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.

"YOUR ONE STOP NEWS SOURCE"
Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More


   LEFT - Links

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

 



-CENTER - Links

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


 

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

Wednesday, May 19, 2004  

OUR MOVE IS PERMANENT: As of today you'll go to our revamped blog at Typepad if you type in www.themoderatevoice.com and this blog now becomes home to our early archives of some 1,300 posts. It may also be used for special writing projects.

SO:

(1)If you're here, it means you book marked it with the old blogspot address.

(2)If you used a link on another website, please let us know via email which website so we can contact them to have them update their link.

But from now on The Moderate Voice will be at www.themoderatevoice.com (our fowarding address which we have changed as of today). With the exception of special projects, NO NEW POSTS will be put on this site. So come visit us at our new home!

See ya!
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:30 PM


Sunday, May 16, 2004  

WE'VE MOVED THIS BLOG...at least temporarily.

A reminder of our note below: CLICK HERE TO GET TO OUR BLOG since the blog you're now visiting will be in suspended animation for a while (probably a long while) until some technical problems are solved.

All new posts will be done at the NEW address which -- again -- you get to by CLICKING HERE.
Later this week it'll be set up so that by typing our regular address www.themoderatevoice.com it'll take you right to the new address.

Sorry for the inconvenience...but this change will halt the problems that so many readers emailed us about.

SO VISIT US AT THE NEW ADDRESS ABOVE. Thanks!
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:06 PM


 

DETOUR: Due to continued technical problems here The Moderate Voice will be experimenting with a new address. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEW ADDRESS for the preliminary version of our makeshift new blog.

Do continue to type in www.themoderatevoice.com to get to this blog. The fowarding changeover will made made later in the week.

If you have a link on our site, we'll be adding all inks at the new address later -- and expanding our blogroll to add reciprocal links to those who request them (plus a few others of our own).

If you scroll down you'll see that whole parts of previous posts have now appeared in boldface. That coupled with severe loading problems a few weeks ago have brought us a slew of reader complaints and we're going to make this switch at least for a while.

This blog here at Blogspot will remain intact just in case and even if the switch is permanent it'll remain as a archieve plus a spot for special writing projects that are on the drawing board.

But CLICK HERE WHEN YOU VISIT THIS SITE to get to the new address and new postings.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:56 AM


Saturday, May 15, 2004  

NOTE TO READERS: We are having continued problems here at Blogspot. The latest (if you scroll down) is whole sections of old posts showing up in boldface. We have not done any editing on these. Please bare with us on this...it's as unacceptable to us right now as it is to you. Original posts will resume on Sunday...but you may see some in boldface.
We have had serious problems here now for three weeks.

Hopefully this latest problem will be resolved soon. JOE GANDELMAN
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:16 PM


Friday, May 14, 2004  

WHOOPS! WE MADE A BOO-BOO!!! We're still over at Dean's World -- and will be posting over there today (back to normal here on Sunday).

But yesterday we gave you a link to CLICK to see our posts over there...and it lead you back this page! Sorry! This time, we'll give you the RIGHT one. To see what we posted yesterday and today, just click here or if you want to exercise your fingers type in www.deanesmay.com.

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:14 AM


Thursday, May 13, 2004  

HEED OUR ADVICE!!!!!!!!!!!! Here's why you should never put your picture on the Internet...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:16 PM


 

I haven't seen it yet but the unspeakably cruel video of the beheading of Nick Berg is being viewed on the Internet by many. Here's one reaction to what is becoming one of the most widely viewed "snuff films" in history.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:07 PM


 

IS PRESIDENT BUSH'S CAMPAIGN IN SERIOUS TROUBLE? The New York Times and the Washington Post think so. We still think it's too early, although you easily state these facts:

(1)The adminitration isn't getting much good news these days.

(2)The Kerry campaign is uninspiring...But if the news trend continues as it is, unless he badly stubs his toe John Kerry could be a viable option for many voters.

(3)On many issues the administration seems behind one or two beats on properly responding. They've been hurt by delays and denials as much as by revelations.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:51 PM


 

"AHHNOLD" continues to dominate the California political scene as a force almost bigger-than-life -- as much the "star" of state politics as he was in the movies...and highly convincing in his new role as governor. One of his key tactics is to run rings around the politicosl, essentially planning to governor without them if they don't go along with his plans. Would The Moderate Voice mislead you on this? Nope. Read this...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:39 PM


 

(NOTE TO READERS: We have no idea why part of this post has gone into BOLD FACE. It is one of our many problems here at blogspot, notwithstanding the impressive upgraded package. There's no symbol on our editing to show why it's in boldface...but it is NOT intentional and we apologize. Stay tuned for changes here, hopefully later next week....)

HE'S BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK: Democrats will be thrilled, Republicans appalled, and Rush Limbaugh's nonstop references to "Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton" will actually have relevance once again.

President Bill Clinton has delivered his memoirs (all 900 pages of them) and is now showing signs that at 57-years-old he does not intend to vanish from the political scene. In fact, based on his recent behavior it's safe to predict that within a short time his wife Hillary and Democratic presumptive nominee John Kerry will be upset that they're being upstaged by Sean Hannity's favorite reference point.

An article by the Washington correspondent of England's Independent contains some tantilizing tidbits, such as Clinton's decision to open up both verbal barrels against President George Bush:

On Tuesday evening, he ripped into his successor for neglecting the real menace of Osama bin Laden to go after Saddam Hussein, and for gratuitously turning world opinion against America. "We had unanimous support for going into Afghanistan, they [the United Nations] participated in the hunt for Bin Laden and supported giving an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to open his country to weapons inspections," Mr Clinton told a business gathering in New York on Tuesday night. "We were in good shape. What happened?"

What happened was the Bush team's obsession with toppling Saddam, he claimed, regardless of the facts about Iraq's WMD and Baghdad's non-involvement in the 11 September attacks. It was an unprecedented volley. Former presidents largely follow a code that sees them keep quiet about the performance of their successors. But Mr Clinton appears ready to re-enter the fray and his book will give him the platform to do so.

"I've been in writer's jail," he told his audience. "For three months I've been reliving my life - and it was hard enough the first time." But now, the 900-page volume My Life is ready. In barely three weeks, the hoopla will start, at a convention in Chicago. Then comes a worldwide tour to accompany publication in late June.

We can expect to see some of the following:

(1)Democrats love Clinton and he will be out on the hustings. Despite all the conspiracy theories about him and Hillary wanting to sandbag John Kerry's tepid campaign, the former President craves an audience and loves political battle. He'll be out there to help the Kerry campaign.

(2)Republicans will try to link Clinton to Kerry. UPSIDE: There are some independent voters and (that vanishing breed) conservative Democrats who are happy Al Gore didn't win because Bush came down so strong on terrorism. DOWNSIDE: Some voters long for the happier times of the Clinton years...especially the economy. So it'll be a wash if the GOP uses Clinton.

(3)Clinton's book will probably be one of the most successful ex-president memoirs and suck up a lot of summertime media attention that would otherwise go to Kerry.

(4)If Clinton takes an activ e role in going after Bush (either on his own or in a surrogate role) and he is joined in his criticism by former President Jimmy Carter it again could influence on swing voters. Various pollsters and experts note that there are fewer swing voters around but in a close election they will be more vital than ever.

(5)Clinton's real value to the Demmies will be as a talking head. He can get on virtually any news show or news magazine he wants to. Will he use this access to go after the Bush administration aggressively? And what would the Bush administration's response be...and how would that response impact the election?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:27 PM


 

NEW POSTS WILL APPEAR LATE TONIGHT due to all day and early evening schedule today in Salinas.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:32 AM


 

GOOD BY "FRASIER" ("WAHH!" or "THANK GOD!"): Finally someone expresses our view about Kelsey Grammar.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:27 AM


 

Here's the real buzz, honey.........
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:23 AM


Wednesday, May 12, 2004  

ARE BLOGS GOOD OR BAD? Are blogs a new form that competes with, supplements or undermines journalism? You can get some answers by listening to an NPR show featuring David Adesnik of Oxblog (one of The Moderate Voice's favorite blogs) by clicking here.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:43 PM


 

THEY SAW THEM: And they were revolted.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:18 PM


 

SO HOW IS THE LIBERAL TALK SHOW RADIO NETWORK AIR AMERICA DOING? It truly sounds as if they are blowing it, and we aren't referring to the top executive resignations and problems with some radio stations. Their problems are more profound.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:10 PM


 

ARE ALL ARABS IN THE MIDDLE EAST DANCING IN THE STREETS WITH JOY BECAUSE AN AMERICAN WAS DECAPITATED? Not all: some consider it barbaric. And it's more than one lucid voice.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:56 PM


 

IN THIS CASE IT WAS THE HUSBAND WHO WAS FRIGID: From Reuters:"A Portuguese woman confessed to murdering her husband and hiding his body in a kitchen freezer for three years, Lusa news agency reported." If she wanted him stiff she could have given him Viagra.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:46 PM


 

MORE ON NICK BERG'S LONG NIGHTMARE..DOES THIS NEWS STORY REVEAL HE WAS TARGETTED?: More details are coming out about the illfated journey of Nick Berg, who was beheaded by terrorists in a public execution carried via the Internet (and further spread by websites and talk shows).

A story in the Washington Post, among other things, reveals the 26-year-old American who had gone to Iraq to help rebuild the war-torn country was visited by the FBI three times in an Iraqi jail.

And this story seemingly suggests an answer to the question: how did Berg disappear? Was he just plucked off the streets? Read this...and see if it doesn't sound to you as if someone TIPPED OFF THE TERRORISTS about his religion (we have added our own italics):

    In interviews here, two friends who saw Berg after he was released from detention said he told them he had been arrested at a checkpoint in Mosul when Iraqi police examined his U.S. passport and noticed an Israeli stamp. Travel documents indicating an individual has been in Israel have long sparked suspicion in the Middle East; many Arab countries routinely refuse entry to travelers whose passports bear stamps from Israel.

    'He said, 'You want to hear an interesting story? They thought I was a spy because I had a Jewish last name and had an Israeli stamp in my passport,' ' said Hugo Infante, 31, a Chilean freelance journalist. 'He wasn't [upset]. It was like an adventure for him.'

    Aziz Taee, 40, an Iraqi business associate of Berg's who has lived in the Philadelphia area for most of the past 20 years, said Berg 'was in a taxicab after midnight, stopped during a routine check. The police saw in his passport the Israeli stamp.' "

WHAT IT SUGGESTS TO US: Someone in the police tipped off the thugs who picked him up and butchered him. Which means terrorist forces in Iraq maintain strong ties with "moles" in Iraq's security forces. In other words, this tidbit suggests he wasn't just picked up off the street randomly. Like journalist Daniel Pearl who suffered the same exact fate, his religion had much to do with his fate.

FOOTNOTE: After seeing the glee with which they slaughtered this young man, can any sane person suggest that these terrorists would not hesitate for second to explode a nuclear device if they got their blood-stained hands on one? Their goal is a body count.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:08 PM


 

NOT EXACTLY A COINCIDENCE: Jeff Jarvis notes a fact that seems to get lost in the media coverage: Nick Berg, the young American beheaded on camera by his extremist Muslim terrorist captiors in Iraq, was Jewish...as was journalist Daniel Pearl, also beheaded by his extremist Muslim captors.

Writes Jarvis:"Listenening to NPR and the BBC on the way to work this morning, I heard no mention at all that Berg was Jewish. Is that just bad reporting? It could not be more relevant: Al Qaeda selects American Jews for execution. Let's call Nazis Nazis."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:45 PM


 

MCCAIN FOR DEFENSE SEC? John Kerry says his first chioce for Secretary of Defense would be Republican Arizona Senator John McCain. Smart move: McCain remains one of the most respected figures in American politics.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:22 AM


 

IS THE NEOCONSERVATIVES' MOMENT IN HISTORY IS OVER? Columnist, talk show host and former third party candidate Patrick Buchanan thinks so and spells it out in a column titled "Time for Truth."

Granted, Buchanan has consistently opposed this administration's policy, favoring instead more of an America First policy rooted in being pickier about wars and an underlying dispute with U.S. policy towards Israel. But he makes a convincing case that a key moment in history has now ended:

    The neoconservative hour is over. All the blather about "empire," our "unipolar moment," "Pax Americana" and "benevolent global hegemony" will be quietly put on a shelf and forgotten as infantile prattle. America is not going to fight a five- or 10-year war in Iraq. Nor will we be launching any new invasions soon. The retreat of American empire, begun at Fallujah, is underway.

