too (even though these kinds of polls don't really mean much until a campaign between the two parties actually BEGINS). Kerry's promotion of his military service, underlined by his campaigning with various veterans, was a masterstroke of timing since it came amid GOP noises about going after Democrats on national security. Kerry's speeches have been on message and notably less tree (or bush) like..
Kerry looks like a strong candidate since, as Joe Conason writes, 'he is a
decorated war veteran, a hunter and a politician who doesn't doesn't hesitate to fight back when attacked. Those qualities distinguish him from the soft targets that Republicans enjoy hitting most."
THE BIGGEST LOSER (besides Dennis Kucinich) WAS HOWARD DEAN: Dean's candidacy deflated faster than Al Roker after stomach stapling.
This implosion -- from the shocking decrease in campaign funds to the equally shocking tumble in voter popularity -- will be analyzed for years. It clearly entailed more than just the scream or even electability or just relying too much on Internet organization and campaign strategies. Dean now vows to stick it out in a delegate-per-delegate hunt but if he keeps losing he probably won't go the distance due to $$$.
SECOND BIGGEST WINNER: John Edwards, perhaps the greatest campaigner of his generation. His vote tallies yesterday kept the Democratic presidential sweepstakes a two-man race. He now becomes Gephardt (with eyebrows). Edwards denies he would accept the Vice Presidential nomination but a Kerry-Edwards ticket seems likely. And it isn't over till it's over; he's in line for the nomination if Kerry stumbles.
SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH BIGGEST LOSERS: Joe Lieberman gave up his dream with the grace and class with which he campaigned. He was simply out of synch with much of his party and not anti-establishment enough, especially on the Iraq war. Wesley Clark's win in Oklahoma kept his campaign on life support and while he's out there he is an option but he seems to be going nowhere. And Al Sharpton has not gone beyond being the witty toastmaster for the gaggle of presidential wannabes.
IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF (and wearing a dunce cap): Dennis Kucinich.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:32 AM

Tuesday, February 03, 2004  

JANET JACKSON BARES ALL...well, almost (she apologizes): Janet Jackson released a reportedly somber videotape in which she apologized for the Superbowl breast reveal incident which has raised a huge broo-bra-ha (I mean broo-ha-ha) across the nation and among FCC bigwigs.
"My decision to change the Super Bowl performance was actually made after the final rehearsal," Jackson said. "MTV, CBS [and] the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever, and unfortunately the whole thing went wrong in the end.(No, Janet, it went wrong HIGHER UP than that...) I am really sorry if I offended anyone. That was truly not my intention."'
And...wouldn't you know it. It JUST SO HAPPENS that with all of this publicity CBS is indeed going to let clothes-ripping singer Justin Timberlake (who created a new phrase "wardrobe malfunction" during a p.r. malfunction) and Jackson appear on Sunday's CBS Grammy Awards show after all. How can they pass up the ratings that the Superbowl incident will garner for the Grammies? They will have a new tape delay in case anyone else tries to show kids and teens a trick that'll get them taken to Juvenile Hall if they don't do it on CBS.

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:47 PM


MARIA SHRIVER QUITS HER JOB AT NBC NEWS: She wants to concentrate on being California's first lady. Bad news for NBC (she was a great broadcast journalist). Good news for California (she is a dynamic First lady). According to the Sacramento Bee, "Shriver and NBC officials said she is taking an'“extended leave of absence' and could return to NBC news in the future."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:29 PM


