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Wednesday, December 31, 2003
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By Steven Taylor @ 8:50 pm

Crime rates, slated to rise, fell in 2003

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A Quick Follow-Up

By Steven Taylor @ 8:10 pm

Chris Lawrence raises a legitimate point in regards to voting equipment which is that the differential in error rates may not justify the money needed to replace old machines, especially in poor counties which coiuld better use resources for education, law enforcement, and so forth.

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One Last Post (at least for now) on Clark, Race and Voting

By Steven Taylor @ 3:10 pm

Back to the voting issue for a minute or two (or perhaps longer…).

Yesterday I posted on General Clarks comments to an audience in Birmingham, AL that I interpreted as race-baiting on the topic of voting (also here and here). I still consider them such.

Those posts results in a few comments that challenged my position and a lengthy e-mail exchange with Kevin Drum of CalPundit. The gist of the criticisms of my position were basically twofold: 1) a general argument that Clark was correct and that a US Civil Rights Commission Reportproves Clark was right, and 2) that the problem has to do with voting equipment and incorrectly denying voters access because they were incorrectly identified as ex-felons.

Now, the issue at hand for me is not whether or not there are problems in the voting system, there are (and, lets face facts, there always will be), but rather the question becomes whether or not there exists widespread racism which is disenfranchising voters.

The answer is no.

Racism and/or discrimination means, to me (and I think to the English language), the purposeful mistreatment of individuals due to their skin color. While there are problems which I agree should be fixed, the issue is not racism.

The Short(ish) Version

When it comes to public policy problem is rather important to properly identify the cause of a problem before it can be solved. The comments by Clark and various comments in the post below wish to attribute these problems to blatant racism; however that is not the problem. Rather, the problem is linked to poverty.

Lets face facts: poor people are not as well off as wealthier people. Not only will they have higher rates of error in voting, they will have poorer health, worse education, shorter life expectancies, worse living conditions, and so forth, than those wealthier than them. And, since there is a higher percentage of blacks who are in poverty than whites, they are disproportionately affected by those factors which are linked to poverty.

I would agree that slavery, and institutional racism of the past are part of the reason why more blacks live in poverty than do whites, but now we are talking about different issues than voting technology and registration problems.

I would also note that the voting technology situation does not create the tremendous divide that some people seem to think they do:

The main issue is the question of residual votes which are defined by the Caltech-MIT Voting Technology Project as the combination of uncounted ballots, unmarked ballots and overvoted ballots. Residual vote rates for the 1988-2000 period for presidential elections are as follows: paper (1.8%), level machine (1.5%), punch card (2.5%), optical scan (1.5%), electronic (2.3%). The rates are quite higher for Governor and Senator during this same period: paper (3.3%), level machine (7.6%), punch card (4.7%), optical scan (3.5%), electronic (5.9%). Such numbers demonstrate that differing technologies do indeed have important effects on the balloting process.

Now, I do agree that problems exist, and were I in charger, I would support the following:

  • Ex-felons, having served their debt to society, would have their voting rights restored. I have never heard an argument that would persuade me otherwise.
  • Everyone would vote with optical scan ballots, the system which has been demonstrated to be the least error prone, and one which makes recounts relatively easy.

    Now, even with such policies, there would still be people who, through their own errors or the errors of county and state official, who will show up to vote and find they are not on voting rolls.

    And, there will be higher error rates in poor counties than wealthier counties. No. Matter. What. The. Government. Does. (see above).

    I would argue that pursuing such policies by trying to deal with the actual problem is far more construction, and would actually alleviate real problems, than trying to scare black voters about being disenfranchised.

    The Longer Version

    Now, I am aware that, as the US Civil Rights Commission Report notes, that African-Americans have a higher chance of not having their votes counted, whether because of the aforementioned voting equipment or because of the ex-felon issue.

    However, the bottom line is that statistically, the poor tend to be hardest hit by everything, be it disease or be it undercounted votes. This is true whether one is black, or whether one is white. Now, it is true that there are disproportionately more blacks who are poor (in terms of relative percentages of the population) than whites.

    I point this out because issues of disenfranchisement due to the issues raises here are issues that should be dealt with via public policy

    Heres the deal:

    First, voting machines:

    1. Older voting equipment has a higher error rate than new equipment.

    2. Older equipment tends to be used by poorer counties.

    3. African-American tend to be disproportionately in poorer county as compared to their percentage of the population.

    4. Therefore, African-Americans have a disproportionately higher chance of using older voting equipment.

    And, yes, part of the reason that African-Americans live disproportionately in poorer counties does have to do with institutional racism over the decades, including slavery. Also, living in a poorer county likely means under funded schools, lower levels of economic opportunity, and therefore a less educated population, which, in turn leads to more errors on voter registration forms, and in the usage of voting technology, no matter what machines are used.

    These are all problems, and ones that require, to some substantial degree, public policy solutions. However, that does not mean that having to use older voting equipment is the result of racism.

    Lets ask the question this way: if a white person (such as myself when I voted in the late 1980s in Orange County, CA, an affluent county, btw), uses a punch-card, is that racism?

    I would argue not.

    Now, if it isnt racism when a white person uses a punch-card ballot, chads and all, why is it racism (and disenfranchisement) when a black person uses it?

    Second, roles of ex-felons:

    1. There is clearly a problem with the rolls. I am amazed that given computer databases that these rolls cannot be properly maintained, but I agree that there is a problem,.

    2. There are a disproportionate number of felons who are black v. whites when compared to the overall populations.

    3. As a results, errors in ex-felon rolls will disproportionately affect blacks.

    This does not mean that institutional racism is in place to deny blacks the right to vote. One can argue that the criminal justice system is skewed against blacks, but even if that is the case, the problem wouldnt be the voting system, it would be the criminal justice system. It is also quite possible that black young men disproportionately commit crimes, which contributes to the problem as well.

    The bottom line is, however, that the issues at hand regarding voting machines and disenfranchised felons, while one can argue they can link back to the history of race relations in this county are not, in and of themselves, race issues. Simply: the problems identified are not problems which can be demonstrated to be ones caused by a racist voting system, which was what Clark stated, and what the comments supported.

    If you want to solve the problem, figure out what it is first.

    I see problems with education, personal responsibility and crime and not a systematic attempt to deny anyone the right to vote. This is especially true because the problems of voting machines, disenfranchised ex-felons and even general registration issues, apply to poor whites as well as to poor blacks.

    And since this is so danged long, it is part of today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Clark, Race and Voting
    Race Relations

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:29 pm

    The discussion yesterday concerning what I consider race-baiting by General Clark has inspried a number of comments and some e-mails. I have a rather lengthy post on the subject that I am working on, but have a simple point that I don’t want swallowed up by an essay:

    As long as a substantial number of persons, especially leaders (such as Clark), wish to ascribe racism to everything bad the happens to a group of African-Americans, we are going to have a hard time moving towards a society in which people are not “judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    Just because an injustice happens to balck people, doesn’t mean it is the result of racism. I am not saying that there is no racism in American. However, mis-diagnosis of a policy problem leads to the wrong policy prescriptions.

    I agree that probems exist that have caused some black americans (and white ones, too, for that matter) to have their votes not counted, or to have been stopped from voting due to registration problems. However, if an American American gentleman living in a poor county mis-votes, is it because he is black, or is it because the county couldn’t afford more accurate equipment, or maybe it was because as a poor citizen in a poor county he received a sub-standard education?

    The real reasons that something happens matters if one really wants to apply appropriate pubic policy solutions.

    Let me ask the question this way: if a white person is denied the right to vote because of being incorrectly placed on a list of ex-felons who have been legally disenfranchised, is that racism? If a white person lives in a poor county and has to vote with less than the latest tehnology, is that racism? I would argue, no-would you? If a black person is similarly situated, what makes it racism?

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    Dean Comments on Bush

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:16 am

    Dean has dubbed the Bush administration “the most dangerous administration in my lifetime.”

    First, by what standard?

    Second, Dean was alive during the Nixon administration, was he not? In terms of serious damage to the Republic, I think Tricky Dick was the most “dangerous” administration in some time, although I have a hard time describing any US president as “dangerous".

    And this is somewhat ironic, given the facts on the ground, not to mention the criticisms from conservatives:

    From Iraq to homeland security to public health, President Bush’s “reckless” habit of placing “ideology over facts” has resulted in “the most dangerous administration in my lifetime,” Democrat Howard Dean charged over the past two days.

    Honestly, that is pretty hard to argue on any number of issues, including trade and health care policy, to name two. Not to mention the fact that if the President was blinded by ideology in his foreign policy, why haven’t we invaded Iran and North Korea (or Syria, for that matter)?

    And you have to love this logic:

    “If we are safer, how come we lost 10 more troops and raised the safety alert” to the orange level, Dean said Sunday night in Ankeny, Iowa.

    “All the other Democrats pounced on me and beat me up and said how ignorant I was about foreign affairs,” he said. “I think most people in America agree with me today and it’s only two weeks later.”

    Dean may have a stoic demeanor, but he clearly ain’t from the planet Vulcan.

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    • Go Dubya! linked with Dean dissected
    But Isn’t Cheney the All-Powerful Puppetmaster?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:51 am

    How can this be? Halliburton to Lose Iraq Oil Project

    Just weeks after Pentagon auditors said Halliburton may have overcharged taxpayers to import oil to Iraq, the Defense Department is removing the Army Corps of Engineers from its role in supervising the program.

    The Defense Energy Support Center, which buys fuel for the military throughout the world, will supervise the shipments and choose new contractors to replace Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company.

    Gee whiz, since we went to war for Halliburton, what is going on up there in Washington? Does Cheney know about this?!?

    My worldview is crumbling!

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    Tuesday, December 30, 2003
    Bowled Over

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:57 pm

    Remember how I griped that Texas didn’t get to play in a BCS Bowl, and how they got hosed playing in a secod tier Bowl?

    Never mind.

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    Only in California

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:33 pm

    Eyes on the road - not on the screen.

    If you are considering installing a video screen on your dashboard to watch your favorite morning show or catch a flick to break up the monotony of your commute, think again.

    Beginning Thursday, a new state law will tighten restrictions on drivers who watch video and television screens while operating their vehicles.

    With the explosion of high-tech gadgets and gizmos for vehicles, California lawmakers have overhauled an existing law to attempt to limit at least some distractions for drivers.

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    Good to Know, I Guess…

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:39 pm

    Nude Barbie Photos Are Free Speech.

    All I can say is: “only in America":

    A federal appeals court has upheld a Utah artist’s right to make nude photos of Barbie dolls being menaced by kitchen appliances.

    Noting the image of Barbie dolls is “ripe for social comment,” a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday rejected toymaker Mattel Inc.’s appeal of a lower court ruling in favor of lampooning the popular doll.


    The artist had argued that the photo series, which also included a photo of Barbie dolls wrapped in tortillas and covered in salsa in a casserole dish in a lit oven, was meant to critique the “objectification of women” and “beauty myth” associated with the popular doll.

    Forget the ruling: who stands around thinking: “hmm, you know what would be cool…?”

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    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Nude Barbie Is Free Speech
    We’ve Hit the Minutia Stage

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:03 pm

    The campaign must be heating up, as the candidates are pulling out the proposals on anything and everything. Because as we all know, the President is responsible for Eveything (the special ed and asthma ones are my favs, and Kerry has been busy):

  • Gephardt Seeks Special Ed Spending Boost
  • Kerry Urges Clean Air Plan to Curb Asthma
  • Kerry Calls for Farm Subsidy Revamping
  • Kerry Urges Livestock Inspection Changes
  • Dean Wants $100B for New Jobs in Cities

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    Good Deal: Top al Qaeda Suspect in Saudi Custody

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:28 pm

    Saudi Arabia Says Top Al Qaeda Suspect Surrenders

    One of Saudi Arabia’s top wanted Islamic militants surrendered to police on Tuesday, Saudi state media reported.

    An Interior Ministry statement carried by state media said Mansour bin Mohammad Ahmad Faqih, who was on a list of 26 wanted militants with suspected al Qaeda links, surrendered to authorities and was later visited by his family.

    Filed under: War on Terror | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Interesting: Plame Update

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:26 pm

    Ashcroft Steps Down from CIA Leak Probe

    U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft will step aside from the politically charged investigation into a leak related to the Iraq war and the Justice Department will name a special prosecutor, department officials said on Tuesday.

    The officials gave few details, saying only that Ashcroft was stepping down from the investigation and it would now be headed by the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald.

    Further details are expected at a 2 p.m. news conference.

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    Only Matthew Can Blog from China?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:16 pm

    Matthew J. Stinson has a big announcement for the New Year.

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    Fun on Capitol Hill

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:22 am

    Kevin Drum is correct: complex and messy legislation is nothing new. Indeed, anyone who has studied the legislative process even a little bit should know that it is unlikely that it would produce anything other than complex and messy outcomes.

    So, those who argue that legislation recently passed, such as Medicare reform, or “No Child Left Behind” or whatever, are either unusually bad or part of some sort of Bush-administration plan (I have read such arguments), really haven’t been paying much attention to Congress for the past two centuries plus.

    Let’s face facts: the system encourages deal-making and compromise, involves the need to get at least 51 members of the Senate (or 50 plus the Veep), and 218 members of the House to agree on whatever is on the table (and as I tell my students, try getting 5 friends to agree on where to eat and what movie to see, let along hundreds of politicians to agree on tax policy), and is dominated by multiple competing interests.

    Not to mention that the preponderance of legislators are lawyers by training. If that doesn’t explain the lack of readability of legislation, I don’t know what would.

    In short: legislating is messy, and legislation, therefore is rarely sublime.

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    • linked with Complexity of legislation
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    More on the Voting Rights Issue

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:04 am

    In the comment section below, Kevin of CalPundit notes that there were voters in the 2000 race in Florida who were wrongly denied the right to vote due to mis-identification as felons. Kevin cites the figure of 90,000.

    I did some checking and found the following:

    According to the 12/21/03 edition of the St. Petersburg Times, here are the numbers:

    But less than a year before Floridians vote again for president, the election system remains bedeviled by inconsistencies, red tape and potential obstacles to prospective voters:

  • The state put together a list of 12,000 people - 41 percent of whom are African-American - who may have been misidentified as felons and denied the right to vote in 2000. But after completing the list, elections officials acknowledge it is inexact and still may include felons who should not be allowed to vote in 2004.
  • The counties have been told to deal with inconsistencies in the list as best they can. Some are returning to the rolls any voters who the county can’t prove are felons. But others are making voters prove they aren’t felons in order to vote next year.
  • Despite a legal settlement to make it easier for felons to regain their voting rights, the backlog of former prisoners who have applied to restore their rights has grown to nearly 39,000. That’s a six-fold increase since 2001, yet the state earlier this year cut the number of Parole Commission staffers who handle applications.
  • While 12,000 isn’t 90,000, it is still too many, and it is disturbing that that list may still have errors. In the age of computer databases, one would think it would be possible to determine who is a felon and who isn’t. Further, I am of the opinion that once one’s time is served that I do not see the rationale for denying the right to vote, which would solve this problem.

    I would also note that of the 12,000, less than half were African-American (41%). As such this is really an issue of ex-felons’ voting rights, not African-American voting rights.

    I do not deny that this is a problem, but still question Clark’s approach, assuming that this is even what he is talking about.

    Update: This post is part of today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM.

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    This is Helpful

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:16 am

    Nothing like trying to stir up fear:

    Forty years after four black girls were killed in a church bombing here, Gen. Wesley K. Clark visited the same church on Monday and said African-Americans were still in danger of having their votes go uncounted and their voices unheard.

    It would nice to have some actual examples of this, rather than innuendo.

    And last time I checked this sort of thing is illegal, and is prosecuted when found:

    “If anyone is intimidated or turned away from the polls illegally, we will push to prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law,” he said.

    This is just an irresponsible attempt to cash-in on fear (not to mention that the last thing we need are “election monitors” hired by candidates, who, oddly enough, have an agenda):

    He said that if he became the Democratic presidential nominee he would appoint a legal team to monitor the 2004 elections to ensure that problems reported in the contested 2000 election in Florida would not be repeated.

    Further, this suggests that the problem in 2000 wasn’t simply a closely divided vote, but rather some sort of fraudulent activity. This really is remarkable behavior.

    What does he base such declarations on?

    Despite passage of federal legislation in 2002 to overhaul the nation’s voting procedures, General Clark said later in Birmingham, “The result is that today it’s only one person, one vote if you live in the right county, and if you vote at the right machine and if your name happens to be on the rolls.”

    There can be no doubt that there have been egregious injustices in the past, but where is the evidence that this kind of siutation continues? And if it does, it should be prosecuted. I find it hard to believe that if there was widespread denial of the right to vote based on race (or even isolated cases), that it wouldn’t be reported, publicized and dealt with. It isn’t like there aren’t groups that would aid a voter who had been disenfranchised, not to mention the media attention that would be focused on such a situation.

    Again, these statements are outrageous and lead to the perpetuation of the perception that there is a conspiracy to deny blacks access to the vote in some institutional and systematic fashion. Heck, the General just said so, right?

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    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with When Your Polling Numbers Are Down, Scare Black People
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    Dean Makes Nice

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:58 am

    After the whining yesterday, comes the damage control: The Former Governor: After Complaint, Dean Explains Himself to Party Chairman.

    I love the summary of the conversation:

    A senior aide to Dr. Dean, Kate O’Connor, said that he called Mr. McAuliffe in the morning to discuss his comments and that they spoke for about five minutes. Ms. O’Connor would not say whether Dr. Dean had apologized to the chairman.

    I can’t talk about what they talked about,” she said, “but I can say it was very friendly. Believe it or not, they touch base fairly often.”

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    The Coach-Go-Round

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:41 am

    The Coach Shuffle has begun.


    ATL’s Dan Reeves
    NYG’s Fassel
    AZ’s Dave McGinnis
    CHI’s Dick Jauron
    BUF’s Gregg Williams

    Soon to be out:

    OAK’s Bill Callahan

    Contract Extended, Loses personnel powers:

    MIA’s Dave Wannstedt

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    • SportsBlog linked with The Coach-Go-Round
    Bush Hatred

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:34 am

    Robert J. Samuelson’s column in today’s WaPo is on the ever-popular topic of “Bush hatred.” The whole thing is worth a read, as I think it does a fairly good job of dealing with the topic. The conclusory paragraphs are on target:

    In the end, Bush hating says more about the haters than the hated - and here, too, the parallels with Clinton are strong. This hatred embodies much fear and insecurity. The anti-Clinton fanatics hated him not simply because he occasionally lied, committed adultery or exhibited an air of intellectual superiority. What really infuriated them was that he kept succeeding - he won reelection, his approval ratings stayed high - and that diminished their standing. If Clinton was approved, they must be disapproved.

    Ditto for Bush. If he succeeded less, he’d be hated less. His fiercest detractors don’t loathe him merely because they think he’s mediocre, hypocritical and simplistic. What they truly resent is that his popularity suggests that the country might be more like him than it is like them. They fear he’s exiling them politically. On one level, their embrace of hatred aims to make others share their outrage; but on another level, it’s a self-indulgent declaration of moral superiority - something that makes them feel better about themselves. Either way, it represents another dreary chapter in the continuing coarsening of public discourse.

    The one thing he misses is that while it is certainly true that the actual number of “Bush haters” is realtively small versus the entire population, as was the case with Clinton, that there is a key difference with Bush: some of the “haters” of this president are in the mainstream media, and not just the punditocracy. While there were plenty of “Clinton haters” in the press during his tenure in office, they were either opinion-meisters only, or in less-than-mainstream (and small circulation) publication like the American Spectator that were hard to take seriously.

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    • Insults Unpunished linked with Bush Hatred Yet Again
    Monday, December 29, 2003
    Headline of the Day

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:42 pm

    ‘Great Satan’ Sends ‘Axis of Evil’ Member Iran Aid

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    Today’s List: Top 5 Favorite Musicals

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:37 pm

    I am no connoisseur of musicals, but I know what I like. As inspired by this list, as found on Jen Speaks, I present Today’s List:

    My Top 5 Favorite Musicals

    5. The Wizard of Oz. It’s simply cool. I am old enough to remember when movies such as this were an annual event on TV, and it was a big deal when they were on (at least when you’re a kid).

    4. The Sound of Music. A true classic-how can you go wrong with a singing family besting a bunch of Nazis? (also another one of those “on once a year” deals).

    3. My Fair Lady. A true joy, although Rex Harrison’s sing/talking is somewhat amusing at times. And even though she doesn’t do her own singing, how can you not like Audrey Hepburn?

    2. The Phantom of the Opera. I saw it live in Los Angeles with Michael Crawford back in the late 1980s (1989 or 1990). Very cool.

    1. Les Miserables. I have the soundtrack, which was a gift from a friend many years ago. I love the music and the story, but have never gotten to see it, save for a PBS thing wherein the original cast sang their parts in costume to a live audience.

    Honorable mentions: Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Mary Poppins

    If you want to play along in the comments section, feel free-or if you have your own blog, post your own list and link back to this post to get a trackback link posted here on PoliBlog.

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    Open Threads

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:24 pm

    I thought I would add a little moral support to Jen on the topic of open threads. She thinks that it reflects lazy bloggage. I can’t disagree. Indeed, I have never really seen the point and always ignore them-especially on site like Daily Kos where an open thread might have 200+ comments. Why would I want to slog through a bunch of random ramblings? There’s plenty of other things to read.

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    That’s Just Sad

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:31 pm

    Bryant Case Voted AP Sports Story of Year

    What?! How about the Bucs winning their first Super Bowl or the Marlins winning the world series, or the Bartman/Cubs foul ball story or Lance Armstrong’s fifth Tour de France, or just about any actual sports story rather than a criminal justice story. Yeesh.

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    A Great Day for the Markets

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:13 pm

    Nasdaq Ends Up 33 to Top 2K, Dow Adds 125

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Partisan ID

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:54 pm

    Chuck Todd has a piece on swing voters in today’s NYT. The main argument deals with the youth vote. However, the following jumped out at me:

    It is a time-honored tradition in campaigns, this quest for the swing voter. But ask yourself: do you know anyone who really vacillates between the two political parties with each election? It’s not common. The vast majority of people always vote the same party-when they vote.

    Further, all those people who like to say “I vote for the person, not the party” because it sounds more high-minded than admitting to a *gasp* partisan point-of-view, almost certainly ends up voting, oddly enough for persons in the same party election after election.

    Indeed, the idea that large numbers of people are “independent” is simply not true. Sure, they may self-identify as such, but truth be told their voting patterns are usually skewed quite heavily to one party or the other.

    Yes, there are voters who will change from one party to the other, especially for President, but they represent a fairly small number of people. I will grant that they can be an important set of persons, however.

    The real issue in 2004, however, is likely to be turn-out, but in terms of the base of each party, but also for the non-habitual voters, which is part of Todd’s point.

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    Dean’s Lead

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:25 pm

    Stephen Green, James Joyner and Chris Lawrence all weigh in on the strength of Deans lead. I agree that there are plausible scenarios in which Dean is derailed. However, there are a couple of factors that must be taken into consideration.

    1) Bad Campaigning: None of the Other Eight are running particularly good campaigns right now, and I dont expect that to change. Kerry, who seems to have semi-gotten on track recently, is so damaged now that he doesnt have time to recover. And I do think that he has moved from credible to desperate and voters dont like desperate.

    Lieberman is making some decent argument, but ones that will not help him in the primary. I still think that the most operative element in this Democratic electorate this year is the Bush-anger faction. Dean is the only candidate who taps into that anger.

    2) The Media: One of the key significances of Iowa and New Hampshire is the way the media deal with the aftermath of those events. The news outlets are poised to report that Dean is the big winner, and while they would love some drama, they also seem locked into the Dean is inevitable groove at this point. Dean will win in NH, and probably by a solid margin. Unless Gephardt beats Dean handily in Iowa, the story going into February 3rd is that the Dean Machine Rolls On.

    3) The Calendar: While South Carolina is the main beachhead for the ABD brigade, unless, as James notes, some folks pull out, there is going to be some serious vote-splitting that will help Dean. And even if candidates do pull out, their names will still be on the ballot, as the filing deadline is this month. Sharpton will take a lot of the black vote, Clark and Lieberman will split the centrist vote, and Edwards will garner some votes being the home boy. The rest will get a few votes as well. However, the were mad at Bush/anti-war vote is going to go to Dean. I cant see anything worst than a second place finish in SC, which, as Chris noted, is something that Dean can spin as a win.