Is Pat jumping the gun? Maybe not.

There's a sense that there's a lot of institutional rethinking going on these days -- that the original assumptions on which recent U.S. policy was formulated may have been seriously flawed. The Moderate Voice personally feels the jury is still out, but Buchanan sees it differently:
    With a $500 billion deficit, we do not have the money for new wars. With an Army of 480,000 stretched thin, we do not have the troops. With April-May costing us a battalion of dead and wounded, we are not going to pay the price. With the squalid photos from Abu Ghraib, we no longer have the moral authority to impose our "values" on Iraq. Bush's "world democratic revolution" is history.

He offers some suggestions, all of which in one way or mean withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq or from "any Arab country that wishes us to leave."
    A presidential election is where the great foreign policy debate should take place over whether to maintain U.S. troops all over the world, or bring them home and let other nations determine their own destiny. Unfortunately, we have two candidates and two parties that agree on our present foreign policy that is conspicuously failing.

Indeed, this is a point that Democratic and Republican partisans refuse to believe...although we cast it in a far different light than Buchanan: there is a basic CONSENSUS between the two parties' leadership on U.S.foreign policy's basic outline and on American goals. To Buchanan, Ralph Nader and Howard Dean supporters that may not be a good thing. But to the majority of Americans it may be.

But all that can change. As we've said here many times, external events more than ever seem in control of U.S. policymakers' -- and the electorate's -- choices.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:06 AM


 

DID THE IRAQI PRISONER PICTURES CAUSE A BEHEADING? The Centrist Coalition's Rick Heller thinks it's a possibility. And he explains exactly why.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:38 AM


 

TRYING TO CREATE KARMIC BALANCE BY SPREADING THE GOOD: How do you make sense of the beheading of Nick Berg? While you're sorting that out you can do something to help strenthen the good.

An attempt to make a small contribution to create some balance in the world is underway via a non-partisan, nonideological attempt to raise money for a family with special needs. Some conservative bloggers are spearheading this fundraising drive to raise $10,000 in three days as a specific antidote to inject some good into the world following the unspeakable evil of Berg's death.

The money will go to fund college for children from a special family. Read the details here -- and you'll want to hit the Pay Pal donation button. We all leave little footprints during our lives and this is a chance to leave some nice, big ones...so some young people from a courageous family with hefty challenges ahead can leave their own. Help equalize the see-saw between good and evil -- no matter which party you support.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:25 AM


Tuesday, May 11, 2004  

THE BUTCHERING OF AN AMERICAN: SALINAS,Ca: I heard the news on the radio with a sinking feeling bordering on nausea.

It was the news about Nick Berg being beheaded in Iraq by the latest incarnation of fascists that brave World War II veterans such as my father, Richard, thought they had exterminated a half century ago.

The horror I felt was akin to when I was a kid and first saw King Kong -- the scene where Kong's face appears in the New York hotel window, lustily looking at Fray Wray. But, besides that horror, I felt a bile-spewing sense of utter anger and rage.

On the tail end of a 400 mile drive, as I went north on 101, I still had an unceasing sense of sickness and pain...and for a while I couldn't figure out why.

Then, suddenly, it dawned on me. I knew.

I realized I truly grieved for an idealistic 26-year-old who had to experience such indescribable horror in the last minutes of his all-too-short life; grief for all the young kids for whom I perform who must constantly live under a growing physical threat in a mega-violent world where they'll have to make stark choices for decades in a life-death battle to wipe out murderers wrapping themselves in religion; plus grief as I heard shameless, self-serving posturing from both sides of the U.S. the political spectrum, not missing a solitary beat in their unrelenting attempt to score points to elect "their" man to the White House..

911 was devastating. Daniel Pearl's death was sickening and haunting. Yet, Berg's seems somehow sadder, more shocking and more sickening than Pearl's death because the last few weeks of his life were filled with such frustration, anxiety, horror and pain.

There are lots of news stories about Nick Berg, a supporter of the war who had gone to Iraq to try and do some work for the Iraqis and for his company. In a nutshell: first he was arrested by the Iraqi police. FBI agents told his parents he was in jail. By April 5 his parents filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia, claiming that their son was being held illegally by the U.S. military in Iraq. Clearly, the parents were frantic in trying to get their son out of there and, by all accounts, he wanted to leave by then, too.

And then this strange story gets stranger, according to the Centre Daily News. In a report published before Berg's death it reported:

The next day, April 6, Nick Berg was released. He told his parents he had been riding in a taxi on March 24 when he was arrested by Iraqi officials at a checkpoint in Mosul.He told his parents he had not been mistreated Nick Berg said he would come home through Jordan, Turkey or Kuwait. But by then, hostilities in Iraq had escalated, and Michael Berg said they have not heard from their son since.

The Bergs have hounded the State Department, the FBI and the International Committee of the Red Cross, seeking information. Michael Berg said the State Department sent an official to Nick Berg's hotel, where an employee told the official they had not heard of him. The Bergs hired a private investigator, who talked to an American hotel guest who said he remembered Nick Berg.

Sometimes, they tell themselves their son "is a resourceful fellow who can take care of himself," Michael Berg said."Other times we think perhaps he was dead on April 10," he said. "My worst fear is that I'll never hear anything."

So this 26-year-old with personal ideals and modest business aspirations was released. And just think of the sense of relief he must have felt that he'd soon be going home....

Then he was captured by terrorists.

Those final days and moments must have been hell. Just think about it as you read this:
The video showed five men wearing headscarves and black ski masks, standing over a bound man in an orange jumpsuit similar to a prisoner's uniform who identified himself as Nick Berg, a U.S. contractor whose body was found on a highway overpass in Baghdad on Saturday.

Sitting in a chair, Berg made the following statement: "My name is Nick Berg, my father's name is Michael, my mothef's name is Susan,"” the man said on the video. "I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in ...Philadelphia."
.

The video then changes to a scene of masked men, with Berg sitting in front of them.After reading a statement, the masked men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off,
shouting "Allahu Akbar" "God is great." They then held the head out before the camera.

Just another death? Not quite:

(1)This 26-year-old man was slaughtered like an animal by people wanting to make a political statement. If they could make one by killing you, me, your infant daughter,
your son, and your grandmother they most certainly would. The death of Pearl, an Italian contractor, now Berg, is clearly part of a pattern. Expect more of them. Possibly LOTS more. It gets them publicity and spreads fear.

(2)Some politicos and commentators on the left immediately suggested it was cause and
effect. Their "WE TOLD YOU SO!" attitude stemmed from their contention that Berg was murdered in retaliation for the way Iraqi prisoners were abused by American prison guards. And that is indeed what Berg's killers said, except it doesn't make sense:

If there had been no guards' scandal they wouldn't have taken him out for a nice dinner and camel ride and released him.

Berg was doomed to be butchered on some pretext the second he was caught.

(3)Some politicos and talk show hosts on the right began inching towards the position that this somehow negates the scandal over how Iraqi prisoners were abused -- and that it shows Iraqi prisoners deserve it. Or suggesting that since American guards didn't cut anyone's head off then what happened to Iraqis prisoners was not that bad and the inquiry should be dropped or buried.

So let's be blunt:

The fascists masking themselves in religious rhetoric gleefully holding up a head sliced off a terrified, screaming young American moments before contrast starkly with the smug jailers in the photos humiliating Iraqi prisoners in one important way.

The terrorists will be cheered by many on the Arab Middle East street and won't face consequences unless governments rub them out. The American guard jailers will be tried, punished -- and likely shunned. And that'll happen because Americans value law and life.

But even with all the political implications I return to one all-encompassing thought: those stressful last weeks of Nick Berg in a foreign land, under arrest, kidnapped, then having his young life ended in such a horrorific way.

We can't forget our values in the Iraqi prisoner scandal; we can't forget our goals in the war against terrorism. And we can't forget Nick Berg.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:06 PM


 

Now you can walk a mile in John Kerry's shoes (from world famous shoe designer John Hawkins).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:43 PM


 

If It's True How Could That Date POSSIBLY Be Of Any Significance?: Josh Marshall writes: "There is chatter in Pakistani intelligence circles that the US has let the Pakistanis know that the optimal time for bagging 'high value' al Qaida suspects in the untamed Afghan-Pakistani border lands is the last ten days of July, 2004."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:08 PM


 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE OF THREE PEOPLE ON ONE OF THE INTERNET'S MOST THOUGHTFUL BLOGS GOES ON NPR? Read about David Adesnik's baptism of fire here...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:48 PM


 

IS JOHN KERRY REALLY DOING MUCH BETTER THAN SOME POLLS INDICATE? That's what Democratic analyst Ruy Teixeira argues here, citing specific data that he says shows Kerry gains overall and on specific issues. He concludes: "Bush is running out of options. And, as Bush is sinking, Kerry is cranking up his campaign. Stay tuned."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:36 PM


 

MAN BITTEN TO DEATH BY SEXUALLY AROUSED HORSE: Rosie O'Donnell on the rampage? Nay...(The Real Dummy thanks Steven Taylor aka Poliblogger for the tip).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:27 PM


 

HEAVY READING: Bill Clinton sent a 900 page memoir to his publisher. And that's just the part where he discuses what "is" is.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:12 PM


Monday, May 10, 2004  

THE MODERATE VOICE ON THE ROAD: Joe Gandelman & Friends will be appearing at the Salinas County Fair in King City, CA May 13 through May 16. Tonight and tomorrow will be travel times so original posts will resume tomorrow evening. (If there are no new posts tomorrow night then check back often because it could be a technical problem while on the road).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:00 PM


 

THE LATEST SEE-SAW POLL: More signs this election is likely to be a nail-biter:

    (CNN) -- President Bush holds a single-point lead over Democratic challenger John Kerry in the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of likely voters, but voters' approval of Bush's performance and support for the war in Iraq dropped.

That's not entirely surprising, given the tidal wave of bad Iraq-related news in April. The GOOD news for the GOP is that even with the BAD NEWS Bush pulled AHEAD of John Kerry...yet another documentable sign that Kerry's campaign is exciting voters as much as a handful of cold spaghetti (but he has a half-year to get his act together).
    With nearly six months remaining before the November election, Bush led Kerry 48 percent to 47 percent in the survey -- a reversal of a poll taken last week, which found the Massachusetts senator with a 1-point edge, 49-48."

Meanwhile, Ralph Nader clearly is poised to reprise his 2000 role as the spoiler (if you're a Democrat) or a savior (if you're a Republican).
    With consumer advocate Ralph Nader's independent candidacy factored in, the latest results showed Bush the choice of 47 percent of likely voters. Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, had 45 percent. Nader had 5 percent The poll, conducted Friday through Sunday, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, meaning the presidential race remains close.

But the truly bad news for Bush was the fact that his approval rating has now nosedived to its lowest level:
    The survey found that among all adults -- not just likely voters -- only 46 percent approved of Bush's performance in office -- the lowest rating of his presidency in this poll.

Other highlights:

--People think Bush would do a better job on terrorism than Kerry -- a whopping 17 percent margin over Kerry.
--Only 44 percent think the war is worthwhile, "another low," notes CNN, while 54 percent think the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.
--On the economy, 54 percent think Kerry would do a better job.
--Only a third think Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should resign over Iraqi prisoners scandal.

What does it all mean? If there's a massive reactivation of terrorism (such as another attack on U.S. soil or a huge attack on U.S. interests abroad) it's likely to draw people closer to Bush. Otherwise, Iraq is proving to be a negative and all trends so far on this issue are downward.

Still, Bush has a secret weapon: the ineptness so far of the Kerry campaign. And so far there are few signs that the Kerry camp is taking it away from him.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:43 PM


 

I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ART BUT I KNOW WHAT I LIKE and I don't know if I like this. Violent art. So violent the artist wound up in the hospital with a concussion due to an for an offended art-gazer. (NOTE: The piece with the plastic dummies offended my wooden employees.)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:44 PM


 

Where the losers win.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:53 PM


 

NOW HE HAS SEEN THEM but you know how he is when he makes a decision. And he made a big point of letting everyone know, too...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:39 PM


 

Here's another hero.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:52 AM


 

IS THE ELECTION JOHN KERRY'S TO LOSE? Pollster John Zogby thinks so.

And if Kerry doesn't win, he says, "it will be because he blew it."

