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Sunday, February 29, 2004
Filed under: Iraq | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
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  • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Iraqis Agree on Interim Constitution
A Note to Smarty-Pants Anonymous Profs

By Steven Taylor @ 5:58 pm

As soon as I get paid $300ish (or even $150ish) an hour to blog, then I will be more fastidious about my typos.

So there!

Filed under: Blogging | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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President Kerry Would Solve Everything

By Steven Taylor @ 5:07 pm

Democrats Criticize White House Role in Haiti

Kerry said Bush had “empowered the insurgents” by failing to step in sooner and added, “I never would have allowed it to get out of control the way it did.”

So, Kerry advocates inserting US troops in a third worl country in chaos to fight indigenous insurgents who wish to overthrow the existing government?

This is what he learned in Viet Nam?

Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(5) | Trackbacks(5)
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  • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Kerry's Discussion With The Daily News
  • Judicious Asininity linked with Better to Remain Silent
  • Insults Unpunished linked with I Feel Safer Already From The Menace Of Haiti
  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Haiti Briefing
  • The SmarterCop linked with TUESDAY'S COMPENDIUM
Troubling

By Steven Taylor @ 2:36 pm

Iraqi Leaders Miss Deadline for an Interim Constitution.

I am not surprised by the missing of the deadline, nor is missing it all that big a deal in and of itself. However, I continue to be quite concerned that an overly artificial deadline for power transfer has been set, and that there has been insufficient planning for that process. The establishment of a stable and at least quasi-democratic government is essential, and I am not confident that the administration has adequately placed Iraq on that path.

Also, politically the power exchange could be the issue vis-a-vis Iraq in the presidential campaign. If it goes badly, Bush could be damaged to the point of defeat.

Further, no matter how well it goes (or how poorly) there is almst certainly going to be some drama, as the insurgents (whether they are remnants of the regime or al Qaeda types) will not want the exchange to go well. Hence, I expect July to be quite a violent month in Iraq.

And, indeed:

“Bremer is really pressing us,” said Mahmood Othman, another Governing Council member. “Everyone is hungry and sleepy. This is not the way write the law of a country.”

Filed under: Iraq | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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Sounds Like One of My Students…

By Steven Taylor @ 2:15 pm

From the OpinionJournal a few days ago:

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacob P. Hart is a stickler for the rules. Spelling rules, that is. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, while Judge Hart allowed Bucks County lawyer Brian Puricelli to collect $300 an hour for his courtroom work on a recent case, Mr. Puricelli was limited to only $150 an hour for his writing-because it was replete with careless typos. In addition to making repeated references to the “United States District Court for the Easter [sic] District of Pennsylvania,” Mr. Puricelli listed the judge’s name as “Jacon” Hart. “I appreciate the elevation to what sounds like a character in The Lord of the Rings,” the judge wrote, “but, alas, I am but a judge.”

Filed under: Courts/the Judiciary | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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Not Surprising

By Steven Taylor @ 1:24 pm

Bush Orders Marines to Haiti to Help Restore Order.

It is an ugly situation, but our presence will curtail violence and we do have some responsibility here, since we did restore Artistide to power back in ‘94.

Filed under: Latin America | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
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  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Haiti Briefing
Polling

By Steven Taylor @ 1:15 pm

Robert Prather excerpts a piece from the WSJ on the signficance of current polling of the President. It well defines a point I have made on several occassions(such as here and here)
, which is: it doesn’t mean much about what will happen in November.

Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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Whose?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:31 am

Aristide Leaves Haiti to ‘Avoid Bloodshed’

Filed under: Latin America | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (1)
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  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Haiti Briefing
CA Showdown on Gay Marriage on the Calendar

By Steven Taylor @ 11:19 am

From the LAT: S.F. Gets a Week to Make Case for Gay Marriage

The California Supreme Court refused to immediately halt this city’s same-sex marriages on Friday but decided that it would swiftly consider whether to review the legal challenges to those nuptials.

The state’s highest court gave San Francisco seven days to present arguments to the judges why they should not immediately order the city to stop marrying gay couples and invalidate the 3,400 licenses already issued.

The city also plans to ask the court to determine whether the state Constitution protects same-sex unions.

Under state law, marriage is defined as between “a man and a woman.” The city argues that the California Constitution, however, protects against discrimination and, therefore, allows the same-sex marriages.

Filed under: Courts/the Judiciary | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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Tony Snow Update

By Steven Taylor @ 11:01 am

Since a lot of PoliBlog readers care about this topic (or, more accurately, a lot of Google-powered individuals care about this topic who find PoliBlog), I thought I would note that Tony Snow’s radio program starts tomorrow.

The show will run 9-12 est and will debut in 40 markets (so says this story, anyway). I don’t know which markets.

Filed under: General | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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I’m Shocked!

By Steven Taylor @ 10:32 am

Hussein’s Regime Skimmed Billions From Aid Program

They abused the oil for food program! They violated UN rules! They accepted bribes!

Who’da thunk it?

Filed under: Iraq | Comments (1) | Trackbacks(2)
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  • Outside the Beltway linked with Hussein Skimmed Billions
  • The Owner’s Manual linked with Hussein’s Regime Skimmed Billions From Aid Program
Saturday, February 28, 2004
Adios Freako

By Steven Taylor @ 9:15 pm

Thank Goodness.

Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Something Else of Interest for Snoozer Tuesday

By Steven Taylor @ 9:15 pm

In addition to the ballot initiatives in CA, Tuesayd also contains the GOP senatorial primary which will determine who will challenge Barbara Boxer:

the GOP Senate primary pits former Secretary of State Bill Jones against attorney and former Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, businesswoman Toni Casey and former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin.

Recent polls show Jones as the front-runner, but the biggest share of likely voters said only a week ago they still had not made up their minds -41 percent as measured by the California Field Poll.

Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks(2)
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  • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Latina Weapon
  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Around the Blogroll
Self-Serving Quote of the Week

By Steven Taylor @ 2:00 pm

From Newsweek:

“Martin Luther King Jr. suffered from infidelity, so did John F. Kennedy. You’re more likely to find great leadership coming from a man who likes to have sex with a lot of women.” Actor Ethan Hawke, who split with wife Uma Thurman amid allegations of infidelity, on attributes of great leaders

Filed under: Pop Culture | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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Speaking of the CA Initiative Race

By Steven Taylor @ 1:59 pm

Schwarzenegger in Final $15 Billion Charm Offensive

Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Around the Blogroll
It’s The “Change is Coming” Version of the Toast-O-Meter

By Steven Taylor @ 11:12 am

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

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

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

It’s the “Change is Coming” Edition of the Toast-O-Meter, because, let’s face facts, Kerry is going to have a HUGH Snoozer Tuesday and Edwards, who may still try to limp to Southern Tuesday, is going to be burnt toast for sure after this week.

The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol’ White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much done—a 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
  • Heat’s Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

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

  • According to Zogby International, Bush’s approval numbers have edged up a tad to 51%.
  • Bush focuses on raising campaign cash
  • Of course, the big issue of the week is the FMA and there is plenty to read about that (just go here and scroll down).

    Slicing up this Week’s Contests

    Super, or Snoozer? Well, let’s be direct: zzzzzzzzzzz.

    And when am I going to get an apology from all those folks who argued that a brokered convention could really happen?

    Tuesday brings us the following contests:

    California
    Connecticut
    Georgia
    Maryland
    Massachusetts
    Minnesota
    New York
    Ohio
    Rhode Island
    Vermont

    Of these only Maryland and Georgia appear to be competitive. Although the latest numbers from Georgia and Maryland suggest that it might be Sweeper Tuesday.

    Dave Wissing’s The Hedgehog Report has all the polling.

    And if Snoozer Tuesday doesn’t exhaust your need for political entertainment, don’t forget the March 8th contest in American Samoa (which is so important that I can’t confirm if it is a caucus or a primary, even from the DNC homepage).

    There are some stories worth noting, however:

  • CA has some important Ballot Initiatives that will be decided. Some more good info here.
  • Electronic Vote Faces Big Test of Its Security
    Millions of voters in 10 states will cast ballots on Tuesday in the single biggest test so far of new touchscreen voting machines that have been billed as one of the best answers to the Florida election debacle of 2000. But many computer security experts worry that the machines could allow democracy to be hacked.

    Here in Georgia, along with Maryland and California, an estimated six million people will be using machines from Diebold Election Systems, which has been the focus of the biggest controversy.

    FRESH BAKED

    Kerry

    Let’s face facts: Kerry’s the nominee. Get your NoDoze now, it’s gonna be a loooong eight months.

  • Edwards is West Coast Toast: Kerry has big lead among state voters
    One week before California’s presidential primary election, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry holds a commanding lead - 60 percent to 19 percent - over North Carolina Sen. John Edwards among likely voters, a poll released today shows.

  • The NYT issued A Primary Endorsement in Kerry’s favor. Robert Tagorda has some thoughtful commentary and linakage on the Times’ endorsement.
  • Steve Bainbridge comments on Kerry’s Benedict Arnold Money.
  • Slate’s Fred Kaplan provides John Kerry’s Defense Defense - Setting his voting record straight. (Hat Tip: Dean’s World)
  • The NYT reviews the Kerry of the esrly 1970’s:In ‘71 Antiwar Words, a Complex View of Kerry.
  • This week Kerry Hits Foreign Policy in a speech at UCLA. From the WaPo write-up it sound a lot like: “Bush is bad at foreign policy, and I will be better” with a few red-meat sound bites thrown in.
  • And, in case you missed it: Kerry’s House of Ketchup #1.

    THE SUPERMARKET SHELF

    Edwards

    While I expect Edwards will probably hang on until the 9th, he has to know in his heart of hearts that he is as toasty as toast can be.

  • Ya think? Edwards Says He’ll Stay in Past Tuesday. And the headine brings to mind something my mother used to say: “If wishes were horses, beggers would ride.”
  • Things you don’t want to hear if you are a canidate: Edwards not a slam-dunk favorite in home state of N.C. (just ask Gore…).
  • James Joyner notes thatEdwards Could Win . . . Georgia and The Political Wire reports that Martyland could be competitive.
  • Says Baltimore Sun columnist Steve Chapman: Slippery views make it hard to get a handle on John Edwards.
  • Edwards’ strategy in Ohio: It’s the economy.
  • Just keep repeating that to yourself, John: Edwards Says Democratic Race Is Not Over .
  • Professor Bainbridge also weighs in on John Edwards’ profession and its effects on jobs.
  • USAT has a profile on Edwards: Edwards: Keeps it simple, energetic and to-the-point. Read the profiles while you can-they won’t be around much longer. (Hat tip: the Political Wire)

    THE CRUMB PILE (a.k.a., “Comic Relief”)

    There has been an increasing number of stories that simply lump Sharpton and Kucinich together:

  • Democrats Kucinich, Sharpton in Race for Long Haul

  • The Chicago Tribune has a question for the Crumb Pile: Why?

    Kucinich: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster

  • Well, he did come in second in Hawaii!

    Sharpton: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster

  • No doubt he’ll be thrilled to speak to Rev. Al: Al Sharpton Plans to Meet Haitian Leader. Al’s “Be Like Jesse” Tour continues.

    Larouche:

  • The headline every candidates longs for: Convicted Felon Running in Democratic Primary.
  • Imagine that: Lyndon LaRouche Criticizes Utah.

    VICE-LOAF

    Evan Bayh: Robert Novak suggests that Indiana Senator Evan Bayh might be a possible selection for Kerry. The reason is that Bayh has a high rating from the American Conservative Union (at least for a Democrat).

    NOT IN THE LOAF

    Dean>

    Even from outside the loaf, Dean still remains a topic of discussion. For example:

  • Kerry, Edwards Target Dean Supporters.
  • Dean, Ex-Aide Movements Confuse Backers.
  • Ex-US candidate Dean unveils outline of new political group.
  • Howard Dean Supporters Still Campaigning.

    OTHER LOAVES

  • Nader is back to spoil an election.

  • Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks(7)
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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Toast-O-Meter Update
    • Signifying Nothing linked with More toast
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Congratulations to Poliblogger
    • Mark the Pundit linked with Toast
    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with This Week's Toast Is Up
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Around the Blogroll
    • Insults Unpunished linked with Presidential Approval
    Thanks!

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:05 am

    My thanks for all the well0wishes concerning my announcement of yesterday.

    And Professor Bainbridge rightly notes the following:

    a senior colleague told me that getting tenure didn’t change anything in your life except that you stopped thinking about tenure. I didn’t believe him, but it turned out to be true. If you’re internalized the norms of teaching and scholarship, you don’t change what you do. You just keep teaching and writing.

    Indeed. Plus, now there’s Full Professor to work towards! However, not having to worry about tenure is huge in its own right, to be sure.

    Filed under: Academia | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    I’m Begging Here

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:10 am

    Someone, please buy the premium blogad spot over at Outside the Beltway. Not only would James appreciate it, but I wouldn’t have to see Jacko’s face everytime I surf over.

    I mean, please, I often eat while I blog…

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (1)
    | Show Comments here
    • Outside the Beltway linked with Jacko Goes Bye-Bye
    Friday, February 27, 2004
    First the Cruise Ship, Now…

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:07 pm

    The Rooftop Report notes a story from The Hill.com which suggests that Bush could give his convention acceptance speech from Ground Zero.

    This strikes me as a very bad idea.

    First the cruise ship flap and now this? Surely the convention planners are a tad brighter than this?

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Say it Ain’t So!

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:59 pm

    Poll: Most March 2 Voters Uninformed

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    OTB Profiled at NormBlog

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:58 pm

    I meant to post this this morning, but James Joyner of OTB is the subject of The normblog profile 23: (in which he kindly gives PoliBlog a plug.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    4Q GDP Figure Revised Upward (Slightly)

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:47 pm

    Healthy GDP Raises Hopes for Job Growth>

    Brisk business spending helped the economy expand at a healthy 4.1 percent pace at the end of 2003, raising hopes that the recovery will be durable and spur more meaningful job growth in the coming months.

    The Commerce Department’s latest reading on gross domestic product, released Friday, showed the economy grew slightly faster in the October-to-December quarter than the 4 percent annual rate estimated a month ago.

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Milestone

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:39 am

    Well, I received my official notice of tenure and promotion to Associate Professor today. While it doesn’t go into effect until August 1, it is still nice to have the letter in hand!

    Filed under: Academia | Comments(12) | Trackbacks(6)
    | Show Comments here
    • Outside the Beltway linked with Tenured
    • The Bemusement Park linked with NOW HE CAN TELL YOU WHAT HE REALLY THINKS
    • The Bemusement Park linked with NOW HE CAN TELL YOU WHAT HE REALLY THINKS
    • Signifying Nothing linked with Promotion
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Congratulations to Poliblogger
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Congratulations to Poliblogger
    Is This Even Possible?

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:43 am

    Kerry vows notice before jobs can be exported

    “We’ll require full disclosure to the American public about how many jobs are being sent overseas, where they’re going and why they’re going,” Kerry told an audience at the University of Toledo. “Companies will no longer be able to surprise their workers with a pink slip instead of a paycheck.”

    It sounds good and all (actually it doesn’t, but you know what I mean), but is such a policy even possible to create and enforce? It isn’t like jobs are discrete items that have numbers attacked to them or people’s names written inside the collar. I mean is it that case that the job Juan Mendoza got from Ford down in Mexico can be directly traced from having come from downsized worker John Smythe in Detroit?

    This is economic and business silliness.

    Indeed, I am going weay of the rhetoric that makes it sounds as if there are only 12 jobs left in the United States, and they are about to be packed up in a crate and shiped to India if John Kerry isn’t elected.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(4) | Trackbacks(2)
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    • Sneakeasy’s Joint linked with 9 Pieces Worth Your Time
    • Sneakeasy’s Joint linked with 9 Pieces Worth Your Time
    Thursday, February 26, 2004
    Even More Thanks

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:36 pm

    My thanks to the following who have linked to PoliBlog, and who have been added to The List:

  • Use The Forks!!
  • Rooftop Report
  • New England Republican
  • memeorandum
  • Bananas and Such
  • I love Jet Noise

    And a long-overdue thanks to:

  • One Fine Jay
  • Obsidian Wings

    I would also note that BoiFromTroy has made the move to his own domain and has a slick new look to his page.

  • Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Reacting to Headlines

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:08 pm

    My first reaction upon reading the following headine: Dean says Democratic nominee must cast Bush as ideologue was “is anyone actually listening to Dean these days?”

    I mean, isn’t that like asking Dave Campo about how to get to the Super Bowl?

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    A Reason to Pay Attention to Snoozer Tuesday

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:57 pm

    The most interesting contests on Tuesday will be in California, but they won’t involve Kerry or Edwards, but rather Schwarzenegger. No, the Governor isn’t being recalled, but his political fortunes are on the line as there are several propositions on the ballot that form the basis of his recovery plan:

    Proposition 55
    Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2004.

    Proposition 56
    State Budget, Related Taxes, and Reserve. Voting Requirements. Penalties.
    Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

    Proposition 57
    The Economic Recovery Bond Act.

    Proposition 58
    The California Balanced Budget Act.

    The one of most significance in 57, which is essentially the state getting a debt consolidation loan from DiTech.Com. In all seriousness, if 57 fails, Schwarzenegger will have to construct an entirely new plan to deal with the Golden State’s fiscal woes (and the pressure to bring up the dread “T-Word” will be hot and heavy).

    Steve Baninbridge is opposed to 56, as he wishes to maintain the 2/3rd majority needed to raises taxes in CA. I am sympathetic to that position, but am not a big fan of super-majority requirements for routine legislative action (but support them for extraordinary activity, such as amendment procedures). Why? Because super-majority provisions empower minorities, which is not how normal legislative activity is supposed to work. The citizens elect legislators who form majorities who then govern and are then answerable to the voters. Super-majority provisions partially short-circuit that process and also unnecessarily complicate the policy-making process. Now, it is true that that can be a good thing, but it strikes me as a poor way of doing business.

    Having said that, I am not disputing Bainbridge’s position, as I am not sure how I would vote if I were still living in California, but am just raising a general predisposition.

    Of course, I am heretic as a fiscal conservative, because I am not that big a fan of Prop 13, as I think it punishes newer homebuyers/makes it difficult for current homeowners to move up (as I noted a while back).

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Propositioning Californians
    Something That Has Always Bugged Me

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:12 pm

    It is often said that “you can’t legislate morality” and the phrase has, of course, been much bandied about of late for obvious reasons.

    While I concur that you can’t legislate what morals individuals will hold, is it not the case that all laws are predicated on some moral judgment?

    It just has always struck me a vacuous formulation.

    (OK, ranting over).

    Filed under: Political Philosophy/ Theory | Comments(5) | Trackbacks (0)
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    The Power of Google

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:59 pm

    The CSM has an amusing column by Lionel Beehner on the use of Google by reporters: 9,000 Google hits can’t be wrong - or can they?

    Filed under: General | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    At Least You Can Go To Libya

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:24 pm

    Bush Tightens Rules on Travel to Cuba

    Filed under: Latin America | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Flashbacks!

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:56 pm

    EEK! Reading this over at Signifying Nothing is producing some hideous flashbacks.

    Filed under: Academia | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    DSL Rules

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:01 pm

    After my rather annoying bought with outages of my cable modem service, I made the move to DSL over a week ago and have been quite pleased with the service to date.

    Given that I had had the same basic trouble with the cable twice in less than six months, and after it took over a week to get it fixed, something had to give. One shouldn’t have to convince one’s provider that there’s a problem, and surely shouldn’t take calling daily for a week and having to stay on hold for an hour to get the problem fixed.

    So, Charter’s loss-and it may yet result in DirectTV to replace my cable tv, too…

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    Intriguing

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:07 pm

    House Passes Unborn Victims Legislation

    The House voted Thursday to treat attacks on a pregnant woman as separate crimes against both her and the fetus she is carrying. Critics say it would undermine abortion rights by giving fetuses new federal legal status.

    One doubts, however, that it will pass the Senate.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Trouble in Dean’s World

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:48 pm

    The Esmay’s are having a rough time at the moment and are soliciting aid from the Blogosphere.

    Filed under: General | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Compromise is the Way to Go

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:37 pm

    I have posted quite a bit more on this topic than I ever intended, but such are the exigencies of blogging. Really, there are two threads to this same-sex marriage issue, the political angle and the substantive policy/philosophical angle. Here is a somewhat lengthy take on the latter.

    One issue that I have only made a glancing reference to, and that has been ignored in much of the conversation over the last couple of days is this: whether the proponents of gay marriage wish to accept this fact or not, the idea of gay marriage flies in the face of the deeply held religious and philosophical beliefs of a large number of Americans, and also contradicts the established definition of an ages-old institution. Regardless of one’s belief on this topic, one has to admit that those two facts do explain why there is a great deal of contentiousness on this subject. And no, one isn’t a homophobe if one holds these positions. One can have a true tolerance for the choices of others and still object to such ideas as changing the definition of marriage.

    Look, as I have stated, I cannot construct an argument against allowing homosexual partners to have a legal union that provides them basic legal protections and that acknowledges their union before the state. For that matter, I don’t think that I can construct one that would forbid polyamory-based relationships or for non-reproductive partnerships between adult siblings, at least not in the sense that I can say why the state ought to dictate such things. I can make moral and religiously-based arguments, but not secularly derived ones that should dictate public policy.

    I would note that I do not make the above statements to engage in a ludicrous slippery-slope argument to discredit gay unions. I simply cannot see what logical distinction that can be made on this subject between legal homosexual unions and three people entering into a legal union. And this is doubly true if what we are going to do is redefine marriage to mean the union of people who are deeply committed to one another. If that is the definition, then what is the logical argument for limited such a union to only two persons? Indeed, aside from strictures concerning consent and adulthood, what limiting principle could be applied if we are going to so broadly define “marriage”? The advantage of the classic definition o marriage is that it is clear. Once it is re-defined, it is rather difficult to contain that re-definition.

    And I am not making that “what if a guy wants to marry his dog?” argument—I find that line of attack distasteful and a straw man of the worst sort. Nor am I arguing that gay marriage damages my marriage.

    The bottom line is that “marriage” has had a very specific meaning historically and certainly within American public policy and society. If the goal is simply to provide a means for homosexual partners to achieve legal equality, then let’s go the civil union route and stop the culture war routine. Polls suggest that a large swath of the public would support that position, including some evangelical Christians such as myself, and it would avoid the marriage issue.

    Yes, the debate is, to some degree, over semantics. However, words do matter and the word “marriage” matters to a lot of people and it is undemocratic, and unrealistic, for those persons to be ignored. We aren’t taking about Jim Crow, or second class citizen status, we are talking about trying to find a public policy compromise between a very small minority of persons and what is a large plurality, if not a majority, of the population. God Bless America, if I may be so bold as to use that phrase in this context, that despite the rancorous nature of the debate that a small minority could receive this much attention and not be trampled. Further, count it a blessing that there is a possible compromise position here—and, as I point out to my students, compromise is the essence of democracy.

    Filed under: Political Philosophy/ Theory | Comments(9) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Marriage Compromise
    It’s All Bush’s Fault

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:00 pm

    WaPo columnist Harold Meyerson (like WaPo reporter Dana Milbank yesterday) argues that this whole same-sex mariage fight is Bush’s fault: Another Bush Culture War:

    This is the way that Bushes run for president when they fall behind: They plunge us into culture wars.

    Again, I would note: this debate did not start with the President’s speech. The spin here is utterly remarkable.

    And the idea that the FMA equals spreading “sewage” is remarkable.

    And for the umpteenth time: GW Bush is not the one who raised Wilie Horton! Al Gore first brought it up during the primaries, and the infamous commercial was not a Bush campaign ad. For that matter, what’s the big deal about pointing out that the Dukakis prison furlough program had some unfortunate consequences?

    I think I shall go scream now.

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    Doomed as Doomed Can Be

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:34 pm

    Yup outsourcing is a crime against the economy. What are we going to do? John Edwards! Save Us!

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    More Evidence that the FMA is Unlikley to be Formally Proposed

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:58 am

    Some in G.O.P. Cool to Gay Marriage Ban

    Despite President Bush’s endorsement of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, some Congressional Republicans are cool to the idea and say they want to move more deliberately than the White House.

    The amendment proposal does enjoy broad support among many Republicans in the House and Senate. But the wariness among others is complicating the already difficult task of moving a constitutional change through the House and Senate.

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    What About Equal Protection?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:56 am

    Isn’t the prevailing mood on the same-sex marriage issue that we all shoud be treated exactly the same under the law regardless of beleifs? If so, where’s the outcry on this ruling: Court Says States Need Not Finance Divinity Studies

    Quite honestly I don’t see the problem here insofar as if the scholarship is awarded in a fashion that is blind as to what the student will studty, what does it matter what he/she studies? I would agree that a program that specifically funded the training of pastors would be highly problematic, to put it milidly, but ultimately what is the different between the student in question studying theology or getting a degree in philosophy in which he decided to heavily study Marxism, an avowedly atheistic set of theories?