    Michigan and Maine are next on the 10th, which are Dean-friendly. Although the 17th has VA and TN. Utah may or may not have caucuses on the 27th.

    And even if Dean loses SC, he is well ahead in Arizona, is leading in Oklahoma, and has the geographic advantage in Vermont. I am not sure about South Dakota, and Gephardt will win Missouri. Now, if by February 4th Dean has won Iowa (or has come in a close second), NH, AZ, OK and VT, but has lost SC, SD and MO, he will still be considered the frontrunner.

    4) The Rules: As Chris notes, most of the delegates are being allocated by district-level votes, where a candidates needs 15% of the vote to win the delegates from the given district. Further, each state has at-large delegates who are won based on a state-wide vote proportionally to the state-level votes of the candidates. As such, as long Dean does well in all the states in February, even if he loses some of them (even important ones), he will almost certainly come out the delegate-count winner going into March. He is the only candidate who is competitive at a high level in every state the other are up in one state, and down in another.

    So, it seems to me that the worst-case scenario for Dean going into Super Tuesday on March 2nd is to be a semi-damaged frontrunner, but still the frontrunner. The best case scenario is him winning Iowa, NH and SC plus several others, as that would paint him as the virtually untouched frontrunner.

    Update: This post is part of today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM.

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    The Sauron Network?

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:38 pm

    SciFi author (and blogger), Peter David has discovered Sauron’s post-Third Age career move: he runs CBS.

    He cites several bits of evidence. My favorite:

    The CBS symbol-A giant, unblinking eye, focused on the hearts and minds of America.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 10:43 am

    Clark’s New TV Ad Features Bill Clinton

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    Dean, Party Leadership and Whining

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:41 am

    This: The Former Governor: Dean Wants Party Leader to Slow Rivals’ Attacks, illustrates part of what I was talking about here a few days ago regarding political parties in the United States.

    Because while Dean may assert the following:

    “If we had strong leadership in the Democratic Party, they would be calling those other candidates and saying, `Hey look, somebody’s going to have to win here,’ ” Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, told reporters trailing him as he campaigned through central Iowa. Referring to one of Mr. McAuliffe’s predecessors, he added, “If Ron Brown were the chairman, this wouldn’t be happening.”

    it simply isn’t the case. The National Chair of either party has limited power. Sure, McAuliffe could mae some phone calls, but which of the Other Eight would be bound to listen to his advice The answer is simple: none of them. Campaigns, and really the parties themselves, are more about the candidates than they are about party organizational leadership.

    And, quite frankly, this is a rather whiny thing for Dean to be saying-what does he expect the other candidates to be doing? It is, after all, a competition. Not to mention the fact that the attacks have been pretty mild (or, at least, anemic), in my opinion.

    Update: Stephen Green and Matthew J. Stinson comment on Dean’s complaints as well. (Hat tip: Chris Lawrence)

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with If you can't stand the heat, get out of the primary
    Sunday, December 28, 2003
    The Mad Cow Candidates

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 pm

    Quite frankly, this: Dean Blasts Bush Over Mad Cow Scare and this: Kerry Urges Livestock Inspection Changes, strike me as snap-positions born of opportunism, not serious policy stances from serious policy-makers.

    One has to wonder as to the degree to which this will come across as such in the public eye.

    And, to be honest, I don’t see this as being an issue that will rock the 2004 presidential contest.

    Beyond that even, this strikes me as the kind of silly thing that comes up every four years vis-a-vis running for the presidency insofar as the candidates, especially from the party out of power (either one), act like the President does everything. Let’s face facts, the President is hardly the steward of the food supply.

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    Humanitarian Aid to Iran

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:07 pm

    The right thing to do:

    The US, joining dozens of other countries in providing emergency aid after Friday’s earthquake, delivered about 120,000 pounds of medical supplies and water to the nation once branded by President Bush as part of the “axis of evil.”

    Source: CSM: Quake aid may open door for US and Iran

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    Out of Curiousity

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:38 pm

    It just occurred to me to ask: any of you PoliSci types going to be at the SPSA meeting in New Orleans the 8th-11th?

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    Toasty Suggestions

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:29 pm

    Steve Bainbridge makes some potentially useful suggestions regarding the Toast-o-Meter.

    And indeed, the first serving of toast of 2004 is just around the corner, so Prof. Bainbridge’s tasty toast toppings may be of use shortly.

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    An Iron Law of Parenting

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:25 pm

    An Iron Law of Parenting: if your kids are going to vomit, then they will invariably have eaten something red that day.

    Filed under: Kids | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:14 am

    From today’s Mobile Register:

    Will 2004 be political ‘year of the South’?
    Special to the Register

    The year 2004 will be a year that demonstrates the continuing, and growing, political significance of Southern states. Whether it is the presidential contest, or the fight for congress, the South will be at center stage.

    Read the whole thing here.

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    Saturday, December 27, 2003
    Ah, The Irony

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:07 pm

    This is likely true: Kerry Says Dean Has No Chance Vs. Bush. But the irony is, Kerry has no chance against Dean.

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    Cool! We Can Blame Canada!

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:07 am

    USDA Says Mad Cow Animal Imported from Canada

    (And yes, I am being tongue-in-cheek ;)

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    By Steven Taylor @ 8:36 am

    Thanks to Who Knew? (love the logo, btw) for linking to PoliBlog. A recipri-link has been added to The List.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 8:06 am

    This column ran last Sunday (12/21/03) in the Mobile Register. However, they never did get it posted to the web site, so here’s the pre-published version:

    Saddam and the 2004 Elections

    Steven L. Taylor

    The United States, and the people of Iraq, scored a victory this past weekend with the capture of former dictator, Saddam Hussein. Saddam will now stand trial in Iraq for the crimes he committed against his own people, which include torture, false imprisonment, and mass murder. Regardless of ones position on the war in Iraq itself, it is not difficult to state that Saddam is an evil man, and that the world is a better place with him in custody.

    Beyond the broader historical issues wrapped up in these events, there is the topic of politics, and especially, as we stand on the threshold of the new year, electoral politics. So, given the obvious centrality of the war in Iraq to the 2004 presidential elections, it is wholly legitimate to ask how the capture of Saddam Hussein will affect those contests. The politics of the situation come down to two separate processes: the race for the Democratic nomination, and the general election campaign, especially in terms of how this capture helps President Bush.

    First, the immediate political question is: does this knock Howard Dean out of his front-runner status? Some pundits have argued that it will damage Dean in his quest to be the man to face George W. Bush in the fall. However, I disagree with that assessment. I do think that there are long-term implications for the Dean campaign, but nothing that will derail his bid for his partys nomination.

    There is an argument to be made that the capture of Saddam helps the pro-war Democrats, such as Richard Gephardt and Joe Lieberman, to the detriment of front-runner Howard Dean. Said Senator Lieberman on Meet the Press, after learning of the capture of Saddam, Let’s be real clear… If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam would be in power not prison. While true, the question becomes: will that fact matter to Deans supporters, or to Democratic primary voters who were opposed to the war in the first place?

    The answer is: no.

    If having Saddam removed from power in the first place was not sufficient cause to change the minds of those millions of American who opposed the war in the first place, why would having the fugitive dictator in custody suddenly change their minds? The answer is clear: if one was opposed to the war prior to Saddams capture, one almost certainly remains opposed now that he is behind bars. There will be some general euphoria that he is no longer on the loose, but that will not change the fundamental political calculus within the Democratic Party.

    Howard Dean is currently riding a wave of frustration aimed at Bush from within the hardcore sectors of the Democratic Party. The capture of Saddam will not cause their dislike of the President to dissipate. Nor will it cause their qualms over the war to vanish. Despite the clear importance of Saddams capture, nothing substantial has changed in the basic politics of the Democratic primary.

    The second issue is: how will this event affect the fortunes of George W. Bush? There is a short-term and a long-term set of effects. There will be an immediate and fairly significant up tick in the Presidents approval rating, although a good portion of which will likely fade relatively quickly. Indeed, a Washington Post/ABC News poll taken on the day Saddam was captured showed a 57% approval rating for President Bush (up four points in a week) and a 68% approval for his handing of the war (up 10 percentage points from November, and the highest level of approval for his handling of the war since July). Another poll, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, shows the President with a 58% approval rating, and that 62% of the population believes that the war in Iraq has made America safer, up from 52% in September.

    This latter number is especially significant, as security is going to a huge issue in 2004, and the candidate who makes the public feel safer is the candidate who is going to win next November. The issue of whether of not the war in Iraq specifically makes us safer is especially salient if Howard Dean does, in fact, win the Democratic Partys nomination, as he categorically stated in a major policy speech on December 15th that the capture of Saddam Hussein has not made America safer.

    Overall, the capture of Saddam will add to President Bushs general mystique and will enhance his reputation. Not only does it help make the case that he is a man who can get done what he sets out to do (something we like in our presidents), but also the incarceration of Saddam is a great resume line. Consider: President Bush is now the Commander-in-Chief who presided over the capture of one of the most notorious dictators of the latter half of the Twentieth Centurya distinction that is difficult to contend with by any of the Democratic challengers who want his job.

    In sum: this event will not derail Howards Deans quest for his partys nomination, but it will make it more difficult for him to beat George W. Bush in November. Saddams capture doesnt guarantee a Bush victory, but it makes a Bush loss all the more unlikely.

    Steven L. Taylor, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Troy State University.

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    Goldberg on the Uninformed

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:02 am

    Jonah Goldberg takes uninformed voters to task. He is pretty much on target, although his homage to the “special interests control politics” thesis is a bit off.

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    Friday, December 26, 2003
    Forget Mad Cow, What About Foot-in-Mouth Disease?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:47 pm

    Steve Bainbridge has had a vision about the ‘04 contest. I think he is on to something.

    And he needed neither a Crystal Ball nor a Toaster.

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    Getting Mad Cow in Perspective

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:50 pm

    Steve Bainbridge puts the Mad Cow story in perspective (and deals a little criticism Slate’s way while he’s at it).

    I would add another point that seems to be lost in the news rush on this whole affair: when comparing an issue like this to Britain one has to remember that the UK is roughly the size of a postage stamp, making the containment of such outbreaks more difficult to manage. For the geographically impaired, I would note that the US of A is BIG.

    So, one cow, in a BIG country may not be worthy of panic, shall we say.

    Of course, given the slow news period and the 24/7 cable channels, no doubt an appreciable portion of the population thinks that all the beef in the US is contaminated, or soon will be…

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    The Post-Christmas Toast-O-Meter is Here

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:00 pm

    I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

    The Toast-O-Meter: A Weekly News Round-Up and Handicapping of the Race for the Democratic Nomination.

    -Toast: It’s not Just for Breakfast Anymore!-

    The Toast-O-Meter comes to you Fortified with linkage and Enhanced with bloggage!

    The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much donea little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt all the Way Through (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Crumbs in the Bottom of the Toaster (Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

  • Dough is on the Rise
  • Heats Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

    The Whole Loaf: Can any of the Nine make Bush into Texas Toast?

    (Bush is piping hot and fresh from the oven, the Loaf is stale, and getting moldy).

  • Polls this week show Dean Trailing Bush by Wide Margin. And here’s the kicker: “When all respondents were asked who they would trust more with national security, 67 percent said Bush and 21 percent said Dean.”
  • Bush’s numbers on the economy are on the rise, with latest polls showing 55% of registered voters approving of the way Bush is handling the economy.
  • His overall job approval numbers are up as well (59% in the latest WaPo-ABC poll).
  • Indeed, the CSM notes that the President reaps a year-end rebound
  • And USAT notes: History of approval ratings on Bush’s side for re-election.
    President Bush is ending his third year in office with 63% job approval, the highest rating of any president since Lyndon Johnson, who finished 1963 with a 74% rating a month after John F. Kennedy’s assassination.


    With the exception of Jimmy Carter, every president since Franklin Roosevelt who ended his third year in office with job approval above 50% won the re-election he sought. Presidential job-approval polling began with Roosevelt.

    Richard Nixon, who was at 50% at the end of his third year, also won. Carter was at 54% when the year ended.

  • Of course, the lack of serious job growth has been a source of politial capital for the Nine: Democrats Rap GOP Over Jobless Benefits. Ya know, I might pay to see some of the Nine try and rap…
  • According to the NYT
    President Bush’s campaign has settled on a plan to run against Howard Dean that would portray him as reckless, angry and pessimistic, while framing the 2004 election as a referendum on the direction of the nation more than on the president himself, Mr. Bush’s aides say.

    The former should be quite easy and the ability to pull off the latter will depend on how the economy develops into next year.

  • Chris Lawrence discusses Dean’s “God Problem”, with links a-plenty. I put this in the Bush v. the Loaf section because I think the secularism of the Democratic Party will be an issue in the general election, but not in the primaries. And certainly on this issue, Bush gets the nod in terms of positive electoral results-especially in the South.

    Slicing up the loaf:


    Dean: Wonder Bread fortified with vitamins With Yummy Vermont Syrup on top (Dough on the Rise, but feeling heat on at least one side)

    Dean continues to be the man to beat in the race, especially given the concentrated nature of this year’s primary season. However, his strength v. Bush seems is weakening. It is an ironic situation: even as he continues to increase his grip on the nomination, his ability to win the Presidency wanes. In the metaphorical language of everyone’s favorite break-fast food oriented political newsletter: Dean is increasingly like a piece of nice, fresh bread that looks wonderful one side, but is burned on the other.

  • Wowie: Dean is demonstrating that he is a divider, not a uniter, in his own party.:
    Party centrists were stunned Monday when Dean denounced the Democratic Leadership Council, a group that provided many of the key ideas for Clinton’s “New Democrat” agenda, as “the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.”

    Along those lines, said ex-Clinton Chief of Staff Leon Panetta: “I think he’s asking for serious trouble when he attacks Clinton and attacks the DLC. Whether you like their positions or not, the reality is you can’t afford to divide the Democratic Party at this point. You’ve got a tough enough job fighting George Bush.”

  • The NYT reports that Polls: Dean Holds Lead in Ariz., Okla.: “Howard Dean is leading in the Democratic presidential contest in Arizona and is competing with Wesley Clark for the top spot in Oklahoma, according to polls released Wednesday.”
  • A CSM piecenotes that Dean’s own rhetoric will make fine campaign-commerical fodder for the Bush camp.
  • In a WaPo column last Sunday, Dean argued that he represented the foreign policy mainstream.
  • James of OTB questions Dean’s claim that he is in the “mainstream”.
  • Dean took some heat this week in Iowa: Dean Rebuked for Statement Implying Brother Served in Military
  • David Brooks, in the NYT argues that the Democratic establishment has surrendered to Dean, despite fears that Dean can’t beat Bush. Wrote Brooks:
    And yet the mood within the Democratic establishment is dour and fatalistic. While most Washington Democrats expect that Dean will get trounced in the fall, they are not trying to head off the catastrophe. Some fear a party feud more than a defeat. Some don’t want to get on the bad side of the likely Democratic nominee. Some privately love what Dean says even as they fear he will lead to disaster. Most important, the Democratic establishment lacks the will to stand up for its beliefs.

  • Not surprisingly, Rivals Criticize Dean on Sealed Papers. All I know is, if this is the best they can do, it is time to join the Crumb Pile and save their money.
  • Reuters reports Dean’s Support Slowly Grows on Capitol Hill.
  • Wrote the NYT in the Christmas Day edition: Dean, Under Attack, Revives Feisty Style, “Howard Dean has returned to the combative posture that propelled his insurgent candidacy to the front of the field this fall.” My question is: did he ever stop?
  • And regarding the Good Doctor and his “religion problem", we hear word that Seeking a new emphasis, Dean touts his
    Christianity. Now it is not for me (and mean this sincerely) to judge the man’s relationship with God; however, the timing is remarkable, to say the least.


    Gephardt: Slighty Toasted White Bread (the heat continues).

    While Gephardt remains the only candidate who currently seems to have even the possibility of challenging Dean, his prospects continue to look poor.

  • As ProfessorBainbridge notes, the Economist has dubbed Gephardt the ABD candidate. Of course, readers of the Toast-O-Meter know, RepGep has been the only slice in the loaf who has been given much of a chance against Dean for weeks.
  • Despite trailing in the polls: Gephardt Exudes Confidence That He Can Defeat Dean. He’s hoping for an Iowa victory, but even that is almost certainly not going to be enough.


    Clark: Toast (got scraped a little)

    Of the Day-Old shelf Clark could move onto the Supermarket shelf, but only with at least one true win on the February 3rd set of primaries.

  • He is neck-and-neck with Dean in Oklahoma.
  • Clark Says Dean Sought Him as Running Mate , but, said Clark: “I don’t see that in the cards.”
  • The whole rather bizarre affair, during which as one point Clark told CNN’s Judy Woodruff “it depends on the definition of ‘offered’” (I’m not making this up), has led Clark to probably lose his shot at a Dean veep slot. “There is absolutely no chance now he will be the vice-presidential candidate for Dean,” Sabato said. I must concur.
  • Daniel W. Drezner rightly criticizes Wesley Clark’s proposal on how to make the Europeans happier with US foreign policy.
  • Shockingly: Clark Attacks Bush Strategy on Terrorism as Mistaken.

    Lieberman: Burnt Toast (he got scraped a bit, however)

    Lieberman is treading water at best. The punditocracy can say that the Saddam captures helps him, or that Dean’s attacks on the DLC help Joe out, but all I see is that it gives him a tad ore TV attention that doesn’t seem to be translating into better poll numbers. Again, Joe is too centrist for a typical Democratic primary base, let alone the one this year.

  • This is is what we in the political analysis world call a “bad sign": Lieberman’s senior staff will not cash paychecks in order to keep campaign afloat
  • Joe wasn’t too happy about Dean’s slam of the DLC: Deans remark has Joe fuming: “Does he realize when hes saying that hes pushing Bill Clinton, a hundred members of Congress, countless governors and mayors around America, state officials who are members of the DLC and the new Democratic movement out of the Democratic party?” Lieberman told reporters Tuesday outside an American Legion post in Manchester.
  • NH: Joe’s last stand? Lieberman makes a move in New Hampshire, into an apartment
    In a move believed to be unprecedented in New Hampshire primary history, Joe Lieberman took temporary residence in the state in a last-month push to win over voters.


    “Obviously, I’ve said for a long time I was going to start my quest for the White House here in New Hampshire … we we’re going to do better than expected with that typical feisty, independent-minded, surprise-the-pundits-and-pollsters attitude of voters of New Hampshire, and then we we’re going to go on the next week and do well in the other states that have primaries,” he said.

    So far, it has not worked. Lieberman has been stuck in the middle of the pack of nine Democrats in single digits in the polls, though he said the polls had nothing to do with his move before the earliest state primary Jan. 27.

    Indeed, NH may be his only standsm, as SC isn’t looking too Lieby-ish (click here and scroll down).


    Kerry: Crumbling Burned French Toast (on the crumb pile/acting like he’s at least on the Supermarkey shelf).

    Quite frankly, he is lookig self-delusional and desperate.

  • Robert Tagorda explains Why John Kerry Will Never Get His Vote
  • This week: Kerry Lends Campaign $6.4 Million. But he’s not desperate or anything.

    Edwards: Crumbs at the Bottom of the Toaster (invisible Bread, but with Great Hair)

  • I’m shockec!! Edwards Complains About Focus on Dean
  • Edwards did an interview with 60 Minutes this past week. Sadly, I missed it. However, according to an excerpt online, Edwards is striking a blow for gender equity:
    So what does Elizabeth think about Edwards problem of being too cute?

    It used to be a problem for women. This is the ‘dumb blond’ syndrome, says Elizabeth. People assume that he couldn’t be smart - and he’s unbelievably smart - that he couldn’t be serious, because he, you know, he looks like he looks. And that’s entirely wrong.


    So, Edwards does appear to have a natural constituency after all: The Dumb Blonde Vote.

    Somehow, I don’t think that it will carry him to victory, however.

    Kucinich: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (toasted Christmas fruitcake, perhaps)

  • He warned against a re-instatement of the draft, and vowed to fight it. However, I wouldn’t worry about it. Further, as James of OTB pointed out several week ago, the military doesn’t want a draft, and it is bad policy.
  • Not surprisingly, Kucinich Presses U.N. Involvement in Iraq.
  • A piece in the NYT Magazine dubs Dennis The Optimist. A provides this ringing description
    But he is not commanding and he is not handsome. He is charismatic, but only up close. Even while giving a speech, he does not catch the eye - and in high politics, that is a lowly crime. At 5-foot-7 inches, he is the shortest person in the race except for Carol Moseley Braun.

    And while the folks at the NYT may wish to ascribe the characteristic of optimism to Rep. Kucinich because ‘’I'm used to leading because I’m short. It started off in school - I led off all the processions because I was the shortest one. So this is just natural for me to think I’m gonna win!'’, the staff of the Toast-O-Meter have to use a different term: “self-delusional.”

  • Dennis did get some good news: FEC Says Kucinich Qualifies for Funding.
  • Kucinich failed to obtain sufficient signatures to qualify for the Delaware primary.

    Sharpton: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (toasted turkey loaf)

  • RealClear Politics noted that Sharpton has accomplished his mission. (Hat tip: OTB.

    Braun: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (looking crumbly and moldy)

  • She doesn’t produce any unique stories in a Reuters news search.
  • Braun failed to obtain sufficient signatures to qualify for the Delaware primary.


    Hillary Clinton

  • According to the NYT: For Mrs. Clinton, Listening Subsides and Talk Is Louder.


  • We haven’t heard much from Albert, Jr., but Albert III made the news: Al Gore’s Son Arrested for Pot Possession

    Bob Graham

  • For Mr. Notebook, these typs of stories persist: Graham May Be Angling for No. 2 Spot

    Ralph Nader

  • James of OTB notes that Nader will not pursue the Green Party’s nomination, but has’t ruled out an independent run.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with South Carolina Primary News
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    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with After Christmas Toast
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    A True Tragedy

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:10 am

    My word: 20,000 feared dead in Iran quake.

    Iran has appealed for international aid as the death toll from a devastating earthquake climbed to 4,000 and officials warned that thousands more are likely to be found dead.

    At least 30,000 people have been injured in the quake in southeastern Iran, local officials said.

    The Iranian government said as many as 20,000 people may have died in the quake, which was centered near the ancient city of Bam about 610 miles (975 km) southeast of the capital, Tehran.

    The quake was similar in magnitude to the one in California earlier in the week:

    Tehran University’s Geophysics Institute said the earthquake measured a magnitude of 6.3, according to IRNA. It was followed by several aftershocks, including one measuring 5.3.

    For its part, the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center measured the magnitude of the quake at 6.7


    60 percent of the city’s residential areas have been destroyed. Bam has a population of about 80,000 people.

    Sadly, both the city’s hospitals were destroyed in the quake.

    As James pointed out the other day, it certainly matters if one is in a First World or Third World country when one of these things hits.

    In explaining the severity of the damage to the city, journalist Shirzad Bozorgmehr in Tehran said Bam is an ancient city not designed to withstand a major earthquake.

    Of course, the location of the the epicenter vis-a-vis populations matters as well.

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    • One Fine Jay linked with On the Iran earthquake
    Pernickety Pronunciations

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:59 am

    Betsy notes a potential mispronunciation controversy over the word “pernickety” which according to’s 100 Most Often Mispronounced Words lacks the “s” we all put into the word. Betsy notes that the American Heritage Dictionary gives its stamp of approval to “persnickety.”

    I don’t think I can bring myself to say “pernickety", either. Although I note that it is a word of Scottish derivation, and if you say “pernickety” with a Scottish accent, it almost sounds right :)

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    Political Scorecard

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:38 am

    Via Yahoo, BusinessWeek Online has an interesting Political Scorecard for 2003, with their winners and losers for the year.

    On balance, I can’t argue, although I might quibble with some of the designations. For example, Hillary Clinton is assigned a “winner” slot. I agree that the Senator has had a pretty good year, but I have to wonder if she is one of the top “winners” of 2003. Ditto Colin Powell as a “loser".

    I do agree with the assigning of a “loser” slot to the “Sad Sack Senators Who Thought They Would be President.”

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    Thursday, December 25, 2003
    A Merry Christmas to All!

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:45 pm

    I hope that everyone is having a Blessed Christmas.

    Filed under: Not politics | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (1)
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    Wednesday, December 24, 2003
    The Fort Worth Bowl?

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:11 am

    More evidence that TCU’s complaining earlier in the season was groundless:
    (18) Boise State 34, (19) TCU 31.