And although Zogby thinks Kerry's performance as a candidate has not exactly been stellar he lists these reasons why he thinks a Kerry administration may be on the horizon:

(1)Recent Zogby polls show "bad re-election numbers for an incumbent president."

(2)There are few undecided voters.

(3)Thirty percent of the voters polled say the economy is their main concern and Kerry is ahead on the economic issues.

(4)Kerry is a good closer.

Zogby is right about the importance of considering hard data and polling trends. Voters shouldn't get worked up worked up (either way) when by what news analysts, talking heads, talk show hosts and bloggers say. The reason: everyone has their own belief system that anchors their individual perspective and as a kind of filter. Democrats wringing their hands and saying the race is over are wrong. Similarly, Republicans who insist Kerry is a rotten candidate (he is) and for that reason is going to lose are also making a huge mistake.

Even with Zogby's predictions, never forget this: external forces are going to play a HUGE role on issues that are pitchforked into the headlines and shape voters' attitudes. Just look at what has happened on the political landscape and in media coverage since the story on abuse of Iraqi prisoners broke. How many other issues has that nudged off the front pages and off newscasts?

Unforseen events are the wildcards in this election where polls show the electorate almost evenly divided. So, in the end, all the polls, columns (and posts like this) don't mean much. Unforseen events and issues -- and how the candidates and their parties react to them -- will tip the scale. Don't count Kerry out; don't count Bush out...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:12 AM


 

DON'T COMPARE THE PRISONER ABUSE SCANDAL IN IRAQ WITH THE MY LEI IN VIETNAM OR TO THE FRENCH IN ALGERIA: That's what Glenn Reynolds, AKA, Instapundit says. He writes:

    My Lai was on a wholly different scale, involving the murder of large numbers of innocent women and children, not the mistreatment of prisoners. And in Algeria, the French wanted to stay, and keep Algeria part of Metropolitan France. Plus there were the (semi-insane) French colonists, the pieds-noirs, mucking up the situation. Our situation in Iraq is very different -- there are no colonists, and we want Iraq to be self-governing and free as soon as possible. Comparing the two illustrates a serious lack of perspective. Or worse.

    Likewise the (sometimes rather hopeful) claims from some on the left that we've "lost the war" here are silly too. We'll only lose this war if we chicken out. One suspects that they desire this very outcome. Losing the war's fine with some, if it can get Bush out of office. That agenda is way too obvious for me to take their comments seriously. It would be wrong to minimize the misconduct at Abu Ghraib, but it would be equally wrong to maximize it. And there seems to be rather a lot of that going on at the moment. If all this coverage is leaving you demoralized, and hopeless, and depressed, let me suggest that this isn't an accident -- it's the goal.

Indeed, this international scandal is on relatively new turf for the United States (the mistreatment of prisoners in a way that conflicts with American values). And this story is like any crisis story: it has a beginning -- and will produce a slew of endless follow-ups until it starts to die out.

This story has not even reached its peak yet -- with talk of more (and worse) photos and videos to come, court martials, continued clamors for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation and the inevitable political analyses about the impact on the presidential election.

So Reynolds is correct: avoid simplistic comparisons...and get ready to see a lot more about this in coming weeks (and months).. If you look at a news story as shaped like a mountain (you climb it, reach the top, then climb down), then from the news media's standpoint we're not even at the top yet.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:29 AM


Sunday, May 09, 2004  

COMEDIAN ALAN KING DIES. Subtitle: Death of a transitional comic revolutionary: The death of comedian Alan King at 76 due to lung cancer is another sad indication of a rapidly changing of the generational guard, as a noble and classy generation exits the stage.

Modern comedians owe a huge debt to King since he was far more than his often swaggering stage persona revealed -- and he played a pivotal role in America's comedians' history.

You can read the full obit/bio of the man born Irwin Alan Kniberg here. And when you read it, you can see how his career included everything from New York's talent-fostering borscht-belt resorts, the era of Jewish-dominated stand-up comedy, television vaudeville (otherwise known as variety) shows, the comedy club era (he was a big role model), films, performances before England's royal family, cable television, Las Vegas and Broadway.

The Moderate Voice remembers King's always smash performances on TV, recounted by the New York Times here:

    Mr. King became especially well known through his 56 appearances -- only the Italian puppet mouse Topo Gigio and the Canadian comedy team Wayne and Schuster had more -- on "The Ed Sullivan Show" during the 1950's and 60's and his frequent guest-host appearances on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."

He'd appear outraged, talk about family or modern day annoyances, be impeccably dressed in suit and tie, often clutching a cigar, and have a look on his face that could only be described as dismay peppered with a dose of nausea at the absurdities and outrages swirling around him. But it wasn't a threatening he's-gonna-punch-me-anger...but a common sensical anger.

Indeed, audiences saw King so much they seemingly took it for granted that his style and schtick had always been that way.


Not true.

In his superb book Seriously Funny Gerald Nachman chronicles King, as well as other "Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s." He writes:
    Alan King was a contemporary of the satirical renaissance comics of the fifties and sixties, but he wasn't one of them. With his bravura style, waggling cigar, and in-your-face jokes, he performed in the slam-bam manner of the traditional Catskill-Vegas-Miami stand-up comedian...When his traditional joke-packed act changed, and he began doing more leisurelypersonalal material, he became a bridge between the old schools of the forties and fifties and the more incisive comics who followed.

    King was a cranky, conversational comic (one of the first "observational" comics), attired in the slick, silk-tupersonana of a cocky Copacabana sharpie....King's act, unlike the acts of many of his peers, changed with the times

He quotes King: "I did not offend people. I offended institutions. I became not just more topical but more angry....All my personal frustrations were put into my act."

And if you watched the ever-adapting King from the standpoint of performance art, he was on top of the comedy heap until the end. Impeccable timing. Perfect use of face and body language. And he truly had something to say. And we do too:"You pleased every generation that watched you and did an act that was worthy of their attention, time and love."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:48 PM


 

DID YOU KNOW THIS? When is Mother's Day? Nine months after father's day...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:04 PM


 

It sounds like a lot of crap to me..
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:02 PM


 

WHAT IF THE RIGHT AND LEFT COULD BATTLE OVER IDEAS AND A PANEL OF JUDGES FROM ALL VIEWPOINTS COULD JUDGE THEM? What if such a force existed in the often bitterly-divided Blog World? Could you get some of the top writers from right blogs and left blogs to take the challenge? Could you get others agree to be on a panel of judges?

The answers:
--It would be a constructive site and could bring people with diverse ideas together.
--It already has debuted and is about to burst-forth on the scene.
--Yes. They already have volunteered and they're great ones.
--Yes. The judges have agreed (The Moderate Voice was invited and said yes -- but initially because he thought it was the Michael Jackson jury and could sell inside poop to the National Enquirer).

The new site is Iron Blog and it promises to be a new chapter completely in tune with the explosive growth of web logs that often seem polarized into camps that do not precisely love each other. Iron Blog promises to strip away the personalities and the occasional namecalling you often see in posts. It's going to put an official premium on well-developed and expressed ideas. And it can only make political debate more serious and thoughtful. Read more about it here.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:20 PM


 

A FAMOUS MOTHER enters the political fray for her baby.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:17 AM


 

ARE YOU FRUSTRATED IN YOUR SEARCH FOR A NEW COMPUTER? Then just build your own the way this person who's active on the Internet did. A store lost a sale and he got a better machine......
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:13 AM


 

MILITARY UNEASE OVER U.S. IRAQ POLICY is filtering out via unnamed source press reports. And some believe the use of media leaks by senior military officials is a disturbing trend.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:02 AM


 


HE FUN TO WATCH, SOUNDS GREAT ONLY HE'S OFTEN WRONG:
David Brock's new watchdog site Media Matters for America finally says what many of us political junkes (on the right, left and center) have not wanted to say in public about Dick Morris: don't go to Vegas and bet your house on the former Clinton advisor's predictions.

The Moderate Voice LOVES reading Morris' newspaper columns and watching him as an analyst on Fox News. He is a great writer (his books are lively and a thought-provoking read) who gathers lots of data, trends and then makes an often-blunt predicton.

The teeny weeny problem is that his prediction track record isn't terrific -- and he'll change his interpretations after the fact. His ADVICE to politicos such as President Bush is often better than his actual predictions which make great newspaper copy, talking head segments and sound bytes... but frequently don't come to pass.

Yet he's so emphatic, idea-filled, intellectually hyperactive, and entertaining -- and when he talks his mouth moves in a weird way that reminds us of the old Clutch Cargo cartoons where a real person's mouth was photographically superimposed on a largely motionless cartoon body.

Media Matters has a graph (check it out yourself) that in great detail contrasts parts of Morris' new book Rewriting History with what he wrote before, predicted before, and with actual facts. It documents inconsistency and also inaccuracies.

We agree with one of our favorite political analysts (who has a great track record and writes equally lively but later-proven-to-be-solid stuff) the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato who the website quotes as saying about Morris:" "He's frequently wrong." But that does NOT stop us from saying this:

We love Dick Morris for ideas, pizazz and because he makes us think. Just don't let his predictions get you too complacent, upset -- or inspire you to bet your hard-earned money on them coming true.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:10 AM


 

SHE MUST BE A LIBERAL DEMOCRAT: Nancy Reagan calls for stem-cell research. Will Ann Coulter attack her?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:54 AM


 

THEY'RE ON A ROLL AND FLUSH WITH VICTORY: Danes rushed to help end Norway's toilet paper shortage. The crisis has since bottomed out. Now they should celebrate, with dancers doing some clogging.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:43 AM


 

HOW IS OUR FRIEND THE PSYCHIC DOING? When I started my blog in January one of my first posts was on Lyndia Anderson's predictions for 2004. Here's her updated list. To her credit she hasn't changed anything and marks her hits and misses. (To give you the answer you are waiting for: she predicts President George Bush will not win re-election but the GOP will retain both houses of Congress).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:36 AM


 

SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION: After just getting in from Orange County I got on the trusty 'ol (and I DO mean 'ol) computer and found this....which shows you The Moderate Voice in one of his three (performer, journalist, blogger) incarnations. (Joe Gandelman & Friends will be spending three weeks in Wyoming this summer performing at fairs).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:25 AM


Saturday, May 08, 2004  

HERE'S JUST ONE REASON WHY I LIKE CITIZEN SMASH: The conservative war veteran blogger has pointedly responded to suggestions by talk show giant Rush Limbaugh that anyone who gets upset over allegations that American guards abused Iraqi prisoners is a wuss reflecting the "feminization" of America (The Moderate Voice says that's a blatant LIE and if you suggest otherwise I'll hit you with my bra).

Smash was one of several conservative bloggers who strongly condemned what happened. He also calls himself "the Indepundit" and his independence (and oftentimes innovation) is why I read his site every day. His response was to my promise in the post over here that I would email him Rush's suggestion. (Rush didn't serve because he had a pilonidal cyst on his bottom. When they operated it was brain surgery.)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:54 PM


 

EVEN IF JOHN KERRY WINS THE DEMOCRATS ARE TOAST: A Kerry win in November could be the beginning of a long, difficult four years. That's what former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich suggests in a column in UK's Prospect.

His bottom line: Kerry can win, but the Republicans still will control the Congress and an awful lot more in face of Democrats lackluster efforts to focus on anything more than winning a single election. Reich (and The Moderate Voice) has mentioned the situation before. The Democrats are uniting behind Kerry, but lack the political, financial, and opinion-forming infrastructure (despite the floundering liberal talk show network Air America and Al Gore's announcement that he will try to be the next Ted Turner on cable).. Reich writes:

    Even if John Kerry wins in November, the right will remain in control of America. Democrats have almost no chance of winning back the house or Senate. Most state governorships and legislatures are also in the hands of Republicans, which gives them power to draw the lines of future congressional districts and thereby keep hold of congress.

    Right-wing conservatives now claim most of America's airwaves - they are in full command of "talk radio" and "yell television." They run most Washington think tanks. They inhabit some of the most influential positions on Wall Street and in American corporate boardrooms. Radical conservatives are, in short, America's new governing elite.

Reich then recounts on how it seemed as if Democrats had the country behind them during the early Clinton years, and then it fell apart. What happened?
    Democrats have built no analogous movement. Instead, every four years party loyalists throw themselves behind a presidential candidate who they believe will deliver them from the rising conservative tide. After the election, they go back to whatever they were doing before. Other Democrats involve themselves in single-issue politics but these battles have failed to build a movement. Issues rise and fall, depending on the interests at stake.

