Saturday, January 31, 2004

Negative Vibes Alert!

John Ellis says they are going negative on Kerry! The New York Times and Washington Post, that is. Here's a sample from the latter:
Kerry Leads in Lobby Money
Anti-Special-Interest Campaign Contrasts With Funding

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who has made a fight against corporate special interests a centerpiece of his front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years, federal records show.
Good ole two-faced John, What a guy!

Friday, January 30, 2004

I've always wondered about that too

Stuart Buck catches the Washington Post in an error about which judge wrote a legal opinion and muses:
Which leads to a broader point: Whenever newspapers write about a subject I'm deeply familiar with, they usually get things wrong. Things that aren't even debatable, and that can be easily checked. It makes you wonder how you can trust what they report about, say, the situation in Iraq, or other subjects that are much more complicated than the simple question of which judge wrote an opinion in a particular case.
And speaking of pests from south of the border...

There's always Lalapalooza Lula from Brazil - Developing states 'in UN vow'
India, Brazil and South Africa will back each others' claims for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, the Brazilian president says.
Kewl! How about an even better deal? Take the whole teeming mass of bureaucrats and move it on down to Rio. And pay for it yourselves.
The idea of unifying the world's poor recorded its first success in September last year at the Cancun round of WTO negotiations - the trade talks collapsed because the developed and the developing countries failed to reach an agreement on issues like farm subsidies.
Another useless international organization bites the dust.
He (Lula) said it was important for countries like India, South Africa and Brazil to build on their unity and make the rich countries understand that dependence on them was a thing of the past.
Great! I'm beginning to like ole Lula.

But I think he's just funning with us, since he still seems to have his hand out - France, Brazil relaunch "Lula fund" to tax arms sales and fight poverty
GENEVA : Brazil and France relaunched the idea of international taxes on arms sales and financial transactions to revitalize the flagging global drive against hunger and poverty, in a joint declaration made in Geneva.

President Jacques Chirac of France and his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, called on other countries to join a group of experts which would report back by September 2004 on possible new sources of financing to tackle poverty.
Don't call us, we'll call you.
"We cannot avoid setting up a system of international taxation," Chirac told journalists afterwards.
Dream on, weasel boy.
Finally, some good news!

Castro: 'I Will Die Fighting' if U.S. Invades Cuba
Cuban President Fidel Castro vowed on Friday to die fighting "with a gun in my hand" if the United States invaded Cuba to overthrow his communist government.

The old rogue gave a "rambling" five and half hour speech in Havana to an audience of the usual suspects "who met in Havana to plan protests against the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas." Must have been siesta time!
"It's an absurd declaration, as usual. According to Fidel Castro, he's going to die fighting, probably he's going to die talking," said Roger Noriega, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs.
C'mon Roger, there's always hope!
Does this seem odd to you?

From the NY Times' In Shake-Up, Dean Names Gore Ally to Run Campaign compare this
After raising $41 million in 2003, far more than any of his Democratic rivals, Dr. Dean spent so much on television and on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire that campaign officials said they were only confident of having enough money to compete through next week.
with this
Some questioned the arrangements by which Mr. Trippi forfeited a salary as a campaign manager but collected commissions - said to be as high as 15 percent in some cases - based on advertising buys.
Is that what they call an incentive plan?
It's that SPECTRE guy again!

Blofeld's doing a book tour and pontificating - Soros prepared to dig deep to oust Bush:
The 2004 US presidential election will be a referendum on the Bush doctrine of preemptive military action, George Soros, the financier and philanthropist declared today.

But getting rid of Mr Bush is not enough, Mr Soros argued, saying that the US needs an alternative vision. The man who famously who made a fortune betting against the pound in the late 80s, said America had "gone off the rails" after September 11 and that it was important to "puncture the bubble of American supremacy."
It's nice to know that Number 1 is thinking of us!

But he seems a little loose with SPECTRE secrets:
In London to promote his latest book, The Bubble of American Surpremacy - a tirade against the Bush administration - Mr Soros told a packed auditorium at the London School of Economics that he was prepared to use some of his vast fortune to turf Mr Bush out of the White House.
Pointing out that Open Society, the foundation he created to promote democracy around the world has $450m (£248.4m) in assets, Mr Soros said he was prepared to commit about $12.5m to "political action" against Mr Bush. In fact, Mr Soros told the Washington Post in January that he has donated $15.5m to groups dedicated to prising Mr Bush out of the Oval Office.
Maybe it's because he has other worries - Paris court postpones Soros appeal.

George, go hump someone else's leg.
Botox Boy Moves His Lips

Kerry says threat of terrorism is exaggerated
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said during last night's Democratic presidential debate that the threat of terrorism has been exaggerated.