    Filed under: Sports | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Today’s List: Top Five Replacement Candidates for the Green Party’s Nomination

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:21 am

    Since Nader Won’t Run As Green Party Candidate, here are the:

    Top Five Replacement Candidates for the Green Party’s Nomination

    5. The Current President of ELF (or the UNAbomber). Of course, terrorism isn’t in vogue these days, so maybe not.

    4. Ted Rall. Heck, he knows everything, right?

    3. Michael Moore: We could always use another Stupid White Male in the race.

    2. Barbra Streisand. Given the genius of her policy positions, why not?

    1. Al Gore: He wrote that book and he’s a proven vote-getter. And when he has tht bear he looks like Grizzly Adams.

    If you want to play along, here’s how.

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    Not Good: Durable Goods Orders Sharply Down

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:50 am

    Durable Goods Orders Plunge Unexpectedly

    New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods plunged unexpectedly in November, falling at the steepest rate in more than a year across a broad spectrum of categories, a government report said on Wednesday.

    The Commerce Department said orders fell 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted $180.07 billion - defying Wall Street economists’ expectations for a 0.8 percent rise.

    It was the biggest monthly orders decline since a 6 percent tumble in September 2002 and followed a revised 4 percent increase in October orders.

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    Tuesday, December 23, 2003
    Two Thumbs Up

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:49 pm

    Just got back from seeing The Return of the King.

    Quick review: excellent!

    More later.

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    Malvo Gets Life

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:23 pm

    For some reason, this is what I expected: Jury spares life of Lee Boyd Malvo

    The jury in the Washington sniper case Tuesday spared Lee Boyd Malvo from the fate awaiting his mentor John Allen Muhammad - the death penalty - after his lawyers portrayed him as an impressionable boy who had fallen under Muhammad’s murderous spell.

    Malvo, 18, will be instead be locked away for the rest of his life.

    In some ways, life may be worse, given his age.

    Filed under: Courts/the Judiciary | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Marty to Stay

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:47 pm

    Interesting: Chargers say Schottenheimer will return in 2004. I think this is a good move, as he is a good enough coach to deserve more time. I must admit that I have eeb surprised at home poorly the Chargers have performed this year.

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    Two Thoughts

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:21 pm

    Two thoughts on this: Texas A&M Says It Has Cloned First Deer:

    1) Hunters of the World, Unite! (Im not one, but I figure this will make a lot of ‘em happy-especially if they clone some bucks).

    and, more importantly:

    2) Leave to a bunch of Aggies to clone something we already have too many of.

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    Today’s List: Top Five Things We Don’t Need from Today’s News

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 am

    Top Five Things We Don’t Need From Today’s News

    5. We don’t need to pay $130 for a book of toons.

    4. We don’t need a stage production of When Harry Met Saly.

    3. We don’t need missing screws messing up nuclear power plants.

    2. We don’t need more ALF.

    1. We don’t need Dennis Rodman to come out of retirement.

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    Good Deal: More Militants Captured

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:26 am

    U.S. Troops Arrest Rebel Suspects in Iraq

    Those arrested include an ex-colonel accused of recruiting guerrillas and four suspected associates of fugitive former Vice President Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who is believed to have a leading role in Iraq’s insurgency.

    The linkages to al-Douri make this noteworthy.

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    With Friends Like These…

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:17 am

    And story just keeps getting weirder: MSNBC - Strawberry comforts Michael Jackson

    Pop singer Michael Jackson has found a friend in another celebrity who’s had his own brushes with the law-former baseball star Darryl Strawberry.

    No doubt, Michael is getting sage advice from Darryl.

    (Hat Tip: John Lemon)

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    The NYT on Powell

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:09 am

    The NYT has an interesting piece of Secretary of State Colin Powell today (Powell Defends Diplomatic Role). The tone, like many pieces on Powell, focuses on the thesis that he is frustrated in his position.

    An expression of this frustration comes from a quote from an interview the Secretary did with Foreign Affairs:

    “U.S. strategy is widely accused of being unilateralist by design,” Mr. Powell wrote. “It isn’t. It is often accused of being imbalanced in favor of military methods. It isn’t. It is frequently described as being obsessed with terrorism and hence biased toward preemptive war on a global scale. It most certainly is not.”

    The funny thing to me is that the tone of the article suggests that the problem at hand is that the rest of the Bush administration is the reason why Powell is upset. Indeed, through the last several years much of the press has been hellbent on setting up a Powell v. the Rest dichotomy in the administration (especially v. Rummy).

    While I have no doubt that there are difference of policy opinion between Powell and other members of admin, I also think that Powell is a man of sufficient integrity that if he really was as disgruntled about Bush administration policy as many in the press clearly hope he is that he would have resigned by now. Certainly he wouldn’t have said many of the things he has said over the last several years.

    Indeed, I would point out to the NYT that the reason that Powell is frustrated about the misperceptions of US diplomacy (especially vis-a-vis “unilateralism") is the insistence of the press to pretend like all the Bush administration has done is run around all by its lonesome beating people up, despite empirical evidence to the contrary.

    Were I Powell, I’d be frustrated as well.

    Indeed, I find many liberals/opponents of the President’s foreign policy to have this fantasy that Powell is really on their side-a lone voice of reason in a sea of foreign policy nuts in the White House. Again, I say, if that was the case, I find it hard to believe that he stayed this long. It isn’t like he couldn’t have found a graceful way to resign (like, for example, his cancer).

    And you have to love the attempt at interpretation here:

    Only rarely has Mr. Powell shed light on any interior dissatisfactions he may have experienced in three years. In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Mr. Powell volunteered that one of the things he most admired about one of his predecessors, George C. Marshall, was that he did not resign even after his advice not to recognize Israel in 1948 was rejected.

    Does that mean, though, that Mr. Powell has even thought about resigning, such as when President Bush decided to go to war against Iraq? Not at all, his aides say. Mr. Powell all along believed that war was justified if Saddam Hussein continued to flout international demands to come clean with his weapons.

    Although this seems to me to be reasonable:

    “It is not as if he was against the war,” said an aide to Mr. Powell. “It is just that the war was not his priority. It was Rumsfeld’s and Cheney’s priority. Powell’s priority was to make sure the war was carried out in the right way.”

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    Monday, December 22, 2003

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:31 pm

    According to LA radio, at least 3 people have died as a result of today’s quake.

    Filed under: Not politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:35 pm

    Today is the 18th anniversary of my first date with my wife. We saw the movie White Knights (yes, a Cold War flick that we saw during the actual Cold War…).

    We met in High School (Christmas Break of our senior year). We will have been married for fourteen years at the end of June.

    To risk sounding like a geezer, I would note that time flies.

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    It’s Almost Here! It’s Almost Here!

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:08 pm

    What, Christmas? Yep, that’s a few days away, but we are finally within spittin’ distance of actual voting. The Iowa Caucuses are less than a month away (January 19). Here’s the whole primary schedule.

    So soon we can stop speculating and have actual data and stuff. Such info pleases my poligeek heart.

    (Oh, and Christma is pretty cool, too).

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    Broadway Joe

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:28 pm

    I missed this: Joe Namath Makes Pass At ESPN Reporter On Camera, although heard Kornheiser make a reference to it.

    Very odd.

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    Dean leads in SC

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:17 pm

    It’s close, but Dean leads in a new poll of voters in South Carolina, according to thr American Research Group. Dean tops the field with 16%, although there are still 29% who remain undecided.

    Hat tip: PoliPundit

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with South Carolina and the Democratic nomination
    Sanctions or Fear of the US?

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:52 am

    Via Forbes here’s the run down of sanctions that were imposed on Libya:

    The United States banned imports of Libyan oil and some
    exports to Libya in 1982.

    Sanctions were expanded after the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco to include a total ban on direct import and export trade,
    commercial contracts, and travel-related activities.

    The U.S. Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) - passed in 1996 and renewed for another five years in 2001 - granted the U.S.
    president power to punish non-U.S. firms investing more than $20 million a year in energy sectors in Libya or Iran. The act has
    never been implemented. Strongly criticised by European countries, the European Union has said that any U.S. attempt to penalize Europeans doing business in Libya would prompt a
    complaint to the World Trade Organisation.

    The U.N. Security Council imposed an air and arms embargo and a ban on some oil equipment on Libya in 1992 and 1993 to pressure Tripoli to hand over two Libyan suspects for trial for
    the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing over Scotland.

    The sanctions were suspended when Libya turned them over in April 1999. Intelligence agent Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was later
    convicted. The second suspect was acquitted. The sanctions were lifted in September after Libya agreed to compensate victims.

    Okay, twenty years of sanctions (some of which were lifted in the last several years) and no serious capitulation from the Colonel. Then, the US demonstrates its willingness to act preemptively against rogue states with WMDs and Gaddafi decides to negotiate.

    Coincidence? I think not.

    To be more serious for a second, this really should be an interesting case for international relations scholars to study the relative scuccess of sanctions v. the threat of military pressure.

    Many may wish to claim that the sanctions worked is to make, I believe, a simple post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Yes, sanction preceded the shift of policy by the Libyans, but the question of why after decades of sactions they decided to give it all up now has to be answered. Clearly the Bush Doctrine represents the catalyst for the change.

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    Money Quote

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:42 am

    According to a spokesperson of Italian PM Berlusconi, and reported in the London Telegraph, Gaddafi told the Italian PM: “I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.”

    I will admit, it is almost too perfect a quote to be believed. Still, the actions seem to support the sentiment.

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    • Say Anything linked with Move Evidence In Favor Of Unilateralism
    Libya to Allow Inspections of Nuclear Programs

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:41 am

    This just keeps getting better: Libya Opens Nuke Programs to Inspections

    Libya has agreed to open its nuclear activities to pervasive inspection by the U.N. atomic agency as early as next week, a key step toward honoring a promise to scrap its nuclear weapons program, the agency’s chief said Monday.


    Libya has admitted to nuclear fuel projects, including the possession of centrifuges and centrifuge parts used in uranium enrichment-a nuclear effort more advanced than previously thought. It also agreed to tell the IAEA about current nuclear programs and to adhere to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

    Filed under: War on Terror | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Sunday, December 21, 2003
    Hey Look: They’re Having a Primary in One of the Carolinas

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:16 pm

    Jeff of Backcountry Conservative has a round-up of SC-related primary news.

    Some interesting stuff. As the post notes, SC is perhaps the only place where one of the Other Eight can slow Dean down.

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    The Question, and The Answer

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:00 pm

    When a young child informs a parent that “my tummy hurts” it is obligatory to ask in response: “do you feel like you are going to throw up?” (Normally asked whilst holding said child).

    There is a particularly onerous way that question can be answered (especially given the aforementioned holding-the-child thing).

    Ah well, at least the kitchen floor is now freshly mopped.

    Thankfully, we weren’t standing over carpet.

    Unfortunately, this evening’s menu was dominated by chili.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:10 pm

    Former Alabama coach Price hired by UTEP.

    Somehow I knew he would get a job again, but I still find it a bit shocking anway.

    James of OTB has the story as well, with some commentary.

    Filed under: Sports | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Did He or Didn’t He?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:08 pm

    Clark-Dean ‘Dangled’ VP Slot, Dean Camp Disputes

    But Dean’s campaign manager, Joe Trippi, disputed that, saying the Clark’s statement was “interesting, but not the meeting I was in … That never came up.”

    Clark, appearing on ABC News’ This Week, said Dean “did offer me the vice presidency. And what I told him was, that’s not the issue.”

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    Judicious Facelift

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:10 pm

    Go check out the site redesign at Judicious Asininity. Romulus is looking for input.

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    Guest Bloggin’

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:28 pm

    From John Lemon (retired blogger):

    Being a huge fan of the photographic arts, one of my must-see weekly websites has been’s “Week in Pictures.” Each week readers get to vote on their favorite photo. At the end of the year the editors post top vote getters from readers and then the “critics’ picks.” Over the past three years I have noticed a definite pattern. On average, the critics’ picks tend to draw more upon scenes of tragedy or despair. And on average, the readers favor pictures associated with human achievement, compassion and natural joy. I think this really reflects the divide between the so-called intelligensia (of which I would
    consider art/photo critics to be part of) and “average folk.” And as of
    last night, I was not surprised to find the two top vote getters were “My
    Daddy, My Hero” and “Soldier with Child” (my titles for the photos). Both
    pictures truly represent the best of our military.

    [ed.: MSNBC’s Year in Pictures can be found here]

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    Dean Wanted Clark?

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:21 am

    Clark Says Dean Sought Him as Running Mate.

    This confirms an earlier story.

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    SecState Lugar?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:11 am

    Robert Novak reports:

    Well-placed sources say Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is the leading prospect to succeed Colin Powell as secretary of State in the second term of a Bush administration.

    Lugar, a 71-year-old, five-term senator, is close to Powell and shares his less hawkish views of the world. Powell is definitely leaving at the end of the first Bush term. His friend and colleague, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, will leave with him. The choice of Lugar would be enhanced if his former aide, Mitch Daniels, is elected governor of Indiana next year so that a Republican in Indianapolis would select Lugar’s successor for the last two years of his term if he leaves the Senate.

    A footnote: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, once thought to be in line for the top job at either State or Defense in the second term, is reported to have lost favor at the White House.

    Not a very exciting choice, but a competent one. And interesting about Wolfowitz.

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    Details on Libya

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:52 am

    Interesting: Secret U.S. Trips to Libya Led to Weapons Pledge

    Secret trips by American intelligence officers, late night meetings with Muammar Gaddafi and disclosures that the United States knew about Libya’s arms programs led to Tripoli’s pledge to give up its unconventional weapons, senior intelligence officials said on Saturday.

    A team of American and British intelligence officers flew to Libya clandestinely in October and December for stretches of about two weeks, visiting sites where they were shown parts of the country’s chemical, nuclear and missile programs.

    Gaddafi appears to have been the driving force behind the process, and his motivation may have ranged from concerns about the U.S.-led war against Iraq and a desire to join the international community to concerns about extremism inside Libya, the officials said. “The Libyans are very focused on extremism and have made some contributions to the war on terrorism,” one of the intelligence officials said.

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    The Parable of the Rat

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:35 am

    Matthew J. Stinson relates an amusing Positively true story, that makes a nice little anti-terrorism parable.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    With the Other Eight Act Strategically? (Doubtful)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:17 am

    Chris Lawrence correctly notes that if the the Anyone But Dean faction of the Democratic Party wants to win, some of the Other Eight need to drop out now. The exigencies of the electoral rules are such that if the Other Eight insist on staying in the race, the ABD faction will have no chance of defeating Dean, since they will be splitting their vote amongst too many candidates.

    Of course, such strategic behavior is, shall we say, unlikely. For example: if Kerry is willing to spend his own money on a losing cause it is clear that the contest is more abut himself than it is about his party or actually beating Bush.

    I also agree that even if the ABDs coalesce around a single candidate, it may not be enough to stop Dean.

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    • PunditFilter linked with Is Dean feeling the heat?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:55 am

    Frustration with Bush drives Democrats

    The Dec. 1 issue of Time Magazine dubbed George W. Bush both “The Love Him, Hate Him President” and “The Great Polarizer.” A USA Today story of the same date described the anger that is currently in residence at the Democratic Party and among its base. This anger has manifested in best-selling books by Bush critics such as comedian Al Franken, filmmaker Michael Moore and New York Times columnist and economics professor Paul Krugman, each taking the president, and the Republicans, to task, often in vitriolic fashion.

    The whole thing is here.

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    Saturday, December 20, 2003
    More on Party Organization

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:12 pm

    To add to my post of yesterday on party organization: part of what I am getting at when speaking of voters and candidates, is that the party comes to be defined by their presidential candidate, not just in terms of media image, but in terms of actual organization and personnel. Once a candidate is chosen, they have control over who the party chair will be, and hence a great deal of control over the actual institutional party itself. Right now the establishment Democratic Party is represented by Terry McAuliffe, basically because the last Democratic president put him there. (Yes, Gore was the most recent candidate, but since he was running while a Dem was in office, he wasnt afforded the control he otherwise would have had). So, for example, I would expect Dean to replace McAuliffe if (when) he wins the nomination.

    Further, once Dean is clearly the nominee his people will be the face and structure of the national Democratic Party, since the Dean structure will really be the only national structure of note. Think back to 1992: that was when Stephanopoulos, Carville, Begala and company became the Democrats. A similar thing will happen with Dean (especially if he wins).

    So, to liken Dean to a third party candidate running within the Democratic structure, as Erhlich did, misses fundamentally important elements of political parties.

    In short: whoever wins the nomination by convincing enough rank-and-file Democratic voters to vote for him or her gets the chance to recast the Democratic (or, for that matter, Republican) Party in their image. This is what I meant when I called the parties malleable in my post yesterday.

    Also noteworthy: Chris Lawrence joined into the conversation on this topic in response to my post and also has a good post on the whole Kaus-generated: what if Dean went third party meme.

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    More on Libya

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:41 pm

    Robert Tagorda has an interesting post on the Libya situation which also touches on Dean’s foreign policy savvy.

    Filed under: War on Terror | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Toast-O-Meter (12/20 Edition)

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:27 pm

    The Toast-o-meter: A Weekly News Round-Up and

    Handicapping of the Race for the Democratic Nomination.

    -Toast: It’s not Just for Breakfast Anymore!-

    The Toast-O-Meter comes to you Fortified with linkage and Enhanced with bloggage!

    The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much donea little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt all the Way Through (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Crumbs in the Bottom of the Toaster (Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

  • Dough is on the Rise
  • Heats Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

    The Whole Loaf: Can any of the Nine make Bush into Texas Toast?

    (Bush is piping hot and fresh from the oven, the Loaf is stale).

    The bottom line is: this was a good week for Bush. Clearly the capture of Saddam was a boost, and as a result, his numbers are up. Further, there was a plethora of good economics news. At this stage, I don’t see Bush losing, barring a catostrophic event. More than ever, it seems that the Democrat’s only hope is for something bad to happen, which is an unfortunate political position for the party to be in. I do think that the election will be closer than the oft-cited McGovern or Mondale ventures. However, it could happen if things go really, really well in the War on Terror writ large, in Iraq specifically, and/or in the economy overlal (especialy in re: jobs).

  • James of OTB linkes to a Fineman piece which lists a number of advantages that the President has going into 2004.
  • In re: the capture of Saddam and the reactions of the Democrats. Lieberman was the happiest, and Dean was amongst the more gracious. In general, I agree with Kevin of Calpundit: the response of most of the Democratic candidates to the capture of Saddam seemed to be “drat”. I posted at the time, that Dean’s remarks were appropriate (indeed, I called them “classy"), and while it may be that Dean “sounded a bit grudging in person” (I did hear the bite, and he did), I would note that Dean sounds grumpy no matter what he says. Michael Kinsley’s latest Slate column deals specifically with this issue.
  • Kevin of Calpundit thinks that a Nader run will help energize anti-Bush Democrats. I am not so convinced. One thing’s for sure: many Democrats aren’t too happy about the prospect.
  • The Capture led to many of the Nine to call for increased “internationalization” of the Iraq policy. That made no sense to me (nor did it to Michael Kinsely (same column as noted above)).

    Slicing up the loaf:


    Dean: Wonder Bread fortified with vitamins With Yummy Vermont Syrup on top (Dough on the Rise, but felt a little heat coming out of the Spider-Hole)

    I have noted many pundits calling the capture of Saddam the chance for one of the Other Eight to take Dean down. I just don’t see it. As I wrote the day of the capture, I don’t see Dean’s supporters being swayed because of a victory in Iraq. What Deaniac is going to say “hey! they caugt Saddam, think I’ll vote for Lieberman!"? It makes no sense. Gephardt might gain a tad amongst undecideds, but are there enough pro-war undecided out there in the early primaries to keep Dick afloat? I find that to be a dubious proposition.

  • Via The Hedgehog Report we can see that Dean leads in the polls in Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona (not to mention NH and IA). Plus, he’s taken the lead in several national polls (this all strikes me as the very definition of Dough Being on the Rise).
  • The NYT profiled Dean’s campaign manager, Joe Trippi, this past Saturday.
  • Not surprisingly, Dean Under Fire for Comments on Saddam. However, while this may endear the Other Eight to pro-war types, I somehow doubt it will make any difference to the Deanites.
  • William Saletan argues that Dean is plagiarizing Clinton’s domestic policies, with the excpetion of tax-policy: Clinton promised to cut middle-class taxes, Dean promises to repeal a middle-class tax cut.
  • On the endorsement front: Dean won the support of N.J. Gov. McGreevey.
  • There was some speculation that Dean would go Third Party (also here and here), if for some reason he didn’t get the nomination (which, strikes me as unlikely). I am here to tell you: if he does, he will lose, and he wil take the Democratic nominee with him.
  • Not surprisingly, Dean has become the focal point of attack from the Other Eight.


    Gephardt: Slighty Toasted White Bread (the heat continues).

    As noted above, Gephardt might gain a little bit due to the Saddam capture, but thusfar there is little evidence to suggest that this is happening. Gephardt seems to be the only serious, non-desperate candidate left who isn’t named Dean. Unless there is a seismic shift in the primary voters, however, he is likely toasty-toast.

  • This will excite the masses: Bonior to head up Gephardt campaign in state, nationally. I’m excited, aren’t you?
  • When you have to point this out: Gephardt ad argues he is most feared Democrat, it means you’re not.


    Clark: Toast (got scraped a little)

  • Clark’s testimony at the Hague gave him a chance to look like someone who had some foreign policy bona fides (not huge amounts, but certainly more than any other of the Nine). Indeed, given the dictator/criminal issues at the Hague, it gave Clark semi-expert status with the whole Saddam dictator/criminal situation.
  • Kevin of Calpundit
    reports on a Clark House Party that he attended at the home of Mark Kleiman.

    Lieberman: Burnt Toast (he got scraped a bit, however)

    I moved Joe to the Day Old Bakery from the Crumb Pile-no so much because his chances of winning are really any better, but beause his post-Capture profile has improved in the press. Joe is no closer to the nomination than he was before. However, he received a boost in attention and media exposure as a result of the Saddam capture. Some of the conventional wisdom is that the capture helps Lieberman in the primaries: I don’t buy it.

  • Was oft-quoted after saying “Let’s be real clear… If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam would be in power not prison.” on MTP


    Kerry: Crumbling Burned French Toast (freshly on the crumb pile)

    Kerry has been moved to the crumb pile: he is showing clear signs of desperation, both in terms of lending money to himself, and in his campaign strategizing. He is done. The best he can hope to do is to reduce the amount by which he will lose in New Hampshire. That hardly seems worth sinking almost a million of one’s own money and mortgaging the house to accomplish. And even if he comes in a relatively close second in NH, where will he go from there? By that time Dean will have been capaiging vigorously in the post-NH states and Kerry will limp in with no momementum and having to borrow more money to continue.

  • James of OTB reports that Kerry is investing more of his own assets to pay for his campaign. Opines James: “This is frankly disturbing. What kind of man mortgage’s his wife’s house in pursuit of what is increasingly obviously a lost cause? Certainly not the kind I’d want as president.” No joke.
  • Here’s the low-down on the Kerry’s IA and NH or bust strategy.

    Edwards: Crumbs at the Bottom of the Toaster

  • Has anyone heard from him lately?
  • Although he does pledge to save us from the flu. Ironically, the Flu is doing better in the electoral college than Edwards even could.

    Kucinich: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (pecan loaf)

  • Said D.K. this week: “If we don’t bring them home now, they’ll be there for years.” To which I say: indeed. How else will be win the peace? Leaving now would be disastrous.
  • Also this week: Kucinich gives spirited defense of gay marriage / Democratic hopeful chides his rivals for equivocating

    Sharpton: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (wal-nut bread)

  • Maybe he and Edwards took the week off to play golf or something…

    Braun: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (plain day-old bread)

  • The NYT notes that In Seeking Presidency, Braun Could Win Back Reputation. Quite frankly, that’s the goal as far as I can tell-and it is all she is likely to win in any event.


    Hillary Clinton

  • Said Hillary this week: “I cannot even imagine four years of a second term of this administration, with no accountability and no election at the end.” However, I am not sure what it means, however.


  • Has anyone heard from Gore since he endorsed Dean?

    Bob Graham

  • Gunning for a Veep bid? Graham stands up for Dean at Democratic fundraiser. At said event, Senator Graham referred to Dean’s foreign policy goals as “visionary.” All I know is that it must’ve taken Graham a while to write down all the notes after the meeting!
  • Further, he told an audience at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches that“this is not my swan song”.
  • Meanwhile, ex-NH Senator Bob Smith is seeking Graham’s old Senate seat.