    As a result, Democrats have been undisciplined, intimidated or just silent. They have few dedicated sources of money, and almost no troops. The religious left is disconnected from the political struggle. One hears few liberal Democratic phrases that are repeated with any regularity. In addition, there is no consistent Democratic ideology. Most congressional Democrats raise their own money, do their own polls and vote every which way. Democrats have little or no clear identity except by reference to what conservatives say about them.

He also makes other points including:

(1)Democratic centrists give various explanation for the situation, including changes in the electorate. But in reality the Democrats and centrists have abandoned the playing field, leaving it all to the Republicans when they "could have turned themselves into a populist movement to take back democracy from increasingly concentrated wealth and power."

(2)Democrats who embrace centrism are often just avoiding taking a firm stand on issues. There really is no center in America because "the so-called centre has continued to shift to the right because conservative Republicans stay put while Democrats keep meeting them halfway."

(3)Bill Clinton was gifted but he basically blurred what the party stood for.

(4)Democrats should pay close attention to why Republicans win.

(5)" First, it is crucial to build a political movement that will endure after elections. Second, any movement derives its durability from the clarity of its convictions."

Clarity: is John Kerry listening?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:19 PM


 

Here's how to make sure you lose an election.

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:58 AM


 

'HOW MANY WARS ARE WE FIGHTING AT ONCE?" Dynamo conservative blogger Michele Catalano lists an amazing number of them (more than you may realize) here in this truly perceptive post -- then gives you her never EVER shy opinion. A MUST read no matter what your political affiliation.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:51 AM


 

STATES WITH HIGHER IQ VOTE DEMOCRAT: At least that's what The American Assembler item seems to show. From our standpoint we would think states with a high percentage of "NONE OF THE ABOVE" or "THE MODERATE VOICE" write-ins would be have highest IQs. If these states have the highest IQs, they probably also don't broadcast Rush Limbaugh (see our post here).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:24 AM


 

HEY HEY 16 K: A cool computer related animated song jest 4 U. Click here.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:18 AM


 

IS ISRAEL PLANNING TO STRIKE IRANIAN NUCLEAR FACILITIES WITHIN A YEAR? There are rumblings that such a plan is indeed in the works. According to The Jerusalem Post:

    Israel may be preparing to attack Iranian nuclear facilities within the year, according to US administration assessments reported on Army Radio Saturday morning. Officials say that the attempt to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons has been discussed at various levels, as well as the effects such an attack would have on US military and political efforts in Iraq and in the Persian Gulf.

    The UPI news service says President George Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon recently discussed the subject at their most recent meeting. Following the meeting, Bush said it was inconceivable for the Middle East for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

Indeed, Washington's attitude towards the evident growing threat from Iran -- both in terms of nuclear facilities and the encouragement of terrorism -- has always been curious. It's a more difficult military threat to eliminate than Iraq or Afghanistan and the administration acknowledges the threat yet seems to publically confront it in a perfunctory way, making the threat an apparent throw away boiler-plate line in officials' speeches.

It's reminiscent of the famous scene in the MGM's 1962 production of the circus musical "Jumbo' when Jimmy Durante is trying to hide the elephant. He's asked:"Where are you going with that elephant?" Replies Durante: "What elephant?"
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:56 AM


Friday, May 07, 2004  

YOU GET MORE FOR YOUR MONEY AT COSTCO: Reuters reports:"A California woman claimed she swallowed a live bullet and bit into a second round while eating a hotdog, and says she has the X-rays to prove it.

"Police said on Thursday they were investigating the bizarre incident the 31-year-old woman said happened at a Costco store in Irvine, California, about 47 miles southeast of Los Angeles.


"She said she had swallowed one bullet and felt another in her mouth," Irvine police Lt. Jeff Love said. "She showed us the bullet and we took it as evidence. We had them cut up all the other hot dogs and found nothing in the buns."

It was a high caliber hot dog and she rifled through her purse for the money but after she ate it her stomach was shot.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:25 PM


 

CONSERVATIVES HAVE A NEW QUEEN (insert your own inappropriate joke for that obvious set-up line HERE). She is, in fact, a blunt blogger who has just launched her own super-lively blog after being on a certain other blog with the initials D.W. She is also married to a prominent blogger who has the intials D.E. And she takes no prisoners (in a couple of weeks when we get our chaotic blogroll links straightened out and EXPAND it as we make some other major changes she'll be on it...)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:31 PM


 

WHEN IS CENSORSHIP CENSORSHIP AND WHEN ISN'T IT CENSORSHIP? A libertarian explains the difference.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:54 PM


 

COMMON SENSE ON LOAN FROM SADAAM? Rush Limbaugh on the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal:

    LIMBAUGH: I think a lot of the American culture is being feminized. I think the reaction to the stupid torture is an example of the feminization of this country.

Ahh. So all of the high-profile conservative bloggers who denounced the abuse are a bunch of wimps. I just MUST email John Cole and Citizen Smash.....And more:
    The thing though that continually amazes – here we have these pictures of homoeroticism that look like standard good old American pornography, the Britney Spears or Madonna concerts or whatever, and yet the Libs upset about the mistreatment of these prisoners thought nothing of sitting back while mass graves were being filled with three to 500,000 Iraqis during the Saddam Hussein regime.

I'm waiting for the tie-in with Bill & Hillary...We digress:
    All right, so we’re at war with these people. And they’re in a prison where they’re being softened up for interrogation. And we hear that the most humiliating thing you can do is make one Arab male disrobe in front of another. Sounds to me like it’s pretty thoughtful. Sounds to me in the context of war this is pretty good intimidation – and especially if you put a woman in front of them and then spread those pictures around the Arab world.

    And we’re sitting here, “Oh my God, they’re gonna hate us! Oh no! What are they gonna think of us?” I think maybe the other perspective needs to be at least considered. Maybe they’re gonna think we are serious. Maybe they’re gonna think we mean it this time. Maybe they’re gonna think we’re not gonna kowtow to them. Maybe the people who ordered this are pretty smart. Maybe the people who executed this pulled off a brilliant maneuver. Nobody got hurt. Nobody got physically injured. But boy there was a lot of humiliation of people who are trying to kill us – in ways they hold dear. Sounds pretty effective to me if you look at us in the right context.

Fortunately, this doesn't represent mainstream Republican and certainly not mainstream conservative thinking. We will not characterize this kind of thinking -- but you can do it for us... in the comment box below. (The Real Dummy thanks The American Assembler for the tip.)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:56 AM


 

BE CAREFUL DONALD RUMSFELD WHEN YOU TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS TODAY: SARS may be spread by sweat.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:43 AM


 

MORE TAPES AND EVEN VIDEOTAPES OF ABUSED IRAQI PRISONERS are rumored to be "out there" which means they'll eventually see the light of day. We'd rather not describe what they may include, since it's speculation, but you can read it for yourself here. (The Real Dummy thanks skippy the bush kangaroo -- whose name is never in caps -- for this tip).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:38 AM


 

A (screamingly funny) newspaper front page we're unlikely to see. (NOTE: The Moderate Voice loves humor from both sides of the political aisle.)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:59 AM


 

Guess who John Kerry has invited to speak at the Democratic convention on live TV? Guess what kind of impact this could have on Middle America and swing voters? Why, it's enough to make us suggest some convention planners need therapy sessions.....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:20 AM


Thursday, May 06, 2004  

ANALYSIS: A 'TURNING POINT'? THE PRISONER PHOTOS, BUSH, RUMSFELD & THE IMAGE: The controversy over American military guards' abuse of Iraqi prisoners has reached a new level (or low). And that's bad news for the Bush administration, Karl Rove and U.S. policy planners.

The bottom line is that this controversy, fed by the almost daily release of more shocking photos splattered on newspaper front pages and on internationally-broadcast cable news services, has veered the Bush White House, the Bush election campaign, and U.S. diplomats into full fight-or-flight damage control mode....and off course. We hope they know how to multiple-task..

The still-growing controversy over the photos and calls for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation stem from genuine concerns that American prison guards seemingly morphed into Iraqi prison guards plus good, old-fashioned politics. And, in a way, that still doesn't explain why what has happened is so catastrophic. That's due to a host of issues, including a major underlying one.

Just a few of issues to ponder:

--HOW WOULD YOU FEEL? The photos showed a chamber of horrors for (most likely guilty as hell) Iraqis with smugly grinning young and/or beefy guards standing over them. The photos make the prisoners look sympathetic and brutalized.

--SO THE GLOVES ARE BACK ON THE MILITARY? After 911, many politicos and citizens of both parties, with steely determination in their eyes, declared the gloves would be off in the battle against terrorism and the military would be allowed to do its job. This controversy indicates most Americans just want the gloves pulled down...not off. Or is that wrong? WERE they doing the military's job? Or abusing their power in the military?

--WAS THIS PRELIMINARY WORK FOR CIA INTERROGATORS? The issue is now: was this part of their job, to unofficially "soften up" prisoners for interrogation? If the word went down quietly that prisoners needed to be terrorized, how high up can that order be traced? To the CIA? Pentagon? White House?

--WHAT IF IT WAS LIFE AND DEATH INFO? If it was crucial to extract info that could save thousands of American troops lives or or millions of American's lives on the U.S. mainland would any tactic needed to extract info (i.e. torture) be justified? And, if not, and a disaster did take place, what kind of recriminations would follow later for the military being constrained until after the fact?

--CAN THE U.S. STILL TALK ABOUT CLOSING THE TORTURE CHAMBERS AND RAPE ROOMS? Probably yes. But the stock line will have to be revised -- and the way to revise it is for the most severe punishment possible for the guards and any higher-ups, if indeed orders from above were issued.

--WHAT DOES IT DO TO U,S. POLICY AND INTERESTS ABROAD? It complicates everything. I used to write from Spain, India and Bangladesh, all countries with a reported semblance of friendship towards the U.S. But there always was resentment about that Rich Uncle Sam with his consumer-driven and supposedly violent culture. Now dump in several cups full of Muslim fury about fellow Muslims being humiliated (and by a woman in some of the photos yet) and it's evident that repairing the damage will be tough, if not impossible.

--DOES THIS MAKE THE U.S. MORE RIPE FOR TERRORIST ATTACK: Most likely whatever is on the drawing board was started before this incident. But this ensures terrorists that they will be cheered in some parts of the world for another huge attack on the U.S. or U.S. interests -- so it stands to reason that it could encourage them to speed up their timetable or launch operations that were iffy.

--WHAT DOES IT MEAN POLITICALLY? Karl Rove might as well have invested his $60 million in pro-Bush ads in Enron stock (actually, he probably HAS). The once-unbeatable advertising theme of GWB as the steadfast wartime President is going to be harder to sell since, except to Republican partisans, it's now going to remind other voters of huge screw ups.

--WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR DONALD RUMSFELD: An unlovely day today testifying in Congress and the possibility he will get strong hints that he could help Bush by moving on. Bush family loyalty plus Rumsfeld's own genuine heroism on 911 suggest he won't be fired no matter what...but he could be encouraged to quit. The Democrats will demand his resignation and the Republicans, circling the wagons, will nix the demands.

Yet, there's an even BIGGER ISSUE. Yesterday NBC's Jim Miklaszewski said that when he asked a Pentagon contact about the soldiers alleged to be involved, the Pentagon official replied, "You mean the six morons who lost the war?"

Centerfield's Todd Pearson calls the photos " an unmitigated disaster. I hope I am wrong, but I am afraid that history will judge this as a turning point."

The reason: the abuse photos, the fact the Pentagon had an official report on the abuse for several months and nothing happened, and the President's delayed apology all were fierce body blows to the U.S. IMAGE.


Images count...and they endure:

--The IMAGE of a young Abraham Lincoln before the war contrasts with the nearly worn out one at the end of the war...a lasting image of the toll of war on a President.
--The IMAGE of Nazi concentration camps with skeletal prisoners cemented for all time the IMAGE of Nazism as a brutal, animalistic-like cult.
--The IMAGE of Franklin Roosevelt standing while making a speech hid the truth, that he needed a wheelchair and crutches. But his handlers kept THE IMAGE intact.
--The IMAGE of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald communicates for all time the turbulence of those uncertain days -- and the mafia-linked man in the black hat rubbing out JFK's accused killer fed conspiracy theories that continue today.
--The IMAGE of a terrorized little girl struck with napalm running down the street in Vietnam on one horrible afternoon -- and a Vietnam general putting a bullet into the head of a prisoner -- defined that war's blanket brutality.
--The IMAGE of planes flying into the World Trade Center on 911 generate feelings of a dark day when the unthinkable happened.
--The IMAGE of a bearded Sadaam Hussein, scraggly and probably smelling like a city dump, being pulled out of a spiderhole instantaneously undercut the regal, powerful image his regime had cultivated about him.