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    Now You Can Have that Dream Vacation

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:48 am

    U.S. Lifts 23 Year Old Ban on Travel to Libya.

    Filed under: General | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    On Amenedments, Both Formal and Informal

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:57 am

    James Joyner has a great post this morning on amending the constitution and rightly notes that much of the hand-wringing over “tampering with the Constitution” is rather ironic given that the Supreme Court has been so doing for some time.

    Indeed, one could argue that Lawrence v. Texas amended the Constitution by stating that there was a fundamental right to sodomy-and thereby started the current firestorm. Now, I agree with the idea that the state has no business dictating the sexual activities of adults behind closed doors, but to simply declare such a right by fiat is, by definition, amending the Constitution. I don’t recall much outcry from the left regarding “tampering” at the time. Indeed, even if one agrees with every word in Lawrence it is hard to argue that the ruling did not informally (i.e., without changing the actual words through the prescribed process) amend the Constitution.

    And while I still am not comfortable with the FMA, I will concur with James: at least going that route is the constitutionally created one.

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    Jobless Claims Up

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:42 am

    Jobless Claims Rise, as Expected

    The number of Americans filing for initial jobless benefits rose modestly last week, in line with market expectations, a government report showed on Thursday.

    First-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits rose to 350,000 in the week ended Feb. 21, up 6,000 from an unrevised 344,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said.

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Wednesday, February 25, 2004
    Replay Goes to School?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:20 pm

    Interesting: NCAA Football - Big Ten will use instant replay for football

    Instant replays will be a part of Big Ten football games this season.

    The NCAA championships and competition cabinet has approved the Big Ten’s proposal to use instant replay - on an experimental basis - for conference games in 2004.

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    Let’s Check the Tape…

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:30 pm

    Hmm, in today’s WaPo we find a story entitled A Move to Satisfy Conservative Base, which starts with this sentence:

    With President Bush’s embrace yesterday of a marriage amendment, the compassionate conservative of 2000 has shown he is willing, if necessary, to rekindle the culture wars in 2004.

    Regardless of one’s position on this topic, is it not just a little disingenuous for Milbank to accuses Bush of rekindling the culture wars? Surely the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and especially SF Mayor Gavin Newsom have some culpability in starting this particular fire. Indeed, Newsom bears the most guilt here, in my opinion, as his actions were clearly outside the law and did not use appropriate channels. At least the Mass Court was within its rights to do what it did, whether one likes the conclusions or not.

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    Congrats to Jay

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:23 pm

    Jay Solo’s Verbosity is one year old today.

    Stop by and say “hey".

    Filed under: General | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Basic Amendment Logic

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:09 pm

    Let me try this one more time, as I am not sure that my point has been sufficiently made.

    First: the historical success rate for amendments once they have left the Congress: 81.8% (that’s a .818 batting average, which ain’t bad).

    Second: why is this the case? Is it because the states are lapdogs to the Congress?

    No.

    It is because the political force needed to move 2/3rds of both Houses of Congress to pass a formal proposal has to come from somewhere. In most cases it comes from the people, and where do the people reside?

    States.

    So, the consensus that would be needed to affect the vote in the Congress would almost certainly exist at the state level as well. Under what scenario can anyone see the FMA passing the Congress without this kind of public pressure?

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    More Thanks

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:41 pm

    More people to thank:

    First, a long-overdue thanks to Mark Hasty of The Bemusement Park who has had me linked for some time, but whom I kept forgetting to thank.

    Also thanks to:

  • The Galvin Opinion
  • The Big Picture
  • Joefish’s Freshwater Blog

  • Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    The Failed Amendments

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:33 am

    For those interested in such things, one can review the failed amendments here.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments(5) | Trackbacks (0)
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    The Federal Marriage Amendment’s Chances

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:31 am

    To clarify some statements on this issue: I think that it is highly, highly unlikely that the FMA would pass both Houses of Congress by a 2/3rds vote. Not only it is an election year with the presumptive Democratic nominee having publicly opposed the amendment, but the division in the Congress, especially in Senate, means that the math simply doesn’t favor the FMA. The bottom line is that it takes only 34 Senators or 136 Representative to block an amendment.

    There will be objections based on opposition to the wording of the amendment (or amendments-there would likely be multiple proposals), on the issues of states’ rights and so forth. I could see both conservatives and liberals opposing the amendment. As such, formal proposal is unlikely, to put it mildly.

    However, and this is main point of clarification: if pressure between now and the summer, when this is likely to come up for a vote, were to hit such a level that the FMA did make it through the Congress, then I think it highly likely that the states would ratify. Why? Well, for one thing history suggests that the real barrier is Congress: thousands of attempts (some not too serious, I would grant, but we are talking over 11,000 tries) and only 33 have gone to the states. Of the 33 that have gone, 27 have passed—hence the success rate after having gotten past Congress is quite high. And there is a reason for that: if there is sufficient consensus in the nation that can move Congress to such radical agreement, the odds are good that that same national sentiment will motivate the states to ratify as well.

    I think that this is especially true in this context, as it would take an enormous groundswell of public opinion to convince 2/3rds of both Houses to propose this amendment, and as such, the states would be unlikely to resist.

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    • Mark the Pundit linked with Odds on the FMA Passing
    Music of the Aged

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:46 am

    Stephen Green Will Collier is trying to make some of us feel old.

    It sort of goes along with the fact that a police officer I saw on the way in to work today looked too young to drive, let alone old enough to be part of the state’s coercive apparatus.

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    Kerry Sweeps Forgotten Tuesday

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:27 am

    Three more for Kerry:

    Kerry defeated Sen. John Edwards by large margins in Utah and Idaho, and also won in Hawaii, where Edwards ran third. That gave Kerry 18 wins in 20 contests.

    […]

    Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich finished in single digits in Idaho and Utah, but ran second in Hawaii.

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    Tuesday, February 24, 2004
    Thanks

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:58 pm

    This is a long-overdue thanks to a number of blgos who have permlinked PoliBlog in the last month or so.

  • Begging to Differ
  • Zygote-Design
  • The Strange Political Road Trip of Jane Q. Public
  • Southern Musings
  • The Yin Blog
  • Caffeinated Musing
  • Slant/Point.
  • My opinion counts
  • Much Ado
  • Ipse Dixit
  • Dart Frog on a Cactus

    Each has been added to the master list of reciprocal links to the left.

    If you have linked to me, but I haven’t linked to you, please let me know.

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    Line of the Day

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:28 pm

    Via MSNBC - GlennReynolds.com:

    Eisenhower didn’t talk about winning World War II as much as Kerry talks about losing in Vietnam.

    Hat tip: Betsy’s Page.

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    Isn’t That Charming?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:00 pm

    Half of Young Americans to Get Sex Diseases -Study

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    Hmm. This Just Doesn’t Sound Good…

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:55 pm

    Putin Abruptly Fires Russian Premier and Most of Cabinet

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    The “Priority Thing”

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:50 pm

    I have to take issue with Daniel Barno and John Cole who criticize Bush for not having his priorities straight. As Barno says “First things first George; the troops in Iraq and then the Economy, then we’ll worry about the homosexual problem in this country.”

    Fair enough, but that ain’t the way it works, otherwise all Bush would talk about would be security (since, on balance, there isn’t all that much he can do about the economy, rhetoric notwithstanding). That would make for an odd campaign and cede quite a bit of political territory to Kerry. Further, making one speeh on this topic is hardly going to distract Bush with the other work of the Presidency.

    Bush will mention a lot of things over the next 8 months that aren’t A-One priorities, but just because a given topic gets some attention doesn’t mean that the topic is dominating governing for that moment in time (or even that much is going on beyond the speech of the moment).

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    • The Daily Lemon linked with Priorities part Deux!
    Full Faith and Credit

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:32 pm

    From Ye Olde U.S. Constitution, here’s the “Full Faith and Credit” Clause:

    Article IV

    Section 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

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    Gay Marriage Round-Up II

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:14 pm

    As I continue to peruse the Blogosphere on the topic of the day, I would note these posts to go along with the list I posted earlier.

  • McGehee of blogoSFERICS isn’t impressed by pro-gay marriage advocates who argue for gay marriage by noting the imperfections of hetero-marriage.
  • Ipse Dixit posted on this topic this morning in support of John Fund’s piece that criticized Mayor Newsom of SF.
  • Croooow Blog sees the FMA as “going overboard".
  • Mrk Hasty of The Bemusement Park had a lengthy, and thought-provoking piece on the subject from a few days ago that attempts to deal with some of the theologocal questions and it worth a read.
  • Donald Sensing also approaches the question from a Christian POV and alos engages Sully in some debate. He also links to several of his own posts on related topics.
  • Michele isn’t too happy with the President, but she’s “still with Ed Koch” and notes that defense is the main issue and so is sticking with Bush despite all the flap over this topic.
  • Owen at Boots and Sabers actually argued in favor of the proposed amendment yesterday.
  • Says Robert Prather at Insults Unpunished
    I hope he limits it to saying that states can define marriage any way they see fit and aren’t required to recognize marriages from other states. In other words, the “full faith and credit” implications could be limited on this one issue. If it defines marriage as a man and a woman for every state I’m against it.

  • Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks(3)
    • Outside the Beltway linked with Having a Gay Ol' Time
    • The Daily Lemon linked with Bush's priorities
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Hewitt on the FMA
    Condiments on Parade

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:48 pm

    Saddened by the death of the Duck Hunt? Fear not, fro Sean now has the Kerry’s House of Ketchup for your enjoyment over at the American Mind.

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    Don’t Forget!

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:02 pm

    It’s Forgotten Tuesday: all those delegates up for grabs in Idaho, Utah and Hawaii!

    Can you feel the excitement?

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    Gay Marriage Round-Up

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:52 pm

    The topic of the afrenoon is clearlt gay marriage. I have numerous posts on the subject below, and here are some Blogospheric responses

  • Stephen Green has numerous posts on the subject made up of mostly negative reponses and links and a round-up of some Republican/cnservative quotes on the subject. After you read it, just go to the top of VodkaPundit and scroll down.
  • Polipundit predicts Kerry’s reponse.
  • Robert Tagorda has two thoughtful and and linkful posts on the subject.
  • Not surpringly, Andrew Sullivan and many of his readers aren’t happy.
  • John Cole isn’t impressed and thinks it shows a “lackof priorities".
  • Unfogged has several posts on the subject.
  • Kevin Drum raises the Privatize Marriage idea. I have to agree: I don’t see how this would work.

  • Filed under: US Politics | Comments(2) | Trackbacks(4)
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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Having a Gay Ol' Time
    • The Daily Lemon linked with Bush's priorities
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Hewitt on the FMA
    • Spitbull linked with FULL PUNDIT EMPLOYMENT AMENDMENT
    A Question

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:22 pm

    A question for libertarian-leaning Republicans, such as VodkaPundit indentifies here: precisely what is the surprise and indignation over the President’s statements today? In other words, why the shock over the fact that a man who is overt in his evangelicalism would take this position? I am dumbfounded, to a degree, that his statements today would surprise anyone.

    Further, I would note, that it was a wholly symbolic jesture, given, as I note below, that the President has no constitutional role in the amendment process.

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    A PoliSci Prof’s Note on Amendments

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:12 pm

    (Forgive my need to clarify, but is it in my blood)

    I would remind everyone that the President has no actual power over the amendment process, and what he did today was symbolic only. To amend the Constitution a formal proposal must be made by either passing 2/3rds of both House of Congress, or via a convention called by Congress at the request of 2/3rds of the states. If the idea is formally proposed in one of the manner’s listed above, then the proposal can be ratified by either the approval of 3/4ths of state legislatures, or 3/4ths of conventions called at the state level.

    It is noteworthy that of the thousands of attempts at formally proposing an amendment, only 33 have escaped the gravitational pull of the Congress (and 12 of those were part of the original package that would be become the first ten amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights). Of the 33 that have gone to the state, 27 have been approved.

    In short: amending the constitution is hard, as apart from the Bill of Right we have only done it 17 times since the 1790s.

    A few notes: 1) we have never had a convention under the current constitution, and 2) if a proposal is sent to the ratification process, the proposal will delineate the method of ratification—and of the 33 that have passed the proposal stage, 32 have gone to state legislatures, and only 1 has gone to state-level conventions: the repeal of prohibition.

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    Some Thoughts on Same Sex Unions

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:02 pm

    There is a great deal to say about the same-sex marriage issue, and I must admit that I have struggled with defining my own precise position. No matter what position one takes one is likely to upset someone. I am conflicted in this sense that I have moral objections to homosexuality, but also adhere to the idea that the state (i.e., government) ought to stay out of the private lives of citizens as much as possible, especially when the private actions of citizens do no harm to others. I support, generically, the idea that the courts must often protect unpopular minority positions against the tide of majority opinion. However, I also think that one cannot wholly ignore majority opinion, especially when it is widespread. There is a need for a balancing of these two positions.

    There is no doubt that the issue of same-sex marriage is made more complex by the moral and religious components that under gird the debate, especially in terms of those who are opposed to the idea of same-sex marriage.

    A few bullet points to deal with some of my thoughts on this topic, as I am having trouble putting this into essay format at this time:

  • I am not particularly in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, as I do not favor using the Constitution for specific policy. Further, I object to the idea of taking what is clearly a Reserved Power, i.e., belonging to the states, and giving it to the Federal government.

  • I think that marriage is a Reserved Power (i.e., belonging to the states), and that the best way to deal with the issue of same-sex marriage is for it to be dealt with on a state-by-state basis. Now, the Full Faith and Credit clause complicates this statement, but it seems constitutionally permissible, under Article IV, for the Congress to regulate how same-sex marriage would flow across state boundaries, although I do wonder as to whether such regulations would withstand an Equal Protection attack.

  • The solution, it seems to me, is civil unions sans the usage of the word “marriage”. It may well be no more than semantics, but it is clearly the case that the word matters. Indeed, I struggle intellectually with precisely how to deal with “marriage” versus “civil union” and find that I have a far harder time accepting the idea of gay marriage than I do in accepting the idea of civil union. At a minimum it seems to me that it does matter that for hundreds of years that the term “marriage” has meant a union of heterosexuals, and that to change that definition by judicial fiat is not appropriate.

    Really, this is a compromise that ultimately I expect a vast majority of people could accept.

  • I think it a legitimate position for people to have a moral objection to homosexuality (just as it is legitimate for people to have an objection to premarital sexual relations, and a host of other behaviors). However, the question becomes what role the state ought to play in these matters. I do not see the state as having a compelling reason to have a position on homosexual behavior, per se, any more than it ought to have a position on extra-marital sex. It is possible to have a moral objection, however, without being in a position to legitimately interfere with the behavior in question—e.g., I think it is normatively better for a child’s parents to be wed in most cases, yet I would hardly advocate the use of state power to ensure a wedding.
  • The creation of policy that explicitly acknowledges a particular kind of relationship is significant however, and the details and nature of that recognition are important—both in terms of reconciling these issues to broader principles, such as fairness and equal protection, with deeply rooted cultural norms.
  • I object to the Mayor of San Francisco flaunting the law of the state of California and I object to the short-circuiting of legitimate legislative debate on this topic by the Courts. (As I objected to Roy Moore deciding that he had the sole right to interpret the First Amendment).
  • I think that arguments comparing same-sex marriage to bestiality are ludicrous, although I do have to ask, and think it a legitimate question, to ask as to whether laws banning polygamy, or even the marriage of siblings, have any moral or philosophical authority if we say that marriage is not to be defined by centuries of culture and tradition, but rather something that the courts can define as they see fit.

  • Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    Same Sex Marriage and the Civil Rights Struggles of the Past

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:51 pm

    I think that the comparison of the gay marriage issue to that of the broad civil rights struggle that African-Americas experienced in the 1950s and 1960s is a poor one. For one thing, the court struggles of the Civil Rights Era dealt with a panoply of issues and broad areas of discrimination, not one specific public policy.

    Further, I would argue that the Courts (which had been part of the problem at times, such as the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson ruling, not to mention the pre-Civil War Dred Scott case) in the 1950s and 1960s were rectifying the interpretation of the 14th and 15th amendments, not legislating, as one could argue that the Massachusetts Supreme Court has done. In other words, ruling such as Brown v. Board of Education attempted to implement actual clauses in the Constitution, rather than defing new rights out of thin air.

    Comparing Bush’s statements today to Nixon’s in the 1960s (as did a commenter did below) is unfair, because it takes a specific policy debate and compares it to broad list of systematic injustices.

    It is possible that the President actually has a moral position on this topic, and it is further possible that there is a legitimate debate to be had about the role of the courts in these issues.

    The irony of all of this same-sex marriage situation is that I firmly believe that states would have increasingly passed civil union laws, which would have allowed for homosexual partners to have a legal relationship that no doubt would have been referred to over time, if not immediately, as “marriage”. The political battle that has been waged over the last couple of weeks that culminated has actually set back the move to legal recognition of homosexual partnerships, as evidenced by the President’s statement today concerning the Marriage Amendment. Social change often takes time.

    Instead actions such as those by the Mass. Supreme Court and especially the Mayor of San Francisco, have created an atmosphere of political confrontation. It is not surprising, especially in an election year, that the President ended up taking a position on this topic in this manner, especially given his religious perspective.

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    Bush Backs Marriage Amendment

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:03 am

    The interesting thing is that I think that this issue is going to be taken up by Bush more in terms of judicial activism than it is going to be about the morality of homosexual unions: Bush to Back Gay Marriage Ban Amendment

    Jumping into a volatile election-year debate on same-sex weddings, President Bush on Tuesday backed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage — a move he said was needed to stop judges from changing the definition of the “most enduring human institution.”

    […]

    Bush, who has cast himself as a “compassionate conservative,” left the door open for civil unions as an alternative to same-sex arriages.

    I still see that being the eventual end-point, policy-wise: civil unions for same-sex partners.

    And I find it unlikely that an amendment would escape the proposal process in the Congress.

    However, if it did escape Congress, it probably would be ratified:

    At least 38 states and the federal government have approved laws or amendments barring the recognition of gay marriage; last week, the Utah House gave final legislative approval to a measure outlawing same-sex marriages and sent it to the governor, who has not taken a position on the bill.

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    • VodkaPundit linked with Logjam
    • VodkaPundit linked with Logjam
    This Should Be Interesting…

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:06 am

    While I doubt that I’ll be watching, this is potenitally amusing: Mark Cuban to host ABC reality series:

    Win Mark Cuban’s money – a million dollars of it.

    That’ll be the challenge when the outspoken Dallas billionaire morphs into The Benefactor for the ABC reality series he’ll host this summer. No stranger to the media spotlight and with already substantial entertainment holdings, the Dallas Mavericks owner will magnify his profile on the national TV stage – and make the American dream come true for one contestant.

    […]

    “The basic premise is simple: What will you do for a million dollars?” Mr. Cuban writes, adding that he’s not being paid. “Those people will have to compete to convince me why they should walk away with the million dollars.”

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    Amusing

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:37 am

    A classic bit from Bush’s speech last night:

    The other party’s nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group, with diverse opinions: For tax cuts, and against them. For NAFTA, and against NAFTA. For the Patriot Act, and against the Patriot Act. In favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that’s just one senator from Massachusetts.

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    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Score One for Bush
    • Deinonychus antirrhopus linked with Bush Comes Out Swinging
    • Outside the Beltway linked with Kerry Labels Bush a 'Contradiction'
    Monday, February 23, 2004
    An Odd Position to Take

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:13 pm

    I saw Nader being interviewed on Hardball earlier this evening and was struck by the fact that he refused to say who he had voted for in past elections, save for admitting to voting for himself in 2000. This strikes me as a remarkably odd position to take for someone running for the presidency.

    I also found his argument (also expressed earlier today in his press conference) that the Democrats should welcome him into the race because he is opening up a “second front” againt Bush to be odd as well.

    I guess the bottom line is that Nader is odd.

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    Should be Interesting

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:10 pm

    Bush to Unveil Re-Election Stump Speech

    Bush shelved the rhetoric he’s been using for months on the fund-raising circuit in which he tried to cast himself as focused on policy and unconcerned with re-election politics. The new speech, to be unveiled before a Republican Governors Association fund-raiser Monday night, drew contrasts between the way Republicans and Democrats address issues such as taxes.

    The speech, as drafted, walked to the edge of referring to Democratic front-runner John Kerry by name, but did not explicitly do so, aides said.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • The Temporal Globe linked with Blog Explorer
    FARC Expanding its Sphere of Influence

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:37 pm

    Peru says FARC growing coca in Peru

    Colombia’s largest rebel group is growing coca - the raw material for cocaine - over the border in northern Peru, an area that has not typically been used to grow coca, Peruvian Defense Minister Roberto Chiabra said on Friday.

    “There is an increase in cultivation of coca leaf in our territory which requires an operation (to prevent it),” he said during a visit to the southern city of Ayacucho.

    Filed under: War on Drugs | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    This Sounds About Right

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:22 pm

    Bush Re-election Ads to Begin in March.

    Indeed, I fugured mid-March, but at a minimum I figured they’d wait until after Super Tuesday.

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    Bad News

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:14 pm

    James of OTB has some bad employment news-so if anyone has any leads, let him know.

    Filed under: General | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    This is Getting Ugly

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:05 am

    Marines to Protect U.S. Embassy in Haiti.

    and

    Rebels, Searching Houses, Try to Tighten Control in Haiti

    and

    Haiti Rebels Set Sights on Rest of Country

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    For Those Who Care

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:54 am

    I finally figured out the problem that was making the comments all squished. It is now fixed.

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    Worth Posting Just for the Headline

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:54 am

    Name of Spiro Agnew Comes Up in Taiwan Campaign

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    One Way Nader Might Matter

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:10 am

    If the Democrats have to spend any money on trying to convince potential Nader voters to vote Democratic rather than for Nader, that is an impact, althought not a huge one.

    He qualfies largely as a distraction.

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    • Rooftop Report linked with What to think of Nader
    Nader’s Impact

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:52 am

    I will say this about Nader’s impact: I suspect that it will be far smaller than it was in 2000. First, while I think that the election will be close, I don’t see a repeat of 2000 being all that likely. The 2000 election was one of those once-in-a-century kind of events. Further, I think that when it comes down to it, either there will be sufficient momentum in the direction of either “fire Bush” or “re-hire Bush” and that that momentum will lead to a relatively normal election night (unlike 2000’s highly atypical outcome). In short: even if the election is “close” I think we have to define that concept in broader historical terms rather than using an outlier as the defining case.

    Nader only cost Gore two states: NH and FL. Now, granted, either state would have given Gore the presidency, so this is no small issue. However, I think that this go ’round a lot of folks who were Nader voters will think more strategically this year and go for the Democratic nominee (and granted, some won’t vote).

    Plus by going independent Nader has taken away one argument to vote for him, namely the goal of reaching at least 5% of the popular vote to guarantee the Green Party federal campaign dollars in the next election. Remember: part of Nader’s goal, and his appeal to the voters, was that if the Greens could get that magic 5% they would be able to use future federal monies in build their party for 2004. Instead, they won something like 2.5%. It was thought that voting Nader in 2000 was a harmless exercise vis-a-vis the final outcome, and that it would help the Greens over the long-haul. Neither assumption will be in voters’ mind comes November of this year, and hence, look for Nader to far less of a factor than the Demcrats fear and the Republicans hope this go ’round.

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    Sunday, February 22, 2004
    Cheney to Stay

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:52 pm

    To be honest, I have never doubted that Cheney would remain on the ticket, despite rumors and speculation to the contrary. Along those lines, Robert Novak reports:

    Normally close-mouthed political operatives who run George W. Bush’s re-election campaign are unequivocally stating that Vice President Dick Cheney will remain on the ticket for a second term.

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    Toasty Audio Essay

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:06 pm

    Given the importance of toast to this blog, I found this audio essay at NPR: Comment: Toast in the Kitchen, to be rather amusing.

    And, in case you need it, here’s a recipe.

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    Will on McCain-Feingold

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:42 pm

    George Will notes, in his column today, the folly of McCain-Feingold and the ridiculous state we find ourselves in regarding political speech these days.

    His concluding sentence derserve an “indeed":

    It is a constitutional obscenity that no one now knows what political speech is legal in this nation where the First Amendment is no longer even pertinent to protecting such speech.

    I would recommend reading the whole thing.

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    Nader and Third Party Fun

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:01 pm

    Professor Bainbridge, James Joyner, and following Juan Non-Volokh and Glenn Reynolds, discuss the implications of the Nader candidacy. Juan and Glenn think it is healthy for electoral democracy in the US while James and Steve rightly note that third party candidates really have no shot in our system, and therefore question the actual value of Nader’s run.

    I would have to concur with James and Steve and would note that there is a reason that such candidates are often referred to as “vanity candidates” in the electoral studies literature.