PRIMARY RESULTS: KERRY ROCKS; LIEBERMAN QUITS: With most of the primary results in John Kerry has captured five of the seven states' voting in primaries or caucuses in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
The victories in states from East to West showed the Massachusetts Senator has national appeal.
Meanwhile, John Edwards had a good night, handily winning his home state of South Carolina's primary, while and Wesley Clark squeeked out a victory in Oklahoma's primary, keeping his Presidential hopes hanging by tiny thread. But the big story in Oklahoma was Edwards' strong showing there.
Joe Lieberman finally pulled out of the race in a gracious speech:"I have decided tonight to end my quest for the presidency of the United States of America. Am I disappointed? Naturally. But am I proud of what we stood for in this campaign? You bet I am."
And a notably poor showing was made by Howard Dean, who didn't win anything. Although it must have been enough to make him want to scream (almost), Dean, in keeping with strategy announced when he replaced his campaign manager after losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, is vowing a delegate-per-delegate fight. Dean finished third, fourth -- or lower -- in most states.
The vote also provided more warning-clouds for President George Bush. NBC exit polls indicated many of the Democratic voters throughout the country felt the economy and jobs were prime issues -- and above all they want a strong candiate who can beat Bush.
The bottom rung in most of the states was held by Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich, with Sharpton outpolling Kucinich in many of those. Up to the minute voting results are still being tallied.
But some examples at 10:44 pm PST (top two listed with percentage and voting results percentage counted in parenthsis):
--ARIZONA: Kerry, 43%; Clark 22 % (97%)
--DELAWARE: Kerry 50 %; Lieberman 11% (100%)
--MISSOURI: Kerry 51%, Edwards 25% (100%)
--NEW MEXICO: Kerry 42%, Clark 21 % (92%)
--NORTH DAKOTA: Kerry 51%, Clark 24 % (100%)
--OKLAHOMA: Clark 30%, Edwards 30%
--SOUTH CAROLINA: Edwards 45%, Kerry 30% (96%)
ABC News reports Kerry has now edged ahead of Dean in the battle for delegates for the nomination.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:29 PM


BLOG Of THE DAY: What better day than today, with Democrats voting in seven states, than to recommend one of my favorite political blogs, DemWatch. DemWatch, with its slogan "...because so much is riding on the White House..." is vital food for political junkies of both parties. Consider it a concise distillation of political advice peppered with thoughtful analysis, statistics you need to know and opinion. It also has a GREAT list of links. We have a permanent link to DemWatch on our site and have gotten extremely positive feedback on it from political junkie friends who visit it often. HIGHLY recommended for everyone.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:00 PM


Voters in 7 States Picking a Democratic Contender Today

SEVEN STATES GO TO THE POLLS TO MAKE A DENT IN DEMOCRATIC RACE: All signs so far show John Kerry is holding and could possibly do a clean sweep. Howard Dean is fading or at least not reviving. Most likely: all but two Kerry wins. John Edwards gets South Carolina (it'll be a BIG Kerry win if Kerry wins it) and Wesley Clark in Oklahoma (it'll be a BIG Clark loss if he loses it), and other candidates may get the hint and drop out (but don't hold your breath). For more details read the article linked above.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:22 AM


 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:53 AM


CONSEQUENCES SHMONSEQUENCES......CBS is thinking of axing Justin Timerlake and Janet Jackson from Sunday's Grammy Awards show.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:41 AM


USATODAY.com - Frist: White powder was Ricin; 16 people decontaminated

IT WAS THE DEADLY POISON POWDER RICIN: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist confirms it was indeed Ricin found in his office. But business went on (at this writing) as usual today in the Senate.
Risin is deadly stuff, as the article linked above notes. A clue "is a suddenly developed fever, cough and excess fluid in the lungs...... These symptoms could be followed by severe breathing problems and possibly death...There is no known antidote... Twice as deadly as cobra venom, ricin, which is derived from the castor bean plant, is relatively easily made and can be inhaled, ingested or injected."
In short, Risin is almost as deadly as Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake on the Superbowl half-time show.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:30 AM


NOW THE ISSUE HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY RAISED: John Kerry raised the issue of questions about George Bush's war record, signalling that more than administration policies will be under the microscope during this presidential election campaign.
In recent days attacks have also come from Democratic National Committee Terry McAuliffe and former Georgia senator and Vietnam veteran Max Cleland. In New Hampshire Cleland , who lost three limbs during the Vietnam War, called Vietnam veteran Kerry "the one guy who can call his hand on the hypocrisy of a bunch of people that never went to war."
The Democrats have started hammering on questions about GWB's war record once Republicans signalled they would question whether the Democrats were truly committed to national security.
Joshua Micah Marshall deals with the Democrats taking up this issue, pointing to the Washington Post'sarticle about GWB war service questions linked above. He notes that the charge's crux is "that the president jumped to the head of the line to get into the Guard because of political connections. And then, after he'd been given a comparatively easy way to get out of getting shot at or killed in Vietnam, he proceeded to blow off his service for substantial periods of time while in the Guard. '
No proof exists of Bush's non-attendance. But, he Marshall adds, "there is an utter lack of any documentation for his showing up for service and the officer he was supposed to report to during the key period in question continues to insist that he never laid eyes on him."
It may not be a huge issue but with the lingering questions it looks like it's certain to be an issue.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:51 AM