So the IMAGE of these grinning soldiers forcing Iraqis into weird positions...and forcing Iraqis to do unspeakable acts to themselves and each other... will live on for many years. And the images will be used by U.S. foes as quick-to-understand "proof" that Americans humiliate their captives. They'll also be used to recruit terrorists, justify some future big hit on U.S. military forces, lead to some Americans who are kidnapped in Iraq to be brutally treated or murdered, and teach young kids about what Americans are "really like."

It's nearly impossible to erase such images --- images that don't require knowledge of any kind of language or a translator -- with words. Only decisive action can combat a bad image. And only quick action can stop the looming damage.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:37 PM


 

OTHER VIEWS ON THE CLAMOR OVER RUMSFELD: Read these two great posts in full to get their complete flavor. They're quite intriguing.

From the ever-lively conservative "explosively unique" Whizbang Kevin Aylward writes:

    The words "sorry" or "apologize" seem to be George Bush's kryptonite. Today he finally managed to get the word "sorry" out of his mouth... The day after he publicly rebuked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for failure to bring this issue to his attention, he rejected calls for Rumsfeld's resignation. "He is an important part of my Cabinet and he will stay in my Cabinet," Bush said. The unspoken next line - "Unless of course I force him to tender his prewritten resignation letter.

And from Seattle blogger Greg Piper's highly-thoughtful (as usual) analysis:
    The main objection to this logic that I've seen is that the postwar period has not been conducted under Rummy's rules, but rather the toe-dippers at the State Department, and this is Colin Powell's occupation..... It's not really a good time to switch the secretary of defense... Maybe after the June 30 transfer of sovereignty, it would be a good time for Rumsfeld to step down. It wouldn't be the first time Bush had expressed confidence in one of his appointees shortly before axing them. But I just don't know. I'm waiting to see the arguments other publications make for Rummy's dismissal.

Now THERE'S something you don't often see among talking heads, radio talk show hosts, etc. -- someone who wants to get MORE INFORMATION FIRST before just spouting off....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:47 PM


 

Now it turns out he lied to get publicity. What does that tell you? And will you still help him get rich?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:22 PM


 

YET ANOTHER VIEW OF BUSH'S APOLOGY: This from Hugo Zoom.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:04 PM


 

A MODERATE VOICE EXCLUSIVE! I was talking to a 90-year-old woman today (I think she was Mick Jagger's younger sister) and she was talking about how tough it was in San Diego these days with funding cuts.

Then there was a knock at the door and when I opened it several hunchbacks stood there with trays of sandwiches.

"Who are you?" I asked.

"Funding has been cut on Meals on Wheels so now we've taken over," one of them said. "We're Lunches on Hunches...."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:27 PM


 

BOUNTY FOR MURDER: Osama bin Laden has issued a statement offering gold for anyone who kills top U.S. and U.N. officials in Iraq. Still, MSNBC adds a cautionary note:"A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News that the authenticity of the statement could not immediately be verified. Bin Laden has never before been known to offer rewards for missions he has described as the religious duty of followers to carry out."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:50 PM


 

COKE AND PEPSI ARE COMING OUT WITH MID-CALORIE SODAS and Dean Esmay is right...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:34 PM


 

PRESIDENT BUSH SAID HE'S "SORRY" about the humiliating physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of a their U.S. prison guards. The setting for the comments: in the Rose Garden.

THE UPSIDE: He said it. That part of the controversy is over.

THE DOWNSIDE: Yet another textbook blunder. History shows that if there's a major problem a leader's initial pronouncement is the one that sticks. The problem here: many in the U.S. and abroad will feel that this apology rings hallow, coming on the heels of sustained outcry yesterday when GWB didn't apologize when talking to Arab journalists. Explanations that Bush didn't apologize because "he was never asked" clearly didn't cut it; neither did his press secretary repeatedly insisting the President was really sorry.

The five letter "s" word takes a second.

When leaders don't say it they are enveloped in the four letter "s" word.

Today Bush halted some international and political bleeding -- but not much since critics will conclude the apology was virtually extracted from him, like a bad tooth. His apology sounded sincere but a major opportunity was missed yesterday.

OUTLOOK: Now this crisis moves into full political gear. Already Democrats are making Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation a major issue. Republicans will likely back the president. Some conservative talk show radio hosts -- UNLIKE many top conservative bloggers on the Internet -- are already inching towards a stance that minimizes what happened or even liken it to fraternity hazing. So, step by step, America's highly polarized political forces are falling into lock-step partisan formations.

But the REAL issue isn't politics: it's convincingly punishing those who posed in what looked like an S&M porn site and ensuring the implimentation of institutional corrections so that America's foreign policy -- and its stated values -- are not undermined from within.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:14 PM


 

TRULY DELIGHTFUL!!!!! Watch and listen to "Bananaphone" by clicking here.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:56 PM


 

NOW THE IRAQI PRISONER SCANDAL IS GETTING MUCH UGLIER: The new photos published in the Washington Post that were mentioned in our extensive post below is setting off a new firestorm...and clear political fall out for President Bush.

In this story on the Globe and Mail website the Canadian paper has a link to a Washington Post gallery of the photos, some of which are new (go to this link and click on their link to the WaPo's website). But the story also identifies the most (in)famous of the military guards in these photos -- the young woman. And you can see the seeds of some serious political problems at home now as well:

    Twenty-one-year-old Lynndie England is identified by the Washington Post as the person holding the leashed Iraqi. She appears to be the same person shown in the previous batch of photos, shown in those given a thumbs-up and pointing at a masturbating prisoner.

    Specialist England has not been charged but is being detained in North Carolina at Fort Bragg. Her brother-in-law, James Klinestiver, told the Baltimore Sun that she is being scapegoated after visiting friends who were guards in the now infamous wing of Abu Ghraib where the documented abuses took place.

    Mr. Klinestiver told the paper that Mr. Bush, who did not serve in Vietnam, "doesn't know what these guys are going through" in Iraq. "How can you make decisions for our military unless you've served yourself?," he asked.

Meanwhile, as we noted in our earlier post linked above, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is under intense fire including some calls for him to step down. This crisis' latest developments, indicating international and political bleeding is far from over and damage control is full throttle, suggests Rumsfeld faces difficult days ahead of him. A L.A. Times article today told of Bush's ire at a cabinet meeting in which he took Rumsfeld to task, feeling he had been blindsided on the issue.

Politicians aren't dumb (although at times we wonder). They know that during a crisis the best way to stem it is to toss someone overboard. Due to Rumsfeld's strong ties with the Bush family and the authentic guts he showed at the Pentagon minutes after the plane struck there on 911, it's possible he'll survive this and some lower-run heads will roll. But that might not be enough to defuse the issue. So the administration faces two tasks: a)correct the systemic and training failures that made an American operated prison almost look like a Sadaam operated prison and b)move swiftly to defuse this issue by taking strong administrative action.

If Rumsfeld did leave, who would replace him? Condoleeza Rice? Paul Bremer? Hey, wait! Richard Clarke's available....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:52 AM


 

ON GWB SAYING REPORTS OF ABUSE OF IRAQI PRISONERS BY U.S. SOLDIERS "DOES NOT REPRESENT THE AMERICA I KNOW": Says Skippy the Bush Kangaroo:"Now, if the soldiers had given the Iraqi prisoners huge tax cuts, that would represent the America that he knows."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:17 AM


 

ANOTHER VIEW ON THE IRAQ ABUSE SCANDAL comes from Betsy Newmark, who runs the content-and-link-heavy blog Betsy's Page:

"I wish I could belive that the prison photo story is going away. All I can hope is that there will be a backlash in America among people who know that we are not an evil people and we are better than Saddam. We know that this story did not suddenly make Arabs hate us. They hated us already. Remember the rejoicing in the Arab world on 9/11? And the America people have noted the lack of international outrage about murder after murder in Israel or under Saddam or today in North Korea.

"A few young Americans sent across the world the live under constant threat of attack in terrible conditions guarding Iraqi prisoners whose associates are killing other Americans acted deplorably. They will be punished. And we all know that that never happens in the Middle East. We know that we are better than this and we are happy to move on. Now, if only the media could catch on. Can't they return to the Friends and Frasier finales?"
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:54 AM


 

Yep. That American prison guard could have been there.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:20 AM


 

Sometimes it does seem as if the American news media has come to this.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:17 AM


 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Seth Farber, aka, The Talking Dog on President George Bush trying to defuse Arab outrage over the growing scandal over the treatment of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers:"If the Arab world reacts to the President the way, say, I personally do, then we can probably expect a wave of suicide bombings in American cities starting this summer."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:10 AM


Wednesday, May 05, 2004  

NO COMMENT DEPARTMENT: George Bush's campaign bus with the letters "Yes, American Can" was made in Canada.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:52 PM


 

IRAQI PRISONER SCANDAL CONTINUES TO RAGE: Will Donald Rumsfeld be the one to go?: The scandal over the treatment of Iraqi prisoners by American military officials at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad has now formally taken on a life of its own and the long term prognosis for it dying down soon is slim.

In fact, it looks as if this controversy is going to be swirling on several fronts -- including around Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who is the target of unnamed White House source criticism, Congressional ire and a newspaper's call for a resignation.

The mounting domestic criticism, anger in the Arab world, and new revelations -- such as a brand new batch of shocking photos published in the Washington Post -- are becoming a public relations catastrophe for the administration. You can already see it by the headlines in news outlets in the U.S. and abroad:
--No Apology from Bush Over Abuse (the Australian)
--Bush tries to placate skeptical Arabs (The Statesman, India)
--Arabs Express Mixed Reactions Over Bush TV Interviews
(Voice of America)
BUSH TRIES TO CONTAIN ARAB RAGE (Times of India)
--Bush fails to apologize as he tries to quell outrage (England's Independent)
--Damage Control On Abuse Scandal (CBS News)
--Bush 'fails to placate' Arab viewers (Aljazeera)

The point is: in both the domestic and international spheres, it's hard to turn this negative into a positive -- or even a wash. So now the question becomes: whose head (if any) will roll?

Maybe he won't be forced to look for a non-government job, but at the very least Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld may be in the doghouse. The one factor that makes it unlikely he'll be booted is this: the Bush family is notoriously loyal to retainers who have been loyal to them...and that's Rumsfeld.

But you can see signs that he's being shoved to take the heat in this Reuters story which, quoting anonymous aides, reports that Bush "has privately expressed annoyance to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over his handling of the issue...."

Rumsfeld should get ready to be pushed into high profile hearings in Congress: this is an election year and someone has to be the lightning rod. And you don't need to have taken Polisci 101 to read between the lines in this Reuters story:

    The aides said the president had complained to Rumsfeld for not having fully alerted him to the details.

    "The president was not satisfied with the way he was informed with regard to the pictures, and he let Secretary Rumsfeld know about it too," a senior administration official said. "He believes it's better to make it known privately instead of pointing fingers."

But fingers are pointing like crazy and some of the fingers will be seen in public, according to Reuters:
    Rumsfeld is due to discuss the prison scandal in front of the Senate on Friday in what Republican aides said was likely to be a "brutal" hearing. One Senate Republican aide said some senior administration officials thought Rumsfeld would lose his job over the matter, although few lawmakers were openly calling for Rumsfeld's departure. "He'll be in the hot seat, there's no doubt about it," an aide said. "You rarely see people on both sides of the aisle this intense."

And then there was this tidbit in Bush's interview with Arab journalists:
    Bush was asked about Rumsfeld's handling of the crisis in the interview with Alhurra. "Of course I've got some confidence in the secretary of defense, and I've got confidence in the commanders on the ground in Iraq," he said.

Not exactly the loudest ringing endorsement we've ever heard. Meanwhile, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer made its feelings plainer in an editorial titled Remove Rumsfeld:
    This is not the first time we've called for the removal of Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary. Only Rumsfeld or the president can assure that it's the last. The shameful treatment of prisoners by U.S. soldiers, intelligence agents and civilian contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan is yet another indictment of the leadership of the military assault on terror.

