Tuesday, October 26, 2004

R.I.P. John Peel: Groundbreaking UK DJ John Peel died today. He was 65: ["Legendary British DJ John Peel Dies"]. Most underground music fans know Peel from his "Peel Session" releases. Because he was such a big alternative DJ in England, bands would re-record their songs for his show, creating special versions which would often be released as rare import EPs. Such a loss for the industry.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

This is too funny ...

This is too funny:
["Bush Wins Florida!"]

This is not:
Of course, the voting problems have just started. Here is a roundup of some of the stories:
["Battleground vote fraud alleged"]. There has been a lot on the Web about this story.
["Florida looks into vote fraud"]. Again, Florida. Ugh.
["Florida probes activists' voter-registration effort"].
["Election tactics push envelope"]. Hmm: Don't give Republicans absentee ballots, eh?
["Voting Irregularities In Dona Ana County"].
["Early voting brings cries of bullying"]. I wonder if they should be allowing this early voting stuff. Absentee ballots? Sure. Machine voting weeks before the election. I don't know.
["Vote fraud: What they aren't telling you"]. OK, Devvy Kidd is a little out there. But, that doesn't mean she is lying.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Dems twisting figures: This was splashed all over Common Dreams last week from Democrat Celinda Lake's group, again, twisting the numbers around to make Nader look bad: ["Nader Voters Favor Kerry Over Bush by 3-to-1 Margin"]. Of course, nowhere in the press release does it mention that this polling firm is a partisan Democratic strategy firm. Note from their Web site:

"Lake Snell Perry & Associates principals are among the Democratic Party's leading strategists ... LSPA is led by its president, Celinda Lake ..."
As all politicos know, Lake is a long-time Democratic Party strategist, who along with Stanley Greenberg, has worked on almost every Democratic presidential campaign in the last two decades. A Google of her name often labels her "a Democratic pollster." So, of course a pro-Democrat Party group is going to do anything they can to make Nader look bad just like all the other thugs out there attacking Nader. Also, look at the specifics:

"The survey was conducted in Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, West Virginia, for The Nation Institute, a public foundation dedicated to an independent, free press. ... The survey was conducted October 17-19 of 500 registered voters (including 300 Nader voters and 200 who like Nader but are undecided or weak Kerry supporters). It has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent."
So, they interviewed 500 voters in seven states. That's like 71 voters per state! You can't determine what people think with only 71 interviews in each of those states!
However, let's look at the exit polling data from 2000 for some more thorough results.
First, in Florida, Nader took equally from both sides: 1 percent of the Republican vote and 1 percent of the Democrat vote. In New Hampshire, Nader earned twice as many Republican votes as Democrat votes: 2 to 1. In other states, Nader took equally from both parties or even more from Republicans despite the refusal of partisans to accept these facts.
In 2004 polls, as I have noted here numerous times, Nader is taking votes from Republicans everywhere. As noted by Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News, on CNN recently, the USA Today/CNN/Gallup national poll has shown Nader taking more votes from Bush than Kerry consistently. Winger specifically mentioned the fact that both Kerry and Bush support more illegal immigration and many conservatives with nowhere else to turn, are turning to Nader. Yet, at the same time, no one is saying a thing about poll after poll showing the hoards of Democrats who are voting for Bush.

One of the things I hate about Common Dreams is that they post these press releases and don't allow anyone to challenge the "facts" in the press releases. The best anyone can do is just do what I did here, which is to point out that Celinda Lake is a Democratic partisan and the way partisans have been acting towards Nader, her opinion or the data she reveals, cannot be trusted.
I can't believe ... That I have managed to get myself suckered in to watching the Red Sox again. After last year's debacle, I told myself, "Never again." As a baseball fan, that is a hard thing to do. This year, I think I saw all of two or three innings all year. Sure, I might skim the sport pages of the Herald to see what was going on but I didn't really follow the team. Instead, I played men's softball twice a week and had one hell of a time playing the sport instead of sitting on the couch watching the pros.
However, my wife started watching them during the championship series with the dreaded Yankees and I got pulled into the Sox maelstrom again.
After Saturday night's humiliating 19-8 loss, I thought for sure it was over. But over the next four games the Sox pulled off a miracle which was watched in disbelief by millions. So bring on the Cards. Maybe this the Sox's year after all. Go Sox!

