Monday, May 31, 2004

SPECIAL REPORT: Anti-Nader study falls flat
Deeper analysis shows registered Democrats voting for Bush a larger threat than Nader; massive Kerry lead

A press release sent out last week by claiming Ralph Nader’s independent candidacy is impacting John Kerry’s presidential campaign in a negative way is founded on flawed analysis of national preference polls. It also ignores the fact that Kerry’s inability to hold registered Democrats in certain swing states has a more detrimental effect on his campaign than Nader does. Studying individual state polls reveals that Nader has negative, neutral and positive impacts on the Kerry campaign, with Kerry currently beating Bush by anywhere from 136 to 116 Electoral College votes – the votes that actually determine who becomes the president.

In the study, located at, the group performed a news search on May 13 and consulted the site, eventually finding 37 national polls taken since Nader announced his candidacy. In their news release of May 26, 32 of those polls showed "that Nader directly helps Bush." Four reportedly showed no impact and one by FoxNews showed a 1 percent tilt towards Kerry.
"This study shreds the assertion by the Nader campaign that they will help beat Bush," stated John Pearce, Executive Director of Progressive Unity, in the press release. "Facts are facts, and these findings are overwhelming: Nader is directly helping Bush."
But is Nader really helping Bush? Are these the "facts"?

Faulty use of national polls
The first flaw of’s analysis is the use of national preference polls to determine the outcome of the presidential election. National polls are meaningless in electing the president. The president is elected by prevailing in each individual state and winning every state’s Electoral College votes. Whether Nader is earning 1, 2, 5 or whatever percent of the support in a national preference poll is pointless because the result has no bearing on the individual state voting. Since didn't analyze state polling data thoroughly, there is not one shred of proof that Nader "costs" Kerry anything.
The second flaw in this analysis of the national preference poll is the perception that somehow every single voter supporting Nader would automatically go to Kerry if Nader were not running for president. This is a completely false assumption. In 2000 – when Nader garnered a large section of left-leaning voters – only 45 percent said they would have voted for the Democratic nominee Al Gore had Nader not been in the race, according to the Voter News Service, the most extensive national polling consortium. Twenty-seven percent of Nader voters would have gone to Republican George W. Bush and the rest said they would not have voted at all. So, if less than half of Nader voters in 2000 would vote for the Democrat, why would anyone assume that 100 percent would vote for Kerry four years later? foolishly forwards this assumption in its analysis. As we have all heard time and time again, most liberal, progressive, and Democrat voters are taking an "anybody but Bush" stance. Kerry has already gained tens of thousands of Nader's 2000 votes and is in a better position to beat Bush than Gore was. There are still stubborn Nader supporters out there and there are thousands of Green-Rainbow and Socialists party members who will probably support their nominees. These voters aren't planning to vote for Kerry under any circumstances. So the Nader candidacy doesn’t help Bush or "cost" Kerry anything.

Individual state polls
On their site, states they did look at some state polls and they claim "the results were even more striking … show[ing] Nader flipping New Jersey and Pennsylvania from Kerry to Bush, and causing an 8% surge for Bush among the large Arab-American vote in four critical swing states." But is it really "striking" or "helping Bush"? Maybe; maybe not. David Wissing of The Hedgehog Report [] is one of a handful of netizens who has been tracking state polling data for over six months. Unlike other Web sites that track polls, Wissing posts the Nader numbers – and the outcome without Nader – when available. The site has 59 polls in which Nader was included from 30 different states. In over 50 of those polls, Nader had no influence on the outcome, with other polls showing negative, neutral, or positive results for the Kerry campaign.

Nader: Negative, neutral, positive
In analyzing all the individual state data, Nader’s campaign does have some bearing on Kerry’s position in a few states.

On the negative side, in at least three states that Gore won in 2000, Nader could potentially influence the outcome of the election.
In a Fairleigh Dickinson April 3-10 poll in New Jersey, the results were Bush 48, Kerry 44, and Nader 5. But without Nader, Kerry benefits with 48 percent and Bush gets 47. However, countering this are four other polls from New Jersey done after the Fairleigh Dickinson poll which show Kerry beating Bush with or without Nader on the ballot.
In Oregon, a state Gore barely won in 2000, two polls show Nader potentially influencing the outcome. In a May 3-5 American Research Group [ARG] poll, Bush and Kerry were tied at 45, with Nader clocking in with 5 percent. Without Nader, the result would be Kerry 48, Bush 46. A Rasmussen Reports poll released on April 25 showed Bush and Kerry tied with 43 and Nader receiving 8 percent. Without Nader, Kerry received 46 with Bush getting 45, and 6 percent said they would vote for "some other candidate." So even with only two choices, the bulk of Nader’s support inflexibly stayed with their candidate. This polling data shines light on the mistaken premise that Nader’s candidacy "costs" Kerry the election. Again, many of Nader's supporters are not going to vote for Kerry under any circumstances so he gains nothing from a two-candidate race. Like in New Jersey, three other polls from Oregon showed Kerry beating Bush even with Nader on the ballot. But two recent polls - one in March and one in May - showed Bush beating Kerry in Oregon with no Nader candidacy at all. Again, more evidence that shows a potential loss for Kerry, without Nader, in the state.
Lastly, in Pennsylvania, a March 9-15 Quinnipiac poll showed Bush with 44, Kerry at 40, and Nader with 7 percent. However, without Nader, Kerry takes the lead with 45 to Bush's 44 percent. In the polling data, Nader earned the support of 4 percent of registered Republicans and 6 percent registered Democrats. Democrats supporting Bush came in at 14 percent.
However, another Pennsylvania poll shows Nader taking more Republican than Democrat votes by a 4 to 3 margin. In an April 16-25 Pew Charitable Trusts poll, Bush and Kerry were tied with 42 percent. Nader received 5 percent. The poll did not ask voters how they would vote if Nader were not on the ballot. Yet in this poll, Bush received 12 percent of the vote from registered Democrats – four times as many Democratic votes as Nader received. Another 10 percent of Democrats were undecided or supporting other candidates. So a full 22 percent of Democrats in Pennsylvania were supporting Bush, another candidate other than Nader, or were undecided, while only 3 percent were supporting Nader. Again, the Democratic base voting for Bush or another candidate costs Kerry the state. Kerry and Bush have been in a tug-of-war for the lead in other Pennsylvania polls, with most recent ones showing Kerry leading even with Nader on the ballot.

On the neutral side, recent polls from Florida show a replay of 2000 with essentially a tied race. An ARG poll from May 15-17 shows Bush leading 47 to Kerry’s 46 and Nader with 3. Without Nader, the results are a tie: Bush 47, Kerry 47. So while Nader "costs" Kerry 1 percent of the vote in this poll, the addition of Nader doesn’t guarantee a Kerry win in the state. An ARG poll from April 18-20 showed similar results: Bush at 46, Kerry with 45, and Nader in at 3. But without Nader, the results are again a tie: Bush 47, Kerry 47. So there is still no Kerry win in the state without Nader but some affect. However, look at some of the data buried in the May poll: Nader received 3 percent of registered Democrats [1 percent of the Republican vote] while Bush gets 11 percent of registered Democrats. This is almost a repeat of 2000 when 1 percent of Democrats voted for Nader and 13 percent voted for Bush, swinging the election to Bush. Clearly, in Florida, the Democratic nominee’s inability to hold his own base is more of a detriment to his candidacy than Nader.
In New Mexico, another state Gore barely won in 2000, the Nader candidacy has mixed results. In a March 30-April 1 ARG poll, Bush had 46, Kerry had 45, and Nader came in with 3 percent. Without Nader, the results would again be a tie, with Bush and Kerry getting 47 percent. However, Nader took equally from both registered Republicans and Democrats, 2 percent, while Bush received a whopping 20 percent of registered Democrats in the state – a 10 to 1 margin over Nader. Again, in this poll, registered Democrats – not Nader – are keeping Kerry from winning in New Mexico by voting for Bush.

On the positive side, in at least one poll from Ohio, Nader takes enough Republican votes to help Kerry win the state. In a late-March poll from West Virginia, Nader takes more Democrat votes by a two-to-one margin but the results affect Bush’s position in the state, not Kerry's. In that poll, Bush received a massive 22 percent of the Democrat vote. In many other states, Nader takes almost equally from both major party candidates, without changing the state outcomes. In a New Hampshire poll released in March by ARG, Nader garnered the support of 9 percent of Republicans compared to 4 percent of Democrats, a two to one margin and virtual repeat of what occurred in 2000, with Bush leading in the state with or without Nader.

Kerry's Electoral College vote lead
Different Web sites tracking state by state polls and compiling possible Electoral College results show Kerry with huge leads over Bush even with Nader in the race. Election Projection [] has the race at Kerry 337, Bush 201. Samboni1342, another Web site posting numbers, now has it Kerry 327, Bush 211 []. On Saturday, May 29, Wissing posted Kerry 289, Bush 249 results on his site, listed above. However, on Sunday, his results had shifted to Bush 296, Kerry 248 with new polls showing Bush leads in Ohio and other states but no Nader effect.

