Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Kidnapping of Tom Friedman

This certainly can't be Tom:
I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I hear the president and vice president slamming John Kerry for saying that he hopes America can eventually get back to a place where "terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance." The idea that President Bush and Mr. Cheney would declare such a statement to be proof that Mr. Kerry is unfit to lead actually says more about them than Mr. Kerry. Excuse me, I don't know about you, but I dream of going back to the days when terrorism was just a nuisance in our lives.

That's why Mr. Kerry was actually touching something many Americans are worried about - that this war on terrorism is transforming us and our society, when it was supposed to be about uprooting the terrorists and transforming their societies.

The Bush team's responses to Mr. Kerry's musings are revealing because they go to the very heart of how much this administration has become addicted to 9/11. The president has exploited the terrorism issue for political ends - trying to make it into another wedge issue like abortion, guns or gay rights - to rally the Republican base and push his own political agenda. But it is precisely this exploitation of 9/11 that has gotten him and the country off-track, because it has not only created a wedge between Republicans and Democrats, it's also created a wedge between America and the rest of the world, between America and its own historical identity, and between the president and common sense. ...

Go read the whole thang.

Debate 3: Over Before It Had Begun

I don't usually have much use for Terry McAuliffe but on occasion he has exactly the right retort for the Repugnicans and this exchange from the NYTs breakdown of last night's debate may be his best yet:
Shortly before the debate, Brittany Clifford, 14, a ninth grader from Scottsdale, spotted her home state senator, John McCain, just outside the hall. Brittany was covering the debate for Weekly Reader, a national publication for children, and she seized her chance, if shyly, to ask Mr. McCain what young people could get out of watching the debate.

Seeing Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Mr. McCain waved him over to help answer the question.

Speaking into Brittany's tape recorder, the senator said, 'You can really get an idea about the kind of leadership you will have in a debate, which you don't get out of a television commercial or at a staged event.'

He turned to Mr. McAuliffe, politely suggesting he might have different thoughts.

'I couldn't agree more,' Mr. McAuliffe said.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Round Three

Again, I don't have the praise for Kerry's performance that comes out of some other blogs but still there's no contest when you look at what he's being compared to - therefore, game, set and match to Kerry. I can't imagine many unemployed Ohioans were encouraged with Bush's answer to the outsourcing of their jobs though. Yep, hang on folks, help is on the way - Bush will provide aid so you can go to "community college" to get trained for 21st century jobs. The questions on balance were poor, and what was with the strong women finale? I don't know who Bob's wife or daughters are but Laura, Jenna and not-Jenna? - give me a break. On the other hand, it's three for three on the Kerry ticket with Theresa, Alex and Vanessa. Let's hope we see the video of Bush saying that he really doesn't think much about Osama over and over and over again in the coming post-debate spin. It still amazes me that he and Cheney lie so easily about something that they have to know can be refuted by available video.
Seal It With A Kiss And A Sandwich

I know it's something that every prosecutor is taught but, as a forensic consultant, I have yet to see it in practice - even when they believe they're utilizing the principle. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). If Kerry can do this in the debate tonight, he's halfway home.

In addition, given the thin skin of the pResident, if Kerry can 'sandwich' many or all of his responses and rebuttals, he'll be all the way home. That is each answer/response should be broken down into 3 segments: 1) a critique of Bush's position, 2) what Kerry would do better and 3) end with the slightest of jabs/teaser to prime the little man's reactionary pump.

Go Kerry!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Life Imitating Art

A real superhero:

'night, Chris.
Persuasive and Compelling

First was this Kerry endorsement by the Philadelphia Inquirer. This piece is persuasive because there's no fawning over Kerry or making him out to be the grand saviour but, as Joe Friday might say, "Just the facts, ma'am." [via Suburbanguerilla]

Next, the film Going Up River: the Long War of John Kerry is both compelling and persuasive (besides it has some great background music). I was glad I downloaded it before the great and powerful Giblets mentioned it because the site is getting major traffic now. I hope George Soros or Moveon find a way to air this in swing states. Frankly, I don't know why they don't do a DVD mass mailing to 'persuadables' in the swing states. The film is well done and would go a long way to reassure those that have decided, for whatever reason, that Kerry doesn't have what it takes to further the front on the war on terror.

I have to say that watching the film though, I came away with the singular question of what happened to Kerry. In this film, only in his twenties, he speaks eloquently but with an easy cadence that hasn't been evidenced thus far in this campaign. Calm, yet with obvious underlying passion, he easily 'converses' with reporters, Dick Cavett and congressional members. If he could find that John Kerry, he'd win in a landslide.