"I think there has been an exaggeration," Mr. Kerry said when asked whether President Bush has overstated the threat of terrorism. "They are misleading all Americans in a profound way."
His solution is apparently a Kumbaya songfest.

In related news, you can hear Flight Attendant Betty Ong's last words before Flight 11 hit the the north tower of the World Trade Center here.
Thanks for dropping by!

Terry McAwful puts his foot in it - McAuliffe statement defended by NH Democrats
Top state Democrats yesterday defended the candid assessment of their party’s national chairman that New Hampshire should vote Democratic in November if it wants to retain its first-in-the-nation Presidential primary.
Non Kool-Aid imbibers were less pleased

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Some things that you wouldn't dare make up

Streisand May Play Stiller's Mom In 'Meet the Fockers'. Yes, she'll be mother Focker. And James Brolin agrees!

Men Dressed as Women Detained at Checkpoint on the road to Mecca. No, it wasn't a remake of an old Hope/Crosby film.

Rich Danish criminals pay stand-ins to serve sentences - "Mrs Espersen said the system was possible because prison authorities were not allowed to demand identity papers with pictures on them when admitting prisoners." If they were illegal aliens, I'd say it was the USA.

And from the Guardian about the BBC, The future of journalism is at stake. They misspelled "taxpayer funded assholism."
Buh Bye

Over at The New Republic, Jonathan Chait winds up Diary of a Dean-O-Phobe:
FAREWELL: My work here is done. I've loved writing the Diary of a Dean-o-phobe, but it's no longer necessary.

Not that anybody is going to plead with me to continue, but I thought I'd give my reasons for stopping. First, obviously, Dean is finished as a potential nominee. He's blown all his money, his campaign is in disarray, and he's turned to an inside-the-Beltway Democrat to run his campaign. Dean may well play a potent spoiler role, but it's almost impossible to see him winning. Even if he somehow pulls out a plurality of delegates and goes to a brokered nomination, the other candidates will pool their delegates and select a non-Dean.
OK, but that's so yesterday! Let's skip the other reasons and cut to the good stuff.
Finally, John Kerry takes all the fun out of Dean-o-phobia. Indeed, if there's anybody who could make Dean attractive, it's Kerry. Kerry is a miserable candidate, bereft of political skills, and possessing of a record and a persona tailor-made for Karl Rove. The Republicans will merely have to say about Kerry what they said about Gore--that he wants to be on every side of every issue, that he's culturally out of touch with mainstream America, that he's a pompous bore--and this time the sale will be easier, because all these things are far more true of Kerry than of Gore.
Yikes! The French guy must be worse than I thought!
I'd love to see the Democrats nominate Wes Clark, who still has great potential as a general election candidate, or John Edwards, who has great potential not only as a candidate but as a president also.
Well, now we know what the Kool-Aid drinkers think.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

A million barrels here, a million barrels there...

MEMRI translates The Beneficiaries of Saddam's Oil Vouchers: The List of 270.

UPDATE: There were no Australians on Saddam's list of pals. Now we know why.
Ahmed: But how we buy influence in serious broadsheet press and influence popular opinion? (starts laughing) You think Aussies defend Glorious Bloodsoaked Leader without being paid? (lowers voice and looks over shoulder) How stupid you think these people are!

Tariq: Pretty stupid -- and cheap dates too. Any rubbish in brown paper bag does for them. Look here (holds up list of potential graft recipients). Margo Kingston? We give her sit-down-outside dribble seat for to save planet, and also anti-gravity machine.

Ahmed: Anne Summers?

Tariq: She got anti-gravity machine already. It called broom.
A trip down memory lane

John Kerry loves to tell us he served in Vietnam, but those of us of sufficent age remember a bit more about what the beamish boy did when he got back home. Mackubin Thomas Owen refreshes our memory in Vetting the Vet Record.
John Kerry, we know, is running against John Kerry: his own voting record. But there is another record that John Kerry is running against, and this has to do with his very emergence as a Democratic politician: Kerry, the proud Vietnam veteran vs. Kerry, the antiwar activist who accused his fellow Vietnam veterans of the most heinous atrocities imaginable.
Kerry did not return from Vietnam a radical antiwar activist. According to the indispensable Stolen Valor, by H. G. "Jug" Burkett and Genna Whitley, "Friends said that when Kerry first began talking about running for office, he was not visibly agitated about the Vietnam War. 'I thought of him as a rather normal vet,' a friend said to a reporter, 'glad to be out but not terribly uptight about the war.' Another acquaintance who talked to Kerry about his political ambitions called him a 'very charismatic fellow looking for a good issue.'" Apparently, this good issue would be Vietnam.