Conclusion: The anti-Nader site analysis is flawed
After looking at all the polling analysis that is available to date, there is no definitive evidence that shows Nader harming Kerry in any way. There is the potential for Nader to harm Kerry if the Democrat follows a similar path that Gore followed in 2000 and loses his clear lead at this point in the election. As well, the selection of a conservative or free trade vice presidential candidate by Kerry could alienate potential support for his cause and shift votes to Nader, similar to the support which shifted from Gore after his selection of Sen. Joseph Lieberman for the VP spot. However, the deeper data in some of the state polls goes to the heart of what Nader has stated in his 2004 campaign – and goes against statements and analysis forwarded by In some swing states, Nader is taking more votes from registered Republicans than Democrats. In many others, Kerry's inability to keep the Democratic base from casting votes for Bush will cost him the election just as these voters cost Gore the election in 2000. A Kerry loss would be more a result of failing to keep his base from fleeing to Bush than Nader.
In the future, anti-Nader sites like should ignore national preference polling and perform a more expansive and accurate analysis of state polls before coming to suspect conclusions like they did on May 26. They should also spend less time attempting to deny the Constitutional rights of Nader to run for office and those people who want a third choice in 2004.
Kerry supporters should also spend more time trying to get Kerry elected and encouraging the candidate to pick a populist, fair trader for the vice presidential nomination, in order to earn the votes of Nader supporters instead of trying to scare them with flawed, baseless analysis.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Sunday polls - Kerry's big lead:
The problems in Iraq and the sputtering economy are clearly damaging Bush's reelection campaign.
Alabama: Bush 54, Kerry 32, Nader 3 [Capital Survey Research Center].
Arizona: Bush 43, Kerry 38, Nader 2, Undecided 17 [Arizona State/KAET-TV].
Arkansa: Bush 49, Kerry 45, Nader 0 [Zogby].
California: Kerry 51, Bush 39, Nader 6 [Field Poll].
Florida: Kerry 49, Bush 48, Nader 1 [Zogby].
Indiana: Bush 54, Kerry 38, Nader 8 [Indianapolis Star/WTHR].
Iowa: Kerry 46, Bush 43, Nader 2 [Research 2000].
Iowa: Kerry 48, Bush 45, Nader/Undecided 8 [Survey USA].
Kentucky: Bush 49, Kerry 43 [Garin-Hart-Yank Research Group].
Louisiana: Bush 48, Kerry 29, Nader 0 [Multi-Quest].
Michigan: Kerry 50, Bush 41, Nader 0 [Zogby].
Minnesota: Kerry 51, Bush 42, Nader [Zogby].
Missouri: Kerry 47, Bush 44, Nader 0 [Zogby].
Montana: Bush 53, Kerry 33, Nader 8 [Mason-Dixon].
Nevada: Kerry 47, Bush 43, Nader 0 [Zogby].
Ohio: Bush 47, Kerry 41, Nader 3, Undecided 9 [Mason-Dixon]
Ohio: Kerry 49, Bush 45, Nader 0 [Zogby].
Pennsylvania: Kerry 44, Bush 41, Nader 6 [Quinnipiac].
Washington: Kerry 53, Bush 44, Nader 0 [Zogby].
West Virginia: Bush 48, Kerry 46, Nader 0 [Zogby].
Wisconsin: Kerry 52, Bush 43, Nader 0 [Zogby].

Election Projection has the race Kerry 337, Bush 201. Last week, they had Kerry 327, Bush 211: ["Election Projection"].
Samboni now has it at Kerry 307, Bush 231. Last week it was: Kerry 289, Bush 243, Undecided 6. Two weeks ago he had Bush 266, Kerry 258, Undecided 54:
David Wissing has it at Bush 296, Kerry 248. On Saturday he had it: Kerry 289, Bush 249. Last week he had it: Bush 276, Kerry 262. Two weeks ago he had Bush 280, Kerry 256:

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Quick headlines

I meant to post the correction notice which the New York Times published earlier this week about the paper's Iraq coverage ["Correction: The New York Times on Iraq coverage"] but I just didn't get around to it. As we all know, no one is perfect. Correction notices are published in all newspapers responsible enough to admit when they've published a mistake [Are you listening, Boston Globe?]. But how about this - an amazing overview of how reporter Judith Miller was duped over and over and over again by those advocating regime change in Iraq: ["How Chalabi and the White House held the front page"]. Here is a really great section which should frighten anyone who questions the NYT supposed liberal bias:
"The White House had a perfect deal with Miller," [one CIA analyst] said. "Chalabi is providing the Bush people with the information they need to support their political objectives, and he is supplying the same material to Judy Miller. Chalabi tips her on something and then she goes to the White House, which has already heard the same thing from Chalabi, and she gets it corroborated. She also got the Pentagon to confirm things for her, which made sense, since they were working so closely with Chalabi. Too bad Judy didn't spend a little more time talking to those of us who had information that contradicted almost everything Chalabi said.
Ten-thousand-plus dead Iraqis and 800-plus dead Americans later ...
Do you think the NYT should have written a correction or offered payments to those who have been adversely affected by their coverage? Where do those people go to get their lives back? Where do the soldiers go to get their limbs back?
BTW, Miller is still employed at the Times.

More NYT errors: Can you imagine a better time to release a book about the huge mistakes over at the NYT? I doubt "Democracy Now'" Amy Goodman did: ["Fatal Error: The Lies of Our Times"].

Thank heaven, for the ACLU ... The protectors of civil rights have released more information on its legal challenge against the PATRIOT Act and the Justice Dept's obsession with ISPs: ["'John Doe' Revealed as Secret Client in Censored ACLU Patriot Act Case"].

Big dreamers?: Kerry hasn't even won yet but some "armchair strategists" are looking towards the future: ["Kerry's Cabinet? Here goes"]. Edwards as VP? Gephardt at Labor? McCain at Defense? Sounds reasonable.
Here is another more humorous point of view: ["Pros and Cons"].
And almost the entire congressional delegation is salivating at the chance to move up: ["SENATE RE-SEATING ARRANGEMENTS"].
What a bloodbath this one is going to be. Although, it depends.
As the law stands now, Gov. Romney gets to choose Kerry's replacement. Former DA Ralph Martin, a liberal black Republican, has been floated as a possible candidate. However, there is a bill in both houses of the Legislature which would change the law and instead, call for a special election sometime after the 2005 inauguration.
I've heard that Meehan [along with AG Tom Reilly] was looking at a gubernatorial race against Romney in 2006. So is Capuano. I doubt Delahunt is going anywhere fast. That leaves Frank, Lynch, Markey, and whoever else wants to jump in. Markey is a terrible campaigner, Lynch is pro-life, and Frank is too much of a leftist for most. However, Frank [or Meehan, if he were to run] probably has the edge. I agree with a lot of the analysis of Reilly's piece: In a large field, Lynch could pull off a tight win, similar to what he did in the 9th CD special election in 2001 after the death of Joe Moakley. If Lynch won, look for a whole slew of voters to abandon him for a pro-choice Republican or a Green Party candidate - although it is doubtful that they would be able to beat Lynch [This almost happened in the final part of the special election in 2001. Lynch was challenged by Socialist Worker's Party candidate Brock Satter, Conservative Party candidate Susan C. Gallagher-Long, and pro-choice Republican state Sen. Joanne Sprague, who got 37-plus percent of the vote in a district where only 11 percent were registered Republicans. There was speculation that Sprague could pull of a surprise victory. But in the end, Lynch was able to keep the Democrats in line and the media virtually ignored the final leg of the race].
However, if Kerry wins, it will all be so interesting ...
Plus, there is this: ["Kerry to spend $17m on ads in June"]. $17 million? Damn. In places like Virginia? Wow. Kerry is clearly showing some confidence with this move.

Nader's N.H. visit: Ralph Nader was in New Hampshire earlier this week stumping for volunteers and support. It is interesting to look at the different versions of just one press conference: ["Nader says he gets more votes from Republicans"] ["Nader says he's in it for the principle"] ["Nader has plan to get GIs out of Iraq"]. The AP Story was also published on the Globe's Web site. It is also interesting that the state Democratic Party held a conference call with former Nader supporters who are now planning on voting for Kerry. Do they do that when Bush, a Libertarian, or Green Party candidate come to town? Do reporters bother to cover such a conference call? Nader will speak to the National Press Club on June 3. Also, the Greens are debating the Nader factor too: ["Green Party debates picking own candidate or endorsing Nader"].

Update: I missed this nhpolitics post about the press conference, with their own spin: ["Nader draws more media than supporters in NH trip"].

Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Kerry campaign comes to its senses:
It looks like smarter heads have prevailed over at the Kerry campaign: ["Sen. Flip-Flop does it again!: Now Kerry will accept nomination in Hub"]. As I said earlier, while strategic, it was stupid for Kerry to even think about delaying his nomination: ["Kerry's starting to get foolish"]. Especially after local and federal taxpayers are spending tens of millions of dollars on "the party" and the Boston metropolitan region will be disrupted because of the convention.
In the Herald story, Rep. Meehan makes a good point: The DNC can spend some money during the five week period where Kerry believes he will be at a disadvantage. After all, it is the DNC's fault: They chose to hold their convention in July so they wouldn't have to compete for air time with the Summer Olympics. The GOP moved their convention to be closer to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack anniversary - a reprehensible move to exploit the deaths of thousands of people for political reasons.
In the above post, I also noted some other strategic moves Kerry could make. On one of the WBZ talk shows Monday, a caller mentioned that Kerry [or any Democrat] could file legislation to tweak the FEC law which requires candidates to spend no money other than the $75 million in public financing after accepting the party's nomination. The change in the legislation could be based on not when a candidate accepts the nomination, but a specific date, like Sept. 1 or the day after both candidates have officially accepted their party's nomination. It was a good point by the caller. A larger point is that this has never been a problem in the past. Both parties over the last 30 years have adhered to the rules as currently written. So why was Kerry complaining in the first place?

A needed distraction?

Zogby points to sweeping Kerry leads in swing states.

One of the reasons this whole Kerry/convention thing is such a distraction might be this graph released by pollster John Zogby in a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal. Zogby, you may recall, recently came out with a prediction that Kerry would win. He got lambasted all over the Web for saying such things so early. So in response, Zogby released some of his numbers which led to his conclusions. And no wonder Bush and the Republicans are freaking out - these Kerry numbers are frighteningly high! Granted, it is really early in the process - and Gore had a huge lead in late-September 2000 before losing the election in a squeaker. The same could happen to Kerry. However, if this holds up, Kerry will shatter Bush in the election, Nader or no Nader. With a populist or progressive vice presidential choice, Kerry should be able to hold this lead. If he picks a conservative Democrat or the climate in Iraq gets worse, Nader could be more of a factor than he is right now. If Nader picks Jesse Ventura for his VP slot - look out!

Serious reforms are needed:
What has become clear from all of this Kerry/convention nonsense is that the conventions no longer matter in the scheme of things and there needs to be serious discussion about reforming the entire process, including proposing Constitutional amendments to alter the way our political process works.
In reality, the conventions only exist so that a bunch of political insiders get free meals, drinks, and gifts - often funded by large corporations. All the real work of the presidential process goes into winning the primaries. By shifting the primary process from winning delegates to say, winning points for each state, you wouldn't need conventions at all. Essentially, the candidate with the most points wins. As well, candidates could combine their points, creating joint tickets, to knock off a front-runner. How fun would that be? John Edwards and Howard Dean could have formed a joint ticket early into the Kerry surge and cut him off at the pass. In my opinion, an Edwards-Dean ticket would've been a much stronger ticket for the Democrats than Kerry.
Advocates will say the convention helps iron out a party's platform. But the platforms of both parties are essentially bogus. None of the candidates follow the platform when elected and most of the planks in the platforms don't matter to the bulk of the American people. Sure, it is all interesting to us political junkies. But it really doesn't matter to most people.
Like a university graduation or a state party convention, the national party conventions could be held over a day [maybe two if needed] during a weekend in a large stadium with news clip highlights of the speeches compiled on Sunday night during prime time on the three major networks. You could still keep the delegate process in place with this change and people could still come to Boston, or any other city, for a weekend of boozing and bickering on the corporate dole. The minor parties manage to do it in a day; why can't the other parties get it done in a day? As well, equal coverage should also be granted to the minor third parties - like Libertarians, Greens, and Conservative parties - something that does not occur right now. In fact, none of the minor parties get any money from the federal government to run their conventions or fund their candidates, so why should the big two get funds? Let them have a potluck picnic lunch in a cornfield like the Greens do!
Ideally, the conventions should be held in June. The summer months would make up the bulk of the campaign season. The general Election Day could be held on a Saturday in late September, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The weather is still pleasant for most of the nation in late September and switching the day to Saturday would encourage voting turnout and allow people who work on Tuesdays to be more participatory. Those people would don't want to vote on Saturday for religious reasons would be allowed to cast absentee ballots.
The election dates we currently live with were written hundreds of years ago during an agrarian society based on farming the land, blacksmithing steel, blowing glass, and scripting the news by ink and quill. The general election is scheduled in November because it was the end of the farming season. Most Americans had already taken care of the harvest and had time to go down to the pub and elect the citizen legislature.
Times have changed drastically - shouldn't our political process adapt to the changes? Some will contend that most people are thinking about their vacations during the summer. But the reverse argument is true: Political candidates would have to work harder for votes. They would have to do more than just broadcast endless television ads which scare people into voting a specific way. Is this such a bad thing?
With these changes, some sort of instant run-off voting system should also be implemented to allow voters to rate their choices by preference. This would eliminate the "spoiler" arguments and empower voters with second and third choices. After the polls close in states over a period of time, based on the daily time shifts, the task of compiling the votes would occur. While this process might take longer than the current system, the entire election could be wrapped up by Sunday morning or afternoon and be broadcast thoroughly on the networks Sunday night or daily newspapers on Monday morning. The inauguration could also be shifted, maybe to sometime before the holidays or it could be left in January.
Whatever happens in this election, it is clear that changes need to be made. The system we have isn't working. It is denigrating and devious. And it would be nice to see some more serious discussion about the issue.

This is real girl power:

Panty protests to pickle party.

You gotta love this prank waiting for Republicans at their NYC convention: ["Women Plan 'Pom Pom' Protest"]. The group's site - with all kinds of other panty slogans - is located here: [""].

Nichols guilty: But are we closer to the truth?:
Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols was quickly found guilty yesterday in the deaths of over 160 in the Murrah Federal Building bombing: ["Oklahoma Bomber Nichols Convicted of Murder, Faces Death Penalty"]. This doesn't really come as a surprise. However, did Nichols get a fair trial? One has to wonder after reading this:

The defense contended that others helped McVeigh carry out the bombing and that Nichols was the fall guy for a wider conspiracy. Witnesses testified that they saw McVeigh with others, including a stocky, dark-haired man depicted in an FBI sketch and known only as John Doe No. 2, in the weeks before the bombing. Authorities later concluded that the mystery man was an Army private who had nothing to do with the bombing.

And this passage:

Defense lawyers had planned on bringing up evidence that a shadowy group of conspirators, including members a white supremacist gang, helped McVeigh with the bombing. But Judge Steven Taylor refused to allow that evidence, saying the defense never showed that such people made any overt acts to further the bomb plot.

Why? Why was Nichols' legal team not allowed to put on a vigorous defense? While I am not a lawyer, this seems like a window for an appeal.
In the end, Nichols will get fried - just like Timothy McVeigh did. And despite my opposition to the death penalty, I can understand why some people want him to fry. However, it would be more constructive if the American people could get to the truth about what really happened and who was involved. Unfortunately, we will probably never know.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Al Gore: On fire!

Al Gore on Bush: "The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States." Where the hell was this Al Gore during the 2000 campaign?

Monday, May 24, 2004

Quick notes on the media:
A "thank you" to C-Span this morning for pointing me to The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz pretty interesting overview of the recent joint survey by the Pew Research Center and the Project for Excellence in Journalism about the state of media - from the viewpoint of the media itself: ["Survey Finds Angst-Strained Wretches in the Fourth Estate"]. Kurtz's headline is a bit over the top and after reading the article you get the point a bit better. And of course, there is the token twist of the liberal media conspiracy:

Tom Rosenstiel, the project's director, says the growing proportion of self-identified liberals in the national media -- and the fact that "conservatives are not very well represented" -- is having an impact. "This is something journalists should worry about," he says. "Maybe diversity in the newsroom needs to mean more than ethnic and gender diversity."
Actually, there is a good chunk of conservatives in the media and there could be more in the newsroom. The problem is that most don't want to schlep around for $25,000 a year as beat reporters and many others don't want to tell stories. Most conservatives in the media make a pretty good clip as editorialists, broadcasters, or talking head fronts for rightwing think tanks and specialized publications like The Weekly Standard.
As well, if you add in the talk radio hosts and syndicated column writers with the reporters and editors, the media paradigm easily sways from liberal-to-moderate in the Pew survey to conservative-to-outright-rightwing in reality.
The influence of "the liberal newsroom" is also lower when you add in the fact that newspaper readership is dropping in most markets. If fewer and fewer people are getting their news from newspapers - but from somewhere else instead - the shift could be even more prominent. If they are getting their news from TV, what kind of TV is it - FoxNews or your late, local "if it bleeds it leads" news? [As an aside, I wonder how many people have nightmares after falling asleep hearing about the latest shooting from Dorchester. I wonder if anyone has studied this.] If they are getting their news from radio, what kind of radio is it - NPR or Rush Limbaugh? Just as an example, more people in the United States listen to Limbaugh for any one hour than spend reading The New York Times for an hour. So, who has a larger influence? The 'boob, of course.