    The Department of Defense apparently had kept the president, Congress and certainly the American public in the dark about prisoner abuse, documented in a secret Pentagon report completed in March...Bush can make one unequivocal statement of regret both to the Iraqi people, for the absence of leadership and erosion of discipline that permitted the abhorrent treatment of their countrymen, and to the American people, for the underplanned and undermanned way this war was prosecuted. He can relieve Rumsfeld.

This is actually a bipartisan firestorm and some of the angriest people so far are conservatives. Yet, if the heat gets worse, this being an election year, it wouldn't be surprising to see some party line movement on this issue with one side trying to downplay the issue to gain control of the debate -- and another side trying to exploit it for the same reason.

There may have to be a sacrificial lamb and, if there is, we bet his initials will be D.R.....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:56 PM


 

MAJ. GEN. ANTONIO M. TAGUBA'S INVESTIGATION OF THE 800th MILITARY POLICE BRIGADE: Here is the complete text of Taguba's report on alleged abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad.

Andrew Sullivan has a good distillation of the report's key sordid points (reading like something pre-Iraq war Washington officials would say about Iraq) and concludes:"It renders one speechless."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:56 PM


 

CARTOONIST TED RALL GETS BLASTED FROM THE LEFT: For all those who insist Rall is indicative of mainstream Democratic and/or liberal thinking, you're full of nitrite treated luncheon meat (politically correct term). The Moderate Voice reads ALL sides...so read what Ezra Klein writes at Padagon.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:06 PM


 

PRESIDENT BUSH SAYS IRAQI PRISONERS' TREATMENT WAS 'ABHORRENT' BUT THE ISSUE REMAINS ALIVE: President Bush forcefully told Arab TV that allegations that Iraqi prisioners were physically and sexually abused were "abhorrent." And he also said there was "more than an allegation, in this case, actual abuse -- we saw the pictures. There will be a full investigation."

But in trying to get the word out, Bush made a key error: he did not say the "S" word....a five letter word:: "Sorry." His spokesman Scott McClellan seemingly said it a zillion times to reporters, but due to the ommission of that word there's an opening for this issue to become highly political in both the election campaign here and abroad.

PREDICTION: Unless a yet stronger pronouncement comes from the Executive Branch. the issue will grow with more revelations, a demand for Congressional hearings, and demands for an statement contining the "S" word. The administration will be on the defensive until this plays out, or until they put it to rest with an even more forceful statement from Bush containing an apology.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:16 PM


 

THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY IS BLOCKING ITS MIRAMAX SUBSIDIARY FROM DISTRIBTUTING MICHAEL MOORE'S NEW FILM "Fahrenheit 911" which blasts President Bush's handling of 911 and also goes into allegations that the Bush family is connected to Osama bin Laden. And, in the process, Disney has made Moore a very very very rich man (the film will be seen in the U.S. eventually and make a ton of money.)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:06 PM


 

PROPER BLOGGING ETIQUETTE: Dean Esmay tells you all about it if you're thinking of starting a blog or want to increase hits on your blog.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:07 PM


 

A COMPARISON OF THE BUSH AND KERRY ADS shows one candidate's ads are great but he should shut up, and the other's ads reek but he's better in public. Guess which ones or find out here.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:30 AM


 

IS DONALD RUMSFELD RIGHT? IS THE SYSTEM WORKING ON THE IRAQI ABUSE SCANDAL? Rumsfeld thinks so but others say no.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:08 AM


 

NOW SHE'LL HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE A LOVELY FLOWER DISPLAY OUT OF AN OPEN TOILET AFTER ALL: Martha Stewart lost her bid for a new trial. (Well, if she had only offered them MORE MONEY maybe she would have won the bidding!)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:02 AM


 

TRAINING DEFICIENCIES IS NO EXCUSE for the abuse of prisoners in Iraq, writes former Army officer Phil Carter of Intel Dump. He gives a detailed analysis of the Army's official report and takes strong issue with it.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:49 AM


 

HE DESERVES TO BE FIRED: The head coach of a middle school basketball team in Pleasantville, N.J. is in hot water for giving a "Crybaby Award" to a 13 year old player at a sports banquet.

And although the Pleasantville Board of Education voted to oust Pleasantville Middle School coach James Guillen, there are some lingering questions about the legality of the vote. So maybe other students will be blessed with his unique self-esteem-destroying teaching techniques.

The AP recounts events this way:

    Just prior to the April 24 banquet at the Pleasantville Recreation Center, Guillen called him to be sure to attend the event to pick up his special trophy, according to the boy's father, Terrence Philo Sr.
    He wasn't told what the trophy signified.

    At the event, the boy watched as all of his teammates received trophies or certificates. He was then called up to receive his award, and a coach told the crowd that the boy was being honored because "he begged to get in the game, and all he did was whine." The trophy consisted of a silver figure of a baby atop a pedestal engraved with the boy's name, which was spelled incorrectly. Family members said the teen _ an honor roll student _ was so embarrassed that he stayed home from school on the following Monday.

Yep. We have to make sure those honor roll students who get all that attention for anything as dumb as academic achievement know their place. The AP goes on:
    "It's an awful thing to have done to a teenager, just totally uncalled for," said Michael Popkin, a family therapist and author based in Atlanta. "One of the harshest things you can do to a kid is to publicly humiliate them. It's bad enough putting him down one on one, away from the team. To set him up like that and then cut his knees out in public is a huge blow."

Indeed, many of us can remember bad experiences with teachers. The Moderate Voice was lucky. He wasn't a star athlete but his gym teachers were almost always wonderful friends. They even laughed at his (rotten) jokes.

We say "almost always" because in 7th grade there was one who was sarcastic and mocking. And The Moderate Voice -- who does an anti-teasing/no bullying program in schools and always tells kids how the pain can last for years -- remembers that teacher as if it were yesterday.

Yet, as he travels schools all over the country, he meets many wonderful, dedicated teachers who work with dwindling financial resources in often deteriorating schools (as governments divert more money to building prisons, which will be increasingly needed as schools decay and school funding is cut).

These teachers try to encourages kids of all ages so they know they can succeed. These teachers are the country's heros. And Guillen isn't one of them.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:28 AM


 

WOMAN HAS HITFISH ATTACK HER BOYFRIEND: The fish probably worked for scale. But this much is known: according to the Saginaw News she hit her boyfriend with a mounted fish. She did it for the halibut.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:01 AM


 

IS BILL CLINTON'S MEMOIR RELEASE DATE A PLOT? Former Clinton consultant and friend (now Clinton foe) Dick Morris thinks so. He thinks the fact that the memoir is coming out in June and, in a column, says it's is no mere happenstance:

    Clinton will, of course, use the book tour to campaign for Kerry. He will knock President Bush and praise the Massachusetts Democrat extravagantly. But nothing will deflect from the attention Clinton will get and Kerry will not. There is only so much oxygen in the room and the president will suck it all up.

    Clinton is deciding to publish now because he wants to deprive Kerry of momentum. He realizes that if Kerry wins, Hillary will probably never be president. He knows that she won't be able to run in 2008 because a victorious Kerry would undoubtedly seek re-election. Even in 2012, it is Kerry's vice president who would be the likely nominee. And, if he or she wins, he'll run for a second term in 2016. By 2020, Hillary will be 73.

Ahhhhhhh, so that's it. Or is it? He offers this possibility, too:
    Or is Clinton publishing in June to generate momentum to force Kerry to put his wife on the ticket?
    Either way, Clinton must know the impact his publication is likely to have. Kerry did not have a very good introduction to the American people. His post-primary period has been, thus far, a disaster, with his own flubs emphasizing Bush's accusation that he is unready to lead America during wartime.

The Moderate Voice doesn't dispute that at all. Kerry has proven to be an inept, awe-uninspiring, almost absent candidate and at this point if he wins it's because Bush lost the election. He presents an agenda piecemeal, as if it's obligatory but doesn't have (apologies to Mel Gibson) The Passion to present it convincingly as another vision of options for the U.S.

John Kerry is starting to look like Al Gore with better hair.

Morris goes on:
    The Democratic National Convention, in early August, is his chance to re-introduce himself. He needs all of June and July to build momentum. But instead, he will face all Clinton all the time. After the Democratic Convention, Kerry faces two events that will leave him gasping for breath - the Republican Convention at the end of August and the third anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. He desperately needs a good summer to prepare and fortify his vote against these shocks. But now Clinton is robbing him of the chance. And that is not by chance.

Verryyyy interesting. But The Moderate Voice continues to be amazed at the conspiracy theories spun by Clinton's bitter foes (who make a big deal about Bush hating Democrats). We suspect they will soon try to see if he was in Dallas, Texas on a certain day in November, standing in the shadows on a grassy knoll......
UPDATE: Poliblogger and Political Scientist Steven Taylor has an even more logical explanation for the timing of Clinton's book here.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:31 AM


 

IT'S STRAIGHTEN OUT THE PROBLEMS OF AGING: Singapore's oldest Viagra user is 99. (He has to be careful not to fall asleep under a ceiling fan.)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:18 AM


 

WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON WITH SOLDIERS IN IRAQ? Read this letter from Iraq.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:13 AM


 

OPRAH UNDER FIRE: More than 1600 complaints have flooded the FCC about indecency on the Oprah Winfrey show. Of course, most of them have been nudged on by Howard Stern, FCC Chairman Michael Powell's favorite target. Stern contends there is a double standard (Stern contends the real reason he is being hounded is because he publically broke with George Bush and the problems followed immediately after that). The Smoking Gun has a sampling of these often hilarious complaints.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:10 AM


 

THOSE HORRIFIC BUNNIES: The Shining enacated in 30 seconds...with bunnies. You've been warned...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:05 AM


 

NOW WE'RE BACK TO NORMAL: Our Guest Blogging stint at Dean's World has come to an end (although we are likely to do it again for him). In the future we'll just leave a little note saying to check Dean's World for our posts if we're over there (it'll make things a little simpler.) And now, back to The Moderatevoice Land........
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:13 AM


 

THERE'S A GREAT NEW GUILTY PLEASURE SITE: The site is named Defamer. When I read the name I first thought it MUST be the website of cartoonist Ted Rall who rubbed the late football and war hero Pat Tillman's name in the mud recently. But nooooooooo it is a site by Internet giant Nick Denton, who also created Gawker and Wonkette.

Defamer takes on LA and Hollywood, etc. and does it with the same style and zip as the other two websites. (When the Moderate Voice gets his new expanded Blogrolling blogroll up and running it'll be on it).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:10 AM


 

IRAQI PRISONER CONTROVERSY FOSTERS SENSATIONALISM AND EXTREMISM: Click here to read my long analysis on Dean's World as guest blogger. (The stint is over but I may do this for him periodically).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:10 AM


Tuesday, May 04, 2004  

MAS INFORMACION: We're going to stick with our "pointer" posts that you can click on to take you to the guest blogger post at Dean's World. The reasons: it's weird posting things twice, doesn't quite make sense and takes a bit more work to post them twice.

We'll be putting a longer analysis/post on Dean's World soon and will put the link up here. It's likely we'll fill in again for Dean and this will be the modus operendi during those times. BUT all it takes is a CLICK and you can get to the new post on his site.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:03 PM


 

THIS JUST IN!!!!!!!!!!! A photo of 11 of the promised 72 “virgins” waiting for Osama yo Mama when he gets to glory.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:22 PM


 

NIGHTLINE "THE FALLEN" HEAVILY WATCHED (despite report in the-you-know-what-Report): (This is also posted on Dean's World as guest blogger) Pssssssst! Here's a tip for ya...

If you're interested in accuracy in the news you might want to take a nice, deep yoga breath before totally accepting some inside-story items on a certain website. There have been several problems before with reports on this site, such as one involving a supposed affair a presidential candidate had with an intern who reportedly fled to Africa. It didn't pan out. Of course, several years ago this site did address a major news story that didn't leave a stain on its reputation.

B-u-t, just a few days ago,The Moderate Voice read an item on this site in BIG LETTERS that the controversial Nightline program "The Fallen," in which the names of Americans killed in Iraq were read, had tanked in various cities. It even named the major cities where the show was said to have flopped.

So The Moderate Voice planned to go back and do an item on that right now, tonight...but could not find it on that site.

But he knew he read it, so he did a search and found proof that it had existed HERE (but when you go to this blog its link to that unnamed site won't take you to the original post).