A terrible tragedy: The death of Emerson College student Victoria Snelgrove was a terrible tragedy and it could have been prevented. Unfortunately, most people have focused their disgust on the media - which I will get to in a minute - and the cop who shot her, instead of the people who are really responsible.
For so many years, the city of Boston, its leaders, and its universities, have done nothing - NOTHING - to reign in the out-of-control, drunk, and arrogant college students who run amok in the town. This has been going on for years and years and years. We're not talking about "Animal House"-styled pranks. We're talking outright criminal and toxic behavior. Residents, property owners, and law abiding citizens have been begging - pleading - for the city to do something about drunk and out-of-control college students. And every time, they have been ignored. The mayor hasn't done a thing about it even though residents have complaining for years. He just goes off about how great this school is and that university is. It's an embarrassment and a tragedy and now it is even more tragic.
About the media: The reaction to the Herald printing an almost full page front photo of Snelgrove's bloody body lying on the ground has been pretty swift. Dan Kennedy's take is here: ["A Tabloid's New Low"].
The Herald's editorial director Ken Chandler will offer an apology tomorrow but Dan printed it today:

"The Herald today published two graphic photos that angered and upset many in our community. For that I apologize. Our aim was to demonstrate this terrible tragedy as comprehensively as possible. In retrospect, the images of this unusually ugly incident were too graphic."
On the Herald's Web site, where they have been allowing comments like a blog, there has been a slew of letters: [eLetters].
Of course, no one has said word one about all the TV coverage [Howie Carr talked about it tonight] with Kennedy mentioning that the Globe had the photo too. But the larger point is that this can be used as a tool for parents to warn their children not only to behave themselves but to also avoid mobs. It will also, hopefully, lead to more action taken against drunken lunatics and the colleges that house them. It is time for the city to get tough on these students and these schools. For far too long, the residents of Boston have been held hostage because of these institutions. Now is the time to fix these problems.

ABC's new shows: I'm not a big fictional TV person. I prefer to watch C-Span or cable news. But of late, I have enjoyed some of the new TV shows this season on ABC.
The first one, "Lost," is pretty interesting. An airliner crashes on a remote island and there is some unknown monster out there. The plane is off course so there is no way rescue teams can find them. Through flashbacks, we learn about the passengers' lives and some oddities about the characters. The older brother from "Party of 5" plays the main character and there is a guy who was on "Millenium" playing this kinda creepy guy. I wonder if they will spend the whole season introducing us to the characters and wait until the end to unveil the monster.
"Desperate Housewives" is another show which ABC had been promoing all summer and I am enjoying it. Sure, it is a bit racy; but how can you not watch all those hot older women? Terry Hatcher looks so great although Nicole Sheridan has not aged well. The woman who plays the cold wife and used to be on "Melrose Place" also plays a loony perfectionist.
"Boston Legal," the off-shoot of "The Practice," isn't so good without some of the stronger characters from the previous show. I like James Spader a lot. In fact, I've liked almost everything he has ever been in. But he can't save the show. William Shatner's character is getting annoying. In every seen, he IDs himself as "Denny Crane." It got old in the latter weeks of "The Practice" and is getting really old now. But there are some other potentially strong characters, including some unknown female actresses who put on a pretty good show as attorneys.
And, I can't wait for the return of "Alias."