Monday, February 02, 2004  

KERRY BEATS BUSH OUTSIDE MARGIN OF ERROR IN NEW POLL: Sometimes when you read about scrambling at the White House (under any administration) with members of the President's own party meeting with him it indicates a policy or political crisis. It seems like GWB has been facing both.
In a new USA TODAY/Gallup poll John Kerry defeated Bush 53% to 46%, a lead outside the poll's margin of error. Edwards would beat Bush by one point, which is within the margin of error. Other findings, in a nutshell:
--Bush's job-approval rating dipped below 50% for the first time in his presidency, to 49%, and his disapproval rating rose to a record 48%. He also scored near-record lows on the economy, Iraq and health care.
--Support for going to war with Iraq also dipped below 50% for the first time, to 49%. More than four in 10 said the administration deliberately misled the public about whether Iraq had the banned weapons.
The paragraph in the story that should concern the White House most is this:
"Bush, whose job approval was a robust 60% just three weeks ago, faces a more difficult landscape and some sobering history. Since World War II, only two presidents have trailed challengers early in the election year. In 1948, Harry Truman was behind Thomas Dewey but won in November. In 1976, Gerald Ford was behind Jimmy Carter and lost. "
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:45 PM


THE CHEAPING OF AMERICAN CULTURE: Sunday marked a new American cultural low when Janet Jackson showed her breast on national TV after what singer and fast-hands expert Justin Timberlake called a "wardrobe malfunction."
Let's forget the terrific message Mr. Role Model Timberlake transmitted to
teenage boys by ripping off Jackson's clothing during what Sports Business News called "The Halftime Show from Hell." Wanna bet what's going to happen in schools now? If teens are sent to the office facing stern zero-tolerance administrators they can say: "Well, I saw them do it on the Superbowl!'
So here's the REAL question: What in the WORLD happened to the once-inspiring Jackson family???????
When I was in college, I drove my roommates nuts by playing Jackson Five albums. The family seemed an artistic and personal success and each performing Jackson seemed destined for stardom.
Fast-forward to 2004, with Timberlake 'accidentally' ripping off just enough of
Janet's clothes to reveal a perfectly-posed-for-the-cameras bejeweled breast (after some insiders were reportedly told something "shocking" would happen in advance). Only weeks earlier, her brother Michael did dance steps atop a van while at the courthouse on child molestation charges. Then Michael invited the crowd to a party at his place.
What has happened? The Jackson family is now the symbolic Frankenstein monster of the cheapening of American culture.
They didn't create the situation; they went with the flow.
No one could ever mistake the Jackson family with the Calhoun Family of Claflin, Kansas. The Calhouns do family entertainment at fairs and events all over the country. They draw huge crowds and get invited again and again. And they do all this without clutching groins or showing breasts. You see, aside from talent, the Calhouns have a firm code of performing ethics.
But not everyone does: American culture has dive-bombed towards the toilet for several decades now. It's due to the Ideal of Outrageousness best demonstrated in the wonderful late John Belushi's portrayal of the gross-but-lovable frat boy in Animal House. He who is more outrageous and tops the LAST outrageous person wins. In comedy, drama, music -- the goal now to be more outrageous.
In the Jacksons' case, the quality of their music has become incidental to their apparent thirst to stay in the public eye no matter how they get the ink or air time.
Entertainers can get free publicity (and sell more product) if they can just stay in the news. This may mean French kissing someone of the same sex, changing your face every week or two, dancing on vans when you're charged with a felony, or 'accidentally' showing your breast during a "wardrobe malfunction." If politicians thought that'd work for them, they'd do that, too.....
Violent images, X-rated language, sex-saturated films, television shows and music are all a matter of conditioning. What young people hear and see and read over and over, and what they are not offered to see, hear and read, determines their tastes. If The Powers That Be wanted a more innocent time, they could help create it and sell it -- and they would MAKE a market for it. And the market would grow.
But they seemingly feel what sells is a more outrageous level each time, so they're out to top each outrageous event...push the envelope on the language...the violence...the sex. So if someone wants fame and to make big bucks (in areas such as entertainment and talk radio) the way to do it is to Be Outrageous.
And then pundits wonder why a once-promising, wholesome family lost their creative soul while pursuing the Ideal of Outrageousness to sell their product. Or why two young performers 'accidentally" turned America's G-rated Superbowl family event into a R-rated Superpeep show.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:37 PM