    I further concur with James that it is not the case that it is as difficult as same think it is for third parties to get access to the ballot. Yes, there are some states in which the laws are overly onerous in this regard, but on balance if a party can demonstrate some modest level of support, they can get on the ballot. I blogged on this topic here and here a while back. Indeed, I have a column that is slated to be published in the Mobile Register next Sunday that touches on this subject.

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Ralph's run
    Osama in Box with a Fox?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:16 am

    I just don’t buy this, although it would be great it if were true: Bin Laden ’surrounded’.

    For one thing, if there was hard evidence that we had Osama “boxed-in” then the US nets and papers would be all over the story. And moreover, if there was evidence that this was true:

    The special forces are “absolutely confident” there is no escape for bin Laden, and are awaiting the order to go in and get him.

    “The timing of that order will ultimately depend on President Bush,” the paper says. “Capturing bin Laden will certainly be a huge help for him as he gets ready for the election.”

    That is if any responsible journalist in the US had hard evidence that Bush could have bin Laden today, but is simply waiting for the appropriate timing, then it would be all over the tv. Not to mention that there are those in the press would would love to report such a story.

    It is news pieces like this one that make me always dubious about amazing stories from the British press.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Bin Laden Boxed In?
    • The American Mind linked with Where's Osama?
    Who Shot H.D.?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:03 am

    An amusing title All Dean Got From Press Was This Lousy T-Shirt and the anecdote that starts the piece in amusing, but the thesis that under-girds it strikes me as silly: that somehow the press helped bring Dean down. This is a thesis that seems to be quite prevalent these days in most media-mentioned of Dean’s demise.

    Mostly the thesis is predicated on the idea that the replaying of Dean’s “I Have a Scream” speech is what did him in. However, that argument misses a fundamental point: that he gave the speech after coming in a radically disappointing third in Iowa.

    I would argue that Dean’s losses in Iowa and NH-both places he was expected to win, where not the result of media coverage (indeed, the media had basically crowned Dean the nominee up and until that night in Iowa), but the fact that in states in which Dean had to campaign face-to-face with the voters, the voter rejected him.
    The bottom line is that Dean beat himself, and stories like the one earlier in the week when a former supporter called him “nuts” just helps further illustrates this fact.

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    PoliColumn

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:19 am

    From today’s Birmingham News:

    Campaigns more ridiculous than sublime
    02/22/04
    STEVEN L. TAYLOR

    I love politics. Indeed, as far back as I can remember, I have been fascinated by politics.

    My first political memory, however, is a negative one: that of frustration with Watergate. I will note that my frustration was not born of righteous indignation, but rather of the fact that the hearings were pre-empting my regularly scheduled cartoons.

    Read the whole thing here.

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    Saturday, February 21, 2004
    The Toast-O-Meter is Finally Here

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:57 pm

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

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

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

    Pretty soon the Toast-O-Meter is going to have to go to a two-slicer with only Bush and Kerry-and I suspect that by Mid-March we will have cleaned out the toaster completely, save for the comic relief and Kerry [insert your own joke here-Ed.].

    Still, for the moment, the story is still about the Democratic nomination, so here we go:

    The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol’ White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much done—a 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
  • Heat’s Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

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

    (there continues to be heat on Bush).

  • No surprise here: Most Say Jobs a Top Campaign Issue.
  • Dismal Six Weeks for Bush Has Supporters Edgy:
    “This may have been the worst six weeks of Bush’s political career,” said Rick Davis, who managed the 2000 presidential bid by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain which lost to Bush.
  • Gaffes by Bush Economic Team Worry Conservatives.
  • What? That’s all? Bush Starts February With $104M in Bank.

    Slicing up this Week’s Contests

    If March 2nd is “Super Tuesday” then February 24th is “Forgotten Tuesday,” as it appears that the candidates have written off the contests in Idaho, Utah and Hawaii.

    I am still at a loss as to why Edwards didn’t make a push in some of these states to try to wrack up another win prior to Super Tuesday.

    According to the NYT, the polls show Kerry in the lead in all three states—and the only way any of the Forgotten Tuesday contests will make any difference is if Kerry loses one.

  • Hopefuls ignore the small states.
  • From the Salt Lake City Tribune: Democratic hopefuls to visit Utah? Yeah, right.
  • Utah Democrats get to show primary colors.
  • Little guys on political block used to snubs.
  • Here’s proof that the Hawaii Caucuses clearly don’t mean much: Dean, Kucinich could be factors in island’s caucuses.
  • Idaho Democrats Set for Next Week’s Caucus.

    FRESH BAKED

    Kerry: French-looking Wonder Bread (dough on the rise)

    The math is increasingly in Kerry’s favor, especially since Edwards does not seem to be gaining any ground in major Super Tuesday polling.

  • You can tell who the Reps think is winning: For GOP, it’s all Kerry, all the time Little ammo being spent on Edwards.
  • The Hedgehog Report has numbers on a number of Super Tuesday states-and all the recent look Kerry-ish, very Kerry-ish.
  • The delegate counts are in his favor as well (rather substantially, in fact).
  • Poll: Kerry Leads Among N.Y. Democrats (indeed, in a big way: 66 to 14).
  • Imagine that: Kerry’s Past to Star in Bush’s Ads:
    President Bush’s reelection campaign has decided to focus its coming advertising barrage not only on John F. Kerry’s record as a senator but also on his days as an antiwar activist, a House candidate and Massachusetts’s lieutenant governor.

  • Blunt and Influential, Kerry’s Wife Is an X Factor
  • Robert Tagorda writes on Kerry and special interest.
  • Robert Prather has a link to the audio of Kerry’s 1971 Congressional Testimony.

    THE SUPERMARKET SHELF

    Edwards: Stale White Bread (dough rose a bit, but not as significantly as many might have hoped)

    Despite speculation that Edwards might be able to catch up with Kerry, I would note a few numbers:

  • 1: The number of primaries Edwards has won.

  • 61%: The percentage of remaining delegates (accounting for Super Delegates as well) that Edwards has to win from here until the end to capture the nomination.
  • 48%: The same number for Kerry.
  • Gore will speak in Boise instead of Edwards
    Edwards pulled out Wednesday of the sold-out event because he is now in a two-man race with front-runner Sen. John Kerry for the Democratic nomination for President after Vermont Gov. Howard Dean stepped out. Edwards won´t visit Idaho, where caucuses are Tuesday. The North Carolina lawyer chose to concentrate his campaign efforts in Ohio, New York and Minnesota, which have far more delegates. Those elections are March 2.

  • Rejuvenated Edwards faces tough task
    Despite his strong showing in Wisconsin, Sen. John Edwards faces a sobering uphill battle to overcome Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry’s big lead in the race for delegates to secure the party’s nomination.

    Now the headline and the lead paragraphseems at odds-and in a way that much of the press wants to tell this story. The bottom line is that yes, Edwards had a good showing in WI, but the bottom line is that he lost and that he has only won one primary total. And he is in a two-man race not because of his own prowess, but because everyone else has dropped out.

  • Professor Bainbridge points to a Saletan piece that argues Edwards could still win if voters wake up and smell the electability.

    THE CRUMB PILE (a.k.a., “Comic Relief”)

    Kucinich: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster

  • Rep. Kucinich Plans Brief Campaign Stop in Utah.
  • Vote Vegan? Well, He Isn’t Chopped Liver.

    Sharpton: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster

  • Sharpton denied spot on La. ballot.
  • It can’t feel good: Sharpton’s got no-mentum.

    Larouche:

  • Lucky Mississippi: Larouche Makes Campaign Stop Here. Yes, Virginia, there is a Lyndon Larouche.

    CLEANING OUT THE TOASTER

    Dean

    Despite the insistence that he would continue on beyond Wisconsin, he ended up having to withdraw from the race this week. However, for some insane reason, he decided not to endorse a given candidate, but instead marginalized himself even further by telling his supporters to continue to vote for him.

  • The CSM reports on Where the ‘Deaniacs’ go now.
  • Dean apparently alienated supporters towards the end of his campaign including having one union leader call him “nuts”.

    Vice-Loaf

  • James Joyner notes this Dean’s World’s link that let’s us all know that Bob Graham is willing to be Kerry’s veep.

    OTHER LOAVES

  • Nader to Announce Decision on 2004 Bid. All indications are that he will run.

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    • Insults Unpunished linked with The Weekly Assessment Of The Democratic Candidates Is Up
    • Signifying Nothing linked with Toast time
    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with This Week's Toast Is Up
    • Outside the Beltway linked with Toast-O-Meter Update
    • Mark the Pundit linked with Toast Time
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Toasted
    • King of Fools linked with Smell Something?
    Seems Like I’ve Heard This Before

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:32 pm

    California Gay Marriages in Legal Limbo

    Many of the more than 3,000 same-sex couples who obtained marriage licenses from the city said getting married was among the most joyous events in their lives. But because of legal uncertainty and political controversy, the certificates don’t appear to be worth much more than sentimental value at this point.

    Hmm, didn’t I just say this yesterday?

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Straight Eye for the Queer Guys
    • The Temporal Globe linked with Blog Explorer
    More on Iraqi Elections (or the Lack There of)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:25 am

    Bremer Sees Iraq Polls at Least One Year Away

    The U.S. administrator in Iraq has said it will not be possible to hold elections for a year to 15 months, putting him at odds with the country’s most powerful religious leader who has insisted any delay must be brief.

    […]

    Iraq’s top Shi’ite leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, seen as holding the key to Iraq’s political future, said in an interview published on Friday that any delay should be brief.

    Asked how long, he told Germany’s Der Spiegel: “It should not last long.”

    Sistani had demanded direct elections before June 30 but recently agreed with a U.N envoy that polls required adequate preparations.

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    Toasty Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:08 am

    The Toast may not be done until this evening, or even tomorrow. Today is Middle Son’s fourth birthday, and pretty soon I will be getting up from the computer to prepare for the onslaught of small children that my house will be experiencing in a few hours.

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    A Question on WMD Proliferation

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:03 am

    The question: would we have found out about this had we not gone to Iraq?

    Pakistani Said to Have Given Libya Uranium.

    My answer: no, we wouldn’t have, and instead of Libya allowing unfettered inspections, as they currently are, they would instead be currently developing a nuclear device.

    As someone pointed out the other day (and I forget who), even if there are no WMDs in Iraq, the war will end up having been about WMDs in large measure: those in Libya and Iran, for example, as neither would be willing to under the scrutiny they are currently experiencing if we had not invaded Iraq.

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    Gay Marriage and the CA Courts

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:39 am

    I have not yet written on my position on the same-sex marriage issue, and this post really isn’t about that issue directly, but rather about the legal and policy process as it is unfolding in CA. The bottom line is, if state law makes same-sex marriages illegal it is remarkable that a) the mayor of SF is so willing to flaunt that law (remember the reaction when Roy Moore flaunted a federal court order in Alabama-he lost his job, and I supported that move), and b) how can a court not at least issue a temporary injunction against issuing further marriage licenses until the constitutionality of the law has been determined?

    Calif. Judge Won’t Halt Gay Nuptials

    As a California judge declined Friday to halt San Francisco from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples until more hearings are held, a county in New Mexico issued its first marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    And I still wonder as to precisely what value these licenses have (apart from the symbolic) at this point, given the thoroughly confusing state of the law at this point.

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    Background on Recess Appointments

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:18 am

    The ABAJournal eReport noted the following right after Bush used a recess appointment to place Pickerig on te 5th Circuit Court of Appeals:

    Beginning with George Washington, presidents have appointed more than 300 judges to temporary positions on the federal bench, with the majority going on to win confirmation and lifetime seats.

    Which helps put the Pryor nomination in perspective to some degree.

    It is worth noting that Presidenti Clinton made a recess appointment to a Cricuit Court as well, but that the practice is not common:

    Before Bill Clinton appointed Roger Gregory in 2000 to add a black judge to a previously all-white 4th Circuit, the last recess appointment was 20 years earlier when Jimmy Carter nominee Walter M. Heen was appointed to the district court in Hawaii.

    However, it was more common around mid-century:

    In a recent paper published by the Federalist Society, the history of judicial recess appointment is chronicled in detail. Among the 27 judges appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower were Supreme Court justices Potter Stewart, William J. Brennan and Earl Warren. But after Kennedy appointed 25 judges during recesses, the executive branch began to shy away from the option.

    The article cites a paper from the Federalist Society (in PDF) which details the history of recess appoitnments. It notes, for example, the following concerning the Supreme Court

    Fifteen justices of the Supreme Court—including two Chief Justices—were first appointed by recess appointment. Other than Rutledge, all were subsequently confirmed by the Senate for lifetime positions. Recess appointees to the Supreme Court include Chief Justice Earl Warren and Justices Potter Stewart and William Brennan.

    The article further notes that the constitutional origins of the action:

    The Recess Appointments Clause of Article II, Section 2, provides that “[t]he President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next session.”

    The main matter of controversy would be who long of a recess is long enough. The answer: not very long:

    power. It seems to be undisputed that recesses lasting more than a month, such as the adjournment addressed by Acting Attorney General Walsh in 1960, are long enough.42 A 1992 Attorney General opinion found that an eighteen-day break is sufficient, citing an eighteen-day intrasession recess appointment made by President Reagan and a fifteen-day recess appointment made by President Coolidge.43 Although General Daugherty’s 1921 opinion concluded that ten days is probably too short,44 a 1993 Justice Department brief stated that recess appointments might be justified for any break in excess of three days.45 President George H.W. Bush appointed Thomas Ludlow Ashley to the Postal Service Board of Governors during a twelve-day recess,46 and President Clinton appointed James Hormel ambassador to Luxembourg during the Senate’s ten-day Memorial Day break.

    The article is quite interesting for anyone interested in the process. The appendices have tables detailing the number and type of recess appointments made over time. A point of trivia: Truman holds the record for recess appointment to the federal bench with 39.

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    Friday, February 20, 2004
    An “Electability” Question

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:39 pm

    One wonders if it isn’t normally the case that most voters in primaries of out-of-power parties in years in which an incumbent is running for re-election don’t normally make their selection in large part based on which of the candidates they think has the best chance of beating said incumbent.

    No doubt work amidst the stacks of past exit-polls cold asnwer this question definitively, but I feel fairly confident in saying that it is likely the case that most of the time out-of-power parties are normally fixated on beating the incumbent, and therefore that primary voters of that party will often make selections based on “electability” rather than purely on issues.

    This is called “strategic voting” and people do it all the time.

    I note this because to listen to the press vis-a-vis Kerry, the idea that primary voters might be interested in a candidate because of his perceived “electability” is some new and unique manifestation of the 2004 electoral cycle.

    However, I am fairly sure that partisas tend to prefer their candidate be electable (unless, of course, one is a partisan of the Libertarian, Reform, Green or other Third Party, in which case, one seems to prefer losing…).

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    • The Politburo Diktat linked with KGB Firing Squad
    The Bush Admin’s Caucus Plan is Out, Too

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:20 pm

    I missed this earlier: Plan for Caucuses In Iraq Is Dropped.

    I must say, this illustrates why I have always been uneasy about a hard deadline for handing over power. In this case I would concur with the critics who say that the administration lacked a sufficient plan: surely it would have been wiser to have decided how we would hand over power before announcing when we would.

    And a political note: the way this handoff goes is, in my opinion, going to have a more significant affect on the elections than the WMD issue.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Sistani Likely to Accept Direct Vote Delay

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:40 pm

    Interesting: Sistani Hints at Allowing Election Delay in Iraq

    Iraq’s top Shi’ite religious leader suggested in an interview published Friday he would accept a delay to elections in line with a U.N. verdict that ruled out a vote before the end of the U.S.-led occupation in June.

    But Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, widely seen as holding the key to Iraq’s political future, said any delay should be brief and any interim government should have limited authority.

    Of course, he can only “hint” since he won’t talk direclty with US representatives, which strikes me as odd, as well as rather inefficient.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Today's Briefing 2/20
    Those Darn WMDs

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:33 pm

    Speaking of the “Bush Lied” Meme, here are some more quotes that no doubt will be used against the president in the upcoming campaign:

    “If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”

    “Originally, the Iraqis indicated they had just a small quantity of VX (nerve agent) … Now the U.N. believes that Saddam may have produced as much as 200 tons … enough to kill everyone on Earth.”

    “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”

    “Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein … The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real.”

    Or, maybe not.

    For while I suspect that many of these quotes could show up in campaign ads this season, they won’t be Kerry ads, but rather Bush ones, since, the quotes above aren’t from Bush, they are from President Clinton (in 98), Clinton SecDef Bill Cohen (in 99), VP Gore (in 02), and Senator John F. Kerry (in 03).

    Source: The Albuquerque Tribune.

    Hat tip: Begging to Differ.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Today's Briefing 2/20
    A Question on the Same-Sex Marriage Licenses from SF

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:06 pm

    Given that DOMA defines “marriage” as between a man and a woman in terms of federal policy (including tax policy, social security, and so forth) and given that California law currently explicitly forbids same-sex marriage, then how are the marriage licenses being issued in San Francisco anything more than a novelty item?

    Yes, court action in the future may change the value of the documents, but right now what do those pieces of paper actually mean?

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    Pryor to Get Recess Appointment

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:59 pm

    Bush to Install Judge, Bypassing Senate

    Bypassing Senate Democrats who have stalled his judicial nominations, President Bush will use a recess appointment to put Alabama Attorney General William Pryor on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at least temporarily, government sources said Friday.

    I am not a big fan of the recess appointment, unless a true emergency requires it, but interesting nonetheless.

    I will note that the Democrats in the Senate really have no grounds to complain about this, since all Bush is doing is what they are doing: using the available tools at his disposal to achieve his goals.

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
    How Independent is “Independent"?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:45 pm

    I have a question that has long been on my mind: is a “self-identified independent” who votes in the Democratic Primary really an “independent” in the sense that they aren’t affliated with either party? Given that they have chosen to activity participate in Democratic Party event, indeed in American politics really the only mass-level party activities we have are the primaries, haven’t they essentially declared their “Democrat-ness” for the moment?

    I understand that for the purposes of interpreting poll data that such self-identification by respodents can be useful, but the idea that someone who has consciously decided to participate in the Democratic Party’s nomination process is independent in the sense that that person really is detacted from the broader partisan framework is wholly incorrect (or so it seems to me-it is certainly semantically problematic).

    A person who votes in a Democratic Primary is a Democrat in the only empirical way we can measure party membership: participating in a party candidate selection process.

    Really what analysts are trying to say that they believe that self-identified independents voting in the primary tells us something about “independents” who are not voting in the primary, but may vote in the general election. A better question to ask, it would seem to me, is not whether someone considers themselves “independent” but rather whether they voted Democratic or Republican in the last several elections. If they truly vacililate, then perhaps defining themselves as “independent” makes sense. If they normally vote Democratic (or Republican) then that tells us something that self-categorization as “independent” doesn’t.

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    Brunell to DC

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:12 pm

    Intriguing: Redskins reach deal with QB Brunell. That he’s going is no big surprise, but the fact that it is a 7-year deal is surprising. I wonder what happens to Patrick Ramsey now.

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    You Don’t Say?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:55 am

    Colombia General Wants Rebel to Surrender

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Today's Briefing 2/20
    I Told Y’All that it’s all in the Sound Bite!

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:51 am

    Said John Kerry at an event in Dayon, Ohio:

    “Just a couple of days ago, the administration promised America several million jobs over the course of the next months, and I immediately said that those predictions would fall short based on the promises they made with respect to the tax cut, which was supposed to give a million jobs - it lost a million - and the next tax cut was supposed to produce a million jobs, and it lost a million,” Kerry told reporters, going on to cite more statistics and insist that his plan is better than Bush’s.

    Kerry’s remarks lasted three minutes, yet it left TV reporters without a soundbite until one CBS News producer asked the Massachusetts senator to try again.
    “They don’t know what they’re talking about in their own economic policy,” Kerry said of the Bush team. “Today it’s one thing, tomorrow it’s the next.”

    Take two was the sort of succinct, wry comment for which Edwards, not Kerry, became known among many Wisconsin voters in the run-up to their primary Tuesday, which Kerry won despite a surprising surge from the North Carolina senator.

    Kaus calls this CBS giving Kerry a “mulligan.”

    Indeed.

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    That’s Quite the Endorsement…

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am

    Labor Supporter Says Dean Ignored His Entreaties to Quit

    One of Howard Dean’s most powerful labor supporters, Gerald W. McEntee, said on Thursday that he had decided that Dr. Dean was “nuts” shortly before he withdrew his support for Dr. Dean’s candidacy and begged him to quit the race to avoid a humiliating defeat.

    Mr. McEntee, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, defended his decision to abandon the campaign, saying he told Dr. Dean that he did not want to spend another $1 million of his union’s money “in order to get him a couple of extra points in Wisconsin.”

    “I have to vent,” Mr. McEntee, the often blunt leader of the nation’s largest public service union, said in a leisurely interview in his office here. “I think he’s nuts.”

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    I Suppose it isn’t That of a Surprise, But…

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:01 am

    Three States That the Democratic Race Forgot

    Next Tuesday, three states — Utah, Idaho and Hawaii — will become the 18th, 19th and 20th to cast votes in the race for the Democratic nomination. But none of the candidates so much as mentioned those contests after the Wisconsin primary this week. The television pundits also seem to have forgotten them.

    No candidate has run a television or radio advertisement in any of the states, although Alex Santiago, Hawaii Democratic chairman, says he has been buoyed by sightings of yard signs and bumper stickers, leading him to hope that his state’s Democrats remain engaged in the race.

    None of the candidates have visited any of the three states in recent months, and not one has a visit firmly scheduled. In fact, two canceled visits in the last few days.

    Given that they are all small population states that don’t represent some special category, i.e., “the South,” or an “Industrial State", or “Swing State,” I suppose that that lack of recognition is no huge surprise. And the distance to Hawaii is an issue.

    Still, given Edwards’ desire to build on his momentum it is somewhat surprising that he didn’t try to take advantage of this situation. If Kerry comes out of these states with wins, then Edwards will go into Super Tueday with only SC under his belt and close showings in OK and WI.

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Forgotten States
    Thursday, February 19, 2004
    Luckily, Those Are the Numbers I Used…

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:28 pm

    Number Needed to Win Democrat Nod Changes

    The number of delegates needed by the Democratic presidential candidates to secure their nomination increased by one this week because of the party’s victory in a Kentucky special election.

    The number stands at 2,162 delegates — up from 2,161 — after Democrat Ben Chandler won a special election Tuesday for a U.S. House seat in Kentucky.

    It also boosts the number of total delegate votes at the party’s convention in Boston this summer to 4,322, also up one. A candidate needs a simple majority of the total delegate votes to win the nomination.

    Of course, the real news is that the Democrats picked up a House seat: Democrats Score Rare House Win in Ky.:

    The win leaves Republicans with a 228-205 majority in the House, with one vacancy and one independent.

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    Inside the Numbers Redux

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:59 pm

    Ok, here we go again (and, plus, CNN updated their numbers this afternoon-and solved a problem that they had with the WI numbers).

    I have re-done the analysis of the Democratic Delegates. My thanks to Moe Lane of Obsidian Wings for pointing out that I had misread the CNN chart. I have corrected the error and have correctly broken out the pledged/unpledged delegates to do the calculations.

    Even with the fix, it is the case that Edwards has a substantial uphill battle ahead. And while the fluidity of the Superdelegates could be a factor, I still think it would take a substantial implosion on Kerry’s part for Edwards to win the appropriate number of delegates.

    LEGEND

    Total Delegates=The count (via CNN) of ALL delegates per candidate.

    SuperD’s as of 2/18/04=The currently publicly committed SuperD (subject to change)

    Pledged Delegates=Those won in primaries or caucuses to date.

    Needed to win (including SuperDs)=The number of delegates needed by a candidate to secure the nomination, taking account of the committed, but fluid, SuperDs)

    Needed to win sans SuperDs=the number of delegates needed to win outright without any SuperDs.

    This is my entry in today’s Beltway Traffic Jam.

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    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Can Edwards Win?
    Scrolling

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:40 pm

    I have changed the background so that it scrolls. I prefer the fixed background, because I think it is cool. However, that isn’t sufficient reason to leave it that way, since it appears to be affecting numerous readers.

    Also, thanks to Chris Lawrence for noting a now-fixed typo in my logo.

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    Trying to Go Inside the Numbers

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:17 am

    While I have long understood the basics of the Democratic Party’s delegate selection process, I had not fully appreciated the insane complexity of it until I started to fix the errors in my own delegate count analysis from yesterday. I now understand why different news sources have different counts such as is listed here.

    The bottom line is: it is rather difficult to get a perfectly accurate count, given that it is unclear where the news organizations are getting their data (such as WI, which shows an incomplete delegate allocation on the WI-specific page (which show 67 of the state’s 72 pledged delegates allocated) and their main grid, which indicates that 69 of the 72 pledged delegates have been allocated).