Unity map finally gets it right: In previous posts, we have chastised The Unity Campaign, an anti-Nader outfit, that has been twisting polling numbers to make Ralph Nader look like he was stealing the presidency from John Kerry even though there wasn't much truth to the numbers. Well, the latest posting of the map finally gets it right, showing no Nader effect: [Nader 04 Impact Map]. The presidency is a toss-up. We have all known this for a long time. And now the Nader-haters have finally started being honest about it.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Left Hook zinger: Wow, did anyone see this piece? ["In Defense of Ralph Nader"]. I don't know this guy but this is a great piece. I couldn't have said it better myself. And the Zachary Taylor analogy is a great one. At the same site, there is this: ["Of icebergs and islands: Captain David Cobb abets the Collapse of the Left"]. Another great entry on the site which really does question the need for third parties if they aren't going to be third parties.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs yeah: The band The Yeah Yeah Yeahs will release their first DVD, "Tell Me What Rockers to Swallow," on Oct. 19, which will include their amazing live performance of "Maps" from the 2004 MTV Movie Awards.

Candidates arrested: Well, at least it wasn't Nader this time: ["Candidates arrested at debate"].

Friday, October 8, 2004

Third party candidates debate: For those of you who didn't think it would happen, four of the independent candidates for president - Reform Party Presidential nominee Ralph Nader and Green Party candidate David Cobb, Constitution Party candidate Michael Peroutka and Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik - will be joining "Now with Bill Moyers" for a one hour discussion about issues that should be in the debate.
On WGBH 2 out of Boston, it will air tonight at 8 p.m. On WENH 11 in New Hampshire, it will air Sunday at 4 p.m. Check your local listings here: [http://www.pbs.org/now/sched.html].

It's dead even: David Wissing, who has been tracking the state polls all year at his Hedgehog Report, has the race a dead even 269 to 269 between Bush and Kerry! His site is here: [THR Poll Watch]. This is huge for a bunch of reasons. First, it is the first time all year that the race has been "tied" according to compiled polls. Second, just before the first debate, Bush had a 90-vote EC lead on some polls. For Kerry to literally vault up so high after just one debate is a bit of a surprise. However, is it really? In 2000, Al Gore has a 74-vote EC lead and huffed and puffed it away in the first debate. He was as close as you can get to an incumbent in that race, being a sitting vice president and all.
Update: Late last night, Wissing updated his page and now has it 270-268, awarding one of Maine's EC votes - the state isn't a winner-take-all EC state; Nebraska isn't either - to Bush. Colorado may also award its EC votes by congressional district win instead of state win if the initiative petition passes in November. Personally, I think this is a good idea and it would be a good way "liberalize" the EC without eliminating it entirely.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

R.I.P.: Rodney Dangerfield

Where was Dr. Vinnie Boombah when you needed him? Goodbye, Rodney. Thanks for all the laughs.

Saturday, October 2, 2004

Reality is sometimes too much ...

I didn't watch the entire Republican convention but after watching this Quicktime movie of some selected clips from speeches, it is downright frightening: ["George W. Bush: Keeping America Scared"]. Was Bush wearing an earplug at the debate Thursday night? Some people think so: ["Bush Blows It!"]. Want some more fun with sound? Check out Bill O'Reilly getting set up with an old Bart Simpson trick: ["Jack Mehoffer"].

Rock show: The Boss and others hit the road for Kerry the other night: ["Rockers Open Tour in Support of Kerry"]. You have to love this quote from Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks:
"We have nothing to lose at this point, so any sort of fear or inhibition is out the window. We definitely want a regime change, and now that we're getting down to the wire I'm even less afraid to speak out. I just think things are absolutely life or death right now. We sort of weeded out the people who apparently didn't know who we were, though we never felt like we were trying to hide what we thought. Free speech is not free: we paid dearly. But we're more determined and stronger now. And from this point on, what fans we have will be our true fans.''
'We're prepared for when you get drafted ...' ["Come to Canada ..."].

Lost nuke?: Boy, it's good the terrorists didn't find out about this: ["Air Force Begins Search of Wassaw Sound"].

Friday, October 1, 2004

Pre-debate Poll Watch:
As promised, here is the last polls posted before the debate last night.
As of Oct. 1, according to most Electoral College vote watchers, John Kerry is behind President George W. Bush:

* The Hedgehog Report has it Bush 296, Kerry 242.
* Electoral-College.com has it Bush 296, Kerry 238, tied 4.
* Election Projection has it Bush 295, Kerry 243.
* Samboni has it Bush 295, Kerry 197, Undecided 46.