But here is the bigger issue: The media is liberal on social issues, not corporate issues. Note this passage:

The survey confirmed that national journalists are to the left of the public on social issues. Nine in 10 say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral (40 percent of the public thinks this way). As might have been inferred from the upbeat coverage of gay marriage in Massachusetts, 88 percent of national journalists say society should accept homosexuality; only about half the public agrees.
While I haven't seen the report and I will look for it later, I have to assume that there was no question about corporate or fiscal issues. How do the national journalists feel about globalization? How do they feel about factories closing in America? How do they feel about the consolidation of TV, radio, newspaper, publishing, music, and movie industries? Do their views on these issues influence how they cover these issues the same way they influence gay or abortion issues? Well, we know they do because we have seen it in the reporting - or lack of reporting - on these issues. The NAFTA coverage by the media was a disaster with clear examples of editorial bias filtering down into the reporting of stories addressing that issue during the early 1990s. Only the most left of media sources bothers to cover globalization issues, like the influence of the banking industry, how dictators are propped up, or how our foreign policy is always military-based, regardless of which party is in power. It all seems to be accepted as the norm. And don't question the powers that be - you might blow your chance at that think tank grant later on when you are penning your best-seller!
These are huge questions probably missing from the survey. The closest Kurtz gets to these issues is this:

What the report calls a "crisis of confidence" permeates the findings. Two-thirds of national media staffers, and 57 percent of the locals, believe that profit pressures are seriously hurting news coverage. Nearly half of national journalists say the press is too timid. Almost two-thirds say there are too many cable talk shows.
Sure, "profit pressures" and a "timid" press are problems but they go hand in hand. We all remember what Larry Tisch once said about the award-winning CBS News Department, which used to be a hard-hitting news organization. Paraphrasing, Tisch reportedly said of the department's successes, 'When are they going to start turning a profit?' Never mind the scandals, corruption, lies, injuries, and wrongs exposed, all Tisch cared about was the money. News wasn't a public service - it was a commodity. And we wonder why things are so fucked up in the world?
Personally, I like a lot of the cable talk shows. I like open debate. Unlike my wife, I am challenged - not bothered - by the people yelling at each other. That is why I like watching "Inannity & Colmes" on FoxNews. Although I will readily admit two things about the show: a) Too often they have conservative analysts - Gingrich, Morris, Kissinger, Bennett, etc. - on alone, with no opposing liberal viewpoint arguing the other side. This tends to skew the debate from "fair and balanced" to conservative for whole sections of the program; and b) the yelling and debating does not often allow for any conducive discussion of the issues - even if it is very entertaining. It often becomes a belittling bickering match between Inannity - who keeps asking the same friggin' question over and over, usually, 'Aren't the Iraqis better off with Saddam Hussein gone,' and a Democrat [and not always a liberal one] twisting his answer to read from the talking points memo handed out for that night. Inannity will then interrupt the Democrat, which leads to him cutting the person off completely and returning to lobbing softballs at some blonde rightwing babe from a think tank.
Just once I would like the Democrat to say, "Yes, it is great that Saddam Hussein is no longer in power but the issue now is ..."

My other point this morning is this: ["Kerry pokes fun at Bush mishap"]. Note to everyone: Everything is on-the-record unless you say it is "off-the-record" BEFORE speaking! If you are John Kerry - or anyone else - and you make a quip like this one:

Kerry told reporters in front of cameras, "Did the training wheels fall off?"
... it is on-the-record. Period. End of story.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Praise the Lord!
This is so great: ["Attorney arrested over Madrid bombing released"]. Take that, PATRIOT Act!

The Bush campaign is clearly in trouble:
You really have to wonder what the hell is going on over at the White House. The news is just bad, bad, bad. First, the death toll in Iraq has passed 800, with no end in sight. The military is accelerating the turn over to Iraqi citizens but thousands of American troops will remain.
On the political side, the president's supporters are starting to worry. First, there is the news that Bush is losing Cuban support: ["Eroding: Bush's Cuban Support"]. Up on the Hill, Republicans are starting to worry. And why shouldn't they? Things are looking bad: ["Bush Slip in Polls Could Tip Congress to Democrats"]. However, there is some good news: ["Bush Gains with Jewish Vote"]. So, maybe Hollings was right after all. Of course, people are still pissed about his comments: ["Kerry Urged to Denounce Hollings by NY Campaign Co-Chair"]. And then, at Tufts' commencement, there is Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., railing against the president's foolish invasion: ["Lugar questions US policies on Iraq, terrorism"].

NH CD 1: Thirty-something challenges Bradley:
Justin Nadeau, a Portsmouth attorney, will challenge Republican Rep. Jeb Bradley: ["Nadeau begins congressional run in first district"]. Nadeau comes from a politically connected family. But it is good to see a young person getting involved in the process.

Another reason I am glad I don't live in Boston anymore:
This is amazing: ["Riders protest MBTA's `invasive' ID check plan"]. If you ride the T, you need an ID. This is ridiculous.

Moore's "9ll" wins at Cannes:
Wow: ["Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Wins Top Honor at Cannes Film Festival"].

More on Washingtonienne:
Wonkette! and Washingtonienne went out partying last night and apparently became the talk of the town: ["Washington's Other W Twins"]. Oh my, oh my! Aren't they cheeky? And then, the fired "Staff Ass" makes the Post: ["The Hill's Sex Diarist Reveals All (Well, Some)"]. Other bloggers are getting into the act too. Check out The Calico Cat, who analyzes the entire, sordid mess: ["Jessica Cutler and the values of Washington"]

Sunday polls:
Alabama: Bush 54, Kerry 29, Nader 5 [University of South Alabama].
Florida: Bush 47, Kerry 46, Nader 3 [American Research Group].
Florida: Kerry 49, Bush 44 [Rasmussen Reports].
Illinois: Kerry 46, Bush 41, Nader 8 [Rasmussen Reports].
Illinois: Kerry 48, Bush 43 [Daily Southport].
New Jersey: Kerry 46, Bush 43, Nader 5 [Quinnipiac].
North Carolina: Bush 48, Kerry 41 [Mason-Dixon].
Oklahoma: Bush 53, Kerry 34 [The Daily Oklahoman].
Pennsylvania: Kerry 48, Bush 43 [Morning Call/Muhlenberg College].
South Dakota: Bush 51, Kerry 35, Nader 4 [KELO-TV].
Texas: Bush 58, Kerry 29 [Scripps Howard].

Election Projection has the race Kerry 327, Bush 211, although I think this is pretty high: ["Election Projection"].
Samboni now has it at Kerry 289, Bush 243, Undecided 6. Two weeks ago he had Bush 266, Kerry 258, Undecided 54:
David Wissing has it at Bush 276, Kerry 262. Two weeks ago he had Bush 280, Kerry 256: So, both are trending Bush down.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Kerry's starting to get foolish

What the hell is this: A convention without a nominee? Please: ["DNC mess could be for nothing: Kerry may not accept nomination in Boston"]. The extra month worth of money spent on advertising during the primary cycle of the campaign isn't going to make much of a difference and can easily be replaced by inspiring campaign events and a vigorous, worthy candidate who fights to earn every vote.
If the campaign is looking to save some money, one option would be to pay staffers lump sums for the work they would do on the entire campaign from the primary campaign account. This would free up tens of thousands of dollars in the general election account which could be spent on ads. Of course, Bush could do the same thing, thereby negating any advantage. In fact, both campaigns are probably paying all kinds of people to do all kinds of things out of separate campaign accounts already so ...
Forgetting about the cash for a moment, Kerry could plan a unique, original, inexpensive, and media-driven post-convention campaign strategy that would render the need for advertising unnecessary. In 1992, the Clinton/Gore campaign did this by launching an acclaimed bus tour of the nation in the wake of their nominations and by publishing their lame book, "Putting People First." It didn't matter that Clinton/Gore never put people first after being elected. They campaigned like they would put people first and they won. Kerry could do an old-fashioned whistle stop train tour similar to the campaigns of yesteryear. The "Kerry/Whoever Train Across America" Tour might be a bit difficult to organize but it would be interesting, picturesque and a lot of fun. Kerry and his running mate could plan an Iowa or New Hampshire ground assault through swing states that never see hands-on campaigning of the early primaries. It could be called the "Meet Every Voter" Tour. Imagine the shock people will have in places like Ohio and Colorado when they see something other than the standard post-convention airport tarmac or stadium events. Imagine the hilarity of Kerry door-knocking in Cleveland with Rep. Dennis Kucinich or in Denver. Imagine the press coverage of such events:
"Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was door-knocking in Cleveland today, wearing out his shoe leather in an effort to win the state of Ohio in November ... 'I'm gonna fight for every vote, on every block, across this great land,' Kerry said ..."
Newspapers and television stations would have a field day covering this stuff. They wouldn't know what to make of it and the coverage would give voters a direct view of what states like Iowa and New Hampshire get to see all the time.
These are just a few things the Kerry campaign could do instead of this insipid "we won't accept the nomination at the nominating convention" nonsense. What foolishness.