    As another CNN story notes, rather correctly,

    If you think federal income tax forms are complex, try understanding the presidential delegate selection process.

    The precise manner in which the Democrats will choose their 2004 presidential nominee will be a logistical maze, with many twists and turns.

    For example, check out the rules here (warning: PDF).

    The bottom line is that at this point the any delegate count one sees is a estimate-an informed one, but an estimate nonetheless. I now better understand why the networks used to not report delegate counts early on in the primary process.

    I do intend to re-do my analysis of the delegates, but it is a trickier proposition than I thought it was.

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Why Do They Call it the Democratic Party
    Is Bush Doomed as Doomed Can Be?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:27 am

    Or, might this be normal for this time in the campaign? In Polls, Kerry, Edwards Both Lead Bush

    Kerry, the Democratic front-runner and a Massachusetts senator, leads Bush by 55 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, according to the CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll. Edwards, the North Carolina senator who is challenging Kerry, leads Bush by 54 percent to 44 percent.

    To be honest, we really don’t know.

    However, I would point out that on March 9, 1984, the following was also in the news:

    The poll found that in a trial heat for the Presidency, 52 percent said they favored the Colorado Senator to 43 percent for Mr. Reagan.

    The poll did have Reagan beating Mondale and Glenn, but he was only beating Mondalte by 5 points-a far cry from the final outcome.

    On 1/22/84 Mondale and Reagan were tied at 45%-and in July Mondale was up 48-46.

    To revisit my trip down polling’s memory lane, go here.

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    • Slant/Point. linked with Polls - It's what's News
    Kerry to Get a Huge Endorsement Today

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:49 am

    AFL-CIO Gives Kerry a Powerful Ally

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    Alas, ’tis the Final Hunt

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:46 am

    Sean Hackbarth hs the final Duck Hunt.

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    Wednesday, February 18, 2004
    Scrolling Woes?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:57 pm

    A reader reports slow scrolling on PoliBlog after the facelift. Anyone else having that problem since I made the change?

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    I’m So Confused

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:54 pm

    I thought President Bush’s arrogant cowboyesque ways had destroyed for all time his ability to ever work with the United Nations. Indeed, I thought that he was such a reviled individual that really the only hope for US diplomacy was to elect someone new to the presidency. And now this comes up and just confuses me: Annan Expected to Back U.S. Plan in Iraq

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    Ads

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:37 pm

    Ok, like a lot of other folks, I am going to experiment with some advertising on PoliBlog. My only goal: to help pay for the blog itself and nothing more than that.

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    The Name Game

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:08 pm

    James Joyner asks What’s in a Name?, and notes that the press wants to live in a radically simplified world in which everyone is either “liberal” or “conservative” (and maybe, occassionally, “moderate"). I personally had that experience with my brief interview with Forbes.com. The author of the profile asked me something along the lines of whether or not I considered myself to be on the “right.” I answered that I considered that a complicated question (I remember specifically using the word either “complex” or “complicated") but allowed that in simple terms I blogged from a conservative perspective. He wrote: “He’s an avowed conservative” which really didn’t capture the essence of our conversation at all, but so it goes.

    James brings up the issue because of InstaPundits experience with the press.

    Inside the Numbers

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:03 pm

    This post has been moved and will be re-posted later today.

    The original post illustrates two things: 1) Why I call this place “a rough draft of my thoughts” and 2) doing analysis quickly over lunch has potential drawbacks.

    I will post a link to the new post once the new post is ready.

    An update on this endeavor is here.

    UPDATE: The numbers have been fixed.

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    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Dean's Out - Sort Of - What Next
    • Insults Unpunished linked with Can't Say I'm Sad To See This
    A Headling Only a Democrat Could Love

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:05 pm

    Kerry, the Big Cheese in France

    (And yes, I know it’s about Democrats abroad).

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    FARC Leader Near Death

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:01 pm

    Colombia rebel ‘dying of cancer’

    The leader of the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) has cancer and will die within six months, according to a noted local journalist.
    Pedro Marin, alias Manuel Marulanda, has led the Farc for over 50 years.

    Respected Colombian journalist Patricia Lara said the 73-year-old had terminal prostate cancer, citing “very reliable sources” close to the Farc.

    Filed under: Latin America | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Dean the Egoist

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:54 pm

    I heard most of Dean’s “I am suspending my campaign” speech. The first thing that struck me is that he is taking an awful lot of credit for transforming his party for a guy who could never get much more than 20% of the vote in a Democratic primary. The second was that he has blown a chance to have any real influence over the remaining process by failing to endorse Kerry or Edwards and further even telling his supporters to continue voting for him in the upcoming primaries and caucuses.

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    • The American Mind linked with Duck Hunt #11
    A Question for the “Bush Lied” Crowd

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:49 pm

    A question for those who think that Bush was hell-bent on a war in Iraq and consciously and calculatedly lied about the WMDs in Iraq: If Bush has such an inappropriate relationship with the truth, and is skilled enough to thoroughly manipulate the security and intelligence apparatus of the United States so as to accomplish his imperialistic goals in Iraq, why hasn’t he managed to plant WMDs in Iraq so as to fulfill his prophecy?

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    • Rooftop Report linked with No WMD's??
    • QandO linked with Question for the "Bush lied" crowd
    Another Win for Edwards

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:04 am

    Dean to End Campaign, Launch Initiative

    Howard Dean will end his campaign for the presidential nomination and launch a new “campaign for change” within the Democratic Party to keep his issues alive and his supporters organized, a key campaign aide said Wednesday.

    The former Vermont governor, who went winless in 17 caucuses and primaries after falling from leading contender early in the year, does not intend to endorse either John Kerry or John Edwards, the aide said on condition of anonymity. Dean has been impressed with Edwards and suggested on the campaign trail that he would make a better nominee, but Dean has decided to stay out of the Kerry-Edwards contest, the aide said.

    It will be fascinating to see where the Dean voters go. Will they take the “electability” route, and got to Kerry or were they still voting for Dean because they can’t stomach Kerry? Edwards seems to be “Mr. Second Choice” so one would think that the Deaniacs who continue to vote (some won’t) will be more prone to go Edwards’ way.

    I find it odd that Dean, an alleged straight-talker, can’t find it in his heart to endorse one of the reminaing candidates-surely he has a preference.

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Howie Dean, We Hardly Knew Ye
    OTB on WI

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:43 am

    James Joyner of Outside the Beltway has a lengthy run down of last night’s events-with links and everything.

    Filed under: General | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Wisconsin
    TAM on WI

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:33 am

    Sean Hackbarth of The American Mind has links and analysis regarding last night’s primary.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Wisconsin
    Tuesday, February 17, 2004
    Maybe Kerry Edwards (Force of Habit) Will Have a Big Night After All

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:06 pm

    With 1,060 of 3,528 precincts reporting, it is virtually a tie in WI between Kerry and Edwards-very interesting.

    Source/live updates: Yahoo! News

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    • The Bejus Pundit linked with Mheh.
    • The Bemusement Park linked with THE BLOGGER AS REVOLUTIONARY
    Pumping Up Edwards?

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:22 pm

    The MSNBC crew seems to either know something, or are just hope real hard, that there is going to be some kind of Edwards surge tonight. Hard to say for sure, but it is amusing to watch them try to generate drama from this race, which hasn’t seen much drama in weeks.

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    • Rooftop Report linked with Exit Polling
    Fighting for What?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:27 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me that groups who are allegedly fighting for “social justice” can do things like this: Bomb attack during festival in Colombia injures 22

    Suspected rebels detonated a bomb during a festival in a central Colombian town, injuring 22 people, including children, police said.
    Residents of Sacama, in Casanare state, were holding a party in the town’s main park Sunday night when a brawl broke out among revelers. As police went to break up the fight, a bomb exploded, wounding 11 children, five adult civilians and six police officers.

    […]

    It was not immediately clear whether the brawl was a setup.

    Police on Monday blamed members of Colombia’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Four suspected rebels, who allegedly detonated the bomb but were not involved in the fight, were captured, police said.

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    Viet Nam v. Iraq

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:25 pm

    Writes Christopher Hitchens:

    A war fought with weapons of indiscriminate slaughter, and accompanied by racist rhetoric, with a conscript Army deployed against a highly evolved revolutionary movement is as different as could possibly be from a campaign of precision-guided munitions, with an all-volunteer Army, directed at the overthrow of a hideous and dangerous tyranny, and then taking the form of a drive for free elections and a constitution. If people say that it’s “reminiscent” of Vietnam, it means they don’t remember Vietnam.

    Indeed.

    And, also indeed:

    Sooner or later, Sen. John Kerry is going to have to say which he thought was the noble cause: the war or the antiwar movement.

    And, triple indeed:

    There’s something creepy about the Democratic decision to hail the heroes of Vietnam, from Kerry to Clark, and to denigrate the extraordinary effort being made to salvage Iraq and to pursue and kill people who really are, unlike the Viet Cong, the common enemies of humanity. It’s trying too hard, and it’s inauthentic and hypocritical as well as point-missing.

    The whole piece is worth a look.

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Vietnam Syndrome
    • Judicious Asininity linked with Democrats are Creepy
    Dueling Bios

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:35 am

    Following on the heels of this post, James Joyner posts on a Charles Krauthammer piece, which again deals with the issue of the biographies of Bush and Kerry circa 1970-1973.

    While Kerry’s Viet Nam service record is an asset to his campaign, I think that there is far too much being made of it at this stage of the campaign—an artifact, I would argue, of the fact the Bush v. Kerry part of the campaign hasn’t really started yet.

    Sure, if the campaign is fought over Kerry’s stint in the Navy v. Bush’s time in the Air National Guard, then the contest is over before it has begun. However, while biographies are of significance, there are different sections in each book. The bottom line is going to be, once the campaign actually gets moving (it moves slowly at the moment, and really won’t fully launch until after Super Tuesday, when Kerry should move from “front-runner” to “presumptive nominee” by dint of delegate counts) that the issue hand is not Navy v. Air National Guard, but whether or not the nation wishes to fire or re-hire, President Bush. The biographical entry that is most important to Bush at this stage will be the one about the last four years, not about what happened thirty years ago.

    And as I have noted before, I think that one of the main reasons the Democrats are interested in the “AWOL” story is because they want to catch Bush in a lie, not because they think that they will win if, in fact, Bush didn’t serve as much as he should have served. The goal (or one of them, as I think there are several) is to find a way to attack Bush’s post-91 record on the issue of veracity.

    I still maintain that, assuming that the economy continues on its current path, that the issue will be over whether Kerry can sell the idea that he will make us safer in the way he would pursue foreign policy. And Krauthammer is right, there has not yet been any serious articulation from any Democrat on this score. And he is further correct that that was the mistake they made in 2002, and instead of evaluating their message instead claimed that they “didn’t get their message out.” Kerry runs the risk of the same problem if he can’t find a way to convince the country that he would be better at prosecuting the war on terror (which, btw, he doesn’t think is a war). Just saying “I will be nicer when asking the Germans and French for help” won’t cut it. Nor will vague promises to be less arrogant and more multilateral.

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    No Surprise

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:22 am

    Candidate Kerry won’t quit Senate

    The key concern for Kerry and the Democrats is that if he resigns-or even if he does not and goes on to win the White House-Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney would appoint an interim replacement.

    It never occurred to me that he would quit, although in many ways quitting to devote his full time to running would 1) show confidence that he will win the White House, and 2) give the people of Massachusetts an actual Senator for the rest of this year, because goodness knows that Kerry won’t have time to actually serve while he is campaigning.

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    The “Vision Thing” Turnabout

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:17 am

    Robert Tagorda has an interesing post on the issue of foreign policy vision in the context of Bush v. Kerry. Building off a David Brooks colulmn, he notes that Kerry lacks a clear vision for US foreign relations in the era of terror, while Bush actually has a grand vision on the topic. The irony is that while his father was plagued by the “vision thing” in terms of the lack thereof, Bush 43 has the advantage in this are going into a head-to-head contest with Bush.

    I still maintain that one of the most salient questions for voters this year is going to ultimately be “who makes me feel safer, Bush or Kerry?” and that despite the WMD woes in Iraq, Bush comes out on top if that is the question that undecided voters are asking themselves come November.

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Medals Don't Make a President
    You Don’t Say

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:01 am

    Economy May Work in Bush’s Favor

    As the presidential election hits its stride, candidates seeking to unseat the president have fixated on the still-sluggish labor market, hammering their contention that as long as jobs remain scarce, voters are not about to salute the economic recovery that Bush has been hailing.

    But other facets of the economy may prove far better indicators of the sense of well-being that voters will bring to the ballot box in November, economic forecasters say. The booming housing market has given even struggling workers the ability to latch onto a tangible talisman of personal progress. Wage growth has been nearly stagnant, but thanks to Bush’s tax cuts, disposable income has risen. And after nine quarters of slow but steady growth, the economy as a whole is poised to take off, giving some shaky households a sense of optimism about the coming year.

    “The economy is really going to help the president this time around,” said Joel Prakken, an economist with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, whose political forecasting model predicts Bush will win in a romp in November. “I’m not saying [the Democrats] can’t find pockets where they can play the economy card, but it’s going to be tough.”

    And, whaddaya know, someone who understands that the President doesn’t control a vast “jobs machine” that he flips on and off at will:

    Even Mary Beardmore - a Bush voter in 2000 and still unemployed - said she is willing to give the president a pass.

    “You know, George Bush does not control the economy that much,” she said.

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    More Happy Kerry Polls

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:44 am

    CBS News | Kerry Tops Bush In CBS Poll

    If the November election were held today, voters would favor Kerry over Bush 48 percent to 43 percent.

    This appears to be a “registered voter” sample.

    And, oddly, however, the President’s approval number is 50%.

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    You Can Call Me Ray, and You Can Call Me Jay, But You Best Not Call Me “Front-Runner”

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:38 am

    Who’s the Front-Runner? Not Me, Says Kerry

    Indeed, the mere use of the word is enough to send the senator and his advisers into a full-blown tizzy. It is like the elephant in the room. Everybody, most of all Mr. Kerry, knows he is the leader of the Democratic pack. He just will not say so.

    On the one hand, understandable: he doesn’t want to look like he’s gloating, especially since his first go ’round as “front-runner’ didn’t go so well. Presumably after Super Tuesday he will stop playing this game, however.

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    Monday, February 16, 2004
    The Scope of the Courts

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:52 pm

    I will now jump into a debate that seems to have erupted between Steve Bainbridge and Bret Marston, with whom I have jousted (in friendly fashion) in the past.

    the debate is over the issue of legislative v. judicial decision-making. I don’t intend, at this point, to engage the full debate, but I would add to Bainbridge’s point regarding legislatures v. courts, and that is the basic question of what the purposes of the institutions are. It is the job of legislatures to make the rules, and in a democratic society they ought to make those rules in accordance with the will of the people as filtered through elections (and yes, this is an imperfect filter). Courts are supposed to interpret the laws and determine their applicability to a given situation-as it is clearly the case that laws are often ambiguous.

    However, given the debate in question (as outlined by Bret here, with links to others), it seems that the problem is not as much one of whether the moral judgment of courts are to be preferred to those of legislatures, but rather one of what their proper powers and roles should be. In the current debate, it seems that there has been a substantial conflation by all involved of the issue of legislating versus applying or interpreting the law.

    Of course, the conflating of legislating and interpreting is the fault of the courts themselves, who have taken to making up their own rules, which is really what I think that Steve Bainbridge is objecitng to.

    Now, I do see the role of the courts as being a bulwark against tyranny of the majority-but hopefully under the aegis of the Constitution. And yes, this raises a host of interpretation problems. At a minimum, however, courts ought not just decide on their own such matters, but should be constrained by the law.

    No doubt there is much more to be said on this topic, but I will leave it at that for the moment.

    (And I will confess that I struggle with the appropriate standard for the use of courts as the guarantor of minority rights in the face of majority objections.)

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Choose your tyranny
    • Outside the Beltway linked with Judicial Tyranny II
    Yet More Reasons why I Watch Very Little TV Apart from News and Sports

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:47 pm

    I have not watched a single episode of Fear Factor. However, I have been repeatedly regaled this week with commercials, both on TV and radio, about some sort of million-dollar couples challenges in which each time I get to hear some poor women begging not to have to do some disgusting thing done to her, like, I think, having her significant other dump live bugs on her.

    What, I ask, is the entertainment value in this?

    And how pathetic are the people that they will go through this nonsense just to be on TV?

    Filed under: Pop Culture | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Unfortunate Headline Juxtaposition

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:34 pm

    From the Yahoo! News - Front Page

  • Kerry Blasts Bush’s Daytona ‘Photo Op’
    AP - 47 minutes ago

  • Explosives Found in Car at Canada Border
    AP - 12 minutes ago

  • Filed under: General | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Not to Jump to Conclusions…

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:27 pm

    There could be more than one thing going on here, so I don’t want to jump to conclusions that this is terror-related, but it is hard for the mind not to go there: Explosives Found in Car at Canada Border

    The biggest northern border crossing west of Detroit was closed Monday after Canadian guards found explosives in a car entering the country from the United States, Canadian customs officials said.

    They did not specify what type of explosives was found.

    A Canadian customs spokeswoman, Paula Shore, told Northwest Cable News the vehicle tried to cross into Canada from the United States at the Peace Arch border crossing. She gave no further details; neither she nor customs spokeswoman Faith St. John immediately returned calls seeking comment.

    Presumably more details will be forthcoming.

    Filed under: General | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Barnes on Bush v. Kerry

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:22 pm

    Fred Barnes ponders a Kerry Nation and notes that Bush should be in good shape going into the general election campaign, so long as they focus on the proper elements.

    For example, I think he is quite correct here:

    The key is not to scream, “Liberal, liberal, liberal.” That rarely works anymore. What should work, though, is a TV spot with wit and subtlety that plays up a Kerry weakness. Take Kerry’s insistence that the terrorist threat to this country is “an exaggeration.”

    I would play up both Kerry’s willingness to let the UN have an inordinate say in our security policy, and his inconsistency on foreign policy in general.

    And I wholly concur with this:

    But if Kerry is a target-rich environment, why are Republicans and conservatives despairing over Bush’s chances of defeating him? The answer is they’ve succumbed to panic. Sure, Bush has had a bad month. His State of the Union address was flat. The failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (yet) is embarrassing. The National Guard flap is a distraction. The deficit is nothing to brag about. And Kerry has emerged from nowhere as a formidable foe who looks all the better because he’s not Howard Dean.

    And, indeed:

    Nothing is more pathetic in the Washington political community these days than tremulous Republicans and conservatives who whine about how Bush may lose to Kerry. Well, he might, but don’t bet on it. A simple rule is worth recalling: In politics, the future is never a straight-line projection of the present. The media may think polls showing Kerry ahead of Bush in February are predictive of what will happen on November 2, but that’s foolishness. The primaries will end in a few weeks and the Kerry phase of the campaign will fade. Unless Bush stumbles badly, the next phase will be his.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Is the Press Tiring of the “AWOL” Story?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:43 pm

    I expect not, but the somewhat sardonic tone of this NYT piece may indicate that some fatigue may be setting in: White House Letter: Lieutenant Bush, Cavities and All

    The documents did little to solve the argument between the president and his critics about where, when and how often Lieutenant Bush turned up for Guard duty in 1972 and 1973. But they did reveal that while in Alabama, Mr. Bush had at least nine cavities and that he has gained 19 pounds since 1971.

    I, for one, am fascinated.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    I’m Shocked!

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:48 pm

    Husband of CIA officer whose identity was leaked endorses Kerry

    Joseph Wilson, the career diplomat who has charged that senior White House officials leaked the name of his undercover CIA agent wife, has endorsed Democrat John Kerry’s run for the White House.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Denial Issued

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:37 pm

    Hot off the AP: Woman Denies Rumors of Kerry Affair:

    Breaking her silence four days after the allegations surfaced on the Internet, Alexandra Polier issued a statement to The Associated Press, saying, “I have never had a relationship with Senator Kerry, and the rumors in the press are completely false.”

    Quite a different tale than the British press has been telling, but I typically take stories in the British press with a grain of salt.

    A press-related question, however: if the rumors and allegations from last week weren’t worth reporting, will the denial be worth the time of major media?

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Kerry dodges bullet
    So Much for Waiting

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:34 pm

    Dean’s National Campaign Chairman Departs

    Struggling Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean revealed Monday that national campaign chairman Steve Grossman has departed, but the former Vermont governor would not disclose the circumstances surrounding the change.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Interesting: Germany Pledges to Support Colombia

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:30 am

    Schroeder pledges support to Colombia in fighting “terrorism and drugs”

    Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder pledged Germany’s full support to Colombia in the struggle against terrorism and the drug trade after talks with President Alvaro Uribe.

    Schroeder and Uribe told a news conference after their meeting that Germany would work to ensure that the Marxist insurgent group National Liberation Army (ELN) was put on a European Union ( list of “terrorist organizations".

    “We support the wish of President Uribe to place this group (the ELN) on the European Union’s list” of terrorist groups, Schroeder said.

    Uribe said that the ELN, the second largest guerrilla force in the country with 4,500 men, “commits criminal and terrorist acts everyday but does not appear on the list” while the FARC does.

    Of course, the exact definition of the “support” (aside from putting the ELN on the terrorist list) is unclear.

    Filed under: Latin America | Comments (1) | Trackbacks(2)
    | Show Comments here
    • Outside the Beltway linked with Germans Join War Effort
    • Blogs for Bush linked with Carnival of Bush Bloggers
    Oil Thievery in Colombia

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:28 am

    Between leftist bombing the pipelines and this, it is wonder that there is an oil inudstry in Colombia. Colombia cracks down on oil theft

    Up to 7,000 barrels of petrol a day are stolen from Colombia’s oil pipelines.

    Right-wing paramilitaries are believed to be responsible for most of the thefts, using the proceeds to fund their war on the Marxist guerrillas.

    They siphon off petrol and other petroleum derivatives and then sell the fuel illegally.
    The Colombian authorities are now cracking down on the problem which reportedly costs the country’s economy $75m a year.

    And you have to love this:

    Colombia’s main oil pipeline, which stretches across the northern half of the country, has so many holes in it it is known as the flute.

    Filed under: Latin America | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Fixed

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:54 am

    The Blogosphere Ecosystem appears to functioning properly again.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
    | Show Comments here
    TTLB Weirdness

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:00 am

    There’s more weirdness going on at the The Blogosphere Ecosystem. Either the Bear has deivsed a radical new way of doing scans, or the system is busted.

    My guess is that the system is busted.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (0)
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    The Penultimate Hunt?

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:54 am

    Sean Hackbarth has Duck Hunt #10 available for your viewing pleasure.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Dean Drama Continues

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:46 am

    From Yahoo! News

    “We are not bowing out. The forum we will use to stay in the race remains to be seen. Period. Anybody who says anything to the contrary has misspoken."-presidential candidate Howard Dean, on his plans to continue running for the Democratic nomination even though he has not won any of the 16 primaries and caucuses so far.

    Meanwhile, the NYT reports: Top Dean Aide Discusses Plans to Back Kerry

    The chairman of Howard Dean’s presidential campaign said on Sunday that he would leave and shift his support to Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts if Dr. Dean lost the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday, an outcome he sees as all but inevitable.

    “If Howard Dean does not win the Wisconsin primary, I will reach out to John Kerry unless he reaches out to me first,” said the chairman, Steven Grossman, who was chairman of Mr. Kerry’s 1996 Senate race. “I will make it clear that I will do anything and everything I can to help him become the next president, and I will do anything and everything I can to build bridges with the Dean organization.”

    That has Dean saying: “"We’re not dropping out after Tuesday, period,” Dr. Dean said in a television interview with the Fox affiliate here Sunday.”

    It also notes that Dean is 40 points behind Kerry in recent polling.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Sunday, February 15, 2004
    Yet Another Debate

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:36 pm

    Sean Hackbarth of The American Mind will be blogging on the debate tonight, and may have a farewell Duck Hunt as well.

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

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:35 pm

    To celebrate the start of my secnd year, I have given PoliBlog a facelift. Some tweaking is still in order.

    Let me know what y’all think.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments(18) | Trackbacks (1)
    | Show Comments here
    • Captain’s Quarters linked with Love to Link-Love Ya, Baby
    Will on Kerry

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:24 pm

    George Will has an excellent column on John Kerry today that I was going to blog on, but James Joyner beat me to it.

    Enjoy.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Indecisive Howard

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:16 pm

    Despite saying jut this morning that he is in for the long-haul, could Dean be poised to withdraw? Top Aides: Dean Prepared to Abandon Race

    Howard Dean is preparing to abandon his race for the Democratic presidential nomination if he loses Wisconsin’s primary, several advisers said Sunday, despite the candidate’s assertions to the contrary.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Yet Another Bush Sighting

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:52 pm

    Kevin Drum notes a sighting chronicled in Wednesday’s Birmingham News:

    Joe LeFevers, a member of the 187th in 1972, said he remembers seeing Bush in unit offices and being told that Bush was in Montgomery to work on Blount’s campaign.