Kerry hooked up with an organization called Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Two events cooked up by this group went a long way toward cementing in the public mind the image of Vietnam as one big atrocity. The first of these was the January 31, 1971, "Winter Soldier Investigation," organized by "the usual suspects" among antiwar celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Dick Gregory, and Kennedy-assassination conspiracy theorist, Mark Lane. Here, individuals purporting to be Vietnam veterans told horrible stories of atrocities in Vietnam: using prisoners for target practice, throwing them out of helicopters, cutting off the ears of dead Viet Cong soldiers, burning villages, and gang-raping women as a matter of course.
But there was a problem with this farce:
In fact, the entire Winter Soldiers Investigation was a lie. It was inspired by Mark Lane's 1970 book entitled Conversations with Americans, which claimed to recount atrocity stories by Vietnam veterans. This book was panned by James Reston Jr. and Neil Sheehan, not exactly known as supporters of the Vietnam War. Sheehan in particular demonstrated that many of Lane's "eye witnesses" either had never served in Vietnam or had not done so in the capacity they claimed.
When the Naval Investigative Service attempted to interview the so-called witnesses, most refused to cooperate, even after assurances that they would not be questioned about atrocities they may have committed personally. Those that did cooperate never provided details of actual crimes to investigators. The NIS also discovered that some of the most grisly testimony was given by fake witnesses who had appropriated the names of real Vietnam veterans. Guenter Lewy tells the entire study in his book, America in Vietnam.
And then there was more opera bouffe:
The second event was "Dewey Canyon III," or what VVAW called a "limited incursion into the country of Congress" in April of 1971. It was during this VVAW "operation" that John Kerry first came to public attention. The group marched on Congress to deliver petitions to Congress and then to the White House. The highlight of this event occurred when veterans threw their medals and ribbons over a fence in front of the Capitol, symbolizing a rebuke to the government that they claimed had betrayed them. One of the veterans flinging medals back in the face of his government was John Kerry, although it turns out they were not his medals, but someone else's.
Ah yes, the medals that are now on the wall of Kerry's Senate office. But the big deal was that Kerry got to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and trotted out all the "Winter Soldier" lies:
Kerry's 1971 testimony includes every left-wing cliché about Vietnam and the men who served there. It is part of the reason that even today, people who are too young to remember Vietnam are predisposed to believe the worst about the Vietnam War and those who fought it.
Kerry still mentions this milestone in his official biography, but not any of the charges he made. Owen debunks the collection of bushwah dreamed up by the comrades and retailed by Kerry at length. Here's the punchline:
Today, Sen. Kerry appeals to veterans in his quest for the White House. He invokes his Vietnam service at every turn. But an honest, enterprising reporter should ask Sen. Kerry this: Were you lying in 1971 or are you lying now? We do know that his speech was not the spontaneous, emotional, from-the-heart offering that he suggested it was. Burkett and Whitley report that instead, "it had been carefully crafted by a speech writer for Robert Kennedy named Adam Walinsky, who also tutored him on how to present it."

But the issue goes far beyond theatrics. If he believes his 1971 indictment of his country and his fellow veterans was true, then he couldn't possibly be proud of his Vietnam service. Who can be proud of committing war crimes of the sort that Kerry recounted in his 1971 testimony? But if he is proud of his service today, perhaps it is because he always knew that his indictment in 1971 was a piece of political theater that he, an aspiring politician, exploited merely as a "good issue." If the latter is true, he should apologize to every veteran of that war for slandering them to advance his political fortunes.
Emphasis mine. So which is it, John?

There's a lot of competition for Today's Hoot

Howie Carr in the Boston Herald (subscription required) - Move over Big Oil, 'cause here comes Big Ketchup
MANCHESTER, N.H. - Botox rules.

For the third time in 16 years, a Massachusetts Democrat wins the New Hampshire primary. M. Stanley Dukakis, Paul Tsongas and now John Forbes Kerry - the only thing different about last night was that this latest Bay State Democrat is a guy who was for all practical purposes homeless at the age of 50.

Then Liveshot met Teresa, and by the way, how long did she have to wear that orange sash last night to win the bet?

It's quite audacious, isn't it, for a gigolo who's living off his second wife's first husband's trust fund to go out and denounce ``powerful special interests . . . influence-peddlers . . . wealthy Americans'' and ``the privileged.'' Not to mention ``millionaires.''

If - excuse me, when - John Kerry is elected, the White House will be closed to what he calls ``Big Oil.'' But not, presumably, to Big Ketchup.
These guys really don't seem to like each other. Usually the candidates have it all worked out so that the losers concede and then the winner claims the prize.

But last night, John Kerry spoke first. Do you get the feeling that Mrs. Ketchup wanted to get back to Louisburg Square before the snow started. She's done a lot of slumming these last few days - Wesley Clark shook her hand at the Merrimack Restaurant yesterday, and appeared to have not the slightest clue that he was greeting $550 million in the flesh.