Should Kerry go anti-war?
John Nichols of The Nation seems to think so: ["Election Matters"].
Nader no longer suggests that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats, but he remains frustrated with the Democrats' caution on issues ranging from corporate corruption to the war. At best, there might be a deal to have Nader avoid campaigning in battleground states, but that would sour relations with the Reform and Green parties. More likely, Nader's biggest impact will be to strengthen the hand of Kerry backers--and antiwar activists--who want the Democrat to develop some kind of Iraq exit strategy. Kerry's been promising to "make it unnecessary for [voters] to support Ralph Nader." He could start by stealing a little of Nader's antiwar thunder.
I doubt that Nader would make any deal or if he did, it wouldn't be this early in the game. Knowing Nader, he is probably going to see what he can put together first before conceding anything. Nader has already rejected the "safe-state" strategy suggested by some Green Party members. So, it is doubtful that will happen openly. Nader could conscientiously ignore certain states while campaigning, effectively implementing a safe-state strategy without admitting it. However, if the Kerry folks are smart - and I know they are - they will limit their criticism of Nader and if the race is close, offer Nader some amount of power. We heard rumors in the late 2000 campaign that there were talks between the campaigns. Instead of offering Nader the attorney general's job or something substantial, the Gore folks took to insinuating that Nader was gay because he didn't have a wife or kids. So pathetic.
Here is Nader's view about his meeting with Kerry: ["Nader - Kerry Meet Productive and Positive Future Meetings and Ongoing Communication Planned"].
Then, there is George Will's take on things: ["Princeton's Progressive Spoiler"].
To Democrats who say he cost Gore the election (Nader got 97,488 votes in Florida, which Gore lost by 537 votes), he replies: There were 100 million nonvoters in 2000. Eight million registered Democrats voted for Bush, 250,000 of them in Florida. He asks angry Democrats, "Why don't you scramble for them?"
Exactly. The Democrats lost because their candidate couldn't hold the base. Sure, Democrats in Florida are very conservative but that isn't the point. If they are still registered Democrats, they must have some fondness for the party and its candidates. However, if they left the Democrat Party and registered as Republicans - since that is who these Democrats tend to vote for - then Florida becomes a Republican state which Gore would have lost anyway, Nader or no Nader, right?
Interestingly, the same piece in Friday's Concord Monitor was entitled, "If Kerry plays to Nader fans, he will lose the election," although Will barely mentions such sentiments and leaves them until the end:
Going from lunch to meet with Kerry, Nader sweetly says he will urge Kerry to "make it" -- a Nader candidacy -- "unnecessary." But the only way for Kerry to remove Nader's threat to his election is by adopting an Iraq policy that would make Kerry's election impossible.
Says who, George Will, a member of the corporate/conservative media establishment who supported this insane invasion? I guess Will hasn't been out in the hustings lately because even some of the most militaristic-types are furious about the invasion. The only people who seem to still support the invasion are unstable Sean Hannity fans.
[Update: the Manchester Union Leader published the Will piece too with the headline: "Nader's campaign rests on a single asset: Iraq." So, three different headlines, three different viewpoints, same article.]
Although, insanity goes both ways, as we can see from this article about's ad campaign in Oregon: ["Campaign to urge Nader backers to pull support"] and this article about a group called which will begin airing ads in Wisconsin: ["Anti-Nader ads to start here"]. Here is classic double-speak from the Nader Factor folks:
The issues that Nader supporters care about -- the environment, corporate responsibility, civil liberties, a sensible foreign policy, and fair trade policies -- were undermined by Nader's own candidacy in 2000.
Again, for the millionth time: Gore was a free trader. Gore was vice president for eight years and did nothing to encourage corporate responsibility. Gore started our nation on the road to friendly fascism with the 1996 domestic anti-terrorism act, the precursor to the PATRIOT Act. Gore didn't do a friggin' thing about the environment while in office for eight years. The Clinton/Gore administration didn't do anything about terrorism except bombing aspirin factories to get the Monica scandal off the front page.
Again, for the millionth time: Kerry is a free trader. Kerry hasn't done a thing about corporate responsibility during 19 years in the senate. In fact, not one single bill Kerry has written every passed the senate. Kerry voted for almost all of Bush's - and Clinton's - bad public policy, including the invasion of Iraq, No Child Left Behind, all the bad trade deals which have cost our nation millions of manufacturing jobs, and civil rights-violating anti-terrorism bills.
Will these people never stop? Or, are they eternally doomed by partisan and political cluelessness? It has become clear that a lot of people with lots of money have way too much time on their hands.
As well, the Nader Factor folks are basing their assumptions that Nader elected Bush on some seriously flawed analysis offered by Harstad Strategic Research, Inc.: ["Concerned Progressives"]. Hilariously - or pathetically, depending on how you look at the analysis - Harstad lumps 100 percent of Nader's votes in New Hampshire and Florida into the Gore column, while ignoring exit polls and numerous polling experts from the state who say Nader had little if any effect on Gore's campaign here: ["Debunking the Myth"]. As I have said a hundred times, it just doesn't work that way!
On the flip side, there is some common sense out there. Check out this piece by Bill Kauffman on Counterpunch: ["Nader v. Bush: Why an Underdog May be the Best Antidote to the Neo-Cons"].
Bush and Kerry say nary a discouraging word about the handful of corporations that control the vast majority of television and radio stations and newspapers in the US. In fact, executives of Clear Channel Communications, the homogenising monster that owns more than 1200 radio stations, are significant Bush donors. Nader, unbeholden to the media monopolists who beam witless smut and moronic celebrity-worship into the homes of compliant Americans, attacks the corporate media as "subversive of family values, parental discipline and wholesome childhoods". He's the only candidate in the race with the guts and the sense to tell Americans to turn off the damned idiot box.
And of course, Bush also has third party competition from the right, in the form of the Libertarian Party: ["Bush's Third-Party Threat"].
Lastly, Nader will be on "This Week" with Stephy on Sunday. He is also touring the Northeast and meeting with potential supporters. Nader will reportedly be in New Hampshire on Thursday, May 27. For more information contact Aaron at

Why I love Wonkette!, reason number 2
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how adorable I thought Ana from the Wonkette! blog was after seeing her provocatively batting eyelashes at Howard Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources."
Well, over the last week, Wonkette! has been totally obsessed with the latest D.C. sex scandal which has all the making of a salacious romance novel: ["Washingtonienne speaks!" and various other links on the Wonkette! site].
An aide for a Republican Ohio senator, a self-proclaimed "Staff Ass[istant]," who accepts "gifts" to provide certain sexual acts to certain Washingtonians, playfully blogging about her love life for all the world to read, which eventually leads her to getting canned ... all this story needs is a president perjuring himself and it could be made into a best-seller or major motion picture!
Another blogger, Dredwerkz, reportedly has her picture posted here: [""]

Cold fusion scientist found slain
I meant to post this earlier in the week. Very eerie: ["NFA grad killed"]. I did not know this guy but I do know a couple of his friends. I have always been intrigued by the cold fusion and free energy scientists and the fact for whatever reason, our society never seems to advance. Sure, there isn't much "profit" in some of these technologies. But at the same time, our government has given the big three automakers billions in tax breaks to come up with energy efficient cars and they haven't done jackshit! All they have done is churned out gas-guzzling SUVs and fritted away money studying hydrogen cars - a process that still makes the driver dependent to some form of fuel. Ford is finally releasing a hybrid Escape, its small SUV line, this year, using the Toyota Prius hybrid engine - not its own engine. So what are these automakers spending those billions on?
There have been all kinds of stories over the years about different forms of "free" energy and how certain interests have tried to stop the scientists and inventors. I remember one story my late-brother told me about a friend of his who came up with some new fuel based on saw dust, wood scraps or something like that. The friend said he had to disappear after Men-in-Black-types started following him around. Then there was the guy who invented the home heating system based on two rotating magnets inside of each other. I remember hearing the story that there was interest in his machine but he refused to sell the patent unless the company could guarantee that every American could get the heating system inexpensively. The company refused and he didn't sell the patents.
Most people regard these scientists as crazy. But what if they aren't? What if they are just a few million dollars in research away from limitless and inexpensive energy beyond just solar and wind? Where is the benefactor who cares about humanity enough to make the small investment in one of these machines? Thinking about it now, where is the investigative reporter to compile all these ideas into a book so that other scientists could look at it and work on the ideas together? Isn't that a small price to pay for something that could benefit everyone while at the same time we are giving billions to the automakers to do nothing?

Lie clocks
I got this joke via email this morning:

An American man died today and went to heaven.
As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. He asked, "What are all those clocks?"
St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie, the hands on your clock will move."
"Oh," said the man, "whose clock is that?"
"That's Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie."
"Incredible," said the man. "And whose clock is that one?"
St.Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life."
"Where's the George Bush clock" asked the man?
"The President's clock is in God's office. He's using it as a ceiling fan."