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    • Hellblazer linked with Saddam Post Toasties
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    Libya’s WMDs

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:39 am

    James of OTB has analysis of the Libya WMD announcement.

    Filed under: War on Terror | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:38 am

    Thanks to Cranial Cavity and Heh. Indeed. (now featuring actual content!) for linking to PoliBlog. A reciporacl links has been added to the List.

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    Aznar in Iraq

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:17 am

    Interesting: Yahoo! News - Spanish Prime Minister Pays Visit to Iraq

    The Spanish prime minister paid a surprise visit to his country’s soldiers in Iraq on Saturday, affirming his support for the occupation as the United States said it was deploying more troops.

    In a trip reminiscent of President Bush’s Thanksgiving Day visit to Iraq, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar left Friday night with a 16-member delegation to meet with member of the 1,300-strong Spanish contingent in Iraq, based in the southern town of Diwaniyah.

    “He is there now. He will have lunch and come home,” an official said at Aznar’s Moncloa Palace office in Madrid.

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    Friday, December 19, 2003
    The Toast Isn’t quite Done

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:17 pm

    This week’s Toast-O-Meter likely will not be done today-expect it by late morning tomorrow.

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    Ehrlich, Dean, the ‘Net and Political Parties

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:07 pm

    I finally got around to reading the Ehrlich piece from Suday’s WaPo in which he argues that the internet is going to transform party politics, and specifically stating

    For all Dean’s talk about wanting to represent the truly “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” the paradox is that he is essentially a third-party candidate using modern technology to achieve a takeover of the Democratic Party.

    Indeed, he seems to think that the defining characteristic of a political party is fundraising. This is not the case.

    Erhlich’s problem is twofold. First, as is often the case with technological innovation, there is an assumption that new technology will take over existing institutions, when the truth normally is that old institutions normally co-opt, and learn how to use to their own ends, new technology.

    The second problem is more profound: Erhlich seems not to understand American parties. Parties in the US are primarily three things: the candidates themselves, the officeholders who manage to win election, and, above all else, the voters who are willing to put those candidates into office. The institutional existence of the party (the party committee, and so forth) is really minor by comparison to the other aforementioned elements.

    Mass-based, catch-all parties, like the two major US parties, are vast confederations of these candidates, office-holders and voters who share some general principles in common, but with a great deal of variation. The perception of the party writ large is dictated by the major elected officials of that party, especially the President, or the opposition party’s nominee. Dean is not some insurgent outsider because he uses internet voodoo to raise money. Dean is an insurgent because he was relatively unknown prior to this campaign cycle. If he wins the nomination, he will alter, to some degree, the image of the Democratic Party. Big deal, and nothing new. The only “revolutionary” thing going on here is that he is the first one to use a specific tool in this context. After this electoral cycle look for Dean-like usages of the ‘net to become a normal part of the campaign-finance toolbox. Next time it will be orthodox, and therefore mundane and no one will write columns on it. And most important of all, the party system will persist exactly as it has been.

    Our party system, is stable on the surface, but malleable and adaptable as well. Indeed, the primary process itself, with the ability of candidates from various ideological perspectives to run for nominations (consider the Kucinich-Lierbman range in the current crop of Dems) allows for a great deal of intraparty variation. The voters in the primaries, therefore, ultimately decide the shape of the party in the short term, not the use of different types of fund-raisng tech

    Steve Bainbridge has a lengthy, and interesting, post on this topic over at his place.

    UPDATE: This post is today’s entry in BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with The party ain't quite over yet
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    Thanks for the Links

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:33 pm

    Thanks to:

  • The Politburo Diktat
  • PunditFilter

    for linking to PoliBlog. Each has been added to the reciprocal list.

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    Today’s List: Dems on Dean

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:17 am

    Today’s List: Democrats Speak on Howard Dean (file it under “Current Events")

    5. “My concern is if he doesn’t moderate some of those positions, if he is the Democratic nominee, he will be very successful at garnering 45 percent of the vote which isn’t enough to win.” (Rep. Cal Dooley, D-CA).

    4. “There is some anxiety.” (Pat Griffin, who was President Clinton’s liaison to Congress.)

    3. “For Dean in particular, it makes it even more imperative that he has to make an adjustment in terms of his positions so he’s not viewed as weak on national security.” (Leon Panetta, former Clinton Chief of Staff).

    2. “We don’t want a wimp in this part of the country.” (Representative Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio)

    1. “Most people in my part of the country think the world is indeed safer without a ruthless dictator.” (Senator John Breaux,D-LA).

    Source: NYT

    If you want to play along, here’s how.

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    • PunditFilter linked with Democrats speak out on Dean
    • PunditFilter linked with Democrats speak out on Dean
    Ya Don’t Say…

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:10 am

    Some Democrats Uneasy About Dean as Nominee

    Man, nothing gets past the NYT!

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    Kinsley on Finding Saddam and the Politics Thereof

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:07 am

    Even Michael Kinsley finds the “we have Saddam, so now is a good time to internationalize” argument a bit odd

    Virtually every Democratic candidate, including Dean, followed another puzzling convention of American politics by saying that the capture of Saddam was a reason, or at least an occasion, to draw in other nations. Their most common complaint about the war has been that it isn’t “multilateral.” It’s hard to see how this argument is affected one way or another by finding Saddam in a hole.

    The whole piece is worth a read.

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    Thursday, December 18, 2003
    Dean’s College Days

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:03 pm

    Before any right-ish bloggers jump on Dean for taking a bunch of Soviet and Marxist-related courses in college (as noted by the Political Wire, which got it from Washington Whispers Daily), I would note that anyone who studied political science, history or philosophy in the Cold War era would have taken a lot of similar classes.

    Heck, my transcript from the 1980s would reveal a coourse on Soviet politics and two on revolutions and collective political violence. My wife, who minored in polisci took two course on the Soviet Union and one on China.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:48 pm

    Yep, it’s true, there’s been no “Today’s List” for two days running. Nothing has really struck my fancy. However, Hpward Fineman has a list of reasons that Bush is in good shape for re-election, so check that out.


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    MLB is Run by Idiots

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:38 pm

    I can’t get over this: Red Sox: Proposed Trade Is ‘Dead’

    The proposed blockbuster trade involving baseball’s highest-paid players - Texas’s Alex Rodriguez and Boston’s Manny Ramirez - appears to be off for now. It was pronounced “dead” yesterday by the Red Sox, although the Rangers remained somewhat optimistic.

    So, because of some union official a multi-team, multi-player deal that would have garned MLB a ton of pub, and created buzz into next season is possibly dead.

    Again, I say: no wonder baseball is dying.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:04 pm

    Thanks to Sha Ka Ree for linking to PoliBlog. All due rights and privileges are hereby bested (i.e., a reciprocal link).

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    The Flu Wins! The Flu Wins!

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:48 pm

    Despite initial polls that showed the Flu was behind in the Electoral College, the newest numbers show that the Flu has surged, picking up key states such as California, Georgia and New York.

    The Flu now controls 391 Electoral Votes and is working on naming its transition team.

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    Atta Memo Deemed Fake

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:34 pm

    Dubious Link Between Atta and Saddam

    A widely publicized Iraqi document that purports to show that September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta visited Baghdad in the summer of 2001 is probably a fabrication that is contradicted by U.S. law-enforcement records showing Atta was staying at cheap motels and apartments in the United States when the trip presumably would have taken place, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and FBI documents.

    Hat tip: Betsy’s Page

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    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Bombshell Bombed
    For Example

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:24 pm

    Here’s DNC Cahir Terry McAuliffe, after the 2002 elections (as quoted in the Houston Chronicle, 11/10/02:

    “Listen, I’m the eternal optimist,” McAuliffe said the day after his party was routed at the polls. “Obviously, I wish we’d picked up a couple more Senate seats and some more House seats, but they were very tight all over the country. I think we had a tough time getting our message out.”

    Or, there’s Tom Daschle, as quoted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on 11/7/02:

    He said he did not blame the chief strategists, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., or Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. He added: “No matter how many press conferences they had, no matter how many detailed plans they laid out, since 9-11 it was tough to get the message out.”

    Not to mention Gore’s contention (as quoted in the Boston Herald on 12/1/02) that the entire political “zeitgeist” is controlled by the RNC-Fox News-WaTi-talk show nexus:

    “Something will start at the Republican National Committee . . . and it will explode the next day on the right-wing talk-show network and on Fox News and in the newspapers that play this game, The Washington Times and the others. And then they’ll create a little echo chamber, and pretty soon they’ll start baiting the mainstream media for allegedly ignoring the story they’ve pushed into the zeitgeist. And then pretty soon the mainstream media goes out and disingenuously takes a so-called objective sampling, and lo and behold, these RNC talking points are woven into the fabric of the zeitgeist.”

    This kind of thinking is not going to propel the Democrats to majority status. If anything, it is far too outwardly oriented, which is not a path to victory.

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    The Point

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:13 pm

    To simplify the point of this post: one of the major problems of the Democratic Party is the ongoing underestimation of George W. Bush, and the Republican Party in general. Instead of attempting to understand the reasons why voters have been sending more Reps to Washington than Dems in the last decade, Dems appear, to me at least, to generically think that the explanations are aesthetic (i.e., image or presentation) rather than substantive.

    An emblematic example: when prominent Democratic leaders and party allies stated, after the 2002 mid-terms, that Dems lost because “they didn’t get their message out", not because it was possible that voters actually preferred the Rep message to theirs.

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    • The Politburo Diktat linked with Comprenez-vous?
    Ya Think?

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:58 am

    Spurrier: Skins need to ‘restructure, reorganize, regroup’

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    Even More Good Econ News

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:34 am

    Jobless Claims Drop, Indicators Rise

    First-time claims for state unemployment insurance, a rough guide to the pace of layoffs, plunged 22,000 to 353,000 last week from a revised 375,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said.


    The private Conference Board said later on Thursday that its index of leading indicators rose 0.3 percent in November to 114.2, after an upwardly revised 0.5 percent climb in October.


    Meanwhile, the Chicago Federal Reserve said its National Activity Index jumped in November to its highest level since March 2000, helped by improving industrial production.

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    More Good Econ News

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:30 am

    Manufacturing Jumps to 23-Year High

    Manufacturing in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region surged powerfully and unexpectedly in December as new orders jumped to a 23-year high, in one of the clearest signs yet that factories have emerged from a two-year slump.

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    Too Funny

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:09 am

    Limbaugh just mentioned this. This is just a great example of how fact is stranger than fiction:

    The King of Pop is restyling himself Jacko X.

    Michael Jackson last night became a member of the Nation of Islam - and sources told The Post his religious changeover comes along with a shake-up of his personal staff.

    High-ranking members of the Nation of Islam have been working to bring Jackson into Rev. Louis Farrakhan’s flock - and Jackson’s conversion is now well-known in the NOI community.

    Exactly why Jackson converted wasn’t clear to The Post’s sources

    But, will he start wearing bowties?

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    One of the Reasons Dems Have Problems

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:20 am

    Tina Brown’s piece in WaPo underscores part of the reason why the Democrats are staring at several more years of minority status: they constantly mis-interpret the reason that Republicans win. Instead of deailing with (Heaven forbid!) actual policy differences, Brown argues that the reason Reps are winning because the public likes stereotypical masculine types these days. She compares Bush to come a “comic-strip” hero and a “a guy in a sports bar” and quotes a progressive academic regarding the Schwarzenegger win:

    as Berkeley professor George Lakoff, author of “Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think,” pointed out to me last week in Los Angeles, Jay Leno is a celebrity, too, and he wouldn’t have had a chance. Lakoff is a bearded, articulate progressive who has done a lot of work on the framing of winning issues. He stresses that Arnold was sponsored by Republican kingmakers because he’s a fantasy figure who very clearly represents the strict, punishing father people turn to in times of fear.

    What about the very real possibility that voters were truly unhappy with Gray Davis, and that none of the other candidates were able to convince the voters that they were the best alternative. Obviously the election had nothing to do with the lackluster campaign of Busamante (who simply offered more Gray Davis) or the overly-conservative (for CA) message of McClintock (not to mention the shrillness of Huffingotn). No, it was the deep-seeded need for an authoritarian father figure that led to the outcome.

    And the only reason Bush is President is because he says tough-guy things like “Bring ‘em on.” It has nothing to do with the weakness of the Democratic field, nor of the dearth of actual arguments against the President’s policies (and no, just saying “Bush is bad at X” is not an argument).

    If the intelligensia of the Democratic Party continues to think this way (and especially if their candidates, both at the Presidential and Congressional levels, continue to campaign this way), then they can look forward to another decade of minority status in the Congress, and at least four more years getting into the White House only via the tourist line.

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    O’Donnell Back

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:44 am

    ESPN Radio reports that Neil “I Thought Larry Brown was a Pittsburgh Receiver” O’Donnell is coming out of retirement to QB for the Titans. A good move, and probably the only real option the Titans have.

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    Third Party Howard?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:40 am

    The New Republic Online’s blog responds to Kaus’ discussion of Dean going independent (why, oh why, doesn’t Kaus have permalinks??). The analysis is quite flawed. Firstly, it seem predicated on solely the national popular vote, not the electoral college (have we forgotten how the system works already?). The real question should be: how many states could Dean expect to beat both Gephardt and Bush. The simple answer is: not many (indeed, perhaps none).

    The New Republic poster seems to think it would come down to pro-war v. anti-war voters, with Bush and Gephardt splitting the pro-war vote. This strikes me as poor analysis, as most of the true pro-war vote is Republican, so Gephardt would be in trouble if that was all he had going for him. The truth of the matter is simple: Gephardt and Dean would split the Democratic vote and Bush would, obviously, have all the Republican vote. Bush would dominate in the South, do quite well in the West and mid-West and pick up several Democratic states because of the Dean-Gephardt split. Indeed, Bush would likely come away with California and New York. It wouldn’t end up in the Congress, it would end up in an early night for election watchers.

    Indeed, the very suggestion that Dean has a better shot as an Independent than he would have as the Democratic nominee is sheer fantasy.

    Like it or not: there is a huge advantage of being the nominee of a major party, and going to a third party/indepedent bid is to throw away votes.

    Note: James of OTB had some spot-on analysis of this scenario yesterday.

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    Sowell on Quagmires

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:06 am

    Says Thomas Sowell in his latest column:

    With all the complaints about what has not been done yet in Iraq, we need to step back and think about the fact that less than a year has elapsed since the war began. This should be in the Guinness Book of World Records as the shortest quagmire in history.


    And double indeed:

    Like a baseball game, wars are not over till they are over. Wars don’t run on a clock like football. No previous generation was so hopelessly unrealistic that this had to be explained to them.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 8:40 am

    Thanks to Pundit Heads for linking to PoliBlog.

    The blog has been entered into the List.

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    A Sign of How Far Kerry Has Fallen

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:37 am

    The BoGlo reports: Kerry camp pins hopes on Iowa, N.H. success

    Presidential candidate John F. Kerry has sharply curtailed campaign visits to states beyond Iowa and New Hampshire, betting virtually all of his political chips on success in one short month: January.

    Oh, how far the presumptive front-runner has fallen. Essentially he is conceding that he has to do well (at least third in Iowa and a strong second in NH) to even have a prayer. Indeed, unless he makes up huge amounts of ground in NH, he is as good as done.

    I don’t think that this news will help Mr. Kerry much in this week’s Toast-O-Meter.

    Hat tip: Political Wire

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    The Biggest One Yet

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 am

    The latest CNN/USAT poll gives Bush the highest apporval numbers of the three most recent major polls:

    A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll on Monday and Tuesday found that 63% of Americans approve of the overall job the president is doing. His rating just before Saddam’s arrest on Saturday was 54%.

    As the standard caveat goes, the bounce will fade. However, I expect that they will settle at a slightly higher level than where they started-especially since good economic news is likely to continue. Going into a re-election in the mid to upper 50s is a pretty good position to be in.

    Hat tip: Political Wire

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    Current Presidential Polling

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:28 am

    Poll Shows Candidates Failing to Move Democratic Primary Voters

    Not surprisingly, the poll concludes that Bush is in a stronger postion than the Democrats at this stage of the game, but that the Democrats have a chance.

    Forty-five percent of voters said they would probably vote for Mr. Bush, compared with 39 percent who said they would probably vote for his Democratic opponent, no matter who that is.


    In a potential sign of concern for Democrats who are contemplating the prospects of a contest between Mr. Bush and Dr. Dean, one-quarter of registered voters already have an unfavorable view of Dr. Dean.

    and I think we tend to call those people “hardcore Republicans", yes? Although I do think that one of Dean’s many obstacles of note vis-a-vis winning the Presidency, is his likability (or lack thereof).

    And we call these people “die-hard Democrats":

    And 38 percent say they do not believe that Mr. Bush was legitimately elected, nearly the same number who expressed that view the month after that election.

    Dean has done an effective job of campaigning, however, because his national numbers are up. And, of course, he has gotten a great deal of national media attention in the last couple of months:

    The poll reinforced the feeling among Democratic leaders of Dr. Dean’s position. He was supported by 23 percent of Democratic primary voters, followed by Mr. Lieberman and Gen. Wesley K. Clark, each with 10 percent.

    And note: Clark has dwindled quite a bit in his ranking, as I predicted he would.

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    Wednesday, December 17, 2003
    That’s the Main Goal, Isn’t it?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:56 pm

    In Seeking Presidency, Braun Could Win Back Reputation

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    Saddam and the Guerrillas

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:52 pm

    The CSM has an interesting piece on the links between Saddam and the insurgents: What US has learned from Hussein.

    Of note:

    The capture of Saddam Hussein appears to have helped the US military make quick progress in rolling up parts of the Iraqi insurgency as a whole.

    Since the disheveled former strongman was hauled from his hideout, US forces have nabbed what American officials describe as a contingent of resistance financiers. A major meeting of insurgent fighters was interrupted in progress. Documents found with Mr. Hussein have helped fill in knowledge gaps about the insurgency structure, say commanders.


    “He was clearly the symbolic figure, and these networks reported to him,” said Army Brig. Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Division, in a meeting with reporters on Tuesday.


    And on Tuesday US troops crashed what appeared to be a meeting of insurgents run by a mid-level leader near Samarra, which has been a hotbed of anti-US feeling. Seventy-three people were arrested.

    The emerging picture, say some experts, is of an organization where Hussein provided some sort of strategic oversight, perhaps just through exhortation. He may even have ordered some attacks.

    In Washington this week, interim Iraqi health minister Khudair Abbas said he believes Hussein communicated with followers via code in his tape-recorded messages.

    Good deal.

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    More Photoshop Phun

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 pm

    Here are some moreSaddam photoshops. Some you are duplicates from those that James mentioned, others are new (at least to me).

    The one of Saddam working at McDonald’s is my favorite.

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    Smith to Seek Graham Seat

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:57 pm

    Ex-N.H. Sen. Smith to Seek Graham’s Seat

    Former New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith, hoping to represent his newly adopted home state, said Wednesday he plans to seek the seat of retiring Sen. Bob Graham.

    Smith, a Republican who moved to Sarasota in May, told The Associated Press he will formally announce his candidacy next month. If elected, he would become the first U.S. senator in more than 120 years to have represented more than one state.

    Somehow, I just don’t see him winning.

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    Baseball Follies

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:46 pm

    This: Union Rejects Changes to A-Rod’s Contract, is typical of baseball, and helps underscore what’s wrong with the sport. Now, I am a Ranger’s fan (yes, weep for me), and I would just as soon A-Rod stay in Texas. However, it seems to me that this move would be good for baseball, by taking arguably the best player in the game to a marquee team, and also providing serious competition for the Yankees. Further, if the Sox are competitve next season, that will obviously be good for baseball, and TV ratings, especially next post-season.

    However, as usual, baseball has a ton of screwy rules which get in the way of the overall advancement of the sport. I suspect that the deal will get done, but not because of baseball’s collective wisdom, but in spite of it.

    Update: this post is my entry is today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

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    Madame A Responds

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:32 pm

    Dr. Albright responds, according to WaTi:

    “I made a tongue in cheek comment,” Albright explained.

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    • BoiFromTroy linked with She could have been joking...
    Madame Albright

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:23 pm

    I heard Mort Kondracke recount this story live yesterday, but in case you haven’t hear it, OpinionJournal provides the following retelling:

    According to journalist Morton Kondracke, Albright was in the green room at Fox News Channel yesterday when “She said, ‘Do you suppose that the Bush administration has Osama bin Laden hidden away somewhere and will bring him out before the election?’ ” Although Albright now says the remark was a “joke,” Kondracke says that at the time, “she was not smiling,” and other witnesses back him up: “Two makeup artists who prep the guests before their appearances also reported that Albright did not ask her question in a joking manner,” Fox reports.

    Utterly amazing, eh? And while Kondracke has gotten quite a bit more moderate in recent years, he is hardly a right-winger.

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    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Just Kidding
    No Surprise

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:22 pm

    Although the timing is odd: New York Giants Fire Coach Jim Fassel

    Filed under: Sports | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    A Rule of Parenting

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:41 pm

    It is an immutable Law of Parenting that singing children are highly, highly annoying, until your child is part of the program, and then singing children becomes one of the most delightful and sweet things in the world.

    ’tis a fact.

    Filed under: Kids | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Ok, Someone Explain This to Me

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:32 pm

    In the 12/22 issue of Newsweek, in the “Conventional Wisdom” section, Nixon is featured with an “up” arrow. The blurb by arrow? “In new tapes he calls Reagan ’strange’ and ‘not pleasant.’ Say what? Guess we’ll have to hear it on Showtime.”


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    On Fair Trials

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:45 am

    I keep hearing concerns about whether or not Saddam will receive a fair trial, and whether an international trial would be fairer than an Iraqi trial, etc. First, it strikes me in the abstract as to whether one can get a fair trial if the results of said trial are foregone. The answer to that question is yes, of course, although I wonder about some of the activists I have seen on TV, as some seem to act as if maybe he wont be found guilty to the point of deserving death. That is to say it seems to me that some people seem to think that a fair trial means a trial in which the defendant has a chance of being acquitted.

    Still, it seems to me that the definition of a fair trial in this context is a trial in which the case against Saddam is thoroughly and publicly made, and in which he is afforded to opportunity to put forth a defense.

    Second, aside from the death penalty/no death penalty issue, I can see no huge difference in potential outcomes in a trial inside Iraq or outside of Iraq. Hence, much of the hand-wringing on this subject seems to be a waste of time.

    I will say that the United Nations protestations are empty, given that had the Secretary General and the Security Council had had their way, Saddam would still be in power.

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    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with The fight over Saddam's trial
    Tuesday, December 16, 2003
    Today’s List: Dennis Miller Quotes

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:34 pm

    My Top Five Favorite Lines from 10 Questions For Dennis Miller - Dec. 22, 2003

    5. On George W. Bush: “Bush had the balls to start something that’s not gonna be finished in his lifetime. The liquidation of terrorism is not gonna happen for a long time. But to take the first step? Ballsy.”

    4. On entering electoral politics: “At some point that involves moving to Washington, D.C., sitting in a room all day with a moron like Barbara Boxer. I’m just not interested.”

    3. “anybody who looks at the world and says this is the time to be a wussI can’t buy that anymore.”

    2. “I had the best job in sports broadcasting for two years. And I had never been to a football game. I felt like the guy in Catch Me If You Can.”

    1. “(Sept. 11) was a big thing for me. I was saying to liberal America, “Well, what are you offering?” And they said, “Well, we’re not going to protect you, and we want some more money.” That didn’t interest me.”

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    Inflation’s Down

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:58 pm

    Inflation at 38-Year Low

    U.S. consumer prices took a surprise tumble last month, dragging the underlying inflation rate to a nearly 38-year low, even as industrial output and groundbreaking for homes surged, reports showed on Tuesday.

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • The Politburo Diktat linked with NKVD Report
    CAFTA Almost Done

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:51 pm

    U.S. and 5 Nations Work on Free Trade Pact

    Negotiators from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua have been meeting with U.S. officials for over a week in Washington, trying to overcome the final obstacles to a Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA.

    They say a deal is within reach and could be completed by next Tuesday. It would remove virtually all trade barriers among the nations over the next decade.


    Congress passed free trade deals with Chile and Singapore this year, which will take effect Jan. 1. Mexico, Canada, Israel and Jordan are the only other countries that have free trade agreements with the United States.