The next question for Kerry is, whose name is on the deeds of the mansions in, say, Georgetown, Aspen and Nantucket? He borrowed $6 million on his ``share'' of the Beacon Hill manse - isn't the communal-property statute wonderful?

So now the fop of Naushon moves on, shedding wrinkles the way he's always shed press secretaries. And Teresa will do whatever it takes. She's the Martha Stewart of national Democratic politics.
Sen. John Edwards suddenly went MIA last evening. Doing his concession speech, the ambulance chaser sounded like an old LP record album being played at 45 rpm. It was Alvin the Chipmunk ripping through his stump speech, which means he was angry. Good thing you can't sue anybody when you finish third, because Edwards looked like he was in a litigating mood. Last week, he was being compared to Bobby Kennedy. Now Edwards suddenly looks like your first wife's divorce lawyer.

As for Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the question about him has always been, why would he give up a safe House seat when the alternative is ending up back living in that old car he's always talking about down by the river.
And Michelle Malkin at - Howard Dean in a dress
It's only a matter of time before we witness another Howard Dean Moment in the Democratic presidential race -- but not, I predict, from any of the Democratic presidential candidates. Skulking in the campaign background is a ticking time bombette with a volatile temper and acid tongue who makes Dean look like Mr. Rogers on Prozac.

She's the wife of front-runner Sen. John Kerry, Teresa Heinz. Formerly known as Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira, the hot-headed widow of the late Pennsylvania GOP Sen. John Heinz is self-aggrandizingly known among her wealthy liberal friends and fellow environmental radicals as "Saint Teresa" (and that's pronounced Teh-RAY-zah, you ninny!).

Though she has been married to Sen. Kerry since 1995 -- "I would have bashed him over the head" if he hadn't proposed, she, uh, joked -- she only recently and reluctantly allowed herself to be known as "Teresa Heinz Kerry" in hubby's political brochures and during campaign events and press interviews. "They'll call me Mrs. Kerry, because that's what's natural to them," she complained to Elle magazine last summer. "I don't tell them to shut up. . . . I don't give a s--t, you know."
Elle was also where she described her devotion to Botox injections. And seeing how Johnnie is looking so "smooth" lately, I guess I won't have problems referring to him as a "bald faced" liar.
Okay then. We'll just call her Howard Dean in haute couture.

Boston Magazine reports that she once snapped on Halloween, yelling at three children who had rung her doorbell on Beacon Hill: "I had a big barrel of candy, and it's all gone!" she ranted, shutting the door on the bewildered youngsters. Yeeearghh! She has reportedly chewed out members of her late husband's campaign staff, her current husband's campaign staff, her children, her stepchildren, waiters and sales clerks.
Hmm, I wonder if she's heard of the burning bag of dog poop trick?
No wonder the missus is so frosted. Her comfy life has been disrupted by the electoral ambitions of an insufficiently attentive spouse who is not only dull, but also annoyingly duplicitous. He supported the war. He doesn't. He supports the death penalty. He doesn't, sort of. He wants to end the double taxation of dividends. It's an evil tax break for the rich. He loves teachers' unions. He loves them not. Unable to bear his lies, Heinz/Heinz Kerry had a famous fit during a Washington Post interview in 2002 when Kerry denied having Vietnam War flashbacks. Mimicking her husband screaming in panic, she told reporter Mark Leibovich: "I haven't gotten slapped yet," she says. "But there were times when I thought I might get throttled."
Leftoid Punks Alert!

Teens arrested for smashing 'decadent' SUVs
A former Cy-Fair High School student serving five years' probation for felony arson in a flag-burning case headed a group of self-described environmental guerrillas who vandalized almost 50 sport utility vehicles, officials said Tuesday.

Precinct 4 deputy constables said the group, led by Randall W. Heinrichs, 18, smashed windows and slashed tires on SUVs in north Harris County from October through December.

Investigators said the vandals used bats embedded with nails to smash windows and cut tires and sprayed graffiti, including Nazi swastikas, on the vehicles.

Four teenagers have been charged with criminal mischief.
Criminal mischief? Is that the best they could do? (There is apparently a felony criminal mischief statute in Texas.)
Heinrichs, placed on deferred adjudication last year after pleading guilty in the arson case, has a "personal hatred" for SUVs, said Precinct 4 Capt. Rick Brass. "He talks about how they are environmentally unfriendly (and) decadent," he said.

Heinrichs, of Houston, was arrested Jan. 9 and is held in Harris County Jail without bail because of his arson probation.
This lad's nicely delusional, but I guess he just discovered how "probation" works. The flags he burned belonged to other people including one that had been draped on the coffin of a deceased veteran.