    “I was going in the orderly room over there one day, and they said, `This is Lt. Bush,’” LeFevers said Tuesday. “They pointed him out to me … the reason I remember it is because I associate him with Red Blount.”

    [Does associating with a guy named “Red” back in the ealry 70s constitute fraternizing with Communists? Inquiring minds want to know!-Ed.]

    A few more Turnipseed quotes (I noted an MSNBC story in this in the Toast-O-Meter):

    “I don’t remember him showing up, and I think I would have remembered it because I spent my career in Texas, have a big tie to it,” said retired Gen. William Turnipseed. However, Turnipseed, who is in his 70s, said it is possible that he wouldn’t remember since it was more than 30 years ago.

    A letter from that time said Bush was to report to Turnipseed, but the former commander said he wasn’t aware of the letter until a reporter contacted him during the 2000 presidential campaign. After national news organizations bantered Turnipseed’s name around in 2000, he was contacted by old unit members. None of them mentioned remembering Bush, he said.

    However, Turnipseed said Bush was not under an obligation to report and could miss drills with the 187th as long as he made up enough points in the year to fulfill his obligation.

    “You know, probably, rules were a little looser back then than they are now. If you go in the Guard now, you are going to end up in Iraq,” Turnipseed said.

    Turnipseed said he is a Bush supporter.

    “I’m fed up,” he said. “People want me to give them something to bash Bush.”

    I would again note, that this whole thing started because Turnipseed originally said that he didn’t recall Bush reporting to him.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Another Bush Sighting

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:43 pm

    From the Montgomery Advertiser: Doctor recalls treating Bush

    A retired Air National Guard physician recalls giving President Bush a physical in 1972, his son said Saturday, adding another memory to the small but growing pool of recollections of Bush’s military service in Montgomery.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Not Feeling the Love (The Forgotten Contests)

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:03 pm

    I forgot entirely about these yesterday when I was finishing up the Toast-O-Meter of Love: Kerry rolls on, wins Nevada, DC caucuses.

    So the count stands at 14 out of 16.

    At any rate, my apologies for not givin’ any love to Nevada and DC yesterday (especially egregious on Valentines Day and when my own brother lives in Nevada-and dissin’ my bro’ ain’t too cool, as he is the only member of my family who actually reads my blog).

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • The Daily Lemon linked with The War has only Begun
    Another Card Falls

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:57 am

    Iraqis Seize No. 41 on U.S. Wanted List

    Iraqi police on Sunday arrested No. 41 on the American military’s most-wanted list, Baath Party official Mohammed Zimam Abdul-Razaq. He was the party’s regional chairman in the northern provinces of Nineveh and Tamim, which include the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

    And significant that he was arrested by the Iraqi police, I would note.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Always a Good Sign

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:56 am

    Dean Denies Top Campaign Aides Dropping Out

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Delegate Counts

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:52 am

    Despite the lack of a single win, Dean remains in second in delegate count. Now, it is clearly an increasingly distant second, but if he continues to limp along in this fashion he will at least earn himself some time at the Democratic convention this summer.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • The American Mind linked with Duck Hunt #10
    Kerry v. Bush on Special Interest

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:46 am

    I have seen on Fox News Sunday and CNN’s Late Edition this whole battle of the commercials between Bush and Kerry over the issue of special interest money.

    The thing that I find amazing is that most of the commentators seem to be missing the fundamental point: Kerry has been campaigning as the candidate oppossed to “special interests” (especially their money) and the fact that he has taken a good deal of “special interest” money raises issues of hypocrisy.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Hmm…

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:26 am

    The extended entry function ain’t working below and I am not sure why. So it goes…

    For some weird reason the first line of the extended entry is indeed hidden, while the rest of the extended entry displays as if it is part of the main entry.

    UPDATE: It seems that the ”

  • ” tag was the culprit. Odd.

  • Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    A Year of Pontification (A State of the Blog Address)

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:14 am

    One year ago I signed up for the original B*S version of PoliBlog. In April I shifted to my own domain and migrated to Moveable Type.

    My thanks to everyone who has visited and especially those who come back on a regular basis (and to the regular commenters) I also want to thanks everyone who has been kind enough to permanently link to me.

    I will say-blogging is a blast, and is perhaps the perfect hobby for a professor (cuz everyone knows that profs like to pontificate).

    Some specific thanks:

  • James Joyner, of Outside the Beltway, who inspired me to give this blogging thing a whirl.
  • Scott Ott of ScrappleFace, for being the first big blog to link to me.
  • Megan McArdle for a kind mention back in the summer, and Stephen Green for placing PoliBlog on the “Top Shelf” (both of which clearly helped my traffic).
  • Cam Edwards for twice inviting onto his radio show as a result of stuff blogged here.
  • Again: my thanks to all who have linked to me.

    Below is shameless navel gazing, click on the extended entry at your own peril.
    (more…)

  • Filed under: Blogging | Comments (1) | Trackbacks(2)
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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Blogiversary
    • Signifying Nothing linked with Bonne anniversaire
    Saturday, February 14, 2004
    Lone Star Silliness

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:36 pm

    A story of law enforcement silliness from my home state.

    Filed under: Criminal Justice | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Not Flying Solo

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:33 pm

    Or, at least, not fisking solo: Jay Solo wants your help.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    It’s the Cheese-Toast-O-Meter of Love

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:50 am

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

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

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

    In celebration of the Wisconsin Primary, it’s the Cheese Toast Edition of the Toast-O-Meter.

    plus, in honor of Valentine’s Day

    It’s the Toast-O-Meter of Love.

    The scale:

  • Wonder Bread with a Fine Cheese Plate(The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol’ White Bread Cheese Sandwhich (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Cheese Toast (Pretty much done—a little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Cheese Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt Limburger Cheese Toast (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Burnt Cheese that Dripped onto the Toaster Coils(Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

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

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

    (the hear contines for Bush, and Kerry’s dough continues to rise—but everything’s stil baking)

  • Kerry bests Bush in the latest ABC poll.
  • Yahoo! News reports that
    Bush, the lone Republican candidate, has brought in at least $15.8 million since Jan. 1, bringing his re-election fund raising to at least $148.6 million, a presidential record

    and it is noteworthy that the Bush campaign hasn’t started spending yet…

  • Howard Kurtz notes The President’s Bad Stretch.
  • The whole Bush Air National Guard stories contines. For the anti-Bush side, check out CalPundit (speaking of Kevin Drum, not surprisingly, he is unimpressed with the release of docs by the White House). For the pro-Bush side, check out HobbsOnline. Pejmanesque has a lengthy, link-filled post on the subject. And, to be fair and balances, one can find more negative spin on the subject at Atrios.
  • The quote that started it all, and a semi-retraction: Alabama commander regrets Bush comments
    Much of the controversy stems from an article in the “Boston Globe” during the 2000 election when the commander of the Alabama unit of the Air National Guard, Brigadier General William Turnipseed, said he doesn’t remember seeing Bush at Air Guard meetings in Alabama at that time.

    But, in an NBC News interview this week, the general expressed surprise that his remarks caused such consternation. “George Bush wasn’t even famous back then, so why would I notice this outsider showing up at a couple of meetings. I just wouldn’t.”

    […]

    Brigadier Gen. Turnipseed, 75 and retired in Montgomery, Ala., says he’s sorry he ever said he would have “had some recall” of Bush had he attended a meeting of the Alabama Air Guard unit.

    “I don’t remember whether he came or not. Our unit had about 900- 1,000 men and he could have attended many meetings without me ever knowing it,” Turnipseed said this week.

    As for Bush being AWOL, Turnipseed said, “No way. He was never assigned to our unit so he couldn’t be AWOL. Like so many Guard and Reserve soldiers during the Vietnam War, they moved around and temporarily attended meetings with other units but Bush never left his original unit in Texas.”

    Turnipseed has said all along there would be no mention of the president in the Alabama unit since Bush was paid out of Texas.

  • Of course, scandal in general is the meme of the week. Here’re some example of the discussion from ’round the Blogosphere: Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(5) | Trackbacks(10)
    | Show Comments here
    • VodkaPundit linked with Handicapping
    • Outside the Beltway linked with Toast-O-Meter Update
    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with This Week's Toast Is Up
    • Mark the Pundit linked with Cheese Toast
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Valentine's Day Toast-o-Meter is Up
    • Signifying Nothing linked with Love Toaster
    • Insults Unpunished linked with Weekly Assessment Of The Democrats
    • democrats give conservatives indigestion linked with From Around the Blogosphere
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Cupid's Toast
    • The American Mind linked with Cheesey
    The Students and the Body

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:22 am

    Just don’t call him “Doctor”.

    And I agree with James: only in America.

    Filed under: Academia | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    One More on Titles

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:09 am

    James Joyner adds to the discussion of titles and their relationship to expertise. He amplifies on my post yesterday and rightly notes a distinction that I had in mind whilst typing last night, but didn’t make explicit:

    To be precise, we should differentiate political opinion from political analysis.

    And, clearly, there are number of excellent bloggers on politics out there who don’t have degrees in the subject.

    And, lest anyone misunderstand: my main point was that it is legitimate to point out one’s credentials in contexts in which those credentials would lend credibility to a specific activity (such as commentators on military affairs noting their service in the armed forces). Not that the credentials equal actual quality of thought, opinion or analysis. And, further, that someone sans credentials is unqualified to comment on topics (were that the case, I should shut up about all things military, for example).

    Really, the only time that credentials could be considered a “trump card” are in circumstances where one is truly expert, as James notes.

    And on this topic, Bryan of Arguing With Signposts notes an example of how silly the title business can get in the academic setting. Indeed, it is not unusual for administrators at a college or university to get something of an inferiority complex and seek out titles for themselves.

    And one last comment that I meant to make last night: in Colombia practically anyone with a college education s referred to as “Doctor"-which was really confusing when I first arrived. Mainly it is a class thing there, however. It was almost like calling someone “sir.” It is sufficiently formalized in the society that it is used in formal writing.

    Filed under: Academia | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Friday, February 13, 2004
    Academic Titles

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 pm

    Chris Lawrence discusses the issue of titles, specific academic ones over at Signifying Nothing. I think that to some degree that the reluctance to use titles is a very American impulse, given our lack of aristocracy and the prevailing notions of equality in our culture. Really there aren’t that many people who are addressed by honorifics and few are consistently called by those titles. Indeed, if one even has a title it is likely that it is only used with any consistency within the context of one’s job (e.g., in the military, a university professor or a medical doctor). For the most part, people outside of one’s place of work don’t even know that one has a title.

    And, it is worth noting, that those titles are all earned, not the gift of birth, which, again is very American. Further, the titles exist to delineate specific skills or a special office, not the “specialness” of the person—although certainly some people think that their titles makes them special.

    However, the issue of delineation of specific skills by use of titles is the main object of Chris’ discourse, and specifically that of academic titles (and even as it applies to blogs). While there is no guarantee that someone with a Ph.D. knows what he or she is talking about (I could give specific examples), but it is the case that it is a rather good indicator of the likelihood of such knowledge. Let’s face facts: if ones wants to know something about molecular biology, it is much more likely that a guy with Ph.D. in said subject will be able to help me out far more so than just some guy who may have read some books. Since one has to do quite a bit to earn those letters, it is generally the case that having those letters after one’s name means something.

    And thus, despite whatever griping someone did in Chris’ direction about his mentioning the Ph.D., it does, in my opinion, lend credibility to Chris’ blog, which is about politics, that he has a Ph.D. in political science. A Ph.D. in political science know more about politics than just some guy who likes politics (not that one has to have a Ph.D. to have a valuable opinion). Now, granted, I am biased in this regard.

    It is certainly the case that some people get offended when one notes that one has a Ph.D., even in settings in which it is appropriate to do so. For example, all my columns note my credentials. However, I often get e-mails from readers who are steamed about my column and therefore accuse me of thinking that I am better than they are, A classic example came my way in January—here’s an excerpt:

    Sir: I just read your article of January 11th in the Mobile Register. Since you are a Ph.D let me tell you who I am. I am Tim W*****, IW PDH (that stands for I worked pretty damned hard).

    The gentleman in question went on at length about my Mobile Register piece of January 11, 2004 which he took great exception to, accusing me of taking a position that I didn’t take, but so it goes… Regardless, some people clearly have a negative reaction to academic titles.

    And in regards to “Doctor” v. “Professor”—it has been my experience that there is a East-West divide to go along with the North-South one that Chris mentions. When I was an undergrad at the University of California at Irvine, the use of “Professor” was the norm, although they answered to “Doctor” as well (although a friend of mine who earned is Ph.D. at UCI and teaches at UCSD, hates to be called “Dr” (he says he isn’t in medicine) and prefers “Prof.” When I was at the University of Texas, “Prof” still seemed to be the norm, but there was a fair bit of “Doctor”. When I arrived in Alabama, “Doctor” was far and away the norm, and indeed, it seemed that “Professor” was reserved as a title for profs who didn’t have their Ph.D.s.

    I have also noticed that depending on where someone is from, I will be addressed differently in correspondence and such.

    I see nothing wrong with Chris, or any other Ph.D. wanting to be addressed by the honorific, “Dr.” in professional contexts, including blogging. Indeed, to not use the title in some contexts diminishes one’s effectiveness. The friend referenced above, for example, was once on a TV program in which he was appearing as an expert on politics. The host asked if he wanted to called “Dr.”—he declined, but forgot to tell her to call him “Professor”—as a result he was referred to as “Mr.” the rest of the program, while the other panelists were called “Dr.” or whatever. As a result, it seemed as if he really wasn’t an expert. Indeed, that is mainly what these titles are for: a shortcut to convey information about a person’s expertise.

    On a related note: there were some professors who I called by their first names when I was a grad student, but only after I had been in school a while. And there are some I might still call “Dr.”

    Filed under: Academia | Comments(4) | Trackbacks(3)
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    • Signifying Nothing linked with More on titles
    • Outside the Beltway linked with Is There a Doctor in the House?
    • Arguing with signposts… linked with PhD, JD, MD
    I am Not Sure I Can Vote for Him Now

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:17 pm

    I am shocked, and indeed, depressed: Bush’s driving records disclosed

    The White House disclosed information in documents Thursday showing that President Bush had been arrested once for a college prank and was cited for two automobile accidents and two speeding tickets before he enlisted in the National Guard.

    Why, oh why didn’t they tell us? Now it’s too late for a primary challenger. The GOP is doomed.

    John Kerry! Save the Union!

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Zygote-Design linked with Will it shut them up?
    Sully on the Radio

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:24 pm

    Andrew Sullivan is currently on the Michael Medved show. (Follow the link to listen online).

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Here’s a Story on the Guy From Hardball

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:50 pm

    Here’s the lowdown, according to the Boston Globe on the fellow I mentioned last night from Hardball: Doubts raised on Bush accuser

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Another Bush Sighting

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:27 pm

    A reader notes the following: Former Guardsman says Bush served with him in Alabama

    A retired Alabama Air National Guard officer said Friday that he remembers George W. Bush showing up for duty in Alabama in 1972, reading safety magazines and flight manuals in an office as he performed his weekend obligations.

    “I saw him each drill period,” retired Lt. Col. John “Bill” Calhoun said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Daytona Beach, Fla., where he is preparing to watch this weekend’s big NASCAR race.

    “He was very aggressive about doing his duty there. He never complained about it. … He was very dedicated to what he was doing in the Guard. He showed up on time and he left at the end of the day.”

    Calhoun, whose name was supplied to the AP by a Republican close to Bush, is the first member of the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group to recall Bush distinctly at the Alabama base in the period of 1972-1973. He was the unit’s flight safety officer.

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
    Bush Sighting

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:10 pm

    In today’s Montgomery Advertiser we have the following:

    No member of President Bush’s Air National Guard unit has come forward with recollections of him at the Montgomery base, but a Selma Republican leader who campaigned with Bush says she saw him in uniform on his way to drills in 1972.

    Jean Sullivan volunteered with Bush on the unsuccessful Senate campaign of Winton Blount in fall 1972, and she says even then there were rumors and rumblings that Bush wasn’t showing up for drills.

    “Some people were saying that he never showed up there, but I know he did because I would see him with his (military uniform) on,” Sullivan said.

    Also noteworthy:

    Ted Tyrus remembers serving in the 187th in 1972, but he doesn’t recall seeing Bush around the base.

    “But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t there. There were a lot of people in the unit, a lot of them were coming and going,” said Tyrus, who was a major at the time.

    The 187th had approximately 800 members in 1972.

    Wayne Rambo, a first lieutenant with the 187th in 1972, echoed Tyrus’ statements.

    “There’s no way I could tell you if he was there, and there’s no way that I could tell you that he wasn’t there,” Rambo said.

    The entire piece is interesting.

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    One More Thought on Media Fatigue

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:36 am

    While it is likely that there is “Clinton fatigue” in the media and the public regarding adultery charges, I really wonder as to the capacity of the media to tire of any scandal story. I mean, you would think that by now that we would all be tired of re-fighting the issue of Viet Nam era service as well, wouldn’t you?

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    Clarifying Further My Position on the Kerry “Scandal”

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am

    In reponse to James Joyner’s post on this topic this morning, I would state the following:

    I certainly don’t want to revisit the Clinton scandal days. I simply think that basically anything that can be considered a taint on a candidate could derail him in the current Democratic process because of the electability issue that is driving it.

    In other words, my position proceeds more from the idea that any substantial scandal (and it is rather unclear that this is a substantial scandal) could derail Kerry, rather than specifically commenting on the signifiance another intern-based imbroglio.

    Indeed, if this is all that it’s about, then it ain’t about anything.

    The most interesting aspect of this story to date has been the coverage, or lack thereof. Compare it to the way the press decided that the National Enquirer was a legit source in the Limbaugh story.

    In general I find it odd that the press could be fully aware of the story, but act as if it doesn’t exist. If they want to return to an era in which every story requires at least two sources before reporting on it, that would likely be a good thing. However, the selective application of that position is rather telling.

    if anything there appears to be a ral sotry here involving Chris Lehane and Wesley Clark. Surely an active campaign to smear a candidate should warrant attention, especially given the fact the Clark is now going to endorse Kerry.

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    Gee, I Wonder Why?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:12 am

    Most Think Truth Was Stretched to Justify Iraq War.

    Given that the Democratic candidates have been accussing the President of lying on a daily basis for months and given that many in the press are all too willing to spin the administration’s position as one of prevarication, these poll results are no surprise.

    And before someone jumps on me regarding my generalization regarding the press, 1) I recognize that it is a generalization, but I think it largely a fair one, and 2) for evidence note how the Kay report was widely reported (i.e., the focus on the lack of WMDs, but a lack of acknowledgement that the errors were widespread and not the result of pressure from the WH. and also Kay’s assertion that the war was still the right thing to do-not to mention the spin on the Tenet speech, which focused on the fact that Tenet stated that the CIA never used the phrase “imminent threat” but ignored in that reporting was the fact that CIA still though there were WMDs in Iraq and that Bush never used the phrase “imminent threat” either).

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    Gay Marriage Issue Kicked Up Another Notch or Two

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:55 am

    I’m thinking that the gay marriage issue is going to be even bigger this year than expected in terms of it being a campaign issue. The evoution of the issue as policy and politics is moving faster than I (and I think many others) anticipated. Ironically, those in favor of gay unions may be shooting themsevles in the foot for pushing the issue, as instead of coming out of this with a compromise position, they may end up mobiizing the anti- forces and end up with very little (at least in the short term). Certainly events like this one: More Than 50 Gay Couples Are Married in San Francisco will go a long may toward mobilizing the forces behind the marriage amendment.

    I am unsure if the support exists, politically, to get such an amendment through the House, but I think there is a real possibility that support could be mustered-especially if pro-gay marriage advocates turn this into a confrontation. Indeed, politically, such a confrontation may not be wise, because sans a fight that fuels an amendment, I foresee the widespread advent of civil union laws which would likley be treated as “marriage” over time. Further, the courts have largely been on the side of gay marriage, but trying to force the issue may create a backlash in the general populace who believe that the courts have overstepped their bounds.

    Ultimately, I think that there will be some form og gay marriage/union in the relative near term-it seems unavoidable, but how we get there, and how messy it will be, is another matter. A big fight during a presidential year may bring a great deal of attention to the subject, but it may also backfire in the sense that it could help anti-gay marriage forces in terms of both the aforementioned amendment and in terms of the politics of judicial nominations.

    The biggest issue, however, is whether congressional support for a marriage amendment which defines marriage for all the states as a male-female union can be obtained. If it can, then I think it would be ratified by the requisite 3/4th of the states. If that happens, it will change the legal climate substantially, and will be a major set back for those who think that gay unions should be normalized under the law. As such, the may the current confrontation unfolds could have substatantial policy consequences.

    Other related stories:

  • Lawsuits in works for gay marriage plan
  • Massachusetts Lawmakers, After Heated Debate, Put Off Vote on Gay Marriage
  • Virginia House OKs ban on gay ‘marriage’

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    Thursday, February 12, 2004
    Vote Early and Vote Often

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:58 pm

    PoliBlog is in the running with some other fine blogs over at Forbes.com.

    And my thanks to Forbes.com for picking PoliBlog to run in the contest.

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with FORBES BLOG COLLECTION
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    Bush’s Records

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 pm

    Hardball had an interview with a former Colonel (I think in the Texas Air National Guard-I am fuzzy on the details) who claims that in 1997 he was ordered to retrieve Bush’s file and that he overheard the persons who obtained the file saying that they wanted to remove anything that would embarass the Governor, and this fellow claimed he saw them throw portions (if not the whole file) in the trash.

    I have no idea what to make of the story at this point, but if you missed the interview, you can catch the re-run. I expect more on the story tomorrow.

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    More on the Kerry/Drudge Story

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:22 pm

    Daniel Drezner has a lengthy, link-filled post on the subject. One of said links leads to BlogMaster InstaP who notes the Chris Lehane-osity of it all.

    Meanwhile, Kaus adds a little, but not all that much.

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    The Silliness Continues

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:10 pm

    The headline has the hint of accusation in it: Dentist Doesn’t Remember Treating Bush. Of course, this shouldn’t be too surprising: as thirty years later it doesn’t surprise me that a dentist who saw a bunch of young men with short hair couldn’t remember a specific one. Why should he?

    Harris, now chief of dental services for the VA Medical Center in Montgomery, said he doesn’t remember Bush, who would have been one of as many as 60 unit members seen over two days.

    “He was just another pilot,” he said. “They had to be seen on an annual basis.”

    Sure, Dubya was the son of a Congressman, but the son of an ex-Congressman from Texas (Daddy Bush was Ambassaor to the UN at the time of the dental exam)-there is no reason that a dentist in Alabama would have known or noticed Bush’s fathers job. Heck, I am a political scientist who is from Texas and I couldn’t tell you all the current members of the House from Texas and while I know that John Negroponte is our current UN Ambassador, I had to double check on Google to make sure I was right.

    How silly is this story going to get?

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    • Zygote-Design linked with The story's got bite!
    Is this a Kerry Scandal or a Clark Scandal?

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:38 pm

    The Daily Kos notes the following:

    First of all, this isn’t Drudge’s story. It’s been around for several weeks. Clark was talking about it to reporters (I confirmed it independently from the Drudge piece). It was common knowledge, but the press sat on it for whatever reason (looking for confirmation? Hoping to avoid being labeled as gossip mongers?).

    He goes on to call the story nonsense (using colorful metaphor I tend not to employ). In short, he is saying that the whole story is the result of a Clark/Lehane smear and not based on anything new. If true it makes the Clark endorsement of Kerry all the more intriguing (and quite opportunistic).

    To me the most interesting part of the Kos post is that he confirms, independent of Drudge, the Clark quote about Kerry and an “intern problem.” This means that there is a story here for sure, it is just unclear as to exactly what the story is.

    Hat tip: Rosemary at Dean’s World.

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    Intriguing

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:21 pm

    Source Says Clark Ready to Endorse Kerry.

    An interesting move, as ideologically he is more in tune with Edwards. Of course, it is difficult to tell where Clark is in terms of beliefs. Given that he is clearly rather opportunistic, he may be angling for a veep nod. Which would be cool, only because it would confirm this:

    However, he may well ultimately be running more for a vice presidential nod, rather than the top slot.

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    Would it be a Scandal?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:32 pm

    James Joyner ponders, regarding the Kerry allegations: ‘I’m not sure, in this post-Clinton environment, that this revelation constitutes an “amazing scandal.’”

    While I take the point, I think that given the drive for “electability” as the key motivation behind Kerry’s momentum that something like this, if proved to be true, would be enough to derail his candidacy. The idea that the Republicans could tar Kerry with a Lewinsky-like scandal would clearly affect perceptions of his electability.