Download it or buy it, but definitely watch this film. Since I live in a ridiculously red state, it isn't showing in theatres here but a group of Dems are trying to get the rights to sponsor its showing on public access or a local network affiliate.
Bad Decisions

Kids. What were we thinking? Sure they start out all cute, cuddly, defenseless and dependent, but it's not long before they transform into incubators for terrorism germ warfare. Nevermind, that in those pre-child days your income may not have quite qualified you for the Johns' America (although it seemed you were sufficiently close) but do you remember how healthy you were before you had kids?

I thought we were beyond it but the middle child arrived home Thursday night for a long weekend. She walked in Kleenex in hand ridding herself of sinus drainage that should require flashflood warnings. She followed that with coughing spasms squeezed out of pained bronchi that, had I not known her origins, would have led me to believe she had descended from seals. In less than 72 hours I had succumbed.

It's the kind of cold/flu where you become acutely re-acquainted with the knowledge that every one of your millions of little hair follicles has it's very own nerve ending, and since they don't get nearly enough workout in the fright or flight response, they demand full participation in this endeavor. With each intake of breath, it feels as though a garden rake is being dragged through your pharynx but attempting to breathe through your nasal passages is a lost cause. You try a throat lozenge but the whole breathing thing interferes as in gasping for air you do a great imitation of a fish between 'catch' and 'release'. On the positive side a single lozenge will last the whole night. I'm not sure what purpose shoulder blades serve, perhaps they're the vestige of wings, but it currently appears their sole purpose is to provide another point from which to ache.

You create a pillow pyramid figuring elevation is the key, let gravity help to drain the dense mass from your head allowing you to breathe more easily. You recall, when in a similar state, you had considered dialing the 800 number on the infomercial and ordering one of those electric beds that like can be set at any angle. However, the husband took the remote and changed channels. He'll pay for that, for this is one of those colds for which your partner doesn't get any sleep either. Except for the fact that he isn't home - so you'll suffer alone.

The child took off today after the successful assault on my immune system was complete. Did I mention she graduates in mid-December (though she'll return in spring to 'walk' with her other college pals)? Yep. So, she'll be returning to live here until the start of law school in the fall. Can't wait. Guess I'd better make a trip to CostCo to stock up.

I don't really feel much like posting but it's too early to call it a night unless I want to be up at 3 AM -which I don't. So, I'll throw out a few quicks post while I'm listening to a webcast of the DC vote for change concert through Whole Wheat Radio - the boss is on right now.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Where The Hell Is That Bar

It would appear that the bar is now subterranean. Checkin' out the left half of blogtopia, which for the most part has Kerry with a solid win tonight, I have to ask have we all become myopic partisans as well? Josh Marshall calls it a tie, giving the tie to the runner (Kerry -who evidently, according to Bush is running for the president as opposed to the presidency). I'm calling it a slight Bush win (remember substance doesn't matter much and Bush's down home country charm? does play well).

It's true, Bush didn't do himself any favors by interrupting Charlie (5? times) and yelling but Kerry was back to being inconcise and let Bush get away with way too much. And by the way, Gibson did better than I expected although what was with letting through the question "would you face the camera and say no middle class taxes .." - he had nothing better than that for Kerry?

If debate watchin' was my sole source of info, I'd be wonderin' just how Kerry was going to get 40,000 more 'volunteer' troops and be curious as to why the hell we didn't already have health care and new jobs and homeland security and all of the other great things that Kerry's going to pay for by returning the upper tax bracket to it's previous level (okay, to be honest, he once briefly mentioned closing corporate outsourcing loopholes but it seemed to me he indicated those recouped funds would be directed to corporate homeland incentives).

For me and I think anyone out there who for whatever reason (just waking up from a coma perhaps) remains undecided, Kerry doesn't 'follow through' (coincidentally the same reason Shaq is such a lousy free-throw shooter). For example, he states he has a plan and he'll bring other countries in (as Bush hammers how are you going to get them to join you in the wrong war at the wrong time, how can you lead when you don't believe) but doesn't say how he'll accomplish this. I, unlike many foreign policy analysts (reasonable ones too) who think he's blowing smoke, do think it's possible. Basically by admitting our mistakes and asking for their help to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq. I think admission and apology are underrated in what they might help to achieve -but Kerry never offers us anything on that front.