Amongst the other frisky tykes was one of the female persuasion named Lindsey Garofano, age 18.
Garofano told deputies she particularly resented "arrogant ladies" who drive expensive SUVs instead of buying more economical cars and donating the surplus money to charity.
Looks like a dead heat for the wingnut prize.
Hoping Howie's Ready to Rumble

Rich Lowry at NRO - Go, Howard, Go!
O.K., if you won't nominate this man, at least keep him around for a while.

...I always thought it was wrong for conservatives to root for Dean. His nomination in itself would shift American politics to the left and, once nominated, there would always be some outside chance that he could win. But now that his chances of winning the nomination have sunk toward the vanishing point, it has become safe to root for Dean. Get me an orange ski cap and a weblog. I want to be an honorary Deaniac.

In continuing the fight against John Kerry, the former Vermont governor will inevitably have to point out how Kerry's anti-Washington, anti-special-interest rhetoric is an affectation. Dean was already doing this, fairly gently, in New Hampshire. More will almost certainly be on the way. When he was down and out, Kerry argued that Dean was phony. Turnabout will now be fair play.

The Democratic establishment will realize this and push to get Dean out of the race, but with his base of activists and his network of Internet donors Dean has the capacity to resist pressure. And he has plenty of motive, because he thinks he was done dirty. Asked by Brit Hume last night about Terry McAuliffe's test that a candidate should have won something by Feb. 3 to stay in, Dean said basically that McAuliffe should stuff it, recalling that the DNC chairman had done nothing to stop the negative attacks against him. Attaboy Howard! You wuz robbed, robbed, robbed!
Yum! Sounds like fun!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Thanks Jimmy! I feel soooo much better.

The mooncalf speaks - Carter: Venezuela Leader to Honor Vote
CARACAS, Venezuela - Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told him that he would step down if a recall referendum is held and he loses.
I wonder if Jimmy would care for a game of 3 Card Monte?

Well, here's diverse news!

More people attend mosques than Church of England: Census
More people in Britain attend mosques than the Church of England. It is for the first time that Muslims have overtaken Anglicans. According to figures 930,000 Muslims attend a place of worship at least once a week, whereas only 916,000 Anglicans do the same. Muslim leaders are now claiming that, given such a rise of Islam in Britain, Muslims should receive a share of the privileged status of the Church of England.
Like what exactly?
Lord Ahmad Patel, a Labour peer said 10 extra seats should be allocated to other religions. The Church of England has 26 seats in the House of Lords.
Bwahaha! There has been so much mucking about with the House of Lords that it's hard to tell what it is anymore. Why not a diversity fest? But wait:
However, the recent figures do not include Catholics. The Catholic church has 1.5 million British worshippers.
Ruh oh! Henry VIII must be rolling in his grave.
I'm so excited

Over at The Corner, Rich Lowry has his own special sauce:
Kerry 36, Dean 31, Edwards 12, Clark 12
Remember that in 1992 Bubba annointed himself the "comeback kid" after coming in second by 8% in NH. More NH primary history here including Harry Truman calling all primaries "eyewash". You'll also be enthralled by MTV's It's Tiny, It's White, It's Old: Why Does New Hampshire Matter So Much? written with no big words. Good thing Harry's not alive today.
Zogby Zigs!

John Ellis notices that the Zogster seems to be mixing Everclear in his special sauce:
Pollster John Zogby had Howard Dean closing fast on Sunday. None of the other serious polling organizations showed any such trend. What to do? Get back in line!

Says Zogby:

"For Kerry the dam burst after 5PM on Monday. Kerry had a huge day as Undecideds broke his way by a factor of four to one over Dean. Dean recaptured a strong lead among 18-29 year olds, Northerners, singles and Progressives. He narrowed the gap among men, and college educated, however Kerry opened up huge leads among women, union voters, and voters over 65 years of age. These groups gave Kerry the big momentum heading into the primary."
Everybody got home from work yesterday and decided they were hot for haughty French-looking guys?

And the Zogster is a tad defensive about it:
"A final note: I know that my polling in the past two-days has shown a close race. I have no doubt that this was the case. Dean had bottomed out in the latter part of the week, was re-gaining some of his support among key voting groups, and had rehabilitated up to a point his unfavorable ratings. But in the final analysis, New Hampshire voters have decided to nominate a possible president instead of sending an angry message. New Hampshire voters are always volatile and its primaries are always fluid. I have never gotten a New Hampshire primary wrong. I stand by my close numbers of the last few days as much as I stand by these final numbers."
John, with that and a dollar I get a soda pop out of the machine. Anyhow, his final numbers are Kerry 37%, Deano 24%, Edwards 12%, Clark 9%, Lieberman 9%.
Gutter ball!

And speaking of the average folks (last "rule" in the preceding post), Dave Barry is in NH and offers Senator who? We're trying to bowl here!!
There was an unusually exciting campaign event here Saturday night for Sen. John Edwards, who -- to refresh your memory -- is one of the ones with good hair.