    I think this is doubly true if my thesis concering the desire of the Democrats to cast Bush as a liar is going to be a centerpiece of the Kerry campaign.

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    Back to Viet Nam

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:20 pm

    Apropos of my post below, is this Reuters story: Bush, Kerry Both Face Attacks on Vietnam Records.

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    Intriguing

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:17 pm

    Greenspan Backs Bush Tax Cuts Extension

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    Covering for Kerry or Just Lookin’ for Lies in All Kinds of Places?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:16 pm

    I continue to wonder as to whether Kerry and his surrogates really ought to try to fight this campaign based on the 1970s. It seems that between Kerry’s anti-war stances and his somewhat bizarre views (at least for a congressional candidate) on the UN, that he has more to lose by a lengthy return to the 1970s than does Bush over his Guard duty.

    Of course it may well be, as Robert Tagorda notes, that the goal isn’t so much to tar Bush as it is to give Kerry cover—although I am beginning to wonder if the cover in question is to advance the debate to the point that there will be an attempt to declare any discussion of the 1970s off-limits. Such a truce, while seemingly helpful to Bush right now, would actually be more to Kerry’s benefit because at this point the Democrats have done such a good job of painting Kerry as a war hero they have almost totally erased his post-service (and, as Kaus notes, pre-service) opposition to the war in Viet Nam.

    Really, it seems that aside from creating a patina of national security prowess, as I noted yesterday, the main way that all this AWOL brouhaha could hurt Bush is if the opposition could catch him in a provable lie. Indeed, I expect that the “truth issue” is going to be the biggest (in terms of abstract issues) area of attack by the Democrats in this campaign. The Democrats are going to pull out the stops trying to prove that Bush is a liar. The problem to date is that on issues such as Iraq there is a reasonable alternative to the idea that he is a liar, i.e., that his positions were the result of interpretation of intelligence. If they could catch him in an honest-to-goodness lie they would be able to construct a campaign on that foundation, attacking everything from what he knew about 911 to the planning for Iraq and so forth.

    UPDATE: Kevin Drum of CalPundit concurs: that that issue is, and will be, a question of honesty.

    My guess is, however, that barring undeniable evidence, that the Guard issue will be yet another issue where the pro-Bush types see the world differently than the anti-Bush types, and never shall the twain meet.

    ANOTHER UPDATE: This is my entry in today’s Beltway Traffic Jam

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    Kerry Scandal?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:59 am

    Whenever Drudge rolls out the flashing light, I am always a tad dubious about the story, as he has, shall we say, a penchant for the overly-dramatic.

    The real issue is whether or not it is true that the news organizations he mentions are indeed working on the story.

    Of course, Drudge did basically make his mark via a previous intern story.

    Hat tip: Backcountry Conservative.

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    More on the Guard

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:41 am

    WaTi has a lengthy and interesting letter to the editor from a former Guardsman who served with Bush during part of his stint in Texas. The interesting parts are his description of how the Guard works-and it echoes much of what I posted from Citizen Smash earlier today.

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    More Fun With Redistricting

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:03 am

    At first this looks like a repeat of Texas, until one notes that a Court is ordering a re-drawing of the lines: Ga. Republicans Plan New Redistricting

    Republicans in the state Senate said Wednesday that they will draw up a new legislative map to replace the one that three federal judges said gave unfair advantage to Democrats.

    The Democrat-controlled House, meanwhile, was weighing whether to draw a new map or pin its hopes on a possible court appeal of Tuesday’s ruling.

    The court barred the state from using the House and Senate maps in upcoming legislative elections and gave the Legislature until March 1 to draw new boundaries or face the possibility that the court might do it.

    Also, this appears to wholly about state legislative seats (although the story isn’t as clear as it ought to be on that point).

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    Thanks

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:02 am

    My thanks to Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voicefor his kind plug of PoliBlog.

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    More on the Guard Story

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:56 am

    Citizen Smash comments thusly on the Guard story:

    The Democrats have been attacking George W. Bush’s record of service in the Air National Guard, claiming that he was AWOL in 1972 and 1973. As it turns out, his drilling records for those years have surfaced, and he did miss some drills.

    I’m also a reservist, and I missed four drills in 2001 (after 9/11) and twelve more last year. What was my excuse? I wanted to spend more time with my family. No problem, I just made them up later.

    So did George W. Bush, according to his service records. And his excuse was much better than mine: he was working on a Senate campaign. This sort of thing happens all the time in the reserves. If you can’t make your unit’s regularly scheduled drill session for whatever reason, you simply drill with another unit, or make the time up later. It’s called “flex-drilling” or “rescheduling drills,” and every reservist does it at one time or another.

    This should put an end to the controversy-but of course it won’t.

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    It’s Now Officially Silly

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:52 am

    In regards to the “Bush was AWOL” story, I heard on NPR this morning that the White House found a record of visit to the dentist that placed Bush at the Alabama air base in question. It apparently has a diagram of Bush’s teeth and everything.

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with His Teeth Weren't AWOL, Either
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    The Sound of Silence

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:48 am

    My cable modem service was out again yesterday-hence the lack of blogging.

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    Wednesday, February 11, 2004
    Audio PoliBlog (follow-up)

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:49 pm

    BTW, thanks to Cam Edwards for having me on his radio program yesterday morning. It was quick, but enjoyable.

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    Kerry and Electability

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:29 pm

    Robert Tagorda and James Joyner both have some interesting things to say about Kerry’s famed electability.

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    Bush “AWOL” Fatigue

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:00 pm

    I am growing fatigued of this Bush Air National Guard story.

    First off, Professor Bainbridge is right: the issue on the table is whether we want to re-elect the 2004 model of George W. Bush, not the 1972-73 model.

    Second, Cokie Roberts, appearing on the roundtable portion of This Week last Sunday noted that ultimately the question is going to be whether people want to rehire the president or not. This kind of story is far more important when a candidate seeks office the first time, not when they seek re-election.

    Third, the only motivation for this is simply to find some kind of symbol that will allow Kerry to appear stronger on national defense than Bush. It’s the whole Moore “the General (or the Lieutenant, in this case) v. the deserter” bit, or McAuliffe’s characterization of Kerry as a guy with a “chest full of medals” v. a guy who didn’t serve. However, it seems to me that a full re-hashing of the politics of Viet Nam could backfire on Kerry, as a full discussion will require an examination of Kerry war protest years. Indeed, the “medals” ref by McAuliffe raises the issue of Kerry’s tossing of medals over the fence bit, which raises the protester issue (not to mention the debate as to whether they were really his medals or not). And the Guard thing can backfire because these days being in the Guard means you may be in Iraq or Afghanistan getting shot at. And while the Democrats can patiently explain how things are different now than they were then (and they’d be right), it still won’t resonant well with families who have members in the Guard who have been deployed, are awaiting deployment.

    Fourth, the only people likely to care about Bush’s Guard record are people who already dislike the President. This will just give them yet another reason to do so, since it is unlikely that satisfactory evidence to support Bush’s position will emerge.

    Fifth, the only real damage this could do to Bush is if he is proved to have lied about his service.

    Also, I would note: that this story will almost certainly will peak in the next several days and will have faded by the time the general election campaign is underway. In other words, barring clear proof of a bald-faced lie on the part of Bush, I can’t see all of this mattering all that much. The battle over the significance of Viet Nam services was fought in 1992, and settled (although less than I thought).

    And before anyone says that I am defending Bush for partisan reasons, I pointed out months ago that Dean shouldn’t be harassed because he skied instead of serving because of his back.

    James Joyner has some worthwhile commentary on this topic as well. And James is right: if one is 45 or younger, the whole issue isn’t that big of a deal, as we all grew up in an era in which service was voluntary.

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    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Optional reading
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    Wild

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:44 am

    I had no idea that Comcast was big enough to even propose something like this: Comcast Proposes Buying Disney

    Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable television operator, Wednesday said it has proposed buying Walt Disney Co. in a deal worth $66 billion including assumed debt.

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    Another is Swept from the Toaster

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:42 am

    The political wire confirms, via the AP, that Clark Quits Race-which confirms a crawl I saw at the bottom of the screen on one of the news nets last night.

    An official announcement is expected from Little Rock today.

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    Tuesday, February 10, 2004
    Kerry a BIG Winner in VA

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:32 pm

    With 79% of the vote inABC gives Kerry 51%-which is just shy of double of Edwards’ 27%. Plus if he maintains 50% or more, it will be a huge psychological win.

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    • Wizbang linked with Landslide?
    Punditry Prognostications

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:29 pm

    If these numbers hold then the punditry tonight will be about how long it will be until Clark and Edwards quit, and the veep speculation will start in earnest.

    There certainly won’t be any drama.

    If we’re lucky The General’s son will start whining again and provide some comic relief.

    The really bad news is that no drama means probably no boost in blog traffic. And it is unlikely James will have enough to simul-blog about.
    It will look like this:

    (1901): Fox projects that Kerry wins VA.

    (1903): Juan Williams wonders what Edwards will do.

    (1905): Susan Estrich points out yet again that DNC “insiders” want a Kerry-Edwards ticket. She also again notes, mostly through facial expressions, that she isn’t too happy with Kerry.

    (1906): Insert obligatory Dukakis-in-tank quip here.

    (1915): Over on MSNBC Pat Buchanan is doing that karate-chop hand motion while he regails Chris Matthews with tales of why Bush’s immigration proposals are a farce.

    (2001): Fox calls Tennessee for Kerry.

    (2003): Juan wonders what Edwards will do.

    (2006): More veep speculation over on CNN

    (2008): Back on Fox, Brit Hume suggests that we watch the Howard Dean “I Have a Scream” bite again.

    (2010): Fred Barnes notes that that clip sure is hilarious, and wonders if we could see the Gore rant from this week.

    (2015): CNN shows video of Dean in Wisconsin with a Packers “Cheesehead” on. He confusingly asks if anyone wants to throw fish at him.

    (2020): The General declares “You won’t have Wes Clark to kick around anymore” and vows to move to Europe where they really, really like him.

    (2027): Edwards vows to fight on, but claims that his Southern accent worked against him in the South because people down there actually understood what he had to say.

    (2035): The panels on CNN, MSNBC and Fox all opine as to what Edwards did wrong. Joe Scarborough wonders how he could have lost after that speech last week.

    (2043): Michael Moore calls Larry King and starts hollering about the “desserter” and everyone realizes that Moore just wants some sweets and only followed Clark because his supporters gave out Clark bars.

    (2055): Everyone falls asleep….

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    Bush Ad

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:57 pm

    Here’s a pretty good ad from the Bush web site:

    http://www.GeorgeWBush.com/Responsibility

    Ironically (given all the criticism) it does a pretty good job of using a clip from MTP.

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    A Reason Not to Give Gum to a Two-Year-Old

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:41 pm

    It fits well into phone jacks.

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    Stick to the Grills, George

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:40 pm

    George Foreman Eyes Return to Ring at Age 55

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    More on Divided Government and Policy Outcomes

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:46 pm

    Chris Lawrence responds to my response to his response of my post yesterday.

    To be fair to his argument: there may be something to the theory that divided government consisting of Republicans in Congress and a Democratic in the Presidency may be more prone to fiscal restraint that the converse. I am still not convinced that there is a deep and true strain of fiscal conservatism in the Republican Party strong enough to result in the outcome that Chris wants. I think that most members of Congress are prone to spend, not to save. However, it is quite likely that there would be more government immobilism under the scenario that he describes (indeed, government shutdowns really aren’t all that bad a thing…).

    Still, I am not certain that the theoretical benefits outweigh the likely costs.

    And two things I really don’t think would come to pass:

    1) In all but rhetoric, a Kerry administration would prosecute the War on Drugs almost identically to the Bush administration (the operative issue there really isn’t the AG, but the entrenched anti-war bureaucrats, and politicians from both parties, who are locked in what one bo0k evocatively called the “punitive paradigm” that has created a vast “nacro-enforcement complex"-there is simply too much money and too many jobs linked to the Drug War for it to go away without a conscious effort to dismantle it, and there isn’t any political will anywhere is either party to do that). Plus there is no political will anywhere of significance to change this situation.

    and,

    2) I think that Kerry would prosecute the War on Terror, however, quite differently, especially when it comes to the basic approach-I think that we would return more to the Clinton era law enforcement paradigm. Not to be overly glib, but who do you think that UBL and his friends would prefer to be President-Bush or Kerry?

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    Why Go to College?

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:27 am

    A few quick responses to Dean Esmay’s unhappiness with College Life (they have to be quick, because I am off to teach class…):

  • If one has a class in which one can literally not go to class, just read the book, and actually learn something in the process means at least two things are true. The first is that one is a rather bright person, and the second is that the professor isn’t doing their job. (sometimes it is even just the second).
  • Like any profession, there are bad professors-those which don’t care, can’t teach, and/or don’t know their subjects.
  • I am of the philosophical position that college/university exists primarily to teach people how to think. Because, as James Joyenr points out, we tend to forget a lot of the facts.
  • James is also right: the system is geared towards 18-22 year-olds, and I could certainly see how being in one’s late 30s would make college tedious.
  • Dean has a point: there likely is an over-focus on the attainment of the college degree. However, what we have done is use it as a metric of general aptitude and a demonstration of the ability of a person to have completed a set of goals. It also assumes that a certain amount of knowledge has been acquired, but not necessarily the knowledge to do a certain job.
  • And some of the comments on Dean’s post are correct: the more one learns, the more one realizes what one doesn’t know.

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with The value of college
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    Intriguing

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:44 am

    U.S. Re-Establishes Diplomatic Presence in Libya

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    What was the Headline Writer Thinking?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:03 am

    ‘Passion’ poised for heavenly B.O.

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    Gore Rant

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:56 am

    Gore has gone over the top with his latest speech. I have no problem with him criticizing Bush, or his policies, but using words like “betrayal” is uncalled for.

    “He betrayed this country!” Mr. Gore shouted into the microphone at a rally of Tennessee Democrats here in a stuffy hotel ballroom. “He played on our fears. He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place.” (Source: NYT)

    Even Mara Liasson, thought it well over the top, as did Mort Kondrake.

    PoliPundit has the audio link-if you haven’t heard it, you should give a listen.

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    Reading the End of the Book

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:23 am

    Thomas Sowell’s new column, Weapons of political destruction, is worth a read.

    I have to concur, and really this is the point, isn’t it?

    The intelligence reports that Bush and Blair saw were also seen by Congressional leaders who proceeded to vote for war. Those who now talk about a need for “iron-clad proof” are talking election-year nonsense when it comes to national survival.

    When the planes flew into the World Trade Center, that was iron-clad proof. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, that was iron-clad proof. We cannot wait for iron-clad proof in a nuclear age.

    And no, neither Sowell nor myself is saying that Iraq was linked to 911. The point is, and as the President has argued, waiting around for absolute certainty can be extremely dangerous.

    The amazing thing is that many who have wailed long and loud about our failure to “connect the dots” in regards to 911 are also highly critical of the President’s attempts to connect the dots elsewhere. The problem with dot-connecting is that, like a mystery novel, the whole story isn’t clear until the end. Both those who say we should have known about 911 and those who say we should’ve known about the WMDs are arguing, in both cases, from an unfair vantage point: after the fact.

    It is eady to be a great detective if you read the end of the book first. Most mysteries are obvious once you know the ending. It’s like that movie The Sixth Sense-all the clules are there that he’s dead, and you feel like an idiot for not figuring it out sooner as it becomes blindingly obvious once the secret is revealed.

    Indeed, it is wholly disengenous for members of congress and of the opposition party to act as if it was only the Bush administration who thought that Iraq had WMDs (or, it was only the Bush administration who failed to predict 911). Many of the politicians who are loudly criticizing the President now had access to the intelligence, and they believed it as well-as did the prior administration.

    While I admit that one of the reasons I argued for the war was the WMD issue, it was never the sole reason I thought that the war should be fought. I think that a spectacular demonstration of US military might post-911 was of great use in the war on terror. As Sowell notes::

    Negotiations are not a substitute for force. When international negotiations work, often it is because aggressors know what is going to happen if it doesn’t work.

    Further, I think that if we can establish a stable, secular, even semi-democracy in Iraq that that will do more to combat terrorism than catching UBL.

    And in regards to the critics, I am with Sowell on this as well:

    But many, if not most, of those in Congress who are now complaining loudly about intelligence failures are people who voted repeatedly to cut the budgets of the intelligence agencies and to restrict their operations. Senator John Kerry is just one of those who crippled these agencies and now complain that they were not effective enough.

    Everyone today agrees that we are grossly deficient in the numbers of Arabic-speaking people available to intelligence gathering and analysis. But you cannot now create Arabic-speaking intelligence agents overnight. Neither CIA Director George Tenet nor President Bush can be made scapegoats for decades of neglect before they got to Washington.

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    Delegate Counts

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:34 am

    Kerry Widens Lead in Delegate Count for Nomination

    Kerry picked up 153 delegates in contests on Saturday and Sunday, and a tally by MSNBC shows him with a total of 426, more than twice the number of his closest rival.

    Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who picked up 62 delegates in his second place finishes on Saturday and Sunday, now has 184 delegates, while Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, who picked up only six delegates over the weekend, has 116.

    Retired Gen. Wesley Clark has 82. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton picked up seven delegates over the weekend for a total of 12.

    To secure the presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in July a candidate needs to amass 2,162 delegates out of a possible 4,322.

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    Monday, February 9, 2004
    More on Realistic Politics

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 pm

    Chris Lawrence takes issue with my earlier post concerning political pragmatism. (And to set the record straight, my statements were not, per se, intended as a plea for support for Bush alone, but rather a general statement of the way I think politics actually works, and therefore the way citizens ought to approach it).

    Chris makes an argument, that I have often heard, that the solution to the problem of insufficient fiscal conservatism is the return of divided government. However, I would note that in the twentieth century divided government has been the norm, and, likewise, deficits and ever-increasing spending has also been the norm, calling into question the idea that divided government results in curtailed spending. The only exception (at least in regards to deficits) was during part of the Clinton years, during which we did, in fact, have divided government. However, as I have argued before, the balanced budgets of those years were primarily a function of unexpected economic growth, not a tremendous feat of fiscal restraint the resulted from divided government. For that matter the Reagan era, one of divided government, is usually considered the hallmark of deficit politics.

    I would argue that his thesis is predicated on a false assumption: that there is a pool of serious fiscal conservatism in the populace that simply needs the proper political constellation to sufficiently tap into it. I would submit that while I might wish that was the case, it simply isn’t. There is no large movement, in either party, to truly contain spending or the size of government, and the issue, therefore, becomes one of which side do you prefer to do the spending.

    Until there is a substantial plurality of people who really, truly want to constrain Washington, the budget will grow every year, and the issue of deficits and debts will remain with us. To wish otherwise is to deny the facts on the ground.

    And I do think that in terms of national security one would see a rather substantially different world under a Kerry administration. That alone is sufficient reason to heed my prior advice. And do think that he is serious in his campaign rhetoric regarding foreign policy. Remember: this is the guy who voted against the first Gulf War even though Saddam has invaded Kuwait. I think that he is highly reticent to use force and does not have the temperament needed to fight the war on terror.

    And, back to domestic policy, Republican Senators and Representatives will still seek re-election, and still spend-and since a President Kerry will proposal substantial spending as well, I just don’t see fiscal restraint being the result of divided government. Further, it isn’t as if Bush has forced (or could if he wanted to) Congress to vote for all the current spending—sometimes the Congress gets painted as the President’s lap dog, and it just ain’t so. They are not helpless before the President, Republican or not. However, I will grant Bush has more influence over them than Kerry would, of course.

    I can see an argument in terms of some domestic policy that Kerry wouldn’t be radically different as long as a Republican congress was in place, but there would still be differences (but I wouldn’t expect radical difference if we had all Democrats in Washington in 2005, at least in terms of domestic policy).

    However, there would still be important differences. For example: the judgeship issue and I don’t just mean in regards to specific social conservative issue (although abortion is important to me), but just the general idea of having judges who at least make an effort to simply judge the law and let legislators legislate. I consider this to be rather significant.

    And a side note the “social conservative” issue: prostitution really isn’t that much of an issue for the DoJ, so that strikes me as a non-starter of an example. And in regards to the drug war (which I oppose on efficacy grounds, btw), a Democratic president is unlikely to function any differently than a Republican one on that one. From Nixon to the present the funding for the drug war has simply grown, and while Carter discussed support for legalizing marijuana, the basic approach to illegal drugs has been be pretty consistent across partisan lines. Indeed, the massive increase in funding to Colombia under “Plan Colombia” was under Clinton.

    Hence, the choice is more complex than simply a delineation of fiscal v. social conservatives and the institutions of government they need to fuel their goals. And I reject the divided government thesis. Sure, divided government would mean more executive-legislative conflict, but why would that automatically result in fiscal restraint?

    To be honest, I cannot conceive a situation arising in which the net policy desires of conservatives of any stripe would be furthered by a Kerry win, unless they occurred by sheer serendipity.

    And I now return the ball to Chris’s court, as I no doubt guess he would like to respond.

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    Dean Won’t Go Away

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:39 pm

    Looks like the Good Doctor may be smoking the same stuff Kucinich has been using: Dean Now Says He Will Stay in Race After Wisconsin

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    Audio PoliBlog

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:35 pm

    I am scheduled to chat about politics with Cam Edwards tomorrow at 7:15 AM central on KTOK in Oklahoma City. If you are glutton for punishment, you can listen live here.

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    Gift-Giving Tips

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:55 pm

    If anyone should get the urge to name a star after me, I would prefer you just send the 54 bucks to me instead.

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    Congrats to Kevin!

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:36 pm

    He’s getting a TiVo!

    (Oh, and he got a job as well…)

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    Clark and Edwards are Toast as well

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:22 pm

    Democrat Kerry Opens Huge Lead in Tennessee

    Kerry, who has rolled to 10 wins in the first 12 Democratic contests, leads Edwards 45 percent to 21 percent in the Tennessee poll. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark is in third place at 19 percent, with former front-runner Howard Dean lagging behind at 5 percent.

    A third place finish in Tennessee means that Clark is as done as done can be, and coming in twenty points behind Kerry means pretty much the same for Edwards.

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    More Evidence that Dean is Burnt Toast

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:18 pm

    I meant to include this in the Toast-O-Meter this morning, but forgot about it: Major Union Withdraws Support for Dean.

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    Something of an Odd Move

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:11 pm

    If I were Kerry, I think I would’ve said “thanks, but no thanks": Torricelli Has Raised Cash for John Kerry.

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    Attention Hardcore Conservatives

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:35 pm

    Having now had some opportunity to listen and read some of the reactions to Bush’s appearance on MTP yesterday (not to mention much of the general carping about Bush’s domestic agenda/his budget proposal). I would like to say a few things to the critics from the Right:

    1) If you have been paying attention from the beginning (i.e., the start of the 2000 campaign, or even back to Dubya’s time as Governor of Texas from 1994-2000), you would know that Bush has never been a fiscal conservative in the sense of the “government must shrink” type. He is moderate in terms of overall spending, and only “conservative” in the sense that he is pro-tax cut/a supply-sider (for lack of a better term).

    What do you all think that “compassion conservatism” foreshadowed?

    2) In America’s system of catch-all politics, there isn’t going to be a hard-core ideologue elected to office (which is a good thing). That is to say, if one adheres to a strict political philosophy, one is going to always be disappointed with aspects of any administration. For example, I had friends who thought Clinton wasn’t sufficiently leftist for their tastes, but such is the nature of large, catch-all parties-especially given the relatively moderate nature of American politics.

    Therefore, there are no perfect candidates or officeholder, if “perfect” means adhering to a specific ideology/philosophy.

    In short, repeat after me: “I will never get exactly what I want all the time from democratic government.”

    The only government in which one gets everything one wants is a government in which one is the absolute dictator. Those jobs are hard to come by.

    3) And all this means that if one gets overly frustrated with the guy who is closest to one’s own position, but who isn’t perfect, then the only real alternative is the guy who is further away. Insisting on ideological purity runs the risk of electing the candidate who is your least favorable choice.

    To put it in simple terms: if one is unhappy with aspects of Bush’s administration, this shouldn’t be a surprise. However, the only serious alternative, it would seem, is Kerry.

    And recall that all the conservatives who were upset with Bush I’s breaking of the “read my lips pledge” and who said that “it can’t get any worse” helped led to eight years of Bill Clinton.

    UPDATE: This is my entry in today’s Beltway Traffic Jam.

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    FINALLY: It’s the Latest Toast-O-Meter

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:51 am

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

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

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

    Finally! The much-delayed-because-of-Charter-Communication’s-Ineptitude-version of the Toast-O-Meter is here!