In fact, look at the bottom of the post linked above and you'll see that the person who writes you-know-what-Report (who has a GREAT Sunday night radio show by the way: we listen to it on an LA station and wish he had a daily show) took THAT STORY IN HUGE CAPS DOWN FROM HIS SITE because it turned out to be false. Yet, he DIDN'T DO A STORY IN CAPS ABOUT THE FACT THE EARLIER STORY MIGHT NOT BE OPERATIVE ANYMORE. (Whoops the caps are like the tailor who sews nuns' clothes -- habit forming...)

Why are we posting this now?

Well, Google has a story at this hour that indicates the show was a big rating success.

But we don't see any story yet on the-you-know-what-Report AND NOT IN BIG CAPS. That could change within minutes so if it happens we will UPDATE IT IN CAPS TOO.

You can read about how the show garnered big ratings here (up 22 percent). It probably got ratings because this wasn't an issue that strictly polarized people: there were some conservatives and former military members (such as Senator John McCain) who defended Nightline's decision to read the names.

But that's not our issue here. Our issue is this:

Take a nice, deep yoga breath WHEN YOU SEE THOSE SCREECHING HEADLINES WITH EXCLUSIVES until you know for sure that it pans out.

As someone who worked for newspapers under editors, the Moderate Voice will say this: it's great to work without an editor but sometimes they do serve a purpose ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THEY ONLY USE SCREAMING HEADLINES WHEN THEY ARE TOTALLY CERTAIN THE STORY IS CONFIRMED AND JUSTIFIES PUTTING THEIR ORGANIZATION'S CREDIBILITY ON THE LINE BY SCREECHING IT TO READERS.

OK?...I mean...o.k.?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:08 PM


 

WE'RE BACK TO NORMAL TOMORROW: Since Sunday The Moderate Voice has been filling in at Dean's World as GUEST BLOGGER. So we've posted either short links to our posts there or, as of yesterday, posted some of the same posts here as there. We did do some that aren't on Dean's World.

But as of tomorrow we're back to normal: we'll be doing our usual (too wordy) posts, rotten jokes, and serious analyses here. We may fill in for Dean in the future (it has been FUN and we've learned how to use Movable Type which may come in handy in the future...) on his off days.

So be sure to visit AGAIN tomorrow when new posts appear. NOTE: Posting may be erratic tomorrow because we are going to do some things to try and eliminate recent technical problems that we've had here. Stay tuned for more on that........

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:43 AM


 

IS THERE A DOUBLE STANDARD in scrutinizing radio broadcasts? Do English-language programs such as Howard Stern's get all the scrutiny and get labelled obscene while Spanish-language programs can do whatever they please under the FCC's highly political (and politically correct) radar screen? Greg Piper gives you the answer here.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:11 AM


 

NEXT TIME THE UNITED NATIONS LECTURES US on human rights and moral authoriity don't forget this....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:00 AM


 

TALK TO YOUR TEEN: Discuss this with your teen over a glass of Coke.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:57 AM


 

THANK YOU DAVID ADESNIK AND OXBLOG: This item ran this morning on Oxblog, one of my favorite blogs (it's a HIGHLY thoughtful blog run by three Oxford grad students and it has great posts on foreign issues as well as domestic):

"THE RIGHT KIND OF DUMMY: Ventriloquist-slash-blogger Joe Gandelman is guest blogging over at Dean's World. Check it out, especially Joe's post on Charlie Brown."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:44 AM


Monday, May 03, 2004  

THE DETOUR CONTINUES BUT NOT QUITE: We're still guest blogging over at Dean's World. But we will be posting some longer posts here as well as "pointer" posts (you click and it'll take you to my post on Dean's World), in response to emails. Stay tuned...and we hope to have some MAJOR changes here at our site by the end of the week to make things easier to read and navigate. Stay tuned!
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:55 PM


 

ANOTHER CONSERVATIVE BLASTS TROOPS WHO ABUSED IRAQI PRISONER: An engraged Sgt Stryker tells it as it is via Dean Esmay. A MUST READ for EVERYONE (left and right). As we've said before here, the conservative web bloggers have written the most eloquent (and blunt) material on this scandal that has been pitchforked into the international headlines.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:52 PM


 

A MAJOR TERRORIST PLOT to kill President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and 50 world leaders was reportedly foiled by Turkish police.......
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:32 PM


 

THAT'S SHOW BIZ: Once it was one of the crown jewels of ABC, a hot show on a hot network. But then the hot network got so it wasn't so hot and the people who put it on the air were ousted.

So while "Friends" gets a monster national teary-eyed "adios," the Drew Carey Show slowly fades away, the quintessential example of changing management, changing times and, perhaps, cast overexposure.

AP Television Writer David Bauder deals with this sad saga but here are some of the key points as to why nobody seems to notice that the Carey show is going away for good:

(1)A bad business deal. The show was losing its popularity in 2001 but the network struck a deal with the studio to keep it on through 2004.

(2)Carey and cast's overexposure. It's true: turn on TV and you see reruns of his show plus the can't-escape-it "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

(3)The show was shifted on the schedule.

(4)It wasn't even on this summer so new episode will debut June 2...essentially making it a summer replacement or, as Bauder put it, "an afterthought."

(5)Key ABC management -- people who liked and/or protected the show -- were fired.

According to Bauder, Carey & Co. tinkered with some zany things during the final episodes and the show remains popular in syndication. So it'll be there in reruns. But when it leaves the regular line up for good it'll be with a nearly inaudible whisper.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:36 PM


 

HEAR THE CLINTONS AND THE KERRYS SING: (This is also on Dean's World, where I am Guest Blogger) Well, almost. Go to this link and hear the latest instant-classic satires from The Capital Steps, Washington's most revered satire troop. Hear Bill and Hillary sing "My Way" and John Kerry do "Both Sides Now." Another one: George Bush and Sadaam singing a song from "Grease." Plus the classic legal song: "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Scalia."

The Capital Steps are great role models. They started as Republican staffers doing satire for a hobby and it blossomed into a fulltime job, including troupes of satirists travelling around the country doing road show versions for corporate, high school and college groups. But even though they are Republicans -- unlike the satire on radio talk shows -- they blast EVERYONE including Republicans. They have been welcomed by every White House (Ronald Reagan welcomed them in and made them "cool" although Nancy was not amused; the Clintons liked them until Monicagate and their slashing songs that led to Kenneth Starr inviting them to do his parties).

The one person who didn't find them funny was Bob Dole. He did not like their satire of him and his wife singing "Viagra" to the tune of "Maria." (Bob: "Viagra, Viagra..." Libby: "Thank GOD for Viagra!." Bob:"Viagra!") and threatened to leave a party if they sang it there.

You can sample their stuff by going to the link and even, like me, starting your own collection of their CDs. It doesn't get any better than the Capital Steps: it's like listening to Saturday Night Live at its best.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:52 PM


 

WE'LL DOUBLE POST SOME POSTS due to emails from a few people. We've been only doing "pointers" and some folks said they'd prefer me to double post. Sewwww...we'll double post some of them and do "pointers" for some others. Our Guest Blgger stint at Dean's World is through Tuesday. (It has been interesting doing it on Movable Type...which may come in handy in the future!)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:37 PM


 

SHOOTING YOUR OWN SIDE IN THE FOOT:(Also posted as guest blogger on Dean's World)
A cartoon here by Ted Rall (who does cartoons for Slate and MSBNC) is a prime example of someone trying to make a point and doing it in a way that totally discredits his own side.

It's an incredibly cruel cartoon about the late Pat Tillman, the former football star who recently died in Afghanistan while giving orders to his under-fire troops. Hopefully Rall will discover that although there is freedom of speech, he truly crossed the line of good-taste here -- and hopefully he'll lose some outlets over this name-callling strip that in the first panel instantly defames Tillman. Truly lamentable (we are censoring our vocabulary here.....).
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds AKA InstaPundit reports that MSNBC pulled the cartoon (linked above). Writes Reynolds:"Rall's so predictable. A troll gone to seed."

 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 4:33 PM


 

HE USED TO BE A BIG SMILEY FACE: (NOTE: This was also posted on Dean's World as a guest blogger post)

We all know him. He was around for some 50 years. But during most of that time he seemed depressed, unsmiling. But, like most human beings, he didn't START OUT that way: he started out smiling and happy till life battered him down. And we're thankful for that because when life made him a human punching bag he developed incredible wisdom. For a kid. For a Peanut.

The first edition of Fantagraphics Books The Complete Peanuts is out, this containing every single one of Charles "Sparky" Schulz's first 1950-1952 years. And, as this review in the refreshing Pop Culture Gadabout web log points out, Charlie Brown quickly evolved and grew. Literally. He started out as one of the smaller characters and grew comic strip style from there (remaining that way for 40-odd years). Fantagraphics will be printing a volume a year of these books until "Sparky's" complete immortal Peanuts work is published. (I can't wait to order mine from Amazon).

But what's most important about the strip, Gaddabout notes, is this:

    The "Peanuts" gang may have had some limited growing up to do, but as a newspaper strip cartoonist, Schulz was in control of his medium from the get-go. These fifty-year-old strips remain funny – something you definitely can't say about many other strips from the same era (or, indeed, last week's "Cathy").

    In a way, they seem fresher than the strips from the nineties, and not just because we're discovering many of the established strip routines for the first time (first time Charlie Brown gets a football moved away from him, it's not even done intentionally – or by Lucy). No, what helps to keep 'em fresh are Schulz's vision of childhood as a battleground and his sense of timing (influenced by comedian Jack Benny, David Michaelis notes in a supplementary biographical essay, and though I'd never recognized that fact before, it makes instant sense to me) impeccable. A lot of cartoonists have labored to replicate Schulz's voice, but they never quite get it.

Indeed, if you haven't seen Jack Benny (who GREATLY influenced Johnny Carson and "Frazier's" Kelsey Grammar) get some of his VHS videos (early 50s shows are best) and/or the old radio shows. No one had better timing...and it wasn't just his deadpan look and the way he slowly "scanned" the audience on TV after a joke, but what he did between sentences -- and even the way he timed individual words IN sentences (which is why his radio shows hold up, except for the obligatory musical interludes). If you do think of it that way, Peanuts' comedic evolution does indeed become crystal clear.

I've often had people ask me : "How can you watch the Three Stooges? They're DEAD! How can you still want to read Peanuts? Schulz is dead!?"

But funny is immortal. Indeed, in the case of Peanuts, as the years passed, animated TV specials of declining quality, commercialization of the strip, plus new strips that built on and in some ways exceeded what Schulz did (the best new one is the teen angst trip Zits) diluted some of Peanut's nearly revolutionary status.