    Filed under: Latin America | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Good Deal: Guerrilla Leader Caught

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:25 pm

    U.S. Troops Capture Iraqi Rebel Leader

    U.S. troops arrested an Iraqi rebel leader and 78 others in a raid Tuesday near a town north of Baghdad where hours earlier guerrillas ambushed a U.S. patrol and sparked a gunbattle that killed 11 of the attackers.


    Tuesday’s raid captured rebel leader Qais Hattam, No. 5 on the 4th Infantry Division’s list of “high value targets,” said Capt. Gaven Gregory. The division has been on the front line in fighting the anti-U.S. insurgency in the Sunni Triangle and troops from the division led Saturday’s capture of Saddam.

    It was not clear if information from interrogations of Saddam led to the arrest of Hattam, who was not on the United States’ main list of 55 most wanted regime figures.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:20 pm

    France, Germany to Help Relieve Iraq Debt

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    Thune Will Not Seek to Replace Janklow

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:51 pm

    Interesting: Republican Thune Won’t Run for House

    Republican John Thune will not run for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Janklow, a spokesman said Tuesday.

    Thune has been mentioned as a possible candidate since Janklow was convicted of manslaughter last week in a deadly traffic accident. Janklow announced his resignation shortly after being convicted.

    Thune, a former South Dakota congressman, has not ruled out challenging Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle next year, said Ryan Nelson, his spokesman. He will wait until after the first of the year to decide whether to run for the Senate.

    This move may allow the Democrats to win SD’s House seat, but I think Thune actually has a shot at beating Dachle for the Senate seat, should he chose to run.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 12:45 pm

    Thanks to:

  • My Word


  • neWs Round-Up

    for linking to PoliBlog. They have been added to “the list".

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    I am the King of All Media!

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:06 am

    See: Saddam capture hits home.

    Although there is a question here: what is more widely read, PoliBlog or the Troy Messenger?

    Since this is the closet thing to original content today, I have parked it in the BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (0)
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    What is the Man Smoking?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:49 am

    I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but gee whiz: Wash. Congressman Questions Saddam Timing

    Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., told a Seattle radio station Monday the U.S. military could have found Saddam “a long time ago if they wanted.” Asked if he thought the weekend capture was timed to help Bush, McDermott chuckled and said: “Yeah. Oh, yeah.”

    The Democratic congressman went on to say, “There’s too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing.”

    When interviewer Dave Ross asked again if he meant to imply the Bush administration timed the capture for political reasons, McDermott said: “I don’t know that it was definitely planned on this weekend, but I know they’ve been in contact with people all along who knew basically where he was. It was just a matter of time till they’d find him.

    “It’s funny,” McDermott added, “when they’re having all this trouble, suddenly they have to roll out something.”


    Filed under: Iraq | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:51 am

    Titans Lose Backup QB for Rest of Season

    Titans backup quarterback Billy Volek will miss the rest of the season after lacerating his spleen during his first NFL start.

    You hate to hear about internal organs being “lacerated.”

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    Good Jobs News

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:44 am

    Manpower Survey Sees U.S. Hiring Increasing in 1Q of Next Year

    More companies expect to increase net hiring in the first quarter of 2004 than had planned to increase hiring in the previous quarter, a survey released Tuesday shows.


    “Five years have passed since we last witnessed an increase in hiring expectations between the fourth quarter and the employment outlook for the new year,” said Jeffrey Joerres, chairman and chief executive of Milwaukee-based Manpower , the nation’s largest staffing company.

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Is Edwards Running for Surgeon General?

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:23 am

    This is just plain silly. We have an earlier flu season, and some ultimately minor vaccine issues and so Edwards is going to save us from the flu? Please. Is this really the kidn of thing we expect the President to be doing?

    Edwards Proposes Tracking System for Flu

    Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards says he would prevent a repeat of this year’s flu crisis by improving government tracking of the disease and speeding production of vaccines.

    This is especially silly, given that much of the hubub over the flu has been media generated.

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    No Surprise: Bush’s Numbers are Up

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:19 am

    Bush’s Approval Rating Rises

    The capture of Saddam Hussein boosted President Bush’s job approval rating and gave Americans new confidence in U.S. military efforts in Iraq, according to a poll released Tuesday.

    Bush’s approval rating was 58 percent on Sunday, the day news of Saddam’s capture broke, up from 52 percent the day before, the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found.

    Seventy-six percent of those polled said the U.S. is likely to succeed in Iraq, up from 72 percent before the capture was disclosed. After the capture, 37 percent said toppling Hussein was not worth the human and financial costs, while 46 percent said so last month.

    By a margin of 62 percent to 32 percent, the poll’s respondents said the war in Iraq had made the U.S. more secure; in September, 52 percent agreed and 43 percent disagreed with that statement.

    That last set of numbers is quite interesting because if peole think that Bush’s policies have made the US safer, he will win big in ‘04. Those numbers are especially interesting after Howard Dean stated yesterday that he believe that the capture of Saddam did not make the US any safer.

    Of course, any Iraq-specific effect will fade-the question will be: by how much?

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Monday, December 15, 2003

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:59 pm

    Well, am I lucky or what? Unbeknownst to me, I was “identified as a member of the class of Citiban and AT&T Universal Card customers who are eligible for a regund under the terms of a settlement agreement reached in a class action lawsuit…”

    The amount of my award? 13 cents.

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    The Envelopes Please…

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:46 pm

    The Wizbang: 2003 Weblog Awards winners are in. Go check ‘em out.

    Congrats to all the winners!

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    A Little News Quiz

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:56 pm

    A little news quiz: who said it, and when?

    “We recognize this area as vital to U.S. national interests, and we will behave, with others, multilaterally when we can and unilaterally when we must.”

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    At Least He Isn’t Begging (Yet)

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:43 pm

    Kerry Asks Supporter to Stick With Him

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    No Surprise: Breaux to Retire

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:42 pm

    Sen. Breaux, D-La., to Retire Next Year

    Louisiana Sen. John Breaux, a leading Democratic centrist during three terms in office, has told fellow lawmakers he intends to retire next year rather than seek re-election, officials said Monday.

    Breaux’ retirement would make him the fifth southern Democrat to step down in 2004, further compounding the party’s difficulties in its struggle to gain a Senate majority.

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    Today’s List: Top Five Saddam-Related Quotes for 12/15

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:13 am

    File Today’s List under “topical”

    Top Five Saddam-Related Quotes for 12/15

    5. “He showed no remorse whatsoever.” - Ahmed Chalabi.

    4. “I told him, ‘Damn you! The Iraqis will send you to hell.’ ” - Mowaffak Rubaie, a Shiite Muslim member of Iraq’s U.S.-appointed Governing Council who fled the country in 1979 after being arrested and tortured by Hussein’s secret police.

    3. “The world is crazy. I was in his torture chamber in 1979, and now he was sitting there, powerless in front of me without anybody stopping me from doing anything to him. Just imagine. We were arguing, and he was using very foul language.” - Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a Governing Council member, after a visit to the deposed dictator yesterday.

    2. “We will get sovereignty on the 30th of June, and I can tell you, he could be executed on the 1st of July.” - Mouwafak al-Rabii, a Shiite Muslim council member and a longtime human rights activist.

    1. “President Bush sends his regards.” - Troops Who Apprehended Saddam Hussein in response to his self-identification and offer to negotiate.

    If you want to play along, here’s how.

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    If True: Huge

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:33 am

    I saw this on Hardball last night, and, if true (and I will give it time to mature) is huge: Terrorist behind September 11 strike was trained by Saddam

    Iraq’s coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist.

    Details of Atta’s visit to the Iraqi capital in the summer of 2001, just weeks before he launched the most devastating terrorist attack in US history, are contained in a top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

    The handwritten memo, a copy of which has been obtained exclusively by the Telegraph, is dated July 1, 2001 and provides a short resume of a three-day “work programme” Atta had undertaken at Abu Nidal’s base in Baghdad.

    There is also mention of:The second part of the memo, which is headed “Niger Shipment", contains a report about an unspecified shipment - believed to be uranium - that it says has been transported to Iraq via Libya and Syria.

    Of course, it is interesting that Abu Nidal committed “suicide” (at the hands of Saddam’s secret police) a few months after 911.

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    Tony Snow Update

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:22 am

    Since a rather remarkable number of people think that I am the official Fox News complaint department (and I am not making this up), I will let those of you who care know that Tony Snow was on Fox News Channel yesterday anchoring the afternoon coverage.

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    Captured Documents Show Saddam Linked to Resistance

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:42 am

    CNN reports:

    U.S. military officials said Monday they had arrested several resistance leaders in Baghdad based on documents found when Saddam Hussein was captured.

    Officials said that some of the documents detailed a meeting of resistence cell leaders - and included their names.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:36 am

    Secretary of State Powell Has Prostate Surgery

    “Secretary Powell is undergoing surgery this morning for prostate cancer,” the State Department said in a statement, adding that the operation was being performed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:33 am

    Says Reuters, Saddam Tried to Negotiate with U.S. Captors

    “I’m Saddam Hussein,” the man with the scruffy beard said in English when U.S. troops found him in a dirt hole. “I’m the president of Iraq and I’m willing to negotiate.”

    President Bush sends his regards,” they replied.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Insults Unpunished linked with President Bush Send His Regards

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 am

    From USAT:

    At a party Saturday night in Washington, NBC Meet the Press host Tim Russert bumped into an unusually upbeat George Tenet.

    He told the CIA director that he had dreamt that Saddam Hussein had been captured.

    “Have a nice holiday,” Tenet said, knowing then what the country would learn in nine hours: The Iraqi dictator had been caught.

    On NBC’s Today Sunday morning, anchor Tom Brokaw put Russert’s dream in perspective, quipping that Russert, a Buffalo Bills fan, had often dreamt about the Bills winning the Super Bowl.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    The Classy Thing to Say

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:18 am

    Give Howard Dean credit for saying the following:

    “President Bush deserves a day of celebration,” Dean said. “We have our policy differences but we won’t be discussing those today. I think he deserves a day to celebrate, as well.”

    I saw the soundbite last night and it was the kind of thing that I expected the opposition candidates to say.

    Source: - Bush: Capture Won’t End Violence

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    Sunday, December 14, 2003
    Iraqis Respond to The Capture

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:35 pm

    Iraqis Surprised Saddam Didn’t Fight

    Saddam Hussein should have put up a fight or committed suicide, stunned Iraqis said Sunday after watching images of their fallen leader, haggard and humiliated, in American custody.

    As news of his capture spread across the country, celebratory shooting erupted in Baghdad’s streets, soldiers cheered and victims of his tyranny thanked the United States. Many said it marked a new beginning for Iraq.

    But for some, his capture was a blow to hopes for Saddam’s triumphant return, and his peaceful surrender was seen as a stain on Arab honor.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    VodkaBride Speaks

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:05 pm

    Stephen Green’s bride has some succinct commentary on today’s events.

    P.S. Stephen has a lengthier piece on the same subject that is worth a read as well.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Quotes of the Day

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:28 am

    The obvious one:

    “Ladies and gentlemen, we got him.” - L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq.

    Other noteworthy ones:

    “Saddam Hussein was found hiding at the bottom of the hole.” - General Sanchez

    “Death to Saddam!” and “Down with Saddam!” - Iraqi journalist, upon hearing the news that Saddam had been captured.

    “[W]hat an enchanting day, a day of relief this is for the Iraqi people.” - Senator Bill Frist

    “Praise the Lord. … This is a day of glory for the American military, American intelligence, and it’s a day of triumph and joy for anybody in the world who cares about freedom and human rights and peace.” - Sen. Joe Lieberman

    “Where his rule meant terror and division and brutality, let his capture bring about unity, reconciliation and peace between all the people in Iraq.” - British Prime Minister Tony Blair

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    A Question from the Bear

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:06 am

    Friend of the Blogosphere, N.Z. Bear, has aprovocative question for all who opposed the war.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Saddam Bloggage Round-Up

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:55 am

    Both N.Z. Bear and Blogs for Bush have extensive linkage to the Blogospheric reaction to The Capture.

    NZ Bear’s is especially interesting, as he tries to delineate between conservative and liberal blogs.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with End of the Road for Saddam
    Dean Speaks

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:56 am

    The Corner on National Review Online has a clip of Dean’s reaction. Apart from the congrats to the troops, he calls for the internationalization of the effort by bringing in the UN, NATO and others.

    Could someone explain the logic of that to me, please?

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with End of the Road for Saddam
    How Will This Affect Dean?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 am

    Numerous folks (Kevin of Wizbang and The Hedgehog Report, just to name two) have noted the following statement by Joe Lieberman this morning on MTP:

    “Let’s be real clear… If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam would be in power not prison.”

    Leading James of OTB to ask:

    I wonder if it’s too late to derail the Dean express train at this point.

    My guess is that it will mute Dean’s message temporarily, but that it will not douse his campaign, nor seriously slow his momentum. For one thing, the capture of Saddam will not quell the anger of the anti-war segment of the Democratic party. Indeed, I predict that the some in that clique will have their anger stoked becuase no doubt Bush will do something that will be considered “swagger” today, or soon, in response to the victory today.

    Further, when the guerrilla attacks continue, Dean will ask what did this really do for us. From there, we will hear about how the real war is against al Qaeda and Osama, etc., etc.

    Indeed, getting to Lieberman’s point specifically: the argument prior to today that it was a good thing that Saddam was out of power was hardly changing the views of those oppossed to the war in the first place. Indeed, when that point is raised, it is typically dismissed as “sure, it’s a good thing, but was it worth it?” and I don’t think that Saddam’s capture will change that response very much by the vast majority of people who were supporting Dean prior to today.

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    • The Truth Laid Bear linked with Saddam Captured Alive: Weblog Reactions
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with End of the Road for Saddam
    Note to the Press

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:32 am

    We know:

  • That the caputre of Saddam will not result in the end of the attacks.
  • That the rebuilding isn’t done.
  • That Osama is still at large.
  • That our troops are still in harm’s way.

    So, please stop telling us, in hushed, serious tones, about these, and other, obvious facts.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with End of the Road for Saddam
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Most wanted no more
    More Dan

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:16 am

    A few minutes later Rather felt the need to rather somberly and sanctimoniously remind us, the dim viewers it would seem, that there was still work to be done in Iraq, despite the victory today and that our son and fathers, our daughters and mothers, are still in harms way.

    Yeesh. Can this guy just report the news and not editorialize or try to teach us a lesson?

    I have changed channels.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with End of the Road for Saddam
    Bush to Speak at Noon

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:02 am

    The President will speak at Noon, eastern, from the White House.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with End of the Road for Saddam
    Dan Rather

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:00 am

    Ok, we just captured Saddam Hussein, and I flipped over to CBS and what is Dan Rather talking about at just before 9am central? He’s talking about how we haven’t caught Osama bin Laden as of yet.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with End of the Road for Saddam

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:54 am

    Some GREAT news to wake up to: Saddam Captured Hiding in Hole Near Tikrit

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with End of the Road for Saddam
    Saturday, December 13, 2003
    Sanchez on the McConnell Ruling

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:00 pm

    Julian Sanchez has an excellent piece at ReasonOnline concerning the BCRA decision.

    Filed under: Courts/the Judiciary | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Oh, The Irony

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:34 pm

    Gephardt Demands Dean Release Records

    Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt demanded Saturday that front-runner Howard Dean release records of meetings and phone calls about tax breaks given to corporate villain Enron, which Dean denies he did.

    Robert Tagorda has some related commentary, and links to other relevant stories.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (0)
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    FARC Co-Founder Dead

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:50 pm

    Founder-member of Colombia’s FARC reported dead

    One of the founders of Colombia’s Marxist FARC rebel army, Latin America’s largest and oldest guerrilla insurgency, has died, apparently of a heart attack, El Tiempo newspaper has reported.

    Efrain Guzman, nicknamed “The Old Man,” was one of the seven senior commanders of the “secretariat,” the ruling political and military organ of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a rebel army created in 1964 by a band of landless peasants.

    El Tiempo quoted a FARC communique for its report on Friday.

    Filed under: Latin America | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    South Dakota Politics

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:58 am

    Reports Bob Novak in regards to the Janklow conviction:

    The conviction of Republican Rep. William Janklow for manslaughter could have the effect of easing re-election difficulties in South Dakota for Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle.

    A reluctant former Rep. John Thune has been pressed by national Republican leaders to run against Daschle, and he had seemed to be coming closer to that decision. However, he may now run for the empty House seat in a special election after Janklow’s resignation from Congress Jan. 20.

    Stephanie Herseth, who nearly defeated the heavily favored Janklow in 2002, definitely will run in the special election. It may take Thune to defeat Herseth and keep the seat Republican.

    Although if I were the one choosing, I would prefer to see Thune in the Senate, rather than the House. Although I will grant that House race is probably a higher probability route.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Imagine That

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:46 am

    My response to this Reuters headline: Dean Comes Under Renewed Attack from Rivals
    is twofold: a) how can an attack be renewed, when there has barely been one in the first place, and b) it is about time. These guys have been pretty timid. On the other hand, I will admit that what attacks there have been, anemic though they largely have been, seem to have little effect.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Things Two-Year-Olds Find Amusing

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am

    Today’s entry:

    Taking the glass ornaments off the Christmas tree and smashing them by dropping toys on them.

    What could be more fun than that?

    Filed under: Kids | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (0)
    | Show Comments here
    Friday, December 12, 2003
    Today’s List: The Top Five Worst Movies I Have Ever Seen

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:12 pm

    Yes, there was no list yesterday, but there were two on Wednesday…

    File today’s under “Pop Culture":

    Worst Movies I Have Ever Seen

    (Not counting ones I have seen on MST3k)

    5. Tarzan. The one with Bo Derek. My word that was a boring flick.

    4. Red Dawn. Perhaps the worst Cold War movie ever made. The plot expects us to believe that a) the Soviets can take over the US with the help of the Cubans, and then b) part of the invading force could be repelled by a bunch of kids? Yeesh.

    3. Johnny Dangerously. All I remember is that we couldn’t finish it, and my Dad, who usually will finish anything, got up to do something else.

    2. Mars Attacks!-A movie where truly all the funny parts were in the commercial. The movie itself is nigh unwatchable, and highly, highly unfunny.

    1. Howard the Duck. The only movie I paid to go see at the theater that I walked out on. It was utterly horrible. I would note my credulity that George Lucas was involved, but his recent efforts have knocked the bloom off that rose.

    (Inspired by Crooked Timber: A name to my pain, which was in turn inspired by Off the Kuff: Movie badness is an issue Americans care deeply about)

    If you want to play along, here’s how.

    Filed under: Today's List | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (1)
    | Show Comments here
    • Off the Kuff linked with Movie badness is an issue Americans care deeply about
    Hellooo out There…

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:34 pm

    Mark wants to know if anyone is still listening now that all systems are “go” again over at Bemusement Park.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Flu Lags in Electoral College!

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:21 pm

    As this map shows, the Flu is still down in the Electoral College:

    Currently the Flu only has 216 of the 270 requisite votes to be the next President of the United States.

    “The inability to win CA, FLA or NY is really hurting us,” said the Flu’s official spokeman today. “But we will work day and night as we sally forth to victory!”

    Filed under: Not politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks(4)
    • The Bemusement Park linked with AN ELECTORAL UPDATE
    • Arguing with signposts… linked with SC spared widespread flu ... so far
    • Arguing with signposts… linked with SC spared widespread flu ... so far
    Good to Know

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:49 pm

    Coffee Does Not Raise Arthritis Risk -Study

    Drinking multiple cups of coffee every day does not appear to increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), new research suggests.

    These findings appear on the heels of numerous other reports suggesting that the opposite was, in fact, the case.

    Filed under: Not politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:09 pm

    My thanks to the following for recently linking to PoliBlog:

  • Interested-Participant
  • Secular Sermons

    And to the following, who had been overlooked:

  • Nobody asked me, but…

    All three have been added to the reciprocal links list.

  • Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Toast-O-Meter (12/12 Edition)

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:58 am

    The Toast-o-meter: A Weekly News Round-Up and

    Handicapping of the Race for the Democratic Nomination.

    -Toast: It’s not Just for Breakfast Anymore!-

    This week’s Toast-O-Meter comes to you Fortified with more linkage and Enhanced with increased bloggage!

    The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much donea little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt all the Way Through (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Crumbs in the Bottom of the Toaster (Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

  • Dough is on the Rise
  • Heats Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

    The Whole Loaf: Can any of the Nine make Bush into Texas Toast?

    (Bush is fresh, the Loaf is stale)

  • James of OTB has the latest Quinnipiac University poll nuimbers, which shows Bush beating all comers, in some cases quite handily.
  • Much polling shows Bush doing well nationally and in Florida (you remember Florida, right?) against all comers.
  • The Dow: closed at 10k on Thursday-and is over 10k as I finalize the ‘Meter. As I have argued, and as has Professor Bainbridge, this is an important symbol-and one that aids the Slice-in-Chief.
  • The economy continues to look up: 2004 Will Be the U.S.’s Best Year Economically in Last 20 Years, The Conference Board Reports in a Revised Forecast
  • Like the bill or not, advantage->Bush: Bush Signs Medicare Changes Into Law.
  • Look out Howard Dean: NASCAR Stars Meet With President Bush. With the NASCAR vote wrapped up, can Bush lose the South?
  • Taegan Goddard does warn against assuming a Bush landslide in ‘04.

    Slicing up the loaf:


    Dean: Wonder Bread fortified with vitamins With Yummy Vermont Syrup on top (Dough on the Rise)

  • The Gore endorsement, while not as big a deal as some seem to think, is still an important piece of the front-runner puzzle for the good Doctor.
  • Of course, as James Taranto noted, the value of a Gore endorsement is questionable.
  • Still, Taegan Goddard links to a story that show Dean got a bounce from the Gore announcement.
  • The PatioPundit sees Dean as the top slice as well (Hat tip: Dr. Lawrence)
  • More good Iowa numbers. They continue to be great on NH as well.
  • Polls in South Carolina show Dean neck-and-neck with several of the other Eight. If he wins SC, it’s over for Edwards and Lieberman. Others show Dean quite a bit behind Edwards.
  • Kevin of Wizbang! thinks that “Dean’s free wheeling style an shoot from the lips quotes are going to get him in real trouble.”-I think Kevin is correct, but it will be trouble he will face in the general election campaign, not his run for the nomination.


    Gephardt: Slighty Toasted White Bread (the heat continues).

  • Matthew Yglesias doesn’t like Gephardt. Indeed, he wants anyone but Gephardt. He needn’t worry too much: as I reckon that Gephardt will start getting toasty shorlty.
  • He received the endorsement of South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn, a key member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
  • More bad Iowa numbers.


    Clark: Toast (got scraped a little)

  • He received an endorsement from Rep. Charlie Rangel.

  • Said the General to the NYT: “I’m like a fish out of water,” he said. “They’ve never run across anything like me. I mean, a guy like me running for the presidency? I’ve never run for anything.” Well, two problems: fish sans water = death, and we have seen candidates for nominations who have run for anything before (remember Gary Bauer?), and we have a name for them: losers.

    Kerry: Burned French Toast (the heat continues-soon to be in the Crumb Pile)-Indeed, sans money he would be crumbs already.

  • Kerry campaign aims to tap donors of some of his rivals, or so says the Boston Globe. Hmm, that doesn’t sound like the kind of thing a guy who is doing well tends to do…
  • Jonah Goldberg concurs: “Kerry’s got no chance of becoming president of the United States".
  • He cussed out President Bush by dropping F-bombs in a Rolling Stone interview, according to the New York Post. We are desperate or anything, are we?
  • This can’t be good: The Boston Globe notes: Kerry camp lowers N.H. expectations. I wonder why he is taking that stance? Hmm.
  • Kevin of CalPundit discusses his views on “The Problem with Kerry” and makes some worthwhile observations, including that “He just seems too calculated"-which is what I was trying to get at back in early September when I compared Kerry to Gore.
  • WaPo’s Dana Milibank details some of Kerry’s, er, exaggerations vis-a-vis poll numbers. (Hat Tip: The Hedgehog Report)

    Edwards: Burnt all the way through (getting darker-only a SC win can save him from the Crumb Pile (in the short term, anyway))

  • Has has endorsed him (although for perhaps impure motives). Sadly, this may be Edwards’ best news of the week.
  • He came to my state: Demos’ Edwards to arrive in city [Birmingham], but I didn’t notice.