Friday, May 21, 2004

Ralph Nader met with John Kerry yesterday. Kerry won't ask Nader to drop out. Nader won't drop out. Both are committed to taking out President Bush. Other Democrats are committed to taking out Nader.

"... the difference between a spruce tree and petrified wood."
Another great line from Nader after his meeting with Kerry yesterday: ["Kerry begins effort to woo Nader"]. I don't quite agree with Nader on this one. Is Kerry a more acceptable Democrat than Al Gore? Barely. As noted before, the similarities between Bush and Kerry are pretty shocking: ["Will the Real John Kerry Please Stand Up?"]. Actually, the new Gore - the populist one, the one who has railed against Bush in a couple of speeches - is the Gore the nation needed in 2000 and the kind of Democrat the nation needs right now.
On the flip side, I have to wonder: Maybe Kerry's low-key strategy is working. He has remained dead-even in most [irrelevant] national polls, with Nader drawing as much as 6 percent while at the same time not doing anything to get voters to support him. He has had what, four different campaign themes? ["Fighting for us," "Let America be America again" ... Whoever thought that one up needs to be fired on the spot] Kerry has been goofing off, skiing in Idaho, riding his bike through Concord, Mass., etc.
But look at this: In state-by-state polls - the ones that will award the Electoral College votes needed to be elected president - Kerry is surging: Kerry 289, Bush 243 in one; Bush 276 to Kerry 262 in one put together by a Republican Web master [I'll update the state-by-state numbers on Sunday].
And all during this time, Bush has been hammering away at Kerry, with targeted negative ads pointing to Kerry's flip-flopping. The president is shockingly spending like a drunken, allegedly coke-sniffing, bankrupt oil speculator: ["Bush to launch new anti-Kerry ad blitz"]. Oops, sorry, I forgot, that was what the president used to be.
At the rate he is spending money, Bush will be broke soon. With Nader attempting to gain the votes of disaffected Republicans, the possibility of a Kerry victory seems pretty good.
Then again, can Kerry keep it together? It is still early. Anything can happen. And many of us remember the American Research Group poll of 50 states posted in late September 2000 showing Gore with a 70-plus Electoral College lead and Nader close to getting 5 percent - enough to secure major party status for the Green Party. Gore then huffed and puffed through the debates, blew his lead, frightened millions of votes from Nader at the last minute costing the Greens their status, effectively "won" the presidency but then didn't fight hard enough for it in the Florida recount fiasco, and then allowed Bush to be "selected" by the Supreme Court.
Will this mess happen all over again?

More controversy [and logic] from Hollings:
I was one of a few thousand people who voted for South Carolina Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings in the New Hampshire primary back in 1984 when he ran for president. I got to see him speak at two events during the campaign and admired his stance on the balanced budget amendment, the nuclear freeze, and his strong position with organized labor. I have also followed him during his almost-40 year career in the senate and respected his work fighting for American workers. But like all spirited pols who shoot their mouths off, Fritz has never been too far from controversy.
The latest is a column he wrote accusing President Bush of invading Iraq to take Jewish votes away from the Democrats: ["Why we?re in Iraq"]. While the statement is a controversial one, there may be some truth to the comments. And Hollings isn't the only one who feels this way: ["Senator spoke for many on Hill when he blamed Israel for war"] and ["Senator Hollings Is Right"]. Hollings has since been attacked for being "anti-Semitic."
Unfortunately, as I have stated before, Americans can't have a serious conversation about the influence of Judaism in some sectors of our politics and this is a real problem. Americans freely attack "rightwing Christians," we freely criticize "secular humanists," we ridicule "radical Islam" ... so why can't we talk about Judaism and the influence of preserving Israel has on our foreign policy?
In some ways, religion and race aren't to blame for these problems. Our nation - its soldiers and taxpayers - is cleaning up the mess of Great Britain and the United Nations who cut up the land holdings in the region and awarded them to dictators and monarchs and the creation of a Jewish state in a holy land of both Jews and Palestinians - warring factions who have been fighting for centuries - based on race and religion. So, it still comes back to the religion issue.
In other words, we are fighting unwinnable battles, unwinnable wars, with unending death, with people who don't really want peace. When will our nation learn? When will we walk away?

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Arkansas primary
Kerry - 173,089 - 65.7 percent - 29 delegates.
Uncommitted - 62,011 - 23.5 percent - 7 delegates.
LaRouche - 14,800 - 5.6 percent.
Kucinich - 13,667 - 5.2 percent.

Amazingly, LaRouche beats Kucinich - and gets his highest totals of the campaign.

Bush - 40,293 - 97.2 percent - 32 delegates.
Uncommitted - 1,140 - 2.8 percent.

Kentucky primary
Kerry - 138,152 - 60.1 percent - 44 delegates.
Edwards - 33,267 - 14.5 percent.
Uncommitted - 21,194 - 9.2 percent - 7 delegates.
Lieberman - 11,065 - 4.8 percent.
Dean - 8,222 - 3.6 percent.
Clark - 6,516 - 2.8 percent.
Sharpton - 5,014 - 2.2 percent.
Kucinich - 4,508 - 2 percent.
LaRouche - 1,816 - 0.8 percent.

Hmmm: 40 percent of Democrats voting for a candidate other than Kerry.

Bush - 108,032 - 92.6 percent - 46 delegates.
Uncommitted - 8,588 - 7.4 percent.

Oregon primary
Kerry - 283,534 - 81 percent - 38 delegates.
Kucinich - 58,268 - 16.6 percent - 4 delegates.
LaRouche - 8,365 - 2.4 percent.
Uncommitted - 11 delegates.

Here are some of Kucinich's strongest numbers.

Bush - 287,019 - 31 delegates.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Kerry, Nader and the VP slot:
The Web is all abuzz about the latest political news.
First, the summit: ["Kerry and Nader to meet Wednesday"]. How would you like to be a fly on that wall?
Then, there's the VP slot. Who will it be? Could it be, Clark? ["In Kerry veepstakes, Clark is the wild card"] or Edwards?: ["Edwards Emerging As First Choice"] or Gephardt?: ["Teamsters boss pushes Kerry-Gephardt ticket"] or is it all just a fantasy? ["Fantasy Veepstakes"]. I'm betting Gephardt.
Here is a good reason to have Gephardt on the ticket: ["Factory Bush Touted Closes; 1,300 Ohioans Jobless"]. Imagine Dick Gephardt running around the rust belt yelling about the factories going overseas. That is something Kerry can't do to get votes since he is a free trader. It could be the difference between winning and losing.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Gettin' Kerry to resign:
Citizens United, a conservative grassroots group in Massachusetts, is collecting signatures to try and force Kerry to resign: ["Citizens group hits Kerry on no-show"]. The reason? Well, Kerry missed a vote on extending jobless benefits to the unemployed - which failed by one vote: ["Senate rejects extended jobless benefits"]. Way to show you're "Fighting for us," eh John?
Speaking of Kerry, he won't be taking up Dennis Kucinich on his offer to do a joint appearance in Oregon tomorrow. According to his travel schedule, Kerry will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision in Topeka on Monday morning, arrive in Portland around 1:20 p.m., rally with Howard Dean at 5 p.m., hold a roundtable discussion to "Expand Economic Opportunity and Build a Stronger America" somewhere around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, and then depart at 11 a.m. I wonder if Kucinich will crash the event or just mope around somewhere.
And what about all this McCain stuff? ["Undeterred by McCain Denials, Some See Him as Kerry's No. 2"] . Won't the Washington cocktail crowd and the media please let this thing die? John McCain is a Republican. He has endorsed President Bush. McCain is pro-life, pro-free trade, pro-drilling in ANWR, pro-Iraq invasion, etc. Sure, he shoots from the hip and people like him. But so does Jesse Ventura and you don't see him being offered the ticket. Please, just stop this nonsense. Stop it now!
Kerry also received the endorsement from the International Brotherhood of Police Officers earlier this week: ["Police union rejects Bush, backs Kerry"].
And then there is this: ["Rolling Stone Editor Rallies Artists for Kerry"]. I wonder if Wenner will airbrush Kerry's manhood on the cover to make him look more, ahem, more endowed - like he did for Al Gore: [""].

Battle between the red and blue - in New Hampshire:

Results from the 2000 election. Red represents towns George W. Bush won. Blue is where Al Gore won.

I forgot to post this series, "Politics in Red and Blue," earlier this week in the Concord Monitor analyzing the 2004 election. The first four were from the Washington Post and then the Monitor localized the concept. Interestingly, they call undecided/swing voters "purple" or a combination of blue and red. But what if you want neither? What is Nader's color? Last time it was Green. This time? Don't know. To be designated purple, one has to be seriously considering a vote for Bush. Since I won't be voting for Bush under any circumstances, I wouldn't really be purple, maybe dark green [a combination of blue and green, according to the color wheel] or some other color. Don't know. Here are the links:

["Bush and Kerry reflect nation's big political rift"].
["Across America, a wide political divide"].
["These Democrats keep finding hearts in San Francisco"].
["At home at the political extremes"].
["Is there such a thing as a purple person?"].
["Concord's blue Ward 4 stays true to liberal heritage"].
["What's quaint and red all over?"].
["Red against blue"].
["Politically, state is up for grabs"].