    The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol’ White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much done—a 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
  • Heat’s Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

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

    (there has been some heat on Bush of late, and the Loaf has looked a tad fresher)

  • HobbsOnline defends Bush’s National Guard record. Meanwhile, Kevin Drum examines the issue here and here. Kevin Drum has some more scanned documents relevant to the discussion as well. Joe Carter of the Evangelical Outpost weighs in on this topic as well.
  • For those concerned with the current polling regarding the President’s re-election, I would refer you here.
  • Intelligence has become a key political issue, and to that end the President appointed a panel to investigate the failures in Iraq-realted intelligence. Prof. Bainbridge has the skinny on the panel both here.
  • President Bush made a rare appearance on the Sabbath Talk Circuit, sitting down with Tim Russert for an hour on MTP. Steve Bainbridge points out that he told us all that it was to take to the airwaves. Meanwhile, reactions to the interview can be found here, here, and here. Robert Tagorda provides links to other reactions. Slate’s William Saletan wasn’t impressed with the President’ performance. Kevin Drum wasn’t, either, and provides this round-up of quotes from NRO’s the Corner, which aren’t glowing either.

    Slicing up this Week’s Contests

    On the plate this week we have the following:

    February 6-9 Democrats Abroad: Two words: “how quaint.”

    February 10 Tennessee and Virginia: These are both huge because of their potential effects on Clark and Edwards. Clark pretty much has to win Tennessee to have any legitimate claim to viability. Edwards has to demonstrate that he can win a Southern state that isn’t named after King Charles. If Kerry wins either state, then Edwards claim of “cuz I talk funny, I can win the South” goes out the window (or winder, as my Great-Aunt (from Alabama) used to say). (Editor’s note: Please note, the author has nothing against Southern accents, and indeed has his own Texas version, so please, no hate mail).

    Dave Wissing has the numbers for TN and VA and they look rather Kerry-ish. Indeed, he has 20-point leads in both places.

    Slicing up the loaf:

    The number of slices continues to dwindle, and soon there will be no more loaf of which to speak.

    FRESH BAKED

    Kerry: French-looking Wonder Bread (dough on the rise)

    Barring a bizarre turn of events, Kerry will be the nominee. Edwards is theoretically competing with him, but the honest truth is that Edwards lacks both the money and the widespread support needed to seriously compete. Clark and Dean would both need utter miracles to get back to competitive status with Kerry.

    Indeed, using a formulation I often like to use in class: Kerry would probably have to shoot a man in Reno, just to watch him die, to lose the nomination at this point.

  • Wins in Michigan, Washington and Maine send him into Tennessee and Virginia with serious mo’. No one has really landed a glove on Kerry this entire process to date.
  • No surprise here: WaPo reports that money is flowing to Kerry and that his rivals are having to watch their pennies.
  • Useful and not surprising: Kerry Picks Up Endorsement of Teachers Union.
  • Senator Kerry decries the insertion of Viet Nam, and the past service of candidates, into politics. Well, at least he did in 1992 when a certain Arkansas governor was running.
  • It’s a good thing that Senator Kerry is opposed to special privileges for “Special Interests", otherwise, something like this could hurt him: Three times, Kerry nominations and donations coincided
  • Frontal assault: Democrat Dean Hints at Rival’s Wrinkle Rumors.
  • Blackfive lists some of his criticisms of Senator Kerry-and allows the Senator to speak for himself, after a fashion.
  • Robert Tagorda has some notes on Attacking John Kerry.
  • In case you haven’t noticed, Mickey Kaus isn’t a big Kerry fan (just scroll down).
  • WaPo has a piece today on a subject I had not yet heard about: Kerry’s One-Word Speech: ‘Vietnam’. I am somewhat chagrinned: I didn’t realize that the Senator had served in Viet Nam. He really ought to mention that more often.

    THE SUPERMARKET SHELF

    Edwards: Stale White Bread (the heat is on)

    Since it is possible, but hardly probable, that Edwards could emerge this week as a serious challenge to Kerry, he gets to stay on the Supermarket shelf for at least one more week. However, the writing is on the toast: no money and an inability to win outside of the state he was born in will spell his electoral doom.

    However, look for the press to be rooting for Edwards today and tomorrow, as they desperately want some drama.

  • Edwards Struggles to Compete With Rivals in Raising Money-which proves that swooning pundits don’t power campaigns.

    THE DAY-OLD BAKERY (Looking like the Zombie Section)

    For these guys, it is basically the last days of Pompeii.

    Clark: Rapidly Burning Toast (the heat is on)

    The General is hanging on by his fingernails and can’t possibly survive the rest of the month. Where’s the money going to come from? And whenever a candidate has to cherry-pick which primary he’s going to “have to win” to stay in the race, then you know that that candidate is doomed as doomed can be.

  • Eric, the Viking Pundit, notes a story that states Clark had both a victory speech and an exit speech prepared, depending on the outcome in Oklahoma.
  • Clark seeks to clarify comments on abortion.
  • BTW, I seem to recall a certain freelance columnist notED, very early on, and in the face of national polls showing Clark ahead, that the General had no chance. And while said columnist incorrectly called Dean as the nominee, it is gratifying for said columnist to have been right about something. Concluded said columnist back in September:
    His rookie status, his lack of money and the fact that he is likely too moderate for the Democratic primary voters mean that his chances of winning the nomination are small, even with the initial excitement he has generated.

    Dean: Burnt Toast(the heat is on)

    Dean is the equivalent of the living dead, politically speaking.

  • Dean Gears Up For a Last Stand In Wisconsin. Sean Hackbarth comments on the Good Doctor’s potential last stand.
  • In re: the Washington caucuses-we all thought flipping pancakes was bad, but they make you catch fish up there. “Look at him catch that salmon, Mike! Now there is no doubt in my mind that he can fight terrorism and balance the budget!!”
  • Dean is in full denial spin-mode by saying that his second place finish in Washington shows that there is still voter interest out there.
  • Juan Williams noted on Fox News Sunday that according to the reporters covering the Dean campaign that he’s talked to, it is like a covering a “death watch.”

    THE CRUMB PILE (a.k.a., “Comic Relief”)

    At this point, it is almost silly to keep track of these guys, at least in terms of actually handicapping the race, but they certainly do provide some comic relief.

    This week, I have decided to include the ever-popular Lyndon LaRouche in the mix.

    Kucinich: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster

  • He came in third in Maine, and may even get a delegate out of the mix, depending on the final tallies. Of course I am thinking that this result says more about Maine than it does about Representative Kucinich…

    Sharpton: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster

  • Imagine that: Sharpton dazzles churchgoers in Virginia. (I just like the headline ‘cause it usees the word “dazzles.")

    LaRouche: (dried out bread that fell between the cabinet and the fridge back in the 1970s and never actually made it into the toaster)

  • Some background for the uninitiated: An old thorn back in Democrats’ side.
  • This appears to be all that LaRouchies are good for: LaRouche supporters disrupt Democrats (and yes, ity is an old piece-not much new on LaRouche, believe it or not).

    CLEANING OUT THE TOASTER

    Lieberman: Adios, Joe! You finally figured out what the rest of us knew from the beginning: that you had no shot, and that your early rankings in national polling was nothing more than a measure of name recognition.

  • Slate’s William Saletan gives us a Joebituary.
  • And it seems only fair to point out this message from the Lieberman camp as found at Oliver Willis’s site (just in case you haven’t seen it yet).

    Vice-Loaf

  • Susan Estrich again noted on Fox News on Tuesday, 2/3, that “insiders” in the Democratic Party with whom she has spoken have said that they would like to see a Kerry-Edwards ticket.
  • blogoSFERICS predicts Kerry’s veep: Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, about whom I know nothing.

    Gephardt: Because of the endorsement of Kerry, speculation has started that Gephardt might get the nod. I still see problems with a dual legislator ticket, but maybe. Although I still wonder if Gephardt is willing to play the second fiddle game after all these years of yearning to be the top dog. It might help Kerry win Missouri, however.

    NOT IN THE LOAF

    Al Gore:

  • So much for Gore’s political acumen, instincts and clout. It seems, at this point, rather unlikely that he could make a credible run at the 2008 nomination.
  • Meanwhile, he continues to criticize Bush’s Iraq policy: Gore Says Bush Betrayed the U.S. by Using 9/11 as a Reason for War in Iraq. And he uses some pretty over-the-top language:
    “He betrayed this country!” Mr. Gore shouted into the microphone at a rally of Tennessee Democrats here in a stuffy hotel ballroom. “He played on our fears. He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place.”

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    This is Starting to Drive Me Nuts

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:05 am

    Well, the service went out again yesterday and remained out this morning. If the blog goes silent this afternoon it is because I am at home working, but sans internet connection.

    Allegedly there will be a tech out today to fix the problem.

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    Sunday, February 8, 2004
    Congrats to James

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:59 pm

    And in the catching-up-from-lack-of-access-department: (cuz yesterday morning was a looong time ago in the Blogosphere):

    Congrats to James Joyner for being featured in a WaPo piece on blogging.

    (and check out the enlarged version of the picture for a ref to everyone’s favorite political blog that originates somewhere in Montgomery County, Alabama).

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    The President and Russsert

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:40 pm

    I saw most of the President’s interview on MTP and like
    James Joyner, thought that it was nothing new, but that Bush came across sufficiently presidential as to score the event a political success anyway. However, I also know that there was nothing in the interview that will quell the complaints of the President’s critics.

    The NYT take can be found here: In Rare Talk Show Interview, Bush Defends Decision on War.

    And, indeed:

    Noting that Prime Minister José Maria Aznar of Spain had told him that Ronald Reagan was unpopular overseas, he said, “I’m keeping pretty good company,” and then added: “When you do hard things, when you ask hard things of people, it can create tensions.”

    For one thing, it is incorrect to think that we were universally loved prior to the Iraq situation, and for another, the degree to which we are liked at any specific point in time by the leaders and populations of other countries really isn’t that important. What matters is the long-term picture, and any fair observer of US-European relations will see that we are still working well with our allies were it counts, even France and Germany.

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    Status Redux

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:12 pm

    Well, whaddya know: two posts in a row without losing connectivity.

    I had the Toast-O-Meter ready yesterday, but need to update it to reflect this weekend’s events, so expect it sometime this evening.

    At the moment, however, I feel a nap coming on. Hopefully my connection will still be active later…

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    PoliColumn

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:00 pm

    From today’s Mobile Register:

    Political myth busting
    02/07/04
    By STEVEN L. TAYLOR
    Special to the Register

    T he current Democratic nominating process has done a good job of exposing two key myths that persist in the minds of some concerning the selection of presidential candidates: that money buys the office, that it is really the party elites who chose the candidate.

    Read the whole thing at al.com: Opinion.

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    Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:35 am

    After about 36 hours of wandering in wilderness of no internet access, it appears that I am back in business. At about 8 this morning it appears that service was re-established (although it is rather slow at the moment). Hopefully it will be back to it is speedy and constantly connected self by the time I return from church.

    Blogging wil hopefully return to normal this afternoon.

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    Saturday, February 7, 2004
    Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:59 pm

    Blogging was light yesterday afternoon owing to a lengthy meeting and then the general exigencies of life. Indeed, Friday has been a bad day for blogging for me for a variety of reasons since the start of the Spring Semester.

    However, the main cause of my silence since at least 7pm central time on Friday has been the lack of an internet connection at my house. Which, to put it mildly, annoyed the freakin’ heck out of me for the entire time it was out. I feel semi-blind without my ‘net connection. No e-mail! No instant news! No blogging! Aaarrgh!

    Plus, I hate having to call customer “service”-since there is no local Charter customer service office in Montgomery, I have to call an 800 number, which I think tkes me to a regional office in Birmingham. First I have to wait through the initial onslaught of commercials, bad music, and being told that both “we are experiencing unusually high caller volume” and that “my call is important to us”—to which I respond: a) when is caller volume not high? 3am? and, b) “yeah, right”. Indeed, it would probably make an amusing late night talk show comedy bit to record what people say back to the recordings (although I suspect much of it wouldn’t be fit to air on broadcast tv).

    Let’s face facts: one is already pissed off that one doesn’t have one’s cable or internet—having to sit through insipid recordings about how much they care about you doesn’t improve one’s mood.

    And the most frustrating part is that with Charter, it is a two-step process. First one is one is one hold to get to the gatekeeper who takes your info and then, because you have an internet problem, forwards you on to the tech people. And then one goes back into on-hold hell for at least another 15 minutes.

    My favorite part about being on line for tech help is all the hints they give about where I can find help online, which is the kind of advice that can drive an internet-junkie insane when he is on hold because he can’t connect to the internet!

    And one last monumental pet-peeve: why, why why do they make me input my number on the keypad of the phone only to have the first question they ask me be “What is your phone number?” The credit card people do the same thing. It is as if they want their callers to go postal on the phone.

    The whole thing is enough to consider DSL and DirectTV.

    Plus, I know Knology is in town: I wonder if they service my neighborhood…

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    Friday, February 6, 2004
    How Seriously Should We Take Current Polling? (Answer: Not Very)

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:06 pm

    I have noted some concern amongst conservatives over the the latest Bush approval numbers and especially the Kerry v. Bush polls that show Bush losing. Even Charles Krauthammer strikes a pessimistic tone in his latest column. And certainly there is concern about when Bush will start going on the offensive.

    I was interviewed on the radio last night and the host was deeply pessimistic about the President’s re-election chances and the fiscal conservatives are all worried about the pork in the SOTU. Gloom, despair and agony on the GOP, yes?

    Well, before anyone, either as a measure of hope, or a measure of despair, takes the events of right now as indicative of anything about November, please take the following trip down memory lane with me:

    Reagan v. Mondale (1984)

    Evenutal results: Reagan 58.8%, Mondale 44.7%

    Some of the polling:

    WaPo, 1/22/84:

    Reagan ties both Mondale and Glenn with 45 percent of the vote.

    […]

    The findings represent a leveling of the slight rise in support for Reagan against Mondale and Glenn in November and December polls.

    NYT, 3/9/84:

    The new Gallup poll, taken by telephone among 719 registered voters from March 2 to March 6, confirmed what political specialists generally believe to be a very volatile situation among the electorate five days before Tuesday’s primaries and caucuses in nine states.

    The poll found that in a trial heat for the Presidency, 52 percent said they favored the Colorado Senator to 43 percent for Mr. Reagan. When matched against Mr. Hart’s two leading rivals in the poll, Mr. Reagan led former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, 50 percent to 45 percent, and Senator John Glenn of Ohio 52 percent to 41 percent.

    WaPo, 7/23/84:

    Conducted at the end of the Democratic National Convention last week, the Newsweek-Gallup Poll of 1,006 registered voters showed 48 percent supporting Mondale and his vice-presidential nominee, Rep. Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-N.Y.), 46 percent favoring Reagan and Vice President Bush, and 6 percent undecided.

    The 2 percent difference is insignificant, since the poll has a 4 percent margin of error.

    WaPo, 7/27/84:

    WHAT IS going on with the polls? For months we were told that Ronald Reagan was nine or 14 or 26 points ahead of Walter Mondale. Then, within hours of the close of the Democratic convention in
    San Francisco, out came the Gallup organization with a poll showing Mr. Mondale two points ahead. Have 18 million Americans suddenly changed their minds? Or are the polls just wrong?

    Bush v. Dukakis (1988)

    Evenutal results: Bush 52.3%, Dukakis 44.7%

    Some of the polling:

    The Toronto Star, 5/19/88:

    A CBS/New York Times poll released Monday said Dukakis leads Bush 49-39 per cent and would beat the vice-president in all regions of the country if the election were held now. A Lou Harris poll Sunday gave Dukakis a 50-43 per cent edge.

    WaPo, 6/30/88

    In the Gallup poll of 1,210 registered voters conducted last weekend, Dukakis held a 46-to-41 percent lead over Bush, compared with a 52-to-38 percent lead he held in a similar poll in mid-June. The poll found Dukakis losing ground among most key voter groups, particularly self-described Democrats and independents, a key swing group.

    The ABC News-Money Magazine poll gave Dukakis a 3 point margin, essentially a dead heat under the margin of polling error. In the last Washington Post-ABC News poll at the end of the May, which used the same methodology as this one, Dukakis had an 11 point lead.

    The ABC-Money poll of 1,013 adults was taken June 22-26 and showed Dukakis dropping from being the choice of 52 percent of the general public to 45 percent. Bush gained 1 point, rising to 42 percent; those with no choice increased 4 points.>

    NYT, 7/26/88

    In the aftermath of the Democratic National Convention, the party’s nominee, Michael S. Dukakis, has expanded his lead among registered voters over Vice President Bush, the probable Republican nominee, according to a Gallup Poll. This was among the findings of a national public opinion poll of 948 registered voters conducted late last week for Newsweek magazine by the Gallup Organization. The telephone interviews took place on July 21, which was the last night of the convention, and on the night after that.

    Fifty-five percent of the 948 registered voters interviewed in the poll said they preferred to see Mr. Dukakis win the 1988 Presidential election, while 38 percent said they preferred to see Mr. Bush win. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

    This represented a shift in Mr. Dukakis’s lead from the 47 percent to 41 percent advantage he held in the last pre-convention Gallup Poll, taken by telephone July 8-10. In that poll, 1,001 registered voters were interviewed.

    Clinton v. Dole (1996)

    Evenutal results: Clinton 49.24%, Dole 40.71%

    Some of the polling:

    USAT, 1/19/96:

    A new USA TODAY/CNN/ Gallup poll finds that President Clinton is rated stronger on issues than his likely opponent, Senate Republican leader Bob Dole. But Dole outpoints Clinton when it comes to character traits and personal skills.

    Look for each to accent his own strengths and exploit his rival’s weaknesses.

    Overall, 45% say Clinton deserves re-election; 52% say he doesn’t, suggesting a close race.

    CNN, 1/5-7/96: Their tracking poll had Dole at 49% and Clinton at 46%

    I will note that by the Spring, Clinton creacked open a hefty lead over Dole.

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    Kirk v. Picard

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:42 am

    Not to reward glitches in the TTLB (note the top), but I Downtown Chick Chat has a rather amusing list of Kirk/Picard comparisons.

    Some of my favs:

    87. Kirk once said: “I’ve got a belly-ache - and it’s a beauty.”
    85. Kirk can almost drive a stick shift.
    84. Kirk, almost single-handedly, re-populated the Earth’s whale population.
    11. When Kirk doesn’t trust the Romulans, he fires at them. When Picard doesn’t trust the Romulans, he gets fired at.

    And my two most favorite:

    46. Picard’s middle name isn’t tough or awe-inspiring like Tiberius is.

    37. Kirk once made a cannon out of bamboo, sulphur, potassium nitrate, charcoal and then fired diamonds into the hearts of his enemies. (Need we say more?)

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    More on the Gephardt Endorsement

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:48 am

    Kerry gets Gepahardt and his union friends as well: Gephardt, Labor Unions to Endorse Kerry.

    And, who knew?

    “Kerry has the momentum because he looks like a winner. He looks like a winner because he’s been winning,” said Ron Kaufman, former adviser to former President George H.W. Bush.

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    Thursday, February 5, 2004
    Gephardt to Endorse Kerry

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:58 pm

    So says Taegan Goddard (and Reuters).

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    Worth a Look

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:01 pm

    Daniel W. Drezner has an interesting piece at The New Republic Online which makes some comparisons between Reagan and Bush.

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    More on Kerry’s “Mass-L” Problem

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:35 pm

    Kristopher of The World Around You (and no fan of Bush’s) also sees the Kerry’s Mass-L problem.

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    Do Reporters Care About the Facts?

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:42 pm

    The lead paragraph of this AP story (CIA Boss: Iraq Never an Imminent Threat) via Yahoo News is amazing:

    In his first public defense in the growing controversy over intelligence, CIA Director George Tenet said Thursday that U.S. analysts never claimed before the war that Iraq was an imminent threat. The urgency of such a threat was the main argument used by President Bush for going to war.

    But that wasn’t the main argument for going to war with Iraq. As James Joyner reminded us a few weeks back, the President said the following in his 2003 SOTU address:

    Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

    The story itself gives us the following Bush quotes

    In the months before the war, Bush and his top aides repeatedly stressed the urgency of stopping Saddam Hussein. In a Sept. 12 speech to the United Nations, the president called Saddam’s regime “a grave and gathering danger.” The next day, he told reporters that Saddam was “a threat that we must deal with as quickly as possible.”

    In an Oct. 7, 2002, speech in Ohio, Bush said “the danger is already significant and it only grows worse with time.”

    None of which contradicts the President’s SOTU statements. Clearly we thought that Iraq was dangerous, and clearly the assumption was that the longer he stays in the power the more dangerous he would become, but this argument that the President said that Saddam was an “imminent threat” is tiresome. Gee whiz, obviously the President thought that Iraq was a threat: after all, he proposed we invade the country and destroy the existing regime.

    It is fair to criticize about the lack of WMDs, but it is disingenuous to keep harping on this “imminent threat” misrepresentation.

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    Speaking of Viet Nam…

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:23 pm

    James Joyner has a good post on the “war hero schtick” that is worth reading. And the basic point is well taken.

    In short, as much as Kerry’s war record can and should be admired, the bottom line is he risks overplaying his hand (indeed, may already have to some degree). When something one says becomes a joke, it can be a liability to the candidate-and many, granted mostly conservatives, have been poking fun at Kerry’s propensity to point out his Viet Name services at every turn for months now.

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    Passage of the Day

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:15 pm

    No doubt this has already come to the attention of many, given that Limbaugh discussed it yesterday and the Corner at NRO had portions posted. However, if you missed Senator’s Kerry’s 1992 Senate speech concering the use of Viet Nam service as a political issue, OpinionJournal has it for your reading pleasure.

    (Editor’s note: Sen. Kerry delivered this speech on the Senate floor Feb. 27, 1992. The previous day, Sen. Bob Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, spoke in Atlanta, where he criticized fellow candidate Bill Clinton for his lack of military service during Vietnam.)

    […]

    The race for the White House should be about leadership, and leadership requires that one help heal the wounds of Vietnam, not reopen them; that one help identify the positive things that we learned about ourselves and about our nation, not play to the divisions and differences of that crucible of our generation.

    We do not need to divide America over who served and how. I have personally always believed that many served in many different ways. Someone who was deeply against the war in 1969 or 1970 may well have served their country with equal passion and patriotism by opposing the war as by fighting in it. Are we now, 20 years or 30 years later, to forget the difficulties of that time, of families that were literally torn apart, of brothers who ceased to talk to brothers, of fathers who disowned their sons, of people who felt compelled to leave the country and forget their own future and turn against the will of their own aspirations?

    […]

    We do not need more division. We certainly do not need something as complex and emotional as Vietnam reduced to simple campaign rhetoric. What has been said has been said, Mr. President, but I hope and pray we will put it behind us and go forward in a constructive spirit for the good of our party and the good of our country.

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    Speaking of Which…

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:05 pm

    Speaking of the Mass-L label, the NYT has a lengthy story regarding it that is worth a read: Political Memo: G.O.P. Revives Line of Attack Against Kerry

    Republicans and their allies have begun laying the groundwork for a familiar line of attack against Senator John Kerry: that he is “out of sync” with most voters, “culturally out of step with the rest of America,” a man who votes with “the extreme elements of his party,” as Ed Gillespie, the Republican chairman, has put it in recent days.

    In short, that he is a Massachusetts liberal.

    And:

    This year, the state’s liberal image is being highlighted anew by its role in the growing debate over gay marriage.

    The state’s highest court on Wednesday ruled that people of the same sex must have the right to marry — not just to enter into civil unions — if the state is to comply with its previous rulings.

    Of course, Kerry doesn’t want to play:

    “I oppose gay marriage and disagree with the Massachusetts court’s decision,” he said.

    And to be fair, he is allowed to be from the state and not be tarred by every court ruling that comes from the state. However, just like Bush being from Texas illicits certain images and ideas, so, too, does Kerrys Massachusetts pedigree.

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    Didn’t I Say This Yesterday?

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:46 pm

    Says Reuters: Gay Marriage Ruling Could Be Problem for Kerry

    A legal ruling compelling Massachusetts to allow same-sex marriages may prove troublesome for Sen. John Kerry, if he becomes the Democratic candidate to oppose President Bush in the November U.S. election.

    Political analysts said Wednesday’s decision by Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court would be ammunition for Republican strategists planning to portray Kerry, the Democratic front-runner, as “another Massachusetts liberal.”

    The fact that the Democratic convention this summer is scheduled to take place in Boston may help their case, playing on the stereotype of Kerry’s home state as a liberal paradise outside the more conservative American mainstream.

    Hmmm. Maybe I’m one of the “political analysts“? I would’ve liked a link, however.

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    Space: Too Good for Us?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:44 am

    Lileks comments on Patrick Stewarts’s recent statements on space travel. On the one hand, I don’t much care what Stewart thinks, and it really doesn’t affect my view of his work in Trek or elsewhere. I find him to be a rather talented actor.