The event -- which, in retrospect, probably could have used a little more planning -- was held at a bowling alley. The original idea was that Sen. Edwards himself would bowl. Having candidates do demeaning things that have nothing to do with their qualifications for being president is a key part of our election process. Another example is the pancake breakfast, where candidates must flip pancakes while being closely scrutinized by note-scribbling news media.

FACT: A veteran journalist told me that, of the Democratic candidates, Howard Dean is by far the best pancake flipper. The worst is Gen. Wesley Clark. ''He doesn't flip at all!'' the journalist told me, genuinely outraged. ``He just slides the pancakes around!''
But you should see Weasley fold tinfoil to make a beanie!
So anyway, when I arrived at the bowling alley, about 15 minutes before North Carolina's Sen. Edwards, trouble was brewing. It was like The Perfect Storm, with two powerful opposing forces on a deadly collision course:

• On the one hand, you had hundreds of people there to see the candidate, including a large, aggressive press corps that was not wearing appropriate bowling footwear.

• On the other hand, you had league bowlers, who were there to bowl, dammit.
Ruh oh! You can guess how that went:
A woman was shouting, ''WE'RE TRYING TO BOWL HERE!!'' A man brandishing a bowling ball was yelling at a TV cameraman: ''GET YOUR (very bad word) DIRTY SHOES OFF THE (even worse word) LANE!!'' A management person on the public-address system was announcing that the police and fire marshal had been called, and that the building had to be evacuated.

Into this festive scene surged Sen. Edwards, whose campaign theme is that he is going to bring America together. He stood on a platform and gave a speech, surrounded by a dense crowd of media and applauding supporters. About 25 feet away, outside the crowd, the bowlers offered their rebuttal. It was a weird kind of stereo: In one ear, I'd hear Sen. Edwards explaining how he would provide economic opportunity to all Americans; in the other ear, I'd hear: ``OUR WHOLE NIGHT IS RUINED! YOU DON'T GIVE A (bad word) ABOUT US!''
So Sen. Edwards did not attempt to bowl, which was fortunate, as he does not yet have Secret Service protection.

As the crowd dispersed, I overheard this exchange between an Edwards volunteer and a bowler:

Bowler: Go Bush. You guys suck.

Volunteer: You shouldn't generalize. We don't ALL suck.

Bowler: Yeah, you do.

That's what's so great about the primaries: people talking about issues.
Good clean fun was had by all.

Carl Cameron offers A Gambler's Guide to the N.H. Primary. Amongst the wisdom:
"Watch Derry and Hollis … laugh at Dixville Notch and Hart's Location."

Derry is just south of Manchester and a bellwether of state political sentiment.

Hollis, just west of Nashua, holds the record for voting for the winner most frequently.

Dixville Notch is a tiny community in the White Mountains that has 24 residents, 19 of whom are voting-age. Ten are registered Republicans, nine are undeclared. There are zero Democrats or independents. Most of the residents live and work at the Balsams Resort. The resort is the polling place. The first votes are cast and counted by 12:10 am on primary day.

Hart's Location is another tiny unregistered town that votes at midnight and is always fun to watch. But it gets nowhere near the attention of Dixville Notch because it lacks venue, charm, history and self-promotion. Neither community frequently picks the winner.
When does Punxsutawney Phil show up?
"Polls are a pain. We get so many calls, my neighbors toy with pollsters for fun."

Voters in New Hampshire are about eight times more likely to be polled than in Iowa, where quadrennial complaints about too many annoying polls and robo-calls could be heard long before caucus night. Weekend polling in New Hampshire right before the primary often skews.
Clem, are you foolin' with the city fellers again?
"You can lose while winning and win while losing."

New Hampshire's primary race is all about expectations, gamesmanship and momentum. The candidate who can look ahead is the one who exceeds expectations, carries the momentum, and balances those achievements with campaign cash, viability and a nationwide organization.
Very true and most of the expectations are set by the notoriously fickle press.
"This is the last time average folks have a chance to really see the candidates up close"

After New Hampshire, the race goes national. Candidates will communicate mostly through ads, news and airport rallies. The policies have all been laid out, now it's stump speeches, sloganeering, tactics and strategy.
Doing well in one of the big urban states brings a ton more delegates than Iowa and New Hampshire combined, but they will all go past in a blur after today. It must be rather confusing for furriners.
You there! Stop talking about the Super Bowl!

Super Bowl a blitz on work force:
This year's Super Bowl could end up costing employers $821 million in lost wages next week as their workers goof off on company time to chat about the big game, researchers say.
Bogus details by following the link. And they don't talk to each other the rest of the year?

Monday, January 26, 2004

The circus must be in town!