MA CD 5: Meehan gets challengers:
Democratic Rep. Marty "Osama Bin" Meehan will have a Republican challenger once again this year. However, will it be the Libertarian-Republican or the Democratic-Republican?: ["2 Republican candidates compete to unseat Meehan"].

Nader still pulling support from both sides
While national preference polls are meaningless, here is more evidence that independent candidate Ralph Nader is pulling votes from both the Republican and Democrat nominees: ["Poll: Support for Bush, Iraq war dropping"]. Without Nader: Kerry 51, Bush 46. With Nader: Kerry 49, Bush 44, Nader 6. Nader "takes" 3 percent from Kerry and 2 percent from Bush. So much for worrying about Nader taking only from Kerry.

Sunday polls:
On Sunday mornings from time to time I am going to post the latest polling data from states around the country.
Arizona: Bush 45, Kerry 37, Nader 7, Undecided 11 [Behavioral Research Center].
California: Kerry 46, Bush 45, Other/Undecided 9 [SurveyUSA].
Florida: Kerry 48, Bush 46, Nader 3 [Hamilton Beattie & Staff ].
Florida: Bush 44, Kerry 44 [Rasmussen].
Illinois: Kerry 47, Bush 39, Nader 2 [Mason-Dixon].
Kentucky: Bush 52, Kerry 40 [Bluegrass Poll].
Michigan: Bush 44, Kerry 40, Nader 2, Undecided 14 [Mitchell Research & Communications Inc.].
New Jersey: Kerry 43, Bush 37, Nader 2, Undecided 18 [Star-Ledger Rutgers/Eagleton Poll].
Ohio: Kerry 49, Bush 42, Nader 2, Undecided 7 [American Research Group].
Oregon: Bush 44, Kerry 39, Nader 0, Other 7, Undecided 12 [Other was not specified but since there is primary there Tuesday, who knows. Riley Research]
Oregon: Kerry 47, Bush 45, Nader 3, Undecided 5 [Research 2000].
Oregon: Bush 45, Kerry 45, Nader 5 [American Research Group].
Pennsylvania: Kerry 49, Bush 43 [Bennett, Petts & Blumenthal].
Utah: Bush 67, Kerry 22, Nader 3 [Deseret News].
Wisconsin: Kerry 49, Bush 40, Nader 2 [Lake Snell Perry & Assoc.].
Vermont: Kerry 51, Bush 36, Nader 4 [Research 2000].

Samboni now has it at Kerry 258, Bush 226, Undecided 54. Two weeks ago he had Bush 266, Kerry 245, Undecided 27:
David Wissing has it at Bush 280, Kerry 256. Two weeks ago he had Bush 300, Kerry 238:

Arrrgh, let's getta some gold!

Pretty interesting story about treasure hunting in Jamaica: ["Jamaicans Angry Over U.S. Treasure Hunt"]. The problem I see with this is that it is a total giveaway to the treasure hunters. Sure, they should be able to reap some of the spoils - but half? I don't know. That seems like a lot, especially when the majority of people in Jamaica are pretty poor. Although, there are thousands of poor people in our country and we give away all kinds of natural resources to business interests for nothing all the time. However, some of these items - if not all - belong in a museum, not unlike Egyptian or other rare artifacts.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Very interesting

Two recent articles in the Boston Globe about the 2000 election are very interesting and prove some of the previous points I have made in this blog.
First, from yesterday, it looks like some Dartmouth Greens are holding their noses and voting for Kerry: ["Pragmatism drives N.H. Naderites to Kerry"]. Now, this is typical type of article published by the Boston Globe which continues to blame Ralph Nader for Gore losing N.H. while ignoring all kinds of evidence to the contrary. Also, mentioning that a handful of college Greens has no plans to vote for Nader isn't such a surprise since Nader has all but blown off the Green Party and its nomination. While they may think Nader is "an idol," these young Greens don't have any loyalty to the man if they are concerned about party-building for the Greens or just want President Bush out of office. However, note this great line in the story:
Bill Shaheen, who ran Gore's operation in New Hampshire in 2000 and is now in charge of Kerry's campaign here, said the campaign is determined to avoid what he sees as Gore's error, writing off states such as New Hampshire, Ohio, and West Virginia too early, when Bush had not solidified support there.
Shaheen, husband of former governor Jeanne Shaheen, Kerry's campaign chairwoman, recalled: "Gore never thought New Hampshire was in play, even though Jeanne was running for a third term, and then three weeks before the general election [the Gore campaign] told me New Hampshire was in play and to get busy. But we had no staff, no money, no budget.
Oh, so that's why Gore lost: He never thought N.H. was in play so he didn't bother until it was too late! It wasn't Nader after all - it was Gore's fault for blowing the state off until the last minute! For years now, Nader supporters have been getting hammered because Gore lost the presidency and in the end, it was Gore's decision to blow off important states he needed to win that cost him the election.
Absolutely amazing. What a great dose of truth from Shaheen - after all these years.
As well, here is another really great point made in the article that needs to be highlighted:
And there are other variables: Republicans are expected to dominate the New Hampshire ballot this November, with Governor Craig Benson, Senator Judd Gregg, and the state's two representatives up for reelection.
"Kerry won't have the kind of inverse coattails that Bush will have from Republicans in the state," Smith said. "Gregg's seat is so safe, for instance, he can just campaign for Bush this fall."
So whether there is a Nader ballot line or not, Kerry is still going to have trouble here. The Globe story - of course - ignores the fact that exit polls show that Nader received twice as many votes from registered Republicans than Democrats in 2000. Although, the piece is quick to point out that Gore lost by 7,000 votes and Nader got over 21,000. Typical.

The second piece is one by Mickey Edwards, a former JFK School of Government professor and representative to Congress from Oklahoma who posts this opinion piece: ["The making of the next Al Gore"]. I especially like these opening lines:
AFTER AL GORE lost the last presidential election, frustrated Democrats publicly blamed his defeat on everybody but Al Gore. They blamed Katherine Harris and Ralph Nader. They blamed Bill Clinton and the Supreme Court. Privately, however, they blamed Gore himself. The country was at peace, the economy strong. Bill Clinton had moved the Democratic Party away from its leftist inclinations and back to the political center. How, they wondered, could Al Gore have blown it? Forget Florida; the bigger question was, why was it even close? It is a question John Kerry should consider, for he is in the process of becoming the next Al Gore.
Kucinich challenges Kerry to meet:
Barring another major intern scandal or something more heinous, John Kerry will be the Democratic nominee in Boston this July. However, Dennis Kucinich continues to campaign for the nomination. I don't know why he is doing this since it is very clear that he won't win. As well, even if Kerry - by some strange miracle - is rejected by the convention, Kucinich will never get the nod. So, why campaign? Well, the Baltimore Sun's Jules Witcover explains why here, via Common Dreams: ["Kucinich Battles On"]. Earlier this morning, the Kucinich campaign - noting that both Kerry and Kucinich will be campaigning in Oregon before Tuesday's primary - offered a joint appearance:
"With both of us being there at the same time, I think that we, as Democrats, have a unique opportunity to jointly share with voters our vision of how the Democratic Party can take this nation in a new direction - especially as it relates to the war in Iraq and our position in the international community. In these past several weeks, I have been asked over and over again by the people of Oregon how the policies of a Democratic Administration will differ from those of the current Republican Administration. Obviously, I can speak only for myself, but next week, you and I have an opportunity to answer those questions together and to listen to what the voters have to say in the interest of building a strong and unified base of support that will lead to a Democratic victory in November."
In some ways, it was a lost moment for Kucinich. He had the opportunity to be a bigger candidate than he was in the primaries. I stated some of this analysis here: ["State of the game, 2004"] and here: ["DailyKos post"].

MA CD 4: Morse makes ballot:
Former radio talk show host and self-proclaimed "rightwing extremist" Chuck Morse has submitted enough signatures to challenge Democrat Rep. Barney Frank as an independent in November. Morse, who originally intended to run as a Republican but got caught in a registration snafu, said in a press release that he was "grateful" to voters and local officials who guided him through the signature process.
"I fully expect that the friends I?ve made in Republican circles will retain interest in my candidacy and as the campaign progresses, unenrolled voters will support me in sufficient numbers to make this a very competitive election."
So far, Morse will be the only candidate facing Frank in 2004. Here is an interesting article from the New Bedford Standard-Times from last month about Morse's trip to D.C. to raise money: ["Frank's opponent Morse goes to Washington"]. Previously, Morse was a talk show host at various metropolitan Boston radio stations including WMFO, WBPS, and WROL. "Talkers Magazine" recently listed Morse as one of the "Hot 100 upcoming talk show hosts in America."