    Lieberman: Crumbling Burnt Toast (he’s done)

  • Of course, the big news of the week: the big dis from former running mate Al Gore. According to press accounts, Joe found out about the Dean endorsement from the media. Ouch.
  • James of OTB feels sory for Liberman, and has some links to other folks commenting on his “dead ender” and Eyor-like demeanor. On a similar note, Kristopher (of The World Around You) thinks that Gore owed Lieberman a phone call. And
    Lieberman Says Gore Call ‘Too Late’

  • He plans to take on junk food. There’s a bold policy initiative!

    Kucinich: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (banana-berry bread)

  • ABC has decided to stop covering his campaign.
  • He did finally get a date, though.

    Sharpton: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (a nice kiwi-pecan bread)

  • Al’s SNL stint wasn’t seen in Iowa (equal time and all that…). (Hat tip: The Hedgehog Report)
  • Rev. Al, in fact, declared that his appearance on SNL showed “The real Al Sharpton.”
  • ABC has decided to stop covering his campaign.

    Braun: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (plain day-old bread)

  • ABC has decided to stop covering her campaign.
  • However, today, she is the top “Braun” in a Google News Search (although she wasn’t easrlier in the week-I checked).
  • Of course, the top story is that her triumph of the week was her ability to cite South Park during a speech to teenagers. No doubt that will propel her to a Veep bid.


    Hillary Clinton

  • She made the rounds to three of the four Sunday Shows. On MTP she stated (regarding the noination): I’ve ruled it out. I’m going to continue to rule it out.
  • Although I am sure she will be thrilled to know that Clark says he’s not ruled out Hillary Clinton as possible veep
  • On that topic, says the Boston Herald: Hillary coy on concept of run for vice prez
  • She did, however, declare this past week, that Bush wants to “undo the New Deal” and that he wants to destroy “central pillars of progress in our country during the 20th century.”


  • Has become a topping on Howard Dean’s Wonder Bread.

    Update: This post is in BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

  • Filed under: General | Comments(2) | Trackbacks(5)
    | Show Comments here
    • Wizbang linked with The Toaster Oven
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Friday blogging bullets
    • Insults Unpunished linked with Democratic Assessment
    • Interested-Participant linked with Kucinich's Breakfast Date With Gina Marie Santore
    • Signifying Nothing linked with While We Were Sleeping II: The Two Towers
    Blog Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:20 am

    I have just emerged from a DeathFlu/NyQuil-induced coma, hence the lack og bloggage today.

    However, regular blogging will resume, along with this week’s Toast-O-Meter.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (1)
    | Show Comments here
    Thursday, December 11, 2003
    Excellent Choices

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 pm

    Granted, I am biased, being a Spurs fan, but really, if more folks in sports were like these guys, it would be a better world: Sportsmen of the Year: Tim Duncan and David Robinson - Tuesday December 9, 2003 8:45AM

    Filed under: Sports | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:57 pm

    2004 Will Be the U.S.’S Best Year Economically in Last 20 Years, The Conference Board Reports in a Revised Forecast

    Revising its year-end economic forecast sharply upward, The Conference Board today projected that real GDP growth will hit 5.7% next year, making 2004 the best year economically in the last 20 years.

    Of course, the trouble with such predictions is that even if growth is good, but not as good as predicted, it will be considered bad.

    Still, the Nine may need more Maalox with their toast at this point.

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
    | Show Comments here

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:01 pm

    How this:Interest Group Ads Can’t Name Candidates isn’t an abridgement of speech is beyond me.

    Filed under: Courts/the Judiciary | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
    | Show Comments here
    Dow 10k

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:50 pm

    It has hit 10k again.

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    A Bush Landslide in ‘04?

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:28 pm

    To this point almost all of my analysis of the 2004 contest has been aimed at either the Democratic nomination, or, to a lesser degree, the basic idea of Any Democrat v. Bush. I do think that Bush has the upper hand going into the race next year, especially now that the economy appears to be rebounding rather significantly. And, I think that Bush will ultimately be viewed as the better choice security-wise.

    At this point, I am not prepared to fully handicap the 2004 race state-by-state, but I do agree (as I know have said in at least response to comments) with Taegan Goddard, that Bush v. Dean will not be a McGovern/Mondale-like landslide (i.e., with Dean winning only Vermont and DC). I do think that there is a good chance that it will be a decisive vicotry, but utter destruction, I think not.

    Goddard is right to point to Bush’s double-digit losses in CA, NY and IL. I think that the race will be closer in CA and NY, at a minimum, however.

    Still, I also think that Dean will win not one state in the South, and will struggle in the West. And in simple terms, if 2004 is exaclty like 2000 in terms of state’s won, Bush gains 7 electoral votes because of reapportionment. And I think that Bush, as the incumbent President, will win more state in ‘04 than he won in ‘00.

    There were several extremely close states, like Oregon and New Mexico, to name two, that I would expect to go for Bush in ‘04, which went for Gore in ‘00.

    I also think that while Dean is quite capable of captivating the hardcore Democratic base, that his anger routine will not play that well in the general election campaign.

    Update: This post is in the BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    This is What Happens When You are Crumbs at the Bottom of the Toaster

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:06 pm

    Interesting/amusing: / News / Nation / ABC recalls producers from three campaigns

    ABC News confirmed yesterday that it has pulled three “off-air producers” from the campaigns of Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, former senator Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, and the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York.

    I am semi-surprised they withdrew from Rev. Al as well, given that he is at least good for amusng sound bites. Stll, this shows how being low in the polls does lead to loss of airtime.

    And, obviously:

    Kucinich responded to ABC’s decision by saying, “Obviously, ABC is retaliating for my challenge to Ted Koppel in last night’s debate. They have proven my point, which is the media, and now specifically ABC, is now trying to set the agenda for this election.”

    Because, clearly if ABC kep covering Kucinich he would have a real shot at the nomination.

    Hat tip: The Hedgehog Report

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
    | Show Comments here
    We Should Compromise on Contracts

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:27 am

    Said the President today:

    “What I’m saying is, in the expenditure of the taxpayers’ money … the U.S. people, the taxpayers, understand why it makes sense for countries that risked lives to participate in the contracts in Iraq. It’s very simple. Our people risked their lives, friendly coalition folks risked their lives and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that.”

    On one level, I can accept that logic. However, it strikes me that reconstruction contracts would be a great place for which the administration to compromise.

    I understand, and largely support, being stubborn on military, security and governance issues, especially vis-a-vis the demands of the Germans, Russian and French. However, at some point we are going to have to give on some substantial point of contention.

    This contract issue would seem to be the kind of thing that would help internationalize involvement in Iraq, and would have spillover effects into other areas of policy. For example, if their are Russian contractors on the ground, the Russian government might be more prone to help up with security.

    This is a bad decision.

    Source: Bush Defends Iraq Recontruction Policy

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments(7) | Trackbacks (0)
    | Show Comments here
    Ok, Dallas Has Lost Two in a Row…

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:48 am

    But is this necessary? Federal Warning On Tuna Planned

    Filed under: Not politics | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (1)
    | Show Comments here
    • Tiger: Raggin’ & Rantin’ linked with OK, now who has been rummagin' 'round in my head?
    Wednesday, December 10, 2003
    The Real List of the Day: Five Real Foreign Policy Mistakes

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:49 am

    File this one under “current events". (This was the list I intended to post prior to the whole DeathFlu business).

    Yesterday, during his endorse-a-thon of Dean, Gore said:

    “Our nation in its 200-year history has never made a worse foreign policy mistake,” Gore told a raucous crowd of labor activists…

    This struck me immediately as a ridiculous statement, and so, here are:

    Five Examples of Real Foreign Policy Mistakes:

    5. Somalia/The Blackhawk down incident. While the toll in human life was not immediately large, I believe that al Qaeda was emboldened by what they saw as the US cutting and running after a little bit of pain. I think that event fueled a string of attacks: Khobar Towers, the African embassies, the Cole and the WTC. As such, the entire Somalia policy, and secifically the way it ended, was a huge foreign policy mistake.

    4. Carter and Iran: the management of both the pre- and post- revolution foreign policy by the Carter administraton was inept.

    3. The Marines in Beiruit:

    The shocking attack killed 241 U.S. servicemen in a single strike more than died on the deadliest day of fighting in Vietnam, this year’s invasion [no longer the case, -ed., but the numbers are still close] of Iraq or the entire 1991 Persian Gulf War.

    We failed to keep any peace, and suffered a devastating attack-for nothing.

    2. The Korean War: 36,940 battlefield deaths for a war that ended in stalemate-and we are still there and the North is a nuclear powered member of the Axis of Evil (you can throw in the inept Clinton/Carter poicies regarding allowing the North Koreans access to nuclear power plants).

    1. Viet Nam: ‘nuf said. (And Gore knows this-he referred to Iraq as a “quagmire", and we all know that that is an allusion to Viet Nam-so if Iraq is being compared to the most obvious foreign policy mistake the country has ever made by way of showing how bad Iraq is, how can Iraq be the “worst"?).

    If you want to play along, here’s how.

    Update: This is today’s entry in the BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

    Filed under: Today's List | Comments(4) | Trackbacks (0)
    | Show Comments here
    More Details on the Ruling

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:04 am

    The NYT has a lengthy story with more details: Supreme Court Upholds Key Parts of Campaign Finance Law

    Filed under: Courts/the Judiciary | Comments(5) | Trackbacks (0)
    | Show Comments here
    I am Shocked (Seriously)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:47 am

    I am shocked and dissappointed to read this: Campaign Finance Law’s Key Sections Upheld

    The U.S. Supreme Court upheld on Wednesday two key parts of a campaign finance law designed to curb the influence of money in politics, a ruling that affects the 2004 and future presidential and congressional elections.

    The high court upheld provisions that ban unregulated contributions known as “soft money” to political parties and that restrict some television and radio “issue ads” by corporations and unions right before elections.

    I see the ad provision to be a clear violation of the First Amendment. And I still agree with the Court’s Buckley ruling that speech and money are linked.

    Still, as I have pointed out, the actors will simply adapt to the new rules. As we have already seen-the money flows regardless of the rules-they just flow in different ways and via different routes, depending on the rules.

    Filed under: Courts/the Judiciary | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • The World Around You linked with Campaign Finance Law Upheld
    Atlanta Fires Reeves

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:41 am

    Not surprising, I guess, but still, wowie: Falcons fire Reeves with three games left

    Filed under: Sports | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Today’s List: Top Five Bad Things About the DeathFlu

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:28 am

    Today’s list is filed under “personal":

    Top Five Bad Things About the DeathFlu

    5. Phlegm. Let’s face facts: Phlegm sucks.

    4. Coughing and blowing one’s nose every ten minutes.

    3. Restless sleep

    2. Body aches and fever

    1. Having a stack of work that has to be done because grades are due on Friday morning.

    Filed under: Today's List | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Tuesday, December 9, 2003
    Endorsement Funnies

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:36 pm

    From OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today, comes this gem:

    Al Gore has issued his presidential endorsement. “I’ve seen a candidate who has what it takes to reach out to the independent, mainstream Americans who will make the difference . . . particularly in the South,” Gore said. “He’s going to send George Bush packing and bring the Democratic Party home.”

    If you think the candidate Gore endorsed is unlikely to win a single Southern state, you’re right. Gore made the above statement, unearthed by, on June 16, 1988, when he endorsed Michael Dukakis.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Evolutionary Bubbles?

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:34 pm

    Gee whiz, does Megan have any idea how many words she is giving away?

    Ah well, it is an interesting post. I am not sure I buy the evolution thesis, but it’s worth a read.

    Filed under: Political Philosophy/ Theory | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
    | Show Comments here
    • Modulator linked with Why did so many buy into the 90s stock bubble?
    Senator Simon Passes Away

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:54 pm

    James of OTB has the news. And he’s right-75 seems young these days.

    Filed under: General | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
    | Show Comments here
    New Polls

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:38 pm

    Good news for Dean and Edwards in latest polls: Pew poll results on Democratic presidential race

    IOWA: Dean, 29 percent; Gephardt, 21 percent; Kerry, 18 percent; Edwards, 5 percent, Kucinich, 4 percent; Clark, 3 percent; Lieberman, 1 percent; Moseley Braun, 1 percent; Sharpton, 1 percent

    SOUTH CAROLINA: Edwards, 16 percent; Clark, 11 percent; Gephardt, 10 percent; Lieberman, 9 percent; Sharpton, 8 percent; Dean, 7 percent; Kerry, 3 percent; Moseley Braun, 2 percent; Kucinich, 0 percent.

    And NH continues to be Dean-ish:

    NEW HAMPSHIRE: Dean, 34 percent; Kerry, 20 percent; Clark, 8 percent; Lieberman, 8 percent; Gephardt, 5 percent; Edwards, 4 percent; Kucinich, 1 percent; Moseley Braun, 1 percent; Sharpton, 1 percent.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Comments Policy

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:07 pm

    A request to all who leave comments: please avoid the use of obscene/profane language. It is a personal preference, and while not a big problem, there have been the occasional f-bombs, and s-bombs-and the frequency seems to have increased to some degree of late. (If this keeps John Kerry from posting on PoliBlog, well, that’s just the way it will have to be that way…).

    Not only is it a personal preference, the use of such language as part of an attempt to make an argument detracts from that argument, in my opinion.

    Henceforth, I reserve the right to delete or edit such postings.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    A Nice Change (or Lack Thereof) of Pace

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:46 pm

    Postal Service reports surplus, rates should stay steady until 2006

    The Postal Service reported a $3.9 billion surplus for 2003 despite declining mail volume, and officials renewed their pledge to keep rates steady until 2006.

    Filed under: Not politics | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
    | Show Comments here
    No Surprise: No Rate Change

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:29 pm

    Fed Holds Interest Rates at 45-Year Lows

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:28 am

    Japan Approves Deployment of Troops to Aid U.S. in Iraq

    Japan decided today to deploy ground troops to join the American-led war in Iraq, in what will be its most ambitious military operation since its surrender to the United States at the end of World War II.

    After months of agonizing, punctuated by the weekend state funeral of two diplomats gunned down in northern Iraq, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s cabinet approved a plan to send up to 600 ground forces to southeastern Iraq, in a mission to last from six months to one year.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Dems Should Buy Stock in Maalox

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:54 am

    Cuz the DJIA hit 10K today already and dipped, and likely will get back to that symbolic mark soon-and probably to stay a while: Dow Hits 10,000 Mark, Then Retreats

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Nice Change of Pace

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:51 am

    U.S. Repulses 2 Suicide Bombers in Iraq

    Hopefully this means our intel and/or defensee are getting better, rather than just being a stroke of luck. Although, luck is good too.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:14 am

    Thanks to The Bully Pulpit The Bully Pulpit for linking to PoliBlog.

    They have been added to the reciprocal links list.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Today’s List: Scotty Quotes

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:17 am

    Today, no politics, rather, the frivilous:

    My Top Five Favorite Lines from Scotty of Star Trek:

    5. “It’s green,” By Any Other Name (also Data to Scotty in Relics)

    4. “Aye, and if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon.” Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

    3. “Laddy, don’t you think you should… rephrase that?” Trouble with Tribbles

    2. Two lines from the same exhange:

    “I’ve got to have thirty minutes.” The Naked Time

    “I can’t change the laws of physics.” The Naked Time

    1. Two lines from the same exchange:

    “It’ll take eight weeks, but you don’t have eight weeks, so I’ll do it for you in two.” Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

    “How else can I maintain my reputation as a miracle worker?” Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

    If you want to play along, check out how here.

    Filed under: Today's List | Comments (0) | Trackbacks(2)
    • Signal + Noise linked with Insect Menagerie (Carnival 64)
    • Signal + Noise linked with Insect Menagerie (Carnival 64)
    What? Loopholes in Campaign Finance Laws?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:03 am

    New Campaign Law Gives Wealthy a Voice

    Like businesses and unions, the wealthy can no longer make big donations to the national parties. But well-heeled givers do have a special chance to influence elections through last-minute ads.

    An exemption in the new campaign finance law lets individual donors give unlimited amounts to certain tax-exempt, unincorporated groups to pay for TV and radio ads targeting candidates just before elections.

    Of course, instead of the disciples of campaign finance reform finally realizing that they aren’t going to “take the money out of politics” they will simply try to tweak the rules and declare victory (again). And then, shockingly, people will still find ways to spend money on politics.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    More Analytical Absurdity

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:55 am

    While I am pickng on badly analyzed political issues, here’s one from the AP: S.F. Mayoral Race Becomes U.S. Barometer

    This city’s mayoral race is about more than just revenues and public works: It has, by virtue of the two candidates engaged in a tight runoff, turned into a barometer of whether the Democrats have lost touch with their core constituents.

    Tuesday’s vote features Gavin Newson, a liberal Democrat who has been cast as the establishment candidate next to the Green Party’s Matt Gonzalez, seen as the progressive outsider.

    Here’s the problem: San Francisco hardly qualifies as a mainstream city, or even one populated by solely mainstream Democrats/liberals. Given the blows that the California Democratic Party has suffered of late, I certainly understand why it is important for them to win. However, to cast this vote as a “U.S. Barometer” is ludicrous. It would be like looking at the most traditionalistic and conservative county in Alabama and using it as an indicator of the health of the Republicans in a mayoral race between a hardcore Baptist and a somewhat less conservative Republican. It makes no sense.

    Plus, this illustrates a common fallacy in the reasoning seen in the press: that somehow a pattern can be extrapolated from one event.

    This race is about San Francisco politics, and to some degree about California Democrats. It isn’t about the Democratic Party writ large.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:35 am

    I think this headline in the NYT, Gore to Endorse Dean, Remaking Democratic Race, is an overstatement, as is the breathless statement that Gore’s endorsement “rocked the Democratic presidential field.”

    What, precisely has been remade? Prior to the Gore announcement everyone was saying that it’s Dean’s to lose, and that he was the prohibitive favorite. The polls in Iowa, NH, SC and MA were all looking good for him (to name a few key ones). So how does Gore’s endorement “remake” or “rock” anything aside from Lieberman’s ego?

    I do think this is good for Dean, but only as another brick in a wall that was already 3/4th complete.

    Further, endorsements of this nature don’t normally garner lots of votes-rather they just enhance (at best) existing perceptions. Pre-Gore: Dean is the front-runner, post-Gore, hey look! Dean is the front-runner.

    Had Gore endorsed Dean back in March, then okay, it would have been dramatic. At this point it was an utterly safe move for Gore.

    In short: the Other Eight were done anyway-this just helps hasten the process.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(5) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • The American Mind linked with AlGore Waddles with Duck
    A Sign We Have Too Much Money in the US

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:20 am

    The current spate of PetsMart radio commercial encouraging folks to buy Christmas gifts for their pets. And don’t forget to get a picture of Rover with Santa!

    UPDATE (and confession): It occurs to me that no doubt that we will get the dog a Christman present from the kids. Still, advertising for it strikes me as amusing.

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Monday, December 8, 2003
    Gore and Dean (and Wizbang!)

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:12 pm

    I disagree with Kevin of Wizbang’s assessment of the Gore endorsement. I don’t think Dean has to do a thing in terms of his campaign or persona as the result of this endorsement. Indeed, the endorsement is, in part, a stamp of approval of what Dean has been doing.

    What this does is simply put another nail in the coffins of the Other Eight. The opportunities to gain traction for any of them are getting fewer and fewer. As things are stacking up now, Dean could go into Iowa with huge momentum, especially if, as rumored, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin endorses him. A win in Iowa, followed up by NH and maybe SC will be a trifecta that none of the Other Eight will be able to best.

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    More Good News for Dean

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:08 pm

    Gore to Endorse Howard Dean, Sources Say

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Endorse this!
    Sounds Good to Me

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:02 pm

    “Rings” director wants to film “Hobbit”

    New Zealand film director Peter Jackson, tipped to win an Oscar for his “The Lord of the Rings” epic, says he would like to make “The Hobbit” prequel to the trilogy and work with some of the same actors again.

    I hoped/figured this would be the case after the success of the trilogy.

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    Headlines You Shouldn’t Read Too Quickly

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:00 pm

    Schwarzenegger reportedly wooing Virgin Airlines

    Filed under: Not politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Some Numbers to Consider

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:38 pm

    Saddam Killed 61,000 in Baghdad

    Saddam Hussein’s government may have executed 61,000 Baghdad residents, a number significantly higher than previously believed, according to a survey obtained Monday by The Associated Press.


    The U.S.-led occupation authority in Iraq has said that at least 300,000 people are buried in mass graves in Iraq. Human rights officials put the number closer to 500,000, and some Iraqi political parties estimate more than 1 million were executed.

    Without exhumations of those graves, it is impossible to confirm a figure. Scientists told The Associated Press during a recent investigation that they have confirmed 41 mass graves on a list of suspected sites that currently includes 270 locations.

    The exact counts in Baghdad are imprecise, however:

    Richard Burkholder, who headed Gallup’s Baghdad team, said the numbers in Baghdad could be high for two reasons: People may have understood “household” to be broader than just the people living at their address; and some families may have moved to the capital from other areas since the executions occurred.

    “Anecdotal accounts start to support it, but they don’t get you to 60,000,” he said in a telephone interview from Princeton, N.J.

    Even reducing the numbers slightly because of those possibilities, however, Burkholder said the number of executions the data suggest is higher than previously estimated, in the low tens of thousands.

    When critics talk about how horrible the war has been for the Iraqi people, I think these numbers need to be taken into consideration.

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    Kerry Adjusts Expectations

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:50 pm

    Kerry is aiming high:

    Kerry had planned to win the Jan. 27 primary in New Hampshire, then ride to victory in other states. But with Dean dominating polls in that state, Kerry’s aides released a memo over the weekend that said the senator now is “competing for the top three spots in Iowa and top two in New Hampshire.”

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    Kucinich Ad

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:31 am

    John Cole of Balloon Juice is a little, well, annoyed shall we say, at Dennis Kucnich’s current web ad.

    I will just say this: I find the usage of the names of the fallen to be unacceptable, and the thesis that the whole war was fought to make rich people richer to be absurd.

    Hat tip: Matthew J. Stinson

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    Why Democratize the Middle East?

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:09 am

    In his column yesterday, Thomas Friedman asks:

    Where did Mr. Bush’s passion for making the Arab world safe for democracy come from?

    And it is a legitimate questions given that, as Friedmand notes,

    this sort of nation-building is precisely what Mr. Bush spurned throughout his campaign

    However, I am somewhat surprised that Friedman doesn’t see the obvious answer: 911.

    Raher, Friedman proffers a thesis based on the need for war time presidents to justify their actions. However, it seems to me quite clear that after 911 the idea that the Middle East, and Islamic terror specifically, was a security risk to the United States became a guiding force in the Bush foreign policy. So while part of the rhetoric sounds Idealistic/Wilsonian, I think that there is a bit of Realism in the argument: that the transformation of the Middle East to democracy, via nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan is not a goal in and of itself because democracy is good, but because a democratic Middle East will better serve the national interests of the United States, both in terms of oil and in terms of safety against terrorism. That is to say, the foudnation of the policy if the enhancement and protection of the national interest of the United States.

    If one reads Bush at War by Woodward, or goes back to the early rhetoric on Iraq (which was far more about “regime change” than WMDs), it isn’t hard to make this argument.

    Now, it may well be a fool’s errand to attempt nation building at this scale, but ultimately I think that that is the goal, and the reason why the President, who utterly eschewed national buidling in 2000, has become on the of the biggest proponents of the policy (even if the White House doesn’t like to call it that) since Truman.

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    It’s Done

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:58 am

    Bush Signs Sweeping Medicare Bill That Includes Drug Benefit

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Cheaters Never Prosper

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:32 am

    Shockingly, someone tried to cheat in the Weblogs Awards. However, Kevin caught them.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Dean Goes South

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:40 am

    Dean is clearly feeling confident vis-a-vis Iowa and New Hampshire. While the other candidates figure out how to surive the early contest, CBS News reports that Dean is looking ahead and is Whistling Dixie. If he can appeal to black voters in the South, a key constiuency in Democratic primaries, he will be in great shape. Like I mentioned a day or so ago: if he wins South Carolina, it will knock out the chances of the non-Gephardt types: Lieberman, Clark and Edwards. Right now those “more conservative” Dems think that the South will give them new life after they get pasted in NH: but guess again.

    The Jesse Jackson, Jr. endorsement (which I thought he already had, but this story, and another one, report it as though it is a new thing), will be a huge boost for Dean with black voters.

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    The Anti-B*S Movement Continues

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:53 am

    Robert Garcia Tagorda’s Priorities & Frivolities has moved to its own host.