ONE THOUGHT ON THE JANET JACKSON BREAST REVEAL CONTROVERSY: Justin Timberlake did the deed while singing a lyric with the words "I'll get you naked by the end of this song." It's a good thing he didn't sing "I've Got You Under My Skin."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:30 PM


BLOG OF THE DAY (we feature them from ALL sides): The conservative site wrongsideofhistory is a content-heavy, slickly produced site that seems to love catching politicos (mostly Democrats) in inconsistencies and documenting politicos' changing versions of the truth. To Republicans: here's your perfect load-up for ammunition for 2004. To Democrats: read it and you can anticipate what'll be hurled at your leaders. Informative, attractive and fun to read.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:28 PM


CNN.com - Early tests show deadly ricin in Senate mailroom - Feb. 2, 2004

PRELIMINARY TESTS SHOW RISIN POISON IN MAILROOM OF MAJORITY LEADER: CNN reports: "Preliminary tests on a white, powdery substance found in the mailroom of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist indicate the presence of the deadly substance ricin.."
More tests will be conducted. CNN further notes: " There is no antidote for ricin poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A dose the size of the head of a pin could kill an adult."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:10 PM


LIEBERMAN'S IMPOSSIBLE DREAM: If feel sooooooooooo sorry for the Senator from my former home state of Connecticut, Joseph Lieberman. Close friends and relatives have met him and I've heard about him for years. And when Al Gore picked him to run for Veep in 2000 I was elated: here was centrist who appealed to nonpartisans (like me). And, of course, it was a bit of a thrill seeing someone from my religion make history. I even defended him when he had to "adjust" some principles once he got on the ticket with Gore, who has since proven further left than his 2000 campaign stances revealed.
But it wasn't until the past months where I began to feel sorry for him. He seems totally consumed by his experience running in 2000 and doesn't seem to get the hint that his national moment seems to be over: he has test-marketed the product (himself) and while he has gotten some good newspaper endorsements and a suspect endorsement from the conservative website NewsMax.com (which wants George Bush) the public ain't buying his product. There are some candidates who just can't let go and have to take their campaign to the final humiliating moment, rather than literally quit while they're ahead (prestige). If anything Lieberman's votes seem to be dwindling.
It's a sad national fizzle-out for someone of integrity, but you can't but feel sorry for his inability to take his eye off the prize when he tells reporters that he still has national support -- even when polls everywhere including in Connecticut show he's not a major choice for President. His attitude seems to be "polls shmolls" like when he tells the journalists:
``I'm running for a reason,'' he said. ``I believe I've got what it takes to win this election, and then be the president America needs to unite us and make us stronger in the world and here at home. That's my pledge, my promise, and the opportunity that my candidacy offers the voters."
No, Joe, right now your candidacy is giving voters the opportunity to see a thoughtful and good man who refuses to see the writing on the wall and will only stop pursuing a dream when the wall literally falls on him.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:39 PM


U.K. Prepares Iraq Intelligence Probe (washingtonpost.com)

Tony Blair's government wants to end the festering controversy over the quality of intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction as well.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:21 PM


My Way - News

Singer Janet Jackson's new single CD was reportedly rushed to airwaves today -- as the Federal Communications Commission promised to investigate whether indecency rules were broken during the Super Bowl's halftime entertainment show broadcast when teen-idol Justin Timberlake "accidentally" ripped her dress, exposing her right breast.
If the sister of Michael Jackson wanted publicity, she certainly got it -- and is going to get it.
""That celebration was tainted by a classless, crass and deplorable stunt," FCC honcho Michael Powell said in a statement echoed by others on the panel. "Our nation's children, parents and citizens deserve better."
CBS, MTV and extremely angry NFL officials have all publicly condemned the incident, which Timberlake claimed was a "wardrobe malfunction" .... during a song in which the lyrics just coincidentally happened to say "I'll get you naked by the end of this song." And Jackson just happened to have expensive jewelry gleaming in The Breast Broadcast Around The World.
Today in the middle of one of my shows someone came over to me, whispered to me and pointed to my zipper, which had a wardrobe malfunction.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:03 PM