Another reason blogging is so fascinating:
We have all been shocked and horrified by the beheading of Nick Berg. But what if it wasn't him? What if it wasn't true? How would you know? Well, you wouldn't. But some in the blog world suspect the video is fake: ["Bloggers doubt Berg execution video"]. And then there is this: ["Berg's encounter with 'terrorist' revealed"].
According to Berg, his son was taking a course a few years ago at a remote campus of the University of Oklahoma near an airport. He described how on one particular day, his son met "some terrorist people -- who no one knew were terrorists at the time."
At one point during the bus ride, Berg said, the man sitting next to his son asked if he could use Nick's laptop computer.
"It turned out this guy was a terrorist and that he, you know, used my son's e-mail, amongst many other people's e-mail who he did the same thing to," Berg said.
Government sources said Berg gave the man his password, which was later used by Moussaoui, the sources said.
Wow is the least a person can say.

Good luck Martin!
Martin Voelker, the host of "No U Turn Radio" on WMFO in Medford, will be moving to Colorado with his family and will be taking a part-time job with David Barsamian's "Alternative Radio".

Friday, May 14, 2004

Pot calling the kettle black?

KISS bassist Gene Simmons.

Gene Simmons, the bassist for KISS, tore into the Muslim religion on Australian radio yesterday: ["Outrage as KISS player mouths off on Muslims"]. While most of this is pretty outrageous, check out this section:

The Israeli-born US musician went on to say Islam was a "vile culture" that treated women worse than dogs.
Muslim women had to walk behind their men and were not allowed to be educated or own houses, he said.
"Your dog, however, can walk side by side, your dog is allowed to have its own dog house... you can send your dog to school to learn tricks, sit, beg, do all that stuff - none of the women have that advantage."

Treat women like dogs? Give me a break. This is Gene Simmons - a total whore of a man - who brags about sleeping with thousands of women, often tossing them away after he is through with them! I will admit that the lack of human rights in the Arab world can't be compared equally to Simmons' sexual tastes. But let's be honest: They could both be considered a bit abusive.
How do I get one of these?

Scaled Composites, the company that built SpaceShipOne, as photographed this April in a flight from Edwards Air Force Base.

Instead of wasting billions of dollars blowing up people in the desert for oil, why can't we utilize these funds to go into the great beyond? Here is just one cool example of how this money could be better spent: ["SpaceShipOne makes third rocket-powered flight"]. Investing in projects like this - along with the Mars mission - creates jobs, educates our children, gets us to dream beyond just what is in front of our faces. Why does no one in power seem to get this?

Kerry gets Sierra Club nod:
No surprise here: ["Sierra Club Endorses Kerry For President"]. However, is Bush really that bad? Sure, we have seen some examples of outright nutty policy. But then again, some extreme environmentalists can be outright nutty too. While Bush wants to drill in ANWR and Kerry has voted against the drilling, Kerry recently told James Hoffa that he wanted to create more jobs drilling in Alaska so ... However, between proposals to regulate corporations and 40 years of work on environmental issues, Ralph Nader is still the better candidate on environmental issues. Let's not forget: It was Nader who got Nixon to pass the Clean Air and Clean Water acts - while not holding a seat in power. Kerry, during 19 years in the senate, hasn't passed one major piece of legislation. That says something.

More pain from Berg's family:
Boy, it's painful to watch this family deal with the death of their son. However, we are getting a better picture of the type of character the family has: ["Berg Died for Bush, Rumsfeld 'Sins' - Father"].

Berg described the Patriot Act as a "coup d'etat." He added: "It's not the same America I grew up in."
Michael Berg rejected U.S. government claims that his son had never been held by American authorities in Iraq. The Iraqi police chief in the city of Mosul has also contradicted statements by the U.S.-led coalition concerning the younger Berg's detention.
"I have a written statement from the State Department in Baghdad ... saying that my son was being held by the military," Berg said. "I can also assure you that the FBI came to my house on March 31 and told me that the FBI had him in Mosul in an Iraqi prison."

Analyzing the 'chickenhawks':
Here is some pretty good analysis: ["Chickenhawk Groupthink?"].

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, recently tore into the "chickenhawks.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Video of Mexican UFOs!
The Mexican Air Force has released video of unidentified rapidly moving objects in the sky near Mexico City: ["Mexican Air Force Releases Photos Of Alleged UFOs"].

Berk's father blames the military:
Boy, do I really feel for this family. As if the beheading tragedy couldn't get any worse, his father, Michael Berk, tears into the U.S. military: ["Beheaded man's father blames US military"]. There is also a rumor that the father was on a Free Republic's enemies list.

Nader gets Reform nod:
Well, we knew this was coming: ["Nader Receives Endorsement of Reform Party USA"]. Too bad the party didn't have the $12 million in FEC funds that Pat Buchanan burned through in 2000. The endorsement will secure seven state ballots for Nader - Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana and South Carolina. Expect the Independence Party in Minnesota and New York - formerly affiliated with the Reform Party - to follow suit. Could a Jesse Ventura VP slot be coming soon?

GM Wheat is out:
According to Friends of the Earth, genetically modified wheat will no longer be commercialized by Monsanto: ["Monsanto Drops GM Wheat: "Worldwide Victory for Consumers" says Friends of the Earth"].

Turner gets spanked by World Net Daily:
Green-Rainbow Party Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner got spanked today over photos published in the Boston Globe that he claimed showed American soldiers raping Iraqi women: ["Boston Globe publishes bogus GI rape pictures"]. According to Dan Kennedy's Media Log, WRKO's Howie Carr laid into Turner on his show this afternoon. Turner called in to defend himself but didn't apologize, according to Kennedy's post. Turner is a really good guy. He is one of the only councilors that consistently fights for social justice, reform, democracy, and freedom. Everyone gets a fair shake in his office. This is why he got caught up in all of this. As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.

Here is the picture that is causing controversy at the Boston Globe.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Nick Berg, R.I.P.:
My prayers and thoughts go out the family of Nick Berg, an American citizen looking for work in Iraq who was beheaded today by reported members of the Al Quaida terrorist group: ["Islamic website shows beheading of American"]. While I worry about all the war dead and feel for their families, this incident was truly horrific - and unnecessary. I can't imagine the pain the family must have felt seeing this on the Web or the news. While some invasion supporters will use this issue to rally the nation around the war and attack people who are against the war, the simple fact is that Nick Berg should have been home with his family - like all the other Americans over there. They should be at home not in the middle of the desert dying for oil. It really is that simple.

900 pages I won't be reading:
Bubba's book is way too big: ["Former president finishes 900-page memoir"]. Ugh.

Detainees to talk?
The Sept. 11 Commission is close to finishing up. But there are still a few people to talk to: ["9/11 panel sets sights on talking to Al Qaeda members"].

Strange things in the sky:
Wow! ["Mexico Air Force Video Creates UFO Stir"]. UFO Roundup is reporting all kinds of activity all around the world. "Colorful unidentified flying objects" have been spotted in the Caspian Sea region. In Sydney, Australia, "luminous UFOs" were reportedly scene. In Manchester, England, a man reportedly videotaped "a black rectangle" UFO. A low-flying yellow UFO was spotted in Argentia and a triangular UFO was seen two weeks ago in Varnville, South Carolina. The reporter stated he was walking his dog "when it passed almost directly over me, it looked like three white lights on the bottom, almost forming a triangular shape." In Jackson, Mississippi, a silver disk was seen last week near a TV tower. What the hell is going on up there?

At least one Democrat is standing up for himself:
["Stark voice mail on Iraq vote winds up on Limbaugh, Net"].

"I doubt if you could spell half the words in your letter. But I'll call you back later and let you tell me more about why you think you're such a great, goddamn hero, and why you think that this general and the defense department who forced these poor enlisted guys to do what they did shouldn't be held to account -- that's the issue. So if you want to stick it to a bunch of enlisted guys, have your way, but if you want to get to the bottom of the people who forced this awful program in Iraq, then you should understand more about it than you obviously do. Thanks."

Nebraska primary:
Kerry - 19,187 - 75.3 percent.
Edwards - 3,331 - 13.1 percent.
Dean - 1,687 - 6.6 percent.
Kucinich - 578 - 2.3 percent.
Sharpton - 437 - 1.7 percent.
LaRouche - 266 - 1 percent.
Uncommitted - 6 delegates.

Bush - 37,566 - 100 percent.

West Virginia primary:
Kerry - 44,595 - 69.4 percent.
Edwards - 8,973 - 14 percent.
Lieberman - 3,495 - 5.4 percent.
Dean - 2,537 - 3.9 percent.
Clark - 2,227 - 3.5 percent.
Kucinich - 1,612 - 2.5 percent.
LaRouche - 836 - 1.3 percent.

Bush - 10,345 - 100 percent.