    Welcome to the land of the liberated, Robert!

    Hat Tip: OTB.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    BSC Musings

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:21 am

    First off: I am for a playoff.

    Second: dont count on this being the death-knell of the BCS. For one thing, what are we all talking about? Big Time College Football, thats what. And why? Because of the BCS.

    Plus, the frustration may not be so high after the games are played. What if OU beats LSU and USC loses to Michigan (neither of which is far-fetched)then will the BCS screw-up seem as bad? Of course, if USC blows out Michigan and LSU destroys OU, then the griping will reach a fevered pitch (and rightfully so).

    However, the whole thing brings to mind the flaws in the human polls (not that I am a big fan of the computer polls). The problem, however is two-fold: 1) most of the coaches only really got to see this weeks games, and not the whole season, thus putting an over-emphasis on one set of games versus the whole season, and 2) is the point of the poll to determine the best team overall, or the best team at the end of the season? From my POV it should be a measure of the whole season. USC lost to Cal for crying out loud, an unranked team. Sure, it was an early loss, but LSU lost to Florida and OU lost to K-State, both ranked teams. Plus, USCs strength of schedule is 37th (OUs is 11th and LSUs is 29th), they play in a softer conference than either OU or LSU, and didnt have to play in a championship game. Had I been voting for those three 1-loss teams I would have ranked them #1 LSU, #2 OU and #3 USC. Because to me the issue of judging three 1 loss teams is to judge them based on that loss, althought with trying to weigh the value of their wins. OU beat the team that ended the season 5th in both polls (Texas) and Oklahoma State (22), LSU beat Georgia twice (which finished at 11th) and Mississippi State (oops) (17). The only team USC beat that finished in the top 25 was Washington State (14).

    So while I think that the BSC is inferior to a playoff (by quanta) and that the whole IA polling system should be replaced, I am not of the opinion that the wrong two teams are playing for the title.

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    • SportsBlog linked with My Take on the BCS
    It’s List Mania!

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:54 am

    Speaking of lists, Right Wing News has its second annual list of annoying liberals.

    Hat tip: Insults Unpunished:

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Today’s List: Annoying Conservatives

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:44 am

    A couple of week’s back I posted a list of funny movie lines (at least lines funny to me) and had thought of a couple of other lists to posts (mostly pop culture stuff) and then this weekend I came across the (Hat tip: The World Around You) and then Reason’s “35 Heroes of Freedom” (Hat tip: OTB), and these made me think of even more lists, or ideas for lists.

    As a result, I am going to try posting a “List of the Day” on a given topic-sometime frivilous, sometimes serious, and a la the Beltway Traffic Jam, I am going to invite you all to play along. If you wish to dispute my list, or add to it, post your own list to your own blog and then link it back to this post. When I get the trackback, the link to your post will automatically be displayed below. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave a comment.

    Today’s List are the Top Five Conservatives that I find Annoying (inspired by the list from above). Of course, instead of a liberal blog giving their list, I, a fairly conservative blogger, will give mine.

    5. Trent Lott: Ended 2002 and started 2003 with the whole Strom Thurmond mess, which kept gettintg messier. His stance on the FCC ownership rules annoys me as well. His stint as Maj Leader was dissappointing.

    4. Ann Coulter: I once thought she would become the conservative Maureen Dowd (back when Maureen Dowd wasn’t so annoying herself-and she still isn’t always, anyway…), but she has become the Ted Rall of the right (at at least Michael Moore).

    3. Pat Buchanan: I’m with James on this one: the man has moved into loon territory. I can’t take anything he says seriously. And that whole Reform Party bit a few years back: what a joke.

    2. Roy Moore: His antics (which amount ot judicial activism) do no favors to conservatives nor, in my opinion, to Christians. Plus he stands poised to at least try and move the Alabama Republican Party (and the state) backwards with his brand of populism.

    1. Michael Savage: This guy is so obnoxious, and such a detriment to the conservative point of view that one almost has to assume he is some sort of liberal plant (that’s a joke, not paranoia).

    UPDATE: This is sliding down the road at the BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

    Filed under: Today's List | Comments (0) | Trackbacks(4)
    • The World Around You linked with List of the Day: Annoying Conservatives
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with It must be the season for lists
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with The worst of both worlds
    • Interested-Participant linked with San Francisco Mayoral Race
    Sunday, December 7, 2003
    BCS Imbroglio

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:44 pm

    As predicted, USC is in third place. It’s LSU and OU for the title.

    Filed under: Sports | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with BCS Mess
    No Surprise Here

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:31 pm

    In case you didn’t notice, they are having elections in Russia, and Early Results Show Putin Strengthening Control.

    The good news appears to be that Communists, who had been on an upsurge in recent elections, seem to be losing strength. The bad news is that parties with a pro-Western-style-democracy point of view may not even have the 5% needed to win seats. Further, the ultranationalist party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky gained over the last election, to capture in the 10-12% range.

    Filed under: Global Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:20 pm

    Thanks to:

  • Mind of Mog



    for linking to PoliBlog. They have been added to the reciprocal list on the left.

    Also, DANEgerus has been added to the list of blogs linking to PoliBlog-an oversight from earlier.

  • Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    I’m Shocked

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:53 pm

    Report: Ozzy Osbourne Says Was ‘Wiped Out’ on Pills

    Filed under: Pop Culture | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    On Middle Initials

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:40 pm

    The headline on the Kerry story over at Blogs for Bush raises an interesting point: dropping F-bombs is doubly unwise when one’s middle initial is “F"-especially if one is prone to emphasize that letter, as John F. Kerry (aka, JFK) is prone to do.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • ScrappleFace linked with Kerry Reveals What Middle Initial Stands For
    The “Real Al Sharpton"?

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:56 am

    Rev. Al finally made his SNL debut. I saw a few snippets, so really can’t comment on his performance. He looked like a typical non-actor hosting the show.

    However, this is an interesting quote from today’s NYT:

    “For me, it’s a wonderful opportunity,'’ Sharpton said in his opening monologue. “Maybe tonight, people can finally get to know the real Al Sharpton. President Al Sharpton.'’

    So, the real “President Sharpton” maifests as pretending to be fictional charaters on a comedy/satire show.

    Hmm. Perhaps so, come to think of it.

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    The Losing Battle that is Campaign Finance Reform

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:16 am

    James of OTB has the latest example of why trying to restrict political speech via BCRA (aka, McCain-Feingold), is a losing proposition.

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    Chris Wallace

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:08 am

    I just finished watching Chris Wallace’s first show as host of Fox News Sunday. I would give him good marks-I will miss Tony Snow, but Wallace is likely to be fine. I thought his interview with Howard Dean was well done (and one can see that once Dean is in the general election campaign, he is going to have a harder time deflecting some of the questions about his more, shall we say questionable, comments (like the innuendo about how maybe Bush knew about 911 ahead of time)). And my favorite part of all these shows is the panel, which has stayed the same.

    In sum: Wallace ain’t Tim Russert (but who is?) and thankfully he isn’t Bob Schieffer either (thank goodness). And he is better than Stephanopolous (and BTW the original Enterprise called, and it wants its bridge back-what’s up with that set?). So, it still seems to me that host-wise and show-wise nothing has changes: MTP is the best, FNS is second, and This Week and FTN are at the bottom.

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    Saturday, December 6, 2003
    Non Sequitur

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:11 pm

    Given that Bush pushed anc will shortly sign the biggest increase in entitlements since LBJ, this state comes across as sheer nonsense:

    U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., on Friday blasted President Bush and his “radical” administration for attempting to dismantle the “central pillars of progress in our country during the 20th century.”

    Clinton, in an interview with two reporters, said she had become convinced the Republican administration wants “to undo the New Deal,” the Roosevelt-era policies that ushered in Social Security and a host of other governmental assistance programs.

    And even if this were true of the Bush admin (which I do not believe that it will be), it would hardly be the first:

    “This administration is in danger of being the first in American history to leave our nation worse off than when they found it.”

    A little actual political discourse would be nice in lieu of all of this constant carping.

    Source: - Sen. Clinton blasts Bush, ‘radical’ administration

    Hat tip: Drudge.

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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Unreality
    The Very Definition of Class

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:09 pm


    Struggling 2004 Democratic wannabe John Kerry fires an X-rated attack at President Bush over Iraq and uses the f-word - highly unusual language for a presidential contender - in a stunning new interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

    Sen. Kerry (Mass.) used the undeleted expletive to express his frustration and anger over how the Iraq issue has hurt him because he voted for the war resolution while Democratic front-runner Howard Dean has soared by opposing it.

    “I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, ‘I’m against everything’? Sure. Did I expect George Bush to f - - - it up as badly as he did? I don’t think anybody did,” Kerry told the youth-oriented magazine.

    Very Presidential.

    And a clear sign of desperation that he thinks that he needs press so badly that he will resort to cheap stunts to get it or he thinks that dropping f-bombs will get him the youth vote.

    Really, it is quite amazing.

    Brookings Institution presidential scholar Stephen Hess said he can’t recall another candidate attacking a president with X-rated language in a public interview.

    “It’s so unnecessary,” Hess said. “In a way it’s a kind of pandering [by Kerry] to a group he sees as hip . . . I think John Kerry is going to regret saying this.”

    I suspect that Hess is correct.

    And this makes me think that this is, in part, an attempt to cut into Dean’s “mad Democrat” vote. If so, it is pretty pathetic and will be quite ineffective:

    Kerry was accurately quoted in Rolling Stone, said spokesman David Wade, adding the X-rated language reflects the fact that Bush’s Iraq policy “makes John Kerry’s blood boil.”

    Hat tip: Drudge.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Kerry Drops the F-Bomb
    • linked with John Kerry has Fricking Lost It
    • Blogs for Bush linked with John F*** Kerry
    • cut on the bias linked with Lame language, amusing outrage
    Didn’t They Promise it back in ‘02 Also?

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:53 pm

    Democrats Promise Revenge in Florida

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    This Could Be Interesting

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:52 pm

    Reporter Lisa Ling on Going Inside Colombia Drug War

    National Geographic Ultimate Explorer host Lisa Ling investigated the Colombian cocaine story, sitting down with everyone from President Alvaro Uribe to impoverished coca farmers. Her report, The War Next Door, premieres this Sunday, December 7, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.

    Not to act like a commercial or anything, but there it is. Plus, if I blog it, I am more likely to remember to watch it myself.

    Filed under: War on Drugs | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dean?

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:08 pm

    Matthew Yglesias discusses what the Club for Growth’s anti-Dean ad means and addresses Skeptical Notion’s thesis that the ad proves that the GOP is scared of Dean. Matthew then offers some possible alternative explanations and analysis.

    I think there is a very simple explanation: the GOP and their allies have determined that in all likelihood that Dean will be the nominee, and so they are simply gunning for the presumptive frontrunner. Indeed, it has all along been the strategy (or is it strategery?) of the Bush campaign to spend all of the primary money on the frontrunner, whomever it turned out to be. Such a strategy need not wait until March, if those spending the money are convinced that Dean is the man. It would appear that the Club for Growth has decided that that is the case.

    Such ads, or other types of attention focused on Dean, do not mean that either the GOP fears him nor that they want him to be the nominee, rather it simply means that they see no point in giving much attention to the rest of the Nine.

    (And BTW, doesn’t “The Club for Growth” sound like a competitor to the “Hair Club for Men"?).

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    That’s Only Half a Deck

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:34 pm

    Don’t they know that decks of cards are all the rage? Saudi Arabia Names Wanted Militants, Offers Reward

    Saudi Arabia on Saturday named 26 top suspects wanted in connection with “terrorist” operations in the kingdom and offered a $1.9 million reward to anyone who helped thwart a future militant attack.

    In all seriousness, it is good to see such actions from the Saudi government.

    And why do I feel like this isn’t quite as bemevolent-sounding as it appears:

    “All the wanted men must surrender themselves to the security services to clarify their true status. Whoever is found guilty will be treated according to the rules of our tolerant Islamic sharia (law),” it said.

    Filed under: War on Terror | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Funny Campaign Stuff

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:38 pm

    Jay Solo is right: this is funny. And this s pretty clever.

    Of course, I still ain’t votin’ for the man…

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    The Bitter Dissappointment

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:53 am

    Ack! I have been waiting to see the list of “Large Mammals” in theWizbang! 2003 Weblog Awards and I didn’t make the cut! Oh, the shame and horror. I am gratified to be nominated for “Best New Blog,” but Heaven knows I don’t have a shot of winning that one. I thought I might have a shot at the LM category-ah well. However, at this point, I would sat that Professor Bainbridge (he of rapid growth and an on-air appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s show) has the inside track, but it is hard to say for sure.

    And to add to the shame, I am being beaten in “Best New Blog” by Rush Limbaughtomy by a factor of 3-1 (the horror! :) and several other blogs I have nerver heard of. However, Electric Venom, OTB, and Boomshock all deserve to be beating me (as likely do some of the others that I probably ought to check out).

    At any rate: go vote.

    UPDATE: Oops. I knew I would forget someone worthy of mention, such as Tiger, Signifying Nothing, Jay Solo’s Verbosity, and The American Mind (all regular haunts of mine). Hmm, maybe I wouldn’t have stood a chance after all…

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    By Steven Taylor @ 10:03 am

    Thanks to the following for linking up to PoliBlog:


  • Locke, or Demosthenes?
  • Earthly Passions

    Each has been added to “Look Who’s Linking to PoliBlog” down on the left.

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    Secret Visits Abound

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:20 am

    Rumsfeld Makes Unannounced Visit to Iraq

    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made an unannounced visit to this northern Iraqi city Saturday to gauge the pace of progress toward stabilizing the country and defeating the insurgency.

    It was Rumsfeld’s second trip to Iraq in four months, reflecting the Bush administration’s push for faster progress toward improving security and speeding the political transition to Iraqi control, as well as an effort by the Pentagon to boost U.S. troop morale. The trip also marked the first time Rumsfeld has visited Kirkuk, the center of Iraq’s northern oil fields.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    The Freedom Brigade

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:18 am

    James of OTB and Matthew J. Stinson have issues with Reason’s 35 Heroes of Freedom (since 1968). Matthews’ assessment is apt:

    Is it just me, or does Reason’s list of “35 Heroes of Freedom” read like it was written by the president of a high school Cbjectivist club?


    The list includes such luminaries as Larry Flynt, Dennis Rodman, Madonna and Willie Nelson (and declares John Ashcroft to scourge of Civil Liberties everywhere), while leaving off, as James notes, Ronald Reagan, John Paul II, and Lech Walesa. Heck, I’d put Antonin Scalia, Helmut Kohl and Boris Yeltsin on the list well before Reason’s list of show business libertines. I’m with James: Dennis Rodman? Please.

    Sometimes I think that hardcore libertarians have a hard time distinguishing between the idea that people have the right to do what they will with as little government interference as possible without acknowledging that it doesn’t mean that these behaviors in and of itself are good, or produces good for the person in question. And, by good in this contest, I am not talking about moral good (thats a different discussion), but the lack of harm to the individual engaged in the activity.

    Drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and hedonism in general can produce harmful outcomes in the lives of those who pursue such actions. That isn’t to say that the government should stop people from doing such-I tend to agree with Mill’s Harm Principle-but that still doesn’t mean that such behaviors should be extolled as virtues. And in the real world, an individual who fought to defeat tyrannical governments is substantially more important to the process of forwarding freedom than someone who makes it easier to see pictures of naked people, or who make us feel better about smoking weed.

    Of course, since the article was subtitled Celebrating the people who have made the world groovier and groovier since 1968it may be possible to get a clue ad to Reasons definition of freedom.

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    Tin Foil Update

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:50 am

    James of OTB makes an excellent point about the steel tariffs. I wholeheartedly agree, and it is the reason (at least in part) for the Tin Foil Hat WatchTM that I issued the other day.

    When people start arguing about how the US has lost sovereignty, they should stop and look at whose rules are being enforced, and who it is that has the power to ignore transnational institutions if they so desire.

    In case anyone has forgotten the UN didn’t want the US to go into Iraq. Score one for the Black Helicopters, right?

    Filed under: Global Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Friday, December 5, 2003
    Dean Neck-and-Neck in SC

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:44 pm

    The latest Zogby poll has Dean ahead (by two point, so really in a statistical tie) in South Carolina, with 11%, Clark and Lieberman at 9%, and Edwards, Gephardt and Sharpton at 7%. If Dean can pull out a win in South Carolina, the hopes of the non-Gephardt types are over.

    Hat tip: The Hedgehog Report

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    Worst Trial of the Year?

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:18 pm

    Tiger raises a legit point concerning the aforementioned flag burning case: there were various officers of the court who should have spoken up. Either thet were all equally ignorant, or someone withheld info that they should have shared.

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    FL Senate Update: Martinez to Leave HUD and Seek Senate Seat

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:35 pm

    Martinez to Leave Cabinet for Senate Run

    Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez intends to quit President Bush’s Cabinet in anticipation of a run for U.S. Senate in Florida, administration and other Republican officials said Friday.

    Martinez will announce his decision to resign as early as next week with an eye toward the seat being vacated by three-term Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, administration officials said. Two officials said the word could come at Bush’s Cabinet meeting Thursday.

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    Ignorance of the Law Can Get You Two Weeks

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:12 pm

    Chris Lawrence may have found the winner in the Worst Attorney of the Year Award contest.

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    • Tiger: Raggin’ & Rantin’ linked with Gettin' to the heart of the matter

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:40 pm

    My thanks to for adding PoliBlog to his Blogroll. He was already on mine, but his site has also now been added to my lists of reciprocal links (again, if you link to me, but aren’t list, please let me know).

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    CA Senate Race Update: Jones is Running

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:01 pm

    As expected: Jones Set to Enter Calif. U.S. Sen. Race

    Former Secretary of State Bill Jones will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer next year, aides said Thursday.

    His entry would set up a four-person campaign for the GOP nomination among Jones, former Los Altos Hills Mayor Toni Casey, Ventura County Assemblyman Tony Strickland and former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin.

    Jones will file nominating papers Friday in his home town of Fresno, his aides said. Friday is the deadline for candidates to get on the ballot for the March 2 primary.

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    John Constantine is Roughing It

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:37 pm

    As you can see in the following pictures (mostly the second one) John is living the rough life.

    However, he is still thiking of us in the Blogosphere, as he blogs from the Land of Venemous Kate.

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    Bush Derangement Syndrome

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:56 pm

    Moe Freedman is right: Krauthammer is worth a read today (as usual, of course).

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    2003 Weblog Awards voting begins

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:28 pm

    Go vote: Wizbang: 2003 Weblog Awards Open

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    Toast-O-Meter (12/5 Edition)

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:22 pm

    The Toast-o-meter: A Weekly News Round-Up and Handicapping of the Race for the Democratic Nomination.

    The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much donea little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt all the Way Through (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Crumbs in the Bottom of the Toaster (Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

  • Dough is on the Rise
  • Heats Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

    General News

  • It is almost time for Six of the Nine to start getting matching funds. (Kerry and Dean have opted out, and Braun may fail to makle the filing deadline-plus she has barely raised
    any cash).

  • MoveOn has started an anti-Bush ad campaign.
  • The RNC flirted with a PR nightmare, but changed its mind.

    The Whole Loaf (the field v, Bush) (Bush is fresh, the Loaf is stale)

    A new feature to the Toast-O-Meter: how are the Nine (and the eventual One) stacking up against Dubya?

    It looks like the economy is moving in Bush’s favor and so the election may be largely about Iraq. The question will become: will enough swing-voters be willing to entrust Howard Dean with US security policy? I don’t think so. The main thing that Democrats can hope for: collapse of the economic turn-around or disaster in Iraq. As I have said for months, the Democrats are in the unenviable position of needing bad news in order to win.

    Also, I have moved Kerry down below Clark. The Top Three Slices are: Dean, Gephardt and Clark.

  • Bush’s numbers are up.
  • Economic numbers continue to be in Bush’s favor.
  • While Iraq will likely be huge, aside from saying that they will be better at getting international help, it is unclear what any of the Nine will do.

    Howard Dean: Wonder Bread fotified with vitamins With Yummy Vermont Syrup on top (Dough on the Rise)

  • The NH numbers are good. Very good.
  • He remains in a tie with Gephardt in Iowa.
  • Saletan compares Dean and Bush on the Viet Nam draft issue.
  • Dean’s biggest problem (and at this point it appears to be a minor one) are those documents he sealed in Vermont.

    Gephardt Slighty Toasted White Bread (the heat is on).

  • Not much going on.
  • He is under direct attack in Iowa by Dean.
  • His poll numbers in Iowa aren’t what he would want them to be (see Dean for link).

    Clark Toast (getting darker)

  • Referenences to his vague link to the Branch Davidian debacle are pointless, but unhelpful.
  • Clark is trying to tout his domestic policy record.
  • He is being oblique about he will do in Iraq.

    Kerry Burning French toast. (Getting darker by the day).

  • Timothy Noah of Slate asks the provacative question: Does Teresa Heinz Trust John Kerry? If not, why should we? Eugene Volokh 107047825890534135?>responds.

  • He gave a big speech to the CFR this week on Iraq. I am not sure anyone paid all that much attention.

    Lieberman Burnt toast (the heat remains on)

  • Professor Bainbridge has an interesting post on Joe.

    Edwards Burnt all the way through (getting darker-if that’s possible)

  • Is he still running?

    Sharpton Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster

  • On ABC’s This Week Sharpton noted that he is looking to win, but also to register voters and to help move the Democratic Party to the left, as he sees the party’s movement to the right as the reason for its loss of the Congress.
  • He has an interesing write-up in today’s NYT

    Kucinich Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster

  • On ABC’s This Week (11/30/03), Kucinich stated he would stay in the race until the convention, and that he believes that there will be a brokered convention. He furter stated that “I’m in this to win".
  • If fictional characters are endoring you>/a>, you might be crumbs at the bottom of the toaster. (This is especially true if you point this fact out on your web site).

    Braun Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster

  • When the big news of the week for your campaign is that you might miss the deadline to acquire matching-funds, you are truly the crumbs under the crumbs at the bottom of the toaster.

    Not in the Loaf

    Hillary Clinton

  • Despite her trip to Afghanistan and Iraq, she isn’t running.
  • Need evidence? the filing deadline in New Hampshire has passed.
  • And I do not buy a brokered convention/Hillary the Savior at the last minute scenario. Just look at the economic numbers and the President’s approval numbers. Why would she get in now? Look for her to run in 2008.

    Al Gore

  • Raises a philsophical question: If a tree gives speeches to partisan audiences, does anyone notice?

    Bob Graham

  • [Insert your own journal joke here].
  • Was intereviewed on the Daily Show last week. Compared Larry King to a “soft bunny.”

    Third Loaves

  • Ralph Nader is thinking of running again-making some Dems mad.
  • Kevin of CalPundit, thinks it might be a good thing for the Democrats. An interesting thesis, but I don’t see this as being a good thing for the Democrats. However, I think that Nader will be a non-factor this year. Regardless of who wins, this isn’t going to be a repeat of 2000.

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    Bush Appoints Baker to Deal with Iraqi Debt

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:37 am

    Interesting: Yahoo! News - Bush Names James Baker as Envoy on Iraq Debt. This is a very good choice, although the spin will likely be that the Bushes always call in Baker when they have a mess to clean up.

    The truth of the matter is, he is well qualified for this task. Not only is he former Secretary of State, but also Secretary of the Treasury and had extensive experience with debt in the context of the developing world when he was heavily invovled in working with Latin American economies during the debt critis of the 1980s.

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    Clark on Iraq

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:13 am

    To be fair, this is not an unreasonable postion to take: Clark Says He Has Plan for Iraq, but Will Not Offer Details. However, it is still not very useful for the campaign trail. And really, he needs to have more to say than just “wait until I am President.” Indeed, the argument seems to be: “Trust me. I am a General am I not?”

    And, I wonder how long it took his campaign staff to cook up this line:

    “When I go to Iraq, it won’t be to deliver turkey,” he said, referring to the president’s surprise visit to Baghdad on Thanksgiving Day.

    And no kidding:

    But when asked to draw on his expertise and say how many troops would be needed for how long or what his benchmarks would be for success, he said: “You think they’re really easy questions, but they’re not. They’re not easy questions.”

    And dealing with it will not be as easy as the Nine keep saying it will be (e.g., “If I, [fill in the blank], were President, the international community would love the US again, and send thousands of troops and millions of dollars to help us in Iraq. Why? you ask. Well, because I will ask more nicely than has that Cowboys George W. Bush, that’s why.")