Is Nader impacting Kerry?
For months, we have been tracking whether independent candidate Ralph Nader is having any potentially impact on Kerry's numbers. In almost all of the polling, he isn't: Kerry either wins the states with or without Nader. In just a few polls through the entire month of September is Nader a factor:

* Colorado: A Rocky Mountain News poll from Sept. 17 showed a one point Bush lead: 45, Kerry 44, Nader 3, and 6 percent Undecided. However, the poll did not ask voters who they would support with only two candidates.

* New Hampshire: A Research 2000 poll from Sept. 23 Bush and Kerry are tied with 46 percent. Nader has 2 with 6 percent Undecided. Without Nader in the poll, Kerry gains a point: 47 to 46. Nader received 1 percent of the Democrat vote. Nader is on the ballot in N.H. but even if he weren't, Kerry would still lose the presidency based on the current polling.

* West Virginia: An ARG poll shows Bush and Kerry tied with 46. Nader has 2 percent with 1 percent for other and 6 Undecided. Nader earns 2 percent of the Democrat vote and 1 percent of the Republican vote while Bush gets 21 of the Democratic vote.

Nader helping Kerry?
In at least

* Wisconsin: A Sept. 16 ARG poll shows a Bush Kerry tie: 46 to 46, with Nader taking 1 percent. However, Nader earns 1 percent of the Republican vote and 0 percent of the Democrat vote. Democrats voting for Bush? 11 percent.

Democrats abandoning Kerry
While Democrats scream about the Nader candidacy, there is a larger problem they refuse to address: The fact that droves of Democrats are backing Bush. In poll after poll, registered Democrats are abandoning their own nominee even in the tight swing states.

* Alabama - Sept. 16 ARG: Bush 54, Kerry 40, Nader 1. 15 percent of Democrats voting for Bush.
* Alaska - Sept. 12 ARG: Bush 57, Kerry 30, Nader 5, Others 3. 12 percent of Democrats voting for Bush.
* Arizona - Sept. 23 Survey USA: Bush 54, Kerry 43, Other 2 [Nader is not on the ballot here], Undecided 1. 16 percent of Democrats voting for Bush.
* Arkansas - Sept. 29 Survey USA: Bush 53, Kerry 44, Other 2, Undecided 2. 11 percent of Democrats voting for Bush.
* Colorado - Sept. Survey USA: Bush 52, Kerry 44, Other 3, Undecided 2. 8 percent of Democrats voting for Bush.

* Oregon - Sept. : Bush 48, Kerry 47, Other 3 [Nader not on the ballot], 2 Undecided. 9 percent of Democrats voting for Bush.
* Pennsylvania - Sept. 19: Kerry 47, Bush 46, Nader 1, Other 1, Undecided 5. 11 percent voting for Bush. A Qunnipiac poll from Sept. 26: Kerry 49, Bush 46. 9 percent of Democrats voting for Bush.
* Tennessee - Sept. 23: Bush, 55 Kerry 41, Other 2, Undecided 2. Democrats voting for Bush? 9 percent.
* Texas - Sept. 12 Survey USA: Bush 58, Kerry 37, Other 2 [Nader is not on the ballot], Undecided 3. 13 percent of Democrats voting for Bush.
* Virginia - Sept. 23 Survey USA: Bush 53, Kerry 42, Other 3 [Nader is not on the ballot], Undecided 2. 9 percent of Democrats voting for Bush.

* Iowa: A Research 2000 poll from Sept. 22 Bush has 47, Kerry has 45, Nader 2, with 6 percent Undecided. In a two-way race: Bush leads 47 to 46 with 7 percent Undecided. Deep inside the poll, other numbers were revealed. Nader earns the same amount of Republican votes as Democratic votes: 1 percent. At the same time, 7 percent of Democrats plan on voting for Bush.

The Badnarik Factor:
In more states than Nader, Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik could be having an effect on Bush's poll position.