USATODAY.com - Toilet line bans, fingerprints, sky marshals are staples for overseas fliers

DON'T EAT EXTRA SPICY CURRY BEFORE FLYING ANYMORE: U.S. slaps ban on passengers congregating around jet rest rooms. Stock tip: invest in Kaopectate..
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:54 AM


IS JOHN KERRY THE DEMOCRATIC BOB DOLE? The always-delightful Andrew Sullivan has a couple of items today on the man he describes as "the pompous, do-nothing, faux-populist, Establishment blow-hard with the Vietnam obsession." Even though Sullivan has trouble expressing what he really thinks about Kerry -- who he also calls a "resume without a cause' -- he also quotes some others who find Kerry to be:
--The latest in "...a long line of Democratic bores — Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Bradley, Gore — who lost because people could not bear listening to them.'' -- Jack Beatty
--""...this year's Bob Dole — the guy you make do with." --Mark Steyn
I've always personally found listening to Kerry as interesting as listening to a tree -- and I'm a fulltime ventriloquist who's used to talking to wood.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:11 AM


BUSH TO SIGN EXECUTIVE ORDER CREATING INDEPENDENT COMMISSION: President George Bush is going to use his pen to create a full-blown investigation into intelligence failures in Iraq..
The AP's description of the upcoming investigation, with its focus not only in Iraq but "intelligence issues dealing with stateless groups such as terrorists and secretive regimes such as North Korea" suggests it's going to be along the lines of the investigation suggested by Arizona Sen. John McCain after the devastating testimony of former Chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay.
Kay told Congress he now believed Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, one of the prime justifications for going to war. After that testimony McCain became the first Republican to publicly call for an independent investigation but reports now say there were many more behind the scenes (all this while radio talk show hosts were suggesting only Democrats out to get Bush wanted an investigation). McCain's public breaking with the White House on this issue made it more difficult to dismiss investigation calls as partisan politics.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:42 AM


WE'RE OFFICIALLY ONE MONTH OLD TODAY: Do you enjoy our mix of links, serious original articles and not-so-serious entries? If so, please do SPREAD THE WORD since word-of-computer is our only advertising. And be sure to use the comment boxes to express YOUR views.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:31 AM

Sunday, February 01, 2004  

THE BLOG OF THE DAY: NOTE: We will be featuring blogs representing all viewpoints. The Progressive Southerner bills itself as "A New South Blog." This content-heavy blog is a feast for the mind and eyes with its original entries, news links, humor links, and bright, sassy layout. BONUSES include extensive reference links plus information on precisely what blogging is and its often stormy relationship to traditional journalism.
The site simply oozes content. A January 30 entry noted that the "Progressive Southerner predicted that Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry would be the Democratic Party nominee on Sept. 28, 2003, well before any of the national political pundits or the blogs, and that Vermont Gov. Howard Dean would blow up and be savaged by the media." That Sept 28 piece said Dean "will eventually put his foot in his mouth," be decimated by the media -- and it predicted a Kerry-Edwards ticket "as a moderate team that could win and turn the world around."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:54 PM


CBS apologizes for breast-baring end to halftime show

CBS HAS A-N-O-T-H-E-R JACKSON PROBLEM: This time during the MTV-produced Superbowl halftime show, when singer Justin Timerlake reached over and exposed singer Janet Jackson's breast. The Drudge Report later carried an item alleging CBS network executives knew of the move in advance. But The Washington Post later quoted an "insider" who insisted the rehearsal had been carefully watched to make sure there was no hanky-pahnky. The image was not for kiddies.
Although CBS has some unintentional programming hooters on its schedule, this was different -- and provoked a flood of calls to the network.
Of his quick hands, which he called a "wardrobe malfunction," Timberlake issued a statement saying: "It was not intentional and is regrettable."
Of the brief-but-unmistakable breast broadcast, a CBS spokeswoman said: "The moment did not conform to CBS' broadcast standards and we would like to apologize to anyone who was offended."
Of the half-time show it produced, a MTV spokesman said the incident was "unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional."
And of the Janet Jackson (partial) unveiling, an NFL executive vice president said:" "It's unlikely that MTV will produce another Super Bowl halftime."
Suggests Washington Post columnist Lisa de Moraes: "CBS really needs to swear off the Jackson family."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:25 PM