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    Good Job News (But, Granted, not Great Job News)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:38 am

    Jobless Rate Declined Again in November, to 5.9%

    The nation’s unemployment rate slipped to 5.9 percent in November, the lowest level in eight months, but employers added new jobs at a slower pace than expected.

    The Labor Department reported Friday that the rate fell from 6 percent in October. The last time it was lower was in March, at 5.8 percent.

    U.S. companies added 57,000 new jobs in November, boosting payrolls by 328,000 during the past four months following a half-year hiring drought. But analysts had predicted that about 150,000 new jobs would be added in November.

    The jobs market “is not improving as fast as we thought it was,'’ said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard and Poor’s DRI. “It’s true we’ve had four consecutive months of payroll growth, which is a start. But it’s only a bare start.'’

    Still, we appear to be going in the right direction finally.

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    • The Trommetter Times linked with Bad News for Nine Dwarfs
    The Ted Rall of the Right?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:31 am

    James of OTB excerpts a recent Ann Coulter column leading me to ask is she hasn’t become the Ted Rall of the right.

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    Thursday, December 4, 2003
    Bad News

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:58 pm

    Kewvin of Wizbang got some bad news today: he lsot his job. Head over to his site and try to cheer him up.

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    Race, Mississippi, and Coaches

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:13 pm

    Robert Prather of Insults Unpunished has a thoughtful post on the hiring of Sylvester Croom as the new head coach at his alma mater, Mississippi State. I had meant to link to it yesterday, but never got around to it, and now that I have read some of the comments that have been posted, I decided to post a link and make a comment or two of my own.

    First, in an ideal world race shouldn’t matter. One expects that most folks who read this blog take that as a given.

    Second, I personally would argue that race relations in this country have improved mightily in the last several decades. However, it is clear that the task of creating a color-blind society is far from complete.

    Third, Robert is right-this move is an important one for the state of Mississippi. It does mean something. It is too bad that it does, but nonetheless the truth is the truth. I have now lived for over five year in Alabama and likely to be here for a very long time. I have family from here (my mother, grandparents and many others) and grew up in Texas until I was a sophomore in High School, so I have a good idea of the stereotypes that are often associated with the South (and like many who are from the South, I have resented them). I know that most of them are unfair. However, like some of the statements I have made here regarding the Confederate Battle Flag, I have become more sensitive to the race issue here in the Deep South after having had a closer look at the facts on the ground, so to speak. Things like Croom’s hire is important, both symbolically and in real terms. I don’t buy the argument that one should hire someone just because they of a given color-that is racism. I have profound philosophical problems with affirmative actions programs. However, there is no denying that we as a country have a history that includes substantial, institutionalized and isidious racism. We have done things that violate the very principles of liberty and democracy that are supposed to hold dear. That legacy takes time to become truly distant memory. Anything that helps to push that legacy farther and farther in the recesses of our collective minds the better, even if it is something like hiring a football coach. These things do matter and having no blacks coaches in the SEC, even if for wholly innocent reasons, was a problematic symbol, at the very minimum.

    In sum: Robert was right to be proud of his school, and while one shouldnt make too much of the hiring of a football coach, I would say that Crooms hire is a good thing for the state of Mississippi, the South in general and for the SEC. Indeed, it should be a good thing for the Mississippi State football program over the long haul, as Croom has an excellent resume.

    (And while I am at it, I am sticking this post into today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM)

    Update: I kept referring to Mr. Croom as “Crooms” above-which I have now correctred.

    Update II: When the Alabama job was open, I thought that Croom was a better candidate than Shula, but it was because of resume.

    Update III: Some other folks have entered the conversation: James of OTB and Christopher Lawrence of Signifying Nothing, as does Sean Hackbarth of The American Mind

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    Fun With Punctuation

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:43 pm

    Believe it or not, Kevin of CalPundit has started quite the conversation concerning, well, the apostrophe.

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    You Have Got to be Kidding Me

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:01 pm

    Slate has the Plame photo. My word, how can anyone now take all of this seriously? I think that InstaP is dead-on in his write-up and various updates. I also concur with Timothy Noah:

    Chatterbox spares Plame Whopper status, possibly on grounds of misplaced gallantry. But Plame’s extended striptease, enthusiastically barked by her husband, now has Chatterbox wondering how much of Wilson’s story to believe. (It also has Chatterbox wondering when the couple will start renting themselves out for birthday parties.) Regardless of the merits, this photograph will surely give the Bush Justice Department whatever slim justification it seeks in dropping its Plamegate investigation.

    The pic does make it extremely difficult to take this whole situation seriously. Even if the argument is that “well her cover was already blown", the picture does not fit the post-Novak rhetoric by any stretch (and the Slate piece has plenty of examples of the rhetoric). Indeed, I would state that the photo trivializes that whole affair.

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Plame jumps the shark
    As Expected

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:42 pm

    And you have to love clever headlines: Bush Scraps Steel Tariffs

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    More Good Poll News for Dean in NH

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:56 am

    I just noticed on Drudge that according to the 2004 Democratic Presidential Preference Dean’s lead is 32 in NH:

    Receiving a boost from registered Democrats, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has increased his lead in ballot preference among likely Democratic primary voters in the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Preference Primary according to the latest New Hampshire Poll. In ballot preference, Dean now leads with 45%. Senator John Kerry is at 13% and Wesley Clark is at 11%. Ballot preferences for the six other major candidates remain in single digits.

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    Dean and Gephardt in Statistical Tie in Iowa

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:47 am

    Dean, Gephardt battling for lead in new Iowa poll

    Dean, former governor of Vermont, was at 26 percent, and Gephardt, a Missouri congressman, was at 22 percent in the Zogby poll, a difference within the margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

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    Dean Goes After Gephardt in Iowa

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:46 am

    Speaking of campaign spending, it looks like Dean is flexing some of his financial muscle in Iowa by airing ads targetted at Gerphardt: Dean Launches Campaign Ad in Iowa Blasting Gephardt

    Democrat Howard Dean, in a close battle with Dick Gephardt in Iowa, takes his rival to task for backing President Bush on the war against Iraq in the most targeted television ad by a presidential candidate to date.

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    Anti-Bush Ad Blitz Starts

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:41 am

    I have no problem with this at all: MoveOn Spending $1.9M on Anti-Bush Ads. Indeed, I consider it a healthy part of our democracy. Still, I continue to be amazed that the Democratic Party’s supporters are so gung-ho for such tactics, which clearly violate the spirit of the McCain-Feingold ban on soft money.

    An online liberal group is spending a hefty $1.9 million on a two-week television commercial blitz to blast President Bush’s Iraq policies in five states that will be battlegrounds in next year’s presidential race. will begin broadcasting the 30-second ad Thursday in major media markets in Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio and West Virginia. The TV industry estimates that average viewers will see the ad about 10 times over the course of its run.

    Really, this kind of activity, the Soros contributions (to MoveOn and other groups), the fact that Bush, Dean and Kerry have opted out of the matching funds, all demonstrates what a sham the campaign finance system is. And also underscores a bedrock truth: money is going to be spent, in large quantities, for electoral campaigns, and the higher the stakes, the more money that will be spent. It is impossible (and not even desirable) to “take the money out of politics.” Any attempt to do so is doomed to fail.

    Again, I am not criticizing the spending: I say let both side spend as they wish and let the voters decide. I am criticizing the campaign finance laws themselves and the flawed premises upon which they rest.

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    Dean’s Lead Widens in NH

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:11 am

    Poll Shows Dean Opening Big Lead in N.H.

    Howard Dean has opened a daunting lead in the Democratic presidential contest in New Hampshire, says a poll released Wednesday night.

    Dean was at 42 percent, 30 points ahead of his closest rival, John Kerry, in the Zogby poll of voters who say they’re likely to vote in the Jan. 27 primary. One in five, 19 percent, were undecided.


    Pollster John Zogby said Dean is strong in all regions and among all voter groups.

    Is that the smell of burning French toast?

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    Wednesday, December 3, 2003
    The Perot/Nader Problem

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:07 pm

    To partially answer Megan’s question, it is nearly indisputable (at least as much as any counter-factual can be) that Nader cost Gore the presidency. Just look at Nader’s 97.488 votes in Florida. The case is less clear for Perot (and indeed, it is likely that had Perot not run, Clinton still would have won-but it is a much more complex counter-factual scenario than Gore in 2000). Plus, many Democrats are just plain mad over the 2000 election, stoking their anger at third party types who might siphon off their votes all the higher.

    Plus, anything that might stand in the way of a Democratic victory in 2004 will bring down the anger of many on the left-as will any reminder of Bush’s 2000 win.

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Perot versus Nader
    Saletan on Dean

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:07 pm

    Wlliam Saletan’s Slate column, Takes One To Know One - In the chutzpah war, Dean has Bush’s draft number is interesting, but does not answer the question which is poses, which is “is Dean nuts?” to challenge a sitting President on defense issues, especially a wartime president. Saletan attempts to answer by way of comparison to Bush, his Air National Guard record, and the way that Bush treated with McCain in the primaries last go ’round on defense.

    A few key thought come to mind. 1) A governer v. a sitting wartime president is different than a governor v. a senator, both of whom are seeking a nomination-hence, part of Saletan’s analogy is flawed, 2) getting a deferment and going skiing is not the same as serving in the Ait National Guard, so that part of the analogy is flawed as well.

    However, to answer Saletan’s question re directly: no, Dean isn’t nuts. This line of attack will serve Dean well, at least in the primaries. I have serious doubts, however, as to whether it will work in the general election campaign (indeed, I suspect it will not).

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    Japan Set to Send Troops

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:59 pm

    Japan to Approve Troops for Iraq Next Week -Media

    Japan is likely to approve next week a plan allowing the dispatch of some 1,000 military personnel to help rebuild Iraq, domestic media said on Thursday as the bodies of two slain diplomats were set to arrive home.

    Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made the controversial decision to approve the plan - which would be Japan’s largest overseas military mission since World War II - after a meeting with Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba and other key cabinet ministers on Wednesday, Kyodo news agency and other media said.

    When, or if, Japan will dispatch troops to Iraq on their most dangerous overseas mission since 1945 has been unclear since the killing of the two diplomats, but some said the deaths may actually have bolstered Tokyo’s resolve to go ahead.


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    By Steven Taylor @ 1:56 pm

    Kerry Vows to Reverse Bush Policies

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    CA Senate Race Update

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:47 pm

    Intresting: Ex-U.S. Treasurer Joins Calif. Sen. RaceFormer U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin launched her campaign for the Republican Senate nomination Tuesday, issuing a blistering critique of Sen. Barbara Boxer for her record on national defense and the economy.

    Marin, who was the highest-ranking Hispanic in the Bush administration, described Boxer as an overly partisan Democrat whose views on defense undermined the president’s fight against terrorism.


    Marin, who emigrated to the United States from Mexico at age 14, made her announcement in Huntington Park a largely Hispanic suburb of Los Angeles where she once served as mayor.

    Boxer is, theoretically, beatable, but it will be an uphill battle. Marin’s immigrant background and federal government experience should help. Coming out and attacking Boxer on national secuirty strikes me as smart as well.

    The rest of the Republican field shapes up as follows:

    Marin will face at least two other Republicans in the March primary: former Los Altos Mayor Tony Casey and Ventura County Assemblyman Tony Strickland.

    Former Secretary of State Bill Jones has also expressed interest in the race, but has not yet announced plans. The deadline to file is Friday.

    Many Republicans privately say they believe that Jones would pose the strongest challenge to Boxer.

    I don’t know enough about any of the candidates to handicap the race, but it would seem that Jones, havig once held a statewide office, or Marin, as a hispanic female with a federal government resume, would be the top candidates at this point.

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    To Where? Mars?

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:39 pm

    So, where in the US do they lack TV?

    Peterson’s attorneys have said they will file a motion to move the trial, contending that massive publicity has tainted the county jury pool against the Modesto fertilizer salesman.

    And, for some reason, the idea of tainting a fertilizer salesman strikes me as amusing.

    Source: Change of venue would open up many scenarios in Peterson trial

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    Shales and the Wealthy

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:56 am

    Yesterday, Tony Kornheiser mentioned this Tom Shales column on Fox’s new “reality” show, “The Simple Life” (which I am glad has started only because it means Fox will stop running the same commercial during football games that I have been seeing for what seems like a month now). Anyway, the review itself was less amusing/interesting than I expected, but then I came to this line:

    Maybe if the show encouraged more hatred of the rich, who are having so much fun right now (as they usually do during Republican administrations) while the rest of us just hope to cope, it might be worth watching and worth having been made.

    Several things struck me: 1) Shales, as the major media columist for WaPo and a published author or co-author on several books on the media, he is a) hardly “just hop[ing] to cope", and likely falls in a tax bracket that most Democrats would consider “rich", and 2) if he is talking about the extremely wealthy (e.g., Ms. Hilton and Ms. Richie), don’t they always have a lot of “fun” (if such is defined as having a lot of money to spend) regardless of who’s in power? I mean, what a ridiculous statement (and out of place, in my opinion, in a column on tv programs). Not to mention why would it be a good idea to encourage hatred of anyone?

    Update: This post is sitting in traffic at the BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM. Go see all the posts as they sit and wait for readership.

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    I Preferred Yesterday’s Headline

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:04 am

    U.S. May Have Just Missed Catching Saddam Lieutenant.

    Still, at least we seem to be making some progress:

    Troops apprehended “quality targets” among 54 suspected guerrillas seized near Kirkuk but probably just missed catching the second most wanted man in Iraq after Saddam Hussein, the U.S. military said Wednesday.

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    Tuesday, December 2, 2003
    Good Move: RNC Ditches Boat Idea

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:04 pm

    Here’s a follow-up to a story I noted yesterday: RNC Scuttles Convention Plans Aboard Ship

    Faced with increasing pressure from New York City officials, industry associations and labor leaders, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay decided Tuesday to cancel plans to house guests for the 2004 Republican National Convention on a cruise ship off Manhattan, his spokesman said.

    Good deal, given that this had to have been one of the worst ideas I have heard in some time.

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    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Tone-deaf Bugman
    Defense Complete!

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:46 pm

    Go say congrats to the newly christened Doctor Lawrence!.

    Congratulations to the new doctor on the completion of his dissertation defense!

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    Here’s Hoping

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:20 pm

    According to the Sci Fi Wire, there may be more Babylon 5 on the way:

    Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski told fans on a message board that he’s working on a follow-up to the popular SF series, according to a report on the Dark Horizons Web site. Straczynski remained coy about the project, saying only that he’d have more news next month.

    “On the B5 front, there has been something of rather substantial proportion that’s finally gone from talk to money, such that I’m now working frantically to meet some deadlines,” Straczynski posted. “But there’s nothing I can say about this until after January 15th, probably closer to the end of that month.”

    Straczynski added, “The only thing I can say is that phase one of the new project is a go, hence the furious writing schedule at this end of things, which is why I’ve been silent until deciding to kick up some dust on the political discussion. I’ve been writing my little brains out. I wouldn’t go on about something in this way if it wasn’t a significant development.”

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    Too Bad: US Denies Ibrahim in Custody

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:16 am

    U.S. Denies Saddam’s Deputy Captured in Iraq Raid

    The U.S. military denied reports that Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the most wanted man in Iraq (news - web sites) after Saddam Hussein and alleged mastermind of guerrilla resistance, had been captured in a raid on Tuesday.


    “He was definitely not captured in today’s mission,” Major Doug Vincent of the 173rd Airborne Brigade told reporters who accompanied troops on the raid in Hawija, near Kirkuk. Several other suspects were detained.

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    Welfare for Candidates

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:27 am

    In this case kudos to George Bush, Howard Dean and John Kerry for foregoing government handouts.

    Some Dem. Candidates Get Financial Boost

    Candidates participating in the presidential public financing system will get their first taxpayer-financed payments Jan. 2. Democratic hopeful Wesley Clark expects the biggest check, about $3.7 million, followed by rival Joe Lieberman with about $3.6 million.

    Here’s how the system works:

    Under the program, the government matches the first $250 of each private donation received by primary candidates who accept an overall $45 million spending limit, up to about $18.7 million. Taxpayers pay for the program by checking a box on their income-tax returns to direct $3 to it.

    My position is: if you can’t raise the money yourself after all this time, perhaps that says something about your ability to garner actual support.

    On a side note, Braun may not make it:

    One candidate still trying to qualify in recent weeks, Carol Moseley Braun, was wrapping up her paperwork Monday and did not expect to make the deadline. That means she would get her first government payment in February; Braun’s campaign hopes for about $300,000 then.

    “We’ll definitely make that deadline, if I have to crawl to file it,” Braun campaign manager Patricia Ireland said.

    Of course, if one isn’t raising much money, the lack of matching funds may not matter much, shall we say.

    UPDATE: This post is stuck in traffic over at the BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

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    Tin Foil Hat Watch

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:21 am

    I am declaring an official Tin Foil Hat WatchTM for the next week. This is because when/if (I hope when) Bush rescinds the steel tariffs, the Black Helicopter Brigade is going to come out and tell us all how the WTO really rules the world (no doubt with the aid of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations).

    In the case of an actual Tin Foil Hat attack please surf to the nearest sane blog for instructions.

    Further updates will be issued as the situation warrants.

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    May it be so

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:58 am

    U.S. Forces Kill or Seize Top Saddam Aide-Politicians

    Izzat Ibrahim, right-hand man to Saddam Hussein and the next most wanted Iraqi leader, has been killed or captured in a U.S. raid near the city of Kirkuk, Iraqi Governing Council sources said on Tuesday.

    “There was a major action against a highly suspicious objective last night in Kirkuk and it is very possible that Izzat Ibrahim has been captured or killed,” said one member of the Council, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, adding he had been in contact with U.S. forces.

    Another high-level source in the U.S.-appointed Council said he had been informed that Ibrahim had been captured in the raid.

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    Monday, December 1, 2003

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:27 pm

    This is, shall we say, a stretch: Clark’s New Ad Is on Domestic Record

    Democrat Wesley Clark had never sought or held elective office until his bid for the presidency, but a commercial that begins airing Tuesday in New Hampshire highlights what his campaign says is his record on domestic issues.

    In the 30-second spot, an announcer says that the retired Army general “fought for better schools and better health care for those he led because it was the right thing to do.”

    Bill Buck, a Clark spokesman in New Hampshire, said the ad refers to Clark’s work as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, when his duties included overseeing a school system in Europe for soldiers and their families and ensuring they had adequate medical benefits.

    So he has a “domestic policy record” by dint of his service in the military overseas? I don’t see this flying, to be honest.

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    First Opus, Next C&H? (Don’t Count on it)

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:47 pm

    Here’s an interesting little story (actually, a lengthy story) on Bill Waterson: Missing!,Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson. Last seen in northeast Ohio. Do not approach.

    Hat tip: Arguing with Signposts

    Filed under: Pop Culture | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:54 pm

    If you run an MT based blog, I highly recommend MT-Blacklist - A Movable Type Anti-spam Plugin. It is fantastic.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Another Record Month

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:32 pm

    For the second month running, PoliBlog set a new record for hits. Indeed, November shattered last month’s record:

    In fact, November by itself accounts for over 20% of all my traffic since I started on February 15, 2003.

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    Redistricting Decision

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:00 pm

    Interesting: Colorado Court Says Redistricting Is Unconstitutional

    In a decision with national implications, the Colorado Supreme Court threw out the state’s new congressional districts Monday saying the GOP-led Legislature redrew the maps in violation of the state constitution.

    The General Assembly is required to redraw the maps only after each Census and before the ensuing general election - not at any other time, the court said in a closely watched 5-2 decision that followed party lines. A similar court battle is being waged in Texas.

    On the one hand, this is probably just as well, as I am increasingly of the point of view that the entire way we redistrict is seriously flawed, so perhaps it is wise to put the brakes on this redistricting in midstream. However, on the other hand it strikes me as reasonable that if the most recent redistricting was done by the courts and not the legislature, that the next legislature should have the right to revisit the lines drawn by the judiciary. In other words, I think that redistricting is kosher mid-stream if the legislature of the state (assuming that that is the nexus of redistricting power in that state) has not yet actualy put forth their own set of lines. It strikes me as fundamentally more democratic for the legislature to draw the lines than for the courts to draw the lines.

    Indeed, if stalemated legislatures knew that the next legislature would be able to redraw a court-drawn set of lines, then they might be more amenable to compromise. As it stands, if there is a switch of party (or even a shift in the relative power of the two) from one redistricting to the next the party that was in power during the previous redistricting process has an incentive to hold out and hope for a court-mandates solution, which will likely be based on the previous set of lines.

    This is what happened in Texas: the Democrats controlled the legislature in 1991, when the 92-00 lines were drawn. When there was a stalemate in 2001, the courts simply tweaked the 1991 version of the districts which, shockingly, favored the Democrats.

    Update: This is my OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM entry of the day.

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    More Big Econ News

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:52 am

    US factory growth fastest in 20 years, spurs jobs

    U.S. factory activity surged to its fastest pace in two decades in November and construction spending hit another record high the prior month, according to reports on Monday showing the economy’s rapid growth is reversing three years of job losses.

    The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index jumped to 62.8 in November, the highest since December 1983, from 57.0 a month earlier. That easily beat the forecasts of Wall Street economists.

    With growth so strong and new orders still flooding in, factories hired workers for the first time in 37 months, according to the survey. That good news comes before government data to be released on Friday that is expected to show companies added 136,000 workers in November, according to forecasts.

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    Make Love (or at Least Underwear) not War

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:45 am

    Lingerie keeping cocaine at bay

    First they grew coffee. When prices for the bean collapsed, many turned to growing illegal drug crops.

    And now, hundreds of rural Colombians, hoping for a better living, are trying their hand at making racy lingerie for a French retail chain under a new UN-backed program.

    The wispy G-strings, revealing bras and lacy garter-belts went on sale Saturday at Carrefour’s 11 outlets around Colombia. The undergarments will be sold at its overseas stores in coming months.


    About 800 women, many of them heads of families, are making the lingerie. They take home about 800,000 Colombian pesos (about US$280) a month, about double the minimum wage and far more than what they could make growing coffee. They also enjoy health benefits and paid vacation.

    Coca growers, in comparison, make about 200,000 Colombian pesos (about US$70), but they need to pay taxes to illegal armed groups.

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    The Next Corporate Scandal?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:18 am

    Hmm: Boeing chairman resigns in surprise announcement

    Boeing Co. chairman and chief executive Phil Condit has resigned, the aerospace manufacturer said Monday in a surprise announcement days after two other Boeing officials were fired for an alleged ethics breach.

    The company’s board accepted Condit’s resignation after deciding “a new structure for the leadership of the company is needed,” according to a Boeing statement.

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    Political and PR Genius

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:38 am

    Yes, that’s a good idea: G.O.P. Option at Convention: Luxury Liner

    The House majority leader, Tom DeLay, would like the ship to serve as a floating entertainment center for Republican members of Congress, and their guests, when the convention comes to New York City next Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.

    “Our floating hotel will provide members an opportunity to stay in one place, in a secure fashion,” said a spokesman for Mr. DeLay, Jonathan Grella. He did notelaborate.

    Nothing like re-inforcing the idea that the Reps are the “party of the rich".

    And this will make great PR:

    New York would lose money if Mr. DeLay decides to charter the ship because it would draw visitors and dollars away from city hotels, restaurants and shops.

    And no kidding:

    Republicans are not necessarily happy, either. Many say the cruise ship could undermine one reason New York was chosen for the first time in the party’s history as the site of its convention: to help advance the idea that Republicans are the new big-tent party, trying to embrace all voters.

    Instead, Republican strategists say, being docked on the Hudson River would send out the message that they are a bunch of elitists who will not mingle with city residents and just might be ducking New York’s laws, including the one that prohibits smoking in public places (a cruise ship might be exempt, or at least unwelcome territory for a city health inspector).

    Further, since the parties get federal funds to help pay for thier convention, side-spending like this by the RNC is unseemly at best.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks(4)
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    Update on Battle at Samarra

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:33 am

    The Iraqi death toll has risen to 54, and the report states that some of the dead wore Fedayeen uniforms: U.S. Troops Say Kill 54 in Fierce Iraq Battle

    American troops said on Monday they had killed 54 guerrillas, some wearing the uniform of Saddam Hussein’s feared Fedayeen militia, in a firefight to fend off attackers in the tense Iraqi town of Samarra.

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