How do I know? Because Donald Luskin has already spotted the Freak Show:
Last week's Berkeley stage-show with Paul Krugman, Al Franken and Kevin Philips turns out to be a prototype for a nation-wide Bush-bashing barnstorming tour organized by Krugman's publisher, W. W. Norton.
Hmmm, I wonder which one bites the heads off chickens? Maybe all of them!
Campaign Hijinks

Free Republic poster, Deep Freep, goes to a Weasley Clark rally:
All the usual suspects were there. The pro-choice crowd was putting stickers on anyone that would let them. Of course, I think Wes's stance on that allows the mother the ability to recall offspring at anytime, so those people had better be careful. The radical environmentalists were there in their bright orange jumpsuits, probably made of man-made fibers and dye tested on animals. Soon the room filled to standing only, becoming about 90 degrees in the gym even though it was -5 outside.

The biggest surprise to me was once the crowd was at capacity, out came the signs. Now, you would expect the standard roadside campaign signs. I’m not talking about that type of finished, sign shop perfect ones. I’m talking those wonderful hand painted signs. "Fence sitters for Clark", "Independents for Clark", "Students for Clark"…"Dummies who can’t make their own signs cause we’re too lazy for Clark", with a big arrow pointing towards these guys. Sorry, that was the one I wanted to make. All those signs were made by, handed out by and collected afterward by Clark volunteers. What I mean is, they are the PROPERTY of the Clark campaign. So now when you see a Clark rally, see if you can spot the same signs over and over again. Amazing, after going to dozens of these rallies for different campaigns I thought I’d seen it all. Nope.
I actually think that's an oldie but a goodie.
I could use me some of that global warming 'bout now!

Winter in full force
It is to laugh

The Flim Flam Man versus Bike Path Guy. Watch out for lightning bolts, fellas!
No Fun Shortage in NH!

Dean back in dead heat with Kerry: Statistically, two are tied in latest MSNBC poll
Howard Dean is riding a rollercoaster in the New Hampshire polls.

As quickly as he sank in the surveys following his dismal third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Dean is rising again — so dramatically, in fact, that he is in a statistical dead heat with Sen. John Kerry in the latest MSNBC/Zogby Reuters Poll released Monday.

The three-day rolling average has Kerry with 31 percent to Dean’s 28 percent in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, cutting four points from Kerry's Sunday lead. Factoring in the poll's four-point margin of error places the Massachusetts senator and the former Vermont governor in a statistical tie.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark is in third place with 13 percent, followed by North Carolina Sen. John Edwards with 12 percent. Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman polled at 9 percent.
But as I mentioned yesterday, Zogby sometimes get carried away by his "special sauce".
On the campaign trail

Slate's Chris Suellentrop attends a Donkfest in NH. Best laugh:
Of the other candidates, Wesley Clark comes across the worst. "I haven't been a member of this party for very long," he says, and the crowd grumbles. "I know," shouts one man, while another calls out, "No shit!"
Bwahaha! I wonder if Brit Hume was there?
Now that Dean has turned down his volume, Clark is the race's screamer, and he sounds a little unhinged.
No shit!
"We Democrats have got to take out that president," he says, in an unfortunate turn of phrase for one of the two candidates that has actually killed people. The crowd's applause is polite but tepid, and the race feels like it's slipping away from Clark, too.
And then they can send weird Uncle Weasley back to his closet.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

"Special Sauce" Alert!

Zogby's latest NH poll results are in:
In the MSNBC/Zogby Reuters tracking poll released Sunday and covering Thursday through Saturday, Sen. John Kerry held a 30-23 percent lead over his closest rival, Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont.

The seven-point margin for Kerry in the three-day period was down two percentage points from the previous day's numbers. "Dean had another good polling day, actually bouncing back to 25 points on Saturday, compared to Kerry's 28," pollster John Zogby said. "Undecideds climbed slightly on Saturday, indicating a shift may be taking place."
and that's giving hope to the Deaniacs who are giving big play to the comeback spin (entry for January 24).

Go Howie go! Whup the French guy! But this kind of thing isn't going to help - Howard Dean Says Iraqis Worse Off Now.

And if you don't recognize the "special sauce" label, it's what Zogby calls his adjustment of the raw polling numbers. Sometimes it works, sometimes it has to be sent back to the kitchen.
Left Coast News Alert!

Only in California? Bill urges building the feng shui way:
SACRAMENTO -- If a leading Democratic lawmaker has his way, your next new house may be built according to standards that supposedly put it -- and you -- in harmony with unseen natural forces.

Leland Yee, the assistant speaker pro tem, is backing a bill that could insert the millenniums-old strictures of feng shui into California's building code.