Also, did Kerry not have the perfect opening for the 100,000+ hours of untranslated tapes when the woman asked about why he thought we hadn't had another attack yet? On the other hand, he did respond well to both the stem cell research and judicial questions but, just as he forgot Poland, he apparently didn't think to use the Dred Scott decision (WTF?) for illustration either.

Anyway, I try and look objectively at these debates in terms of those 'undecideds' and I don't think Kerry had it tonight and Bush, well Bush will get the pass he always gets.

One other thing (because his responses drive me nuts), although its most likely moot at this point since the next debate is covering domestic issues - the $87 billion dollar question. Okay -would it have been so hard to say I never changed my mind, what changed was the bill? The bill changed because Bush threatened to veto the bill that I voted for and that had won bipartisan support. So, if I flip-flopped so did he. While I was for it before I was against it - he was against it before he was for it ... 'nough said. Well, on to the finale and I hope another Kerry surge in the polls proves my assessment wrong.
Revisiting Travesty

Robyn Blumner on the real day that changed everything
... Justice John Paul Stevens bemoaned this legal legerdemain in his dissent: "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." ...
Bremer Covers An Ass That's Not His Own

In a NYTs letter to the editor, Bremer gives us 'context' because after all, he thought a public speech was 'off the record' -but with all the heat generated by his comments he thought he'd better shine some light by bending over and kissing some Bush ass.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Maybe Now He'll Get Some Respect

'night, Rodney.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Scissors ... Scissors

It was a draw. Cheney lied a lot as expected but he does so articulately and without missing a beat. Both got in a few licks, no one drew blood. Occasionally Edwards would step on his own points by putting them out there in rapid-fire mode. The most glaring example, was when he pointed out Cheney's congressional record -let the audience absorb his vote against Headstart etc., point out that he was the ONLY ONE to vote against Mandela's release and then tie it in to 'being out of touch'. In the end, no harm no foul.
Johnny Be Good Tonight

As Edwards takes on the Dick tonight, we'll get a glimpse of why he was a successful litigator. I'm hoping that unlike Kerry's performance against Bush, he won't let Cheney's blatant lies go unchallenged. And when the Dick repeats, as we know he will, that "9/11 changed everything", Edwards should challenge that assertion.

He might suggest that he knew that was coming. That 9/11 was a tragedy that exposed unacceptable gaps in our homeland security and the gross ineptitude of the current administration (though the details of that ineptitude won't be divulged by the 9/11 commission until after this election). That all Americans were affected by the terrorists' attack that day, and though the families of the victims suffered most, it is not likely that any American would forget that date, as President Bush did last week when he spoke of a pre-9/10 mentality.

However, the truth is, it wasn't 9/11 that changed everything but rather it was 12/13/2000, when 5 Supreme Court justices installed an administration that
used 9/11 to change everything. Americans are not allowed to know the details of this administration's actions or inactions in and around September 11, 2001 although we do know that, while vacationing, the president received a PDB regarding Osama bin Laden's intent to attack in the U.S. over a full month before that date. To suggest that it was not possible (in that month) to prevent the 9/11 attack is erroneous, to do so without providing all the data available for an adequate assessment of the probability, is egregious.

Yes, everything has changed. Secrecy and deception not seen since the Nixon administration began with one of Bush's first acts in office, to seal Reagan and Bush I records. It continued with secret energy policy meetings with corrupt corporate entities that the administration refuses to identify, followed by passage of the, euphemistically titled, Patriot Act that usurps civil liberties. Most of this administration's legal cases against terrorists have been tossed out by the courts and there are many ongoing investigations. From investigations regarding the administration's responsibility in the 9/11 attack, to assessments of the decision to pre-emptively invade Iraq, to the energy policy commission, to the Plame affair, to Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib. Although many investigations are complete or near completion,
we the people won't be privy to the results until after the election next month.

Yes, most everything has changed and, unlike Bush-Cheney would have you believe, not for the better. We are neither stronger nor are we safer but we are certainly less free. Go get him John.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Missed Opportunity Part II

Definitely not a slam dunk, not that Bush didn't give him several openings to put it away -but Kerry couldn't manage it. I give his (Kerry's) performance a C+. Bush, on the other hand confirmed what I always suspected - he was never a C+ student. Imagine you're a young assistant prof at Harvard (or more likely for lower-level undergrad courses at Yale, a grad student), are you going to flunk George Herbert Walker Bush's son? Not likely - he was a D- student at 'best' and he didn't do his 'best' tonight. C+ trumps F any day of the week.