No matter what, the strips are still funny...and they always will be...and somewhere, someday, a 9 or 10 year old will look at one of those books and say: "Hmmm. I can do THAT! And I can add that...and also add THIS..." -- and "Sparky" Schulz's influence will live on.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:03 PM


 

CAMPAIGN 2004's UNDERLYING ISSUE: This is it.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:08 PM


 

WHAT THE MEDIA DOESN'T TELL YOU ABOUT IRAQ: It's no monster conspiracy, but if they cover it at all it would be buried -- and it is part of the story. We agree 100 percent with our good friends at Oxblog...and you can read about it here. NOT a story but a private email.....
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:13 AM


 

THE DETOUR CONTINUES: We're still writing as guest blogger over at Dean's World. That means for the next day or two we'll continue our "POINTER POSTS" that will take you to the items posted over there. Make sure you click on them, since we ARE posting...but it's appearing on Dean's site. There will be some short original ones here but our usual longer posts will resume in a day or so.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:19 AM


 

THE RIGHT-LEFT MEDIA WARS CONTINUE and a famous former conservative writer enters the fray against the right. Joe's guest post on Dean's World fills you in and outlines how conservatives developed a strong info/opinion media...and how the left is now trying to counter it.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:07 AM


 

IT'S A LIVING......Their clients often hate them and lawyers tell jokes about them...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 6:11 AM


 

NEVER MIND! Paul Bremer, U.S. Administrator in Iraq, has been the focus of a mini-controversy due to the discovery of a speech in which he blasted the Bush Administration in early 2001. Read his two seemingly contradictory statements. Could he have (seriously) meant both?
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:04 AM


 

HIGH DEFINITION POLITICS: Each party is trying to define the other in a near frenzy, as the political calender has been accelerated. And John Kerry is launching a major TV advertising blizt. Go here to read about it.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:00 AM


Sunday, May 02, 2004  

REMINDER AGAIN: WE'RE GUEST BLOGGING TODAY ON DEAN'S WORLD and that means that we're doing an unusual number of "pointer" posts. Most of these posts will take you to my original, longer posts on Dean's World. This seemed more sensible than duplicating each post, plus it also gives you a chance to scroll down and explore Dean's World, a content-heavy center, center-right blog that is highly popular (it has been around a while and has a very healthy -- in other words big -- readership). SO MAKE SURE TO CLICK ON OUR LINKS TO GET THE FULL POSTS.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 5:23 PM


 

CALIFORNIA GOVENOR ARNOLD SCHWARZENNEGGER terminates toys. (Joe post as Guest Blogger on Dean's World)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 3:35 PM


 

TV TALK SHOW HOST JERRY SPRINGER wants to run for political office -- and he's just hired a respected liberal blogger to join his team.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:33 PM


 

A SUNDAY MIRACLE? An American's amazing escape from his captors in Iraq -- and what it reflects. (Joe's guest post on Dean's World)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:11 PM


 

SANTA BARBARA'S D.A. HAS SEIZED PART OF A NEW YORK MAN'S MICHAEL JACKSON COLLECTION: And this is why.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:09 PM


 

ANOTHER ATHLETE HERO: This time, a tennis player with balls.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:16 PM


 

MORE ON THE IRAQUI PRISONER TORTURE STORY will come out this week. So you might want some primary source links. Click here and look at the end of this post and you'll have three.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:52 AM


 

DOES THIS INCLUDE HILLARY CLINTON? Maybe.... (Also posted by me on Dean's World)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:08 AM


 

HERE'S HOW THE MODERATE VOICE DESCRIBED HIMSELF OVER AT DEAN'S WORLD: If you're a new reader (or a relative) you might want to click here and find out.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:16 AM


 

DETOUR! We've been honored to be asked to be GUEST BLOGGER over at DEAN'S WORLD, Dean Esmay's increasingly popular blog (he is linked to our site under the CENTER links). We'll be posting over there through Monday and possibly Tuesday.

And we do MEAN "honor" since Dean's site has been one of our favorites -- and he has turned into one of our closest blogger friends (we have several including Seth Farber, aka The Talking Dog and Citizen Smash), consistently offering solid advice on blogging and some recent big problems that arose here. We got to know Dean when out of the blue he sent a highly encouraging email about this four-month-old blog...and our email and telephone conversations expanded from there.

During this timeframe we'll leave short "pointer" links to our posts over there, so the difference will be you'll click to get to most of the The Moderate Voice's new posts, them rather than see them here. I may occassionally post a new one here, but it'll be easier this way for everyone.

So you can:
(1)Click on the links to the new posts over there...
and/or
(2)Scroll down and catch up on ones you left and leave some comments (you can even leave then anonymously).

So....we'll be posting but most of our posts here will be ones that'll be linked to Dean's page (rather than duplicate them on two sites).
Also: we may make some MAJOR changes on our website soon. Stay tuned!!!
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:20 AM


Saturday, May 01, 2004  

YET MORE ON MICHAEL JACKSON: Eric Olsen tells you what those extra conspirarcy charges mean here.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 12:28 PM


 

RUSSIAN MUSEUM TO DISPLAY RASPUTIN'S MALE DEFINING ORGAN (this is a family site so we won't use the word): The first Russian Museum of Erotica is opening in St. Petersburg, according to Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily. The museum is founded by Igor Knyazkin, the chief of the prostate research center of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

And in that museum -- which is sure to become a tourist attraction -- they are going to display the member of Grigory Rasputin, aka "Mad Monk," advisor to the Russian royal family who was later considered by some to be too close and was assasinated in 1916.

But a touching (not literally) memento of his remains in a jar (the story shows it). And the head of the museum is ecstatic:

"Having this exhibit, we can stop envying America, where Napoleon Bonaparte’s (male defining organ) is now kept," he said. "Napoleon’s (male defining organ) is but a small 'pod' it cannot stand comparison to our organ of 30 centimeters…” (What would you call that kind of envy?)

The Moderate Voice's sources tell us that some bigwigs only wanted to display the priceless jar for a few months but the museum director wants to stick it out for one more year.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:41 AM


 

HE WAS INDEED A HERO: From the New York Daily News:

    He truly died an American hero.

    Pat Tillman, the NFL-star-turned-G.I., was awarded a Silver Star yesterday for saving fellow Special Operations soldiers last month from a sneak attack by heavily armed militants in Afghanistan, the military disclosed yesterday.


    As a team of Army Rangers was trapped in cavernous terrain and warding off incoming mortars and gunfire, Tillman, 27, led a team up a hill close to a position held by enemy fighters, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command said.


    Tillman's team had already made it out of the area but returned when an Army squad trailing them was ambushed. "As they crested the hill, Tillman directed his team into firing positions and personally provided suppressive fire" with a machine gun to help the other unit, command officials said.


    As the battle ensued, "Tillman's voice was heard issuing commands to take the fight to the enemy forces." The firing soon stopped and the second Ranger team moved to safety - but Tillman was fatally wounded.

A role model for everyone on and off the field. He focused on more than self...
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:56 AM


 

ALLEGATIONS OF BRUTAL ABUSE AND TORTURE OF IRAQI PRISONERS BY AMERICANS CONTINUE: President Bush angrily condemned the alleged treatment yesterday. The catalyst for the uproar: photos of prisoner abuse on "60 Minutes II" -- followed by images in Middle East newspapers and the New York Times today.
--- Meanwhile, the New Yorker on May 10 will publish an article quoting a U.S. Army report the magazine obtained. It will allege "Iraqi detainees were subject to "sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses" at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad." Newsday reports:

    The internal report detailed such abuses as pouring phosphoric liquid from chemical lights on detainees, pouring cold water on naked detainees and threats of rape, the magazine says in an article for its May 10 issue.

    Other mistreatment of prisoners included "beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair" and "sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick," the report said, according to the magazine.

--- According to Newsday, the magazine will report that the Army report written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and completed in February says the findings were based on "detailed witness statements and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence..."
--- There is wide ranging condemnation of the alleged abuses from politicians, op-ed writers, and Internet voices from every part of the political spectrum. And Arabs all over the world are absolutely livid.
--- Indeed, those most appalled seem to be the conservatives since such allegations about such tactics (one photo on one conservative website shows an Iraqi supposedly beaten to death by Americans) violates the underyling foundation behind U.S. efforts: to bring democracy to Iraq, instill American role-model values, and ensure that the era of the torture chambers is gone forever.
--- Conservative thinkers are clamoring for crystal-clear action.
--- For instance, law professor Glenn Reynolds, AKA InstaPundit, as usual has an exhaustive set of relevant links and quotes on this issue. But he makes his view clear in unmistakable terms about not only the alleged abuses but those who try to use it for political gain:
    Of course, it's not the same as Saddam's torture -- which was a matter of top-down policy, not the result of assholes who deserve jail or execution, and will probably get one or both. As with other reported misbehavior, it should be dealt with very, very harshly. But those who would -- as Senator Kerry did after Vietnam -- make such behavior emblematic of our effort, instead of recognizing it as an abandonment of our principles -- are mere opportunists.

--- War veteran Citizen Smash adds:
    We are most vulnerable when we suffer under the burden of tremendous stress--but the ultimate responsibility to resist Evil lies with every individual. Our soldiers sometimes do horrible things. Disgusting things. Cruel things. When they do, we must not hide from the truth. Those responsible must be identified, prosecuted, and punished appropriately. There must be a public accounting for these crimes.

---Outraged conservative John Cole notes that these kinds of tactics coupled with photos will cost American lives:
    Do these soldiers understand how many of their brothers-in-arms they have just executed? Do they understand how many Improved Explosive Devices they just built? Do the recognize how many random grenade attacks they have just initiated? And on a simply human level- Have they no sense of fundamental decency? I am so ashamed. That is my uniform they are wearing.

--- Cole posts some truly revolting pictures of the abuse from this site.
--- BOTTOM LINE FOOTNOTE: These outrages must and will be investigated and authorities will come down on the people involved like ton of bricks.
--- They will surely experience what it's like to be a prisoner, but at the hands of more human captors than they were.
--- And, as Reynolds rightly points out, this is NOT typical American military behavior. Anyone who suggests it is will be immediately discredited and revealed to be on the political fringes...and deserves absolute, immediate condemnation.
--- The faces of the guards in these photos are not the same kinds of faces that you saw last night on Nightline.
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 8:12 AM


 

THE GREATEST NEWS OF THE 21ST CENTURY TO DATE: The actors doing the voices on "The Siimpson's" have agreed on a contract and gone back to work. It's great to read this story -- and I totally agree with the first line of this post.. (We don't know the details of the new contract, but are sure it involves plenty of DOH!)
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 7:37 AM


 

SO HOW DID THE CONTROVERSIAL NIGHTLINE EDITION "THE FALLEN" TURN OUT? Was Ted Koppel secretly in league with Howard Dean to besmirch the war dead and stir up an anti-war revolution?
--- Did the fact that ABC didn't also read the names of the 3,000 killed during 911 prove that the program sought to elect John Kerry?
---Or was Senator John McCain correct (see our post here) that it was to honor the war dead, acknowledge reality -- and that perhaps the owner of a chain of ABC television stations that accused Nightline of doing the show to spread anti-war "propaganda," and blacked the show out, was the REAL (McCain's word here, not ours) "unpatriotic" party?
---We missed it...but Al Barger of Culpepper Blog and of Blogcritics didn't. Read his whole post for yourself, but here are some highlights:

    This controversial Nightline broadcast turned out to be mesmerizing television.... You could take this whole presentation a lot of ways, much like a Rorschach inkblot. 400,000 Americans died in WWII, 58,000 in Vietnam, and now around 750 in Iraq. From my perspective, we're fortunate to have had few enough deaths that we could individually recognize every single person in one simple half hour broadcast like this.

    At some point though, it doesn't matter what ABC's special secret agenda was. They told the truth, and quietly publicly acknowledged the individuals who have given their lives in service of their country in Iraq. That is a key part of the costs of this war, and the public needs to know that in order to make an informed judgment.

---That's the KEY point...and why a supporter of the war on terrorism and the Iraq war like me firmly believes a)military coffin photos should allowed to be published, b)there is nothing wrong with a program like ABC's. If a policy is strong and just enough, it can easily survive Americans exercising their freedom, being treated like adults, and becoming aware of the consequences of policies (even those that they support) that impact families and the nation. Barger concludes:
    Spin that how you will. I call it good patriotism, and also good journalism. By rights, they should show video of this broadcast at every VFW in the land on Memorial Day.

---Precisely: it shows that some wonderful human beings sacrificed their lives for their country.
---It honors them -- and inspires others.
---Quickly shoving their identities into a closet -- hiding their faces and bodies in cold blankets of depersonalized statistics --- doesn't do that.
---John McCain had it right...
---UPDATE: The decision to drop Nightline sparked protests in front of one of the stations in Columbus, Ohio. Protesters read the names of the fallen. Details of this come from one of the readers of Atrios.
---The reader of that popular liberal blog added this:"During the protest, we found out that the Ohio News Network (Ohio's cable version of CNN and affiliated with one of WSYX's local competitors) will be broadcasting Nightline statewide tonight, in response to many angry phone calls."
---UPDATE TWO: Op-Ed News on "Koppel's Cajones."
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 2:07 AM


 

WILL MICHAEL JACKSON 'BEAT IT?' (his legal charges, that is): Maybe it's going to be MUCH more difficult than he ever thought.

Eric Olsen explains here the day's surprising events in which The King of Perps...I mean, POP...discovered he faced more charges than were originally announced. Olsen adds:

    Spin this any way you wish, but this is deadly serious for Jackson - those new charges sound ugly as hell: "a conspiracy count alleging child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion."

    A grand jury found sufficient evidence for Jackson to be charged with these crimes so this isn't just some witch hunt, and for those who are certain Jackson will prevail, two words: Martha Stewart.

Olsen is right...and remember in many of these cases the accused often doesn't go down for the original alleged crime but for something entailing a cover up. Expect this case to go on for at least a year (Jackson will have gone through several new noses by then).
 .... e-mail address not required.
Article Link - Joe Gandelman 1:35 AM