Some lawmakers roll their eyes. Some chuckle. Some wonder privately how an ancient system of alignment with invisible life forces could possibly fit into a nuts-and-bolts building code designed to ensure fire safety and structural integrity.

To Yee, however, Assembly Concurrent Resolution 144 is an acknowledgement of the wisdom of Asian culture and a way to help all Californians live a better life.

"This state has a large Asian population," said Yee, who represents a portion of San Francisco. "I think it is very important to respect the diversity of this state that we allow these kinds of principles to be recognized."
Indeed. Could I please have another helping of tofu with my granola?

Meanwhile in the People's Republic of Berkeley there's a little problem with cash flow - Chicanery tops meters in Berkeley: Vandals wanting to park free put city in yet another jam
The monkey-wrench gang has gotten the best of Berkeley's bedeviled parking meters -- again.

Armed with coin-slot-jamming matchbooks and gum wrappers, cheapskate vandals are knocking out meters by the hundreds, costing the cash-strapped city millions of dollars and prompting officials to begin thinking about yet another expensive overhaul of the system.

Parking meter theft and vandalism has dogged other Bay Area cities. Martinez, for example, has lost the use of half its 1,050 meters, which will cost the city about $220,000 in the current fiscal year, said City Manager Jane Catalano.

But no city -- not even parking-madhouse San Francisco -- can touch Berkeley's meter mess.

"I know of nowhere that has the petty vandalism of meters that Berkeley has," said Patrick Ryan, president of Reino Parking Systems of Australia, which provides multispace meters to Berkeley. "It's Berkeley -- people are a bit, uh, anti-establishment."
Ya think? Especially since they have installed the "Sherman tank" of parking meters according to the article. But I'm puzzled - I thought leftoids loved to pay taxes?
Hiram, get the 12 gauge!

There'e one of those peeping Toms on the front porch!

I'd like to see someone try that at John F------ Kerry's own home.
The sound of shoes dropping

You've seen the big media whining about the revelation of files from the Donk members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. But what about the contents that demonstrated they were the sock puppets of special groups? I mentioned previously that Elaine Jones, head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund was in a rather difficult position since she was apparently trying to affect the outcome of a legal case. Well Elaine apparently decided it was a good time to take it on the lam, er, retire:
A grievance against Jones was filed with the State Bar of Virginia by a number of groups, including the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary and Project 21. The complaint charged that Jones "violated both the spirit and letter of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct when she intentionally acted to influence and disrupt an impartial tribunal that was then in the deliberative process of considering a landmark constitutional case in which she was counsel to one of the parties."

Project 21 member Mychal Massie said, "It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that Elaine Jones cast herself on her sword in light of the ethics complaint against her."

Massie added that despite Jones' resignation, A full investigation is needed to "expose the behind-the-scenes dishonesty and corruption that is so apparent in the Senate Judiciary Committee's past."

Jones told the New York Times that it was the University of Michigan Law School decision that upheld the use of race in admissions policies that finally freed her to make the decision to step down.
In a manner of speaking.
Danielle Lewis, a spokesperson for Jones, told Talon News that the announcement of her retirement has nothing to do with the complaint filed against her.
Yeah, sure. Buh bye!

Other stories here and here. Notice how big media is all over the story?
Overexposure Alert!

Nude calendar flood
When the ladies of Rylstone, England, decided to take it off -- well, take it almost all off -- for a fund-raising calendar, they couldn't have foreseen the worldwide fallout.

The Rylstone Women's Institute 2000 calendar, which showcased not nubile young women but nearly nude middle-aged ladies discreetly posed behind gardening or homemaking equipment, sparked international interest and the current movie Calendar Girls.

The calendar honored one of the institute's members, whose husband had died of cancer. The participants could not have known that the project, begun as a lark, would raise more than $750,000 for leukemia and lymphoma research.

Nor could they have known that gardeners in Texas, firefighters in Rhode Island, accordion players in Newfoundland, wool spinners in Maine and the full-Vermont-y ``Men of Maple Corners'' soon would follow suit.

In Massachusetts, former Clinton Cabinet member Robert Reich posed for a 2004 calendar supporting Cambridge Community TV -- in the buff behind a shopping basket filled with greens and an impressively large baguette.
And the last is sure evidence that the trend is past its prime. More details (but no pictures) by following the link, but here's the punchline:
In the United Kingdom, where it all began, some commentators are growing bored with the phenomenon. Annie Gunner, who writes an online column for Third Force News, a project of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organizations, laments that the world is ``now awash, alas, with nude calendars. Anyone, anywhere, trying to raise funds has hit on the idea of getting their kit off and becoming Mr. January.''

She quotes 19th century German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who once said, ``I have seen three emperors in their nakedness and the sight was not inspiring.''

``Go, Otto,'' Gunner writes. ``And for gawd's sake, the rest of you, get bloody dressed.''