    However, of all the criticisms to level at space-exploration, this has got to be the silliest I have heard:

    I would like to see us get this place right first before we have the arrogance to put significantly flawed civilizations out onto other planets,” Stewart said

    So, because we are imperfect and arrogant, we should stay on the big blue marble? and who, precisely, are we going to corrupt with our arrgoance if establish a moon base, go to Mars, or mine the asteroids?

    Hat tip: Stephen Green.

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    Tenet Speaks

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:34 am

    CIA Boss: Iraq Not Called Imminent Threat

    “No one told us what to say or how to say it,” Tenet said.

    He said that “in the intelligence business, you are never completely wrong or completely right … When the facts of Iraq are all in, we will neither be completely right nor completely wrong.”

    Given that it is difficult to paint Tenet as a hardcore neocon, given that he is a Clinton appointee, it will be interesting to see the reaction to his statements.

    And really, as James Joyner pointed out in his response to Rumsfeld’s testimony yesterday, it is the nature of intelligence to be inherently uncertain.

    That having been said, it is still troubling that the intelligence was so wrong about the WMDs. However, to me there are two strands to this argument that are normally insufficiently disentangled in the press: the intelligence as intelligence issue and the politics of the situation.

    If we are dealing solely with intelligence and its successes and failures, I think there is a legitimate policy discussion that should take place. And I do think that it is problematic, to put it mildly, if our intelligence is perceived to be faulty or untrustworthy, as it will affect the perceptions of future assertions by the US government. (Ironically, however, the situation may incentivize recalcitrant governments to be more forthcoming to prove US intelligence to be wrong, so as to avoid US actions…).

    The political issue, however, is manifested in the “Bush lied” or “Cheney strong-armed the CIA” memes that basically argue that the administration was hell-bent on war and did whatever they could to make it happen. If true, it would be a horrible fact and one that should rightly damage the president. Indeed, if he willfully lied to the Congress, the American people and the world, then he doesn’t deserve to be re-elected, and should resign.

    However, it is wholly within the realm of logic to state the faulty intelligence was what caused the President’s statements. Logic doesn’t demand the necessity of willful deception to explain what the administration has said or done.

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

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    Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:15 am

    For a variety of mundane reasons, no blogging until at least late morning.

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    Wednesday, February 4, 2004
    Speaking of the SOTU…

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:56 pm

    It occurs to me that this year’s SOTU provides further evidence to what I think I shall call Taylor’s Iron Law of Political Speeches (which is: it’s the sound bites that matter, not the speech itself). On the night of the speech several commentators gave it a thumbs up, and more than one commented that Bush has really improved in his ability to deliver a speech.

    However, by using the Iron Law to measure thsi year’s SOTU, the speech was an utter failure, as there were practically no lasting sound bites save the “persmission slip” line (which expired after a few days), with the really big winner being the steroids in sports reference, which seems to be the only part of the speech to live beyond the first couple of days of analysis.

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    When Will Dubya Start Campaigning?

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:45 pm

    Steve Bainbridge asks What is Bush Waiting For? in regards to the spending of the President’s copious re-election war chest. (He builds off of concern voiced by Virginia Postrel who is also concerned about the President’s lack of voice).

    The answer is, I think, that it isn’t time yet. Right now the airwaves are flooded with the Democratic Pack trying to get nominated, and Bush ads would get lost in the sea of noise. I don’t think, for example, that Bush could suck the oxygen away from the Dem fight at this point.

    You want some proof of this hypothesis? What happened to the supposedly oh-so-cleverly positioned State of the Union Address? Those rascals in the White House were going to steal the Democrat’s post-Iowa thunder, right? Wrong. Instead of sound bites from Dubya all we saw was Dean’s Scream and endless speculation about why Dean had imploded.

    For better or for worse, the airwaves are going to be dominated by the Democratic nomination process. This is pretty typical, and I wouldn’t get overly concerned about the fact that the President is curently taking a little bit of a beating-this is fairly normal. If memory serves, Dole was thought to be competitive with Clinton at this point in 1996 and for that matter Mondale was beating Reagan in some polls in early 1984.

    Indeed, I was thinking the other day that the prolongation of the Democratica nomination process may be a good thing for Bush because the longer it goes, the longer they have to a) criticize one another, and b) spend money doing so. As the field is winnowed, the candidates (really just Kerry, Clark and Edwards) are going to have to really go at one another and get specific about how unworthy the other guys are to be the president. This ultimately works to Bush’s favor.

    So, I would expect Bush to start spending some money around mid-March to early April when it is clearer how the message should be shaped. Indeed, the SOTU illustrates this idea as well, as the contents of the SOTU seems aimed at Howard Dean who, oops! was who it needed to be aimed at after all.

    Hence, I don’t interpret the relative silence from the WH as any sort of cowering, but rather I see it chiefly as reasonable patience.

    Don’t forget: to everyone except us political junkies, no one is really paying attention to the general election match-up, if they are even paying attention to the primaries.

    Hat tip: OTB.

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    Tauzin to Retire from Congress

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:47 pm

    According to CNN, Louisiana Representative Billy Tauzin ® will not seek re-election to the House.

    In a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, Tauzin said he is giving up the committee post because recent health problems convinced him not to seek re-election after 13 terms in Congress.

    But congressional sources said Tauzin’s decision was based largely on a strategy designed to calm Republican fury over his consideration to head PhRMA, the trade association for the large pharmaceutical companies, with whom Tauzin’s committee just concluded negotiations over the prescription drug benefit for Medicare.

    Many Republicans and Democrats have complained if Tauzin takes the job it will appear as payback for negotiating a bill widely considered favorable to the drug industry.

    If he takes that job it will certainly give Kerry some “special interest” lines for the campaign trail.

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    OK Was Basically a Tie

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:19 pm

    In checking out the delegate counts for Oklahoma it rally was a tie: Clark (15), Edwards (13), and Kerry (12).

    Although it is still better to have won the most votes, beause Clark comes out looking like a winner rather than the runner-up.

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    That Didn’t Take Long

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:52 pm

    Back in November, when the first case came down, and was somewat ambiguous on the civil union/marriage thing and the issue of timetables, I thought it would take at least a year before there was any serious movement on the topic, however: Mass. High Court Rules for Gay Marriage

    The Massachusetts high court ruled Wednesday that only full, equal marriage rights for gay couples - rather than civil unions - are constitutional, clearing the way for the nation’s first same-sex marriages in the state as early as May.

    This is going to end up being an even bigger issue in the presidential campaign-and this won’t help Kerry because it reinforces the image of Massachusetts as the home of all things liberal.

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    Post-Primary Round-Up

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:16 am

    James Joyner has a good round-up of the punditocracy’s takes on yesterday’s results.

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    Clark Limps Along

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:15 am

    While the win in Oklahoma last night kept the Clark campaign alive (although to hear his son talk in the late afternoon yesterday, they were ready to pack it in), it is hardly case that he is on an even footing with Edwards, despite each having won one state apiece.

    A piece of evidence: according to NPR this morning, the Clark campaign is going to focus primarily on Tennessee and scale back his campaign in Virginia. That is a sign of weakness in his campaign, as is the fact that he spend all that time and money in Oklahoma only to essentially tie with Edwards.

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    Deflation

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:49 am

    Clark’s razor-thin win in OK will deflate the Edwards-has-momentum thesis that one could see being formulated last night on the various news networks-especially when they seemed to think that Edwards was going to win OK along with SC.

    Edwards is still the second place guy at this point, and even with the Okalohoma win I see Clark as a quite distant third. Kerry was the big winner last night for certain and has to be considered the clear favorite at this point.

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    Tuesday, February 3, 2004
    Clark by a Nose at this Point

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:38 pm

    With 100 precincts left Clark is now slightly ahead of Edwards.

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    Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plains

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:13 pm

    It looks like Kerry will come in third in Oklahoma. That is by no means a shocker, nor is it a big problem for him (indeed, delegate-wise it will probably end up being a near-tie), but the spin will be that Edwards pulled an upset in OK if he ends up besting both Clark and Kerry-especially since the polls had him in third.

    Clark is going to have to seriously consider dropping out even with a close second, given that he ran in OK as a near native son and basically put all of his chips on this marker.

    Plus, if he thinks he wants a shot at the veep slot, bes to drop out now lest he say something to insult the winner. And yes, I know he siad he didn’t want the veep slot, and no, I really don’t it will be offered to him. Still, he has to see that the situation is hopeless.

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    Estrich on Kerry

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:39 pm

    Susan Estrich was just on Fox looking not very happy about the fact that she thinks Kerry is the odds on favor to win the nomination in July. She kept dourly repeating “I am getting used to the idea” that Kerry is the likely nominee in her opinion. The oddest line was along the lines of a mirthless: “I have known John Kerry for over thirty years and I am getting used to the idea that he will be the nominee.”

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    Joe-mentum no More

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:57 pm

    CNN is reporting that Lieberman has decided to pull out.

    Thank goodness-it would have been painful to watch if he had tried to spin his fifth place finishes as “ties".

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    Edwards Message

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:56 pm

    Michael Barone and the Fox crew had a brief discussion about the Edwards message-and there was some disagreement as to whom it is that the message really resonates (Democratic elites v. working folks). It seems the it is clearly resonating with a significant segement of Democratic voters, but I have to wonder (as did Barone) as to whether the “two Americas” theme will really be effective in a general election campaign, should Edwards win the nomination, as the somewhat pessimistic view of the country that it portarys doesn’t really comport with the current economic realities. Plus, since most Americans tend to think of themselves as “middle class” it may be that a large number of voters won’t indentify with this idea that they are in the downtrodden America of which Edwards speaks.

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    Sans Delegates?

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:50 pm

    Dean may not escape the night with any delegates. I suspect he will get some in NM, but since there has been no polling from there it is rather hard to know.

    So much for money, elite endorsements (Gore, Harkin, the most Superdelegates early on) and media coronation: he will end the night as burnt toast fueled only by delusional hopes.

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    Edwards

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:26 pm

    The pundits seem especially excited about Edwards on both Fox and MSNBC. If he wins Oklahoma tonigh they may all have aneurysms from the excitement.

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    Howard Kucinich?

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:20 pm

    Dean is starting to sound almost as loony as Kucinich in his promises to be alive delegate-wise by the convention.

    And you know you’re losing win you say things like “I plan to vote for whomever the Democratic Party nominates, and I plan for it to be me"-it sounds like a concession to the fact that you probably aren’t going to win.

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    Simul-Blogging OTB Style

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:18 pm

    In what is becoming an OTB tradition, James Joyner is doing the BIG TUESDAY SIMUL-BLOGGING (ONGOING).

    I will be doing individual posts.

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    SC Win Spin

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:15 pm

    The MSNBC crew is gettting a tad orgasmic over Edwards’ victory speech. I agree it was a good speech (what I could hear over the kids, that is), but the “best” victory speech one has ever heard (said Fineman), or the best speech since some Cuomo speech (Scarborough). I mean geez whiz, people, take a step back and relax. I agree that Edwards has honed a good stump speech, but he ain’t Paul on Mars Hill.

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    Pop the Cork on the Whine

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:38 pm

    Apaprently, the media is to blame for Clark’s probems, and it has nothing to do with Clark’s lousy campaigning. Or so says the General’s son.

    Not that I blame the guy for defending his Dad, but I suspect a little self-reflection will reveal that the issue was not simply about how the press failed to cover the campaign properly. I will also say that he is letting dissappointment get the better of him, as he doesn’t sound like a 34-year-old man in this story, but more like an 18-year-old boy.

    Whenever a candidate (or their representatives) complains that the media didn’t “get my message out” you can almost guarantee that the candidate did get their message out and the voters simply didn’t like it much, if at all.

    Indeed, if there is an election in recent memory that proves that the media don’t choose the candidate it is this one: because a few weeks back the media annointed Howard Dean, and he is on the brink of having to quit.

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    Joe-mentum on the Wane

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:25 pm

    Lieberman Said Conceding if Winless Tues.

    Hat tip: Drudge

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    Exit Polls

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:19 pm

    Taegan Goddard has Exit Polls, and if these numbers hold, then Edwards is in great shape, Clark is in serious trouble and Dean and Lieberman are dead:

    South Carolina: Edwards 44, Kerry 30, Sharpton 10

    Oklahoma: Edwards 31, Kerry 29, Clark 28

    Missouri: Kerry 52, Edwards 23, Dean 10

    Delaware: Kerry 47, Dean 14, Lieberman 11, Edwards 11

    Arizona: Kerry 46, Clark 24, Dean 13

    OK is the most surprising, in that Clark could end up third and Edwards could win, which would be a huge boost for him to go along with SC.

    And I heard on the radio news (I am not sure what network) that if Lieberman doesn’t win Delaware, he plans to pull out-so if true, Joe is likley to be gone after tonight.

    As James Joyner notes, Dean is toast. He may not even qualify for any delegates in most, if not all, of these states. I wonder what the NM numbers look like.

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    Criticizing the Super Bowl

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:04 am

    Allen Barra complains that the Pats-Panthers game was “wretched.”

    It seems that with the Super Bowl you always get one of two columns after the game. The first is the “what a lop-sided joke!” discussion, after, say the Cowboys beat the Bills 52-17 in 1993 [Shoulda been 59-17, except for that boneheaded Leon Lett-Ed.] or the “what a sloppy boring piece of junk,” as per Barra’s piece. It really makes me wonder what would constitute a good Super Bowl by the standard of many critics: a close game, but with scoring from start to finish? Then the columns would complain that there wasn’t enough defense…

    I concur that there were too many penalties, but close games typically have their share of errors and bad plays. For one thing, good defenses make the other team make mistakes-and both teams had good defense. A good defense makes even a good offense look inept much of the time.

    And no joke:

    Super Bowls are like big-budget action movies: Audiences tend to remember only what happens at the end.

    Isn’t that true of all sporting events: the end is what matters most, save in early blow-outs (which are also considered boring?).

    Having seen several Panthers and Patriots game this season, I would say that the SB was not atypical for either team, save for the penalties and the fact Carolina’s kicker forgot that one is supposed to keep the ball between the yardlines on a kickoff.

    UPDATE: This post is playing in traffic at the BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM.

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    One Last Comment on the Halftime Show

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:05 am

    One more comment on the Janet Jackson/Super Bowl halftime flap. I missed the show live, as we decided to leave the party we were at to get the kids to bed, knowing we would pay the price that tired children can levy if we did not do so. As a result I saw none of the half-time show live (indeed, got home just in time for the start of the second half), but awoke Monday morning to the stories and photos about the now-infamous breast.

    Last night on various news programs I actually saw a decent amount of video from the event and have to say that CBS and the NFL need to do some serious reexamination of the halftime show productions in general if they think that having a bunch of gyrating women dressed in garter belts while Janet and Justin sing about getting’ nekkid is appropriate for the show. I am not trying to be prudish or unrealistic, but please: Super Bowl Sunday is probably the fourth most celebrated “holiday” in the US after Christmas, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. And in terms of tv holidays, it comes in second only to Thanksgiving. Families and friends congregate in front of the television in large numbers, including a substantial number of children. Do we really need to have a hyper-sexualized display as the halftime “entertainment”? Do the networks really think that is what is needed to retain viewers?

    Even without the appearance of the nipple, the production was wholly inappropriate for the venue.

    I would just as soon do away with the halftime “event” altogether and have them talk about the game or show a montage of the best plays of the season or something. It is, after all, a football game. But if they feel they have to have a musical number, is it too much to ask for something with a little taste?

    Another comment: the news media can be quite hypocritical (shocking, I know)—on shows last night expressing their outrage at the event kept showing over and over and over and over and over and over (get the point?) the video of Timberlake ripping Jackson’s shirt. Sure, the boob was scrambled, but if the point is that CBS shouldn’t have allowed the whole thing is the first place, is it not a tad over the top to repeatedly show the clip? I understand showing a few times as a piece of news, but half a dozen or more times in a given segment?

    And finally: I am surprised that feminists and civil rights groups aren’t up in arms, as the act of Timberlake ripping off Jackson’s clothes as performed came across to me as aggressive. Not to make too much of this point, but I am surprised those who are typically quite sensitive about issues of race (like Limbaugh and McNabb, for example), don’t see something a bit askew about the symbolism here. You’d think feminists would be crying about simulated sexual assault as entertainment and the NAACP wouldn’t be too happy about the white on black aspect of the situation.

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    Ricin Found in Letter Sent to Frist

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:44 am

    Eerie echoes of the 2001 anthrax attacks: Ricin in Senate Building Moves Markets

    A suspicious white powder found in a U.S. Senate office building on Monday tested positive for the deadly poison ricin, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrence Gainer said.

    Several preliminary tests confirmed that the substance discovered in a mail handling room was ricin and results of more extensive tests conducted in a laboratory confirmed the earlier findings, Gainer said late on Monday.

    “Two of those three tests do indicate that it is ricin. So we have had several confirmations that it is ricin,” Gainer said.

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    Monday, February 2, 2004
    Polls! What’re They Good For?

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:16 pm

    Kevin Drum notes the Kerry vs. Bush polling that is currently making the rounds, and notes that they don’t mean much about the race that will culminate in November.

    However, they are good news for Kerry tomorrow, since the exit polling in Iowa and NH indicated that “electability” was the biggest concern to Democratic voters in those states. I suspect that this is true for the voters in the seven states on the slate for tomorrow as well. As such any evidence that supports Kerry’s electability, including largely meaningless polls showing Kerry beating Bush, will probably help some of the undecideds to decide in his favor tomorrow.

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    Loyalty Oath, We Hardly Knew Ya

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:46 pm

    Jeff “Mr SC Primary” Quinton notes that the loyalty oath idea has been dropped.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Loyalty Oath Roundup
    DemCom Deck of Cards for Operation Bloggi Freedom

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:53 pm

    PoliBlog is the Six of Spades in the The Politburo Diktat: DemCom Deck of Cards for Operation Bloggi Freedom.

    I am now heading for my Spiderhole-see y’all later.

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    On Primaries

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:42 pm

    And btw, I agree with Kevin Drum of Calpundit:

    I have mixed feeling about open primaries anyway. Although they generally help produce more moderate candidates — something I like — I can’t help but think that if you’re going to vote in a Democratic primary then you ought to be a Democrat.

    Indeed, I would prefer having a system of what are called Closed Primaries, where one has to register as a declared adherent of a party and that only people who are actually thoughtful enough to chose a party ahead of time should be voting in primaries. After all, the basic theory of a primary election is that the members of the given party are democratically selecting their own candidates. As such, if you aren’t sure if you are a “member” or not, you shouldn’t participate in the primary.

    However, the idea of whipping out a “loyalty oath” like this is sheer lunacy. And, like Kevin, I agree that amounts to a PR nightmare for the Democrats and that the idea rates as “dumb".

    UPDATE: Surprisingly enough, James Joyner agrees with me regarding closed primaries. (Actually, I already knew that, but there was no post to link to earlier).

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    Loyalty Oaths?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:34 pm

    Ok, enough boob coverage (or uncoverage, as the case may be…). [Although, there are some boobs of a different type in this story as well, -Ed.]

    A colleague of mine brought up this “loyalty oath” thing this morning, and my reaction was that such a thing surely isn’t legal, based on my own past research on the topic of state variations in primary elections. Indeed, I thought that there must be some type of mistake in what he was discussing. Turns out that the SC Dems are thinking about using a previously unused rule that would allow poll watchers to require voters to verbally affirm their Democratic Party loyalty. Amazing.

    It seems that the idea is to boost John Kerry’s chances of winning, since independents might be more likely to vote for Edwards.

    And I am still not convinced that it’s legal…

    I would consider this a “developing” story.

    Hat Tip: Backcountry Conservative (one of several links), plus more here.

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    And if You’ll Buy That I’ll Throw the Golden Gate in Free

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:03 pm

    According to the news, Justin Timberlake is blaming the event on a “costume malfunction.”

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    Lesson in PR

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:12 pm

    Stephen Green’s SB round-up (along with all the talk I have heard on the drive to work and everything I have heard since) proves tha Janet Jackson got what she wanted: the world is talking about her right boob. Precisely why she wants this is beyond me (aside from the idea any talk is good talk).

    And further, the NFL has to be ticked, given that as a result of NippleFest 2004, no one is really talking about what a great game it was, and even if one tries, it seems impossible to escape the Nip.

    And I loved the argument by a guy on Sportingnews Radio who argued that because the NFL is not doing enough about steroids and spousal abuse that no one can really gripe about Janet Jackson.

    And Limbaugh’s argument is that this is nothing compared to ther stuff on TV. I can’t disagree, but I have to admit, I don’t expect such a display at the Superbowl (although I didn’t expect a wholesome display from Janet Jackson-I mean, really, is she the best they could do?).

    In short: Janet got what she wanted, and the NFL didn’t.

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    Blasts from the Past

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:15 am

    Slate has more Kerry in Doonesbury from 1971 for your toontastic enjoyment.

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    Primary Musings

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:42 am

    If Zogby’s numbers are anywhere close to on target (Edwards Leads South Carolina, Clark Up in Oklahoma), then Kerry will cruise to victory in AZ and OK, which will be enough for him to retain frontrunner status. The fun tomorrow will be in OK and SC, where it is close enough to go either to Clark or Kerry in OK and Edwards or Kerry in SC. Between margin of error and undecideds, both are too close to call. Clark would get a huge boost from a win, and if Edwards wins SC then the stories will start over it being an Edwards-Kerry two-man race. (Although even if Clark wins OK, I still think he qualifies as naught more than walking wounded).

    Dean looks toastier by the day (indeed, he looks doomed) and maybe Joe will get the hint after tonight.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with S.C. Primary News
    Terrible Attacks in Northern Iraq

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:31 am

    56 Kurds Killed in Suicide Blasts in North of Iraq

    Two suicide bombers killed at least 56 people and wounded at least 200 here on Sunday during Muslim holiday celebrations inside the separate headquarters of Iraq’s two leading Kurdish political parties, officials said. The blasts shattered the calm of the north, a part of the country that had been relatively stable under the American occupation.

    The bombers killed several top Kurdish leaders and wounded other senior officials in the explosions, which came 10 minutes apart and constituted the worst attack in Iraq since late August, when a car bomb killed more than 80 people outside a Shiite shrine in the southern city of Najaf.

    The exploitation by murderes of religious holidays is sickening and remarkably hypocritical given what they allegedly fight for. Of course, the very idea of walking into a room full of people and exploding oneself is sufficiently evil that I suppose nothing related to the crime should be surprising.

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    SB XXVIII

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:20 am

    After a rather, shall we say, sloooow start it turned into a rather exciting game.

    I think Adam Vinatieri booted his way into the Hall of Fame last night as the winning kicker at the buzzer, essentially, in two Super Bowls (not to mention the rest of his impressive career, especially in the postseason).

    And Tom Brady is reminding me of Troy Aikman, after a fashion.

    Update: Since the kids needed to get to bed, we came home at halftime, so I missed this. What are these people thinking? And I’m with James: I wish they’d do away with the halftime shows.

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    Sunday, February 1, 2004
    Happy Super Bowl

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:20 pm

    (Well it is practically a secular holiday…)

    Off to a party, so no more blogging for a while.

    Go Panthers!

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    Joe-mentum Sweeps the Nation

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:28 pm

    Facing Uphill Battle, Lieberman Campaign Stays Upbeat

    It has been three days since Senator Joseph I. Lieberman called his fifth-place finish in New Hampshire a “three-way split decision for third” and a mandate to continue his bid for the White House.

    But everywhere he goes, even as he talks up his proposals to make the country safer in the world and safer at home, as he likes to say, the question hovers: why is he still in the race?

    You know it might be time to quit when…

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    Fun with Maps II

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:25 pm

    This one wasn’t working yesterday, but is now. Like the map of the US, my travels tend to have a southernly flow, shall we say:



    create your own visited country map
    or check out these Google Hacks.

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    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Don't Get Around Much
    When Geek Worlds Collide

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 am

    Nirvana: when SportsGeek meets AcadeGeek- Super Bowl Economics: Incremental Analysis, With Two Yards to Go.

    Econometrics is the reason I decided as a freshman in college to shift from my economics major to political science (which was, in retrospect, a good move [I’m not sure all your students would agree-ed.], so the math ain’t the thing (but I know some good Rat Choice when I see it), but still, such a fusion of the NFL and the academy pleases my multiple inner geeks.

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    PoliColumn

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:23 am

    Today marks my first piece in the Huntsville Times. It is an Ala-centric piece, although it does deal with primary season.

    State makes itself primarily irrelevant
    02/01/04
    By STEVEN L. TAYLOR
    For The Times

    By the time we hold our primary,it no longer matters

    As the spectacle of primary season has finally arrived, observers of politics in the state of Alabama might note yet another way in which the state comes out towards the bottom of the pile: in influence over the presidential nomination process.

    Read the whole thing here.

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