Yahoo! News - Reserve price of 1,000 euros for John Lennon hair

IT WAS WORTH MORE ONCE HE DYED: $1250 reserve price for one strand of John Lennon's hair at a Spanish auction.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:34 PM


USATODAY.com - Gazing into the campaign crystal ball

POLITICAL EXPERTS GAZE INTO THE CAMPAIGN CRYSTAL BALL: USA Today put together a roundtable of political experts' (Republican, Democratic and nonpartisan) to predict what happens next in the USA Presidential sweestakes. The linked article above deserves to be read in its entirety, but here are a few highlights:
1. Howard Dean looks like toast. He wasn't ousted as front-runner; he ousted himself.
2. John Kerry is ahead but doesn't have wrapped up since John Edwards is still a potential force.
3. Kerry has some negatives and may not be the greatest candidate but by process of elimination he may be the most electable.
4. Hillary Clinton is in the wings for a future presidential race.
5. The GOP has the money; the very best the Democrats can hope for will to be on equal turf.
6. Odds on George Bush's relection: 52 percent (nonpartisan expert), 50 % (Democratic expert); 100 % "but in a tight race" (Republican expert.)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:26 PM


Kerry's quest to clinch it | csmonitor.com:

KERRY WANTS TO CLINCH IT TUESDAY: The Christian Science Monitor (Joe used to write for it from Madrid as their Special Correspondent) notes that Tuesday marks Kerry's "first multistate test of his strength as the Democratic front-runner - and an opportunity to all but clinch his hold on the party's nomination." If he wins, the story says, " he would quiet questions about the breadth of his appeal, and generate an influx of money and momentum that could make him difficult to stop."
Clearly, his rivals want to stop him from getting Big Mo (which doesn't refer to a former Clinton girlfriend). And what if one of the anti-Kerries wins somewhere on Feb 3?
"The value in a Feb. 3 victory for any of Kerry's rivals may be simply to buy time - and hope that if Kerry is drawn into a longer battle, he may either stumble or be wounded by attacks."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:45 PM


POLITICAL "INOCULATION"? There is considerable speculation that if Sen. John Kerry does get the Democratic Party's presidential nomination that the GOP will go after him on his military record, saying it wasn't that good and pointing to his eventual opposition to the Vietnam war. This would be coupled with the overall GOP campaign theme that Republicans can handle national security and foreign affairs better than Democrats.
But on Sunday Democratic gloves came off. Democratic National Party chairman Terry McAuliffe blasted GWB's stint in the Texas' Air National Guard, accusing Bush of being AWOL when he should have been at his post.
Leftist author and filmmaker Michael Moore recently sparked a firestorm by labeling President Bush a "deserter." In reality, the New York Times investigated this issue in 2000 and here is how it recaps its findings:
"Mr. Bush was in the Air National Guard in Texas from 1972 to 1973, but he did not appear for duty from May to November 1972, when he was working as the campaign manager for Winton M. Blount, a Republican Senate candidate in Alabama. During that period, he was asked to report for training with an Alabama unit but failed to comply. A National Guard official and Mr. Bush's spokesmen have said he made up the missed dates, as Guard regulations allow."
Partisans are going to exaggerate or downplay the parts that suit their candidate. But what's evident is: a)the Democrats will use it, b)the GOP will go after Kerry's military record and Vietnam history if he gets the nomination, c)the race will hinge on independents...and on TURNOUT.
An intriguing article in today's Los Angeles Times indicates the GOP is already focusing heavily on voter turnout of registered Republicans, creating a vast and intricate get-out-the-vote operation to ensure maximum votes for GWB and a Republican Congress. It could counter the loss of independent voters and propel the Republicans to a massive victory.
The only uncertainty in 2000: clearly, Bush himself is going to be an issue this year and will likely be on the defensive a lot more than in 2000.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:27 PM


That's not quite the 'ring of fire' Cash sang about - Friday, 01/30/04

JOHNNY CASH'S SONG "RING OF FIRE" TO BE USED IN PREPARATION H ADS:"The idea is hilarious to the song's co-writer, Merle Kilgore, who penned the Johnny Cash hit with Cash's late wife, June Carter Cash."
But it'll hurt his career in the end.

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:34 AM


Yahoo! News - John Edwards' Penknife Taken at Airport

John Edwards' Penknife Taken at Airport: Next thing you know they'll confiscate Howard Dean's Red Bull or Dennis Kucinich's copy of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:22 AM


MSNBC - Poll: Kerry�leads in Missouri, Arizona

KERRY AHEAD IN THREE STATES AND TIES EDWARDS IN SOUTH CAROLINA: More results from the solid Zogby poll. Right now it's shaping up for Kerry to win in several states but suspense remains over several questions: a)will he defeat favorite John Edwards in Edward's home state of South Carolina? He's within a point of a tie. b)will Dean and/or Clark do respectably well in Arizona? c)will he actually pull an upset over the conventional wisdom and beat Clark in Oklahoma where Clark was supposed to win? Kerry is ahead there now by two points.
As of Sunday it looks like: Kerry continues his surge; Edwards and Clark are dealt damaging if not mortal blows. Dean has already announced he's going after individual delegates and will focus more on the delegate counts than primary wins.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:18 AM


BUSH POISED TO AGREE TO INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION -- AND THE SPIN SWIFTLY CHANGES: Just 72 hours ago the White House was adamantly disinterested in former Chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay's call for an independent commission to investigate faulty intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. Radio talk show hosts insisted proponents for an independent investigation were Democrats out to get George Bush.
Then word seeped out that later this week President George Bush will agree to the commission that had gained support from some Republicans such as John McCain and even among some GOP activists. That was an encouraging development for those who want to put the whole process under the microscope and fix the system and ensure our intelligence capabilities are up to speed.
And now some commentators such as Matthew Yglesias see a breathtakingly quick shift: even before a single hearing on this investigation begins, the blame is being put squarely on the CIA by the president's partisans.
"God -- the spin machine really is good," Yglesias writes. "Suddenly over the past 48 hours every single figure on the right seems to have come to a unanimous decision that the CIA and the CIA alone is wholly to blame for the intelligence mishaps. But then why did Dick Cheney need to create an entire parallel intelligence apparatus under Doug Feith dedicated exclusively to explaining why the CIA was underestimating Iraq's WMD capacity?"
Once again controversy seems to swirl around Vice President Dick Cheney, also at the center of other news reports as the person in the administration who was pushing for the hardest line.
Philadelphia Inquirer editorial page editor Chris Satullo notes the "CIA was the cautious party here, debunking the wild WMD and terror claims being trafficked by Iraqi exiles. It was Cheney and (Secretary of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld who trumpeted the nightmare scenarios, who set up their own intelligence shop to fill up the blanks in evidence with theories that suited them. It was they who fast-tracked those theories onto the President's desk."
Meanwhile, a top aide to Great Britain's Tony Blair today insists his government saw "catagoric" evidence that Sadaam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction heading up to the war. Debate is still fierce in England, where a report in today's Observer claims: "Senior American officials concluded at the beginning of last May that there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq..." and that "it was widely known that Iraq had no WMD within three weeks of Baghdad falling, despite the assertions of senior Bush administration figures and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair."
Both Blair's intelligence services and GWB's CIA are "stuck in deep doo-doo," writes the Washington Post's respected international reporter and commentator Jim Hoagland.
But, Hoagland adds: "Making the CIA's performance the big issue is hardly a clean victory or escape for Bush. The doctrine of preemption is badly wounded as a national policy by this intelligence failure. And the president has yet to explain in a convincing way what he believed and when he believed it."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:45 AM


Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage

Suicide Attacks on Iraqi Kurds Kill, Wound Up to 200: Some weeks ago some news reports said Al Qaeda urged its militants and followers to avoid attacks on Iraq citizens because they were counterproductive. But today's bombs were aimed at the leadership of two Kurdish parties working with the United States.
"The bodies are in pieces, they are trying to collect them ...people are in shock," Peter Galbraith, a former U.S. diplomat with long experience with the Kurds, told Reuters by telephone from Arbil. "The significance of this is devastating to the leadership of the Kurdish Democratic Party, one of the U.S.'s biggest allies in the war."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:24 AM